Events - February 21
1842 - John J. Greenough of Washington, DC patented a leather stitching/sewing machine on this day.
1878 - The first telephone directories issued in the U.S. were distributed to residents in New Haven, CT. It was easy to “Let Your Fingers Do the Walking” at that time as only 50 subscribers’ names were listed.
1885 - The official dedication of the Washington Monument took place in Washington, D.C., although the monument wasn’t completed for another thirty-three years. In fact, the structure took a total of thirty-six years to finish. The stone obelisk honoring the first President of the United States was designed by Robert Mills who died in this, the year of the dedication.
1925 - The first issue of "The New Yorker" was published.
1932 - William N. Goodwin of Newark, New Jersey patented the camera exposure meter. So, if your prints aren’t turning out like they should, blame him or, better yet, change your exposure setting. It’s written right there in the instruction manual that you read when you got the camera. You did read it, didn’t you?
1943 - "Free World Theatre" debuted on the Blue network (now ABC radio). The program was produced and directed by Arch Oboler.
1945 - "The Lion and the Mouse" was first broadcast on "Brownstone Theatre", which premiered this day on the Mutual Broadcasting System.
1947 - Edwin Land demonstrated a nifty new gadget to the Optical Society of America in New York City. It was the first camera to take, develop and print a picture on photo paper (in black and white back then) all in about a minute. He called his invention the Polaroid Land Camera. It became an ‘instant’ success.
1950 - The first International Pancake Race was held in Liberal, Kansas. The annual event, scheduled each year on Shrove Tuesday, pits the women of Liberal against the women of Olney, Bucks, England. Wearing dresses and aprons, their heads covered in scarves, the women run a 415-yard, ‘S’ shaped course. Each woman also carries a pancake in a skillet and must toss the pancake three times. The fastest pancake carrier ran the race in 58.5 seconds in 1975. This record was set by Liberal’s Sheila Turner. Pass the syrup, please!
1952 - Dick Button performed the first figure skating triple jump in competition.
1958 - A plebiscite held in Syria and Egypt gave nearly unanimous (99.9%) approval to the federation of the two countries as the United Arab Republic (UAR), with Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt as president.
1965 - Black activist Malcolm X was shot by Black Muslim assassins as he was about to address a rally in New York. He had broken from the Nation of Islam to found his own Organization of Afro-American Unity. Fifteen hundred people attended Malcolm’s funeral in Harlem at the Faith Temple Church of God in Christ on February 27, 1965.
1972 - The group known as Climax received a gold record for their one and only hit, "Precious and Few". The LA-based group was led by Sonny Geraci, formerly of the The Outsiders (of "Time Won’t Let Me" fame).
1975 - Former U.S. Attorney General John N. Mitchell and former White House aides H.R. Haldeman and John D. Ehrlichman were sentenced to two and a half to eight years in prison for their roles in the Watergate cover-up.
1981 - Dolly Parton reached the top spot on the pop music charts with "9 to 5", from the movie of the same name, in which Dolly starred with Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. The hit song stayed at #1 for a week, gave way to Eddie Rabbitt’s "I Love a Rainy Night" and bounced back two weeks later for another week at number one.
1981 - REO Speedwagon’s "Hi Infidelity" was the #1 U.S. album. "Hi-Infidelity" spent a total of fifteen weeks at number one. The tracks: "Don’t Let Him Go", "Keep on Loving You", "Follow My Heart", "In Your Letter", "Take It on the Run", "Tough Guys", "Out of Season", "Shakin’ It Loose", "Someone Tonight", "I Wish You Were There".
1982 - Legendary disc jockey Murray The K died in Los Angeles. Often referred to as ‘The Fifth Beatle’, Murray succumbed to cancer. He had been one of rock radio’s leading jocks and a big New York City radio personality for many years.
1988 - Televangelist Jimmy Swaggert resigned from his ministry after it was revealed he had been consorting with a prostitute. In front of a congregation of 7,000 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he sobbed and said, “I have sinned against you and I beg your forgiveness.”
1992 - Kristi Yamaguchi of the United States won the gold medal in women’s figure skating at the Albertville Olympics. Midori Ito of Japan won the silver, Nancy Kerrigan of the U.S. won the bronze.
1995 - Former Chicago stockbroker and U.S. balloonist Steve Fossett made history. He was the first person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon, landing in Leader, Saskatchewan, Canada on this day.
1997 - "Rosewood" opened in U.S. theatres. The action, drama stars Jon Voight, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle and Bruce Mcgill.
2002 - The U.S. State Department declared that Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was dead. The announcement came a month after Pearl was abducted by Islamic extremists in Pakistan.
