Events - March 21
1826 - The Rensselaer School in Troy, New York was incorporated. The school, known today as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, became the first private technical school in the United States.
1868 - The first club for professional women was formed in New York City by writer, Jennie June Croly. The club was called Sorosos.
1925 - The voice of Lowell Thomas was first heard on radio. Thomas was heard talking about “Man’s first flight around the world,” on KDKA in Pittsburgh, PA.
1939 - A song, written by Irving Berlin in 1918 as a tribute by a successful immigrant to his adopted country, was recorded by Kate Smith for Victor Records on this day. Ms. Smith had introduced the song on her Thursday, November 10, 1938 radio show (aired live the day before Armistice Day). It was a fitting tribute to its composer, who gave all royalties from the very popular and emotional, "God Bless America" to the Boy Scouts. The song became Kate Smith’s second signature after "When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain"; and the second national anthem of the United States of America.
1941 - Singer Paula Kelly joined Glenn Miller’s band. Her husband, also a part of the Miller organization, was one of the four singing Modernaires.
1946 - The Los Angeles Rams signed Kenny Washington, the first black player to join a National Football League team since 1933.
1956 - The 28th Academy Awards were celebrated at the RKO Pantages Theater, Los Angeles, California. Hosting the festivities were comedian/actor/singer/producer Jerry Lewis in Hollywood, plus actress Claudette Colbert and writer/producer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz in New York City. "Marty", produced by Harold Hecht, was a big winner: Best Picture; Best Director (Delbert Mann); Best Actor (Ernest Borgnine); and Best Writing/Screenplay (Paddy Chayefsky). Best Actress was Anna Magnani for "The Rose Tattoo"; Best Supporting Actor was Jack Lemmon for "Mister Roberts"; Best Supporting Actress was Jo Van Fleet for "East of Eden"; and Best Music/Song to Sammy Fain (music), Paul Francis Webster (lyrics) for "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing" from "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing". 1955 was a great year for other great movies, too (some Oscar winners, some not): "Picnic"; "Bad Day at Black Rock"; "The Man with the Golden Arm"; "Rebel Without a Cause"; "Pete Kelly’s Blues"; "The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell"; "The Seven Little Foys"; "Blackboard Jungle"; "To Catch a Thief"; and "Oklahoma!", "The Bridges at Toko-Ri" to name a few...
1957 - Shirley Booth made her TV acting debut in "The Hostess with the Mostest" on "Playhouse 90" on CBS.
1961 - The Beatles played their first evening gig at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, where they became regulars in a matter of months.
1963 - A year after opening in the Broadway show, "I Can Get It for You Wholesale", Elliott Gould and Barbra Streisand tied the matrimonial knot.
1970 - The Beatles established a new record. "Let It Be" entered the "Billboard" chart at number six. This was the highest debuting position ever for a record. "Let It Be" reached number two a week later and made it to the top spot on April 11, overshadowing Simon & Garfunkel’s "Bridge over Troubled Water".
1994 - Actress/Comedienne Whoopi Goldberg hosted the 66th Annual Academy Awards show at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The film that was created so the world would never forget the Holocaust -- the inhumanity of mankind to other humans -- received the highest honors this evening. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) awarded "Schindler’s List", nominated in no less than 12 categories, with seven Oscars: beginning with Best Writing/Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Stephen Zaillian); Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Allan Starski, Ewa Braun); Best Cinematography (Janusz Kaminski); Best Film Editing (Michael Kahn); Best Music/Original Score (John Williams); Best Director (Steven Spielberg); and culminating with Best Picture (Producers Steven Spielberg, Gerald R. Molen and Branko Lustig). "Schindler’s List" was not the only film to receive multiple golden statuettes. "Philadelphia" (nominated five times) scored two awards, Best Actor (Tom Hanks) and Best Music/Song, "Streets of Philadelphia" to Bruce Springsteen. "The Piano" (nominated in eight categories) won both Best Actress (Holly Hunter)and Best Supporting Actress (Anna Paquin), and Best Writing/Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Jane Campion); "Jurassic Park" received the Best Sound award (Gary Summers, Gary Rydstrom, Shawn Murphy, Ron Judkins), the Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing award (Gary Rydstrom, Richard Hymns), and the Best Effects, Visual Effects award (Dennis Muren, Stan Winston, Phil Tippett, Michael Lantieri). Tommy Lee Jones picked up the Best Supporting Actor award for "The Fugitive", a film nominated in seven categories.
