Events - August 31
1852 - The United States Congress passed legislation creating the first prestamped envelopes.
1939 - Frank Sinatra recorded "All or Nothing at All" with the Harry James Band. The tune failed to become a hit until four years later -- after Ol’ Blue Eyes had joined the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.
1940 - Actor Lawrence Olivier and actress Vivian Leigh were married.
1941 - "The Great Gildersleeve", a spin-off of "Fibber McGee and Molly", started on NBC radio.
1942 - “Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman!” Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound ... the caped crusader started on network radio on the Mutual Broadcasting System. Bud Collyer, later of TV’s "Beat the Clock", played Clark Kent aka Superman on the radio series. His identity had been well guarded for years. Most people didn’t have a clue as to the identity of Superman until a "TIME" magazine article about Collyer appeared in 1946.
1950 - Gil Hodges of the Brooklyn Dodgers hit four home runs in a single game. He got homers off of Boston Braves pitchers Warren Spahn, Normie Roy, Bob Hall and Johnny Antonelli.
1955 - Nashua defeated Swaps in a match-up of the thoroughbred horses at Arlington Park in Chicago, IL.
1959 - Sandy Koufax set a National League record by striking out 18 hitters. Wally Moon connected for a three-run homer as the LA Dodgers downed the San Francisco Giants, 5-2.
1963 - Walter Cronkite started showing up in living rooms during the dinner hour as anchor of the "CBS Evening News", a job he took over from Douglas Edwards on April 16, 1962. Previous to this night, "CBS Evening News" had been shown from 7:30-7:45 p.m. and 7:15-7:30 p.m.
1976 - A judge ruled that George Harrison was guilty of copying from the song "He’s So Fine" (a 1963 Chiffons hit). The judge said that the chorus to Harrison’s "My Sweet Lord" was identical to "He’s So Fine" and it eventually (appeals went on for about five years) cost the former Beatle over half a million dollars.
1981 - Tickets went on sale for the highest-priced play in Broadway history. "Nicholas Nickleby", performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Plymouth Theatre in New York, included a 45-minute dinner break -- all for $100 per person.
1987 - This day saw the largest preorder of albums in the history of CBS Records. 2.25 million copies of Michael Jackson’s "Bad" album were shipped to record stores. The LP followed in the tracks of the Jackson album, "Thriller", the biggest Jackson-seller of all time (35 million copies sold). The "Bad" album was successful -- but sold only 13 million copies.
1990 - Ken Griffey & Ken Griffey Jr were the first father-and-son teammate combo to play on same baseball team: the Seattle Mariners. Both men hit singles in the first inning. And, that September 14 they hit back-to-back home runs in a game at the California Angels.
1997 - Diana, Britain’s Princess of Wales, was killed in an early-morning car crash in Paris, France. Also killed was her millionaire companion, Harrods department store heir, Dodi Fayed. The couple was being chased by aggressive paparazzie (photographers) on motorcycles at the time of the crash.
Birthdays - August 31
1870 - Maria Montessori (educator: first woman to attend medical school, first female Doctor of Medicine in Italy, worked with handicapped and socially deprived children, developed unique educational method known as the Montessori method; Montessori Schools named for her; died May 6, 1952)
1897 - Fredric March (Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel) (Academy Award-winning actor: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde [1931-32], The Best Years of Our Lives ; Seven Days in May, Inherit the Wind, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, Desperate Hours, The Bridges at Toko-Ri, Executive Suite, A Christmas Carol, A Star is Born, Mary of Scotland, Anna Karenina, The Barretts of Wimpole Street; Tony Award-winner: Long Day’s Journey into Night ; died Apr 14, 1975)
1903 - Arthur (Morton) Godfrey (ukulele playing, TV/radio entertainer: Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts, Arthur Godfrey and Friends; Lipton Tea commercials; died Mar 16, 1983)
1907 - William Shawn (magazine editor: The New Yorker; died Dec 08, 1992)
1908 - William Saroyan (Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright: The Time of Your Life ; The Human Comedy; died May 18, 1981)
1914 - Richard Basehart (actor: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea; Marilyn: The Untold Story, The Andersonville Trial, The Brothers Karamazov, Moby Dick; died Sep 17, 1984)
