Events - January 4
1885 - Dr. William Grant of Davenport, IA performed the first successful appendectomy on this day. The operation was performed on Mary Gartside.
1896 - Utah (45th state) entered the United States of America; capital: Salt Lake City; bird: seagull; flower: sego lily; nickname: Beehive State. The entrance of Utah into the Union followed the Mormon’s abandonment of polygamy.
1928 - NBC radio debuted one of radio’s first variety shows. "The Dodge Victory Hour" starred Will Rogers, Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra and singer Al Jolson. The cost to produce this one show was $67,600.
1932 - NBC Red presented "The Carnation Contented Hour". The show continued on network radio for 19 years as a showcase for top singers and musicians. Why "The Carnation Contented Hour"? Because Carnation evaporated milk comes only from contented cows, of course.
1935 - Bert Ambrose and his orchestra recorded the song that became the group’s theme song. It was titled, "Hors d’oeuvres" and was cut in London for Decca Records.
1935 - Bob Hope was first heard on network radio as part of "The Intimate Revue" with Jane Froman, James Melton and the Al Goodman Orchestra. The variety show, sponsored by Bromo Seltzer, lasted only fourteen weeks.
1936 - The first pop music chart based on national sales was published by "Billboard" magazine this day. Joe Venuti, jazz violinist, was at the top of the chart with a little ditty called, "Stop! Look! Listen!".
1950 - RCA Victor announced that it would manufacture long-playing (LP) records. This news came two years after Columbia Records debuted the ‘album’.
1953 - 25,000 people attended the funeral of country star Hank Williams in Montgomery, Alabama. Williams had died three days earlier at age 29 in the back seat of his 1952 Cadillac.
1954 - Elvis Presley strolled into the Memphis Recording Service and put $4 on the counter. He recorded "Casual Love Affair" and "I’ll Never Stand in Your Way", two songs that so impressed record executive Sam Phillips that he had Elvis record his first professional sides for Sun Records the following August.
1957 - "Collier’s" magazine was published for the last time. The periodical had been published for 69 years.
1965 - The Fender Guitar Company was sold to CBS for $13 million.
1970 - Television history was made when super dog Lassie was hit by a car while pushing a child away from danger. "Lassie" was seen on TV, for the next month, suffering from amnesia.
1982 - Some say this was one of broadcasting’s strangest days, as Bryant Gumbel moved from NBC Sports to the anchor desk. He joined Jane Pauley as co-host of the "Today" show on NBC.
1984 - Wayne ‘The Great One’ Gretzky scored eight points for the second time in his National Hockey League career. Edmonton’s Oilers defeated the Minnesota North Stars, 12-8. Gretzky had four goals on his own and four assists. He was the Number One Star and Player of the Game for his effort.
1985 - Boston Celtics president Red Auerbach was honored at the Boston Gardens this night. The former coach was recognized for leading the Celtics to nine NBA basketball titles. Announcer Johnny Most saw them all.
1991 - Fu Mingxia, a 12-year-old from China, became the youngest world champion in the history of any aquatic event. Mingxia won the women’s 10-metre platform title at the World Swimming Championships in Perth, Australia.
1995 - Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA) was formally elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. He was the first Republican to hold the post in 40 years and the first Georgia Speaker in over 100 years.
1997 - Michael Jackson ended the first leg of the HIStory tour with the second of two sold-out shows in Honolulu. The two concerts in Hawaii were the only U.S. dates on this tour. The tour had begun in Prague, Czech Republic Sep 7, 1996. (The second leg of the tour began in Bremen, Germany on May 31, 1997 and ended Oct 15 in Durban, South Africa.)
1999 - Minnesota inaugurated pro wrestler Jesse Ventura as its 38th governor. The only Reform Party candidate to ever win statewide office, Ventura had shocked the political establishment by defeating Attorney General Hubert H. (Skip) Humphrey III and St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman in an upset victory.
2000 - The Nasdaq composite index was hit for its worst point loss, falling more than 229 points (5.6 percent) to 3,901. The market appeared to be concerned about future Fed rate hikes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 359 points (3.2 percent) to 10,997.
2001 - It was announced that George, the politics and lifestyle magazine founded by the late John F. Kennedy, Jr., would cease publication.
2002 - These films debuted in the U.S.: A Beautiful Mind, with Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly (Oscar for Supporting Actress), Paul Bettany, Adam Goldberg, Judd Hirsch, Josh Lucas, Anthony Rapp, Christopher Plummer, Vivien Cardone and Ron Howard (Oscar for Director); and Gosford Park, with Michael Gambon, Kristin Scott Thomas, Camilla Rutherford, Maggie Smith, Charles Dance, Geraldine Somerville, Alan Bates, Helen Mirren, Eileen Atkins, Derek Jacobi, Emily Watson, Richard E. Grant, Kelly Macdonald, Clive Owen and Ryan Phillippe.
