Events - October 20
1774 - The new Continental Congress, the governing body of America’s colonies, passed an order proclaiming that all citizens of the colonies “discountenance and discourage all horse racing and all kinds of gaming, cock fighting, exhibitions of shows, plays and other expensive diversions and entertainment.” Since this proclamation included acting, dancing, singing, and the playing of music, all forms of entertainment and all theatre productions ceased. So much for freedom from persecution...
1811 - Fulton’s steamboat, "New Orleans", built in Pittsburgh, sailed down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans. It was the first steamboat in western waters. Passage on the "New Orleans" was $30.
1873 - A Hippodrome was opened in New York City by showman Phineus T. (P.T.) Barnum. The impressive place was the new home of "The Greatest Show on Earth"; the big top of what would be the greatest circus in the land.
1910 - A baseball with a cork center was used in a World Series game for the first time. The Philadelphia Athletics (managed by Connie Mack) and the Chicago Cubs (managed by Frank Chance) played for the championship. (Philadelphia won the series 4 games to 1.)
1930 - One of the most memorable of all radio shows, "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes", was first heard on the NBC Red network. Its debut entry, "The Speckled Band", featured William Gillette in the role of the famous detective. Gillette introduced Holmes to New York audiences as early as 1899 ... on the stage, not the radio, of course.
1932 - Journalist Robert Trout joined CBS. Trout became a household name to CBS listeners -- and they later became loyal viewers of Trout on CBS-TV.
1939 - "All the Things You Are" was recorded by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra -- for the Victor label. Jack Leonard was the featured vocalist.
1953 - Legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow found himself in a unique situation. On the CBS program, "See It Now", Murrow focused on Lt. Milo Radulovich and sought to disprove the “guilty by association” position of Radulovich during the McCarthy hearings. The network and the program’s sponsors refused to promote the show because of the controversy. As a result, Murrow purchased his own ads to promote the program.
1955 - "No Time for Sergeants" opened on Broadway starring Andy Griffith.
1955 - "Day-O. Day-ay-ay-ay-o!" One of the most popular of the Harry Belafonte hits was recorded for RCA Victor. "Day-O" didn’t make it to the pop charts for over a year (January 1957), however, after its name had been changed to "The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)".
1957 - Walter Cronkite hosted a weekly documentary beginning this (Sunday) night. "The 20th Century" reported on major events that had shaped modern world history. The show changed its focus and its title to "The 21st Century" in 1967. Cronkite was the only narrator of the program through its final show on January 4, 1970.
1962 - With Halloween just around the corner, we remember that Bobby “Boris” Picket and the Crypt Kickers reached the top of the charts this day (for two weeks) with "The Monster Mash". And someone, somewhere, has resurrected it every Halloween since.
1962 - The musical, "Mr. President", written by Irving Berlin, opened on Broadway. "Mr. President" ran for 265 performances.
1965 - Boxing Hall of Famer Sugar Ray Robinson, at age 45, notched his 174th and final victory, a third-round knockout of Rudolph Bent. Robinson, who won the World Middleweight boxing title for the first time in 1951, announced his retirement on Nov 11, 1965.
1965 - The Beatles received a gold record for the single, "Yesterday". This song marked the first time a cello was used in a pop hit.
1970 - Norman Ernest Borlaug, credited with saving millions of people from starvation in the ‘Green Revolution’, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
1973 - Richard M. Nixon was under heavy pressure to turn over some tape recordings he had made of conversations with various folks in the Oval Office. The taped conversations were regarding the break-in at the Watergate apartment/office complex in Washington DC. Special Watergate Prosecutor Archibald Cox, whom Nixon had appointed, was applying the pressure, thinking that there might be some interesting stuff on those tapes. So, on this Saturday night in 1973, the President asked U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refused, so Nixon fired Cox himself. Then, in protest, Richardson resigned. Nixon, a little peeved by now, fired Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus, who also had refused to fire Cox. Unfortunately for the U.S. President, this Saturday Night Massacre, as it immediately came to be known, only made things worse. Nixon eventually did turn over those tapes; but since there were little pieces of dialogue mysteriously missing, suspicion about the President’s involvement in Watergate grew to the point where he resigned from office (August 9, 1974) rather than face (almost certain) impeachment.
1979 - Herb Alpert’s "Rise", from the album, "Rise", rose to number one on the "Billboard Hot 100".
