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December 29

Events - December 29
1845 - The flags of Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America and of the United States have flown over the area known as Texas, the state that became the 28th of the United States of America on this day. And, the state nickname, the Lone Star State, comes from the Texas state flag with its one star. Texas is an altered pronunciation of the Indian word, Tejas, meaning friends, and that’s why the Texas state motto is “Friendship.” The capital of the second largest state is Austin, its state bird, the mockingbird, the state flower, the bluebonnet, the state tree, the pecan tree.

1848 - President James Polk turned on the first gas light at the White House.

1890 - The U.S. Seventh Cavalry in efforts to suppress the Native Americans of South Dakota, massacred over 200 men, women and children. The massacre occurred at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota.

1910 - In the early 1900s, college football was a brutal game ... so rough that many students suffered serious injuries and sometimes, death. This prompted many schools to discontinue the sport. Others urged that football be reformed or abolished from intercollegiate athletics. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt summoned college athletics leaders to two White House conferences to encourage such reforms. In early December 1905, Chancellor Henry M. MacCracken, of New York University, held a meeting with 13 institutions to initiate changes in football-playing rules. At a subsequent meeting on December 28 in New York City, the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS) was founded by 62 members. The IAAUS was officially constituted the following spring. Then, on this day (in 1910), it changed its name to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

1913 - "The Unwelcome Throne" was released by Selig’s Polyscope Company. This was a moving picture and the first of thirteen installments of the serial, "The Adventures of Kathlyn", starring Kathlyn Williams. It was called the first serial motion picture and was co-produced by "The Chicago Tribune". "The Adventures of Kathlyn" also appeared in the Chicago paper in serial form.

1934 - The first college basketball intersectional doubleheader was played at Madison Square Garden in New York City. New York University beat Notre Dame, 25-18 in, as you can see by the score, anything but an offensive battle. In the second game of the night, Westminster defeated St. Johns, 37-33.

1943 - "San Fernando Valley" was recorded by Bing Crosby. He chose the tune because he felt it would be a ba-ba-ba-big hit. Guess what? He was right. Within a week after its release, the song became a popular favorite everywhere, including the San Fernando Valley in California.

1945 - The mystery voice of Mr. Hush was heard for the first time on the radio show, "Truth or Consequences", hosted by Ralph Edwards. The feature was intended as a spoof of giveaway shows. However, the idea was taken seriously and lasted five weeks before fighter Jack Dempsey was identified as Mr. Hush -- for a prize of $13,500.

1945 - Sheb Wooley recorded the first commercial record made in Nashville, TN. The song was recorded on the Bullet label; but it was 13 years before Wooley would finally score with a big hit ("The Purple People Eater" was #1 for six weeks in June and July, 1958). Wooley (whose first name is Shelby) played the part of Pete Nolan on TV’s "Rawhide", recorded novelty tunes under the name, Ben Colder, and acted in "High Noon", "Rocky Mountain", "Giant" and "Hoosiers". The Country Music Association honored him with the title of Comedian of the Year in 1968. If you remember the TV show "Hee Haw", with Buck Owens and Roy Clark, it was Sheb Wooley who wrote the theme song.

1949 - KC2XAK of Bridgeport, Connecticut became the first ultrahigh frequency (UHF) television station to begin operating on a regular daily schedule. UHF stations broadcast from where the VHF (very high frequency) stations leave off -- channels 14 through 83.

1952 - The first transistorized hearing aid was offered for sale by Sonotone Corporation on this day. I SAID THE FIRST TRANSISTORIZED HEARING AID WAS OFFERED FOR SALE BY SONOTONE CORPORATION ON THIS DAY.

1953 - Jean Stapleton debuted in her first Broadway play. She starred with Judith Anderson in the production, "In the Summer House", which opened in New York. It closed after only 55 performances.

1957 - Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme were married. They became popular singers on the "The Tonight Show" with Steve Allen, and as Las Vegas showroom regulars and recording artists. They are still together in one of Hollywood’s most enduring marriages.

1963 - Much to the chagrin of the disc jockeys at 50,000-watt WABC in New York, the 5,000-watt blowtorch known as WMCA and its famed ‘Good Guys’ became the first New York radio station to play the Beatles’ "I Want to Hold Your Hand". It didn’t take long for WABC to get revenge. It started calling itself the ‘official’ Beatles station (W-A-Beatle-C).

1967 - Orchestra leader Paul Whiteman died on this day at the age of 76. Known as the King of Jazz, Whiteman had 28 #1 hits between 1920 and 1934 including, "Three O’Clock in the Morning", "My Blue Heaven", "All of Me" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes".

1972 - Following 36 years of publication, the last weekly issue of "LIFE" magazine hit the newsstands. The newsweekly is said to have “redefined photojournalism while showing America its own face.”

1982 - Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant led the Alabama Crimson Tide football team for the final time as Alabama beat Illinois, 21-15, at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, TN. It was his 25th season at the University of Alabama. Coach Bryant, age 69, retired as the NCAA’s winningest coach. His overall record included winning 322 games as coach at Maryland, Kentucky, Texas A&M and Alabama. His teams won six national championships, played in 29 bowl games; winning 15 of them. Where’d he get the nickname of Bear? He once wrestled a bear in a traveling show. We figure he must have won. After all, that was Bear Bryant’s style.

1985 - Phil Donahue and a Soviet radio commentator hosted the ‘Citizen’s Summit’ via satellite TV. It was a way for people from the U.S. and the former Soviet Union to question each other about politics and policies.

