Events - March 15
44BC - In the ancient Roman calendar, each of the 12 months had an ‘ides’ of the month. In March, May, July and October, the ides fell on the 15th day. In all other months, the ides fell on the 13th. The word ‘ides’ was derived from the Latin “to divide.” The ides were originally meant to mark the full moon, but since the solar calendar months and lunar months were of different lengths, the ides eventually lost their original intent and purpose. We only remember March as the month that has Ides because it was on this day that Roman Emperor Julius Caesar was assassinated. William Shakespeare helped to promote the Ides of March. He sure knew how to run a PR campaign.
1820 - Maine joined the 22 states of the United States of America. Travel way up to the far northeastern tip of the U.S., where many pine trees grow, and you’ll be in Maine, the Pine Tree State. Coincidentally, the white pine cone with its tassel is the state flower; and since the chickadee makes its nest in the pine tree, we figure that’s why it is the state bird. The landlocked salmon is the state fish, the tourmaline is the state mineral and the state song is ... we’re not kidding ... “State of Maine Song”. ‘I direct’ is the state motto which is ‘dirigo’ in Latin. How about all of us who know the origin of the name, Maine, getting together for a Maine lobster dinner! We learned that its first use was to distinguish the mainland from islands offshore. Maine was also thought to be named in honor of Henrietta Maria, Charles I of England’s queen. She owned a province in France titled, Mayne. And, last but not least, Augusta is the capital of Maine (not Georgia).
1869 - The Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first professional baseball team in America, had quite a day in Yellow Springs, OH, where they trounced Antioch 41-7. They weren’t even the Big Red Machine back then! In fact, the team was so embarrassed about their name, they changed it to Cincinnati Red Legs and even after that, (but long before Pete Rose) they became the Cincinnati Reds.
1913 - U.S. President Woodrow Wilson held the first open presidential news conference just 11 days after his inauguration.
1937 - The first blood bank was established -- in Chicago, IL at the Cook County Hospital. Have some cookies and maybe an orange to celebrate...
1939 - The German army crossed the Czech frontier and Adolf Hitler proclaimed the so-called Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.
1945 - Celebrities sauntered into Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles to celebrate the best of 1944. For the 17th time, the Academy Awards were presented by Hollywood -- to Hollywood. These Oscar awards were the first broadcast in entirety over the ABC radio network and Armed Forces Radio around the world. Co-hosts for the big show were actor/director John Cromwell (first half) and actor/comedian Bob Hope (second half). The Oscar for Best Picture went to the musical comedy, "Going My Way". Best Director was Leo McCarey, who also wrote (Oscar: Best Writing/Original Story) and produced the Bing Crosby (Best Actor)/Barry Fitzgerald (nominated for Best Actor/winner of Best Supporting Actor) gem. "Going My Way" also scored an Academy Award for music (James Van Heusen), lyrics (Johnny Burke) for the song "Swinging on a Star" (a hit for Crosby, as was "Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ra", also from the film) and Best Writing/Screenplay (Frank Butler, Frank Cavett). Interesting trivia note: Some years later, while practicing a golf swing in his living room, Crosby knocked the head off the then plaster-cast Oscar statuette he earned from the movie. Best Actress Oscar was given to Ingrid Bergman for "Gaslight" and Best Supporting Actress was Ethel Barrymore for "None But the Lonely Heart". We hope you’ve been paying attention. There may be a quiz later...
1945 - "Billboard" magazine debuted a new feature. It was the record chart of top albums. What album was the first to top this new chart? For those who thought it was a wax cylinder from Thomas Edison and the Record Rappers, jump back three spaces. If you said that the first album to reach #1 was "Nat King Cole Trio", you are absolutely correct!
1948 - Sir Laurence Olivier was on the cover of "LIFE" magazine for his starring role in Shakespeare’s "Hamlet".
1954 - CBS television inaugurated its "Morning Show". The host? None other than the man who would become “The most trusted man in America,” Walter Cronkite. Uncle Walter was called “host, ring-master and coordinator” in the network’s attempt to compete against the already three-year-old "Today" show on NBC. Cronkite was a ‘nice’ host, but clearly out of his news element and the show was a ratings disappointment. Jack Paar took over as host some time later. The show still didn’t work. The program immediately following did work, however. That show was "Captain Kangaroo".
1956 - The musical, "My Fair Lady", opened on Broadway. The show ran for 6-1/2 years before 2,717 audiences. It became, thanks to Rex Harrison and an outstanding cast, the longest-running musical to that time.
1962 - The musical, "No Strings", opened on Broadway at the 54th Street Theatre. Richard Kiley and Diahann Carroll starred in the show. Also featured was the show’s composer in an acting role, singing his own lyrics. The composer was Richard Rodgers.
