440 International Those Were the Days
February 24

Events - February 24
1835 - "Siwinowe Kesibwi" (The Shawnee Sun) was issued as the first Indian language monthly publication in the United States.

1839 - Mr. William S. Otis of Philadelphia, PA picked up a patent for the steam shovel.

1857 - The first shipment of perforated postage stamps was received by the U.S. Government. Only imperforated ones had been used previously. When stamp sheets were issued years later for the first time, someone thought it a good idea to return to the non-perforated style so that folks had to cut the stamps off the page. That idea didn’t last long. Customer complaints brought the perforated stamps to the sheets of stamps as well.

1866 - The Capitol in Washington, DC displayed an American flag made entirely of American bunting -- another first.

1925 - A thermite reaction was used for the first time to break up an ice jam. The 250,000-ton jam had clogged the St. Lawrence River near Waddington, NY. Why was it called a thermite? Becauth ith wath tho cold that peopleth couldn’th thay “ith breaker,” we thimk.

1938 - The first nylon bristle toothbrush was made in Arlington, NJ. It was the first time that nylon yarn had been used commercially. Two years later, nylon hosiery was introduced. A tip: Never brush your teeth with your nylon hosiery.

1940 - Frances Langford recorded one of the classic songs of all time -- and one that would become a Walt Disney trademark. "When You Wish Upon a Star" was recorded on Decca Records during a session in Los Angeles. Many artists have recorded the song, including pop diva Linda Ronstadt (with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra in the early 1980s). One can hear the song not only on record, but as the theme in the opening credits of any Disney movie, video and TV program and those “I’m going to Disneyland/World!” commercials, too.

1942 - The Voice of America (VOA) signed on for the first time. The worldwide, shortwave radio service, a department of the U.S. Government, continues to beam a variety of programming around the globe under the auspices of the United States Information Agency (USIA).

1949 - Israel and Egypt signed an armistice agreement. Egyptian forces besieged in the Faluja Pocket were allowed to return to Egypt with their weapons, and the area was handed over to Israeli military control.

1955 - Cole Porter’s Silk Stockings opened at the Imperial Theater on Broadway. The musical ran for 478 performances. Starring in the Cole Porter production were Don Ameche, Hildegarde Neff, George Tobias and Gretchen Wyler.

1969 - Johnny Cash recorded his second live prison performance. It followed a concert the previous year at Folsom Prison. The LP "Johnny Cash at San Quentin", with the hit single "A Boy Named Sue", was recorded live as part of a British TV.

1976 - "Eagles Their Greatest Hits" became the first LP in the US to be certified platinum - two-million copies sold. It rose to number one in the U.S. on March 13, 1976.

1980 - The U.S. Hockey Team won its “Do you believe in miracles?” gold medal. Final score: U.S. 4, Finland 2. The drama had begun with the U.S. team’s upset win over the powerful Soviet team on February 22. When the U.S. polished off Finland for the gold medal, folks all over the U.S. decided to start believing, indeed!

1983 - The Dow Jones industrial average closed above the 1100 mark for the first time. The stock market moved 24.87 points on this day to close at 1121.81. The 1100 plateau had been reached in 1972, but a rally was not able to keep the benchmark high at that point at the end of the trading day. That’s it from the financial desk...

1985 - Quarterback Doug Flutie played his first game as a pro. Flutie led the New Jersey Generals against Birmingham, losing 38-28. The former Boston College standout had a shaky start in his USFL debut, but still completed 12 of 18 passes in the fourth quarter of the game.

1985 - Yul Brynner reprised his role in "The King and I" -- setting a box office record for weekly receipts. The show took in $520,920.

1988 - Hustler Magazine, Inc. et al. v. Jerry Falwell; aka The First Amendment on Trial: The U.S. Supreme Court overturned a $200,000 award that Rev. Jerry Falwell, leader of the ‘Moral Majority’, had won against "Hustler" magazine and publisher Larry Flynt, the self-proclaimed ‘Duke of Raunch’. "Hustler" had run an ad parody of Falwell’s first sexual experience.

1989 - Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was so irritated by Salman Rushdie’s novel, "The Satanic Verses", that he sentenced the author to death and slapped a one to three-million-dollar bounty (depending upon who got him) on his head. Talk about “2 thumbs down...”

1989 - United Airlines Flight 811, out of Honolulu on its way to Sidney, was 100 miles southwest of Hawaii when its cargo door blew out. The explosion in the Boeing 747 created a 10x40-ft. hole in the fuselage, knocked out the two engines on the right side and caused damage to the flaps and hydraulics. Nine passengers were sucked out of the jetliner to their deaths 20,000 ft over the Pacific.

1990 - Crooner Johnnie Ray died in Los Angeles of liver failure at age 63. Ray was known at various times in his career as the ‘Prince of Wails’ and the ‘Howling Success’ because of his highly emotional singing and apparent ability to cry at will. His biggest hit was his double-sided 1951 million- seller: "Cry" and "The Little White Cloud that Cried".