1986 - After eighteen years and $47 million expended, the restored Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, FL, reopened for business.

1995 - "Dead Man Walking" was released in New York City. The Tim Robbins film about a convicted murderer on death row and the nun who befriends him, has grossed $39,387,284 in the U.S (as of Dec 2002). Susan Sarandon won Italy’s David di Donatello Award for best actress in a foreign film. At the 46th Berlin International Film Festival, the film won the Silver Bear for best actor (Sean Penn), the Ecumenical Jury prize, the German Arthouse Cinemas prize, and the Berliner Morgenpost Readers’ Jury prize.

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Birthdays - December 29
1808 - Andrew Johnson (17th U.S. President [1865-1869]: succeeded to presidency upon the death of Abraham Lincoln; married to Eliza McCardle [three sons, two daughters]; died July 31, 1875)

1809 - William Gladstone (British Prime Minister; author; luggage named after him: the Gladstone bag; died May 19, 1898)

1876 - Pablo Casals (musician: cellist; died Oct 22, 1973)

1917 - Thomas Bradley (mayor of Los Angeles [1973-1993]; died Sep 29, 1998)

1920 - Viveca (Elsa Viveca Torstensdotter) Lindfors (actress: Backstreet Justice, Adventures of Don Juan, Stargate, A Question of Guilt, Natural Enemies; died Oct 25, 1995)

1922 - William Gaddis (novelist: The Recognitions, JR, Carpenter’s Gothic, A Frolic of His Own; died Dec 18, 1998)

1922 - Rose Lee Maphis (entertainer: half of the team: Mr. and Mrs. Country Music with husband Joe; Hee Haw regular)

1932 - Inga Swenson (actress: The Miracle Worker, Advise and Consent, North and South TV miniseries)

1934 - Ed Flanders (Emmy Award-winning actor: St. Elsewhere [1982-83]; A Moon for the Misgotten, True Confessions, Bye Bye Love, Eleanor and Franklin, The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper; died Feb 22, 1995)

1934 - Tom Jarriel (newscaster: ABC News, 20/20)

1936 - Mary Tyler Moore (Emmy Award-winning actress: The Mary Tyler Moore Show [1972-1973, 1973-1974, 1975-1976], Stolen Babies [1992-1993]; The Dick Van Dyke Show, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Ordinary People; her legs starred on Richard Diamond, Private Eye; started in TV as ‘Happy Hotpoint’ [Hotpoint Appliance elf: 1955])

1936 - Ray Nitschke (Pro Football Hall of Famer: Green Bay Packers LB: All-Pro [1964-66]; MVP in 1962 NFL Championship; died Mar 8, 1998)

1938 - Jon Voight (actor: Midnight Cowboy, Deliverance, The Odessa File, The Tin Soldier, Mission: Impossible, Enemy of the State, Pearl Harbor)

1941 - Ray Thomas (musician: flute, saxophone, harmonica, singer: group: The Moody Blues: Nights in White Satin, LPs: In Search of the Lost Chord, On the Threshold of a Dream, To Our Children’s Children’s Children, A Question of Balance, Every Good Boy Deserves Favor, Seventh Sojourn, Moving Mountains, Other Side of Life, Sur la Mer)

1946 - Marianne Faithfull (singer: As Tears Go By, Summer Nights; actress: I’ll Never Forget Whatsisname)

1947 - Ted Danson (Emmy Award-winning actor: Cheers [1989-1990 and 1992-1993]; Three Men and a Baby, The Onion Field, Gulliver’s Travels, Becker, Curb Your Enthusiasm)

1951 - Yvonne Elliman (actress, singer: Jesus Christ Superstar: I Don’t Know How to Love Him, If I Can’t Have You; joined Eric Clapton in his 1974 comeback tour)

1952 - Gelsey Kirkland (dancer: ballerina, author: The Little Ballerina and Her Dancing Horse, Dancing on My Grave: An Autobiography, Shape of Love)

1959 - Paula Poundstone (actress, comedienne: The Paula Poundstone Show, Hollywood Squares, To Tell the Truth)

1961 - Mark Day (musician: guitar: group: Happy Mondays)

1972 - Jude Law (actor: The Talented Mr. Ripley, Gattaca, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Enemy at the Gates, Artificial Intelligence: AI)

Those Were the Days: Current Issues

Chart Toppers - December 29
1950
The Thing - Phil Harris
Tennessee Waltz - Patti Page
Nevertheless - Jack Denny
If You’ve Got the Money Honey I’ve Got the Time - Lefty Frizzell

1958
The Chipmunk Song - The Chipmunks
One Night - Elvis Presley
Lonesome Town - Ricky Nelson
City Lights - Ray Price

1966
Winchester Cathedral - The New Vaudeville Band
I’m a Believer - The Monkees
That’s Life - Frank Sinatra
There Goes My Everything - Jack Greene

1974
Angie Baby - Helen Reddy
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds - Elton John
You’re the First, the Last, My Everything - Barry White
What a Man, My Man Is - Lynn Anderson

1982
Maneater - Daryl Hall & John Oates
The Girl is Mine - Michael Jackson/Paul McCartney
Dirty Laundry - Don Henley
Wild and Blue - John Anderson

1990
Because I Love You (The Postman Song) - Stevie B
Justify My Love - Madonna
Impulsive - Wilson Phillips
I’ve Come to Expect It from You - George Strait

Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end...


Comments/Corrections: TWtDfix@440int.com

Written and edited by Carol Williams and John Williams
Produced by John Williams


Those Were the Days, the Today in History feature
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