440 International Those Were the Days
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May 1

Events - May 1
---- - May Day has been a traditional holiday celebration since ancient times. On this day, spring festivals and Maypoles are common. The Maypole is a tall pole that is covered with streamers, flowers and other decorations of spring. People grab hold of a streamer and dance around the pole to ward off ol' man Winter for good. Since the 1880s, May Day has been celebrated in some countries, particularly socialist nations, as a labor holiday.

1751 - America’s first cricket tournament was held in New York City. Cricket is a popular European sport, played by teams of 11 players who use bats, balls and wickets.

1883 - Buffalo Bill (William F. Cody) staged his first "Wild West" show.

1885 - The first skyscraper in America was under construction. No, it wasn’t in New York. It was a 10-story building located on the corner of LaSalle and Adams in Chicago, IL.

1920 - The longest baseball game (by innings) was played. The Boston Braves and the Brooklyn Dodgers played an incredible 26 innings -- with the same pitchers! Leon Cadore of Brooklyn and Boston’s Joe Oeschger went the distance and saw the game end in a 1-1 tie. Rumors that the groundskeeper had to roll up the poor pitchers’ arms after play was stopped are probably not far off...

1931 - Singer Kate Smith began her long and illustrious radio career with CBS on this, her birthday. The 24-year-old Smith started out with no sponsors and a paycheck of just $10 a week for the nationally broadcast daily program. However, within 30 days, her salary increased to a more respectable $1,500 a week!

1939 - The two-part Sy Oliver arrangement of "Lonesome Road" was recorded by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Listening carefully, one might note that the lead trombone is not that of Tommy Dorsey, but of Dave Jacobs, instead.

1955 - Jockey Willie Shoemaker rode the legendary Swaps to a win in the Kentucky Derby in Louisville. The Run for the Roses was worth $108,400. (Swap’s colt, Chateaugay, would win the 1963 Derby with the exact same time as his daddy’s: 2 minutes, 1-4/5 seconds.) This was Shoemaker’s first Derby win. He would win again in 1959 aboard Tommy Lee and in 1965 on Lucky Debonair.

1960 - An American U-2 plane invaded Soviet airspace. The Soviets reacted by shooting down the plane piloted by the C.I.A.’s Francis Gary Powers. It took five days for the Soviets to announce the occurrance to the rest of the world. At first the U.S. referred to the U-2 as a weather reconnaissance plane, denying that Powers was a spy. Later, the U.S. State Department admitted that the mission was to photograph Soviet military installations, and that the mission was justified. Powers was tried as a spy by the Soviet Union. He was sentenced to solitary confinement for 10 years in "Matrosskaya Tishina". In 17 months, he was exchanged for Russian spy Rudolf Abel who had been exposed by the CIA.

1967 - Elvis Presley got hitched to a girl he had dated since his army days in West Germany. Elvis and Priscilla Beaulieu married in Las Vegas, NV. The wedding cake, incidentally, cost $3,500. The marriage lasted until 1973.

1969 - Leonard Tose, a trucking executive from Philadelphia, PA, opened his wallet and pulled out $16,155,000 to buy himself the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League. It was the largest price paid to that date for a pro football franchise.

1970 - Elton John and lyricist Bernie Taupin combined for the first time on Elton’s first American album simply titled, "Elton John". The LP contained Elton’s first hit, "Your Song", which made it to the top ten on the music charts in December.

1971 - A new word was introduced into the American traveling lexicon this day -- Amtrak. The word soon became synonymous with passenger train travel. Amtrak operates under the National Railroad Passenger Corporation. Now, people don’t take the train. They take Amtrak.

1982 - "I Love Rock ’N Roll", by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, appeared at the top of the pop music charts for the seventh, and final, week. The rocker stayed on the charts for 16 weeks. Jett from Philadelphia PA, played guitar and formed the all-female rock band, The Runaways, in the mid-’70s. The Blackhearts were founded in 1980. Jett starred in the film, "Light of Day", playing the role of leader of a rock band called The Barbusters. The movie also starred Michael J. Fox and Michael McKean. The title song, "Light of Day" was written by Jett and Bruce Springsteen. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts had nine hits on the charts into 1990, but "I Love Rock ’N Roll" was the group’s only million-plus selling record.

1986 - Race car driver Bill Elliott set a stock car speed record with his Ford Thunderbird in Talladega, AL. Elliott zipped around the track at 212.229 mph.

