Events - June 17
1775 - Question of the day: On what hill was the Battle of Bunker Hill fought? You could answer this one in your sleep, right? Wrong, historical head! A little background: Anger and hatred between British and American colonists exploded into brutal fury at the top of Breed’s Hill (near Boston) on this day. The British charged the Americans three times before finally overrunning and chasing them to -- you guessed it -- Bunker Hill (and it was all over but the whimpering by the time they got to Bunker Hill). The redcoats did win this battle, but it fired up the colonists and they continued to fight, eventually driving the British back to Britain. Class dismissed.
1837 - Charles Goodyear got a patent for rubber, the squishy, bouncy stuff.
1856 - The first national convention of the Republican Party was held in Philadelphia, PA.
1871 - Mr. and Mrs. Martin Bates were married. It turned out to be a tall order for the couple. They both stood over seven feet tall. Imagine the size of the wedding cake!
1880 - John Monte Ward tossed the second perfect game in major-league history as he and Providence blanked Buffalo 5-0.
1912 - Talk about long shots: Wishing Ring won at Latonia race track in Kentucky. Most people didn’t even notice because the horse had been a non-performer until then. A $2 wager to win paid an incredible $1,885.50 for a few, very lucky ticket holders.
1913 - A Chicago Cubs pitcher set a baseball record for the longest appearance by a reliever in a game. George ‘Zip’ Zabel came in from the bull pen with two outs in the first inning of a game at Ebbets Field in New York. George kept pitching until the 19th inning when the Cubs finally beat the Dodgers 4-3.
1928 - The first woman to successfully fly across the Atlantic Ocean did so this day. She was celebrated as the greatest aviatrix of the time. Her name was Amelia Earhart.
1941 - WNBT-TV, Channel 4 in New York City, was granted the first construction permit to operate a commercial TV station in the United States. (WNBT signed on the air on July 1, 1941 at 1:29 p.m.) Owned by Radio Corporation of America (RCA), the station later changed its call letters to WRCA and, still later, to WNBC-TV.
1942 - "Suspense", known as radio’s outstanding theatre of thrills, debuted on CBS radio. The program kept millions of loyal listeners in suspense for the next 20 years.
1942 - The Army weekly newspaper, "Yank", coined the term “G.I. Joe” in a comic strip drawn by Dave Breger.
1950 - Dr. Richard H. Lawler performed the first kidney transplant in a 45-minute operation in Chicago, IL.
1954 - Rocky Marciano successfully defended his heavyweight boxing title by defeating former champion Ezzard Charles.
1969 - Boris Spassky became chess champion of the world after checkmating former champion Tigran Petrosian in Moscow.
1969 - Jazz musician Charles Mingus came out of a two-year, self-imposed retirement to make a concert appearance at the Village Vanguard in New York City.
1973 - Johnny Miller won his first major golf title by defeating the field at the prestigious United States Open.
1978 - "Shadow Dancing", by Andy Gibb, reached the number one spot on the pop music charts for the first of seven weeks. Gibb had two other number one hits: "I Just Want to Be Your Everything" and "(Love is) Thicker than Water". Gibb, the youngest of the Gibb brothers who made up the Bee Gees, hosted TV’s "Solid Gold" in 1981-82. Andy scored nine hits on the pop music charts in the 1970s and 1980s. He died of an inflammatory heart virus in Oxford, England in 1988.
1985 - Judy Norton-Taylor, who played the role of Mary Ellen on "The Waltons", saw her good-girl image tarnished as she was photographed nude for "Playboy" magazine.
1991 - The Parliament of South Africa repealed the Population Registration Act. The law, the basis of all apartheid laws in South Africa, required all South Africans to be classified at birth. It was first implemented in 1950, and placed South Africans in separate categories of race: Caucasian, mixed, Asian and black. Other apartheid laws were enforced according to those categories. The Population Registration Act was the final apartheid law to be repealed, except for the one that prevented blacks from voting.
1994 - O.J. Simpson, charged with the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman, could not be located and became a fugitive from justice. At about 6:45 p.m., police spotted a white Ford Bronco belonging to Simpson’s friend Al Cowlings on a Los Angeles freeway. Simpson was a passenger in the Bronco and had a gun (according to Cowlings who talked to police by phone from the Bronco). Cowlings and Simpson led the highway patrol on a 60-mile, low-speed pursuit through L.A. It was around 8:00 p.m. when the Bronco finally pulled into the driveway at Simpson’s Brentwood mansion, followed by a phalanx of patrol cars. Negotiations with police lasted less than an hour and Simpson surrendered, was arrested and taken to jail. All of the above was covered by TV cameras from helicopters and seen by a world-wide television audience. It was a gripping, if not excruciatingly slow, show.
