Events - March 26
1936 - The first telescope with a 200-inch-diameter, reflecting mirror was shipped -- very, very carefully -- from Corning, New York to Mt. Palomar Observatory in California. The lens of the Hale telescope weighed 20 tons. It was dedicated at Mt. Palomar in 1948. The Hale scope remains one of the most widely-used scientific telescopes on the planet -- as it looks at other planets and beyond.
1937 - Joe DiMaggio said he’d take Ty Cobb’s advice and use a 36 or 37-ounce baseball bat instead of a 40-ounce stick during that season. The result? ‘Joltin’ Joe’ hit .346 during the season with 46 home runs -- the most he ever hit in a single year. In the words of Yankee broadcaster Mel Allen, “How about that!” During his 13-year career with the Yankees, DiMaggio connected for 2,214 hits, 361 homers, batted a .325 average, played in 1,736 total games and came to the plate to bat 6,821 times.
1941 - Jimmie Lunceford and his orchestra recorded the tune, "Battle Axe", for Decca Records. Lunceford began with the Chickasaw Syncopaters, a 10-piece band, in the late 1920s. By 1934, he would add names like Sy Oliver, Willie Smith, Earl Caruthers, Joe Thomas, Al Norris, Moses Allen, and James Crawford to form orchestras that would entertain through the mid-1940s.
1951 - The U.S. Air Force flag was approved on this day. The flag included the coat of arms, 13 white stars and the Air Force seal on a blue background.
1953 - Dr. Jonas Salk announced a new vaccine -- to prevent poliomyelitis.
1956 - Red Buttons made his debut as a television actor in a presentation of "Studio One" on CBS television.
1958 - The RKO Pantages Theater, Los Angeles, was the scene of 30th Annual Academy Awards celebration. The show was hosted by Rosalind Russell, James Stewart, David Niven, Jack Lemmon, Bob Hope and Donald Duck (on film). There were several memorable films produced in 1957, but two blockbusters shot it out this night, "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and "Sayonara". "The Bridge on the River Kwai" (Sam Spiegel, producer) took Oscars for Best Picture; Best Actor (Alec Guinness); Cinematography (Jack Hildyard); Director (David Lean); Film Editing (Peter Taylor); Scoring (Malcolm Arnold); and writing (Pierre Boulle, Carl Foreman, Michael Wilson). Meanwhile, "Sayonara" (William Goetz, producer) won for Best Supporting Actor (Red Buttons); Supporting Actress (Miyoshi Umeki); Art Direction (Ted Haworth); Set Decoration (Robert Priestley); and Sound Recording (George Groves). And, lest we forget, Joanne Woodward won the Best Actress Oscar for "The Three Faces of Eve". The prize for Best Music/Song went to James Van Heusen (music), Sammy Cahn (lyrics) for "All the Way" (the classic Sinatra song)from "The Joker Is Wild".
1960 - The University of Southern California (USC) captured the NCAA swimming title, becoming the first Pacific Coast school to do so.
1969 - "Marcus Welby", a TV movie, was seen on AB. Ratings showed the program to be so popular that it was turned into a long-running series starring Robert Young.
1971 - William Conrad starred as "Cannon" on CBS-TV. This also was a one-time TV event that became a popular series that year.
1972 - The Los Angeles Lakers broke a National Basketball Association record by winning 69 of 82 games.
1974 - David Essex received a gold record for the hit, "Rock On". Though a million seller, "Rock On" never made it to number one on the pop-rock charts -- stalling at number five. It was on the charts for a total of 14 weeks. Essex (real name: David Cook) portrayed the role of Christ in the London production of "Godspell". He starred in several British films in 1970.
1987 - The National Federation of High School Associations adopted the college distance three-point shot, with a perimeter of 21 feet from the center of the backboard.
1990 - Host Billy Crystal kept us smiling for the 62nd Annual Academy Awards, staged at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) members voted "Driving Miss Daisy" the Best Picture of 1989 (Richard D. Zanuck, Lili Fini Zanuck, producers). The Best Director Oscar was won by Oliver Stone for "Born on the Fourth of July". Best Actor was Daniel Day-Lewis for "My Left Foot" and Best Actress was Jessica Tandy in "Driving Miss Daisy" (the 80-year-old actress was a favorite to win). Oscars for Actor and Actress in a Supporting Role went to Denzel Washington ("Glory") and Brenda Fricker ("My Left Foot"), respectively. Best Music/Song winners were Alan Menken (music), Howard Ashman (lyrics) for "Under the Sea" from "The Little Mermaid". You’re probably still humming this tune from that full-length animated film from Walt Disney Studios. Other popular 1989 films that were honored as nominees or winners include: "Field of Dreams"; "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"; "Back to the Future Part II"; "Lethal Weapon II"; "Batman"; "Dead Poets Society"; "When Harry Met Sally"; and "Sex, Lies, and Videotape".
