Events - February 12
1878 - Frederick W. Thayer, the captain of the Harvard University Baseball Club, patented the now-familiar, baseball catcher’s mask. We thought he was sitting in the dugout, scouting pitchers -- but instead, he was drawing pictures of this contraption. Sure beats eating a baseball sandwich, though.
1880 - The National Croquet League was organized in Philadelphia, PA. And they ate croquettes at their awards banquet (well, maybe).
1908 - The now-famous New York-to-Paris automobile race began via Seattle and Yokohama, Japan. The race started at Times Square in New York City. Six automobiles were entered in the race. George Schuster got the checkered flag after 170 days. He spent 88 of them actually driving.
1924 - Bandleader Paul Whiteman presented his unique symphonic jazz at the Aeolian Hall in New York City. The concert marked the first public performance of George Gershwin’s "Rhapsody In Blue". The composer, himself, was at the piano this night. Distinguished guests included John Philip Sousa and Jascha Heifetz.
1924 - Calvin Coolidge, known by many as the ‘Silent President’, made the first presidential political speech on radio. The speech originated from New York City and was broadcast on five radio stations. Some five million people tuned in to hear the President speak.
1924 - "The Eveready Hour" became radio’s first sponsored network program. The National Carbon Company took the honor of being the first sponsor of a network show. Today, the battery maker “keeps on going, and going, and going, and going...”
1940 - Mutual Radio presented the first broadcast of the comic-strip hero, "Superman". The identity of the man from planet Krypton was unknown to listeners for six years. The secret eventually leaked out that Superman’s voice was actually that of Bud Collyer, who would later host the hit television program, "To Tell the Truth" on CBS.
1942 - Mildred Bailey recorded "More Than You Know" on Decca Records.
1949 - Annie Get Your Gun closed at the Imperial Theater on Broadway after 1147 performances.
1950 - Albert Einstein warned against the dangers of the hydrogen bomb.
1954 - Pierre Etchebaster, the reigning, world, open-court tennis champion for the previous 16 years, retired at age 59. He may have said, “I’ve had enough of this racket,” but, we haven’t confirmed that at this time. We do know, however, that he ‘netted’ quite a name for himself throughout the tennis world, and his popularity is forever ‘set’ in the history of the sport. Pierre Etchebaster was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1978.
1964 - The Beatles played two concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York City, concluding a very successful American tour.
1968 - Singer and famed guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, received an honorary high school diploma from Garfield High School in Seattle, WA, where he had dropped out at the age of 14. The legendary psychedelic blues musician who founded The Jimi Hendrix Experience and later, The Band of Gypsies (with Buddy Miles on drums), recorded several highly acclaimed albums, including "Are You Experienced" and "The Jimi Hendrix Experience". Hit songs included: "The Wind Cries Mary", "Purple Haze" and "All Along the Watchtower". Hendrix also did a screaming psychedelic version of "The Star-Spangled Banner". Hendrix died of a drug overdose in 1970.
1972 - Al Green’s "Let’s Stay Together" knocked "American Pie" out of the top spot on the music charts. The record stayed at the top for one week, before giving way to Nilsson’s "Without You". Green returned to his gospel roots in 1980 and is a minister in Memphis, TN. Green recorded 14 hit songs with six of them making it to the Top 10.
1973 - The State of Ohio went metric, becoming the first in the U.S. to post metric distance signs along Interstate 71. These new signs showed the distance in both miles and kilometers. The metric system, though standard in many nations around the world, never quite caught on in the United States, except on major-league baseball stadium fences -- and on that highway in Ohio.
1976 - Actor Sal Mineo was murdered in Los Angeles. Lionel Ray Williams was eventually convicted for killing Mineo. Although there was considerable confusion relating to what witnesses had seen in the darkness the night Mineo was murdered, it was later revealed that prison guards had overheard Williams admitting to the crime. Among the films Mineo starred in were Exodus and Rebel Without a Cause. He also enjoyed modest success as a recording artist, scoring a top-ten hit in 1957 with Start Movin’.
1985 - Johnny Carson surprised his audience by shaving the beard he had been sporting on "The Tonight Show". Carson quipped: “I had to do it when a little old lady said that she had confused me for one of the Smith Brothers.” There was silence from the studio audience, until Johnny timed it perfectly by saying, "You know, the cough drop guys." Uproarious laughter.
1994 - Celine Dion’s "The Power of Love" was the #1 single in the U.S. It ruled the musical roost for four weeks: “We're heading for something; Somewhere I've never been; Sometimes I am frightened; But I'm ready to learn; Of the power of love.”
1994 - The XVIIth Winter Olympic Games opened in Lillehammer, Norway. The games ran through Feb 27th.
1997 - "Dangerous Ground" opened in U.S. theatres. The movie cast Ice Cube with Elizabeth Hurley. Go figure...