2002 - Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Ross Chapman, a U.S. Army Special Forces soldier, was killed by small-arms fire during an ambush in eastern Afghanistan; he was the first American military death from enemy fire in Operation Enduring Freedom.
2003 - Oscar-winning cinematographer Conrad L. Hall, 76, died in Santa Monica, CA.
2004 - Historian John Toland died in Danbury, CT. He was 91 years old. Toland’s books include The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945 (1970), and Adolph Hitler (1976).
2005 - The 109th U.S. Congress convened (term: Jan 4, 2005-Jan 3, 2007). The Republican edge in the Senate was 55 to 45 (w/1 independent). Republicans outnumbered Democrats 231 to 202 (w/1 independent and 1 vacancy) in the U.S. House. The first order of business was aid for victims of the Dec 26, 2004 earthquake/tsunami.
2006 - 77-year-old Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered “a significant stroke,” and was under anaesthesia and receiving breathing assistance. Political power was transferred to his deputy, Vice Minister Ehud Olmert. Sharon never regained consciousness and lingered in the coma until January 11, 2014.
2007 - The U.S. Federal Trade Commission fined the marketers of four weight loss pills $25 million for making false advertising claims ranging from rapid weight loss to reducing the risk of cancer. Marketers of the four products (Xenadrine EFX, CortiSlim, TrimSpa, and One-A-Day WeightSmart) settled with the F.T.C., surrendered cash and other assets worth at least $25 million, and agreed to limit their future advertising claims.
2008 - One Missed Call opened in U.S. theatres. The horror mystery stars Ed Burns, Shannyn Sossamon, Ana Claudia Talancon, Ray Wise, Azura Skye, Johnny Lewis, Jason Beghe and Margaret Cho.
2008 - Airlines flights were grounded and some trucks overturned in Northern California as winds gusted to 80 mph. It was the second wave of an arctic storm that had sent trees crashing onto houses, cars and roads. Some two-million residents, from central California to Washington state, lost power.
Birthdays - January 4
1785 - Jakob Grimm (librarian; fairy tale author [with brother, Wilhelm]: Hansel and Grethel, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White; died Sep 20, 1863)
1809 - Louis Braille (developed system of writing that could be felt and interpreted by the blind; not widely recognized until after his death; died Jan 6, 1852)
1838 - General Tom Thumb (Charles Stratton) (entertainer: world’s most famous midget; died July 15, 1883)
1869 - Tommy (Thomas William) ‘Corky’ Corcoran (baseball: Pittsburgh Burghers, Philadelphia Athletics, Brooklyn Bridegrooms, Cincinnati Reds, NY Giants; minor league umpire; died Jun 25, 1960)
1896 - Everett (McKinley) Dirksen (politician: elected to U.S. Senate in 1950, Republican minority leader , most noted for his sudden, dramatic shifts from opposition to support of various measures; died Sep 7, 1969)
1898 - Jess Neely (College Football Hall of Famer: Vanderbilt end and halfback; coach: University of Alabama, Clemson: Cotton Bowl winner , Rice: 6 Southwestern Conference titles and 3 bowls; athletic director: Vanderbilt; died Apr 9, 1983)
1905 - Sterling Holloway (actor: Thunder and Lightning, Super Seal, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Walk in the Sun, Death Valley, Twilight on the Rio Grande, The Merry Widow, International House, Willy, The Life of Riley, The Baileys of Balboa; character voices: Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland [Cheshire Cat], The Aristocats, The Jungle Book; died Nov 22, 1992)
1917 - Jesse White (actor: The Bad Seed, Designing Women, Marjorie Morningstar, Four Star Playhouse, Twilight Zone, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Munsters, The Addams Family, That Girl, I Dream of Jeanie, Seinfeld; played the Maytag repairman in U.S. TV commercials [1967-1988]; died Jan 9, 1997)
1925 - Johnny Lujack (football: Notre Dame; Heisman Trophy Winner )
1927 - Barbara Rush (actress: Web of Deceit, The Seekers, Superdad, Hombre, Robin and the 7 Hoods, Come Blow Your Horn, The Young Philadelphians, The Young Lions, Magnificent Obsession, When Worlds Collide, Peyton Place, Saints and Sinners, The New Dick Van Dyke Show, Flamingo Road)