1916 - Daniel Schorr (journalist: CBS News, CNN; Senior News Analyst: National Public Radio; died Jul 23, 2010)
1918 - Alan Jay Lerner (Songwriters Hall of Famer: Academy Award-winner: Gigi [score and title song, 1958], An American in Paris [screenplay, 1951]; lyricist: Brigadoon, Paint Your Wagon, Camelot, My Fair Lady; half of songwriting team of Lerner & Loewe; Grammy Award-winner: On a Clear Day You Can See Forever ; died June 14, 1986)
1920 - G.D. Spradlin (actor: Riders of the Purple Sage, The War of the Roses, Tank, North Dallas Forty, Apocalypse Now, The Godfather, Part 2, Zabriskie Point, Rich Man, Poor Man - Book II; died Jul 24, 2011)
1924 - Buddy Hackett (Leonard Hacker) (comedian, actor: The Love Bug, The Music Man; cartoon voices: The Little Mermaid; died Jun 30, 2003)
1928 - James Coburn (actor: Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, The Great Escape, Our Man Flint, The President’s Analyst, Hudson Hawk, Charade, The Magnificent Seven; died Nov 18, 2002)
1935 - Eldridge Cleaver (black activist; died May 1, 1998)
1935 - Frank Robinson (Baseball Hall of Famer: Cincinnati Redlegs [ Rookie of the Year: 1956/all-star: 1956, 1957], Cincinnati Reds [all-star: 1959, 1961, 1962, 1965/World Series: 1961/Baseball Writers’ Award: 1961], Baltimore Orioles [World Series: 1966, 1969, 1970, 1971/all-star: 1966, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1974/Baseball Writers’ Award: 1966], LA Dodgers, California Angels, Cleveland Indians; first black baseball manager)
1937 - Warren Berlinger (actor: Love American Style, Sex and the Single Parent, The World According to Garp)
1939 - Jerry Allison (musician: drums: group: The Crickets: That’ll be the Day; songwriter w/Sunny Curtis)
1940 - Jack Thompson (actor: Last Dance, The Killing Beach, Ground Zero, Breaker Morant, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Waterfront, Jack Petersen)
1945 - Itzhak Perlman (violinist: recorded with Andre Previn and Scott Joplin)
1945 - Van Morrison (songwriter, singer: group: Them: Gloria; solo: Brown Eyed Girl, Domino, Blue Money, She Gives Me Religion)
1947 - Carl Garrett (football: Oakland Raiders running back: Super Bowl XI)
1949 - Richard Gere (actor: An Officer and a Gentleman, Pretty Woman, American Gigolo, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, The Cotton Club, Days of Heaven, First Knight, The Jackal)
1952 - Rudolf Schenker (musician: guitar: group: Scorpions: LPs: Lonesome Crow, Fly to the Rainbow, In Trance, Virgin Killers, Taken by Force, Tokyo Tapes, Lovedrive, Animal Magnetism, Blackout, Love at First Sting, World Wide Live)
1954 - Claudell Washington (baseball: Oakland Athletics [all-star: 1974/World Series: 1974], Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, NY Mets, Atlanta Braves [all-star: 1984], NY Yankees, California Angels)
1955 - Edwin Moses (Olympic Gold Medalist [1976, 1984] & Hall of Famer: 400-meter hurdles: the first athlete to use 13 strides between hurdles; 1983 winner of Sullivan Award: the U.S. outstanding amateur athlete)
1955 - Anthony Thistlethwaite (musician: saxophone: group: The Waterboys)
1958 - Von (Francis) Hayes (baseball: Cleveland Indians, Philadelphia Phillies [World Series: 1983/all-star: 1989], California Angels)
1959 - Tony DeFranco (singer: group: The DeFranco Family: Heartbeat, It’s a Lovebeat)
1970 - Deborah (Ann) Gibson (singer: Only in My Dreams, Foolish Beat, Lost in Your Eyes, Les Miserables; writer: Between the Lines; perfume: Electric Youth)
1972 - Chris Tucker (actor: Rush Hour series, House Party 3, Dead Presidents, The Fifth Element, Money Talks, Jackie Brown)
Chart Toppers - August 31
Mona Lisa - Nat King Cole
Play a Simple Melody - Bing Crosby
Sam’s Song - Bing & Gary Crosby
Goodnight Irene - Red Foley-Ernest Tubb
Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare) - Domenico Modugno
Little Star - The Elegants
My True Love - Jack Scott
Blue Blue Day - Don Gibson
Summer in the City - The Lovin’ Spoonful
Sunny - Bobby Hebb
See You in September - The Happenings
Almost Persuaded - David Houston
(You’re) Having My Baby - Paul Anka
I Shot the Sheriff - Eric Clapton
Tell Me Something Good - Rufus
The Grand Tour - George Jones
Eye of the Tiger - Survivor
Hurts So Good - John Cougar
Abracadabra - The Steve Miller Band
Fool Hearted Memory - George Strait
Vision of Love - Mariah Carey
Come Back to Me - Janet Jackson
If Wishes Came True - Sweet Sensation
Next to You, Next to Me - Shenandoah
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.