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May 3

Events - May 3
1810 - Lord Byron swam the Hellespont* this day. Pretty darn fast, too. It took just an hour and 10 minutes to do it, by Jove! *The Hellespont is now know as the Dardanelles. It is a 40 mi. (64 km) long, 1-5 mi. (1.6-8 km) wide strait between European and Asian Turkey, connecting the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara.

1933 - The United States Mint was under the direction of a woman for the first time. Mrs. Nellie Ross assumed command.

1938 - Viewers of W2XBS-TV (now WCBS-TV) watched the first book review show. No word as to how many remained awake through the whole thing...

1939 - Belly up to the bar for this one. "Beer Barrel Polka", one of the standards of American music, was recorded by The Andrews Sisters for Decca Records. Patti, Maxine and LaVerne turned this song into a giant hit.

1941 - Jockey Eddie Arcaro rode Whirlaway to the winner’s circle in the Kentucky Derby. He was on his way to winning racing’s Triple Crown (the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, KY, the Preakness in Baltimore, MD and the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in New York).

1944 - Dr. Robert Woodward and Dr. William Doering produced the first synthetic quinine at Harvard University. Quinine -- like in quinine water. (Hiccup!)

1952 - The first airplane to land at the geographic location of the North Pole did so on this day. The crew may have missed the mark, as they saw no tall barber pole or little red house, no sign of elves and no Santa Claus. There was a report that there was loud, bellowing laughter from not far off and a few reindeer were seen frolicking about, however...

1956 - "Most Happy Fella", a musical by Frank Loesser, opened at the Imperial Theatre in New York City. The show, an adaptation of "They Knew What They Wanted" by Sidney Howard, ran for 676 performances on Broadway. Critics called the show a masterpiece, thanks to the outstanding performances by Robert Weede and Jo Sullivan. One must not forget Loesser’s music, which included such classics as "Standing on the Corner", "I Like Everybody", "Joey, Joey, Joey", "Big Acquaintance" and "Don’t Cry".

1957 - Brooklyn Dodgers’ owner Walter O’Malley agreed to move the team from Flatbush to sunny Los Angeles. Initially, only exhibition games were held at the L.A. Coliseum. O’Malley said that a new stadium would have to be constructed before the Dodgers would even consider a move to Southern California. He was right, so Dodger Stadium (in Chavez Ravine) was constructed with private investor money.

1960 - The play, "The Fantasticks", opened at the Sullivan Playhouse in New York City. It would later become the longest-running off-Broadway play. "Soon It’s Gonna Rain" was one of the big hit tunes from the production. The show was the equivalent of London’s long-running play, "The Mousetrap". Unfortunately, though the British were familiar with "The Mousetrap" and might have known of the similarities between the two plays, when "The Fantasticks" opened in London, it failed miserably and closed after only 44 performances.

1971 - National Public Radio, the U.S. national, non-commercial radio network, was born. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting financed National Public Radio so we could, once again, have the thrill of live radio and award-winning programming such as "All Things Considered", uninterrupted, informative reports on business, economics and the world, in general.

1986 - Horse racing legend Bill Shoemaker became the oldest jockey to win the the Kentucky Derby. ‘The Shoe’ was atop Ferdinand for the win. Shoemaker was 54 years old. It had been 32 years since Shoemaker’s first Derby victory back in 1955.

Those Were the Days: Current Issues

Birthdays - May 3
1469 - Niccolo Machiavelli (philosopher, writer: The Prince; died June 22, 1527)

1907 - Earl Wilson (entertainment writer, columnist: “JFK is the sexiest, swingingest President of the century...”; died Jan 16, 1987)

1910 - Norman Lewis Corwin (radio writer/director/producer: We Hold These Truths, On a Note of Triumph, Columbia Workshop, Twenty-Six by Corwin, An American in England, Columbia Presents Corwin; NPR series: More By Corwin; professor: Univ. of Southern California; died Oct 18, 2011)

1912 - Virgil Fox (organ virtuoso: credited for bringing the organ “to the forefront among classical concert instruments.”; died Oct 25, 1980)

1917 - Betty Comden (Cohen) (screenwriter [w/Adolph Green]: It’s Always Fair Weather, On the Town, Singin’ in the Rain; actress: Greenwich Village, That Was the Week That Was, Garbo Talks, Slaves of New York; died Nov 23, 2006)