2003 - Films debuting in the U.S.: Dark Blue, with Kurt Russell, Brendan Gleeson, Scott Speedman, Michael Michele, Lolita Davidovich and Ving Rhames; Gods and Generals, starring Jeff Daniels, Stephen Lang, Robert Duvall, Mira Sorvino, Kevin Conway, C. Thomas Howell and Frankie Faison; The Life of David Gale, with Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Laura Linney, Gabriel Mann, Matt Craven, Rhona Mitra and Leon Rippy; and Old School, starring Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Ellen Pompeo, Juliette Lewis, Leah Remini, Perrey Reeves, Craig Kilborn, Jeremy Piven, Elisha Cuthbert and Snoop Dogg.
2003 - Michael Jordan became the first 40-year-old in NBA history to score 40 or more points, getting 43 in the Washington Wizards’ win over the New Jersey Nets.
2004 - The Mississippi River was closed near New Orleans following a ship collision that killed five crewmen.
2005 - The Atomic Testing Museum opened in Las Vegas, NV.
2006 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal narcotics laws are not more important than the religious expression rights of a Brazilian-based sect that uses a hallucinogenic tea in a sacrament. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal, with some 130 members in the U.S., had filed suit after federal authorities threatened prosecution after intercepting a shipment of hoasca, whose ingredients included a hallucinogenic plant, destined for the group.
2007 - British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Britain had decided to dramatically cut its 7,100-strong contingent in Iraqi.
2008 - The U.S. said it had spent $80 million monthly -- or some $1 billion a year -- for the previous six years to Pakistan to support troops in the tribal area along the Afghan border.
Birthdays - February 21
1855 - Alice (Elvira Freeman) Palmer (educator, administrator: president of Wellesley College , member of Massachusetts Board of Education , first dean of women: University of Chicago , helped organize American Association of University Women; died Dec 6, 1902)
1907 - W.H. (Wystan Hugh) Auden (Pulitzer Prize-winning poet: The Age of Anxiety ; Poems, The Orators, an English Study, The Dog Beneath the Skin, Look, Stranger!, The Double Man, Nones, Enchafed Flood, Forewords and Afterwords, Thanksgiving for a Habitat; Bollingen Poetry Prize ; National Medal for Literature ; died Sep 28, 1973)
1915 - Ann (Clara Lou) Sheridan (actress: Appointment in Honduras, The Man Who Came to Dinner; died Jan 21, 1967)
1925 - Sam Peckinpah (director: Broken Arrow [TV: 1956], Zane Grey Theater, The Rifleman, Major Dundee, The Wild Bunch, The Getaway , Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Convoy; died Dec 28, 1984)
1925 - (Dr.) Jack (John T.) Ramsay (National Basketball Association Hall of Fame coach: Philadelphia 76ers, Indiana Pacers; NBA broadcast analyst: ESPN; died Apr 28, 2014)
1927 - Erma Bombeck (Fiste) (humorist, columnist, writer: The Grass Is Always Greener over the Septic Tank; died Apr 22, 1996)
1927 - Hubert de Givenchy (fashion designer: furnished Hollywood/society stars [beginning in 1953]: Audrey Hepburn wore his fashions in Sabrina, Funny Face, Love in the Afternoon, Charade, Breakfast at Tiffany’s; Jackie and family dressed in Givenchy clothes at JFK funerall; died Mar 10, 2018)
1933 - Nina Simone (Eunice Waymon) (singer: I Loves You Porgy, Trouble in Mind; song writer: To be Young Gifted and Black; died Apr 21, 2003)
1934 - Rue McClanahan (Emmy Award-winning actress: The Golden Girls [1986-1987], Maude, Mama’s Family; died Jun 3, 2010)
1936 - Barbara Jordan (lawyer, educator, U.S. Congresswoman; died Jan 17, 1996)
1937 - Ron Clarke (Australian distance runner: 17 world records from 2 miles to 20,000 meters [1963-1970]; died Jun 17, 2015)
1937 - Gary Lockwood (Yusolfsky) (actor: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Terror in Paradise, Firecreek, Splendor in the Grass)
1938 - Ernie McMillan (football: Univ. of Illinois, Green Bay Packers)
1940 - Peter Gethin (auto racer: first English driver to win Tasman series; died Dec 5, 2011)
1940 - Peter McEnery (actor: I Killed Rasputin, Negatives, Victim, Pictures)
1943 - Jack (John Eugene) Billingham (baseball: pitcher: LA Dodgers, Houston Astros, Cincinnati Reds [World Series: 1972, 1975, 1976/all-star: 1973], Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox)