1982 - The St. Louis Cardinals rallied for 3 runs in the sixth inning of Game 7 to beat the Milwaukee Brewers. It was the Brewers first World Series. The Cardinals took home the crown, 4 games to 3.
1988 - The powerful Oakland Athletics had slugged their way to 104 regular season victories, then swept the Red Sox for the American League pennant. The Los Angeles Dodgers unexpectantly charged through the final months of the season, led by Orel Hershiser, who posted a record-breaking 59 consecutive scoreless innings. Unfortunately for Oakland, Hershiser’s pitching dominance continued through the World Series. With complete-game victories in Game Two and the deciding Game Five this day, Hershiser punctuated his remarkable season and pitched a four-hitter, giving the Dodgers a 5-2 victory over the A’s and the World Series title.
1990 - It was game four of the World Series, featuring the Cincinnati Reds vs. Oakland A’s, and it was all over this day. Few had given the Reds much of a chance against the A’s. It was a four-game sweep, alright. But it was Cincinnati, in one of baseball’s all-time World Series upsets, who did the sweeping.
1991 - Hot wind gusts, called Diablo winds, twisted through the East Bay hills near Oakland, California. The winds, coupled with drought-weary vegetation, sparked the Oakland Hills fire. The fire claimed 25 lives and destroyed more than 2,700 structures and 1500 acres. The blaze took three days to control and did more than $1 billion in property damage.
1995 - "Mallrats" opened in U.S. theatres. It stars Jeremy London, Clair Forlani, Jason Lee, Shannon Doherty, Ethan Suplee, Joey Lauren Adams, Renee Humphrey, Ben Affleck, Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes. If you can’t remember this one, you were over 12 years of age in 1995.
2000 - These films opened in the U.S.: "Bamboozled", with Damon Wayans; "Bedazzled", with Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley; "The Legend of Drunken Master", starring Jackie Chan; "Pay It Forward", with Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt; "Two Family House", with Michael Rispoli; and "The Yards", starring Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix, Charlize Theron, James Caan and Faye Dunaway.
Birthdays - October 20
1632 - Sir Christopher Wren (architect, astronomer, mathematician; died Feb 25, 1723)
1856 - James Mann (lawyer; U.S. Congressman: authored the Mann Act aka the White Slave Traffic Act ; died Nov 30, 1922)
1859 - John Dewey (psychologist, philosopher: The School and Society, The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology, How We Think, Experience and Nature, Art as Experience; educator: Univ of Michigan, Univ of Minnesota, Univ of Chicago, Columbia Univ; died June 1, 1952)
1874 - Charles Ives (Pulitzer Prize-winning composer: Symphony No. 3 [Camp Meeting]: 1947; The Concord Sonata; author: Essays Before A Sonata; died May 19, 1954)
1882 - Bela Lugosi (Blasko) (actor: Dracula, One Body Too Many, The Ghost of Frankenstein, Murders in the Rue Morgue, Night Monster, Chandu the Magician, The Ape Man, The Body Snatcher; died Aug 16, 1956)
1905 - Ellery Queen (Frederic Dannay) (author: mystery series [w/Manfred B. Lee]; died Sep 3, 1982)
1907 - Arlene Francis (Kazanjian) (actress: Murders in the Rue Morgue, Stage Door Canteen, All My Sons, One, Two, Three, The Thrill of it All; Broadway: All that Glitters, Danton’s Death, Journey to Jerusalem, The Doughgirls; radio actress/host: Blind Date, The Arlene Francis Show [WOR]; TV emcee: Home, Who’s There, Talent Patrol, The Comeback Story, Blind Date; panelist: What’s My Line; died May 31, 2001)
1911 - Will Rogers Jr. (actor: The Story of Will Rogers, Pall Mall Playhouse; TV host: The Pioneers; lecturer; died July 10, 1993)
1913 - Grandpa (Louis Marshall) Jones (Country Music Hall of Famer: Hee Haw, Grand Ole Opry; singer: The All-American Boy, T for Texas, Old Rattler, Mountain Dew; died Feb 19, 1998)
1923 - Herschel Bernardi (actor: Peter Gunn, Arnie, Love with the Proper Stranger, Irma La Douce; voice: Charlie Tuna TV commercials, The Jetsons characters; died May 9, 1986)
