Events - March 12
1755 - The first reported use of the steam engine was made -- in North Arlington, NJ.
1884 - The State of Mississippi authorized the first state-supported college for women. It was called the Mississippi Industrial Institute and College.
1889 - Almon B. Strowger stepped up to the counter at the U.S. Patent Office to file for his invention, the automatic telephone system. The system was installed in Laporte, IN in 1892. It worked, but not well enough. Mr. Bell’s invention was deemed much more reliable. Good thing or we would have been complaining about Ma Stowger for years and years.
1912 - The Girl Scouts organization was founded on this day in 1912. Juliette Gordon Low of Savannah, Georgia is the person credited with starting this group for young girls, figuring, of course, that if there were Boy Scouts, why not Girl Scouts, too? At first, the girls weren’t called Girl Scouts at all. They were called Girl Guides until the name was officially changed a short time after the group’s founding. Volunteer, help a friend, set an example and complete a project, then pass those chocolate mint and peanut butter-filled cookies, please, as we ‘guide’ you along the path when "Those Were the Days".
1928 - More than 400 people died when the San Francisquito Valley in California was inundated with water after the St. Francis Dam burst
1933 - Eight days after he was inaugurated, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt presented his first presidential address to the nation. It was the first of what were called Roosevelt’s famous "Fireside Chats". The name, incidentally, was coined by newsman, Robert Trout. He thought that the President sounded as if he was sitting with us in living rooms all over the nation next to a roaring fire, just telling it like it was. These frequent, soothing, down-to-earth talks helped bolster President Roosevelt’s enormous popularity for four terms in office, making him, many say, the greatest President of the century, if not of all time.
1935 - Parimutuel betting became a reality as horse race bets were legalized in the state of Nebraska. There are still U.S. states where horse racing, betting or other forms of legalized gambling still ‘nag’ legislatures, despite the fact that other states have been participating in these activities for decades.
1939 - Artie Shaw and his band recorded the standard, "Deep Purple" (with Helen Forrest singing the vocal), in New York for the Bluebird label. Larry Clinton and his orchestra had a number one song with a similar arrangement of the same tune that same year. It later was a hit for saxophonist, Nino Tempo and his sister, April Stevens in 1963. Hundreds of versions of this song have been recorded through the years, making it one of the most popular standards of all time.
1945 - Anne Frank, the Jewish teen-ager who kept a diary of her wartime experiences, died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. She was 15 years old.
1947 - In a speech to Congress, U.S. President Harry Truman outlined what became known as the Truman Doctrine, calling for U.S. aid to countries threatened by communist revolution.
1951 - “Mr. Wiiiiillllssssson!” The comic strip, "Dennis the Menace", appeared for the first time in 16 newspapers across the U.S. The strip became an international favorite in thousands of newspapers and spawned a CBS-TV program that starred Jay North as Dennis. The series lasted for several seasons and is still seen in syndicated re-runs. A somewhat popular movie starring Walter Matthau as Mr. Wilson and Christopher Lloyd as the bad guy was released in 1993.
1959 - The U.S. House joined the Senate in passing the Hawai’i Statehood Admission Act, approving statehood for Hawaii.
1966 - Bobby Hull of the Chicago Blackhawks became the first player in the National Hockey League to score more than 50 goals in a single season.
1969 - Wedding bells rang in London for singer, Paul McCartney and his new bride, photographer, Linda Eastman.
1971 - Syrian Premier Hafez al-Assad was elected president in a national referendum.
1974 - "Wonder Woman", the TV movie, came to ABC-TV, starring ... are you ready??? Cathy Lee Crosby. In November 1975, another "Wonder Woman" TV movie aired starring Lynda Carter. Eventually, after a series of specials, "Wonder Woman" became a regular CBS-TV show, still starring Lynda Carter in the title role. Wonder Woman’s real name, for those who have lost sleep wondering about such trivia, was Yeoman Diana Prince. As a bonus, Wonder Girl, Diana’s kid sister Druscilla, was played by Debra Winger. How about that?
1979 - Grenada’s prime minister, Sir Eric Gairy, and his government were overthrown and replaced by Maurice Bishop of the New Jewel Movement.
1980 - A Chicago jury found John Wayne Gacy Jr. guilty of the murders of 33 men and boys. After years on death row, he was executed May 10, 1994.
1985 - Auto dealer Tom Benson and several investors plunked down some cash to buy the New Orleans Saints football team. The bankroll was quite substantial -- about $64 million -- making quite a hurricane in the French Quarter.
