Events - January 13
1863 - Thomas Crapper pioneered the one-piece pedestal flushing toilet. He is also said to have pioneered the self raising seat for said toilet, which worked on a system of counter weights that left men free to concentrate on the job at hand.
1906 - Hugh Gernsback of the Electro Importing Company advertised radio receivers for sale for the low, low price of just $7.50 in "Scientific American" magazine. The first ad selling the gizmos guaranteed reception of about one mile. We’ve worked at powerhouse radio stations that used to go that far... and less!
1910 - Enrico Caruso and Emmy Destinn were heard via a telephone transmitter; rigged by DeForest Radio-Telephone Company to broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.
1933 - Babe (Mildred) Didrikson made her first appearance in professional basketball as the Brooklyn Yankees beat the stew out of the Long Island Ducklings.
1938 - Singer Allan Jones recorded "The Donkey Serenade" for Victor Records. The song became the one most often associated with the singer. Allan sang and acted in several Marx Brothers films: "A Night at the Opera", "A Day at the Races"; but the film that catapulted him to stardom was the operetta, "Firefly", with Jeanette MacDonald. Singer Jack Jones is the son of Allan and wife, actress, Irene Hervey ("The Count of Monte Cristo", "Play Misty for Me").
1939 - Monty Stratton was listed along with 31 other players on the roster of the Chicago White Sox. Stratton stated that his determination to play ball allowed him to continue pitching even though he used an artificial leg (the result of a hunting mishap).
1941 - The four Modernaires joined to sing with the Glenn Miller Band on a permanent basis beginning this day. They had a ‘solo’ hit in 1946 with "To Each His Own".
1942 - Henry Ford patented the plastic automobile, which allowed for a 30% decrease in car weight. Of course, it didn’t cost any less to buy a plastic car. Just ask Corvette owners...
1945 - The Russian Army opened an offensive in South Poland, crashing 25 miles through the German lines.
1955 - Chase National Bank (founded in 1877) and the Bank of Manhattan Company (founded in 1799 as a water company) agreed to merge, becoming the second largest bank in the U.S.
1957 - Elvis Presley recorded "All Shook Up" and "That’s When Your Heartaches Begin" for Victor Records in Hollywood. The former tune became Elvis’ ninth consecutive gold record.
1957 - The Wham-O Company developed the first plastic Frisbee. The most popular theory as to how this flying disc came to be dates back to the 1920s when Yale students invented a game of catch by tossing around metal pie tins from the Frisbee Baking Company in nearby Bridgeport, Connecticut. They would frequently shout “Frisbieeeee” to warn passersby of the oncoming pie plate. Building inspector Fred Morrison puttered with and refined a plastic flying disc that he sold to WHAM-O (for $1 million) on this day in 1955. The disc was introduced to the consumer market in 1957 as the Pluto Platter (the name inspired by the U.S. obsession with UFOs). Wham-O changed the name to Frisbee in 1958, upon hearing the Yale pie-tin story. (Mattel now owns the rights to Frisbee, which has become an American icon.)
1962 - Singer Chubby Checker set a record, literally, with the hit, "The Twist". The song reached the #1 position for an unprecedented second time -- in two years. "The Twist" was also number one on September 26, 1960. The Philadelphia boy made good twice!
1962 - Comedian Ernie Kovacs was killed in a car crash in Los Angeles. He was 42 years old.
1966 - Elizabeth Montgomery’s character, Samantha, on "Bewitched", had a baby. Tabitha was the name given to the witch’s daughter. She could wriggle her nose and cause all kinds of problems for daddy, just like her mom.
1973 - Carly Simon’s "No Secrets" was the #1 album in the U.S. for the first of five weeks. The tracks: "The Right Thing to Do", "The Carter Family", "You’re So Vain", "His Friends are More Than Fond of Robin", "(We Have) No Secrets", "Embrace Me You Child", "Waited So Long", "It Was So Easy", "Night Owl" and "When You Close Your Eyes".
1974 - Super Bowl VIII (at Houston): Miami Dolphins 24, Minnesota Vikings 7. The Dolphins win their second straight Super Bowl. Fran Tarkenton and the Vikings are the victims. MVP: Dolphins’ RB Larry Csonka. Tickets: $15.00.
