Events - February 4
1895 - The first rolling lift bridge opened over the Chicago River at Van Buren Street, Chicago. The bridge used steel trusses or girders across the navigable channel supported by, and rigidly connected to, large steel rollers as curved steel bases, like rocking chair rockers, weighted in the rear to counterbalance the span. To open, the bridge rolled back on its rockers until upright, like a jackknife.
1895 - The first rolling lift bridge opened over the Chicago River at Van Buren Street, Chicago. The bridge used steel trusses or girders across the navigable channel supported by, and rigidly connected to, large steel rollers as curved steel bases, like rocking chair rockers, weighted in the rear to counterbalance the span. To open, the bridge rolled back on its rockers until upright, like a jackknife.1901 - "Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines" opened in New York City, marking the first time that Ethel Barrymore received billing as a star.
1913 - Louis Perlman of New York City received a patent for his famous demountable tire-carrying rims. We call them wheels.
1926 - John Giola of New York City became famous as the Charleston endurance dance champion. With the new dance craze sweeping the U.S., Giola decided to make good on it by dancing, non-stop, for 22 hours and 30 minutes. When he finally collapsed, his legs wouldn’t stop flapping! Even later, he’d walk in some place and it looked like he was still doing the Charleston. It proved embarrassing for years. (Most of this is true.)
1932 - The first Winter Olympics in the United States were held at Lake Placid, NY. The venue would again be the home of the Winter Olympics in 1980, when the U.S. Hockey Team won its “Do you believe in miracles?” gold medal.
1935 - CBS radio presented "Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch" for the first time. The program was the story of Kentucky shantytown life.
1937 - Glen Gray and his Casa Loma Orchestra recorded "A Study in Brown", on Decca Records.
1938 - The play, "Our Town", by Thornton Wilder, opened in New York City at the Henry Miller Theatre. The play was a Pulitzer prize-winner for the writer.
1939 - World mile record-holder Glenn Cunningham said in the newspaper that “running a four-minute mile is beyond human effort,” and that the best mile run will always be 4:01.66. That, of course, was his own best time. The mark has been shattered several times since. The current world record of 3:43.13 was set by Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj [Golden Gala Meet, Rome, Italy, July 7, 1999].
1941 - The Salvation Army, the YMCA and YWCA, the National Catholic Community Services, the National Travelers Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board pooled their resources, at the request of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to form a new organization. The United Service Organizations (USO) was created to provide unduplicated recreational services to members of the U.S. Armed Forces who were on leave.
1952 - Baseball great Jackie Robinson signed a contract with New York's WNBC and WNBT (TV) to serve as Director of Community Activities.
1953 - Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis appeared in the film, "The Stooge", which premiered this day at the Paramount Theatre in New York City. The comedy duo went dramatic in this film -- which had been sitting on the shelves of the Hal Wallis Studios until that time.
1957 - Smith-Corona Manufacturing Inc. of New York began selling portable electric typewriters. The first machine was a ‘portable’ of 19 pounds! Soon, other manufacturers offered similar models, made of lighter-weight plastics, with a lot less of the sophisticated workings inside.
1969 - Bowie Kuhn took office as Commissioner of Baseball. He succeeded General William D. ‘Spike’ Eckert and served for 16 seasons, until Sep 30, 1984.
1969 - 33-year-old John Madden became head coach of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders. In his first season Madden took the Raiders to a 12-1-1 record and earned them a spot in the AFC Conference Championship Game. Madden went on to become the youngest head coach in the modern NFL era to win 100 games in his first ten seasons.
1983 - Singer Karen Carpenter died at her parent’s home in Los Angeles of heart failure caused by chronic anorexia nervosa. Her death, at the age of 32, brought about more public awareness of the disease, characterized by a loss of appetite brought on by mental illness.
1987 - A proud day for America’s yachtsmen and women: Dennis Conner, Tom Whidden and Peter Isler brought the America’s Cup back ‘up’, defeating Australia’s "Kookaburra III" with "Stars and Stripes ’87".
1987 - The show-biz world was saddened when piano virtuoso Liberace died of AIDS at his Palm Springs, CA estate. He was 67 and had been gravely ill for weeks. Lee, as he was known, was the master of Las Vegas.
1993 - The “Family and Medical Leave Act” was passed by the U.S. Congress this day. The law gives employees unpaid leave in the event of a birth or a medical emergency in their family.
1997 - A civil jury in Santa Monica, California found O.J. Simpson liable for the deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman. The jury awarded $8.5 million in compensatory damages to Goldman’s parents. A few days later, the jury added $25 million in punitive damages to go to Nicole Brown Simpson's estate and Goldman’s father. Simpson was later ordered to give up his Heisman Trophy and nearly $500,000 in valuables, including his golf clubs, to help satisfy the judgment.
1998 - An earthquake, measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale, hit Takhar, near the Tajik-Afghan border of Northeastern Afghanistan. The quake left 5,000 dead and over 30,000 homeless, while thousands more were missing. The rumbling lasted under ten minutes and was centered about 150 miles north of the Afghan capital, Kabul. Some 15,000 homes were destroyed.
2000 - These new films hit U.S. theatres: the comedy "Gun Shy", starring Liam Neeson, Oliver Platt, Sandra Bullock, Jose Zuniga and Richard Schiff; and the funny, scary "Scream 3", with Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox Arquette, David Arquette and Parker Posey.
