1788 - Although the people of Massachusetts had already drafted their state constitution some eight years earlier, it wasn’t until this day that the state became the sixth to enter the United States of America. Those who live in the Bay State must have a strong constitution; theirs is the oldest state constitution to still be in effect. Massachusetts is derived from two Indian words meaning ‘great mountain place’. This great mountain place in New England was one of the most important of the 13 colonies in the new America, which gave it its other nickname, Old Colony State. Boston, the capital of Massachusetts, has been the center of activity in the state since those old colony days. Massachusetts state symbols include the chicadee, state bird; American elm, state tree; ladybug, state insect; "All Hail to Massachusetts", state song; and mayflower, the state flower. Which arrived first, the ship or the flower? Unique to Massachusetts is a state beverage: cranberry juice and a state muffin ... corny but true, the corn muffin is official. It’s difficult to be serious after that, but the Massachusetts state motto is: Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem (By the sword we seek peace; but peace only under liberty).
1843 - The first minstrel show in America, the "Original Virginia Minstrels", opened at the Bowery Amphitheatre in New York City.
1926 - The National Football League (NFL) adopted a rule that made players ineligible for competition until their college classes graduate.
1929 - Rudy Vallee and his orchestra recorded "Deep Night" (Victor disc #21868). It says in the fine print, under the artist’s name, that the tune was written by Vallee, himself.
1932 - Dog sled racing happened for the first time in Olympic competition. The demonstration program was presented by the United States and Canada. “Mush! Mush! Onward you huskies!”
1937 - K. Elizabeth Ohi became the first Japanese woman lawyer as she received her degree from John Marshall Law School in Chicago, IL.
1943 - Frank Sinatra made his debut as vocalist on radio’s "Your Hit Parade" this night. Frankie had left the Tommy Dorsey Band just four months prior to beginning the radio program. He was described as, “...the biggest name in the business.”
1950 - For the first time, NBC radio broadcast "Dangerous Assignment". The show starred Brian Donlevy in the role of soldier of fortune, Steve Mitchell.
1960 - Rhythm-and-blues singer, songwriter Jesse Belvin died in a car crash in Little Rock, AR. Belvin, who began his career as half of the duo of Jesse and Marvin, was 26 years old. His "Goodnight My Love" was a top-ten R&B hit in 1956.
1967 - Muhammad Ali retained his world heavyweight title and won the WBA heavyweight title with a 15-round decision over Ernest Terrell in the Houston Astrodome.
1968 - Joan Whitney Payson was elected president of the New York Mets. She turned out to be a good luck charm. One year later, the ‘Miracle’ Mets became world champions.
1968 - The Xth Winter Olympic games opened in Grenoble, France. Some 18,000 people participated in the opening ceremonies as the games were dedicated by General Charles de Gaulle. Thousands of scented paper roses were dropped from helicopters against a background of five circles drawn in the sky by the smoke of parachutists. And Olympic flags were shot into the air by cannons.
1971 - NASA Astronaut Alan B. Shepard took a six-iron that he had stashed away inside his spacecraft and swung at three golf balls on the surface of the moon. Shepard whiffed the first swing, so, he got a ‘Mulligan’ on that one. The others were good, crisp shots that went, oh, a few hundred yards in the vacuum of space. Due to the bulkiness of his moonwalk suit, however, he didn’t quite get enough of a swing to launch the golf balls into orbit. But he did take a couple of divots. Boy, what he might have done with a driver or three-wood. Fore!
1977 - Queen Elizabeth II marked her Silver Jubilee, the twenty-fifth anniversary of her accession to the British Throne. Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen then travelled some 56,000 miles to share the anniversary with her people.
1981 - Former Beatles, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison teamed up once again to record a musical tribute to John Lennon. The result of that session became "All Those Years Ago". The song went to #2 on the pop music charts for three weeks. It was recorded on Harrison’s own Dark Horse label.
1981 - Orchestra leader Hugo Montenegro died in Palm Springs, California of emphysema. His arrangement of the spaghetti western theme "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" went to #2 on the "Billboard" "Hot 100" June 1, 1968.
1987 - President Ronald Reagan turned 76 years old this day, adding another year to the record of being the oldest U.S. President in history. President Dwight D. Eisenhower had been the previous recordholder, by serving the country from the Oval Office at age 70.
1993 - Riddick Bowe stopped Michael Dokes in the first round at Madison Square Garden in New York. It was Bowe’s first defense of his heavyweight title.
1998 - These movies debuted in the U.S.: "Blues Brothers 2000", starring Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman, Joe Morton, J. Evan Bonifant, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, B.B. King and Nia Peeples; "The Replacement Killers", with Chow Yun- Fat and Mira Sorvino; and "Zero Effect", starring Bill Pullman, Ben Stiller, Ryan O'neal, Kim Dickens and Angela Featherstone.
