Events - January 1
1751 - The world’s most celebrated holiday, New Year’s Day, has been observed on this day in most English-speaking countries since 1751 when the British calendar act was passed. Before that, folks wished everyone a Happy New Year on March 25, to coincide, approximately, with the beginning of spring.
1764 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played for the Royal Family at Versailles in France this day. In fact, he was even given the honor of standing behind the Queen at dinner. Not odd, really -- for Mozart was only eight years old.
1890 - The very first Tournament of Roses Parade was staged in Pasadena, California. Horse-drawn carriages decorated in flowers made up the parade.
1892 - Ellis Island opened this day to begin the processing of what would amount to more than 20 million immigrants to the United States. The immigration center was also used as a deportation station, and later, a Coast Guard Station, and then, a national park. Ellis Island is now a museum.
1898 - Happy birthday Big Apple. The five boroughs of New York became the city of New York this day. It was called ‘the consolidation’ and the five boroughs were fused into a single, powerful city.
1902 - The very first Rose Bowl collegiate football game was played in Pasadena this day. Michigan trounced the Stanford Cardinal, 49-0. It would be 14 years before another Rose Bowl game was held. One is being held today, in fact; following the Tournament of Roses Parade; where all floats in the parade are created using only flowers, fronds, leaves and seeds. You’re probably watching it on TV right now if you didn’t camp out in Pasadena overnight.
1923 - The very first radio broadcast of the Rose Bowl was beamed in Los Angeles over KHJ radio -- some 42 years before 93/KHJ became Boss Radio.
1924 – At five seconds past midnight, while the shouts of Happy New Year were still ringing out, Robert N. Cronk entered the world in Savannah, Georgia. Cronk was the first person to be born in the United States that year. He spent his adult years, at least 36 of them in government service and as a private pilot. Cronk added to his 15 minutes of fame by composing music, penning stories and poems, and entertaining country music fans for nine years as a disc jockey by the name of Bob Norwood (primarily on WQIK in Jacksonville, Florida.) Think about this – when Bob was born, there weren’t any radio deejays.
1924 - Frank B. Cooney of Minneapolis, Minnesota was made very proud this day when he received a patent for ink paste. Mmm, good!
1925 - Lucrezia Bori and John McCormack of the famous Metropolitan Opera in New York City made their singing debuts on radio this day. The broadcast over what was WEAF Radio (now WABC) encouraged others to sing on radio. People like: Hootie and the Blowfish, Fat Head Todd and Toad the Wet Sprocket, to name a few. Oh, and Barry Manilow.
1925 - The Four Horsemen of the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame played together for the last time as the Irish downed Stanford (which apparently enjoyed losing in the Rose Bowl), 27-10. The Four Horsemen were Jim Crowley, Elmer Layden, Don Miller and Harry Stuhldreher. When it comes to bowl games, the Rose Bowl is ‘the granddaddy of them all’. The Orange Bowl in Miami started in 1935, the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans that same year, the Sun Bowl in 1936, the Cotton Bowl in Dallas in 1937 and the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville in 1946. Boy, this kind of info can kind of bowl you over, can’t it?
1927 - The very first coast-to-coast network radio broadcast of the Rose Bowl was made. Graham McNamee provided the play-by-play on NBC Radio.
1937 - The First Cotton Bowl football game was played in Dallas, TX. Texas Christian (T.C.U.) beat Marquette, 16-6.
1953 - A sad day in country music, as the legendary Hank Williams died at the young age of 29. You may recall or even be able to sing along with some of the songs Hank wrote or co-wrote: "Cold, Cold Heart", "Half as Much", "Jambalaya", "Your Cheatin’ Heart", "Hey, Good Lookin", "I’m So Lonesome I Could Die", "Why Don’t You Love Me" (Hank’s own recording of this song climbed the charts in 1976, 23 years after his death) and "I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive" -- which, ironically, became a hit not too long after he was found dead in the back seat of his chauffeured limousine. Undisputedly, the biggest star in the history of country music, Hank Williams’ legacy is being carried on by his son, Hank Williams, Jr.
1967 - In his annual New Year’s column of predictions, the great Criswell wrote that there would be a one-week war with Egypt and Russia against Israel. War broke out in the Mideast that June: The Arab-Israeli 6-Day War. His column also stated that actress Jayne Mansfield would die in that year. She did.
