Events - May 17
1792 - Twenty-four brokers sat down to fix rates on commissions on stocks and bonds. From that agreement came what has been known since as the New York Stock Exchange. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is located in the financial district, an area in lower Manhattan, on a street named after a defensive wall built around 1650. Wall Street became interchangeable with the Stock Exchange. The original brokers’ meeting place was quite different from today’s noisy, crowded, high-energy floor. In bad weather, they met at a coffee house and when the day was sunny, the brokers sat under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street to conduct their business.
1875 - Oliver Lewis rode Aristides winning a purse of $2,850 in the first running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY. Aristides won the one and a half mile Run for the Roses in a time of 2 minutes, 37-3/4 seconds.
1877 - Edwin T. Holmes of Boston, MA. installed the first telephone switchboard burglar alarm. We imagined that it was to keep burglars from starting their own phone companies...
1933 - Country singer Jimmie Rodgers began to record a series of 24 songs for RCA Victor Records on this day. Rodgers was in failing health at the beginning of the session, but persevered to complete the job at hand. The singing star died nine days later (he was 35). Jimmie Rodgers was born in 1897 and was known as the Blue Yodeler and the Singing Brakeman. Rodgers was the first member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, elected in 1961 (along with Fred Rose and Hank Williams). His recording career began in 1927. His yodel became a trademark of his music. Jimmie Rodgers recorded over 100 songs and sold millions of 78 RPM records. His songs were about the Depression and many were about trains. "Brakeman’s Blues", "Blue Yodel", "Tuck Away My Lonesome Blues" and his famous "‘T’ for Texas" are all classics. He died of tuberculosis.
1938 - The NBC Blue network presented "Information Please" for the first time. The radio quiz show was moderated by Clifton Fadiman.
1939 - The Glen Island Casino in New Rochelle, NY was the scene of a memorable dual-network radio broadcast of Glenn Miller and his orchestra. Both NBC and Mutual carried the event, which was attended by 1,800 people in the casino ballroom.
1971 - The musical, "Godspell", opened this night at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City. "Godspell" featured the song "Day by Day" (a top-15 hit in 1972). The rock musical that featured Robin Lamont played for 2,651 performances and was the third longest-running off-Broadway production at the time.
1975 - NBC-TV paid a whopping $5,000,000 for the rights to show "Gone with the Wind" just one time. It was the top price paid for a single opportunity to show a film on television.
1975 - Elton John’s "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy" album was released and certified a platinum record on the very same day. It was the first album to be certified a million seller (in this case, a two-million seller) on the first day of release.
1976 - Race jockey Steve Cauthen began an enviable win streak. Cauthen, age 16, rode his first winner at River Downs, KY. He went on to win 94 races, becoming horse racing’s most-watched jockey.
1984 - Mario Soto of the Cincinnati Reds threw four strikeouts in one inning. Soto was only pitcher number 15 since 1900 to do so. How? The hit catcher dropped the ball on the third strikeout of a game against the Chicago Cubs. The runner took off to first base and was safe. The rules state that the catcher must hold on to the ball for a third strike call to take effect. This was the first four-strikeout inning since 1978. Soto joined the company of Mike Paxton, Phil Niekro, Bill Bonham and Mike Cuellar -- all pitchers in the 1970s -- who had the same thing happen to them.
1985 - Bobby Ewing died on the season finale of "Dallas" on CBS-TV. “Grief gushed faster than oil,” said the critics on this five-hanky episode. Bobby, played by actor Patrick Duffy, died in a violent car explosion, but came back to life the following season (he was seen taking a shower, of all things, just as Victoria Principal, his TV wife, was about to step into the shower stall).
1987 - Eric ‘Sleepy’ Floyd of the Golden State Warriors set a playoff record for points in a single quarter. He poured in 29 points in the fourth period in a game against Pat Riley’s Los Angeles Lakers.
1998 - New York Yankees pitcher David Wells pitched a perfect game against the Minnesota Twins. The American League game had a final score of 4-0. And David Wells was a hero, having pitched only the 15th perfect game in the 118 years of major-league baseball.