Birthdays - June 17
1882 - Igor (Fedorovich) Stravinsky (composer: The Firebird, Petrouchka, The Rite of Spring, The Wedding, The Soldier’s Tale; died Apr 6, 1971)
1902 - Sammy Fain (Samuel Feinberg) (Oscar-winning musician, composer: Secret Love , Love is a Many-Splendored Thing ; April Love, A Certain Smile, A Very Precious Love, Tender is the Night, I’ll Be Seeing You, I Can Dream Can’t I, Let a Smile be Your Umbrella [most w/Irving Kahal]; died Dec 6, 1989)
1904 - Ralph (Rexford) Bellamy (actor: The Awful Truth, Trading Places, War & Remembrance, The Winds of War, Oh, God!, Rosemary’s Baby, Man Against Crime, The Eleventh Hour; panelist: To Tell the Truth; founder: Screen Actors’ Guild; president: Actors’ Equity; recipient of honorary Academy Award ; died Nov 29, 1991)
1910 - Red (Clyde Julian) Foley (songwriter, singer: Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy, Birmingham Bounce, Just a Closer Walk with Thee, Blues in My Heart, Tennessee Saturday Night, Tennessee Polka, Peace in the Valley, Mississippi, Tennessee Border, Goodnight Irene; TV host: Ozark Jubilee; elected to Country Music Hall of Fame ; actor: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; died Sep 19, 1968)
1914 - John (Richard) Hersey (author: A Bell for Adano, Hiroshima; died Mar 24, 1993)
1915 - Stringbean (David Akeman) (country comedian: Grand Old Opry, Ozark Jubilee, Hee-Haw; Akeman and wife, Estelle, were murdered in their home by burglars Nov 10, 1973)
1923 - Elroy Hirsch (‘Crazy Legs’: Pro Football Hall of Famer: Chicago Rockets [AAFC], LA Rams [NFL] pass receiver: named all-time NFL flanker ; career record: 387 catches for 7,029 yards, 60 TDs, 405 points scored; University of Wisconsin, player, athletic director; died Jan 28, 2004)
1929 - Bud Collins (International Tennis Hall of Famer: champ: U.S. Indoor Mixed Doubles Championship [w/partner Janet Hopps: 1961]; sports writer: Boston Herald, Boston Globe; sportscaster: NBC; author: Bud Collins’ Modern Encyclopedia of Tennis; died Mar 4, 2016)
1932 - Peter Lupus (actor: Mission: Impossible [TV], Think Big, Pulsebeat, Escapist, More! Police Squad, Muscle Beach Party)
1940 - Bobby Bell (Pro Football Hall of Famer: Univ. of Minnesota [All-America tackle], Kansas City Chiefs linebacker/defensive end [25 interceptions for 479 yards, six TDs])
1942 - Norman Kuhlke (musician: drums: group: The Swinging Blue Jeans: Hippy Hippy Shake)
1943 - Steve Clark (swimmer: Olympic Gold medalist ; broke nine world swimming records from 1960-65 in short-course times)
1943 - Barry Manilow (Barry Alan Pincus) (Grammy Award-winning singer: I Write the Songs ; Mandy, Looks Like We Made It, Can’t Smile Without You, Copacabana)
1944 - Randy Johnson (football: Atlanta Falcons QB; died Sep 17, 2009)
1948 - Dave (David Ismael Benitez) Concepcion (baseball: shortstop [2nd base: ’87, ’88]: Cincinnati Reds [World Series: 1970, 1972, 1975, 1976/all-star: 1973, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982])
1951 - Dave Fortier (hockey: NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs, NY Islanders, Vancouver Canucks)
1951 - Joe Piscopo (comedian, actor: Saturday Night Live, Sidekicks, Wise Guys, Johnny Dangerously)
1954 - Mark Linn-Baker (actor: Noises Off, Bare Essentials, Ghostwriter, My Favorite Year, Manhattan, Comedy Zone, Perfect Strangers)
1957 - Stephen Shellen (actor: Casual Sex?, Murder One, Counterstrike, A River Runs Through It, The Bodyguard, Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde, Gone in Sixty Seconds, La Femme Nikita)
1960 - Thomas Haden Church (actor: Wings, Tombstone, George of the Jungle, One Night Stand, Goosed, Sideways)
1963 - Greg Kinnear (actor: What Planet Are You From?, Talk Soup, Blankman, Sabrina, As Good As It Gets, You've Got Mail, Mystery Men, Nurse Betty)
1966 - Jason Patric (Miller) (actor: The Journey of August King, Geronimo: An American Legend, Rush, Frankenstein Unbound, The Beast, The Lost Boys, Solarbabies, Toughlove, Speed 2: Cruise Control)
1975 - Joshua Leonard (actor: The Blair Witch Project, Men of Honor, Deuces Wild)
1980 - Venus Williams (tennis: champ: doubles title: U.S./French Opens w/sister Serena ; Grand Slam singles: Wimbledon , U.S. Open [2000, 2001]; doubles: w/sister Serena: Wimbledon ; fastest serve in WTA history [127 mph])
Chart Toppers - June 17
Long Ago and Far Away - Helen Forrest & Dick Haymes
I’ll Be Seeing You - The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (vocal: Frank Sinatra)
I’ll Get By - The Harry James Orchestra (vocal: Dick Haymes)
Straighten Up and Fly Right - King Cole Trio
Kiss of Fire - Georgia Gibbs
Be Anything - Eddy Howard
I’m Yours - Eddie Fisher
The Wild Side of Life - Hank Thompson
Cathy’s Clown - The Everly Brothers
Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool - Connie Francis
Burning Bridges - Jack Scott
Please Help Me, I’m Falling - Hank Locklin
Mrs. Robinson - Simon & Garfunkel
This Guy’s in Love with You - Herb Alpert
Mony Mony - Tommy James & The Shondells
Honey - Bobby Goldsboro
Silly Love Songs - Wings
Get Up and Boogie (That’s Right) - Silver Convention
Misty Blue - Dorthy Moore
I’ll Get Over You - Crystal Gayle
Time After Time - Cyndi Lauper
The Reflex - Duran Duran
Self Control - Laura Branigan
I Got Mexico - Eddy Raven
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.