1968 - Criswell was at it again, predicting that a black civil rights leader would be assassinated before October. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot in April.
1968 - A group known as The Blue Velvets decided to change its name this day and it’s a good thing they did. The new name soon became a national pop music favorite as Creedence Clearwater Revival climbed to stardom.
1968 - Evel Knievel, stunt performing daredevil, lost control of his motorcycle midway during a jump of 141 feet (ouch!); and right over the ornamental fountains in front of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. He was banged up real good. Odds were 3-1 that he wouldn’t make it...
1971 - This was the last day we sang along with, “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should” or heard the "Marlboro Theme" on radio or TV. Tobacco ads representing $20 million dollars in advertising were banned from broadcast.
1976 - Talk about ‘N’o Brainers: NBC Television, decided it had nothing better to do, so they debuted a new abstract capital ‘N’ -- a corporate symbol that replaced the familiar peacock logo after 20 years. The cost of the new NBC logo was estimated to be between $750,000 and $1 million. After much ridicule, it took two more years before they got the really bad news. Nebraska Public Television went after NBC for copying ITS logo; which it had broadcast for several years. The cost... 35 dollars. NBC paid the costs and the ‘N’ stayed around for a short time before being replaced by... the peacock. NBC shipped the abstract goofiness to Nebraska Public TV and told them to put it to good use.
1982 - We know, you can’t get enough of that Rose Bowl news, now can you? Here’s more: Washington’s Huskies beat the Iowa Hawkeyes, 28-0, in the Rose Bowl. It had been 29 years since the last Rose Bowl shutout.
1985 - On this day, 237,839,000 people lived in the United States. The number represented a birth rate well below the levels of the 1950s and 1960s baby boom which saw 3,690,000 newborns.
1987 - The Dishonor List of Banished Words and Phrases was issued (as it is every year) by Lake Superior State University, Sault Ste. Marie, MI. The 1987 list included the phrase, “The patient did not fulfill his wellness potential.” Or, in other words... he died. The yearly list of words and phrases “Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness” was started in 1977 by Lake Superior State University Public Relations Director W.T. (Bill) Rabe.
1993 - U.S. President George Bush (I) recognized the new Czech and Slovak Republics (formerly Czechoslovakia) and offered to establish full diplomatic relations. In an exchange of letters, Czech Prime Minister Klaus and Slovak Prime Minister Meciar accepted the U.S. offer of full diplomatic relations. Both leaders provided assurances that the new states would fulfill the obligations and commitments of the former Czechoslovakia and abide by the principles and provisions of the U.N. Charter, the Charter of Paris, the Helsinki Final Act and subsequent CSCE documents.
1994 - Bill Gates, Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft, lost his title of most eligible bachelor in America as he wed Melinda French. The wedding was held on the island of Lanai in Hawaii.
1998 - An anti-smoking law went into effect in California, prohibiting people from lighting up in bars. Some Californians resisted the ban. “We expect better and better compliance as the year goes on,” said Colleen Stevens, spokeswoman for the California Department of Health Services. “Once people get used to smoke-free environments, they cherish them.”
1999 - Eleven of the countries in the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) gave up their own currencies and adopted the new Euro (EUR) currency: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. (Greece followed suit on January 1, 2001.)
2000 - People the world over changed their calendars to 2000 with very few of the ‘Y2K’ computer glitches that had been predicted.
2000 - On his first full day as acting president, Vladimir Putin assured Russians there would be no vacuum of power after Boris Yeltsin’s surprise resignation.
2001 - TV and movie actor Ray Walston died in Beverly Hills, CA. He was 86 years old. Walston won a Tony for his performance as the Devil in Broadway’s Damn Yankees, two Emmys for television’s Picket Fences, and he became a household name playing the extraterrestrial Uncle Martin on TV’s My Favorite Martian. Over his 45+-year career, Ray Walston made some seventy motion picture and TV appearances.
2002 - Eduardo Duhalde became Argentina’s fifth president in two weeks.
2002 - Michael Bloomberg succeeded Rudolph Giuliani as mayor of New York City.
2003 - More than two dozen surgeons stopped working in West Virginia to protest the high cost of malpractice insurance.
