Events - February 20
1725 - The first known Indian scalping by white men was reported on this day in the New Hampshire colony.
1792 - President George Washington signed the Postal Service Act. Letters delivered up to 30 miles cost six cents to mail. For letters up to 150 miles, postage was 12-1/2 cents. And, just like today, letters over 150 miles were not guaranteed to be delivered at all.
1872 - Luther Crowell received a patent for a machine for manufacturing paper bags. Patent #123,811 allowed for the bags to have two longitudinal inward folds. Check out your bags and see if you have one like that!
1872 - The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened in New York City.
1872 - Silas Noble and J.P. Cooley of Granville, MA patented the toothpick manufacturing machine. Not very environmental ... but popular.
1921 - Rudolph Valentino starred in the motion picture, "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse", which was released this day.
1940 - Larry Clinton and his orchestra recorded "Limehouse Blues" on Victor Records.
1944 - 970 bombers of the U.S. Eighth Air Force began raiding German aircraft manufacturing centers in Hamburg, Leipzig and Braunschweig. The series of attacks became known as ‘Big Week’. The Eighth, Ninth and the Fifteenth Air Force together flew more than 3,800 sorties and dropped 10,000 tons of bombs during the six day period starting this day. In all, roughly half of the German facilities for aircraft production were destroyed or heavily damaged, including nearly a thousand fighter aircraft ready or near completion.
1947 - A vicious chemical blast at the O’Connor Electro-Plating Company ripped apart a four-block area in a Los Angeles manufacturing district. Seventeen people were killed and 150 injured.
1952 - One of the game’s most popular figures, Emmett L. Ashford, became the first black umpire in organized baseball. Ashford was authorized to be a substitute in the Southwestern International League.
1952 - A true American classic, "The African Queen", opened at the Capitol Theatre in New York City. The film starred Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, under the direction of John Huston. Critics accused Huston of larking when he adapted the famous book to film. And he laughed all the way to the bank.
1958 - Racing jockey Eddie Arcaro got win number 4,000, as he rode the winner at Santa Anita race track in Southern California.
1962 - America’s first space hero, John Glenn, made space history. Glenn orbited the world three times in 4 hours, 55 minutes. “Godspeed, John Glenn. You’re cleared for orbit.”
1963 - Baseball great Willie (‘Say Hey’) Mays signed with the San Francisco Giants as baseball’s highest-paid player. He earned $100,000 a year. Times have changed, haven’t they? Bat boys make that much now, it seems...
1966 - Chester W. Nimitz, WWII U.S. admiral, died at his home on Yerba Buena Island, San Francisco Bay. He would have been 81 years old on the day of his funeral (Feb 24) at Golden Gate National Cemetery.
1971 - The National Emergency Warning Center in Colorado erroneously alerted radio and TV stations across the U.S. and ordered them off the air. The nuclear alert included the proper code word, which meant that broadcasters should have treated it as genuine, but most just ignored it.
1973 - Bob Seagren won "The Superstars" competition held in Rotonda, FL. The track and field star got $39,700 in prize money for winning four of seven scheduled events.
1974 - After a decade of marriage, Cher filed for separation from husband Sonny Bono. Not long afterwards, she filed for divorce and the accompanying alimony. This time she sang, "I Got You Babe", for real ... before becoming a successful solo singer and movie actress in films such as "Moonstruck" (Best Actress Oscar in 1987).
1982 - Singer Pat Benatar married musician-producer Neil Geraldo in Hawaii.
1987 - After 11 years on the job, David Hartman exited ABC’s "Good Morning America". He introduced new co-host, Charles Gibson who, with Joan Lunden, would co-host the morning television program into 1998.
1997 - The National Transportation Safety Board called for a speedup in the redesign of the rudder controls on Boeing 737s. The NTSB cited rudder problems suspected in deadly crashes near Colorado Springs, CO and Pittsburgh, PA.
1998 - These films opened in theatres across the U.S.: "Dangerous Beauty", starring Catherine Mccormack, Rufus Sewell and Oliver Platt; "Palmetto", with Woody Harrelson, Elisabeth Shue and Gina Gershon; and "Senseless", featuring Marlon Wayans Matthew Lillard David Spade Rip Torn.
2000 - Defending Winston Cup champ Dale Jarrett won his third Daytona 500 in eight years, passing surprise contender Johnny Benson for the lead four laps from the end. Jarrett’s $1,277,975 share of the purse, coupled with a million-dollar bonus from series sponsor Winston, gave him the largest single-day payoff in the history of the sport.
2002 - Apolo Anton Ohno, U.S. speed skater, won a gold medal after Kim Dong Sung of South Korea was disqualified (for blocking Ohno with a half-lap to go) in the 1,500 meter race.
