Events - January 21
1789 - "The Power of Sympathy", by William Hill Brown, was published (anonymously) in Boston, MA. The book has been called the first American novel.
1812 - The famous Y-bridge in Zanesville, OH was approved for construction. Good thing. The traffic tie-ups were a mess waiting for those ferry boats in the morning and afternoon trying to cross the Muskingum River.
1865 - For the first time, an oil well was drilled by torpedoes. The well was near Titusville, PA. Now, just wait a dang minute. There isn’t an ocean anywhere near Titusville, PA. How’d they get those submarines in there, anyway?
1908 - Smoking by women became illegal. The Sullivan Ordinance was enacted in New York City, but, from pictures we’ve seen, some women continued to smoke even though it was against the law.
1915 - The first Kiwanis club was formed -- in Detroit, Michigan. The name was taken from an old Indian term which, when translated, means “we make ourselves known.” Kiwanis International now has over 500,000 members in some 8,500 clubs covering 90 countries worldwide.
1922 - The first slalom event in skiing was held -- in Murren, Switzerland.
1927 - The first opera to be broadcast over a national radio network was presented in Chicago, IL. Listeners heard selections from "Faust".
1932 - Annunzio Paolo Mantovani gave a memorable concert at Queen’s Hall in England to ‘glowing notices’. This was the beginning of the musician’s successful recording career that provided beautiful music to radio stations for nearly five decades. Better known as just Mantovani, his music still entertains us with hits like, "Red Sails in the Sunset", "Serenade in the Night", "Song from Moulin Rouge" and "Charmaine".
1942 - Nostalgia buffs will want to grab the greatest hits CD of Count Basie (on Verve) and crank up "One O’Clock Jump". Just one of the many signature tunes by Bill Basie; the tune was originally recorded on Okeh Records this day.
1946 - "The Fat Man" debuted on ABC radio. J. Scott Smart, who played the portly detective, weighed in at 270 pounds in real life.
1951 - A new women’s golf record was established by Mildred (Babe Didrikson) Zaharias as she won the Tampa Women’s Open. Her medal-play score was a record 288 for 72 holes. Medals and records were commonplace to Babe. She won two gold and one silver medal in the 1932 Olympics for the javelin throw, the 80-meter hurdles and the high jump, respectively. She was equally adept at basketball, baseball, billiards and golf; a member of the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame, LPGA Hall of Fame (Babe was a founding member of the LPGA), National Track and Field Hall of Fame, Olympic Hall of Fame and the World Golf Hall of Fame. We now refer to her as the Famous Babe Didrikson Zaharias.
1954 - The "Nautilus", the first atomic-powered submarine, was launched in Groton, CT. First Lady Mamie Eisenhower christened the vessel with a bottle of champagne. We wonder if the "Nautilus" was ever used as an oil well-drilling submarine.
1954 - The gas turbine automobile was introduced in New York City. This baby packed a lot of punch, with a 370 horsepower, ‘whirlfire’ turbopower jet to power it. Racing gloves and helmet sold separately. Remember, your mileage may vary.
1957 - Singer Patsy Cline appeared on Arthur Godfrey’s nighttime TV show. She warbled the classic, "Walking After Midnight", which quickly launched her career.
1959 - The Kingston Trio (Bob Shane, Nick Reynolds and Dave Guard) received a gold record for "Tom Dooley". The single could be considered an early folk-form of rap music, considering its less than wholesome message about a guy named Tom Dooley who was going to be hanged - “Poor boy, you’re bound to, die.” The Kingston Trio recorded many hits, including: "Greenback Dollar", "M.T.A.", "Reverend Mr. Black", "Tijuana Jail", and the war protest song, "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?".
1964 - Carl Rowan succeeded Edward R. Murrow as head of the United States Information Agency (USIA), which managed the worldwide Voice of America. Murrow had held the office for three years. Rowan came from a news background from NBC, as Murrow did over at CBS.
1966 - George Harrison of the Beatles married Pattie Anne Boyd in Surrey, England. The two met on the set of the movie, "A Hard Day’s Night".
1970 - The first Boeing 747, the largest jet airliner in the world, landed at London Heathrow Airport at the end of its maiden transatlantic flight.