1964 - Wedding bells (the first time) for actor Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. The couple wed in secret ceremonies in Montreal, Canada.
1970 - The musical, "Purlie", opened a run of 680 continuous performances on Broadway in New York City.
1971 - CBS television made a major announcement, saying that it was dropping "The Ed Sullivan Show" from its program line-up after 23 years on the network. The Sullivan show, a Sunday night fixture, presented everyone from the Beatles and dancing bears to a talking mouse named Topo Gigio, plus anyone and anything in between. It was the longest-running show in television history. “Kissa-me goo-night, Eddie...” (The final show aired June 6, 1971.)
1977 - The first episode of "Eight is Enough" was aired on ABC-TV. Mark Hamill starred in the opening show and, for a very few shows, as son, David. After talking to star, Dick Van Patten, Hamill said, “Enough!” He left to star in the motion picture, "Star Wars" as Luke Skywalker, gaining considerable notoriety from the George Lucas film epic.
1985 - Larry Holmes beat David Bey in Las Vegas, NV. This was probably good for Bey, since no one had heard of him in the first place. Holmes defended his International Boxing Federation heavyweight boxing title with the win. Holmes said after the fight that his career was probably over and that he would retire as no other heavyweight champ had done -- undefeated. Bey was notch number 47-in-a-row in Holmes’ belt buckle. Of course, Holmes would quit to come back another day. What happened to Bey? Hey, we didn’t hear from him again.
1987 - The place: Orlando, Florida. The golf course: the Arnold Palmer-designed Bay Hill layout. The tournament: the Bay Hill Classic. Don Pooley showed the golf world what a true million-dollar swing looked like, as he made a hole in one during the final round. The tournament sponsor had offered a million dollars to anyone making an ace. Pooley didn’t win the tourney, but won a lot more than anyone else...
1989 - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, formerly the Veterans Administration, was officially established as a Cabinet position.
1995 - U.S. President Bill Clinton signed an executive order blocking a one billion-dollar contract between Conoco and Iran to develop a huge offshore oil tract in the Persian Gulf. The orders prohibited U.S. companies and their foreign subsidiaries from conducting business with Iran.
1998 - Brazilian firefighters dug ditches in a bid to halt raging fires in the northern Amazon as officials appealed for more men and sorely needed water-dumping helicopters. “We lost control of this thing a long time ago,” said fire brigade captain Kleber Gomes Cerquinho as army soldiers driving a bulldozer carved a path through the jungle to create a firebreak and check the blaze. The fires had burned out of control for two months and destroyed 2.2 million acres of farmland.
2001 - Actress Ann Sothern (92), film and TV actress, died in Ketchum, Idaho. Her work included 64 movies and over 175 TV episodes.
2004 - Missouri jurors agreed that vapors from butter flavoring at a microwave popcorn factory had permanently ruined the lungs of Eric Peoples. International Flavors and Fragrances Inc. and its subsidiary Bush Boake Allen Inc. were ordered to pay $18 million to Eric Peoples and $2 million to his wife.
2006 - Jeff King became a four-time winner -- of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The veteran musher crossed the finish line at the Bering Sea town of Nome, Alaska. The 1,100-mile race, the world’s premier dog-sled event, had begun on March 4 at Anchorage.
2008 - A New York City apartment building on Manhattan’s East Side was crushed by a collapsing giant crane. The crash killed 7 people and injured 17.
