1885 - The Long Island Railroad Company was the first to offer piggyback rail service. It transported farm wagons on trains and moved all those potatoes pretty fast! Where did all of Long Island’s (NY) potato farms go when they were replaced by houses, houses, houses?
1903 - The general public could use the Pacific cable for the very first time.
1914 - Here’s news from the labor front: Ford Motor Company proudly announced that there would be a new daily minimum wage of $5 and an (shortened) eight-hour work day.
1925 - The first female governor in the U.S. took office in Wyoming this day. A tip of the ten-gallon hat, please, to Mrs. Nellie Tayloe Ross who was sworn in during special ceremonies.
1933 - What is now a symbol of the great American West, the Golden Gate Bridge, went under construction. It would be called an engineering marvel when completed. Spanning the deep channel at the entrance to San Francisco Bay, with the Bay on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, few people-made things are as beautiful as the Golden Gate Bridge. Quite a sight!
1935 - We proudly remind you that Phil Spitalny’s All-Girl Orchestra was featured on CBS radio this day on the program, "The Hour of Charm".
1940 - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) got its very first demonstration of FM radio. The new medium, free of interference, static, and noise in thunderstorms, was developed by Major E.H. Armstrong. The first FM transmitter was put in operation in 1941. What did it broadcast? Talk, of course. Well, not ‘talk’ per se, but lots of talking.
1941 - Decca record #23210 was recorded. The title: "Chica Chica Boom Chic", by the lovely Carmen Miranda. It seems she sang the song in the film, "That Night in Rio".
1944 - The London "Daily Mail" was the first transoceanic newspaper ever published.
1948 - Warner Pathe showed the very first color newsreel. Pictures of the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl football classic were seen by theatre audiences.
1955 - A tune used in a "Studio One" production became the #1 song on the pop music charts this day. Joan Weber’s song, "Let Me Go, Lover", rode the hit parade as the most popular record in the U.S. for four weeks straight. Before being aired on television, the song had only been heard on a limited basis. In fact, the title was even different. It used to be known as "Let Me Go, Devil". Such romantics, those TV people...
1961 - “Hello. I’m Mr. Ed!” “A horse is a horse, of course, of course”... you know the lyrics. "Mr. Ed", the talking horse, debuted for what would be a six-year run. The show starred Alan Young as Ed’s owner, Wilbur Post. Wilbur’s wife, Carol, was played by Connie Hines. Good old neighbor Roger Addison was Larry Keating. The voice of Mr. Ed was... no, not Alan Young... rather, Allan ‘Rocky’ Lane... of course, of course.
1970 - The ABC daytime drama, "All My Children", premiered. The scene: Pine Valley, New York, which later became Pine Valley, Pennsylvania. "All My Children" ran through Friday, September 23, 2011.
1972 - John Denver received a gold record for the album "Aerie" on this day.
1972 - President Richard M. Nixon announced that NASA would proceed with the development of a reusable ‘low cost’ space shuttle system. He signed a $5.5 billion dollar bill for its creation. Such a deal...
1975 - The Broadway premiere of "The Wiz" receivied enthusiastic reviews. The show, a black version of "The Wizard of Oz", ran for 1,672 shows at the Majestic Theatre. Moviegoers, however, gave a thumbs down to the later cinema version of the musical that starred Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. One memorable song from the show is "Ease on Down the Road".
1979 - John Travolta probably remembers that the soundtrack LP of "Saturday Night Fever" reached $25 million in sales.
1984 - The group, The Police, planned a farewell concert for March 2 in Australia. After nine years together, band members decided to go their separate ways.
1987 - When the Midshipmen beat East Carolina, 91-66, this night, David Robinson became the first basketball player in Naval Academy history to score more than 2,000 points. Mr. Robinson went on to become a major star in the NBA.
1993 - Mike Ditka was dismissed as Chicago Bears head coach after 32 years as a player and coach (11 seasons as head coach, 106-62). (In 1988, Ditka, who played in five Pro Bowls and two conference championships (1963 and 1971), was the first tight end to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.)
1994 - Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Thomas ‘Tip’ O’Neill died in Boston. He was 81 years old. O’Neill was a Democratic party stalwart whose political career spanned nine presidencies.
1998 - U.S. Congressman Sonny Bono (R-CA) was killed when he skied into a tree at Heavenly Ski Resort on the Nevada-California line, 55 miles southwest of Reno, Nevada. He was 62.