1998 - Washington National Airport was renamed Ronald Reagan National Airport, for U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
Birthdays - February 6
1564 - Christopher Marlowe (poet, dramatist: The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus; died May 30, 1593)
1756 - Aaron Burr (3rd U.S. Vice President; killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel and was known as a traitor although never convicted; died Sep 14, 1836)
1895 - Babe (George Herman) Ruth (‘The Sultan of Swat’, ‘The Bambino’: Baseball Hall of Famer: Boston Red Sox pitcher [won 89 games over six seasons/World Series: 1915, 1916, 1918], NY Yankees outfielder [World Series: 1921-1923, 1926-1928, 1932/60 home runs in 1927/all-star: 1933, 1934], Boston Braves; 714 home runs in 22 seasons; died Aug 16, 1948)
1911 - Ronald Wilson Reagan (40th U.S. President [1981-1989]; governor of California [1967-1975]; actor: King’s Row, General Electric Theatre, Death Valley Days, Knute Rockne, All-American, Bedtime for Bonzo; formerly married to actress, Jane Wyman; married to former actress, Nancy Davis; son, Michael, is a radio talk-show host; son, Ron, has appeared frequently on television; daughter, Patty, is a writer; died June 5, 2004)
1913 - John Lund (actor: My Friend Irma, The Wackiest Ship in the Army; died May 10, 1992)
1917 - Zsa Zsa (Sari) Gabor (actress: Boy’s Night Out, Moulin Rouge, Ninotchka; Beverly Hills police slapper)
1922 - Patrick Macnee (actor: The Avengers, A View to a Kill, Battlestar Gallactica, This is Spinal Tap, Thunder in Paradise)
1927 - Smoky (Forrest Harrill) Burgess (baseball: catcher: Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies [all-star:1954], Cincinnati Redlegs [all-star: 1955], Pittsburgh Pirates [all-star: 1959-1961, 1964/World Series: 1960], Chicago White Sox; died Sep 15, 1991)
1929 - Sixten Jernberg (cross-country skier: Winter Olympics record: most medals won by a man [9: 4 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze]; died Jul 14, 2012)
1931 - Rip (Elmore) Torn (actor: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Extreme Prejudice, RoboCop 3, Beyond the Law, The President’s Plane is Missing)
1931 - Mamie Van Doren (Joan Lucille Olander) (actress: High School Confidential, The Candidate, Three Nuts in Search of a Bolt, Teacher’s Pet, Francis Joins the WACs; pinup model)
1932 - Francois Truffaut (director: Fahrenheit 451, The Bride Wore Black; died Oct 21, 1984)
1939 - Mike Farrell (actor: M*A*S*H, The Interns, The Man and the City)
1940 - Tom Brokaw (news anchor: NBC Nightly News, Today; author: The Greatest Generation)
1941 - Gigi Perreau (actress: Journey to the Center of Time, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, Dance with Me Henry, The Betty Hutton Show, Follow the Sun)
1943 - Fabian (Forte) (singer: Turn Me Loose, Tiger; actor: Hound Dog Man, The Longest Day)
1943 - Gayle Hunnicutt (actress: Scorpio, Dream Lover, Turnaround, The Wild Angels, Marlowe, Dallas)
1945 - Michael Tucker (actor: L.A. Law, For Love or Money, Radio Days, Diner)
1947 - Allen Jones (musician: saxophone: group: Amen Corner)
1947 - Rik Massengale (golf: champ: Bob Hope Chrysler Classic )
1950 - Natalie Cole (Grammy Award-winning singer: Best New Artist ; This Will Be, I’ve Got Love on My Mind; daughter of Nat ‘King’ Cole)
1950 - Rich Glover (football: NY Giants, U of Nebraska DE: Outland Trophy winner )
1955 - Eric Money (basketball: Univ. of Arizona; Detroit Pistons, New Jersey Nets, Philadelphia 76ers)
1957 - Robert Townsend (actor: The Meteor Man, The Mighty Quinn, Hollywood Shuffle, A Soldier’s Story)
1958 - Barry Miller (Tony Award-winning actor: Biloxi Blues ; Saturday Night Fever, The Last Temptation of Christ)
1966 - Rick Astley (singer, songwriter: Never Gonna Give You Up)
Chart Toppers - February 6
A Little Bird Told Me - Evelyn Knight
Far Away Places - Margaret Whiting
Powder Your Face with Sunshine - Evelyn Knight
I Love You So Much It Hurts - Jimmy Wakely
Too Much - Elvis Presley
Young Love - Tab Hunter
Banana Boat (Day-O) - Harry Belafonte
Young Love - Sonny James
You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’ - The Righteous Brothers
The Name Game - Shirley Ellis
This Diamond Ring - Gary Lewis & The Playboys
You’re the Only World I Know - Sonny James
Crocodile Rock - Elton John
Why Can’t We Live Together - Timmy Thomas
Oh, Babe, What Would You Say? - Hurricane Smith
She Needs Someone to Hold Her (When She Cries) - Conway Twitty
The Tide is High - Blondie
Celebration - Kool & The Gang
I Love a Rainy Night - Eddie Rabbitt
I Feel like Loving You Again - T.G. Sheppard
When I’m with You - Sheriff
Straight Up - Paula Abdul
When the Children Cry - White Lion
What I’d Say - Earl Thomas Conley