Events - June 15
1215 - In a meadow called Ronimed, between Windsor and Staines, England, King John of England sealed the Magna Carta, the first charter of English liberties. The Magna Carta is considered one of the most important historical documents defining political and human freedoms.
1752 - It was a dark and stormy night. Since there was nothing on TV worth a darn and, since he had been wondering if there really was electricity up in those dark clouds, Benjamin Franklin tied an iron wire to his kite and let it sail. He flew the kite from a long piece of twine tied to a silk ribbon on the end. Franklin attached a metal key where the twine and silk met. Ben, not being a total dummy, flew the kite high in the wind, but stood in a doorway so the silk ribbon (and he) would not get wet. His idea was that any electricity overhead would be attracted to the wire on top of the kite. Lucky for Franklin, no actual lightning bolt struck the wire or Ben would have been toast! However, as lightning began to flash, he put his hand near the key and sparks flew. The test was a success!
1775 - George Washington became Commander in Chief of the Continental Army on this day.
1836 - First acquired by the United States through the Louisiana Purchase, Arkansas officially became the 25th of the United States of America. The Land of Opportunity as Arkansas is called, was founded in the late 17th century by Frenchman Henri de Tonti. His intrepretation of Quapaw, the Indian tribe that lived in the area, was Arkansas. Little Rock, the state’s largest city is also its capital. The state bird and the state flower are the mockingbird and apple blossom, respectively.
1844 - Vulcanized rubber was patented by Charles Goodyear of New York City. Vulcanized rubber later was made into tires with Goodyear’s name on them. Charles never benefited from his invention and was poverty-stricken.
1869 - England’s Tom Allen was defeated by Mike McCoole of the United States in St. Louis, MO in the first international bare-knuckle fight for an American. Ouch!
1909 - Benjamin Shibe patented the cork-center baseball. A baseball stadium (Shibe Park in Philadelphia) was named for him.
1936 - Al Jolson and Ruby Keeler starred in "Burlesque" on the "Lux Radio Theatre".
1938 - John Vander Meer of Cincinnati became the first pitcher in the major leagues to toss two, consecutive, no-hit, no-run games. He led the Reds to a 6-0 shutout win over the Brooklyn Dodgers. Vandermeer had no-hit Boston just four days earlier. The win over Brooklyn was also the first night game played at Ebbets Field. (FYI: These two games were the only no-hitters Vander Meer threw.)
1951 - Joe Louis knocked out Lee Savold in a closed-circuit TV fight seen by fight fans in movie theatres in six cities.
1956 - Sixteen-year-old John Lennon of the music group The Quarrymen met 14-year-old Paul McCartney and invited him to join the group. In a few years, the group became The Beatles.
1963 - Kyu Sakamoto from Kawasaki, Japan, reached the number one spot on the pop music charts with "Sukiyaki". The popular song captivated American music buyers and was at the top of the "Billboard" pop chart for three weeks. In Japan, where Sakamoto was enormously popular, "Sukiyaki" was known as "Ue O Muite Aruko" (I Look Up When I Walk). The entertainer met an untimely fate in 1985. Kyu (cue) Sakamoto was one of 520 people who perished in the crash of a Japan Air Lines Boeing 747 near Tokyo. He was 43 years old.
1976 - A 10-inch, mid-June rainfall in Houston, TX made it impossible for the Astros and the Pittsburgh Pirates to play ball in the Astrodome this night. With the parking lot under water and boats the only way to get to the stadium gates, the game was canceled.
1987 - Boxer Michael Spinks beat heavyweight Gerry Cooney in round five in their heavyweight boxing match in Atlantic City, NJ. Spinks was shorter and lighter than Cooney -- but a lot better. So was most everyone else who fought Cooney...
1991 - Long-dormant Mount Pinatubo erupted with a vengeance in the Philippines. The Volcano covered the surrounding area with ash which turned into mud following severe rainstorms. Villages and U.S. military bases (Clark Air Force Base and Subic Bay Naval Base) were evacuated. The bases were damaged and many people lost their homes.
