1838 - The telegraph was demonstrated for the first time in public at the Speedwell Iron Works in Morristown, New Jersey. The person demonstrating the new invention, the telegraph’s inventor was, of course, Samuel F.B. Morse. It was another six years before Sam could figure out how to say, “What hath God wrought!” in dots and dashes.
1896 - The first American women’s six-day bicycle race was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Imagine riding around and around the Garden for six days!
1912 - The Land of Enchantment, the territory acquired by the U.S. as a result of the Mexican War, entered the United States of America this day as New Mexico, the 47th state. New Mexico is also referred to as the Sunshine State, but that irritates the residents of the Sunshine State of Florida, so we'll stick to the Land of Enchantment. Santa Fe, the oldest city in New Mexico, is also the state capital and has been the capital of the area since 1610. The state bird is the roadrunner, not the cartoon, but the real thing. New Mexico has a multitude of state symbols including its own fossil: coelophysis, plus the state flower: yucca; tree: pinon; animal: black bear; vegetables: chili and frijol; gem: turquoise; and insect: tarantula hawk wasp. The state motto is in latin: Crescit eundo, which translates to “It grows as it goes.”
1930 - The first diesel-engine automobile trip was completed this day. It ran 792 miles -- from Indianapolis, IN to New York City. This was a pretty long trip, right? It would cost quite a bit just in fuel and oil for the car, right? Wrong. The total cost of the run was $1.38.
1938 - Trummy Young played trombone and sang with the Jimmy Lunceford Orchestra in New York City as "Margie" became Decca record number 1617.
1941 - A young actor appeared for the first time in a new program on CBS radio titled, "Home of the Brave". Along with others in the cast, this was Richard Widmark’s debut.
1941 - Alice Marble made her professional tennis debut by defeating Ruth Hardwick of Great Britain at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
1942 - The first commercial around-the-world airline flight took place today. Pan American World Airways was the company credited with the historic feat.
1950 - Ronald Coleman starred as the president of Ivy College in the radio presentation, "The Halls of Ivy".
1952 - A regular feature of Sunday funny papers debuted. "Peanuts" was seen above the fold in newspapers across the U.S. The Charles Schulz creation became the most successful syndicated comic strip in history.
1957 - Elvis Presley appeared for the third -- and final -- time on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on CBS-TV. Ed, watching out for the moral safety of the viewing public (plus a live audience of screaming Elvis fans in the show’s New York theatre), demanded that the CBS cameras not venture lower than Elvis’ waist! Sullivan felt that Presley’s wild gyrations of his pelvis would lead the nation’s females into a frenzy of untold proportions.
1966 - Duke Ellington’s concert of sacred music, recorded at 5th Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City, was broadcast on CBS-TV.
1968 - Dr. Norman E. Shumway performed the first heart transplant on an adult patient in the U.S. at Stanford University Hospital. Shumway’s historic first heart transplant came four weeks after the first such operation in the world, by Dr. Christian Barnard, in South Africa. Barnard used techniques developed by Shumway at Stanford.
1974 - CBS radio returned to dramatic programming at night with the first broadcast of "Radio Mystery Theatre", hosted by E.G. Marshall. The program debuted on 218 CBS network stations and remains a mainstay (even in syndication) for some stations today.
1975 - ABC-TV joined the early morning news and information race as "A.M. America" debuted. Bill Beutel, long time WABC-TV news anchor (with Roger Grimsby), teamed up with Stephanie Edwards from LA. The show lasted ten months. ABC then introduced David Hartman in "Good Morning America", which has given NBC’s "Today" show a solid run for the money for two decades.
1979 - "Barbra Streisand’s Greatest Hits, Volume 2" was the #1 album in the U.S. The album was at the top of the charts for three weeks with these greatest hits: "Love Theme From 'A Star Is Born'" (Evergreen}, "Love Theme From 'Eyes of Laura Mars' (Prisoner}", "My Heart Belongs to Me", "Songbird", "You Don’t Bring Me Flowers", "The Way We Were", "Sweet Inspiration/Where You Lead", "All in Love is Fair", "Superman", and "Stoney End".
1980 - The Pittsburgh Steelers advanced to their fourth Super Bowl since 1974 by eliminating the Houston Oilers 27-13 in the AFC title game. And the Los Angeles Rams shut out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-0 in the NFC championship game. (The Steelers defeated the Rams 24-19 in Super Bowl XIV on Jan 20.)
1984 - Getty Oil announced a bid to take over Texaco Oil for an estimated $9.9 billion. The offer topped the previous record takeover bid by the DuPont Company for Conoco Oil in 1981 ($7.8 billion).
1985 - Dan Marino passed for a record 421 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Miami Dolphins to a 45-28 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game. And the San Francisco 49ers were all over the Chicago Bears 23-0 in the NFC title game. (The 49ers defeated the Dolphins 38-16 in Super Bowl XIX on January 20.)
