Events - February 11
1752 - Through the efforts of Benjamin Franklin, the Pennsylvania Hospital opened. It was the very first hospital in America.
1808 - Judge Jesse Fell experimented by burning anthracite coal to keep his house warm on this winter day in Wilkes-Barre, PA. He successfully showed how clean the coal burned and how cheaply it could be used as a heating fuel. As a result, that area of northeast Pennsylvania became an important coal mining area for generations. Those who settled in the area to work the coal mines were referred to as ‘coal crackers’.
1861 - President-elect Abraham Lincoln and his wife left Springfield, IL by train for Washington, D.C. (and their new gigs as president and first lady). About 400 miles into the trip, Mary Lincoln reportedly turned to the new President and said, “Did you lock the back door, Abe?” and “I think I left my makeup bag on the counter...” (Verification of some of these facts is pending.)
1916 - The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra presented its first concert. The symphony was the first by a municipal orchestra to be supported by taxes.
1938 - Larry Clinton and his orchestra recorded "Martha" on Victor Records. Bea Wain was heard warbling the vocals on the tune.
1940 - NBC radio presented "The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street" for the first time. The famous Blue network series included several distinguished alumni -- among them, Dinah Shore and Zero Mostel. The chairman, or host, of "The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street" was Milton Cross. He would say things like, “A Bostonian looks like he’s smelling something. A New Yorker looks like he’s found it.” The show combined satire, blues and jazz and was built around what were called the three Bs of music: Barrelhouse, Boogie Woogie and Blues.
1943 - General Dwight David Eisenhower was selected to command the allied armies in Europe. The General’s efforts in World War II made him so popular that he was elected President of the United States less than a decade later.
1949 - Willie Pep recaptured the world featherweight boxing title by defeating Sandy Sadler in New York City.
1958 - Ruth Carol Taylor was the first black woman to become a stewardess (flight attendant) by making her initial flight this day on Mohawk Airlines from Ithaca, NY to New York City.
1960 - Jack Paar walked off NBC’s "Tonight Show". The previous night, Paar had told a joke during his monologue, and although Paar didn’t say “toilets,” but “water closets,” it offended the NBC censors, who cut the joke (a total of four minutes) out of the show. Paar was incensed when he found out, so on this night he complained about the NBC censors, said “good night” and left. (He returned on March 7, following a trip to Hong Kong, and stayed around for another two years as host of "Tonight".)
1966 - Willie Mays became the highest-paid baseball player in either league as he signed a two-year contract with the San Francisco Giants for a salary of about $130,000 a year.
1968 - The new 20,000 seat Madison Square Garden officially opened in New York. It was the fourth arena to be named Madison Square Garden. The showplace for sports and entertainment opened with a gala show hosted by Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.
1970 - "Variety" reported this day that Walt Disney had secretly taken its "Song of the South" movie out of circulation back in 1958. Originally released in 1946, the live-action/animated flick featuring Brer Fox, Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear, Uncle Remus and kids, Johnny and Ginny, won an Academy Award (1947) for the song, "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah". James Baskett won an Oscar for his Uncle Remus role. "Variety" said "Song of the South" was pulled because of ...racist attitudes reflected in the Negro roles in the film.
1975 - The movie, "Shampoo", opened. Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Goldie Hawn, Jack Warden, Lee Grant (who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress), Tony Bill, William Castle and Howard Hesseman starred. And, making her film debut a year before "Star Wars" made her famous: Carrie Fisher.
1982 - ABC-TV’s presentation of "The Winds of War" concluded on this night. The 18-hour miniseries cost $40 million to produce and was the most-watched television program in history at the time -- topping another ABC presentation, Alex Haley’s "Roots". An audience estimated at 140 million people watched one or more nights of the program.
1985 - Kent Hrbek became the first player in the history of the Minnesota Twins to sign a contract for $1 million. The first baseman signed a five-year, $6-million pact at the same time that the Twins celebrated their 24th year as an American League franchise.
1987 - North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith got his 600th career coaching win as the Tar Heels defeated Wake Forest 94-85. At the time, Smith had 600 wins and 173 losses in his 26-year coaching career.
1989 - The Rev. Barbara C. Harris, 55, of Boston, was consecrated as the first female bishop in the 450-year history of the Anglican Church.
1990 - James ‘Buster’ Douglas knocked out ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson in the 10th round to grab the heavyweight boxing crown for himself. Douglas went into that bout in Tokyo a 35-1 underdog.
1990 - Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s leading antiapartheid figure was freed after 27 years in prison. Mandela walked through the gate of Victor Verster prison outside Cape Town, setting off celebrations among his followers. Mandela assumed the forefront of the African black struggle after his release from prison.
2000 - The films opened in the U.S.: The drama/adventure "The Beach", starring Leonardo Dicaprio, Tilda Swinton, Virginie Ledoyen and Guillaume Canet; the comedy/adventure "Snow Day", with Schuyler Fisk, Adam Brown, Mark Webber and Emmanuelle Chriqui; the animated comedy "The Tigger Movie", starring starring Tigger and Winnie the Pooh, too (with Jim Cummings as the voice of both).
