Events - March 18
1813 - David Melville of Newport, Rhode Island patented the gas streetlight. He celebrated by having the new lights installed in front of his house!
1902 - Enrico Caruso recorded 10 arias for the Gramophone Company. The recording session took place in Milan, Italy and Caruso walked away with $500 for his effort.
1910 - Hold on to your hats! The opera, "The Pipe of Desire", was first performed this day at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. Frederick Sheperd Converse wrote the work that turned out to be the first opera by an American composer to be performed at the Met.
1918 - The first seagoing ship made of concrete was launched at Redwood City, CA, near San Francisco. The ship was named "Faith" and those who launched her had plenty of that. They had faith that the vessel wouldn’t sink. It didn’t. "Faith" cost $750,000 to build.
1931 - Schick, Inc., the razor company, displayed the first electric shaver -- in Stamford, CT.
1937 - A public school building in New London, Texas was destroyed by a natural gas explosion. An investigation later determined that a gas leak in the large, unvented basement of the school had been ignited by an unknown spark in the building. Some 298 students, teachers and visitors were killed either immediately or within a few days because of injuries. The natural gas used in the building was raw, unprocessed natural gas, which is virtually odorless. As a result of the disaster, the Texas Legislature passed regulations requiring that all utility gas must be odorized so that leaks could be more easily detected.
1940 - "Light of the World" was first heard on NBC radio. The soap opera was unique in that it featured the Bible as the center of the story line.
1940 - Glen Gray and his orchestra recorded "No Name Jive" on Decca Records.
1953 - Major-league baseball announced the first team relocation since 1903. The Boston Braves were moving west -- to Milwaukee. In 1965, the Braves moved again, this time they went south to Atlanta. But that's another story ...
1959 - Bill Sharman of the Boston Celtics began what was to be the longest string of successful consecutive free throws (56 in a row) to set a new National Basketball Association record.
1963 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled (Gideon v. Wainwright) that states must supply free legal council to all poor persons facing criminal charges.
1965 - Soviet cosmonaut Aleksei A. Leonov took the first space walk. He left his Voskhod 2 capsule and remained outside the spacecraft for 20 minutes, secured by a tether.
1967 - The Beatles went gold, receiving a gold record for the single, "Penny Lane". The ‘B’ side of hit record was the also-popular "Strawberry Fields Forever".
1970 - Brook Benton received a gold record for the hit single, "Rainy Night in Georgia". It was Benton’s first hit since 1963’s "Hotel Happiness".
1978 - The Bee Gees started an eight-week stay at the top of the pop music charts with "Night Fever" (they had a total of nine #1 hits) from the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack. Makes you want to get out that white suit and black shirt, doesn’t it?
1985 - The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) announced plans to merge with Capital Cities Communications to form Cap Cities/ABC. The $3.5 billion merger was the 11th largest corporate merger in U.S. history.
1985 - History was made in the short-lived United States Football League. A pro football record was set by Denver and Houston of the USFL with a total of 112 passes thrown in the game. Houston went airborne 69 times, Denver took to the air 43 times.
1986 - The U.S. Treasury Department announced that a clear, polyester thread was to be woven into bills in an effort to thwart counterfeiters.
1990 - Twelve paintings valued at $300-million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. A $5-million reward was offered for the safe recovery of all stolen items in good condition...
1995 - Spain’s Princess Elena married a banker, Jaime de Marichalar y Saenz de Tejada, in Seville; it was Spain’s first royal wedding in 89 years. The groom followed an old Castilian custom by pouring 13 gold coins into the hands of his bride as a sign that their goods would be held in common.
2001 - John Phillips, co-founder of The Mamas & The Papas died in Los Angeles at age 65. Phillips wrote the group’s biggest hits, including California Dreamin’ and Monday, Monday.
2005 - Doctors in Florida removed the feeding tube of Terri Schiavo despite efforts by congressional Republicans to halt the process.
2008 - Airbus’s A380, the world’s biggest passenger plane, touched down in London on its first commercial flight to Europe.