1985 - Larry Bird of the NBA’s Boston Celtics scored a club-record 60 points in a 126-116 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. Bird broke the record previously held by teammate Kevin McHale, who scored 56 points just nine days earlier.
1987 - Both Coca-Cola and Boeing Company joined the rank and file of the Dow Jones Industrials this day. The 30-stock average said “adieu” to the stock of Owens-Illinois Glass and Inco Ltd. to make room for the new issues.
1992 - The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius became the Republic of Mauritius, dropping its links with the British crown 24 years after Mauritius gained its independence.
1997 - Police in Los Angeles arrested Mikhail Markhasev as a suspect in the shooting death of Bill Cosby’s son, Ennis, almost two months earlier. In 1998 Markhasev was sentenced to life in prison for the murder.
2003 - Elizabeth Smart, the 15-year-old girl who had vanished from her bedroom nine months before, was found alive on this day -- in a Salt Lake City suburb. Smart was in the company of two ‘drifters’, who turned out to be Brian Mitchell, her kidnapper, and a Wanda Barzee, a companion of Mitchell’s. Relatives said Elizabeth Smatrt was in good physical condition.
2004 - New flicks in U.S. theatres this day were: Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London, starring Frankie Muniz, Anthony Anderson, Keith David, Daniel Roebuck and Cynthia Stevenson; NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience, with Kiefer Sutherland and Jeff Gordon; Secret Window, starring Johnny Depp, Maria Bello, Timothy Hutton, Ving Rhames, Charles Dutton and John Turturro; and Spartan, with Val Kilmer, Derek Luke, William H. Macy, Johnny Messner, Alexandra Kerry, Tia Texada and Kristen Bell.
2008 - New York Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned (effective 3/17) over revelations of his links to a high-priced prostitution ring. Lt. Governor David Peterson would become the new governor.
Birthdays - March 12
1806 - Jane (Means Appleton) Pierce (First Lady [1853-1857]: wife of Franklin Pierce, 14th President of the U.S.; died Dec 2, 1863)
1832 - Charles Boycott (real estate agent: refused to lower rents, served eviction notices instead ; tenants refused to deal with him; in other words, they boycotted Boycott making his name a part of the English language from then on; died Jun 19, 1897)
1910 - Roger L. Stevens (producer: West Side Story, Bus Stop, A Man for All Seasons, Tea and Sympathy, Deathtrap, First Monday in October, Mary, Mary; founding chairman: National Council on the Arts, the Kennedy Center; died Feb 2, 1998)
1912 - Paul Weston (Wetstein) (orchestra leader, arranger: Nevertheless [I’m in Love with You], Theme from Shane; songwriter: I Should Care, Shrimp Boats for wife: Jo Stafford; died Sep 20, 1996)
1917 - Googie Withers (Georgette Lizette Withers) (actress: Northanger Abbey, Devil on Horseback, Accused, Dead of Night; died Jul 15, 2011)
1921 - Gordon MacRae (actor: Oklahoma!, Carousel, The Desert Song; singer: I Still Get Jealous, It’s Magic, Hair of Gold Eyes of Blue, C’est Magnifique, The Secret [with Jo Stafford]; died Jan 24, 1986)
1922 - Jack Kerouac (author: On the Road, The Town and the City, The Dharma Bums, The Subterraneans, Doctor Sax, Maggie Cassidy, Lonesome Traveler, Big Sur, Desolation Angels, Visions of Cody; died Oct 21, 1969)
1923 - Capt. Walter ‘Wally’ M. Shirra Jr. (astronaut: one of original 7 Project Mercury astronauts: Flew on Mercury 8 [1962: 6 earth orbits]; Gemini 6 [1965: first rendezvous in space: with Gemini 7]; Apollo 7 ; died May 3, 2007)
1926 - Hildy Parks (Emmy Award-winning producer: The 34th Annual Tony Awards [June 8, 1980], Night of 100 Stars ; TV panelist: To Tell the Truth, Down You Go; actress: Studio One; died Oct 7, 2004)
1928 - Edward Albee (Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright: A Delicate Balance , Seascape , Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; died Sep 16, 2016)
1930 - Bronco Horvath (hockey: NHL: NY Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Minnesota North Stars)
1930 - Vern (Vernon Sanders) ‘Deacon’ Law (baseball: pitcher: Pittsburgh Pirates [World Series: 1960/all-star: 1960/Cy Young Award: 1960)
1932 - Andrew Young (U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations [under President Jimmy Carter]; 2-term mayor of Atlanta, GA; U.S. United Nations ambassador; president of National Council Churches)
1933 - Barbara Feldon (Hall) (actress: Get Smart, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.)
