Events - July 31
1790 - The first U.S. patent was issued to Samuel Hopkins of Vermont. Mr. Hopkins did not get Patent #1 as thousands of patents were issued before someone came up with the bright idea to number them. The inventor patented a process for making potash and pearl ashes.
1792 - Construction started with the laying of the cornerstone in the first building to be used solely as a U.S. Government building. It was the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.
1845 - The French Army introduced the saxophone to its military band. The musical instrument was the invention of Adolphe Sax of Belgium.
1928 - MGM’s Leo the lion roared for the first time. He introduced MGM’s first talking picture, "White Shadows on the South Seas". Leo’s dialogue was more extensive than the film’s, whose only spoken word was, “Hello.”
1933 - Listeners turned up the radio to hear the announcer introduce “Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy!” The show was one of the longest-running adventure programs on radio, continuing until 1951. Armstrong was Hudson High School’s football hero and the hero who saved the day from dastardly villains. Somehow, these adventures would take Jack and his cousins, Betty and Bill Fairfield to exotic locales where they would make use of industrialist Uncle Jim's yacht and a hydroplane they referred to as the "Silver Albatross".
1942 - Harry James and his band recorded the classic "I’ve Heard that Song Before", for Columbia Records. Helen Forrest sang on the million-seller.
1948 - New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport wasn’t always named that. In fact, on this day, U.S. President Harry S Truman dedicated the airport as International Airport at Idlewild Field.
1955 - Marilyn Bell of Toronto, Canada, at age 17, became the youngest person to swim the English Channel.
1961 - The first tie in All-Star Game history was recorded as the second All-Star Game of the year (there were two a year back then) was stopped in the 9th inning due to rain at Boston’s Fenway Park.
1964 - Country Music Hall of Famer Jim Reeves died when his single-engine Beechcraft crashed near Nashville, TN. Gentleman Jim started as a DJ, first at KGRI in Henderson, Texas; then at KWKH in Shreveport, LA (the home of the "Louisiana Hayride" in the early 1950s). His first hit was "Mexican Joe" in 1953. Reeves became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1955. He had his own TV series on ABC in 1957. He was in the 1963 film, "Kimberley Jim". Reeves bought a radio station in Henderson, Texas, which became very successful. Hits by Jim Reeves include "Four Walls", "He’ll Have to Go", "I’m Getting Better", "Am I Losing You", "Welcome to My World" and "I Guess I’m Crazy".
1970 - The Houston Astros sent ex-New York Yankee pitcher Jim Bouton down to the minor leagues. Ten days after joining the Oklahoma City farm team, Bouton retired from baseball. He authored several baseball books including "Ball Four". Bouton also became a sportscaster in New York City for WABC and WCBS-TV.
1971 - The first men to ride in a vehicle on the moon did so on this day in the LRV (lunar rover vehicle). This example of a lunar dune buggy carried Apollo 15 astronauts David R. Scott and James B. Irwin for five miles on the lunar surface. Their first stop at the rim of Elbow Crater was televised back to Earth to millions of viewers. The moon ride lasted two hours and the astronauts were heard to exclaim, “There’s some beautiful geology out there!”
1972 - Thomas Eagleton, the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, withdrew from the ticket with presidential candidate George McGovern following disclosure that Eagleton had once undergone psychiatric treatment for depression. Eagleton was replaced by Sargent Shriver, who, incidentally, was the only Democratic vice-presidential nominee who did not serve in Congress at any point in his or her career.
1974 - One of the President Nixon’s main men, John Ehrlichman was sentenced to prison for his role in the break-in at the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. Ellsberg was the Pentagon consultant who leaked the "Pentagon Papers" (which purportedly told Americans how and why the U.S. really got into the Vietnam War). Ehrlichman also created the White House unit that was called the ‘plumbers’ because it was intended to plug leaks.
1981 - The seven-week baseball players’ strike came to an end as the players and owners agreed on the issue of free agent compensation.