1991 - Country music star Webb Pierce died in Nashville at age 65. The official cause of death was heart failure, but he also suffered from pancreatic cancer. Pierce racked up 13 #1 singles on the "Billboard" country chart, with 97 singles on the chart between 1952 and 1982.

1993 - British rock legend Eric Clapton won six Grammys, including record, album ("Unplugged") and song of the year ("Tears in Heaven"). Clapton wrote "Tears in Heaven" as a tribute to his infant son, Conor, who died in 1991 when he fell out of a window in Clapton’s 53rd floor New York apartment.

1996 - Cuba shot down two small planes operated by a Cuban-American group over the waters north of Havana. The two planes with four people on board were twin-engine Cessna aircraft operated by the group ‘Brothers to the Rescue’, a Miami-based group of Cuban exiles funded by private donations. The group has flown hundreds of missions to spot Cuban rafters attempting to flee their island nations. Group founder Jose Basulto was on a third plane that escaped the gunfire and made it safely back to Miami.

1999 - Singer Lauryn Hill won a record five awards at the 41st annual Grammys, including album of the year and best new artist. Her solo debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, was the reason for the wins.

2002 - The XIX Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City came to a close. In one of the last events, Canada beat the U.S. hockey team 5-2 for the gold medal. Cross-country skier from Spain and Russia were stripped of gold medals after failing drug tests.

2005 - Prime Minister Paul Martin said that Canada would not join the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) program.

2006 - Four heavily armed men entered a museum in Rio de Janeiro, overpowered the guards, forced them to turn off the internal security cameras and stole valuable oil paintings by Picasso, Dalí, Matisse and Monet. The men made their getaway by running into the crowd of Carnival revelers in front of the museum.

Those Were the Days: Current Issues

Birthdays - February 24
1786 - Wilhelm Grimm (author w/brother Jakob: Grimm’s Fairy Tales: Rumpelstiltskin, Snow-White, The Sleeping Beauty, Tom Thumb; died Dec 16, 1859)

1836 - Winslow Homer (artist: On a Lee Shore, Mending the Nets, Eating Watermelon, Inside the Bar, The Maine Coast; died Sep 29, 1910)

1874 - Honus (John Peter) Wagner (‘The Flying Dutchman’: Baseball Hall of Famer: Louisville Colonels [hit .344: 1897]; Pittsburgh Pirates [World Series: 1903, 1909]; 17 consecutive .300 seasons, eight as NL batting champ, lifetime average of .329; stole 720 bases, led league in stolen bases on six occasions; died Dec 6, 1955)

1885 - Chester Nimitz (U.S. Navy Admiral: WWII Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas; signed the Japanese surrender papers; died Feb 20, 1966


1890 - Marjorie Main (Mary Tomlinson) (actress: Ma of Ma and Pa Kettle, The Egg and I, The Harvey Girls, Friendly Persuasion; died Apr 10, 1975)

1914 - Zachary Scott (Zachary Thomson Scott, Jr.) (actor: Flamingo Road, The Young One, The Southerner, Appointment in Honduras; died Oct 3, 1965)

1921 - Abe Vigoda (actor: Barney Miller, Fish, The Godfather, Joe Versus the Volcano, Fist of Honor; died Jan 26, 2016)

1922 - Steven Hill (actor: Law & Order, Mission: Impossible, The Firm, Billy Bathgate, Legal Eagles, Yentl, A Child is Waiting; died Aug 23, 2016)

1927 - Mark Lane (attorney, author: Rush to Judgment, Eyewitness Chicago; conspiracy theorist: the Kennedy assassination; died May 10, 2016)

1928 - Bubba (John Melvin) Phillips (baseball: Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox [World Series: 1959], Cleveland Indians; died June 22, 1993)

1929 - Richard B. Shull (actor: Splash, Trapped in Paradise, The Big Bus, Tune in Tomorrow, The Marriage of Bette and Boo; died Oct 14, 1999)

1932 - Michel Legrand (Academy Award-Winning composer for Best Original Score: Yentl [1983]; Brian’s Song, Ice Station Zebra; died Jan 26, 2019)

1932 - John Vernon (actor: The Outlaw Josey Wales, National Lampoon’s Animal House, Hostage for a Day, Dirty Harry, Hunter, Point Blank, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka; died Feb 1, 2005)

1934 - Renata Scotto (opera soprano: made operatic debut at age 18; best known for performances as Violetta in La Traviata, Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly, Mimi [and the occasional Musetta] in La Bohème, Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth and Francesca in Francesca da Rimini; opera director)

1936 - Lance Reventlow (millionaire playboy, auto racer: designed/drove Chevy-powered Scarabs [1960s]; son of Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton; former husband of actress Jill St. John; killed in crash of light plane July 24, 1972)