Birthdays - June 15
1767 - Rachel Jackson (Donelson Robards) (U.S. First Lady, wife of 7th President Andrew Jackson; died Dec 22, 1828)
1843 - Edvard Grieg (composer: Peer Gynt Suite; died Sep 4, 1907)
1894 - Robert Russell Bennett (musician: orchestration: Victory at Sea series; died Aug 18, 1981)
1910 - David Rose (Grammy Award-winning  composer: The Stripper; scores: Little House on the Prairie, Bonanza, Sea Hunt, Highway Patrol; David Rose and His Orchestra: The Red Skelton Show, The Tony Martin Show; died Aug 23, 1990)
1912 - Babe (Ellsworth Tenney) Dahlgren (baseball: Boston Red Sox, NY Yankees [World Series: 1939], Boston Braves, Chicago Cubs, Brooklyn Dodgers, SL Browns, Philadelphia Phillies [all-star: 1943], Pittsburgh Pirates; died Sep 04, 1996; died Sep 04, 1996)
1914 - Saul Steinberg (cartoonist: New Yorker magazine [50+ years]: View of the World from 9th Avenue, Luna Park, Prosperity, Taxi; doctorate in architecture; died May 12, 1999)
1917 - Leon Payne (country artist, songwriter: I Love You Because, Lost Highway, They’ll Never Take Her Love, I Heard My Heart Break Last Night, The Blue Side of Lonesome; died Sep 11, 1969)
1921 - Erroll Garner (ASCAP Award-winning jazz pianist: Misty ; Dreamy, That’s My Kick, Moment’s Delight, Solitaire; died Jan 2, 1977)
1922 - Morris (King) Udall (politician: U.S. Congressman from Arizona; died Dec 12, 1998)
1930 - Marcel Pronovost (Hockey Hall-of-Famer: Detroit Red Wings [4 Stanley Cup winners], Toronto Maple Leafs [Stanley Cup: 1967]; died Apr 26, 2015)
1932 - Mario Cuomo (politician: governor: state of New York; died Jan 1, 2015)
1937 - Waylon Jennings (Country Music Association  Award-winning singer: My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys, Good Hearted Woman, Luckenbach, Texas, Theme from "The Dukes of Hazzard"; bass: group: The Crickets [w/Buddy Holly]; actor: Nashville Rebel, Stagecoach, Urban Cowboy; died Feb 13, 2002)
1938 - Billy (Leo) Williams (baseball: Chicago Cubs [Rookie of the Year: 1961/all-star: 1962, 1964, 1965, 1968, 1972, 1973], Oakland Athletics)
1939 - Ty (Tyrone Alexander) Cline (baseball: Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Braves, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, SF Giants, Montreal Expos, Cincinnati Reds [World Series: 1970])
1941 - Harry (Edward) Nilsson III (singer: Everybody’s Talkin, Without You, Me and My Arrow, Coconut; songwriter: One; scores: Skidoo, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father; died Jan 15, 1994)
1942 - (John) Bruce Dal Canton (baseball: pitcher: Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, Atlanta Braves, Chicago White Sox; died Oct 7, 2008)
1945 - Danny O’Shea (hockey: Canadian Olympic Hockey team ; NHL: Minnesota North Stars, Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues)
1945 - Nicola Pagett (actress: An Awfully Big Adventure, Privates on Parade, Oliver’s Story, There’s a Girl in My Soup, Upstairs Downstairs)
1946 - Ken (Kenneth Joseph) Henderson (baseball: SF Giants, Chicago White Sox, Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers, Cincinnati Reds, NY Mets, Chicago Cubs)
1946 - Noddy (Neville) Holder (musician: guitar, singer, songwriter: group: Slade: Get Down and Get with It, Coz I Love You, Mama Weer All Crazee Now, Cum On Feel the Noize, Skweeze Me Pleeze Me, Merry Xmas Everybody, We’ll Bring the House Down, My Oh My, Run Run Away)