1996 - The 68th Annual Academy Awards show was held at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles. Actress/comedienne Whoopi Goldberg was the hostess with the mostest this night. The Best Picture (of 1995) was "Braveheart" (Mel Gibson, Alan Ladd Jr., Bruce Davey, producers). Mel Gibson also won the Oscar for Best Director ("Braveheart"). The flick won three additional Oscars; however, none were in the Acting categories. The Best Actor was Nicolas Cage for "Leaving Las Vegas". The Best Actress award went to Susan Sarandon for "Dead Man Walking". Best Supporting Actor was Kevin Spacey for "The Usual Suspects" and Best Supporting Actress was Mira Sorvino for "Mighty Aphrodite". The ’toon "Pocahontas" was a winner in the tunes categories: Best Music/ Original Musical or Comedy Score to Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz and Best Music/Song: Alan Menken (music), Stephen Schwartz (lyrics) for "Colors of the Wind" from the animated film.
2000 - It was a beautiful evening at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. And, inside, everything was beautiful, too, as the film, "American Beauty", captured Best Picture (producers: Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks) at the 72nd Annual Academy Awards presentation, hosted by comedian Billy Crystal. The picture, nominated in eight categories, received four more Oscars: Best Director (Sam Mendes), Best Actor (Kevin Spacey), Best Original Screen Play (Alan Ball), Best Cinematography (Conrad L. Hall). Although Hilary Swank received the award for Best Actress in "Boys Don’t Cry", Annette Bening, nominated for her performance in "American Beauty", was stunningly beautiful as the lady-in-waiting. Bening, who gave birth to her fourth child, a girl, sixteen days after this Oscar ceremony, congratulated her husband, Warren Beatty, who was presented with the Irving Thalberg Award for his career as a movie-maker. Another beauty, Angelina Jolie, received the Best Supporting Actress award for her role in "Girl, Interrupted". Michael Caine gave the most beautiful acceptance speech of the night (Best Supporting Actor: "The Cider House Rules"). The film, a seven-time nominee, also won for Best Screenplay Adaptation (John Irving). "The Matrix" was also a big winner (Best Film Editing: Zach Staenberg, Best Sound: David E. Campbell, David Lee III, John T. Reitz, Gregg Rudloff; Best Sound Effects Editing: Dane A. Davis; Best Visual Effects: Steve Courtley, John Gaeta, Janek Sirrs, Jon Thum). The exquisite beauty of the costumes (Lindy Hemming) and makeup (Christine Blundell) in "Topsy-Turvy" earned the film two Oscars, while the statuette for Best Art Direction was presented to Rick Heinrichs and Peter Young for "Sleepy Hollow". And, as always, Phil Collins made beautiful music. His "You’ll Be in My Heart" ("Tarzan") captured the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Birthdays - March 26
1773 - Nathaniel Bowditch (astronomer, author: New American Practical Navigator; died Mar 16, 1838)
1850 - Edward Bellamy (author: Looking Backward; died May 22, 1898)
1859 - A.E. (Alfred Edward) Housman (British poet: A Shropshire Lad, Last Poems, More Poems, Collected Poems, Manuscript Poems; died Apr 30, 1936)
1874 - Robert Frost (four-time Pulitzer prize-winning poet: Birches, Mending Wall, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening; read The Gift Outright at inauguration of John F. Kennedy; died Jan 29, 1963)
1880 - Duncan Hines (author, traveler, cake-mix mogul; died Mar 15, 1959)
1909 - Chips Rafferty (John William Goffage) (actor: The Desert Rats, The Sundowners, Wackiest Ship in the Army, Skullduggery; died May 27, 1971)
1911 - Tennessee (Thomas Lanier) Williams (Pulitzer prize-winning playwright: A Streetcar Named Desire , Cat on a Hot Tin Roof ; The Glass Menagerie, Night of the Iguana, Summer and Smoke, The Rose Tattoo, Camino Real, Sweet Bird of Youth, Small Craft Warnings; died Feb 25, 1983)
1914 - William C. Westmoreland (U.S. Army General: head of U.S. forces in Vietnam [1964-1968]; died July 18, 2005)
1916 - Sterling Hayden (Sterling Relyea Walter) (actor: The Asphalt Jungle, Dr. Strangelove, The Godfather, 9 to 5, The Blue and the Gray; died May 23, 1986)
1919 - Strother Martin Jr. (actor: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, McLintock!, Rooster Cogburn, Slap Shot, The Wild Bunch; died Aug 1, 1980)
