440 International Those Were the Days
April 7

Events - April 7
1864 - The first camel race in America was held. Nope -- not in the Mojave Desert; but in Sacramento, California.

1928 - A 45-year-old retired goalie by the name of Lester Patrick stepped in to save a game for the New York Rangers, following an injury to the Rangers’ regular goaltender. The Rangers went on to beat Montreal and win the Stanley Cup in this, the final game of the series.

1940 - Booker T. Washington became the first black to be pictured on a U.S. postage stamp. His likeness was issued on a 10-cent stamp this day.

1949 - The Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein musical classic of love and war, "South Pacific", unfolded on a lush tropical island swarming with Seabees, nurses, natives and coconut trees on this night in 1949. Actually, it was not a tropical island, but the stage of the Majestic Theatre in New York City. Ezio Pinza starred as the suave French plantation owner with a shady past and Mary Martin portrayed the bubbly, pretty, but naive Navy nurse. Mary Martin washed her hair a zillion times as she sang, "I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Out of My Hair" in 1,925 performances. The 1950 Tony Awards awarded the show and its producers, performers, director (Joshua Logan) and composers with no less than 9 statuettes. It also earned a Pulitzer Prize in the same year and in 1958 was made into a movie. "South Pacific" caused a lot of "Happy Talk" and this night, so many years ago, was certainly "Some Enchanted Evening".

1954 - The tune "Gee" by The Crows became the first rhythm and blues single to gain attention on pop music charts. "Gee", written by William Davis, the baritone of The Crows, made it to #17 on the pop music chart and stayed for one week. This was also one of the first songs by a black group to be played on white radio stations. The Crows came together in the late ’40s in New York City, singing on street corners. Daniel ‘Sonny’ Norton (lead singer), Harold Major (tenor), Gerald Hamilton (bass) and Davis entered a talent contest at the Apollo Theatre and that was the beginning of their recording career. The group split up in the 1950s.

1956 - Arthur Hailey had a script accepted and presented just 20 days after it was submitted to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The drama, "Flight into Danger" had an unprecedented audience response. A number of years later, Arthur Hailey also wrote the best-selling novel, "Airport"; which was then adapted for the popular movie by the same title.

1963 - Jack Nicklaus became the youngest golfer to win the Green Jacket at the Masters Tournament. The ‘Golden Bear’ earned the win at one of golf’s premier events at the age of 23.

1970 - John Wayne, a movie veteran of over 200 films, won his first and only Oscar. The Duke earned an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in "True Grit", also starring Kim Darby and Glen Campbell. It is estimated that movie-goers paid over $500 million to see John Wayne in his many films which include: "The Big Trail", "Reap the Wild Wind", "The Long Voyage Home", "Red River", "The Quiet Man" and "The Sands of Iwo Jima" (the only other film to earn him an Oscar nomination).

1973 - Vicki Lawrence got her number one single as "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" made it to the top of the pop charts. Lawrence had become well known as the comedienne who played Eunice’s mother on "The Carol Burnett Show" and "Mama’s Family".

1977 - In the first American League game played outside the United States, Toronto’s Blue Jays beat the Chicago White Sox 9-5 at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto.

1979 - Pitcher, Ken Forsch, of Houston pitched a no-hitter over the Atlanta Braves, 6-0. Forsch walked only two batters. It was the earliest no-hitter ever pitched in a baseball season. He and his brother, Bob, a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, were the only brothers to ever pitch no-hitters in the big leagues. Bob threw a no-hitter on April 16, 1978.

1984 - Jack Morris of the Detroit Tigers tied the record for the earliest no-hitter in a season when he whipped Chicago 4-0. A national television audience saw Morris strike out eight batters and walk six in the first no-hitter thrown in Comiskey Park, Chicago, in 17 years.

1985 - Prince ended his 32-city tour and said that he was withdrawing from live performances for “an indeterminate number of years.” The last city on the tour was Miami, FL. He meant it so much, he even changed his name to a symbol and the name TAFKAP (The Artist Formerly Known As Prince). 1992 "The Sacramento Bee", "The New York Times" and "Newsday" were Pulitzer-prize winners; playwright Robert Schenkkan won for "The Kentucky Cycle", and novelist Jane Smiley was honored for "A Thousand Acres."

1997 - The Pulitzer Prize for fiction was presented to Steven Millhauser for "Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer". "The Times-Picayune" (New Orleans) won two journalism Pulitzer Prizes, including the public service prize. And trumpter Wynton Marsalis became the first jazz composer to win a Pulitzer Prize for music. He won for "Blood on the Fields", a three-hour work for big band and three singers.

2000 - These films debuted in U.S. theatres: "Ready to Rumble", starring David Arquette, Oliver Platt, Scott Caan, Bill Goldberg and Rose Mcgowan; "Return to Me", with David Duchovny, Minnie Driver, Carroll O'connor, Robert Loggia and Bonnie Hunt; and "Rules of Engagement", starring Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Guy Pearce, Philip Baker Hall, Bruce Greenwood and Blair Underwood.