Birthdays - February 11
1802 - Lydia Child (writer: Hobomok, The Rebels, The Frugal Housewife, The Mother’s Book, [w/husband] An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans; newspaper publisher [w/husband]: The National Antislavery Standard; died Oct 20, 1880)
1847 - Thomas Alva Edison (inventor of more than 1000 patented ideas; passed away October 18, 1931)
1889 - John Mills (musician: guitar, singer: bass: group: The Mills Brothers [father of the four Mills brothers, took youngest son John, Jr.’s place after his death in 1935]: Paper Doll, You Always Hurt the One You Love, I Love You So Much It Hurts, I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm, Someday [You’ll Want Me To Want You], Be My Life’s Companion, Glow-Worm; died Dec 8, 1967)
1908 - Philip Dunne (director: Wild in the Country, Ten North Frederick; playwright: The Agony and the Ecstasy, Ten North Frederick, Pinky, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Forever Amber, How Green was My Valley; founder of the Screen Writers Guild; died June 2, 1992)
1909 - Max (Maximillian Adalbert) Baer (‘The Livermore Larruper’: boxer; father of Beverly Hillbillies’ actor Max Baer Jr.; died Nov 21, 1959)
1909 - Joseph Mankiewicz (Academy Award-winning playwright, director: A Letter to Three Wives , All About Eve ; The Honey Pot, Cleopatra, Guys and Dolls, The Barefoot Contessa, Julius Caesar, People Will Talk; playwright: The Keys of the Kingdom, I Live My Life, Forsaking All Others, Diplomaniacs; director: Sleuth, Suddenly Last Summer, Five Fingers, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir; died Feb 5, 1993)
1914 - Matt Dennis (pianist, singer: recorded vocals for Paul Whiteman; died June 21, 2002)
1915 - Josh White (Joshua Daniel White, Sr.) (blues/folk singer, guitarist; died Sep 5, 1969)
1917 - Sidney Sheldon (author: Bloodline, The Doomsday Conspiracy, The Other Side of Midnight; died Jan 30, 2007)
1919 - Eva Gabor (actress: Green Acres, Gigi, The Last Time I Saw Paris; died July 4, 1995)
1925 - Kim Stanley (Patricia Reid) (Emmy Award-winning actress: A Cardinal Act of Mercy - Ben Casey , Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - American Playhouse ; The Right Stuff; died Aug 20, 2001)
1926 - Leslie Nielsen (actor: Police Squad, Airplane, Airplane II, Naked Gun series, Dead and Loving It, Forbidden Planet, Wrongfully Accused; died Nov 28, 2010)
1931 - Larry Merchant (author, sportscaster: HBO boxing)
1934 - Tina Louise (Blacker) (actress: Gilligan’s Island, Rituals, Jan Murray Time, Dallas)
1934 - Mary Quant (designer: renowned for her 1960s creations: ‘rib jumpers’, mini skirts, dresses, tights, ‘hipster’ belts, sleeveless crochet tops)
1935 - Gene Vincent (Vincent Eugene Craddock) (singer: Be-Bop-A-Lula, Lotta Lovin’, Dance to the Bop; actor: The Girl Can’t Help It; died Oct 12, 1971)
1936 - Burt Reynolds (Emmy Award-winning actor: Evening Shade , Gunsmoke, Deliverance, Smokey and the Bandit, Cannonball Run, The Longest Yard, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas)
1938 - Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett (singer: The Monster Mash [released 3 times: 1962, 1970, 1973])
1939 - Gerry Goffin (lyricist: w/Carole King: Will You Love Me Tomorrow, You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman; w/Michael Masser: Tonight I Celebrate My Love, Saving All My Love for You; died Jun 19, 2014)
1941 - Sergio Mendes (musician: Brasil ’66, Brasil ’77, Brasil ’88: Fool on the Hill, Mas Que Nada, The Look of Love)
1950 - Clarence Ellis (football: Notre Dame, Atlanta Falcons)
1962 - Sheryl Crow (Grammy Award-winning singer: All I Wanna Do , The Globe Sessions )
1969 - Jennifer Aniston (actress: Friends, Microsoft Windows 95 Video Guide, ’Til There Was You, Waiting for Woody, Rock Star, The Good Girl)
1979 - Brandy Norwood (Grammy Award-winning singer: The Boy Is Mine [w/Monica: 1999]; I Wanna Be Down, Baby, Best Friend, Brokenhearted, Sittin’ Up in My Room, Never S-A-Y Never, Top of the World, Have You Ever?, Almost Doesn’t Count, U Don’t Know Me (Like U Used To), What About Us?)
Chart Toppers - February 11
Symphony - The Freddy Martin Orchestra (vocal: Clyde Rogers)
I Can’t Begin to Tell You - Bing Crosby with the Carmen Cavallaro Orchestra
Let It Snow - Vaughn Monroe
Guitar Polka - Al Dexter
Oh! My Pa-Pa - Eddie Fisher
Make Love to Me - Jo Stafford
Young-at-Heart - Frank Sinatra
Bimbo - Jim Reeves
Peppermint Twist - Joey Dee & The Starliters
Duke of Earl - Gene Chandler
Norman - Sue Thompson
Walk on By - Leroy Van Dyke
Venus - The Shocking Blue
Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)/Everybody is a Star - Sly & The Family Stone
I’ll Never Fall in Love Again - Dionne Warwick
A Week in a Country Jail - Tom T. Hall
Stayin’ Alive - Bee Gees
(Love Is) Thicker Than Water - Andy Gibb
Just the Way You Are - Billy Joel
I Just Wish You Were Someone I Love - Larry Gatlin with Brothers & Friends
That’s What Friends are For - Dionne & Friends
Burning Heart - Survivor
I’m Your Man - Wham!
Hurt - Juice Newton
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.