1984 - Prince was big at the box office with the autobiographical story of the Minneapolis rock star, "Purple Rain". The flick grossed $7.7 million in its first three days of release on 917 movie screens. The album of the same name was the top LP in the U.S., as well.
1988 - Willie Stargell became 200th man inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Stargell had 475 career homers, twice leading the NL (48 in 1971, 44 in 1973). He drove in 1540 runs, scored 1195 and had 2232 hits with a lifetime batting average of .282. His inspirational leadership contributed greatly to Pittsburgh Pirate world championships in 1971 and 1979, when he shared NL MVP honors. His #8 was retired by the Pirates in 1982.
1992 - Olympic swimming world records set this day: Jeff Rouse: 100m backstroke (53.86 sec); Kieren John Perkins: 1500m free style (14:43.4); Tamas Darnyi: 200m backstroke (first swimmer to break 2 minutes in 200m: 1:59.36); Yang Wenyi 50m freestyle (24.79 sec). Also this day, Summer Sanders became the first American athlete to win four medals at the Barcelona Olympics as she won the gold in the women’s 200-meter butterfly.
1996 - Alanis Morissette, born in Ottawa, kicked off her first big-time Canadian tour with a show before 15,000 at General Motors Place, Vancouver. The concert had sold out in less than an hour two months earlier.
1999 - The U.S. heat wave -- linked to at least 94 deaths -- continued. As Chicago baked in 100-degree weather, thousands of hot and sweaty residents were forced to endure the heat without air conditioning or fans, due to sporadic power outages and brownouts.
Birthdays - July 31
1867 - S.S. (Sebastian Spering) Kresge (merchant: S.S. Kresge’s five & dime stores [now Kmart]; died Oct 18, 1966)
1911 - George Liberace (musician: violinist, conductor; administrator of Liberace Museum; brother of pianist/entertainer Liberace; died Oct 16, 1983)
1913 - Bryan Hextall (Hockey Hall of Famer: New York Rangers: Stanley Cup ; Art Ross Trophy winner [1941-1942]; died Jul 25, 1984)
1916 - Bill (William) Todman (game show producer: Goodson-Todman Productions: The Price is Right, To Tell the Truth, Beat the Clock, I’ve Got a Secret, What’s My Line; died Jul 29, 1979)
1918 - Hank Jones (pianist: accompanied Billy Eckstine, Ella Fitzgerald; led Hank Jones Trio; died May 16, 2010)
1919 - Curt Gowdy (sports commentator: ABC, CBS, NBC, HBO; voice of NY Yankees, Boston Red Sox [1949-1966]; TV play-by-play: AFL, NFL, major league baseball, World Series, All-Star Games, Rose Bowls, Super Bowls, Olympics, NCAA Final Fours; host: The American Sportsman; radio station owner: WCGY-FM, Lawrence [Boston] MA; recipient of George Foster Peabody Award for achievement in radio and TV ; Curt Gowdy Award presented by Hall of Fame Board of Trustees for meritorious contributions by the media; Curt Gowdy State Park [Wyoming] named after him ; died Feb 20, 2006)
1922 - Hank (Henry Albert) Bauer (baseball: NY Yankees [World Series: 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958: 4 home runs/all-star: 1952, 1953, 1954], KC Athletics; manager: NY Yankees, KC Athletics; died Feb 9, 2007)
1929 - Don Murray (actor: Bus Stop, Knots Landing, The Outcasts, Baby the Rain Must Fall, Peggy Sue Got Married, Advice and Consent)
1931 - Kenny Burrell (guitarist: played with Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman; own combos)
1937 - John Sellers (jockey: winner: Kentucky Derby [1961: on Carry Back], Belmont Stakes [1965: on Hail To All], Brooklyn Handicap [1965: on Pia Star]; died Jul 2, 2010)
1939 - France Nuyen (Vannga) (actress: The Joy Luck Club, South Pacific, Diamond Head, St. Elsewhere)