1982 - Air Florida Flight 90, a boeing 737, attempted to take off from Washington’s National Airport in one of the worst blizzards in history. Ice had built up on the wings of the jetliner as it waited its turn to take off, preventing it from gaining altitude. After crashing into the 14th Street Bridge, the plane fell into the Potomac River. 74 of the 79 people on the aircraft were killed in the accident. Four people on the bridge were killed.
1984 - Wayne Gretzky extended his consecutive scoring streak to 45 games, but the Edmonton Oilers winning streak ended at an unlucky 13 when Gretzky and company lost to the Buffalo Sabres 3-1.
1988 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public school officials had broad powers to censor school newspapers, school plays and other “school-sponsored expressive activities.”
1992 - The government of Japan acknowledged and apologized for forcing tens of thousands of Korean women to serve as ‘comfort women’ (sex slaves) for Japanese soldiers during World War II.
1997 - Seven African-American soldiers received the Medal of Honor for World War II valor. The lone survivor, former Lt. Vernon Baker, received his medal from President Bill Clinton at the White House.
2000 - Microsoft chairman Bill Gates announced that he would be stepping down as Microsoft chief executive and handing over the reins to longtime friend and company president Steve Ballmer. Gates assumed the title of ‘chief software architect’.
2002 - U.S. President George Bush (II) fainted briefly after choking on a pretzel while watching a football game.
2004 - A U.S. soldier at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq reported U.S. abuses of Iraqi prisoners. (Criminal charges were filed against six U.S. soldiers Mar 20.)
2005 - Following the steroid scandals affecting several stars, major-league baseball owners and players in the U.S. agreed to a more stringent drug policy.
2006 - New flicks in U.S. movie houses: Glory Road, starring Josh Lucas, Derek Luke, Mehcad Brooks, Emily Deschanel, Al Shearer, Tatyana Ali and Jon Voight; Last Holiday, with Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Timothy Hutton, Gerard Depardieu, Alicia Witt and Giancarlo Esposito; and Tristan + Isolde, starring James Franco, Sophia Myles, Rufus Sewell, David Patrick O’Hara, Mark Strong, Henry Cavill, Bronagh Gallagher and Dexter Fletcher.
2006 - Augustine Volcano in Alaska erupted for the fifth time in three days; the first eruptions in nearly two decades.
2008 - China stepped up its campaign to rein in inflation which was running at its highest level in more than a decade. New rules tweaked the definition of price manipulation to include maliciously hoarding goods to drive up their prices.
Birthdays - January 13
1832 - Horatio Alger Jr. (Unitarian minister, author of rags to riches tales: Ragged Dick, Luck and Pluck, Tattered Tom, etc.; died July 18, 1899)
1885 - Alfred Fuller (company founder: The Fuller Brush man!; died Dec 4, 1973)
1887 - Sophie Tucker (Abuza) (singer, vaudeville: ‘Last of the Red Hot Mamas’; “I’ve been poor, I’ve been rich. Believe me, rich is better.”; died Feb 9, 1966)
1907 - (Irving) Jeff Morrow (actor: The Robe; The Creature Walks Among Us, The Giant Claw; The Story of Ruth, Octaman; died Dec 26, 1993)
1908 - Earle Gilmore Wheeler (U.S. Army General, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff [1964-1970]; died Dec 18, 1975)
1909 - Quentin ‘Butter’ Jackson (musician: trombone: played with Duke Ellington; died Oct 2, 1976)
1919 - Robert Stack (Robert Langford Modini) (Emmy Award-winning actor: The Untouchables [1959-1960]; Written on the Wind, Strike Force, Airplane, Unsolved Mysteries; died May 14, 2003)
