Events - February 18
1735 - The first opera performed in America, known as either "Flora" or "Hob in the Well", was presented in Charleston, SC.
1908 - U.S. postage stamps in coil form were sold for the very first time. They cost only a penny -- or two.
1913 - The famous French painting, "Nude Descending a Staircase", by the French artist, Marcel Duchamp, was displayed at an "Armory Show" in New York City. The work was labeled as America’s first look at modern art. Critics called the work “scandalous” and “meaningless.” Yeah, well, it’s a beautiful, classic work of art no matter if it looks like an android doing "The Twist".
1922 - Kenesaw Mountain Landis resigned his post as U.S. District Judge in Illinois. He hung up his robe and donned a baseball cap, instead. Judge Landis had been baseball commissioner since 1920 and wanted to devote all of his time to America’s pastime.
1927 - Singer Jessica Dragonette starred on radio’s "Cities Service Concerts" (sponsored by the oil company of the same name) and literally, “sang her way into radio immortality.” She also sang on the "Palmolive Beauty Box Theatre" in the 1930s. In 1940 she starred on Pet Milk’s "Saturday Nite Serenade". Her many fans referred to her as the “first great voice of the air.”
1930 - Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly in an airplane. Elm Farm Ollie was a Guernsey who took to the air and as a special added attraction, got a milking in flight (mmmmmoooooooo!) while over St. Louis, MO. The milk was sealed in little paper containers and then parachuted over the city. And you thought we were just winging it with this stuff, didn’t you?
1932 - Sonja Henie won her 6th world women’s figure skating title in Montreal, Canada.
1942 - The Mills Brothers waxed one of their three greatest hits. "Paper Doll" became Decca record #18318. In addition to "Paper Doll", the other two classics by the Mills Brothers are: "You Always Hurt The One You Love" (1944) and "Glow Worm" (1952).
1944 - The U.S. Army, Navy and Marines invaded Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific. The U.S. took control two days later, completing the capture of the Marshall Islands.
1949 - "Yours Truly Johnny Dollar" debuted on CBS radio. The program starred Charles Russell as the insurance investigator with the action-packed expense account. The show was the last of the major, dramatic network programs on radio. Johnny Dollar walked into the radio sunset in 1962.
1953 - The new fad in America was 3-D, as demonstrated in the movie, "Bwana Devil". The 3-D feature opened at Loew’s State Theatre in New York City. Arch Oboler directed the movie which starred Robert Stack and the three-dimensional Barbara Britton.
1953 - Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz signed a contract worth $8,000,000 to continue the "I Love Lucy" TV show through 1955. The deal was the richest contract in television. “Babaloo!”
1960 - The VIIIth Winter Olympic Games were opened in Squaw Valley, California. A lack of snow had prompted organizers to hire Native Americans to do a snow dance, but a deluge of rain was the only result. Snow finally arrived just before the opening ceremonies, which had to be delayed to await the arrival of U.S. Vice-President Richard M. Nixon, who would declare the games open. The storm had held up his flight.
1964 - "Any Wednesday" opened at the Music Box Theatre in New York City. The play established Gene Hackman as an actor. Don Porter and Sandy Dennis also starred in the show.
1969 - A Mineral County Airlines vintage DC-3 airliner, a ‘gambler’s special’ flying vacationers home to California from Hawthorne, Nevada, disappeared over the Sierra Nevada Mountains while on a nighttime flight; almost six months later, in August 1969, searchers finally located the remains of the plane and the bodies of its 32 passengers and crew of three after melting snows exposed the wreckage. The DC-3, while flying in poor weather, had slammed into a near-vertical cliff on the eastern slope of Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in California (and highest in the United States outside of Alaska).
1972 - The California Supreme Court declared the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the state constitution. 107 inmates were taken off death row. Among those spared by the ruling was Charles Manson.
1973 - "The King Biscuit Flower Hour" debuted in the U.S. with a live (nationally syndicated) broadcast of Blood Sweat & Tears and the Mahavisnu Orchestra. The program also featured a then unknown Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
1977 - The space shuttle Enterprise, sitting atop a Boeing 747, went on its maiden ‘flight’, reaching altitudes of 16,000 feet above the Mojave Desert.
1980 - Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s Liberal Party won Canada’s elections.
1984 - Reed Larson of Detroit got two assists to become the highest scoring American-born player in the history of the National Hockey League. Larson broke the record (previously held by Tom Williams) by scoring his 432nd point.
1985 - Diver Greg Louganis was recognized as the top amateur athlete in the United States, as he received the James E. Sullivan Award of the Amateur Athletic Union in Indianapolis, IN. Louganis had won double gold at the 1984 Olympic Games.