1938 - Lew Dewitt (singer: group: The Statler Brothers: Flowers on the Wall, Bed of Roses; died Aug 15, 1990)
1938 - Johnny Rutherford (auto racer: Indianapolis 500 winner: [1974, 1976, 1980])
1939 - Johnny (John Wesley) Callison (baseball: Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies [all-star: 1962, 1964, 1965], Chicago Cubs, NY Yankees; died Oct 12, 2006)
1940 - Al Jarreau (singer: Breakin’ Away, We’re in This Love Together; died Feb 12, 2017)
1942 - Brian O’Hara (musician: guitar, singer: group: The Fourmost: Hello Little Girl, I’m in Love, A Little Loving, Baby I Need Your Loving; died June 27, 1999)
1942 - Jim (James Sherman) Wynn (baseball: Houston Colt .45’s, Houston Astros [all-star: 1967], LA Dodgers [all-star: 1974, 1975/World Series: 1974], Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, NY Yankees)
1946 - Liza Minnelli (Academy Award-winning actress: Cabaret ; The Sterile Cuckoo, Arthur, Liza with a ‘Z’!; daughter of Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli)
1948 - Mark Moseley (football: NFL record for scoring 161 points : kicking 62 extra points and 33 field goals for Washington Redskins; fifth all-time scorer)
1948 - James Taylor (Rock & Roll Hall of Fame singer: You’ve Got a Friend, Handy Man, Fire & Rain, How Sweet It Is [To Be Loved By You]; formerly married to Carly Simon)
1949 - Mike Gibbins (musician: drums: group: Badfinger: Maybe Tomorrow, No Matter What, Day After Day, Feel like Makin’ Love; died Oct 4, 2005)
1949 - Bill Payne (musician: keyboards: group: Little Feat: Willin’, LPs: The Last Record Album, Time Loves a Hero; songwriter w/wife Fran Tate)
1953 - Ron Jeremy (director, actor [1979-2012]: X-rated films: Orgazmo, Super Hornio Brothers, Can I Do It ’Till I Need Glasses?, Wizard of Ahh’s, Return to Sex Fifth Avenue, I Can’t Get No... Satisfaction, Return to Camp Beaver Lake, Depraved Fantasies 4: The Undead, I Know Who You Did Last Summer, Charlie’s Devils Porn Stars from Mars, Operation: Desert Stormy, Emmanuelle in Wonderland; more)
1957 - Marlon Jackson (singer: group: The Jackson Five; Michael’s brother)
1960 - Courtney B. Vance (actor: The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Whitewash: The Clarence Brandley Story, Space Cowboys, Cookie’s Fortune, Blind Faith, Love and Action in Chicago)
1962 - Darryl (Eugene) Strawberry (baseball: NY Mets [Rookie of the Year: 1983/NL MVP [26 HR, 74 RBIs in 122 games: 1983]/all-star: 1984-1990/World Series: 1986], LA Dodgers [all-star: 1991], SF Giants, NY Yankees [World Series: 1996])
1978 - Terrelle Smith (football [running back]: Arizona State Univ; NFL: New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals)
1979 - Charlie Bell (basketball [guard]: Michigan State Univ; NBA: Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks)
1982 - Samm Levine (actor: Freaks and Geeks, Club Dread, Anderson’s Cross, After School Special, Follow Tidly, Homeward Bound, Strippers Pole, Not Another Teen Movie)
Chart Toppers - March 12
If - Perry Como
My Heart Cries for You - Guy Mitchell
Be My Love - Mario Lanza
There’s Been a Change in Me - Eddy Arnold
Venus - Frankie Avalon
Charlie Brown - The Coasters
Alvin’s Harmonica - David Seville & The Chipmunks
Don’t Take Your Guns to Town - Johnny Cash
Love is Here and Now You’re Gone - The Supremes
Baby I Need Your Lovin’ - Johnny Rivers
Penny Lane - The Beatles
The Fugitive - Merle Haggard
Have You Never Been Mellow - Olivia Newton-John
Black Water - The Doobie Brothers
My Eyes Adored You - Frankie Valli
Linda on My Mind - Conway Twitty
Billy Jean - Michael Jackson
Shame on the Moon - Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
Do You Really Want to Hurt Me - Culture Club
The Rose - Conway Twitty
Someday - Mariah Carey
One More Try - Timmy -T-
Show Me the Way - Styx
I’d Love You All Over Again - Alan Jackson
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.