1987 - After a 29-year lapse, the Ford Thunderbird was again presented with the Motor Trend Car of the Year Award. This was the first repeat winner of the award.
1993 - The great jazz trumpeter, Dizzy Gillespie died of cancer at age 75. He has been credited with being a co-founder (w/Charlie Parker) of ‘bebop’ music and wrote many jazz numbers ("Salt Peanuts", "Night in Tunisia"). Gillespie also created the ‘afro-cuban’ sound in jazz music. A few of the disciples who preached Dizzy’s gospel of bebop were Thelonious Monk, Earl ‘Bud’ Powell, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis.
1993 - Jim and Jennifer Stolpa were stranded by a blizzard on a desolate Nevada road with their five-month-old son, Clayton. Jennifer huddled in a tiny cliffside cave with Clayton while Jim trudged 48 miles through hip-deep snow to find help. Jennifer, who, like Jim, lost all her toes to frostbite as a result of the ordeal, says, “I can’t wear heels, I can’t wear sandals. I have to wear tennis shoes all the time. It kind of sucks.” Says Jim, “We really miss our toes.”
1994 - Nancy Kerrigan, a favorite to win the women’s U.S. Figure Skating Championship, was assaulted after she finished a practice session in Detroit. The assailant used a blunt object to strike the skater on the right knee, although she recovered in time to compete in the Olympics. Four men, including Jeff Gillooly, the ex-husband of Kerrigan’s rival, Tonya Harding, were later sentenced to prison for their roles in the attack; Harding, who denied advance knowledge of the attack, received probation after pleading guilty to conspiracy to hinder prosecution.
Birthdays - January 6
1412 - Joan of Arc (Jeanne D’Arc) (Maid of Orleans: French heroine: liberated the city of Orleans from the English; burned at the stake as a witch May 30, 1431; Roman Catholic saint)
1799 - Jedediah Smith (explorer: helped to create Oregon Trail; 1st American to reach California by land, 1st to travel Pacific Coast from San Diego to Canada by land; killed by Comanche warriors in the spring of 1831 while looking for water on the Santa Fe Trail; died May 27, 1831)
1878 - Carl Sandburg (author: Abraham Lincoln; poet: Chicago, Grass, The People, Yes; folk balladeer: The American Songbag; died July 22, 1967)
1880 - Tom (Thomas Hezikiah) Mix (actor: Ranch Life in the Great Southwest, On the Little Big Horn or Custer’s Last Stand, A Prisoner of Cabanas, Sagebrush Tom, The Chef at Circle G, Going West to Make Good, Rough- Riding Romance, Tom Mix in Arabia, Rustler’s Roundup, The Miracle Rider; over 300 films; died Oct 12, 1940
1911 - Joey Adams (Joe Abromowitz) (comedian: “He’s the kind of doctor who feels your purse -- watch it!” “A bore never opens his mouth unless he has nothing to say.”; died Dec 2, 1999)
1912 - Danny Thomas (Amos Jacobs) (Emmy Award-winning Best Actor: Make Room for Daddy ; philanthropist: St. Jude’s Children’s Research Center, Memphis, TN; Marlo’s Dad; died Feb 6, 1991)
1913 - Loretta Young (Gretchen Michaela Young) (Academy Award-winning actress: The Farmer’s Daughter ; Emmy Award-winning actress: Letter to Loretta ; The Loretta Young Show, Big Business Girl, The Crusades, Doctor Takes a Wife, A Night to Remember, Rachel and the Stranger; died Aug 12, 2000)
1916 - Eugene Maleska (educator, crossword puzzle buff: created new puzzle designs and clue styles; crossword puzzle editor: NY Times; died Aug 5, 1993)
1916 - Phil (Philip Samuel) Masi (baseball: catcher: Boston Bees, Boston Braves [all-star: 1945-1948/World Series: 1948], Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago White Sox; died Mar 29, 1990)
1920 - Early ‘Gus’ Wynn (Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher: Washington Nationals [all-star: 1948], Cleveland Indians [World Series: 1954/all-star: 1955-1960], Chicago White Sox [World Series: 1959/Cy Young Award: 1959]; American League record: pitched 23 seasons: won an even 300 games; 20-game winner on five occasions; died Apr 4, 1999)
1921 - Louis Harris (pollster: Louis Harris Poll)
1921 - Cary Middlecoff (golf champion: Masters ; U.S. Open [1949, 1956]; died Sep 1, 1998)
1924 - Earl Scruggs (musician: banjo: groups: Bluegrass Boys, Foggy Mountain Boys: Foggy Mountain Breakdown, Ballad of Jed Clampett; Earl Scruggs Review [w/sons]; member: Grand Ole Opry; died Mar 28, 2012)