2003 - Former U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brian Patrick Regan was convicted in Alexandria, VA for offering to sell secrets to Iraq and China. He was later sentenced to life without parole.
2003 - The Station, a Warwick, RI nightclub, erupted in a raging fire during a pyrotechnics display at a rock concert. 98 people were killed and 200 others injured. Flammable soundproofing -- and the fireworks -- were blamed for the tragedy.
2004 - Movies debuting in the U.S.: Against the Ropes, starring Meg Ryan, Omar Epps, Joe Cortese, Tim Daly, Tony Shalhoub, Kerry Washington and Skye McCole Bartusiak; Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, with Lindsay Lohan, Alison Pill and Adam Garcia; Eurotrip, starring Scott Mechlowicz, Jacob Pitts, Michelle Trachtenberg, Travis Wester, Matt Damon, Joel Kirby, Kristin Kreuk, Lucy Lawless, Joanna Lumley, Johnathan Mankuta, J.P. Manoux and Molly Schade; and Welcome to Mooseport, with Ray Romano, Gene Hackman, Marcia Gay Harden, Maura Tierney, Fred Savage, Rip Torn and Christine Baranski.
2004 - Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger directed the California state attorney general to take legal steps to stop San Francisco from granting marriage licenses to gay couples.
2004 - J.R. Triplett of Winchester, Virginia won $230 million in the Mega Millions lottery, becoming the biggest winner in the game’s history (to that time).
2005 - Deaths on this day: Actress Sandra Dee (Gidget, Tammy and the Doctor, married to singer Bobby Darin); singer John Raitt (88) (Carousel, The Pajama Game, father of singer Bonnie Raitt); Hunter S. Thompson (67) (gonzo journalist: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas).
2006 - British revisionist historian David Irving was sentenced to jail for three years by an Austrian court. Irving had pleaded guilty to denying the existence of the Holocaust during a visit to Austria in 1989. (Irving’s lawyers finally won in the Austrian Court of Appeal and he was released on Dec 21, 2006.)
2007 - Donation Day: 38-year-old Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo, and his wife, Akiko Yamazaki, donated $75 million to Stanford University; Canada’s New Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced the establishment of a research institute in Canada to develop an AIDS vaccine, committing a total of $119 million to the project.
2008 - A U.S. Navy SM-3 missile knocked out a dying U.S. spy satellite. Officials explained that they had to destroy an onboard tank of toxic fuel.
Birthdays - February 20
1726 - William Prescott (soldier: American Revolutionary War: “Don’t fire until you see the white’s of their eyes.”; died Oct 13, 1795)
1829 - Joseph Jefferson (actor: Rip Van Winkle; died Apr 23, 1905)
1904 - Aleksei (Nikolevich) Kosygin (Soviet premier [1964-1980]; died Dec 18, 1980)
1910 - Carl Stotz (‘Father of Little League Baseball’: founded Little League baseball organization; died June 4, 1992)
1914 - John Daly (Emmy Award-winning reporter ; TV host: What’s My Line; died Feb 24, 1991)
1915 - Chick (Melvin) Harbert (golfer: PGA Champion ; died Sep 1, 1992)
1924 - Gloria Vanderbilt (fashion designer; subject of famous Vanderbilt child-custody case)
1925 - Robert Altman (director: M*A*S*H, Nashville, Brewster McCloud; died Nov 20, 2006)
1926 - Bob Richards ('Vaulting Vicar': Olympic pole-vaulter: only man to win 2 golds [1952, 1956] and a total of 3 medals [bronze, 1948] in this event)
1927 - Sidney Poitier (Academy Award-winning actor: Lilies of the Field ; Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, To Sir With Love, Sneakers)
1928 - Roy (Elroy Leon) Face (baseball: pitcher: Pittsburgh Pirates [all-star: 1959-1961/World Series: 1960], Detroit Tigers, Montreal Expos)
1929 - Amanda Blake (Beverly Louise Neill) (actress: Gunsmoke: Miss Kitty; Betrayal, The Glass Slipper, Sabre Jet, Stars in My Crown; died Aug 16, 1989)
1930 - Patricia Smith (actress: Spirit of St. Louis, Save the Tiger; died Jan 2, 2011)
1934 - Bobby Unser (race car driver: Indianapolis 500 winner [1968, 1975, 1981])
1937 - Roger Penske (race car driver, team owner: CART; speedway owner, operator of Cleveland Grand Prix for Indy cars)