1939 - John West (musician: keyboards: group: Gary Lewis and the Playboys: This Diamond Ring)
1943 - Susan Flannery (Daytime Emmy Award-winning actress: Days of Our Lives , The Bold and the Beautiful [2000, 2002]; Dallas, Anatomy of a Seduction)
1944 - Geraldine Chaplin (actress: Nashville, Rosalind, Chaplin, Dr. Zhivago, The Wedding; daughter of comedian Charlie Chaplin)
1945 - Gary Lewis (Levitch) (singer: group: Gary Lewis and the Playboys: This Diamond Ring; entertainer Jerry Lewis’ son)
1946 - Bob Welch (guitarist, singer: group: Fleetwood Mac; solo: Sentimental Lady; died Jun 7, 2012)
1947 - Karl Green (musician: guitar, harmonica: group: Herman’s Hermits: I’m into Something Good, Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter, I’m Henry VIII, I Am, Listen People, A Must to Avoid, Leaning on the Lamp Post)
1951 - Evonne Goolagong (tennis champion: Australian Open [1974, 1975, 1976, 1977]; Wimbledon [1971, 1980]; French Open )
1951 - Barry Van Dyke (actor: Diagnosis Murder, The Van Dyke Show, Foxfire Light, It Happened at Lakewood Manor, Casino; son of actor Dick Van Dyke)
1952 - Chris Ahrens (hockey: NHL: Minnesota North Stars; WHA: Edmonton Oilers)
1952 - Alan Autry (actor: In the Heat of the Night, Proud Men, Blue De Ville, At Close Range; mayor of Fresno California)
1956 - Michael Biehn (actor: The Rock, Breach of Trust, Blood of the Hunter, Tombstone, A Taste for Killing, Timebomb, Aliens, The Terminator, The Fan, Coach, The Runaways)
1957 - Daniel Ash (musician: guitar, singer: groups: Bauhaus, Love and Rockets)
1957 - Leon Durham (baseball: St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs [all-star: 1982, 1983], Cincinnati Reds)
1958 - Bill Berry (musician: drums: group: R.E.M.: Radio Free Europe, Talk about the Passion, So Central Rain, [Don’t Go Back To] Rockville, Seven Chinese Brothers)
1962 - Wesley Snipes (actor: Demolition Man, Rising Sun, Major League, Sugar Hill, White Men Can’t Jump, To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, One Night Stand, U.S. Marshals)
1963 - Norman (Quentin) Cook (singer: groups: The Housemartins: Caravan of Love; Beats International: Dub Be Good To Me; Freakpower: Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out; Mighty Dub Katz, Pizzaman, Norman Cook Presents Wildski, Fried Funk Food; Fatboy Slim: Better Living through Chemistry, The Rockafeller Skank, You've Come A Long Way, Baby)
1966 - Dean Cain (actor: Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman)
Chart Toppers - July 31
You Can’t Be True, Dear - The Ken Griffin Orchestra (vocal: Jerry Wayne)
Woody Woodpecker Song - The Kay Kaiser Orchestra (vocal: Gloria Wood & The Campus Kids)
It’s Magic - Doris Day
Bouquet of Roses - Eddy Arnold
The Wayward Wind - Gogi Grant
Hound Dog/Don’t Be Cruel - Elvis Presley
Whatever Will Be Will Be (Que Sera Sera) - Doris Day
I Walk the Line - Johnny Cash
Rag Doll - The 4 Seasons
A Hard Day’s Night - The Beatles
The Little Old Lady (From Pasadena) - Jan & Dean
Dang Me - Roger Miller
Alone Again (Naturally) - Gilber O’Sullivan
Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) - Looking Glass
(If Loving You is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right - Luther Ingram
It’s Gonna Take a Little Bit Longer - Charley Pride
It’s Still Rock & Roll to Me - Billy Joel
Magic - Olivia Newton-John
Cupid/I’ve Loved You for a Long Time - Spinners
Bar Room Buddies - Merle Haggard & Clint Eastwood
Roll with It - Steve Winwood
Hands to Heaven - Breathe
Make Me Lose Control - Eric Carmen
Don’t We All Have the Right - Ricky Van Shelton
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.