Birthdays - May 17
1903 - James (Thomas) Bell (‘Cool Papa’: Baseball Hall of Famer: Negro League [1922-1950]: St. Louis Stars, Pittsburgh Crawfords, Homestead Grays, Kansas City Stars; fastest man ever to play baseball: could round the bases in 13 seconds: “...so fast he could get out of bed, turn out the lights across the room, and be back under the covers before the lights went out...”; died Mar 7, 1991)
1906 - Carl McIntire (clergyman, fire and brimstone fundamentalist minister; died Mar 19, 2002)
1911 - Maureen (Paul) O’Sullivan (actress: Tarzan films: Jane; Hannah and Her Sisters, Peggy Sue Got Married, The River Pirates; died June 23, 1998)
1914 - Stewart Alsop (syndicated columnist [w/brother Joseph]: Matter of Fact; journalist: New York Herald Tribune, Newsweek, Washington Editor of Saturday Evening Post; writer: The Center: The Anatomy of Power in Washington, Stay of Execution : A Sort of Memoir; died May 26, 1974)
1915 - Carl Liscombe (hockey: Detroit Red Wings [most points record: (7) vs. Chicago: 11/5/42]; died Feb 23, 2004)
1921 - Bob Merrill (songwriter: If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked a Cake, Doggie in the Window, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Funny Girl [w/Jules Styne]; died Feb 17, 1998)
1924 - Dick Hixson (trombonist, studio musician; died Nov 25, 1982)
1932 - Jackie (John) McLean (jazz musician: alto sax; composer, playwright; educator: University of Hartford, CT)
1932 - Ozzie (Osvaldo Jose Sr. Pichardo) Virgil (baseball: NY Giants, Detroit Tigers, KC Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates, SF Giants)
1934 - Earl Morrall (football: backup quarterback: San Francisco 49ers; Pittsburgh Steelers; Detroit Lions; NY Giants; Baltimore Colts: NFL Player of the Year , Super Bowls III, V; Miami Dolphins: AFC Player of the Year , Super Bowls VII, VIII; died April 25, 2014)
1936 - Dennis Hopper (actor: Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now, Rebel Without a Cause, Giant, Hoosiers, Flashback, Blue Velvet, Super Mario Brothers, True Romance, Speed, Waterworld, Space Truckers; director: Easy Rider, Colors, Chasers; died May 29, 2010)
1938 - Pervis Jackson (singer: group: The Spinners: I’ll Be Around, Could It Be I’m Falling In Love; died Aug 18, 2008)
1942 - Taj Mahal (Henry St. Claire Fredericks) (entertainer, songwriter: for film, Sounder; singer: urban folk-blues)
1945 - Tony Roche (tennis champion: French Open )
1948 - Carlos May (baseball: Chicago White Sox [all-star: 1969, 1972], NY Yankees [World Series: 1976], California Angels)
1948 - Pat Toomay (football: Dallas Cowboys defensive end: Super Bowl V, VI)
1949 - Bill Bruford (drummer: LPs: Feels Good to Me, One of a Kind, The Bruford Tapes, Gradually Going Tornado, Masterstrokes; [w/Patrick Moraz: Music for Piano and Drums, Flags; groups: Earthworks, Gong, Genesis, Yes: Owner of a Lonely Heart; UK: Danger Money, Night after Night)
1955 - Bill Paxton (actor: Twister, True Lies, Aliens, Apollo 13, Future Shock, The Terminator; died Feb 25, 2017)
1956 - Sugar Ray Leonard (boxer: Olympic gold medalist: Junior Welterweight ; World Welterweight  and World Junior Middleweight Champion , WBC Heavyweight and Super Middleweight )
1956 - Bob Saget (actor: Full House; TV host: America’s Funniest Home Videos)
1965 - Trent Reznor (Grammy Award-winning singer, musician: Wish ; LP: Pretty Hate Machine; band: Nine Inch Nails)
1970 - Jordan (Nathaniel Marcel) Knight (singer: group: New Kids on the Block [1984-1994])
Chart Toppers - May 17
Candy - Johnny Mercer & Jo Stafford
I’m Beginning to See the Light - The Harry James Orchestra (vocal: Kitty Kallen)
Dream - The Pied Pipers
At Mail Call Today - Gene Autry
I Believe - Frankie Laine
April in Portugal - The Les Baxter Orchestra
Song from Moulin Rouge - The Percy Faith Orchestra
Mexican Joe - Jim Reeves
Runaway - Del Shannon
Mother-In-Law - Ernie K-Doe
A Hundred Pounds of Clay - Gene McDaniels
Hello Walls - Faron Young
Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In - The 5th Dimension
Hair - The Cowsills
Get Back - The Beatles
My Life (Throw It Away if I Want To) - Bill Anderson
When I Need You - Leo Sayer
Sir Duke - Stevie Wonder
Couldn’t Get It Right - Climax Blues Band
Some Broken Hearts Never Mend - Don Williams
Don’t You Forget About Me - Simple Minds
One Night in Bangkok - Murray Head
Everything She Wants - Wham!
Somebody Should Leave - 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
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