1976 - The French Concorde SST aircraft, with its droopy nose and sound-barrier smashing speed, began regular commercial service for Air France and British Airways. Fasten your seat belts, please and hold on tight.
1978 - The soundtrack of "Saturday Night Fever" reached #1 on the album charts -- a position it held for the next six months. We wear our black shirt and white suit with a pair of John Travolta’s disco boots and, oh yes, a gold chain, too, as we write this! Boogie on, disco children!
1979 - Super Bowl XIII (at Miami): Pittsburgh Steelers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31. MVP: Steelers’ QB Terry Bradshaw -- he passed for 318 yards and 4 TDs (two to John Stallworth, one to Rocky Bleier and one to Lynn Swann, plus a hand off to Franco Harris for a 22-yard run up the middle for TD number five). Tickets: $30.00.
1984 - Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jackie Wilson died. On Sep 29, 1975, while performing at the Latin Casino near Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Wilson had suffered a massive heart attack that left him in a coma. He remained hospitalized until his death this day, at the age of forty-nine. Wilson’s first hit was "Reet Petite", written by a then-unknown Berry Gordy, who would later create the Motown Records empire. Jackie Wilson’s biggest hit was his 1960 double-sided smash "Doggin’ Around" b/w "Night".
1985 - Actor Patrick Duffy announced plans to leave the CBS show "Dallas" at the end of the TV season. He asked that the character of Bobby Ewing not be replaced by another actor. Good thing. Bobby showed up in the new season, miraculously rising from the dead; taking a shower; after being in a tremendous car crash the previous season. And Duffy returned to continue in the role of Bobby Ewing through the final episode in 1991.
1986 - Former major-league player Randy Bass signed to become the highest-paid baseball player in Japanese history. Bass signed a deal for three years at $3.25 million. He played for the Hanshin Tigers.
1987 - Thirty years after its release, Jackie Wilson’s single, "Reet Petite" (written by Motown founder Berry Gordy), ended a month at the top of England’s music charts. Three years earlier, on this same date, Jackie Wilson died after being in a coma (following a heart attack) for eight and a half years.
1990 - Tennis bad boy John McEnroe was disqualified and expelled for throwing a temper tantrum while leading in his Australian Open match against Mike Pernfors. McEnroe holds the distinction of being the first player to be expelled from the Australian Open.
1996 - In skating news: Rudy Galindo was the upset winner of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, California. He earned two perfect marks along the way to the crown. And Michelle Kwan, 15, captured her first national women’s title, hitting seven triple jumps for her fifth straight first-place finish of the season.
1997 - Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley’s manager of 22 years, died of a stroke in Las Vegas (age 87). Parker wasn’t a real colonel and his real name wasn’t Tom Parker. According to James L. Dickerson in his book "Colonel Tom Parker", his colonelcy was bestowed upon him in 1948 by the governor of Louisiana and was purely of the honorary variety, though immediately upon receiving it Parker told an underling, “From now on, see to it that everyone addresses me as the Colonel.” His name may (or may not) have been Andreas Cornelius van Kuijk, and he may (or may not) have been born in the Netherlands in 1909, from which he may (or may not) have immigrated to the United States as a teenager. Parker became Presley’s manager in 1955 when Elvis was on the verge of becoming a rock ’n’ roll star. He had firm control over Elvis’ career, taking between 25 and 50 per cent of the singer’s earnings.
2000 - These films opened in the U.S.: "Down to You", a comedy with Freddie Prinze Jr., Julia Stiles, Selma Blair and Shawn Hatosy; and "Play It to the Bone" (“No one hits as hard as your best friend.”), starring Woody Harrelson, Antonio Banderas, Lolita Davidovich and Tom Sizemore.
