Events - August 17
1807 - Fulton’s Folly, the "Clermont" (although it wasn’t named at the time), made its first journey. Robert Fulton’s steamboat traveled between Albany, New York and New York City, a 150-mile journey. The trip took 32 hours.
1815 - Napoleon arrived at Saint Helena for the beginning of his exile.
1859 - A hot air balloon became a mail carrier, as John Wise left Lafayette, IN with over 100 letters for people in New York City. Once again, the mail was late, as Mr. Wise only got 27 miles out of town before being forced to land.
1877 - Blacksmith, F.P. Cahill became the first man to be mortally wounded by Billy the Kid -- notch number 1 for the Kid.
1894 - Pitcher John Wadsworth of Louisville gave up 28 base hits, all singles, in a single game. John set a National League and major-league record.
1915 - Charles F. Kettering of Detroit, MI patented the electric, automobile self-starter. And it’s a good thing he did -- or we’d still be cranking our cars by hand.
1918 - The famous race horse, Man o’ War, was sold at auction for $5,000. Samuel Riddle became the thoroughbred’s new owner.
1938 - Henry Jackson Armstrong defeated Lou Ambers at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Armstrong won the lightweight boxing championship and became the first fighter to hold three titles at one time: The feather, welter, and lightweight crowns.
1939 - Theatregoers first saw the magical "Wizard of Oz" in a gala premiere on this night. The first movie to use the combination of black and white and color film, starred Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale; Bert Lahr as both the Cowardly Lion and Zeke; Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow and Hunk; and Jack Haley as both the Tin Woodsman and Hickory. Originally, Buddy Ebsen was in the role of the Tin Man; but he became ill and had to leave the production before its completion. The movie was based on L. Frank Baum’s "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz", which he wrote in 1900 and adapted into a musical play. Directed by Victor Fleming, the Hollywood version took an Oscar for best movie score (Harold Arlen and E.Y. ‘Yip’ Harburg), and for best song, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".
1943 - Writer Norman Corwin’s first success debuted on CBS radio. It was "Passport for Adams", starring Robert Young who played a small town newspaper editor. Corwin would have many other radio successes. He wrote and produced such radio classics as "This is War", "An American in England" and "We Hold These Truths".
1963 - Dick Hall, a relief pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, retired his 28th batter in a row. Halls’s string of success began on July 24th and covered five games.
1978 - A transatlantic trip by air was not uncommon in 1978, unless you made the trip by hot-air balloon. Three American men had left Presque Isle, Maine six days earlier. After traveling 137 hours, 18 minutes and approximately 3,200 miles, Max Anderson, Ben Abruzzo and Larry Newman landed at Miserey, France on this day. The balloon that carried the three for this, the first completed transatlantic flight by balloon, was named the "Double Eagle II".
1984 - On this, the first night of his Breaking Hearts Tour, Elton John announced that he was retiring from touring.
1987 - Steffi Graf replaced Martina Navratilova as the number one tennis player in the Women’s International Tennis Association. The 18-year-old had won eight tournaments in 1987, including the French Open.
1993 - Allegations of child abuse prompted Los Angeles police to investigate entertainer Michael Jackson. This, after the 13-year-old son of a Beverly Hills dentist told his therapist that Jackson had sexually abused him. Jackson claimed the allegations followed a failed attempt by the dentist to extract 20 million dollars from the singer. No criminal charges were filed against Jackson, but a civil suit was. It was settled out of court in January 1994. Michael Jackson, meanwhile, cancelled or postponed several dates on his "Dangerous" world tour, citing illness or exhaustion.
1997 - Davis Love III won the 79th PGA Championship at Mamaroneck, NY. It was his first major title and he finished five strokes ahead of Justin Leonard with a 72-hole total of 11-under 269 (which included 3 rounds of 66).
1997 - The old CN (Canadian National) train station in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, home town of country singing legend Hank Snow, was dedicated as the Hank Snow Country Music Centre. The Centre features personal memorabilia of Nova Scotia’s "native son", including his 1947 Cadillac and pieces from other Canadian country music stars (including Carroll Baker, Wilf Carter, Ronnie Prophet, George Hamilton IV, Lucille Starr). Snow died December 20, 1999 at the age of 85.
1999 - More than 17,000 people were killed when a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck Turkey, close to the town of Izmit. Tens of thousands of people were injured or killed. No one knows exactly how many.