1943 - David Geffen (Tony Award-winning producer: Cats , M Butterfly ; Miss Saigon, Beetlejuice, Risky Business; record executive: Geffen Records; partner in Dreamworks film production company with Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg)
1945 - Danny Grant (hockey: NHL: Montreal Canadiens, Minnesota North Stars [NHL’s Calder Trophy: 1969], Detroit Red Wings, LA Kings)
1946 - Tricia Nixon (Cox) (daughter of 37th U.S. President Richard M. Nixon)
1946 - Tyne (Ellen) Daly (Tony Award: Gypsy  and Emmy Award-winning actress: Cagney and Lacey [1982-83, 1983-84, 1984-85, 1987-88]; Christy, On the Town, Your Place or Mine, A Matter of Life and Death, Speedtrap, Intimate Strangers, The Enforcer, Larry, Angel Unchained, The Butter and Egg Man, John and Mary, The Virginian, Judging Amy; daughter of actors James Daly and Hope Newell; sister of actor Tim Daly)
1949 - Jerry Harrison (musician: keyboards: group: Talking Heads: Love Goes to Building on Fire, Psycho Killer, Take Me to the River, I Zimbra, Life During Wartime; solo LP: The Red and the Black)
1951 - Vince Welnick (musician: keyboards: groups: The Tubes, The Grateful Dead; died June 2, 2006)
1951 - Bill Olds (football: Univ of Nebraska; NFL: Baltimore Colts)
1952 - Jean-Jacques Burnel (musician: bass, singer: group: The Stranglers: Grip, Peaches, No More Heroes, Golden Brown, Skin Deep, Nice in Nice; solo LP: Euroman Cometh)
1953 - Ken Huff (football: Washington Redskins guard: Super Bowl XVIII)
1953 - Jim Pietrzak (football: Univ. of Michigan, NY Giants)
1955 - Kelsey Grammer (Emmy Award-winning actor: Frasier [1994, 1995]; Cheers, Another World)
1958 - Mary Chapin Carpenter (Grammy Award-winning singer: LP: Stones in the Road , Shut Up and Kiss Me , Passionate Kisses , I Feel Lucky , Down at the Twist and Shout ; He Thinks He’ll Keep Her, LP: Hometown Girl; musician: guitar, songwriter: Girls with Guitars, co-wrote: Sally’s Pigeon; daughter of Life magazine executive Chapin Carpenter)
1961 - Christopher Atkins (actor: Dallas, The Blue Lagoon)
1963 - William Baldwin (actor: The Preppie Murder, Backdraft, Bulworth, Virus: Ghost in the Machine, Primary Suspect; brother of actors Alec, Daniel and Stephen Baldwin)
1968 - Patrick Gallagher (actor: Da Vinci’s Inquest, Entourage, The Line, Glee, The Fallen Faithful, The Quality of Life, The Taste of Tea, Severed, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Revelation)
1975 - Lional Dalton (football [defensive tackle]: Eastern Michigan Univ; NFL: Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Texans)
1979 - Jennifer Love Hewitt (actress: Party of Five, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, The Byrds of Paradise, I Know What You Did Last Summer, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, The Devil and Daniel Webster)
1986 - Charlotte Church (singer: LPs: Voice of an Angel, Charlotte Church, Dream a Dream, Enchantment)
1994 - Hayley Orrantia (actress: The Goldbergs, Cooper and the Castle Hills Gang, God’s Not Dead 2)
1996 - Sophie Turner (actress: Game of Thrones, Barely Lethal, The Thirteenth Tale, Another Me, Mary Shelley’s Monster)
Chart Toppers - February 21
I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover - The Art Moonie Orchestra
Ballerina - Vaughn Monroe
Now is the Hour - Bing Crosby
I’ll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms) - Eddy Arnold
Rock and Roll Waltz - Kay Starr
Lisbon Antigua - Nelson Riddle
It’s Almost Tomorrow - The Dream Weavers
Sixteen Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford
I Want to Hold Your Hand - The Beatles
You Don’t Own Me - Leslie Gore
She Loves You - The Beatles
B.J. the D.J. - Stonewall Jackson
Without You - Nilsson
Hurting Each Other - Carpenters
Never Been to Spain - Three Dog Night
It’s Four in the Morning - Faron Young
Do that to Me One More Time - The Captain & Tennille
Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen
Yes, I’m Ready - Teri DeSario with K.C.
Love Me Over Again - Don Williams
Seasons Change - Expose
What Have I Done to Deserve This? - Pet Shop Boys & Dusty Springfield
Father Figure - George Michael
Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star - Merle Haggard
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.