Birthdays - January 21
1824 - Stonewall (Thomas) Jackson (Confederate General: one of the Civil War’s most famous military officers; died May 10, 1863)
1897 - J. (Joseph) Carrol Naish (actor: Guestward Ho!, The New Adventures of Charlie Chan, radio/TV series: Life with Luigi; died Jan 19, 1973)
1905 - Christian Dior (fashion designer; died Oct 24, 1957)
1917 - Billy Maxted (pianist, songwriter, arranger: many arrangements for Ray Eberle, Red Nichols, Will Bradley, Benny Goodman; bandleader: LP: Bourbon Street Billy Blues [w/Manhattan Jazz Band]; died Sep 27, 2001)
1919 - Jinx (Eugenia) Falkenburg (actress, TV host [w/husband Tex McCrary]: Tex and Jinx, Preview with Tex and Jinx, The Tex and Jinx Film, At Home with Tex and Jinx; TV panelist: Masquerade Party; died Aug 27, 2003)
1922 - Telly (Aristotle) Savalas (Emmy Award-winning actor: Kojak [1973-1974]; The Dirty Dozen, Birdman of Alcatraz, Battle of the Bulge, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Kelly’s Heroes; died Jan 22, 1994)
1922 - Paul Scofield (Academy award-winning actor: A Man for All Seasons ; Scorpio, Anna Karenina, King Lear, Henry V, Hamlet; died Mar 19, 2008)
1926 - Steve Reeves (Mr. Universe; actor: Hercules, Hercules Unchained, Goliath and the Barbarians, The Last Days of Pompeii; died May 1, 2000)
1934 - Audrey Dalton (actress: Casanova’s Big Night, The Prodigal, Titanic)
1938 - Wolfman Jack (Robert Weston Smith) (disc jockey: icon of 1960s radio, broadcasting from XERF, then XERB in Mexico and heard throughout a major part of the U.S.; TV announcer: The Midnight Special; actor: American Graffiti; author: Have Mercy! Confessions of the Original Rock ’n’ Roll Animal; died July 1, 1995)
1940 - Jack Nicklaus (golf champion: holds the record for winning the most majors, 18 professional titles: 4 U.S. Opens, 3 British Opens, 5 PGA and 6 Masters Championships; one of only 2 players to win back-to-back Masters)
1941 - Plácido Domingo (singer: opera tenor: Perhaps Love)
1941 - Richie Havens (singer: Here Comes the Sun; died Apr 22, 2013)
1942 - Mac (Scott) Davis (singer: Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me; Friend, Lover, Woman, Wife; actor: North Dallas Forty; host: The Mac Davis Show; songwriter: In the Ghetto, Memories; ACM Entertainer of the Year )
1947 - Jill Eikenberry (actress: L.A. Law, Arthur, The Manhattan Project)
1950 - Billy Ocean (Grammy Award-winning R&B Male Vocal: Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run) ; Love Really Hurts Without You, There’ll Be Sad Songs)
1956 - Robby Benson (Robin David Segal) (actor: Search for Tomorrow, Ode to Billy Joe, National Lampoon Goes to the Movies, The Chosen)
1956 - Geena Davis (Academy Award-winning supporting actress: The Accidental Tourist ; Beetlejuice, Fletch, The Fly, Tootsie, Thelma and Louise, Buffalo Bill, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Commander in Chief)
1968 - Charlotte Ross (actress: NYPD Blue, Days of Our Lives, The Five Mrs. Buchanans, A Will of Their Own)
1976 - Emma Bunton (singer: group: Spice Girls: LPs: Forever, Spice, Goodbye, Spiceworld)
Chart Toppers - January 21
Buttons and Bows - Dinah Shore
A Little Bird Told Me - Evelyn Knight
On a Slow Boat to China - The Kay Kyser Orchestra (vocal: Harry Babbitt & Gloria Wood)
I Love You So Much It Hurts - Jimmy Wakely
Singing the Blues - Guy Mitchell
The Banana Boat Song - The Tarriers
Young Love - Tab Hunter
Singing the Blues - Marty Robbins
Come See About Me - The Supremes
Love Potion Number Nine - The Searchers
Downtown - Petula Clark
Once a Day - Connie Smith
You’re So Vain - Carly Simon
Superstition - Stevie Wonder
Crocodile Rock - Elton John
Soul Song - Joe Stampley
(Just Like) Starting Over - John Lennon
Love on the Rocks - Neil Diamond
The Tide is High - Blondie
I Love a Rainy Night - Eddie Rabbitt
Two Hearts - Phil Collins
Don’t Rush Me - Taylor Dayne
Armageddon It - Def Leppard
She’s Crazy for Leavin’ - Rodney Crowell
Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end...
Written and edited by Carol Williams and John Williams
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.