1930 - Don Shula (NFL’s most winning football coach [347 career wins (including playoffs)]: Baltimore Colts [1963-1969], Miami Dolphins [1970-1995])
1933 - Ray Starling (musician: arranger for Stan Kenton; died May 15, 1982)
1935 - Floyd Patterson (heavyweight boxing champion [1956-59]; died May 11, 2006)
1936 - Mike White (football: coach: San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams, Kansas City Chiefs)
1937 - Dyan Cannon (Samille Friesen) (actress: The Pickle, Christmas in Connecticut, Caddyshack 2, Author! Author!, Revenge of the Pink Panther, Heaven Can Wait, The Anderson Tapes, Doctors’ Wives, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice)
1941 - Kermit Alexander (football: UCLA, San Francisco 49ers)
1943 - Bobby Burnett (football: Univ. of Arkansas; Buffalo Bills; died Oct 1, 2016)
1944 - Tito (Rigoberto Peat) Fuentes (baseball: SF Giants, SD Padres, Detroit Tigers, Oakland Athletics)
1946 - Arthur Conley (singer: Sweet Soul Music; died Nov 17, 2003)
1947 - Butch (George) Atkinson (football: Oakland Raiders safety, Super Bowl XI)
1951 - Barbara Ann Cochran (skier: Olympic Gold Medalist: slalom )
1956 - Barney Sumner aka Bernie Albrecht (Dicken) (musician: guitar, singer: groups: Joy Division; Transmission: Love Will Tear Us Apart, New Order: Blue Monday, Confusion, Shellshock)
1956 - Ann Magnuson (actress: Before and After, Cabin Boy, Tequila Sunrise, Desperately Seeking Susan, Perfect Strangers, Anything But Love)
1958 - Matt Frewer (actor: Kissinger and Nixon, National Lampoon’s Senior Trip, Stephen King’s The Stand, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Speed Zone, Supergirl, Max Headroom, Shaky Ground, Doctor, Doctor; cartoon voice: The Exterminator in Itsy Bitsy Spider)
1958 - Julian Sands (actor: Leaving Las Vegas, Grand Isle, Naked Lunch, Husbands and Lovers, Room with a View, The Killing Fields)
1960 - Michael Stipe (Grammy Award-winning singer: Out of Time ; group: R.E.M.: Losing My Religion , Radio Free Europe, Talk About the Passion, So Central Rain, [Don’t Go Back to] Rockville, Seven Chinese Brothers)
1961 - Cliff Levingston (basketball: Wichita State Univ., Chicago Bulls)
1962 - Patrick Cassidy (actor: How the West was Fun, Longtime Companion, Love at Stake, Dress Gray, Fever Pitch, Just the Way You Are, Off the Wall, Something in Common, The Bay City Blues, Dirty Dancing)
1962 - Joe Kleine (basketball: Univ. of Arkansas, LA Lakers, New Jersey Nets, Chicago Bulls)
1963 - Dave Foley (actor: NewsRadio, The Kids in the Hall, From the Earth to the Moon, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, The Andy Dick Show)
1965 - Julia Ormond (actress: The Baby of Mâcon, Captives, Legends of the Fall, Sabrina [1995)], Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Sibirskij tsiryulnik, Resistance)
1971 - Garrison Hearst (football: Univ. of Georgia RB [The Sporting News All-America 1st Team: 1992]; Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers)
1985 - Al Jefferson (basketball [center/power forward]: Boston Celtics [2004–2007], Minnesota Timberwolves [2007–2010], Utah Jazz [2010–2013], Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets [2013-2016], Indiana Pacers [2016–2018])
Chart Toppers - January 4
Ballerina - Vaughn Monroe
How Soon - Jack Owens
Serenade of the Bells - The Sammy Kaye Orchestra (vocal: Don Cornell)
I’ll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms - Eddy Arnold
Memories are Made of This - Dean Martin
The Great Pretender - The Platters
Band of Gold - Don Cherry
Sixteen Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford
There! I’ve Said It Again - Bobby Vinton
Louie Louie - The Kingsmen
Forget Him - Bobby Rydell
Love’s Gonna Live Here - Buck Owens
Brand New Key - Melanie
American Pie - Don McLean
An Old Fashioned Love Song - Three Dog Night
Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’ - Charley Pride
Escape (The Pina Colada Song) - Rupert Holmes
Please Don’t Go - K.C. & The Sunshine Band
Send One Your Love - Stevie Wonder
Happy Birthday Darlin’ - Conway Twitty
Faith - George Michael
So Emotional - Whitney Houston
Got My Mind Set on You - George Harrison
Somewhere Tonight - Highway 101
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.