Those Were the Days: Current Issues

Birthdays - April 7
1770 - William Wordsworth (poet: The Prelude: Growth of a Poet’s Mind; died Apr 23, 1850)

1786 - William King (13th U.S. Vice President: 1st VP to have served in both the House of Representatives and the Senate; took the only presidential or vice presidential oath ever administered outside of the United States [Havana, Cuba]; died Apr 18, 1853 [a month after taking that oath])

1873 - John (Joseph) ‘Mugsy’ McGraw (‘Little Napoleon’: Baseball Hall of Famer: Baltimore Orioles [1891-1899/champs: 1894-1897], SL Cardinals [1900], Baltimore Orioles [1901-1902], NY Giants [1902-1906]; manager: NY Giants: most World Series losses [6]; former baseball commissioner; died Feb 25, 1934)

1897 - Walter Winchell (vaudeville performer, journalist, gossip columnist: New York Mirror, radio commentator: “Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea.”; died Feb 20, 1972)

1908 - Percy Faith (Grammy Award-winning orchestra leader, composer: The Theme from "A Summer Place" [1960]; My Heart Cries for You [Guy Mitchell hit], Delicado, Song from Moulin Rouge, Theme for Young Lovers; died Feb 9, 1976)

1914 - Ralph Flanagan (pianist/arranger: Sammy Kaye, Blue Barron, Charlie Barnet, Gene Krupa, Tony Pastor, Boyd Raeburn, Alvino Rey, Tony Martin, Mindy Carson, Perry Como Supper Club radio show; bandleader: Nevertheless, Rag Mop, Harbor Lights, Slow Poke, Hot Toddy; theme song: Singing Winds; died Dec 30, 1995)

1915 - Billie Holiday (Eleanora Fagan) (‘Lady Day’: jazz singer: Lover Man, They Can’t Take that Away from Me, Fine and Mellow, Don’t Explain, Strange Fruit, God Bless the Child; died July 17, 1959)

1920 - Ravi Shankar (sitarist: played at Woodstock [1969] and with George Harrison in the Bangla-Desh Benefit concerts [1971]; was George Harrison’s sitar teacher; was resident lecturer at CCNY; died Dec 11, 2012)

1922 - Mongo (Ramon) Santamaria (bandleader, composer, musician: conga drums: Afro Blue, Watermelon Man; appeared in film: Made in Paris; played with Perez Prado and Tito Puente; died Feb 1, 2003)

1928 - James Garner (James Scott Bumgarner) (actor: The Rockford Files, Maverick, The Americanization of Emily, Victor/Victoria, Tank, A Man Called Sledge, Duel at Diablo, The Distinguished Gentleman, My Fellow Americans, Space Cowboys; died Jul 19, 2014)

1931 - Daniel Ellsberg (author: known for releasing Pentagon Papers to the NY Times)

1933 - Wayne Rogers (actor: M*A*S*H, Cool Hand Luke, Passion in Paradise, Pocket Money, The Killing Time, Chiefs, The Gig; died Dec 31, 2015)

1935 - Bobby Bare (Grammy Award-winning country singer: Detroit City [1964]; All America Boy [as Bill Parsons], Shame on Me, 500 Miles Away from Home; actor: A Distant Trumpet)

1937 - Gail Cogdill (football: Detroit Lions [one of the Lion’s all-time receiving champs], Baltimore Colts; died Oct 20, 2016)

1938 - Spencer Dryden (musician: drums: group: Jefferson Airplane: Somebody to Love, White Rabbit; died Jan 11, 2005)

1939 - Francis Ford Coppola (Academy Award-winning director: The Godfather: Part II [1974], screenwriter: Patton [1970], The Godfather [1973], The Godfather: Part II [1974]; The Godfather: Part III, Apocalypse Now, Finian’s Rainbow, Peggy Sue Got Married)

1939 - David Frost (TV host: That Was the Week that Was, The David Frost Show; died Aug 31, 2013)

1943 - Mick Abrahams (musician: guitar: groups: Blodwyn Pig; Jethro Tull: Serenade to a Cuckoo)

1947 - Patricia Bennett (singer: The Chiffons: Tonight’s the Night, He’s So Fine, One Fine Day, A Love So Fine, I Have a Boyfriend, Sweet Talkin’ Guy)

1949 - John Oates (songwriter, singer: group: Hall and Oates: She’s Gone, Sara Smile, Rich Girl, I Can’t Go for That, Private Eyes, Maneater)

1951 - Janis Ian (Fink) (Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter: At Seventeen [1975]; Society’s Child)

1952 - Bruce Gary (musician: drums: group: The Knack: My Sharona, Good Girls Don’t, Baby Talks Dirty)

1954 - Tony Dorsett (Pro Football Hall Famer: University of Pittsburgh: career record: for yards gained: Heisman Trophy winner [1976]; Dallas Cowboys running back: Super Bowls XII, XIII)

1960 - James ‘Buster’ Douglas (boxing champion: defeated Mike Tyson)

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Chart Toppers - April 7
My Dreams are Getting Better All the Time - The Les Brown Orchestra (vocal: Doris Day)
I’m Beginning to See the Light - The Harry James Orchestra (vocal: Kitty Kallen)
A Little on the Lonely Side - The Guy Lombardo Orchestra (vocal: Jimmy Brown)
Shame on You - Spade Cooley

Pretend - Nat King Cole
Till I Waltz Again with You - Teresa Brewer
I Believe - Frankie Laine
Your Cheatin’ Heart - Hank Williams

Blue Moon - The Marcels
Apache - Jorgen Ingmann
On the Rebound - Floyd Cramer
Don’t Worry - Marty Robbins

Dizzy - Tommy Roe
Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In - The 5th Dimension
You’ve Made Me So Very Happy - Blood, Sweat & Tears
Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass - Buck Owens

Rich Girl - Daryl Hall & John Oates
Dancing Queen - Abba
Don’t Give Up on Us - David Soul
Lucille - Kenny Rogers

One More Night - Phil Collins
We are the World - USA for Africa
Crazy for You - Madonna
Country Girls - John Schneider

Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end...

Comments/Corrections: TWtDfix@440fun.com

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

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