1992 - In the New Hampshire primary, U.S. President George Bush (I) won the Republican election while challenger Patrick Buchanan placed a considerably strong second. Among Democrats, Paul Tsongas came in first.
1994 - At the Winter Olympic Games in Norway, speedskater Dan Jansen won gold, breaking the world record in the 1,000 meters.
1997 - Trinity Broadcasting Network, a U.S. Christian TV net, cancelled Pat Boone’s weekly gospel music show after he appeared in black leather and fake tattoos on the American Music Awards show. The network said it received thousands of protest phone calls and letters from its ‘prayer partners’. Boone explained that his garb was designed to promote his album "In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy".
1998 - Long-time Chicago Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray died at the age of 83; in Rancho Mirage, California.
2000 - Movies opening in the U.S. were: "Boiler Room", with Ben Affleck and Vin Diesel; "Pitch Black", starring Vin Diesel and Radha Mitchell; and "The Whole Nine Yards", with Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, Natasha Henstridge, Michael Clarke Duncan, Amanda Peet, Rosanna Arquette, Kevin Pollak and Harland Williams.
2005 - Films debuting in U.S. theatres: Because of Winn-Dixie, with Jeff Daniels, Dave Matthews, Eva Marie Saint, Cicely Tyson and AnnaSophia Robb; Constantine, starring Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf, Tilda Swinton, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Djimon Hounsou, Gavin Rossdale and Peter Stormare; and Son of the Mask, with Jamie Kennedy, Alan Cumming, Traylor Howard,Bob Hoskins.
2005 - U.S. President George Bush (II) declared American Samoa a major disaster area after Hurricane Olaf wiped out nearly all homes in at least one village in the Manua Islands.
2006 - Eight workers at a meat processing plant in Lincoln NE won a record $365 million Powerball jackpot (the winning number was drawn on this day).
2006 - A winter storm packing wind gusts up to 77 mph rolled across the Northeast U.S., downing trees and power lines. The ‘Blizzard of 2006’ had killed four people and thousands were without electricity.
2006 - Character actor Richard Bright was struck and killed by a tour bus in New York City; he was 68 years old. In 1972, Bright appeared in The Godfather as Al Neri, one of Michael Corleone [Al Pacino]’s lieutenants. Bright had supporting parts in The Getaway (1972) and costarred in The Panic in Needle Park (1971).
2007 - British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced plans to overhaul gun laws after three teenage boys were shot dead in south London during the month. The killings had prompted a national debate about guns and gangs among youths.
2008 - Platinum hit a record high for the 13th successive day because of lingering power supply shortages which had disrupted mining in South Africa.
Birthdays - February 18
1892 - Wendell L. (Lewis) Willkie (lawyer, politician: U.S. presidential nominee: Republican Party ; author: One World; died Oct 8, 1944)
1898 - Enzo Ferrari (auto racer, auto manufacturer; died Aug 14, 1988)
1907 - Billy De Wolfe (William Andrew Jones) (actor: The Perils of Pauline, Lullaby of Broadway, Tea for Two; died Mar 5, 1974)
1914 - Pee Wee King (bandleader, songwriter: The Tennessee Waltz, Slow Poke, You Belong to Me, You Don’t Need Love Anymore, Gonna Have a Good Time Tonight, Cripple Creek, You’ll See the Day; died Mar 7, 2000)
1919 - Jack Palance (Vladimir Palahnuik) (Academy Award-winning actor: City Slickers ; Requiem for a Heavyweight, Batman, Cyborg 2, Cops and Robbersons, Bronk, Ripley’s Believe It or Not; died Nov 10, 2006)
1920 - Bill Cullen (TV host: I’ve Got a Secret, The Price is Right, The Joker’s Wild, Name that Tune; died July 7, 1990)
1922 - Helen Gurley Brown (feminist; publisher: Cosmopolitan; author: Sex and the Office; died Aug 13, 2012)
1925 - George Kennedy (Academy Award-winning supporting actor: Cool Hand Luke ; The Blue Knight, Earthquake!, Naked Gun series, Airplane, Dallas, Delta Force, The Dirty Dozen; died Feb 28, 2016)
1928 - Jim McElreath (Indy Car driver: Indy 500 Rookie of the Year ; died May 18, 2017)
1930 - Gahan Wilson (‘America’s master of the macabre’:cartoonist: Playboy, The New Yorker)
1931 - Toni Morrison (Chloe Anthony Wofford) (Nobel Prize  and Pulitzer Prize-winning author: Beloved ; National Book Critics Circle Award: Song of Solomon , Jazz, Tar Baby, Sula, The Bluest Eye)
1932 - Milos Forman (Academy Award-winning director: One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest , Amadeus ; died Apr 13, 2018)