Birthdays - March 15
1767 - Andrew Jackson (7th U.S. President [1829-1837]; married to Rachel Robards; nickname: Old Hickory; died June 8, 1845)
1907 - Jimmy McPartland (jazz musician: cornetist; played for the Wolverine Orchestra, Embassy Four; bandleader; actor: The Magic Horn; played at Newport Jazz Festival with wife, Marian; died Mar 13, 1991)
1913 - Macdonald Carey (actor: “Like sands through the hourglass these are the Days of Our Lives”; Comanche Territory, The Rebels, Who is the Black Dahlia, Access Code; died Mar 21, 1994)
1916 - Harry (Haag) James (trumpeter, bandleader: Sweet Georgia Brown, Chiribiribin, And the Angels Sing, Two O’clock Jump, You Made Me Love You, Music Makers, Strictly Instrumental, I’ll Get By; married to Betty Grable (second of four wives); died July 5, 1983)
1926 - Norm Van Brocklin (Pro Football Hall of Famer: quarterback: LA Rams, Philadelphia Eagles; died May 2, 1983)
1927 - Carl Smith (country singer: Let’s Live a Little, Loose Talk, Trademark, Satisfaction Guaranteed; actor: The Badge of Marshall Brennan, Buffalo Guns; member: Grand Ole Opry; died Jan 16, 2010)
1932 - Alan (LaVern) Bean (astronaut: lunar module pilot: Apollo 12 [man’s second lunar landing], fourth man to set foot on the moon [Nov 19, 1969]; commander of Skylab 3 mission [U.S.’ first space station: 1973]; died May 26, 2018)
1935 - Judd Hirsch (Emmy Award-winning actor: Taxi [1980-81,1982-83]; Ordinary People, The Good-bye People, Running on Empty)
1935 - Jimmy (Lee) Swaggert (TV evangelist: Jimmy Swaggart Ministries; cousin of singer Jerry Lee Lewis)
1940 - Phil Lesh (Chapman) (musician: bass: group: Grateful Dead: St. Stephen, China Cat Sunflower, Dark Star, Uncle John’s Band, New Speedway Boogie, Truckin’, Box of Rain, Alabama Gateway; composer: electronic music)
1941 - Mike Love (singer, songwriter: group: The Beach Boys: I Get Around, Help Me Rhonda, Good Vibrations, California Girls, Surfin’ USA, Little Deuce Coupe, Surfer Girl, Be True to Your School)
1943 - Sly Stone (Sylvester Stewart) (musician, singer: group: Sly & The Family Stone: Dance to the Music, Everyday People, Hot Fun in the Summertime, Thank You, Family Affair; Former San Francisco DJ)
1944 - David Costell (musician: bass: group: Gary Lewis & The Playboys: This Diamond Ring)
1946 - Bobby (Lee) Bonds (baseball: SF Giants [individual record for season strikeouts [189 in 1970/all-star: 1971, 1973], NY Yankees, California Angels, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians, SL Cardinals, Chicago Cubs; father of baseball’s Barry Bonds; died Aug 23, 2003)
1946 - Howard Scott (musician: guitar, singer: group: War: LPs: All Day Music, The World is a Ghetto, Why Can’t We be Friends?)
1947 - Ry (Ryland) Cooder (musician: guitar: Sister Morphine, Ditty Wah Ditty [w/Earl Hines]; composer: Mama Don’t Treat Your Daughter Mean, UFO Has Landed in the Ghetto, I’m Drinking Again, Hard Workin’ Man)
1954 - Craig Wasson (actor: Body Double, Malcolm X, Phyllis, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors)
1955 - Dee Snider (composer, singer: group: Twisted Sister: We’re Not Gonna Take It)
1959 - Fabio (Lanzoni) (model: covers of romance novels; writer: Pirate)
1962 - Terence Trent D’Arby (singer, songwriter: Wishing Well, LP: Introducing the Hard Line)
1964 - Rockwell (Kennedy William Gordy) (singer: Somebody’s Watching Me; son of Motown founder, Berry Gordy)
1966 - Karen Weiss (golf: four Minnesota State Amateur titles [1988-1990])
1972 - Mike Tomlin (football: head coach: NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers: Super Bowl XLIII champs , Lost to Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV )
1975 - Eva Longoria (actress: Desperate Housewives, Harsh Times, Carlita’s Secret, The Dead Will Tell, Snitch’d)
1983 - Sean Biggerstaff (actor: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Cashback, Charles II: The Power and the Passion, The Winter Guest, The Crow Road)
1986 - Jai Courtney (actor: Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Jack Reacher, A Good Day to Die Hard, Divergent, Unbroken, I, Frankenstein, The Water Diviner, Suicide Squad)
Chart Toppers - March 15
Oh, What It Seemed to Be - The Frankie Carle Orchestra (vocal: Marjorie Hughes)
Let It Snow - Vaughn Monroe
Symphony - The Freddy Martin Orchestra (vocal: Clyde Rogers)
Guitar Polka - Al Dexter
Make Love to Me! - Jo Stafford
I Get So Lonely - The Four Knights
Answer Me, My Love - Nat ‘King’ Cole
Slowly - Webb Pierce
Hey! Baby - Bruce Channel
Midnight in Moscow - Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen
Don’t Break the Heart that Loves You - Connie Francis
Misery Loves Company - Porter Wagoner
Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel
Travelin’ Band/Who’ll Stop the Rain - Creedence Clearwater Revival
The Rapper - The Jaggerz
It’s Just a Matter of Time - Sonny James
(Love Is) Thicker Than Water - Andy Gibb
Night Fever - Bee Gees
Lay Down Sally - Eric Clapton
Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys - Waylon & Willie
Sara - Starship
These Dreams - Heart
Secret Lovers - Atlantic Starr
I Could Get Used to You - Exile
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
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