1921 - Joe Loco (Jose Esteves Jr.) (jazz musician, arranger: credited with introducing the mambo [Tenderly: 1951] and cha-cha-cha  to the US; died Feb 18, 1988)
1923 - Bob Elliott (comedian: duo: Bob & Ray; died Feb 2, 2016)
1925 - Pierre Boulez (conductor: Pierre Boulez and his Ensemble Intercontemporain; played for Frank Zappa; died Jan 5, 2016)
1930 - Sandra Day O’Connor (1st woman nominated and appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court )
1931 - Leonard Nimoy (actor: Star Trek; director: Three Men and a Baby; died Feb 27, 2015)
1932 - Dick Nolan (football: NY Giants; coach: New Orleans Saints; died Nov 11, 2007)
1934 - Gino Cappelletti (football: 1st kicker to kick a field goal in the AFL: New England Patriots ; AFL Player of Year [1964; Patriot’s radio network commentator)
1934 - Alan Arkin (actor: Catch-22, The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming; director: Little Murders)
1937 - Wayne ‘The Wall’ Embry (Basketball Hall of Famer: Cincinnati Royals, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks; GM: Milwaukee Bucks: first African- American GM in major league sports)
1940 - Braulio Baeza (National Horse Racing Hall of Famer: jockey: 1st to go over $3 million in purses in one year; leading money winner in 1965, 1966 and 1975; Eclipse award-winner [1972, 1975])
1940 - James Caan (actor: The Godfather, Rabbit Run, Brian’s Song, Dick Tracy, Rollerball, Alien Nation, For the Boys, Misery, Las Vegas)
1940 - Rod Lauren (singer: If I Had a Girl, LP: I’m Rod Lauren; died Jul 11, 2007)
1942 - Erica Jong (Mann) (writer: Fear of Flying, Becoming Light, How to Save Your Own Life)
1943 - Bob Woodward (investigative reporter: Washington Post: Watergate [w/reporter Carl Bernstein]; author: All the President’s Men [w/Carl Bernstein], The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court [w/Scott Armstrong], The Agenda : Inside the Clinton White House)
1944 - Diana Ross (Diane Earle) (singer: group: The Supremes: I Hear a Symphony, Come See About Me; solo: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Theme from ‘Mahogany’, Love Hangover, You Keep Me Hangin’ On; actress: Lady Sings the Blues, Mahogany, The Wiz)
1948 - Richard Tandy (musician: bass, keyboards: group: Electric Light Orchestra)
1948 - Steven Tyler (Tallarico) (singer: group: Aerosmith: Janie’s Got a Gun, Crazy)
1949 - Vicki Lawrence (Emmy Award-winning actress: The Carol Burnett Show [1975-76]; Vicki!, Mama’s Family; singer: The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia)
1949 - Fran Sheehan (musician: bass: group: Boston: More than a Feeling, Long Time, Peace of Mind, Don’t Look Back, Man I’ll Never Be)
1950 - Teddy Pendergrass (singer: Two Hearts [w/Stephanie Mills], Hold Me [w/Whitney Houston], solo LPs: Teddy, Love Language, Workin’ It Back, Joy; died Jan 13, 2010)
1950 - Martin Short (Emmy Award-winning actor, comedian: SCTV, The Show Formerly Known as the Martin Short Show; Saturday Night Live, The Three Amigos, Three Fugitives, Innerspace)
1957 - Leeza Gibbons (TV hostess: Entertainment Tonight, George Schlatter’s Funny People)
1960 - Jennifer Grey (actress: Dirty Dancing, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Cotton Club; Joel Grey’s daughter)
1960 - Marcus Allen (football [running back]: Kansas City Chiefs, LA Raiders: Super Bowl XVIII; Heisman Trophy Winner : holds record for number of games rushed 200 yards+  for USC])
Chart Toppers - March 26
Cruising Down the River - The Blue Barron Orchestra (vocal: ensemble)
Far Away Places - Margaret Whiting
Powder Your Face with Sunshine - Evelyn Knight
Tennessee Saturday Night - Red Foley
Young Love - Tab Hunter
Little Darlin’ - The Diamonds
Party Doll - Buddy Knox
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
Love Train - O’Jays
Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001) - Deodato
Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye) - Gladys Knight & The Pips
Teddy Bear Song - Barbara Fairchild
Keep on Loving You - REO Speedwagon
Woman - John Lennon
The Best of Times - Styx
Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground - Willie Nelson
The Living Years - Mike & The Mechanics
Eternal Flame - Bangles
Girl You Know It’s True - Milli Vanilli
New Fool at an Old Game - Reba McEntire
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.