2001 - Motion pictures debuting in the U.S.: "Chocolat" (“One Taste is All It Takes”.), starring Juliette Binoche, Lena Olin, Johnny Depp and Judi Dench; and "Traffic" (“No One Gets Away Clean.”), with Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle, Dennis Quaid and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Birthdays - January 5
1779 - Stephen Decatur (U.S. naval officer: “Our country right or wrong.”; died Mar 22, 1820)
1794 - Edmund Ruffin (agriculturist: one of the originators of crop rotation and fertilization; publisher: Farmer’s Register; Confederate soldier: fired first shot on Fort Sumter in American Civil War; died June 15, 1865)
1864 - Ban (Byron Bancroft) Johnson (Baseball Hall of Famer: president of Western League: changed minor league Western League to major league American League; helped eliminate an element of rowdyism, thus enhancing the game’s reputation; died Mar 28, 1931)
1885 - Art (Arthur) Fletcher (baseball: shortstop: NY Giants [World Series: 1911-1913, 1917], Philadelphia Phillies; 3rd base coach: NY Yankees [1927-1945]; manager: Philadelphia Phillies [1923-1926]; died Feb 6, 1950)
1890 - Benny (Benjamin Michael) Kauff (baseball: NY Highlanders, Indianapolis Hoosiers, Brooklyn Tip-Tops, NY Giants [World Series: 1917]; led Federal League in batting [1914, 1915]; later banned from pro baseball for alleged gambling involvement; died Nov 17, 1961)
1895 - Jeannette (Ridlon) Piccard (balloon pilot: 1st American woman to be free balloon pilot: set record [w/husband] for balloon ascent into stratosphere [57,579 ft. - 1934]; one of first women to become Episcopalian priest; died May 17, 1981)
1901 - Luke (James Luther) Sewell (baseball: catcher: Cleveland Indians, Washington Nationals [World Series: 1933], Chicago White Sox [all- star: 1937], SL Browns; manager: St. Louis Browns: American League pennant ; died May 14, 1987)
1904 - Erica Morini (concert violinist; died in 1995)
1911 - Jean-Pierre Aumont (actor: Maria-Chapdelaine, Napoleon, The Happy Hooker, Windmills of the Gods, Becoming Colette; died Jan 30, 2001)
1918 - Jeane Dixon (astrologer, newspaper columnist; died Jan 25, 1997)
1919 - Al Blozis (track: Georgetown University: NCAA, IC4A, AAU: shotput championships [1940-1942], IC4A discus champion [1940-1942]; football: New York Giants tackle [1942-1944]; died Jan 31, 1945)
1923 - Sam Phillips (record executive: Sun Records: The [Memphis] Million Dollar Quartet: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis; died July 30, 2003)
1926 - W.D. Snodgrass (poet: Heart’s Needle, The Fuhrer Bunker, The Complete Cycle, April Inventory; died Jan 13, 2009)
1926 - Buddy Young (football: University of Illinois: Rose Bowl MVP ; AAFC NY Yankees aka NFL NY Yanks, Dallas Texans, Baltimore Colts: NFL record: career average 27.7 yards per kickoff return; Baltimore Colts scout, director of player relations; died Oct 19, 1983)
1928 - Fred Glover (hockey: NHL: Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks; AHL: player/coach: Cleveland Barons; died Aug 16, 2001)
1928 - Walter ‘Fritz’ Mondale (U.S. Senator; Vice President [1977-1981]; Democratic presidential nominee )
1931 - Alvin Ailey (choreographer: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: 79 ballets in repertoire - establishing a place for blacks in modern dance; died Dec 1, 1989)
1931 - Robert Duvall (Academy Award-winning actor: Tender Mercies ; A Family Thing, Stalin, A Show of Force, Days of Thunder, Colors, The Natural, True Confessions, Apocalypse Now, Network, The Godfather, M*A*S*H, True Grit, Countdown, Bullitt, To Kill a Mockingbird, Naked City)
1932 - Chuck Noll (NFL football coach w/most Super Bowl wins: Pittsburgh Steelers: Super Bowls: IX, X, XIII, XIV)
1935 - Earl (Jesse) Battey (baseball: catcher: Chicago White Sox, Washington Senators, Minnesota Twins [all-star: 1962, 1963, 1965, 1966/World Series: 1965]; died Nov 15, 2003)
1938 - Lindsay Crosby (actor: Big Foot, Out of This World; son of crooner Bing Crosby; died Dec 11, 1989)