2003 - Joe Foss, former South Dakota governor and World War II hero died in an Arizona hospital. He was 87 years old. Foss also served as president of the National Rifle Association and as commissioner of the American Football League.
2003 - A gun law requiring the registration of all rifles and shotguns went into effect in Canada.
2004 - Houston’s $324 million, 7.5 mile, light rail system made its inaugural run.
2004 - Haiti’s President Jean-Bertrand Aristide pledged to improve life for his impoverished nation as police blocked thousands of anti-government demonstrators during celebrations marking the country’s 200th anniversary of independence from France.
2004 - Iran welcomed America’s temporary lifting of sanctions against the Persian state following the country’s earthquake.
2004 - The first anti-spam law, the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, went into effect in the U.S. The law made it illegal for advertisers to falsify their identity and established a system to help email recipients get themselves removed from advertiser lists.
2005 - A California law took effect giving gay couples who register as domestic partners nearly the same responsibilities and benefits as married spouses.
2005 - Shirley Chisholm, advocate for minority rights, died at 80 years of age. Chisholm became the first black woman elected to the U.S. Congress and, later, the first black person to seek a major party’s nomination for the US presidency.
2006 - Residents of Northern California, Oregon and Washington braced for a second winter storm -- a day after the first caused floods and mudslides.
2006 - A law took effect in Norway requiring all publicly traded companies in the country to have at least 40% women on their boards, or stop doing business.
2007 - Flight KI-574 of Adam Air, a low-cost airline based in Indonesia, disappeared in stormy weather. The Boeing 737 carried 102 people. The plane was presumed to have crashed into the ocean after small pieces of wreckage were recovered.
2007 - Hong Kong became a mostly smoke-free city as a ban on smoking in many public places went into effect. And a smoking ban in Washington DC was extended to bars and nightclubs (the ban for smoking in restaurants and offices had taken effect in 2006).
2007 - Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was killed in an early-morning drive-by shooting in downtown Denver. Williams and two other passengers were shot when another vehicle pulled along side his rented Hummer H2 limousine and opened fire.
2008 - New California laws went into effect including a 50-cent raise in the minimum wage (to $8 per hour) and a ban on smoking while driving a car transporting children.
2008 - Smokers were forced into the streets to light up as bans took effect across France, Germany and Lithuania.
2008 - The International Year of the Potato got under way, as declared by the U.N. The potato was the world’s 4th biggest food crop, after maize, wheat and rice.
Birthdays - January 1
1735 - Paul Revere (silversmith, patriot: “The British are coming!”, member of Sons of Liberty and participant in Boston Tea Party; died May 10, 1818)
1752 - Betsy Ross (Elizabeth Griscom) (flagmaker from Philadelphia, legendary folklore says she sewed the first American flag; died Jan 30, 1836)
1879 - E.M. (Edward Morgan) Forster (author: Where Angels Fear to Tread, The Longest Journey, A Room with a View, Howard’s End, A Passage to India, Maurice; died June 7, 1970)
1895 - J. (John) Edgar Hoover (Director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI] starting May 19, 1924; investigated communists and leftists whether for national security or his own interests; probed into the lives of everyone from presidents to the Ku Klux Klan; remained director until his death May 2, 1972)
1900 - Xavier Cugat (Francisco de Asís Javier Cugat Mingall de Brue y Deulofeo) (violinist, composer, band leader: The Lady in Red, Perfidia, Brazil, Begin the Beguine; married to Abbe Lane, Charo; died Oct 27, 1990)
1909 - (Carver) Dana Andrews (actor: State Fair, The Best Years of Our Lives, A Walk in the Sun, Battle of the Bulge, Airport ’75, Prince Jack; died Dec 17, 1992)
1909 - Barry Goldwater (U.S. Senator, 1964 Republican Presidential nominee: “...extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice”; died May 29, 1998)