1937 - Nancy Wilson (singer: (You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am, Face It Girl, It’s Over, What Are You Doing New Years?, Yesterday’s Love Songs, Today’s Blues; died Dec 13, 2018)
1938 - Richard Beymer (actor: The Diary of Anne Frank, West Side Story, Twin Peaks, The Longest Day)
1941 - Buffy (Beverly) Sainte-Marie (singer: I’m Gonna Be a Country Girl Again, Mister Can’t You See, Up Where We Belong, He’s an Indian Cowboy in the Rodeo; songwriter: Universal Soldier, Until It’s Time for You to Go; Married to Jack Nitzsche)
1941 - Clyde Wright (baseball: pitcher: California Angels [all-star: 1970], Milwaukee Brewers, Texas Rangers)
1942 - Phil Esposito (hockey: NHL: Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins [NHL MVP: 1969, 1974], NY Rangers)
1946 - Sandy Duncan (dancer, actress: Peter Pan, Pinnochio, Roots, The Hogan Family)
1946 - J. (Jerome) Geils (guitarist: group: The J. Geils Band: Looking for a Love, Give It to Me, Freeze-Frame, Centerfold; died Apr 11, 2017)
1947 - Peter Strauss (actor: Peter Gunn, Rich Man Poor Man, Soldier Blue, The Yearling)
1948 - Pierre Bouchard (hockey: NHL: Montreal Canadiens, Washington Capitals)
1948 - Jennifer O’Neill (actress: The Summer of ’42, Cover-Up, Rio Lobo)
1950 - Walter Becker (musician: bass, guitar: group: Steely Dan; died Sep 2, 2017)
1951 - Edward Albert (actor: Mind Games, Butterflies are Free, The Heist, Terminal Entry, Guarding Tess; died Sep 22, 2006)
1951 - Randy California (Wolfe) (singer, musician: guitar: group: Spirit: I Got a Line on You, Nature’s Way; solo: LPs: Kaptain Kopter and the Fabulous Twirlybirds, Shattered Dreams, Spirit of ’84; died Jan 2, 1997 in swimming accident off Molokai HI)
1954 - Patty Hearst (Shaw) (publishing heiress; kidnapee; actress: Cry-Baby)
1958 - James Wilby (actor: Howard’s End, A Tale of Two Cities Conspiracy, A Summer Story, A Handful of Dust, Maurice, Dreamchild)
1963 - Charles Barkley (basketball: Phoenix Suns; shortest player [6’6"] to lead NBA in rebounds)
1963 - Ian Brown (singer: group: Stone Roses)
1966 - Cindy Crawford (supermodel, actress: Fair Game, Sex with Cindy Crawford, The Simian Line)
1967 - Kurt Cobain (musician, singer: group: Nirvana: LP: Nevermind; creator of grunge rock; died April 5, 1994)
1967 - Andrew Shue (actor: Melrose Place)
1975 - Brian (Thomas) Littrell (singer: group: Backstreet Boys: LPs: Backstreet Boys, Star Profile, Millennium)
1978 - Jay Hernandez (actor: Magnum P.I. [2018 reboot], Crazy/Beautiful, Friday Night Lights, World Trade Center, Nothing Like the Holidays, Six Degrees, Last Resort, Hostel, Suicide Squad, Bad Moms)
1981 - Majandra Delfino (actress: State’s Evidence, Ultra, Celeste in the City, The Learning Curve, Traffic, Zeus and Roxanne, Roswell)
1983 - Jeremy Foley (actor: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Caitlin’s Way, Dante’s Peak, Soccer Dog; voice actor: Casper: A Spirited Beginning, Casper Meets Wendy)
1983 - Justin Verlander (baseball [pitcher]: Detroit Tigers [2005–2017]; Houston Astros [2017– ]: 2017 World Series champs)
1984 - Trevor Noah (stand-up comedian, TV host: The Daily Show with Trevor Noah; more)
1987 - Miles Teller (actor: Rabbit Hole, The Spectacular Now, Project X, 21 & Over, That Awkward Moment, Divergent, Two Night Stand)
Chart Toppers - February 20
For Sentimental Reasons - Nat King Cole
A Gal in Calico - Johnny Mercer
Oh, But I Do - Margaret Whiting
So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed - Merle Travis
Sincerely - McGuire Sisters
Melody of Love - Billy Vaughn
Tweedle Dee - Georgia Gibbs
Let Me Go, Lover! - Hank Snow
Hey Paula - Paul & Paula
Walk like a Man - The 4 Seasons
Ruby Baby - Dion
The Ballad of Jed Clampett - Flatt & Scruggs
One Bad Apple - The Osmonds
If You Could Read My Mind - Gordon Lightfoot
Mama’s Pearl - The Jackson 5
Help Me Make It Through the Night - Sammi Smith
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
Livin’ on a Prayer - Bon Jovi
Change of Heart - Cyndi Lauper
Touch Me (I Want Your Body) - Samantha Fox
How Do I Turn You On - Ronnie Milsap
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.