1925 - Art Buchwald (Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist [prize for commentary: 1982]; author: While Reagan Slept, Leaving Home; died Jan 17, 2007)
1931 - Mickey (Charles) Mantle (‘The Commerce Comet’: Baseball Hall of Famer: NY Yankees [World Series: 1951-1953, 1955-1958, 1960-1964/all-star: 1952-1965, 1967, 1968]; World Series records: most home runs , most RBIs , most walks , most strikeouts ; three-time MVP; died Aug 13, 1995)
1932 - Roosevelt Brown (Pro Football Hall of Famer: NY Giants offensive tackle; 8 time All Pro; died Jun 9, 2004)
1932 - William Christopher (actor: M*A*S*H, Aftermash, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., With Six You Get Eggroll; died Dec 31, 2016
1935 - Jerry Orbach (actor: Tony Award-winning actor: Promises, Promises ; Law and Order, Dirty Dancing, Straight Talk, Brewster’s Millions; voice of candelabra: Beauty and the Beast; died Dec 28, 2004)
1937 - Wanda Jackson (singer: Right or Wrong, Let’s Have a Party, In the Middle of a Heartache; songwriter: [Let’s Stop] Kickin’ Our Hearts Around)
1937 - Juan (Antonio Sanchez) ‘Manito’ Marichal (Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher: SF Giants [World Series: 1962/all-star: 1962-1969, 1971], Boston Red Sox, LA Dodgers)
1939 - Jay Siegel (singer: groups: The Tokens: Tonight I Fell in Love, The Lion Sleeps Tonight; Cross Country: In the Midnight Hour)
1942 - Earl Hindman (actor: Home Improvement, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe; died Dec 29, 2003)
1945 - Ric Lee (musician: drums: group: Ten Years After: I’m Going Home, Love like a Man)
1950 - Isaac Curtis (football: Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver: Super Bowl XVI)
1950 - Tom Petty (singer: group: The Traveling Wilburys; Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers: Don’t Come Around Here No More, Don’t Do Me Like That, Refugee, Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around [w/Stevie Nicks]; in film: Made in Heaven; died Oct 2, 2017)
1951 - Al Greenwood (musician: keyboard: group: Foreigner: Feels Like the First Time, Cold as Ice, Hot Blooded, Double Vision)
1952 - Dave McClelland (hockey: Des Moines Capitols, Vancouver Canucks)
1952 - Dave (David S.) Collins (baseball: California Angels, Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds, NY Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics, Detroit Tigers, SL Cardinals)
1952 - Melanie Mayron (Emmy Award-winning actress: thirtysomething [1988-1989])
1953 - Keith Hernandez (baseball: first base: SL Cardinals [all-star: 1979, 1980/Baseball Writers’ Award: 1979/World Series: 1982], NY Mets [all-star: 1984, 1986, 1987/World Series: 1986], Cleveland Indians)
1958 - Mark King (musician: bass, singer: group: Level 42: The Chinese Way, The Sun Goes Down [Living It Up], I Feel Free, Hot Water, Something About You, Leaving Me Now)
1958 - Eric Scott (actor: The Waltons)
1971 - Snoop Doggy Dogg (Cordozar Broadus) (rapper: LPs: Doggystyle, The Doggfather, No Limit Top Dogg)
Chart Toppers - October 20
I’ll Walk Alone - Dinah Shore
Is You is or is You Ain’t - Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
It Had to Be You - Helen Forrest & Dick Haymes
Smoke on the Water - Red Foley
You Belong to Me - Jo Stafford
Wish You Were Here - Eddie Fisher
I Went to Your Wedding - Patti Page
Jambalaya (On the Bayou) - Hank Williams
Save the Last Dance for Me - The Drifters
My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own - Connie Francis
I Want to Be Wanted - Brenda Lee
Alabam - Cowboy Copas
Hey Jude - The Beatles
Fire - The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
Little Green Apples - O.C. Smith
Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye - Eddy Arnold
Disco Duck (Part 1) - Rick Dees & His Cast of Idiots
Lowdown - Boz Scaggs
If You Leave Me Now -Chicago
You and Me - Tammy Wynette
I Just Called to Say I Love You - Stevie Wonder
Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run) - Billy Ocean
Hard Habit to Break - Chicago
I Don’t Know a Thing About Love (The Moon Song) - Conway Twitty
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.