1938 - Jim Otto (Pro Football Hall of Famer: Oakland Raiders center: 7 division championships, 1 AFL championship [Super Bowl II]; AFL’s only All League Center [1960 - 1969], All-AFC Center [1970 - 1972])
1941 - Chuck McKinley (tennis champion: Wimbledon ; U.S. National Doubles [w/Dennis Ralston]; Davis Cup ; died Aug 10, 1986)
1942 - Wayne Rutledge (hockey: NHL: LA Kings)
1945 - Sam Wyche (football: Washington Redskins quarterback [Super Bowl VII]; coach: Cincinnati Bengals [Super Bowl XXIII], Tampa Bay Buccaneers; TV sportscaster: NBC, CBS)
1946 - Diane Keaton (Hall) (Academy Award-winning actress: Annie Hall ; Sleeper, Hair, Love and Death)
1947 - Mercury (Eugene) Morris (football [running back]: Miami Dolphins: Super Bowls VI, VII, VIII)
1948 - Charlie (Charles Oliver) Hough (baseball: pitcher: LA Dodgers [World Series: 1974, 1977, 1978], Texas Rangers [all-star: 1986], Chicago White Sox, Florida Marlins)
1948 - Ted Lange (actor: Perfume, Terminal Exposure, The Love Boat)
1949 - George ‘Funky’ Brown (musician: drums: group: Kool and The Gang: Ladies Night, Celebration, I.B.M.C., LPs: Wild and Peaceful, Kool Jazz)
1950 - Chris Stein (musician: guitar: group: Blondie: In the Flesh, Denis, [I’m Always Touched by Your] Presence Dear, Picture This, Hanging on the Telephone, Sunday Girl, Heart of Glass, Dreaming, Union City Blue, Atomic, The Tide is High, Rapture; solo: French Kissin’; scored theme: Fifteen Minutes)
1953 - Pamela Sue Martin (actress: The Poseidon Adventure, Dynasty, The Nancy Drew Mysteries)
1954 - Alex (Alexander) English (Basketball Hall of Fame forward: University of South Carolina; NBA: Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks)
1958 - Ron (Ronald Dale) Kittle (baseball: Chicago White Sox [all-star: 1983], NY Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles)
1962 - Suzy Amis (actress: The Usual Suspects, Nadja, Blown Away)
1962 - Danny (Lynn) Jackson (baseball: pitcher: KC Royals [World Series: 1985], Cincinnati Reds [all-star: 1988/World Series: 1990], Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies [World Series: 1993/all-star:1994], SL Cardinals)
1963 - Jeff (Jeffrey Joseph) Fassero (baseball: pitcher: Univ of Mississippi; Montreal Expos, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, SL Cardinals, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks)
1968 - Joe Juneau (hockey: Canadian National Team; NHL: Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, Buffalo Sabres)
1968 - Felton Spencer (basketball: Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors, Orlando Magic)
1969 - Marilyn Manson (Brian Warner) (rock singer/performer: quote: "I picked Marilyn Manson as the fakest stage name of all to say that this is what show business is, fake. Marilyn Monroe wasn’t even her real name, Charles Manson isn’t his real name, and now, I’m taking that to be my real name. But what’s real?")
1975 - Warrick Dunn (football: Florida State, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons RB)
Chart Toppers - January 5
Buttons and Bows - Dinah Shore
My Darling, My Darling - Jo Stafford & Gordon MacRae
On a Slow Boat to China - The Kay Kyser Orchestra (vocal: Harry Babbitt & Gloria Wood)
A Heart Full of Love (For a Handfull of Kisses) - Eddy Arnold
Singing the Blues - Guy Mitchell
The Green Door - Jim Lowe
Blueberry Hill - Fats Domino
Singing the Blues - Marty Robbins
I Feel Fine - The Beatles
She’s a Woman - The Beatles
Love Potion Number Nine - The Searchers
Once a Day - Connie Smith
Me and Mrs. Jones - Billy Paul
Clair - Gilbert O’Sullivan
You’re So Vain - Carly Simon
She’s Got to Be a Saint - Ray Price
(Just Like) Starting Over - John Lennon
Love on the Rocks - Neil Diamond
Hungry Heart - Bruce Springsteen
One in a Million - Johnny Lee
Every Rose Has Its Thorn - Poison
My Prerogative - Bobby Brown
Two Hearts - Phil Collins
When You Say Nothing at All - Keith Whitley
Written and edited by Carol Williams and John Williams
Contributing writer: Joe Benson
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.