1916 - Earl Wrightson (actor: The Robert Q. Lewis Show; singer: Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits; died Mar 7, 1993)
1919 - J.D. (Jerome David) Salinger (short story writer: Franny and Zooey; novelist: The Catcher in the Rye; died Jan 27, 2010)
1922 - Ernest Hollings (U.S. Senator from South Carolina)
1923 - Barbara Baxley (actress: The Exorcist III, Come Along With Me, Norma Rae, Nashville, No Way to Treat a Lady, The Savage Eye, The Law; died Jun 7, 1990)
1923 - Milt Jackson (musician: ‘Bags’: vibes: group: The Modern Jazz Quartet: LP: Opus de Funk, Ballads and Blues, Plenty, Plenty Soul, Bags and Flutes, Soul Brothers [w/Ray Charles], Bean Bags, Bags and Trane [w/John Coltrane], Ballad Artistry of Milt Jackson [w/Quincy Jones’ string arrangement], Bags Meets Wes [w/Wes Montgomery]; died Oct 9, 1999)
1925 - Valentina Cortese (actress: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, When Time Ran Out, Widow’s Nest, Brother Sun Sister Moon, Assassination of Trotsky, Forest Love, Juliet of the Spirits, The Barefoot Contessa, Les Miserables, Malaya)
1927 - Ewell Doak Walker (Pro Football Hall of Famer: S.M.U. [Heisman Trophy: 1948]; Detroit Lions; died Sep 27, 1998)
1935 - Bernard Kliban (cartoonist: cats; cartoon books: Cats, Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head and Other Drawings, Whack Your Porcupine; died Aug 12, 1990)
1938 - Frank Langella (actor: The Twelve Chairs, Dracula)
1942 - Billy Lothridge (football: Georgia Tech, runner-up to Roger Staubach for 1963 Heisman Trophy; Miami Dolphins; died Feb 23, 1996)
1942 - Country Joe McDonald (singer: group: Country Joe & the Fish: The F-I-S-H Cheer from Woodstock)
1943 - Don Novello (actor, comedian: ‘Father Guido Sarducci’: Saturday Night Live, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, One Night Stand, Spirit of ’76, The Godfather, Part 3, New York Stories, Tucker: The Man and His Dream)
1945 - Jacky (Jacques) Ickx (race car driver: eight-time Grand Prix winner)
1947 - Leonard Thompson (golf: #77 all-time Senior PGA Tour money leader: $1,312,559)
1955 - (Dewey) La Marr Hoyt (baseball: pitcher: Chicago White Sox [Cy Young Award: 1983]; San Diego Padres)
1969 - Morris Chestnut (actor: Rosewood, Boyz n the Hood, The Ernest Green Story, The Game Plan, Ladder 49, The Cave, Breakin’ All the Rules, Like Mike, Two Can Play That Game, The Best Man)
1969 - Verne Troyer (actor: Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Pinocchio’s Revenge, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Mighty Joe Young, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Bubble Boy, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone; died Apr 21, 2018)
1972 - Catherine McCormack (actress: Shadow of the Vampire, Braveheart, Love in the 21st Century, A Rumor of Angels, The Tailor of Panama, Armadillo, Spy Game)
1987 - Meryl Davis (ice dancer [w/partner Charlie White]: 2014 Olympic gold medalist, 2010 Olympic silver medalist, multiple World and Grand Prix finals champ; won the 18th (spring 2014) season of TVs Dancing with the Stars alongside Maksim Chmerkovskiy)
1989 - Jason Pierre-Paul (football [defensive end]: New York Giants [2010– ]: 2012 Super Bowl XLVI)
Chart Toppers - January 1
Don’t Fence Me In - Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
There Goes that Song Again - Russ Morgan
I’m Making Believe - Ella Fitzgerald & The Ink Spots
I’m Wastin’ My Tears on You - Tex Ritter
Why Don’t You Believe Me - Joni James
Because You’re Mine - Mario Lanza
Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes - Perry Como
Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes - Skeets McDonald
Are You Lonesome To-night? - Elvis Presley
Wonderland by Night - Bert Kaempfert
Exodus - Ferrante & Teicher
Wings of a Dove - Ferlin Husky
I Heard It Through the Grapevine - Marvin Gaye
For Once in My Life - Stevie Wonder
Stormy - Classics IV featuring Dennis Yost
Wichita Lineman - Glen Campbell
Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright) - Rod Stewart
You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show) - Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.
You Make Me Feel Like Dancing - Leo Sayer
Sweet Dreams - Emmylou Harris
1985 - Like a Virgin - Madonna
The Wild Boys - Duran Duran
Sea of Love - The Honeydrippers
Why Not Me - The Judds
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.