Events - March 20
1852 - Harriet Beecher Stowe’s classic book was published. "Uncle Tom’s Cabin", subtitled "Life Among the Lowly", became an instant success, selling 300,000 copies in its first year. It has been translated into twenty languages and performed as a play the world over. It was even spotlighted in the Broadway musical and film, "The King and I". Maybe you remember the haunting chant from the show, “Run Eliza, Run!” Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel remains a must-read for school children -- and a reminder to all of us -- of an ugly time in the history of the United States.
1865 - A plan by John Wilkes Booth to abduct President Abraham Lincoln was foiled when Lincoln changed plans and failed to appear at the Soldier’s Home near Washington, DC. Booth would later assassinate the President while Lincoln was attending a performance at Ford’s Theatre in the nation’s capital.
1891 - The first computing scale company was incorporated in Dayton, OH. Look around antique stores and you may find some of the old -- and possibly still working -- Dayton Scales. There were other famous scales, too, that were direct from Ohio, ‘the birthplace of weights and measures’. Remember Toledo Scales for weighing fruit and produce in grocery stores?
1897 - The first five-man basketball team intercollegiate basketball game to use five players per team was held. Yale beat Pennsylvania by a score of 32-10 in New Haven, CT.
1914 - The first international figure skating championship was held in New Haven, CT.
1936 - Benny Goodman and his orchestra recorded "Christopher Columbus" on Victor Records in, where else, Chicago, IL.
1948 - Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra were featured in the first televised symphonic concert. CBS-TV, with help from its then Philadelphia television station, WCAU-TV 10, carried the program from the Philadelphia Academy of Music, the home of the world-famous orchestra. The concert was televised live, at 5 p.m. Ninety minutes later, NBC-TV carried TV’s second symphonic concert. This one was from Carnegie Hall in New York City. Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra was featured in a presentation of Wagner compositions.
1948 - The 20th Academy Awards saw Darryl F. Zanuck’s "Gentleman’s Agreement" take the Best Picture prize, the Best Director (Elia Kazan), and Best Supporting Actress (Celeste Holm). Other awards passed out at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles for the best of 1947 included Best Actor to Ronald Colman for "A Double Life"; Best Actress to Loretta Young for "Farmer’s Daughter"; Best Supporting Actor to Edmund Gwenn for "Miracle on 34th Street"; and Best Music/Song to Allie Wrubel (music), Ray Gilbert (lyrics) for "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" from "Song of the South".
1952 - Actor/comedian Danny Kaye hosted the 24th Annual Academy Awards, held this day at the RKO Pantages Theater in Los Angeles and it was upset night. Humphrey Bogart surprised the ‘experts’ by winning an Academy Award for "African Queen". Most thought that Marlon Brando would win Best Actor for "A Streetcar Named Desire". The top film was Arthur Freed’s "An American in Paris". Critics had already decided that "A Place in The Sun" or "Streetcar" would walk away with the coveted Oscar for Best Picture of 1951. How wrong they were! Of course both pictures did win golden statues. Best Director was George Stevens for "A Place in the Sun". "A Streetcar Named Desire" won awards for Karl Malden (Best Supporting Actor), Vivien Leigh (Best Actress) and Kim Hunter (Best Supporting Actress). The Best Music/Song Oscar was presented to Hoagy Carmichael (music), and Johnny Mercer (lyrics) for "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" from "Here Comes the Groom".
1967 - Fashion model, Twiggy, arrived in the United States for a one-week stay. She quickly became the most sought-after subject of photographers due to her terrifically skinny-yet-wholesome good looks and the shortest dresses ever seen (to that time).
1969 - Beatle John Lennon married Yoko Ono at the Rock of Gibraltar on this day. Lennon called the location, “quiet, friendly and British.” He was the second Beatle to marry in eight days. Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman were wed a week earlier.
1985 - CBS-TV presented "The Romance of Betty Boop". The special starred Desiree Goyette as the ‘Boop-Boop-Be-Doop’ cartoon cutie from the Max Fleisher one-reel films in the 1930s. There were 112 Betty Boop shorts produced. Only two other cartoon characters have surpassed Betty in animation fame. They are: Felix the Cat and (of course) Mickey Mouse. Most people thought Betty Boop was fashioned after the actress, Clara Bow, the ‘it’ girl.
1985 - Libby Riddles won the $50,000 top prize in the 1,135-mile Anchorage-to-Nome dog race. The Iditarod was called Alaska’s ultimate endurance test and this was the first time a woman had won. Libby completed the course in 18 days, twenty minutes and seventeen seconds. Another woman, Susan Butcher, won the next three Iditarod trail-sled dog races. The first race was run in 1973. The annual race commemorates the emergency during a 1925 diphtheria epidemic when medical supplies had to be rushed to Nome by dog sled.
1986 - Fallon Carrington and Jeff Colby were wed on the TV drama, "The Colbys". "The Colbys" was an offshoot of "Dynasty".