1999 - Movies debuting in the U.S.: The romantic comedy "Blast From the Past", starring Brendan Fraser, Alicia Silverstone, Christopher Walken, Sissy Spacek and Dave Foley; the romantic "Message in a Bottle", with Kevin Costner, Robin Wright Penn, John Savage, Illeana Douglas, Robbie Coltrane, Jesse James and Paul Newman; and the comedy "My Favorite Martian", starring Jeff Daniels, Christopher Lloyd, Elizabeth Hurley, Daryl Hannah, Wallace Shawn, Christine Ebersole and Michael Lerner.
2000 - Hall-of-Fame football coach Tom Landry, who led the Dallas Cowboys to five Super Bowls in 20 consecutive winning seasons, died in Irving, Texas. He had been hospitalized with leukemia for several months.
2003 - Kemmons Wilson founder of the Holiday Inn chain, died in Memphis, TN. He was 90 years old.
2004 - Some 90 gay and lesbian couples wed in San Francisco. Over the following few days, many more took their vows.
2005 - Howard Dean, former Vermont governor and U.S. presidential candidate, was elected chairman of the Democratic Party.
2006 - A storm dumped a record-breaking 27 inches of snow on New York City, closed many major airports, and left 200,000 without power in Washington DC and Baltimore MD.
2007 - Peter Ellenshaw, Adademy-Award-winning (Mary Poppins 1965) special effects artist for Walt Disney, died at 93 years of age. Ellenshaw worked on many Disney feature films. His talent and experience with special visual effects were so respected that Disney called him out of retirement (after ten years) to work on its The Black Hole movie in 1979.
2008 - General Motors Corporation reported a $38.7 billion loss for 2007, the largest annual loss ever for an automotive company.
2008 - Barack Obama won 75% of the primary vote in Washington DC, nearly two-thirds in Virginia and approximately 60% in Maryland.
Birthdays - February 12
1775 - Louisa Adams (Johnson) (wife of 6th U.S. President John Quincy Adams; died May 15, 1852)
1809 - Charles Darwin (naturalist: theory of evolution: On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection, Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex; died Apr 19, 1882)
1809 - Abraham Lincoln 16th U.S. President [1861-1865]; married to Mary Todd [four sons]; nickname: Honest Abe; assassinated Apr 15, 1865
1880 - John L. Lewis (U.S. labor leader: United Mine Workers of America; died June 11, 1969)
1881 - Anna (Pavlovna) Pavlova (Russia’s premier ballerina; died Jan 23, 1931)
1904 - Ted Mack (William Edward Maguiness) (TV host: The Original Amateur Hour, The Ted Mack Family Hour; died July 12, 1976)
1914 - (Gordon) ‘Tex’ Beneke (bandleader, singer, tenor sax: Glenn Miller Orchestra: Chattanooga Choo Choo, Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree; died May 30, 2000)
1915 - Lorne Greene (newscaster: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation [CBC]; actor: Bonanza, The Silver Chalice, Earthquake, Battlestar Galactica; pseudo-singer: Ringo; died Sep 11, 1987)
1917 - Dom (Dominic Paul) DiMaggio (‘The Little Professor’: baseball: Boston Red Sox [all-star: 1941, 1942, 1946, 1949-1952/World Series: 1946]; younger brother of Baseball Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio; died May 8, 2009)
1919 - Forrest Tucker (actor: Sands of Iwo Jima, The Yearling, Thunder Run, F Troop; died Oct 25, 1986)
1923 - Mel Powell (pianist, composer: Mission to Moscow for Benny Goodman; music educator: Dean of Music at California Institute of Arts; died Apr 24, 1998)
1923 - Franco Zeffirelli (Corsi) (director: The Champ, The Taming of the Shrew, Othello, Endless Love, Jesus of Nazareth)
1926 - Joe (Joseph Henry) Garagiola (baseball: catcher: SL Cardinals [World Series: 1946]; Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, NY Giants; sportscaster: NBC’s Game of the Week; TV host: Today, Westminster Dog Show; author: Baseball is a Funny Game, It’s Anybody’s Ballgame; died Mar 23, 2016)
1930 - Arlen Specter (U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania [1981–2011]; died Oct 14, 2012)
1934 - Bill Russell (William Felton) (Basketball Hall of Famer: Boston Celtics: NBA MVP [1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965])
1935 - Gene McDaniels (Eugene Booker McDaniels) (singer: A Hundred Pounds of Clay, Tower of Strength, Chip Chip; died Jul 29, 2011)
1935 - Ken Still (golf: champ: Florida Citrus Open , Greater Milwaukee Open , Kaiser Open ; died Mar 19, 2017)