1946 - Janet Lennon (singer: group: Lennon Sisters: Lawrence Welk Show, The Andy Williams Show)
1949 - Dusty (Johnnie B) Baker (baseball: Atlanta Braves, LA Dodgers [World Series: 1977, 1978, 1981/all-star: 1981, 1982], SF Giants, Oakland Athletics)
1949 - Russ Hitchcock (singer: group: Air Supply: The One that You Love, Love and other Bruises)
1949 - Jim Varney (actor: The Beverly Hillbillies, Ernest Goes to Jail, Ernest Saves Christmas; died Feb 10, 2000)
1954 - Jim Belushi (actor: Saturday Night Live, Trading Places, The Man with One Red Shoe, Little Shop of Horrors, The Principal, Who’s Harry Crumb?, Diary of a Hit Man, Destiny Turns on the Radio, Mighty Ducks the Movie: The Face-Off, Retroactive, Wag the Dog, K-911; John Belushi’s brother)
1954 - Terri Gibbs (singer: Somebody’s Knockin’)
1955 - Julie Hagerty (actress: Airplane!, Airplane II: The Sequel, Women of the House, Noises Off, What About Bob?, Reversal of Fortune, Lost in America, The House of Blue Leaves)
1958 - Wade (Anthony) Boggs (baseball: Boston Red Sox [all-star: 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992/World Series: 1986], NY Yankees [all-star: 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996/World Series: 1996])
1963 - Helen (Elizabeth) Hunt (Academy Award-winning actress: As Good As It Gets ; Emmy Award-winning actress: Mad About You [1995-1996, 1996-1997, 1997-1998, 1998-1999]; Swiss Family Robinson, It Takes Two, The Fitzpatricks, Amy Prentiss, Twister, Kiss of Death, Next of Kin, Peggy Sue Got Married, Quarterback Princess, Desperate Lives, The Spell, My Life and Times)
1964 - Courteney Cox (actress: Friends, Family Ties, Ace Ventura Pet Detective)
1970 - Leah Remini (actress: The King of Queens, Living Dolls, Glory Daze, Follow Your Heart)
1971 - Jake Busey (actor: Starship Troopers, Shimmer, Twister, Contact, Enemy of the State, Shasta McNasty; son of actor Gary Busey)
1972 - Justin Leonard (golf: champ: 1996 Buick Open [1996[, Kemper Open , British Open , The Players [ 1998], Westin Texas Open )
1973 - Neil Patrick Harris (actor: Doogie Howser, M.D., Clara’s Heart, Snowbound: The Jim and Jennifer Stolpa Story, My Antonia, Starship Troopers, The Next Best Thing)
Chart Toppers - June 15
My Foolish Heart - The Gordon Jenkins Orchestra (vocal: Eileen Wilson)
Bewitched - The Gordon Jenkins Orchestra (vocal: Mary Lou Williams)
The Third Man Theme - Alton Karas
Why Don’t You Love Me - Hank Williams
The Purple People Eater - Sheb Wooley
Do You Want to Dance - Bobby Freeman
Yakety Yak - The Coasters
All I Have to Do is Dream - The Everly Brothers
Paint It, Black - The Rolling Stones
Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind? - The Lovin’ Spoonful
I Am a Rock - Simon & Garfunkel
Distant Drums - Jim Reeves
Billy, Don’t Be a Hero - Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods
You Make Me Feel Brand New - The Stylistics
Sundown - Gordon Lightfoot
I Don’t See Me in Your Eyes Anymore - Charlie Rich
Ebony and Ivory - Paul McCartney with Stevie Wonder
Don’t Talk to Strangers - Rick Springfield
Don’t You Want Me - The Human League
For All the Wrong Reasons - The Bellamy Brothers
Hold On - Wilson Phillips
Poison - Bell Biv DeVoe
It Must Have Been Love - Roxette
Love Without End, Amen - George Strait
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.