Birthdays - March 20
1811 - George Caleb Bingham (artist: County Election, Fur Traders Descending the Missouri, Jolly Flatboat Men, Boatmen on the Missouri; died July 7, 1879)
1828 - Henrik Ibsen (Norwegian playwright: Hedda Gabler, Peer Gynt, The Wild Duck, The Pillars of Society, An Enemy of the People; died May 23, 1906)
1890 - Lauritz Melchior (Lebrecht Hommel) (opera: ‘The Heroic Tenor’, ‘The Premier Heldentenor of the 20th Century’; died Mar 18, 1973)
1904 - B.F. (Burrhus Frederic) Skinner (psychologist: behaviorism: developed the Skinner Box, an experimental, enclosed environment for laboratory animals; died Aug 18, 1990)
1906 - Ozzie (Oswald George) Nelson (bandleader, actor: The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet; married to actress, Harriet Nelson; parents of David and Ricky; died June 3, 1975)
1908 - Dr. Frank Stanton (president: CBS [1946-1971]; died Dec 24, 2006)
1908 - Sir Michael (Scudamore) Redgrave (actor: Goodbye Mr. Chips, Heidi, Importance of Being Earnest, Nicholas and Alexandra; died Mar 21, 1985)
1914 - Wendell Corey (actor: The Rainmaker, Sorry Wrong Number, Rear Window, Buckskin, The Astro-Zombies, The Light in the Forest; died Nov 8, 1968)
1918 - Marian McPartland (Margaret Marian Turner) (musician: After Hours, Ambiance, Personal Choice, In My Life; founded Halcyon records; songwriter: There’ll Be other Times, Twilight World; National Public Radio show: Marian McPartand’s Piano Jazz; died Aug 20, 2013)
1920 - Pamela Harriman (politician, U.S. ambassador to France; wife of Averell Harriman; died Feb 5, 1997)
1922 - Larry Elgart (musician: lead alto sax, bandleader with brother Les: Hooked On Swing, The Bandstand Boogie)
1922 - Ray Goulding (comedian: Bob and Ray; died Mar 24, 1990)
1922 - Carl Reiner (writer: The Man with Two Brains; actor: The Dick Van Dyke Show, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World; director: Fatal Instinct, The Jerk, Oh! God; comedian: Your Show of Shows; Rob Reiner’s dad)
1928 - Fred Rogers (TV host: Mr. Rogers Neighborhood; died Feb 27, 2003)
1929 - Sonny (Santo) Russo (jazz musician: trombonist: group: Sonny Russo Jazz Ensemble; died Feb 23, 2013)
1931 - Hal Linden (Harold Lipshitz) (actor: Barney Miller, How to Break up a Happy Divorce, Starflight One, A New Life)
1933 - George (Lee) Altman (baseball: Chicago Cubs [all-star: 1961, 1962], SL Cardinals, NY Mets)
1937 - Jerry Reed (Hubbard) (singer: Amos Moses, When You’re Hot, You’re Hot, She Got the Goldmine, I Got the Shaft; songwriter: U.S. Male, Guitar Man; actor: Gator, Smokey & the Bandit; died Sep 1, 2008)
1943 - Paul Junger Witt (Emmy Award-winning producer: Brian’s Song , The Golden Girls [1985-86, 1986-87])
1945 - Pat Riley (basketball coach: Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks: coach with the highest winning percentage in basketball history [.719])
1948 - Bobby Orr (Hockey Hall of Famer: NHL: Boston Bruins [Hart Memorial Trophy winner: 1970, 1971, 1972], Chicago Blackhawks)
1948 - Steve Zabel (football: Univ. of Oklahoma [All-American: 1969], Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Colts, New England Patriots)
1950 - William Hurt (actor: Broadcast News, The Accidental Tourist, Altered States, The Big Chill, Trial by Jury, Children of a Lesser God)
1950 - Carl Palmer (musician: drums: groups: Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Lucky Man, From the Beginning; Asia: Heat of the Moment, Only Time Will Tell)
1951 - Derrek Dickey (basketball: Golden State Warriors; TV color analyst: Chicago Bulls, Sacramento Kings; died June 25, 2002)
1957 - Spike Lee (director: She’s Gotta Have It, Do the Right Thing, Mo’ Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, Crooklyn, Clockers)
1957 - Theresa Russell (actress: The Spy Within, Straight Time, Black Widow, The Last Tycoon)
1958 - Holly Hunter (Academy Award-winning actress: The Piano ; Broadcast News, The Firm, Raising Arizona)
1961 - John Clark Gable (actor: Bad Jim, A Burning Passion: The Margaret Mitchell Story, Clark Gable: Tall, Dark and Handsome; son of actor Clark Gable)
1961 - Slim Jim Phantom (Jim McDonell) (musician: drums: group: The Stray Cats: Runaway Boys, Stray Cat Strut, Rock This Town)
Chart Toppers - March 20
If - Perry Como
Be My Love - Mario Lanza
My Heart Cries for You - Guy Mitchell
The Rhumba Boogie - Hank Snow
Venus - Frankie Avalon
Charlie Brown - The Coasters
Alvin’s Harmonica - David Seville & The Chipmunks
Don’t Take Your Guns to Town - Johnny Cash
Penny Lane - The Beatles
Happy Together - The Turtles
Dedicated to the One I Love - The Mamas & The Papas
The Fugitive - Merle Haggard
Black Water - The Doobie Brothers
My Eyes Adored You - Frankie Valli
Lady Marmalade - LaBelle
Before the Next Teardrop Falls - Freddy Fender
Billy Jean - Michael Jackson
Shame on the Moon - Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
Do You Really Want to Hurt Me - Culture Club
I Wouldn’t Change You If I Could - Ricky Skaggs
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.