1936 - Joe Don Baker (actor: Cool Hand Luke, The Natural, Fletch, Citizen Cohn, Guns of the Magnificent Seven, Ring of Steel, Charlie Varrick)
1938 - Judy Blume (author: Superfudge, Blubber)
1938 - Johnny Rutherford (auto racer: Indianapolis 500 winner: 1974, 1976, 1980 [oldest driver to win an Indy race])
1939 - Ray Manzarek (musician: keyboards: group: The Doors: The End, Light My Fire, People are Strange, Love Me Two Times, Riders on the Storm; died May 20, 2013)
1942 - Pat (Patrick Edward) Dobson (baseball: pitcher: Detroit Tigers [World Series: 1968], San Diego Padres, Baltimore Orioles [World Series: 1971/all-star: 1972], Atlanta Braves, NY Yankees, Cleveland Indians; died Nov 22, 2006)
1944 - Moe Bandy (singer: Americana, Where’s the Dress, Till I’m Too Old to Die Young; ten #1 hits, 45 top-ten hits; LP: Good Ol’ Boys [w/Joe Stampley)
1945 - Maud Adams (actress: Octopussy, Killer Force, The Man with the Golden Gun, Emerald Point N.A.S., Chicago Story)
1945 - Cliff De Young (actor: Blue Collar, F/X, Sunshine, Master of the Game, Centennial)
1946 - Joe Schermie (musician: bass: group: Three Dog Night: One, Easy to be Hard, Eli’s Cooming, Mama Told Me [Not to Come], Joy to the World, Black & White, Shambala; died Mar 25, 2002)
1949 - Len (Leonard Shenoff) Randle (baseball: Washington Senators, Texas Rangers, NY Mets, NY Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners)
1950 - Michael Ironside (actor: V, Scanners, Top Gun, Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling, Total Recall, Free Willy, SeaQuest DSV, ER, Starship Troopers, The Perfect Storm)
1952 - Simon MacCorkindale (actor: Falcon Crest, Manimal, Counterstrike, Obsessive Love, Jaws 3, Death on the Nile; died Oct 14, 2010)
1953 - Joanna Kerns (actress: The Four Seasons, Growing Pains; gymnast)
1956 - Arsenio Hall (Emmy Award-winning TV talk-show host: Emmy Award-winning TV talk-show host: The Arsenio Hall Show Show [1990, 1993]; MTV Video Music Awards [1988-1991], The Late Show, The 1/2 Hour Comedy Hour; actor: Harlem Nights, Coming to America, Amazon Women on the Moon, Martial Law; entertainer: Thicke of the Night, Motown Revue)
1964 - Raphael Sbarge (actor: stage: The Curse of an Aching Heart, Hamlet, Ah, Wilderness!, Ghosts, The Twilight of the Golds, The Shadow Box, Voices in the Dark; films: Once Upon a Time, Pearl Harbor, Risky Business, Last of the Ninth, Gardens of the Night, Home Room, The Fair, Message in a Bottle)
1965 - Alex Meneses (actress: Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Everybody Loves Raymond, Friends, The Hughleys, Amanda and the Alien, Selena, Living in Peril, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Auto Focus, NCIS, Funny Money)
1968 - Chynna Phillips (singer: group: Wilson Phillips; daughter of singers John and Michelle Phillips; half-sister of actress Mackenzie Phillips; married to actor Billy Baldwin)
1977 - Melissa Howard (actress: The Real World, Girls Behaving Badly)
1979 - Jesse Spencer (actor: Neighbours, Death in Holy Orders, Uptown Girls, House M.D., Swimming Upstream)
1980 - Juan Carlos Ferrero (former World #1 tennis champ: French Open )
1980 - Sarah Lancaster (actress: Catch Me If You Can, Teacher’s Pet, Rocket’s Red Glare, Lovers Lane, Sorority, Michael Landon, the Father I Knew, Saved by the Bell, Chuck)
Chart Toppers - February 12
For Sentimental Reasons - Nat King Cole
Ole Buttermilk Sky - The Kay Kyser Orchestra (vocal: Mike Douglas & The Campus Kids)
A Gal in Calico - Johnny Mercer
So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed - Merle Travis
Sincerely - McGuire Sisters
Hearts of Stone - Fontane Sisters
Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So) - Perry Como
Let Me Go, Lover! - Hank Snow
Hey Paula - Paul & Paula
Loop De Loop - Johnny Thunder
Up on the Roof - The Drifters
The Ballad of Jed Clampett - Flatt & Scruggs
Knock Three Times - Dawn
One Bad Apple - The Osmonds
Rose Garden - Lynn Anderson
Joshua - Dolly Parton
Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? - Rod Stewart
Y.M.C.A. - Village People
A Little More Love - Olivia Newton-John
Every Which Way But Loose - Eddie Rabbitt
Open Your Heart - Madonna
Livin’ on a Prayer - Bon Jovi
Change of Heart - Cyndi Lauper
Leave Me Lonely - Gary Morris
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.