Birthdays - February 4
1802 - Mark Hopkins (educator: Williams College president: U.S. President Garfield said, “All that is needed for a superior education is Mark Hopkins on one end of a log and a student on the other.”; died Jun 17, 1887)
1902 - Charles Lindbergh (‘Lucky Lindy’: aviator: first to fly solo and nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean: flew The Spirit of St. Louis from NY to Paris [May 1927]; a major name in politics and business; died Aug 26, 1974)
1904 - MacKinlay Kantor (Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist: Andersonville ; Long Remember, Gettysburg, Signal Thirty-Two; died Oct 11, 1977)
1905 - Eddie Foy, Jr. (actor: Yankee Doodle Dandy, Bells Are Ringing, The Pajama Game, Gidget Goes Hawaiian, Four Jacks and a Jill; died July 15, 1983)
1912 - James Craig (Meador) (actor: The Devil’s Brigade, The Human Comedy; died June 28, 1985)
1912 - Byron Nelson (World Golf Hall of Famer: Masters Champion [1937 & 1942], U.S. Open Champion , PGA Champion [1940 & 1945]; PGA record for most wins in a season [18 tournaments in 1945]; died Sep 26, 2006)
1913 - Rosa Lee Parks (civil rights leader: triggered 1955 boycott of Montgomery AL bus system by refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger; died Oct 24, 2005)
1913 - Dick Seaman (British auto racer; killed in racing crash June 25, 1939)
1915 - William Talman (actor: Armored Car Robbery, The Hitch-Hiker, One Minute to Zero; died Aug 30, 1968)
1915 - Norman Wisdom (comedian, actor: The Night They Raided Minsky’s; died Oct 4, 2010)
1918 - Ida Lupino (actress: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, On Dangerous Ground, My Boys Are Good Boys; director: The Bigamist, The Hitch- Hiker, The Trouble with Angels; died Aug 3, 1995)
1921 - Betty Friedan (Goldstein) (feminist author: The Feminine Mystique; founder of the National Organization for Women [NOW]; died Feb 4, 2006)
1923 - Conrad Bain (actor: The Edge of Night, Bananas, Maude, Diff’rent Strokes, Mr. President, Postcards from the Edge; died Jan 14, 2013)
1929 - Neil Johnston (Basketball Hall of Famer: Philadelphia Warriors center [1951-1959], coach ; 4-time NBA all-star; died Sep 28, 1978)
1936 - David Brenner (comedian, talk-show host: The David Brenner Show, Nightlife; died Mar 15, 2014)
1936 - Gary Conway (actor: Burke’s Law, Land of the Giants, I was a Teenage Frankenstein)
1940 - John Schuck (actor: McMillan and Wife, Turnabout, Roots, The Odd Couple, Holmes and Yo Yo, Holy Matrimony, Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, M*A*S*H, Brewster McCloud, Dick Tracy)
1941 - John Steel (singer, musician: drummer: group: Animals: Baby Let Me Take You Home, House of the Rising Sun)
1943 - Cheryl Miller (actress: Mountain Man, Dr. Death Seeker of Souls)
1944 - Florence LaRue (Gordon) (singer: group: The Fifth Dimension: Up, Up and Away, Stoned Soul Picnic, Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In, Wedding Bell Blues, One Less Bell to Answer)
1944 - Gary Smith (hockey: goalie: NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs, Oakland Seals, Chicago Blackhawks [NHL’s Vezina Trophy: 1972], Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals)
1945 - Ron Cerrudo (golf: two-time PGA Tour winner; member of National PGA Teaching Committee; head teaching pro at Hilton Head Island School of Golf)
1947 - Dan Quayle (44th Vice President of the United States under President George Bush)
1948 - Alice Cooper (Vincent Furnier) (singer: I’m Eighteen, School’s Out, You and Me, No More Mr. Nice Guy)
1948 - Ron Jessie (football: LA Rams receiver; died Jan 13, 2006)
1949 - Michael Beck (actor: Deadly Game, Megaforce, Xanadu, Madman, Holocaust, Robin’s Hood, Houston Knights)
1952 - Lisa Eichhorn (actress: The Vanishing, King of the Hill)
1962 - Clint Black (singer: Killin’ Time; actor: Maverick)
1970 - Gabrielle Anwar (actress: Scent of a Woman, Body Snatchers, The Three Musketeers, In Pursuit of Honor, North Beach, Without Malice, Mob Dot Com)
1973 - Oscar De La Hoya (boxer: Olympic gold medalist , IBF lightweight title , Super Lightweight title , WBC Welterweight title )
Chart Toppers - February 4
For Sentimental Reasons - Nat King Cole
A Gal in Calico - Johnny Mercer
Oh, But I Do - Margaret Whiting
Rainbow at Midnight - Ernest Tubb
Sincerely - McGuire Sisters
Hearts of Stone - Fontane Sisters
Melody of Love - Billy Vaughn
Let Me Go, Lover! - Hank Snow
Walk Right In - The Rooftop Singers
Hey Paula - Paul & Paula
The Night Has a Thousand Eyes - Bobby Vee
The Ballad of Jed Clampett - Flatt & Scruggs
Knock Three Times - Dawn
Lonely Days - Bee Gees
Rose Garden - Lynn Anderson
Flesh and Blood - Johnny Cash
Le Freak - Chic
Y.M.C.A. - Village People
Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? - Rod Stewart
Why Have You Left the One You Left Me For - Crystal Gayle
At This Moment - Billy Vera & The Beaters
Open Your Heart - Madonna
Land of Confusion - Genesis
You Still Move Me - Dan Seals
Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end...
Written and edited by Carol Williams and John Williams
Produced by John Williams
Those Were the Days, the Today in History feature
from 440 International
No portion of these files may be reproduced without the express, written permission of 440 International Inc.