1999 - Everything was beautiful at the 71st Annual Academy Awards ceremony at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. There were beautiful people, gowns, and the beautiful words, “The Oscar goes to...” Hosting the festivities which had moved from the traditional Monday night to Sunday evening, was comedienne Whoopi Goldberg, who modeled the beautiful, and sometimes bizarre, costumes from the movies nominated in the Best Costume Design category. (And the Oscar went to Sandy Powell for "Shakespeare in Love".) A beautiful lady, Gwyneth Paltrow, emotionally accepted the Best Actress Oscar for her role in "Shakespeare in Love". It was a beautiful night for the film with 13 nominations and seven wins including the upset win of Best Picture of the 1998 year; Best Supporting Actress (Dame Judi Dench); Best Writing/Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard); Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Martin Childs, Jill Quertier); and Best Music/Original Musical or Comedy Score (Stephen Warbeck). This was the first time in nine years that the film that won Best Picture did not win for Best Director. Steven Spielberg was the winning director for "Saving Private Ryan" (which also won four more of the golden statuettes). It was a beautiful moment when the Best Supporting Actor Oscar was awarded to James Coburn ("Affliction"), his first Academy Award nomination in over 70 films. But the most beautiful moment/s of the long (Oscar's longest to date) evening was when Sophia Loren said, “and the Oscar goes to Roberto!” (Best Actor: La Vita è bella - Roberto Benigni). In plain English, "Life is Beautiful". Roberto Benigni was the first actor in a foreign language film to receive an Oscar. Coincidentally, Ms. Loren had been the first actress to be so honored. Benigni had received an Oscar earlier in the evening for Best Foreign Film ("Life is Beautiful") when he pirouetted on top of seat backs, hopping and dancing to the stage. Roberto Benigni truly made the evening bella, bella!
Birthdays - March 21
1685 - Johann Sebastian Bach (composer: Gottes Zeit, Toccata and Fugue in d minor, Little Organ Book, Mass in B Minor, Magnificat; died July 28, 1750)
1813 - James Jesse Strang (crowned king of the Mormons [1850-1856]; died July 8, 1856)
1867 - Florenz Ziegfeld (producer Ziegfeld Follies: annual variety shows famous for the Ziegfeld Girls [1907-1930s]; died July 22, 1932)
1882 - Bascom Lamar Lunsford (Appalachian folk song writer: Good Old Mountain Dew; started first folk music festival in 1928: annual Mountain Dance and Folk Festival at Asheville, N.C.; responsible for formation of the National Clogging and Hoedown Council; died Sep 4, 1973)
1905 - Phyllis McGinley (Pulitzer prize-winning poet: Times Three: Selected Verses from Three Decades ; The Horse Who Lived Upstairs, Sugar and Spice, Saint-Watching, Sixpence in her Shoe; died Feb 22, 1978)
1910 - Julio Gallo (vintner: Ernest & Julio Gallo Winery, Modesto, CA; died May 2, 1993)
1918 - Sir Charles Thompson (musician: pianist, organist: w/Lionel Hampton, Coleman Hawkins, Buck Clayton, Jimmy Rushing; composer: Robbins Nest [tribute to DJ Fred Robbins]; died Jun 16, 2016)
1921 - Fonty Flock (Truman Fontello) (auto racer: NASCAR Hall of Famer; died July 15, 1972)
1923 - Mort Lindsey (bandleader: The Merv Griffin Show; composer of score: 40 Pounds of Trouble; died May 4, 2012)
1925 - Peter Brook (director: Lord of the Flies, King Lear)
