Events - April 15
1794 - "Courrier Francais" became the first French daily newspaper to be published in the U.S.
1865 - Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America, died at 7:22 a.m. Lincoln had been shot in the back of the head the previous evening while attending a performance of "Our American Cousin" at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. The assassin, John Wilkes Booth, escaped, only to be hunted down and shot to death. Lincoln was carried to a boarding house across the street from the theatre. He never regained consciousness.
1912 - The ‘unsinkable’ luxury liner, "Titanic", sank at 2:27a.m. The largest passenger vessel in the world went under off the coast of Newfoundland two and one-half hours after striking an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City. A young David Sarnoff, later of RCA and NBC, relayed telegraph messages to advise relatives on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean of the 700+ survivors. 1,517 lives were lost at sea. Many movies and documentaries about the monumental disaster have been filmed over the years. However, none had the exacting data gleaned by scientists from the 1986 expedition aboard "Atlantis II". Dr. Robert Ballard headed a crew and a robot named Jason in a descent to the deck of the "Titanic" aboard "Alvin", a submersible craft. They returned with information and photos that challenged and verified stories from the past. After years of studying the facts, the 1997 Academy Award-winning film, "Titanic", recreated the ship to the tiniest detail including the design on the elegant china. Although the film’s love story is fictitious, the true tragedy of the Titanic can now be seen by the world some eight decades later.
1923 - Insulin became available for general use on this day. It was first discovered in 1922. Today, insulin is used daily in the treatment of diabetes. It is extracted from the pancreas of sheep, oxen and by other means, including synthesization in the laboratory. Insulin, a natural and vital hormone for carbohydrate metabolism in the body, is manufactured by the pancreas. An overabundance of insulin causes insulin shock and leads to a variety of symptoms, including coma.
1923 - Dr. Lee DeForest’s Phonofilm, the first sound-on-sound film, motion picture, was demonstrated for a by-invitation-only audience at the Rivoli Theatre in New York City. The guests saw "The Gavotte", a man and woman dancing to old-time music and "The Serenade", four musicians who played on wind, percussion and string instruments.
1927 - Serge Koussevitsky directed the Boston Symphony in the first performance of Frederick Converse’s symphony, "Flivver Ten Million", a salute to the ‘Tin Lizzie’ automobile.
1934 - Dagwood and Blondie Bumstead welcomed a baby boy, Alexander, to the comic strip, "Blondie". The child would be nicknamed, Baby Dumpling.
1947 - Jackie Robinson played his first major-league baseball game (he had played exhibition games previously) for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He went 0-for-4 against Boston. Robinson did get on base due to an error and scored the winning run in a 5-3 win for the Dodgers.
1955 - “Two all beef patties...” This is the anniversary of McDonald’s. Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald’s -- in Des Plaines, IL. Kroc began his career by selling milk shake machines. Among his first customers were the McDonald brothers from Southern California. After selling them several machines and watching the efficiency of their drive-in restaurant, Kroc bought the rights to market the brothers’ good fortune and hired them to work for him. On his first day of business, sales of 15-cent hamburgers and 10-cent French fries totaled $366.12. Thirty years later, McDonald’s grossed a whopping $8.6 billion annually. There is no telling how many burgers have been served at McDonald’s. They stopped counting years ago, saying, “Billions and billions served.” The rest is McHistory with McDonald’s a common sight around the world. The first McDonald’s is no longer. It was torn down to build a newer McDonald’s restaurant across the street. The firm’s worldwide headquarters are located in Oak Brook, IL, the home of ‘Hamburger University’. Have a Big Mac today! You deserve a break.
1956 - The worlds’ first, all-color TV station was dedicated -- in Chicago, IL. It was named WNBQ-TV and is now WMAQ-TV.
1956 - General Motors announced that the first, free piston automobile had been developed.
1971 - George C. Scott refused the Oscar for his Best Actor performance in "Patton" at the 43rd Annual Academy Awards ceremony at LA’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. He had previously told reporters that he did not want the honor, saying (after the votes had been cast and tallied), “It is degrading to have actors in competition with each other.” Scott called the Oscar ceremony, “a two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons.” Others who did accept the golden statuette as recognition for their works that evening include: Glenda Jackson, Best Actress ("Women in Love"); Helen Hayes, Best Supporting Actress ("Airport"); John Mills, Best Supporting Actor ("Ryan’s Daughter"); Fred Karlin (music), Robb Royer and James Griffin (lyrics), Best Music/Song, "For All We Know" from "Lovers and Other Strangers"; and Franklin J. Schaffner, Best Director ("Patton") ... "Patton" (Frank McCarthy, producer) also received the Best Picture honors. Other notable flicks from 1970 (some Oscar winners, some not): "Five Easy Pieces", "Love Story", "MASH", "Tora! Tora! Tora!", "Diary of a Mad Housewife".
1973 - The richest women’s golf tournament held (to that day) was won by Mickey Wright. She won the $25,000 first prize in the Colgate-Dinah Shore Golf Classic in Palm Springs, CA.
1985 - Ozzie Smith was awarded a $2-million annual contract by the St. Louis Cardinals. Smith became the richest infielder in baseball with the contract.
1985 - ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler helped Thomas the ‘Hit Man’ Hearns go nighty-night a littler earlier than expected, with a third round knockout to retain the world middleweight boxing title. Some have called the fight, “the greatest three rounds in boxing history.”