Birthdays - August 17
1786 - Davy Crockett (frontiersman, soldier, defender of the Alamo; killed Mar 6, 1836 at the Alamo)
1879 - Samuel Goldwyn (Schmuel Gelbfisz) (movie pioneer: the ‘G’ of MGM; Academy Award-winning producer: The Best Years of Our Lives ; All Quiet on the Western Front; died Jan 31, 1974)
1888 - Monty (Edgar Montillion) Woolley (actor: As Young as You Feel, Since You Went Away, The Man Who Came to Dinner; died May 6, 1963)
1893 - Mae (Mary Jane) West (playwright, actress: Sextette, Go West, Young Man, I’m No Angel, Every Day’s a Holiday, Diamond Lil, Sex; actress: She Done Him Wrong, My Little Chicadee, Myra Breckinridge; autobiography: Goodness Had Nothing to Do with It; died Nov 22, 1980)
1909 - Larry Clinton (bandleader: Deep Purple, My Reverie, On a Slow Boat to China; composer: The Dipsy Doodle, Satan Takes a Holiday, Tap Dancer’s Nightmare, Dusk in Upper Sandusky; died May 2, 1985)
1919 - Georgia Gibbs (Fredda Lipson or Gibson) (‘Her Nibs’ singer: Tweedle Dee, Dance With Me Henry [Wallflower], Kiss of Fire, Seven Lonely Days; died Dec 9, 2006)
1920 - Maureen O’Hara (FitzSimons) (actress: Miracle on 34th Street, How Green was My Valley, The Quiet Man, The Hunchback of Notre Dame; died Oct 24, 2015)
1923 - Larry Rivers (Yitzroch Grossberg) (artist: 9 Kinds of French Money, The Bike Girl, Downtown Lion, Head of an English Girl, Lenin?, Sky Music at Carnegie Hall, Wounded Civil War Soldier; died Aug 14, 2002)
1929 - Francis Gary Powers (pilot: U-2 flight over Soviet Union; CIA agent; killed in helicopter crash Aug 1, 1977)
1932 - John (Red) Kerr (basketball: Syracuse Nationals, Philadelphia Warriors, Baltimore Bullets; coach: Chicago Bulls: NBA Coach of the Year ; Phoenix Suns; died Feb 26, 2009)
1932 - Duke Pearson (composer, band leader, musician: piano: How Insensitive; died: Aug 4, 1980)
1933 - Glenn Corbett (Rothenburg) (actor: Shadow Force, The Stranger, All the Young Men, Shenandoah, The Violent Years, Route 66, The Road West, It’s a Man’s World, Dallas; died Jan 16, 1993)
1933 - Jim (James Houston) Davenport (baseball: SF Giants [World Series: 1962/all-star: 1962]; died Feb 18, 2016)
1939 - Chico (Ron) Maki (hockey: NHL: Chicago Blackhawks; died Aug 24, 2015)
1941 - Boog (John Wesley) Powell (baseball: Baltimore Orioles [World Series: 1966, 1969, 1970, 1971/all-star: 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971/Baseball Writer’s Award: 1970], Cleveland Indians, LA Dodgers)
1943 - Robert De Niro (actor: Academy Award-winning actor: Raging Bull , The Godfather II ; Brazil, The Deer Hunter, The Untouchables, Taxi Driver, Awakenings, Cape Fear, Frankenstein, Back Draft, Search for Tomorrow; director: Bronx Tale)
1947 - Gary Talley (musician: guitar: groups: Big Star, The Box Tops: The Letter, Neon Rainbow, Cry like a Baby, Choo-Choo Train, I Met Her in Church, Sweet Cream Ladies, Forward March, Soul Deep)
1948 - Bill (William Raymond) Parsons (baseball: pitcher: Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics)
1951 - Robert Joy (actor: Harriet the Spy, Waterworld, Longtime Companion, Big Shots, Desperately Seeking Susan, Atlantic City, Amityville 3: The Demon, The Lawrenceville Stories)
1952 - Nelson Piquet (Brazilian auto racer)
1952 - Guillermo Vilas (tennis champion: Australian Open [1978-79], French Open , U.S. Open 1977])
1953 - Kevin Rowland (musician: guitar, singer: group: Dexy’s Midnight Runners: Geno, There There My Dear, Plan B, Celtic Soul Brothers, Come On Eileen, Jackie Wilson Said [I’m in Heaven When You Smile], This One Last Mad Waltz, Until I Believe in My Soul, Because of You)
1955 - Colin Moulding (songwriter, singer, musician: bass: group: XTC: Making Plans for Nigel, Sgt. Rock [Is Going to Help Me], Senses Working Overtime)
1958 - Belinda Carlisle (musician: guitar, singer: group: The Go-Go’s: We Got the Beat, Head Over Heels, Turn to You, Heaven on Earth)
1960 - Sean Penn (Academy Award-winning actor: Mystic River ; Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Casualties of War, Shanghai Surprise, We’re No Angels, Carlito’s Way, Colors, Dead Man Walking)
1965 - Steve Gorman (musician: drums: The Black Crowes: No Use Lying, Cosmic Friend, Miracle to Me, Losing My Mind, Thorn in My Pride, Remedy, She Talks to Angels, Hard to Handle, Jealous Again)
1969 - Donnie Wahlberg (singer: group: New Kids on the Block; brother of Marky Mark)
1970 - Jim Courier (tennis champion: Australian Open [1992, 93], French Open [1991, 92])
Chart Toppers - August 17
I’ll Be Seeing You - Bing Crosby
Amor - Bing Crosby
Milkman, Keep Those Bottles Quiet - Ella Mae Morse
Is You is or is You Ain’t (Ma’ Baby) - Louis Jordan
Walkin’ My Baby Back Home - Johnnie Ray
Auf Wiedersehn, Sweetheart - Vera Lynn
Half as Much - Rosemary Clooney
A Full Time Job - Eddy Arnold
It’s Now or Never - Elvis Presley
Walk--Don’t Run - The Ventures
Walking to New Orleans - Fats Domino
Please Help Me, I’m Falling - Hank Locklin
People Got to Be Free - The Rascals
Born to Be Wild - Steppenwolf
Light My Fire - Jose Feliciano
Heaven Says Hello - Sonny James
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart - Elton John & Kiki Dee
You Should Be Dancing - Bee Gees
Let ’Em In -Wings
Say It Again - Don Williams
Ghostbusters - Ray Parker Jr.
What’s Love Got to Do with It - Tina Turner
State of Shock - Jacksons
That’s the Thing About Love - Don Williams
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.