1930 - James Coco (actor: The Chair, Ensign Pulver, Man of La Mancha; died Feb 25, 1987)
1934 - Al Freeman Jr. (actor: A Patch of Blue, Roots: The Next Generation, Hot L Baltimore, Malcolm X, Finian’s Rainbow, Ensign Pulver; died Aug 9, 2012)
1939 - Tommy (Herman Thomas) Davis (baseball: right-handed, hitting outfielder: LA Dodgers [all-star: 1962, 1963/batting titles: 1962, 1963/World Series: 1963, 1966], NY Mets, Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros, Seattle Pilots, Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, California Angels, KC Royals)
1942 - Junior (Lee) Coffey (football: Atlanta Falcons)
1944 - Timothy Dalton (actor: Centennial, Licence to Kill, The Lion in Winter, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Flash Gordon, The Living Daylights, Licence to Kill)
1944 - Charles Greene (sprinter: Univ. of Nebraska, 1968 Olympics; sprint coach: West Point; director: Special Olympics International; secretary: USA Track & Field’s International Competition Committee)
1944 - Manny (Manuel De Jesus Magan) Sanguillen (baseball: catcher: Pittsburgh Pirates [World Series: 1971, 1979/all-star: 1971, 1972, 1975], Oakland Athletics)
1945 - Rosie Stone (musician: piano: group: Sly & the Family Stone; Sly’s sister: Everyday People, Dance to the Music)
1947 - Bill (William Francis) Plummer (baseball: catcher: Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Seattle Mariners)
1950 - Roger Hodgson (musician: guitar: group: Supertramp: Dreamer, Bloody Well Right)
1951 - John Hicks (football: lineman: Ohio State U.: Outland Trophy and Lombardi Trophy Winner; offensive rookie of the year: NY Giants )
1951 - Russell Thompkins Jr. (singer: group: The Stylistics: I’m Stone in Love with You)
1958 - Gary Oldman (actor: The Scarlet Letter, True Romance, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Sid and Nancy, JFK)
1962 - Matthew Broderick (Tony Award-winning actor: Brighton Beach Memoirs , How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying! ; The Producers; films: War Games, The Freshman, Family Business, Glory, Ladyhawke, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)
1962 - Rosie O’Donnell (comedienne, TV host: The Rosie O’Donnell Show, 42nd Annual Grammy Awards; actress: Sleepless in Seattle, The Flintstones, Exit to Eden, A Very Brady Sequel, Will & Grace, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas)
1965 - Cynthia Geary (actress: Northern Exposure, 8 Seconds)
Chart Toppers - March 21
Mairzy Doats - The Merry Macs
Besame Mucho - The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra (vocal: Bob Eberly & Kitty Kallen
Poinciana - Bing Crosby
They Took the Stars Out of Heaven - Floyd Tillman
Cry - Johnnie Ray
Wheel of Fortune - Kay Starr
Anytime - Eddie Fisher
(When You Feel like You’re in Love) Don’t Just Stand There - Carl Smith
The Theme from "A Summer Place" - Percy Faith
Wild One - Bobby Rydell
Puppy Love - Paul Anka
He’ll Have to Go - Jim Reeves
(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding
Love is Blue - Paul Mauriat
Simon Says - 1910 Fruitgum Co.
A World of Our Own - Sonny James
December 1963 (Oh, What a Night) - The Four Seasons
Dream Weaver - Gary Wright
Lonely Night (Angel Face) - Captain & Tennille
Faster Horses (The Cowboy and the Poet) - Tom T. Hall
Jump - Van Halen
Girls Just Want to Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
Somebody’s Watching Me - Rockwell
Elizabeth - The Statler Brothers
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.