1926 - Ralph (Theodore Joseph) ‘Hawk’ Branca (baseball: pitcher: Brooklyn Dodgers [all-star: 1947-1949/World Series: 1947, 1949], Detroit Tigers, NY Yankees)
1926 - (George Francis) Pat Flaherty (auto racer: Indianapolis 500 winner ; died Apr 9, 2002)
1929 - Wilbert Harrison (singer: Kansas City, Let’s Work Together; died Oct 26, 1994)
1930 - Vic Tayback (Tabback) (actor: Alice; died May 25, 1990)
1931 - E.L. Doctorow (author: Welcome to Hard Times, Ragtime)
1931 - Dickie Moore (hockey: NHL: Montreal Canadiens: Stanley Cup Individual Record for points scored in a period [4: 3/25/54], Toronto Maple Leafs, SL Blues)
1933 - (Ray) Lee Walls (baseball: Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs [all-star: 1958], Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, LA Dodgers: hit 3 home runs in ninth game played at LA Coliseum; died Oct 11, 1993)
1934 - Bobby Lord (country singer: Without Your Love, Life Can Have Meaning, You and Me Against the World, Wake Me Up Early in the Morning; TV: Jubilee USA, Bobby Lord Show)
1935 - Nino Tempo (sax musician, singer: Deep Purple [w/April Stevens])
1936 - Ruben (Mora) Amaro, Sr. (baseball: SL Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, NY Yankees, California Angels)
1936 - Darlene Hard (tennis: Women’s Singles Champion: French Open , US Open [1960, 1961])
1937 - Lou Holtz (football: college head coach: William and Mary: Southern Conference Championship , North Carolina State: four bowl games, University of Arkansas : 6 bowl games, University of Minnesota: Independence Bowl, Notre Dame: Fiesta Bowl; pro football coach: NY Jets)
1937 - Doris Troy (singer: Just One Look; died Feb 16, 2004)
1944 - Bonnie Franklin (actress: Applause, One Day at a Time)
1946 - Syd (Roger) Barrett (musician: guitar, singer: solo: LPs: The Madcap Laughs, Barrett; group: Pink Floyd: Baby Lemonade, Effervescing Elephants, Golden Hair, She Took a Long Cold Look)
1951 - Don (Donald Edward) Gullett (baseball: pitcher: Cincinnati Reds [World Series: 1970, 1972, 1975, 1976], NY Yankees [World Series: 1977])
1953 - Malcolm Young (musician: guitar: group: AC/DC: Let There Be Rock, Powerage, Highway to Hell, Back in Black, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, For Those About to Rock, Fly on the Wall, Who Made Who, Blow Up Your Video)
1957 - Nancy Lopez (golf: four-time LPGA Player of the Year [1978, 1979, 1985, 1988]; Rookie of Year ; three-time LPGA Champ; reached Hall of Fame by age 30 with 35 victories and 48 career wins)
1959 - Kathy Sledge (singer: group: Sister Sledge: We are Family)
1960 - Paul Azinger (golf champion: PGA )
1960 - Howie Long (Pro Football Hall of Famer: L.A. Raiders; TV sportscaster: FOX NFL Sunday; actor: Broken Arrow)
1963 - Norm (Wood) Charlton (baseball: pitcher: Cincinnati Reds [World Series: 1990/all-star: 1992], Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies)
1964 - Charles Haley (football: San Francisco 49ers: UPI National Football Conference defensive player of the year : Super Bowl XXIII, XXIV; Dallas Cowboys defensive end: Super Bowl XXVIII)
1968 - John Singleton (director, writer: Higher Learning, Poetic Justice, Boyz N the Hood)
1975 - James Farrior (football: Univ of Virgina; NFL: NY Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers)
Chart Toppers - January 6
Dear Hearts and Gentle People - Dinah Shore
A Dreamer’s Holiday - Perry Como
The Old Master Painter - Snooky Lanson
Mule Train - Tennessee Ernie Ford
At the Hop - Danny & The Juniors
Stood Up/Waitin’ in School - Ricky Nelson
Great Balls of Fire - Jerry Lee Lewis
The Story of My Life - Marty Robbins
The Sounds of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel
We Can Work It Out - The Beatles
Ebb Tide - The Righteous Brothers
Buckaroo - Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Time in a Bottle - Jim Croce
The Joker - Steve Miller Band
Show and Tell - Al Wilson
If We Make It Through December - Merle Haggard
Physical - Olivia Newton-John
Waiting for a Girl Like You - Foreigner
Let’s Groove - Earth, Wind & Fire
Love in the First Degree - Alabama
Another Day in Paradise - Phil Collins
Rhythm Nation - Janet Jackson
Pump Up the Jam - Technotronic featuring Felly
Who’s Lonely Now - Highway 101