Birthdays - April 15
1452 - Leonardo da Vinci (artist: Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, The Virgin of the Rocks, The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne; died May 2, 1519)
1843 - Henry James (author: The Turn of the Screw, The Wings of the Dove, The Portrait of a Lady, The Ambassadors; died Feb 28, 1916)
1889 - Thomas Hart Benton (artist: regionalism: Cave Spring, Jesse James, mural of Indiana; died in 1975)
1894 - Bessie Smith (‘Empress of the Blues’: blues singer: sang with Louis Armstrong in 1925: early version of St. Louis Blues, My Man’s Blues, Dixie Flyer Blues, I Ain’t Got Nobody, A Good Man is Hard to Find, Poor Man’s Blues; died Sep 26, 1937)
1917 - Hans Conried (actor: My Friend Irma, Bus Stop, Oh! God: Book 2, Tut & Tuttle, The Monster that Challenged the World; host: Fractured Flickers TV Series; died Jan 5, 1982)
1920 - Jim Timmens (Grammy Award-winning composer: Aren’t You Glad You’re You [1977: Best Recording For Children, w/Christopher Cerf]; jazz musician, musical director of New York’s Radio City Music Hall; died in May 1980)
1922 - Harold Washington (mayor: Chicago: instrumental in tearing apart Chicago’s Democratic Machine of the Richard Daley administration; died Nov 25, 1987)
1930 - Herb Pomeroy (musician: trumpet: teacher at Berklee in Boston, bandleader; directed radio Malaysia Orchestra; died Aug 11, 2007)
1933 - Elizabeth Montgomery (actress: Bewitched, Robert Montgomery Presents; died May 18, 1995)
1933 - Roy Clark (musician: guitar, banjo; CMA Entertainer of the Year , Comedian of the Year [1970, 1971, 1972], co-host: Hee Haw; country singer: Tips of My Fingers, Through the Eyes of a Fool, Yesterday, When I Was Young, Come and Live with Me, Somewhere Between Love and Tomorrow, Thank God and Greyhound [You’re Gone])
1933 - Mel Kenyon (auto racer: legendary NAMARS champ)
1937 - Bob Luman (singer: Let’s Think About Living, Every Day I Have to Cry Some, The Pay Phone, Proud of You Baby; died Dec 27, 1978)
1938 - Claudia Cardinale (actress: The Pink Panther, Once Upon a Time in the West, Jesus of Nazareth, Henry the IV, A Man in Love)
1940 - Willie (William Henry) Davis (baseball: LA Dodgers [World Series: 1963, 1965, 1966/all-star: 1971, 1973], Montreal Expos, SL Cardinals, Texas Rangers, SD Padres, California Angels; died Mar 9, 2010)
1940 - Woody (Woodrow Thompson) Fryman (baseball: pitcher: Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies [all-star: 1968], Detroit Tigers, Montreal Expos [all-star: 1976], Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs; died Feb 4, 2011)
1942 - Walt Hazzard (basketball: 1964 Olympic Gold Medalist: U.S. team; LA Lakers, Seattle Supersonics, Atlanta Hawks, Buffalo Braves, Golden State Warriors; UCLA coach; died Nov 18, 2011)
1942 - Julie Sommars (actress: Sex and the Single Parent, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo)
1945 - Ted Sizemore (baseball: St. Louis Cardinals; National League Rookie of the Year: LA Dodgers 2B )
1950 - Dick (Richard Louis) Sharon (baseball: Detroit Tigers, SD Padres)
1950 - Amy Wright (actress: The Scarlet Letter, Final Verdict, Crossing Delancey, The Accidental Tourist, Wise Blood, Breaking Away, The Amityville Horror, The Deer Hunter)
1951 - Heloise (Ponce Kiah Marchelle Heloise Cruse Evans) (newspaper columnist, writer: Hints from Heloise; she took over the Heloise empire after her mother, the original Heloise, died in 1977)
1957 - Evelyn Ashford (track athlete: 4-time Olympic gold medalist, a shared record for most gold medals won by a woman: 100 meters , 4 x 100m relay [1984, 1988, 1992])
1959 - Emma Thompson (Academy Award-winning actress: Howard’s End , Sense and Sensibility, The Remains of the Day, In the Name of the Father, Look Back in Anger, Henry V; screenwriter: Sense and Sensibility; daughter of producer Eric Thompson, actress Phyllida Law; sister of actress Sophie Thompson)
1966 - Graeme Clark (musician: bass: group: Wet Wet Wet: With a Little Help From My Friends, Goodnight Girl, Love is All Around)
1966 - Samantha Fox (singer: Naughty Girls [Need Love Too])
Chart Toppers - April 15
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)
Candy - Johnny Mercer & Jo Stafford
Smoke on the Water - Bob Wills
I Believe - Frankie Laine
Doggie in the Window - Patti Page
Till I Waltz Again with You - Teresa Brewer
Your Cheatin’ Heart - Hank Williams
Blue Moon - The Marcels
Apache - Jorgen Ingmann
Dedicated to the One I Love - The Shirelles
Don’t Worry - Marty Robbins
Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In - The 5th Dimension
You’ve Made Me So Very Happy - Blood, Sweat & Tears
Galveston - Glen Campbell
Woman of the World (Leave My World Alone) - Loretta Lynn
Dancing Queen - Abba
Don’t Give Up on Us - David Soul
Don’t Leave Me This Way - Thelma Houston
Lucille - Kenny Rogers
We are the World - USA for Africa
Crazy for You - Madonna
Nightshift - Commodores
Honor Bound - Earl Thomas Conley
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.