1922 - Army (Armand) Archerd (show biz columnist, author; died Sep 8, 2009)
1925 - Gwen Verdon (Gwyneth Evelyn Verdon) (dancer; Tony Award-winning actress: Damn Yankees , Can-Can ; High Button Shoes; films: Damn Yankees!, The Cotton Club, Cocoon; died Oct 18, 2000)
1930 - Frances Sternhagen (actress: Raising Cain, Doc Hollywood, Bright Lights, Big City, Outland, Starting Over, Driving Miss Daisy)
1931 - Charles Nelson Reilly (comedian, actor: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Cannonball Run; game show panelist: Match Game P.M.; died May 25, 2007)
1933 - Tom Gola (Basketball Hall-of-Famer: NCAA Division I Men’s Record: Career Rebounds: 2,201 for La Salle [1952-1955]; died Jan 26, 2014)
1938 - Billy Gray (actor: On Moonlight Bay, Two for the Seesaw)
1943 - Richard Moll (actor: Night Court, Storybook, The Flintstones, Sidekicks, Sword and the Sorcerer, Hard Country)
1947 - Bill Stanfill (football: Univ. of Georgia, Miami Dolphins; NFL side judge; died Nov 10, 2016)
1949 - Brandon Tartikoff (TV executive: president of NBC at age 31; died Aug 27, 1997)
1950 - Bob (Robert Herbert) Forsch (baseball: pitcher: SL Cardinals [World Series: 1982, 1985, 1987], Houston Astros; died Nov 3, 2011)
1950 - Mike (Michael Ray) Tyson (baseball: St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs)
1960 - Kevin Anderson (actor: Rising Sun, Hoffa, Sleeping with the Enemy, Risky Business)
1961 - Julia Louis-Dreyfus (actress: Seinfeld, Saturday Night Live, Hannah and Her Sisters, North, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation)
1961 - Graham ‘Suggs’ McPherson (singer: group: Madness: The Prince, One Step Beyond, House of Fun, It Must Be Love, Grey Day, The Sun and the Rain)
1964 - Penelope Ann Miller (actress: Witch Hunt, Carlito’s Way, Kindergarten Cop, Awakenings, Biloxi Blues, Big Top Pee Wee)
1966 - Patrick Dempsey (actor: Fast Times, The Right to Remain Silent, Loverboy, Meatballs)
1968 - Traci Bingham (actress: Baywatch, Hollywood Squares, D.R.E.A.M. Team, To Tell the Truth)
1977 - Orlando Bloom (actor: Lord of the Rings, Black Hawk Down, Lullaby of Clubland)
1983 - Alan Webb (U.S. Olympic runner: high school record holder: indoor mile, outdoor mile, 1,500m; Big Ten Conference Cross Country champ ; Big Ten 1,500m champ ; Olympic Trials 1,500m champ )
1984 - Nick Mangold (football [center]: NFL: New York Jets: 4× Pro Bowler [2008, 2009, 2010, 2011])
1987 - Marc Staal (hockey [defenseman]: New York Rangers [2005- ]: 2014 Stanley Cup finals)
1989 - Doug Martin (football [running back]: NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
1990 - Liam Hemsworth (actor: The Hunger Games, Neighbours, The Elephant Princess, The Last Song, Love and Honor, The Expendables 2)
Chart Toppers - January 13
Buttons and Bows - Dinah Shore
On a Slow Boat to China - The Kay Kyser Orchestra (vocal: Harry Babbitt & Gloria Wood)
A Little Bird Told Me - Evelyn Knight
I Love You So Much It Hurts - Jimmy Wakely
Singing the Blues - Guy Mitchell
The Banana Boat Song - The Tarriers
Moonlight Gambler - Frankie Laine
Singing the Blues - Marty Robbins
I Feel Fine - The Beatles
She’s a Woman - The Beatles
Love Potion Number Nine - The Searchers
Once a Day - Connie Smith
Me and Mrs. Jones - Billy Paul
Clair - Gilbert O’Sullivan
You’re So Vain - Carly Simon
She’s Got to Be a Saint - Ray Price
(Just Like) Starting Over - John Lennon
Love on the Rocks - Neil Diamond
Hungry Heart - Bruce Springsteen
I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink - Merle Haggard
Every Rose Has Its Thorn - Poison
My Prerogative - Bobby Brown
Two Hearts - Phil Collins
Hold Me - K.T. Oslin
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.