1938 - James Farentino (actor: Dynasty, Cool Million, The Story of a Woman, Ensign Pulver, The Final Countdown; died Jan 24, 2012)

1940 - Jimmy Ellis (boxing: WBA world heavyweight champ [1968-1970])

1942 - Paul Jones (musician: harmonica, singer: group: Manfred Mann: 5-4-3-2-1, Pretty Flamingo, Semi Detached Suburban Mr. James)

1943 - George Harrison (Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Famer, former Beatle: My Sweet Lord, Isn’t It a Pity, What is Life?, All Those Years Ago, Concert for Bangla-Desh; actor: A Hard Day’s Night, Help!, The Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour, Yellow Submarine, Let It Be, The Concert for Bangladesh, Shanghai Surprise, You Can't Do That! The Making of ‘A Hard Day's Night’; Harrison believed for most of his life his birthday was Feb 25 but a family birth record has his birth at near 11:50 p.m. Feb 24; died Nov 29, 2001)

1945 - Barry Bostwick (actor: Spy Hard, Weekend at Bernie’s 2, War & Remembrance, A Woman of Substance, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Foul Play, Dads)

1947 - Rupert Holmes (musician, songwriter: over 300 songs & jingles;, singer: Escape [The Pina Colada Song], Him, Answering Machine; arranger, producer: Barbra Streisand)

1947 - Edward James Olmos (Emmy Award-Winning Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Miami Vice [1985]; Stand and Deliver, Blade Runner)

1947 - Lonnie Turner (musician: bass, singer: group: The Steve Miller Band: Living in the USA, Motherless Children)

1951 - Helen Shaver (actress: The Craft, Born to Be Wild, Desert Hearts, The Color of Money, The Amityville Horror, Starship Invasions, WIOU)

1952 - Tom Burleson (basketball: North Carolina State, Seattle Supersonics)

1953 - Frank (Joseph) Riccelli (baseball: pitcher: SF Giants, Houston Astros)

1953 - Greg Westbrooks (football: LA Rams linebacker: Super Bowl XIV)

1953 - Mike (Michael David) Sember (baseball: Chicago Cubs)

1956 - Eddie (Clarence) Murray (baseball: Baltimore Orioles [American League Rookie of the Year: 1977/all-star: 1978, 1981-1986/World Series: 1979, 1983], LA Dodgers [all-star: 1991], NY Mets, Cleveland Indians [World Series: 1995])

1956 - Paula Zahn (TV journalist: CBS This Morning, Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel, Fox News Channel, CNN: American Morning with Paula Zahn, Paula Zahn Now)

1966 - Billy Zane (actor: Bloodrayne, The Pleasure Drivers, Silver City, The Kiss, Imaginary Grace, Big Kiss, The Phantom, Titanic, Boston Public, The Deep End)

1971 - Brian Savage (hockey [left, right wing]: Montreal Canadiens, Phoenix Coyotes, St. Louis Blues, Philadelphia Flyers)

1974 - Bonnie Somerville (actress: NYPD Blue, Grosse Pointe, Friends, The O.C., Kitchen Confidential, Cashmere Mafia, Golden Boy)

1976 - Zach Johnson (golf pro: 2007 Masters, 2015 British Open champ; 12 PGA Tour wins)

1977 - Floyd Mayweather Jr (professional boxer: five-division world champion, won eight world titles and the Lineal championship in three different weight classes; record 43-0 [26 knockouts])

1978 - Nicole Lyn (actress: Student Bodies, Deliver Us from Eva, Bless the Child, On Thin Ice: The Tai Babilonia Story, Meet Julie)

If you like TWtD you will love TWtD Deluxe.

Chart Toppers - February 24
If - Perry Como
My Heart Cries for You - Guy Mitchell
Tennessee Waltz - Patti Page
There’s Been a Change in Me - Eddy Arnold

Stagger Lee - Lloyd Price
Donna - Ritchie Valens
The All American Boy - Bill Parsons
Don’t Take Your Guns to Town - Johnny Cash

Kind of a Drag - The Buckinghams
Love is Here and Now You’re Gone - The Supremes
The Beat Goes On - Sonny & Cher
Where Does the Good Times Go - Buck Owens

Pick Up the Pieces - AWB
Best of My Love - The Eagles
Some Kind of Wonderful - Grand Funk
I Care - Tom T. Hall

Baby, Come to Me - Patti Austin with James Ingram
Shame on the Moon - Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
Stray Cat Strut - Stray Cats
Faking Love - T.G. Sheppard & Karen Brooks

All the Man that I Need - Whitney Houston
One More Try - Timmy -T-
Someday - Mariah Carey
Walk on Faith - Mike Reid

Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end...

Comments/Corrections: TWtDfix@440fun.com

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

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