1933 - Yoko Ono Lennon (singer: Walking on Thin Ice; artist; John Lennon’s widow)
1939 - Dal (Charles Dallan) Maxvill (baseball: SL Cardinals [World Series: 1964, 1967, 1968], Oakland Athletics [World Series: 1974], Pittsburgh Pirates)
1941 - Herman Santiago (singer: group: Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers: Why Do Fools Fall in Love?, The ABCs of Love)
1945 - Judy Rankin (Torluemke) (golf champion: Nabisco Dinah Shore , Du Maurier Classic )
1947 - Dennis DeYoung (musician: keyboard, singer: group: Styx: Lady, Sweet Madame Blue, Come Sail Away, Babe, The Best of Times; solo: Desert Moon)
1948 - Sinead Cusack (actress: Stealing Beauty, Cyrano de Bergerac, Revenge; married to actor, Jeremy Irons; daughter of actor, Cyril Cusack)
1948 - Keith Knudsen (musician: drums, singer: group: The Doobie Brothers: What a Fool Believes, Real Love)
1949 - John (Claiborn) Mayberry (baseball: Houston Astros, KC Royals [all-star: 1973, 1974], Toronto Blue Jays, NY Yankees)
1949 - Jerry (Julio Ruben Torres) Morales (baseball: SD Padres, Chicago Cubs [all-star: 1977], SL Cardinals, Detroit Tigers, NY Mets)
1950 - Bruce (Eugene) Kison (baseball: pitcher: Pittsburgh Pirates [World Series: 1971, 1979], California Angels, Boston Red Sox)
1950 - Cybill Shepherd (actress: Cybill, Moonlighting, The Last Picture Show, The Long Hot Summer)
1951 - Dick Stockton (Texas Tennis Hall-of-Famer)
1952 - Randy (Veronica) Crawford (singer: Imagine, Nightline, One Day I’ll Fly Away, Rainy Night in Georgia)
1952 - Juice Newton (Judy Cohen) (singer: Angel of the Morning, LPs: Juice, Quiet Lives)
1953 - Robbie Bachman (drummer: group: Bachman-Turner Overdrive: Let It Ride, Takin’ Care of Business, You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, Roll on Down the Highway)
1954 - Marty Howe (hockey: NHL: Hartford Whalers, Boston Bruins; Hartford Whalers radio color analyst; son of NHL Hall-of-Famer Gordie Howe)
1954 - John Travolta (actor: Welcome Back Kotter, Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Urban Cowboy, Pulp Fiction, Get Shorty, Broken Arrow, Face/Off, Primary Colors, The Thin Red Line, Swordfish)
1957 - Vanna White (Rosich) (TV game show personality: Wheel of Fortune)
1960 - Greta Scacchi (actress: White Mischief, Presumed Innocent)
1964 - Matt Dillon (actor: My Bodyguard, Drugstore Cowboy, The Outsiders, There's Something About Mary)
1968 - Molly Ringwald (actress: Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, The Facts of Life, Requiem for Murder)
1973 - Shawn Estes (baseball [pitcher]: San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres)
1975 - Sarah Brown (Emmy Award-winning winning actress: General Hospital [1997, 1998, 2000]; Heart of the Beholder, The Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story, Hostile Force)
1975 - Chad Moeller (baseball [catcher]: USC; MLB: Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, Los Amgeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, Arizona Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds)
1981 - Alex Rios (baseball [right field]: Toronto Blue Jays [2004–2009]; Chicago White Sox [2009–2013]; Texas Rangers [2013–2014]; Kansas City Royals [2015- ]: 2015 World Series champs])
1988 - Maiara Walsh (actress: Desperate Housewives, Cory in the House, Switched at Birth, Revolution, Mean Girls 2, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Starving Games)
Chart Toppers - February 18
Don’t Fence Me In - Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
Accentuate the Positive - Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
I Dream of You - The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (vocal: Freddy Stewart)
I’m Losing My Mind Over You - Al Dexter
Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes - Perry Como
Till I Waltz Again with You - Teresa Brewer
Keep It a Secret - Jo Stafford
I Let the Stars Get in My Eyes - Goldie Hill
Calcutta - Lawrence Welk
Shop Around - The Miracles
Calendar Girl - Neil Sedaka
North to Alaska - Johnny Horton
Everyday People - Sly & The Family Stone
Touch Me - The Doors
Build Me Up Buttercup - The Foundations
Until My Dreams Come True - Jack Greene
Torn Between Two Lovers - Mary MacGregor
New Kid in Town - Eagles
Blinded by the Light - Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
Near You - George Jones & Tammy Wynette
Careless Whisper - Wham! featuring George Michael
Loverboy - Billy Ocean
Method of Modern Love - Daryl Hall John Oates
Make My Life with You - The Oak Ridge Boys
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.