Those Were the Days: Current Issues

Birthdays - May 1
1672 - Joseph Addison (essayist: periodicals: The Spectator, The Tatler, The Guardian, The Freeholder; author: Cato; died June 17, 1719)

1825 - George Inness (artist: Peace and Plenty, Delaware Valley, Spring Blossoms; died Aug 3, 1894)

1830 - Mary ‘Mother’ Jones (‘The Miner’s Angel’: labor leader; died Nov 30, 1930)

1895 - Leo Sowerby (Pulitzer Prize-winning composer: The Canticle of the Sun [1946]; died July 7, 1968)

1907 - Kate Smith (singer: God Bless America, When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain; performer: The Kate Smith Show [see above, 1931]; died June 17, 1986)

1915 - Archie Williams (Olympic Gold Medalist: 400 meters in 46.5 seconds [1936], disputing Hitler’s theory of Aryan superiority; died June 24, 1993)

1916 - Glenn Ford (Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford) (actor: The Teahouse of the August Moon, Blackboard Jungle, Midway, Don’t Go Near the Water, Cimarron, Final Verdict; died Aug 30, 2006)

1917 - John Beradino (actor: General Hospital, The New Breed, I Led Three Lives, Don’t Look Back: The Story of Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige, Moon of the Wolf; baseball player; died May 19, 1996)

1918 - Jack Paar (TV host: The Tonight Show; died Jan 27, 2004)

1919 - Dan O’Herlihy (actor: Fail-Safe, Halloween 3, RoboCop; died Feb 17, 2005)

1922 - Julian Goodman (president, chairman: NBC; died Jul 2, 2012)

1923 - Joseph Heller (writer: God Knows, Sex and the Single Girl, Dirty Dingus Magee, Catch-22; died Dec 10, 1999)

1929 - Sonny James (James Loden) (The Southern Gentleman; singer: Young Love, First Date, First Kiss, First Love; appeared in films: Second Fiddle to a Steel Guitar, Nashville Rebel, Las Vegas Hillbillies, Hillbilly in a Haunted House; died Feb 22, 2016)

1930 - Ollie Matson (Pro Football Hall of Famer: San Francisco Univ. All-American; U.S. Olympic medal winner [track: 1952]; Chicago Cardinals [#1 draft pick: 1952/Pro Bowl MVP: 1956], LA Rams, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles; 12,844 combined net yards, 5,173 yards rushing, 222 receptions, 438 points, record 9 TDs on punt, kickoff returns, played in 5 Pro Bowls; died Feb 19, 2011)

1939 - Judy Collins (singer: Both Sides Now, Amazing Grace, Send In the Clowns)

1940 - Bobbie Ann Mason (author: In Country, Spence and Lila)

1945 - Rita Coolidge (singer: Higher and Higher, We’re All Alone, You, All Time High) p>1947 - Jerry Heard (golf: struck by lightning [w/Lee Trevino, Bobby Nichols] during 1975 Western Open [forced new safety standards in weather preparedness at PGA events]; developed Jerry Heard Super Swing technique)

1954 - Ray Parker Jr. (singer, songwriter: Ghostbusters)

1957 - Steve Farris (musician: guitar: group: Mr. Mister: Broken Wings, Kyrie, Is It love)

1959 - Phil Smith (musician: saxophone: group: Haircut 100: Favourite Shirts [Boy Meets Girl], Love Plus One, Fantastic Day, Nobody’s Fool)

1960 - Steve Cauthen (horse jockey: Triple Crown Winner [1978], riding Affirmed)

1966 - Johnny Colt (musician: bass: group: The Black Crowes: LPs: Three Snakes & One Charm/Blackberry, Sho’ Nuff, Amorica)

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Chart Toppers - May 1
1945
Candy - Johnny Mercer & Jo Stafford
I’m Beginning to See the Light - The Harry James Orchestra (vocal: Kitty Kallen)
My Dreams are Getting Better All the Time - The Les Brown Orchestra (vocal: Doris Day)
Smoke on the Water - Bob Wills

1953
Pretend - Nat King Cole
Till I Waltz Again with You - Teresa Brewer
I Believe - Frankie Laine
Mexican Joe - Jim Reeves

1961
Runaway - Del Shannon
Mother-In-Law - Ernie K-Doe
I’ve Told Every Little Star - Linda Scott
Don’t Worry - Marty Robbins

1969
Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In - The 5th Dimension
It’s Your Thing - The Isley Brothers
Hair - The Cowsills
Galveston - Glen Campbell

1977
Southern Nights - Glen Campbell
Hotel California - Eagles
When I Need You - Leo Sayer
She’s Pulling Me Back Again - Mickey Gilley

1985
We are the World - USA for Africa
Crazy for You - Madonna
Rhythm of the Night - DeBarge
Girls Night Out - The Judds

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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