Birthdays - March 18
1782 - John Calhoun (U.S. Vice President under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson [1825-1832]; the first VP to resign office: became a U.S. Senator; died Mar 31, 1850)
1837 - Grover (Stephen) Cleveland (22nd [1885-1889] & 24th [1893-1897] U.S. President; only one to serve 2 nonconsecutive terms; only president to be married in White House [to Frances Folsom (2 sons, 3 daughters)]; the 1st to have a child born there; died June 24, 1908)
1844 - Nikolai (Nikolay Andreyevich) Rimsky-Korsakov (composer: Scheherazade, Song of India, The Flight of the Bumblebee; died June 21, 1908)
1886 - Edward Everett Horton (narrator: Fractured Fairy Tales on The Bullwinkle Show; actor: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Lost Horizon, Sex and the Single Girl, Arsenic and Old Lace; died Sep 29, 1970)
1901 - William H. (Henry) Johnson (artist: expressionist: Minnie, Sun Setting, Denmark; returned to U.S. when Hitler began destroying African and primitive themes; known later for historical African-American figures and events: Going to Church, Mom and Dad; died in 1970)
1911 - Smiley (Lester Alvin) Burnette (actor: Western Double Features, Gene Autry Matinee Double Features, Dick Tracy: The Original Serial, King of the Cowboys, Springtime in the Rockies, Silver Spurs; died Feb 16, 1967)
1923 - Andy Granatelli (auto racer: “STP is the racer’s edge.”; died Dec 29, 2013)
1926 - Peter Graves (Aurness) (actor: Mission Impossible, The Winds of War, Airplane, Airplane 2, Stalag 17, The President’s Plane is Missing, The Night of the Hunter; brother of actor James Arness; died Mar 14, 2010)
1927 - George Plimpton (author: Paper Lion, Shadow Box; actor: Rio Lobo, Reds, Little Man Tate, Just Cause; died Sep 25, 2003)
1932 - John Updike (writer: The Witches of Eastwicke, Rabbit Run; died Jan 27, 2009)
1936 - Frederik Willem de Klerk (president: South Africa [1989-1994]; recipient [with Nelson Mandela] of Nobel Peace Prize  for democratization of South Africa)
1937 - Mark Donohue (auto racer: Indianapolis 500 winner ; killed practicing for Austrian Grand Prix at Graz, Austria Aug 19, 1975)
1938 - Shashi Kapoor (actor: Gulliver’s Travels, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, Heat and Dust, The Householder)
1938 - Charley Pride (country singer: Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’, Why Baby Why; member of Grand Ol’ Opry, CMA Entertainer of the Year , Male Vocalist of the Year [1971-1972]; semipro baseball player)
1941 - Margie Bowes (country entertainer: Grand Ole Opry; married to Doyle Wilburn of the Wilburn Brothers)
1941 - Pat (Robert Patrick) Jarvis (baseball: pitcher: Atlanta Braves, Montreal Expos)
1941 - Wilson Pickett (singer: In the Midnight Hour, Land of 1000 Dances, Funky Broadway, Mustang Sally, It’s Too Late, Don’t Knock My Love; Rock and Roll Hall of Famer ; died Jan 19, 2006)
1942 - Jeff Mullins (basketball: Duke Univ. All-American, 1964 Olympics, Atlanta Hawks)
1943 - Kevin Dobson (actor: Kojak, Knots Landing, Shannon, Dirty Work, Code of Honor, Midway)
1947 - B.J. (Barrie James) Wilson (musician: drummer: group: Procol Harum: Whiter Shade of Pale; died Oct 8, 1990)
1948 - Guy Lapointe (hockey: NHL: Montreal Canadiens, SL Blues, Boston Bruins)
1950 - Brad Dourif (actor: Phoenix, Color of Night, Wild Palms, Final Judgement, Jungle Fever, Body Parts, Mississippi Burning, Blue Velvet, Dune, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Studs Lonigan)
1950 - John Hartman (musician: drums: group: The Doobie Brothers: Listen to the Music, Long Train Runnin’, China Grove, Black Water, What a Fool Believes; veterinarian)
1952 - Mike Webster (‘Iron Mike’: Pro Football Hall of Famer: Pittsburgh Steelers center [1974-1988]: Super Bowl IX, X, XIII, XIV; played more seasons  and more games  than any player in Steelers’ history; died Sep 24, 2002)
1956 - Ingemar Stenmark (Swedish skier: holds individual racing record of 86 wins including 46 giant slalom and 40 slalom out of 287 contests, [1974-1989])
1959 - Irene Cara (singer: Fame, The Dream; actress: Fame, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Caged in Paradiso, City Heat, For Us the Living, Killing ’Em Softly)
1963 - Vanessa L. Williams (singer: LPs: The Comfort Zone, The Sweetest Days; actress: Eraser, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man; Broadway: Kiss of the Spider Woman, Into The Woods; Miss America 1984)
1964 - Bonnie Blair (Olympic Gold medalist  and world record holder: speed skater )
1970 - Queen Latifah (Dana Owens) (‘Rap’s first lady’: Wrath of My Madness; actress: Jungle Fever, House Party 2, Living Single, Sphere, The Wizard of Oz, Queen Latifah Show, Spin City, Chicago)
1975 - Brian Griese (football [quarterback]: Univ of Michigan; NFL: Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
1978 - Brian Scalabrine (basketball [power forward]: NBA: New Jersey Nets [2001–2005], Boston Celtics [2005–2010: NBA champs 2008], Chicago Bulls [2010–2012])
1979 - Adam Levine (musician: guitar; singer: group: Maroon 5: This Love, She Will Be Loved, Sunday Morning, Harder to Breathe, Must Get Out, Not Coming Home, The Sun)
1982 - Adam Pally (actor: Happy Endings, The Mindy Project, The To Do List, Search Party, Iron Man 3, Californication)
Chart Toppers - March 18
Far Away Places - Margaret Whiting
Powder Your Face with Sunshine - Evelyn Knight
Cruising Down the River - The Russ Morgan Orchestra (vocal: The Skyliners)
Don’t Rob Another Man’s Castle - Eddy Arnold
Young Love - Tab Hunter
Round and Round - Perry Como
Little Darlin’ - The Diamonds
There You Go - Johnny Cash
Eight Days a Week - The Beatles
Stop! In the Name of Love - The Supremes
The Birds and the Bees - Jewel Akens
I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail - Buck Owens
Killing Me Softly with His Song - Roberta Flack
Love Train - O’Jays
Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001) - Deodato
Teddy Bear Song - Barbara Fairchild
9 to 5 - Dolly Parton
Keep on Loving You - REO Speedwagon
Woman - John Lennon
Guitar Man - Elvis Presley
Lost in Your Eyes - Debbie Gibson
The Living Years - Mike & The Mechanics
Roni - Bobby Brown
From a Jack to a King - 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.