1919 - Pete Seeger (folk singer: groups: Almanac Singers, Weavers; solo: Little Boxes; songwriter: Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, Turn, Turn, Turn, co-wrote: If I Had a Hammer; social, civil and political activist; died Jan 27, 2014)

1921 - Joe Ames (singer: group: The Ames Brothers: Undecided, The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane, Ragmop, Tammy; died Dec 22, 2007)

1921 - Sugar Ray Robinson (International Boxing Hall of Fame middleweight champ: only boxer to win world title at one weight five times; died Apr 12, 1989)

1926 - Jimmy Cleveland (composer, musician: trombone: group: Jay & Kai Octet, played with Quincy Jones, Thelonious Monk; died Aug 23, 2008)

1928 - Dave Dudley (Pedruska) (country singer: groups: The Dave Dudley Trio, The Country Gentlemen, The Roadrunners: Six Days On the Road, Mad, Truck Drivin’ Sun of a Gun, Vietnam Blues; died Dec 22, 2003)

1931 - Joe Layton (Lichtman) (choreographer: Thoroughly Modern Millie; director: Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip, The Littlest Angel, Androcles and the Lion; died May 5, 1994)

1933 - James Brown (The Godfather of Soul: singer: Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, Please, Please, Please, I Got You (I Feel Good), It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World, Living in America; Rock and Roll Hall of Famer [1986]; died Dec 25, 2006)

1934 - Frankie Valli (Francis Castellucio) (falsetto singer: group: The Four Seasons: Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Rag Doll, Let’s Hang On; solo: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, My Eyes Adored You, Swearin’ to God, December ’63 [Oh What a Night], Grease)

1944 - Pete Staples (musician: bass: group: The Troggs: Wild Thing, I Can’t Control Myself, With a Girl like You, Give It to Me, Any Way that You Want Me, Night of the Long Grass, Hi Hi Hazel, Love is All Around, Little Girl)

1946 - Davey Lopes (baseball: LA Dodgers [World Series: 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981/all-star: 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981], Oakland Athletics, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros)

1947 - Doug Henning (magician/illusionist: The World of Magic [TV], The Magic Show [Broadway rock musical]; died Feb 7, 2000)

1948 - Garfield Heard (basketball: Univ. of Oklahoma, Phoenix Suns; Asst Coach: Philadelphia 76ers)

1950 - Mary Hopkin (singer: Those Were the Days, Goodbye, Temma Harbour, If You Love Me)

1951 - Christopher Cross (Geppert) (Oscar-winning singer: Arthur’s Theme (Best that You can Do); 5 Grammy Awards [1981]; singer, songwriter: Sailing, Ride like the Wind, Say You’ll be Mine, Think of Laura)

1953 - Bruce Hall (musician: bass: group: REO Speedwagon: Keep on Loving You, Take It on the Run, Keep the Fire Burnin’, Can’t Fight This Feeling)

1959 - Dave Ball (musician: keyboards: group: Soft Cell: Tainted Love, Bed Sitter, Torch, What)

If you like TWtD you will love TWtD Deluxe.

Chart Toppers - May 3
1947
Linda - Buddy Clark with the Ray Noble Orchestra
The Anniversary Song - Dinah Shore
Mam’selle - Art Lund
So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed - Merle Travis

1955
Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White - Perez Prado
The Ballad of Davy Crockett - Tennessee Ernie Ford
Dance with Me Henry (Wallflower) - Georgia Gibbs
In the Jailhouse Now - Webb Pierce

1963
I Will Follow Him - Little Peggy March
Can’t Get Used to Losing You - Andy Williams
Puff the Magic Dragon - Peter, Paul & Mary
Lonesome 7-7203 - Hawkshaw Hawkins

1971
Joy to the World - Three Dog Night
Put Your Hand in the Hand - Ocean
Never Can Say Goodbye - The Jackson 5
Empty Arms - Sonny James

1979
Heart of Glass - Blondie
Reunited - Peaches & Herb
Stumblin’ In - Suzi Quatro & Chris Norman
Where Do I Put Her Memory - Charley Pride

1987
(I Just) Died in Your Arms - Cutting Crew
Looking for a New Love - Jody Watley
La Isla Bonita - Madonna
Don’t Go to Strangers - T. Graham Brown

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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