Events - April 21
1856 - The first rail train to pass over the mighty Mississippi River between Davenport, Iowa and Rock Island, IL made its journey across a newly completed bridge between the two rail centers.
1895 - Woodville Latham demonstrated the first use of a moving picture projected on a screen in New York City.
1940 - The radio program, "Take It or Leave It", was first heard on CBS radio on this day. Bob Hawk offered contestants a top prize of $64. No, there were no lovely parting gifts or consolation prizes that we could find. Losers just left.
1949 - The prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for Broadcasting was presented to "You Bet Your Life" star, “The one, the only, Groucho Marx.” This was the first time the honor had been awarded to a comedian.
1959 - The largest fish ever hooked by a rod and reel was landed by Alf Dean. Ol’ Alf told the fellas down at the marina about the 16-foot, 10-inch white shark that weighed in at 2,664 pounds! Wowzers! What kind of line do you think he used? Electric power line, maybe? Dean made the historic catch in South Australia.
1963 - The Beatles and The Rolling Stones met for the first time at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, England. The Stones opened show.
1969 - Japanese marathon runner Yoshiaki Unetani won the Boston Marathon by finishing first in a record field of 1,152.
1970 - Sportscaster Curt Gowdy was the recipient of the coveted George Foster Peabody Award for achievement in radio and television. Curt, a long-time voice of the Boston Red Sox, NBC and ABC Sports and syndicated programs (including "The American Sportsman"), was the first sports broadcaster to receive the honor.
1976 - A Cadillac convertible, the ‘last’ American-made rag-top automobile, rolled off the assembly line at GM’s Cadillac production facility in Detroit, MI. This ended a tradition that began in 1916. The tradition didn’t stay ended, however. A few years later, Chrysler Corporation, under chairman Lee Iacocca, began production once again of soft-top cars. Then Ford brought back the convertible Mustang and GM got back in the picture with the convertible Pontiac Sunbird and a new, smaller Cadillac version. It seems that the convertible is just too popular to disappear from the American auto scene!
1977 - The Broadway musical, "Annie", opened at the Alvin Theatre in New York City. Andrea McArdle was a shining star in the title role. "Annie" continued on the Great White Way until January 2, 1983.
1980 - America’s oldest long-distance race, the Boston Marathon, was touched by scandal this day. Actually, the race was sullied, tarnished and disgraced when Rosie Ruiz, a 26-year-old office worker, stunned the sports world when she crossed the finish line in a record time of 2 hours, 31 minutes and 56 seconds. Later, after an investigation, she was stripped of the honor of winning the marathon when evidence showed that she had not run the entire race.
1984 - Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" album slipped a couple of notches from number 1 to number 3 on the pop album charts. Michael needn’t have been too upset. "Thriller" was number one for 37 weeks, setting a record in music history for the longest run at the top.
1984 - David Palmer pitched only the fourth shortened, perfect game in major-league baseball history. Palmer was pitching the Montreal Expos to a 4-0 lead over the St. Louis Cardinals when the home plate umpire called the game in five innings when the rains came. Palmer had made 57 pitches.
1986 - The once-notorious Lexington Hotel in Chicago received a visitor, in the person of Geraldo Rivera, along with a camera crew. A record audience watched as the long-sealed vault of racketeer, Al Capone was opened during a much-hyped TV special. Guess what? All that Geraldo found were broken bottles and no trace that Capone and his gang had ever stashed anything there.
Birthdays - April 21
1782 - Friedrich Froebel (‘Father of Kindergarten’: teacher, author, toy maker: founded first kindergarten in 1837 in Blankenburg, Germany; died June 21, 1852)
1816 - Charlotte Bronte (author: Jane Eyre, The Professor, Shirley, Villette; died Mar 31, 1855)
1838 - John Muir (conservationist: influential in the establishment of the U.S. National Parks system and U.S. forest conservation; Muir Woods National Monument in California named after him; died Dec 24, 1914)
1887 - Joe McCarthy (baseball manager: Chicago Cubs, NY Yankees, Boston Red Sox: holds record: highest winning percentage: [.615]; died Jan 13, 1978)
1915 - Anthony Quinn (Academy Award-winning actor: Viva Zapata! , Lust for Life ; The Guns of Navarone, The Inheritance, The Old Man and the Sea, Zorba the Greek; died June 3, 2001)
1919 - Don Cornell (Louis Varlaro) (singer: It isn’t Fair, I’ll Walk Alone, I’m Yours, Heart of My Heart, This is the Beginning of the End, Hold My Hand, The Bible Tells Me So, Most of All, Love is a Many-Splendored Thing; died Feb 23, 2004)
1926 - Queen Elizabeth II (Elisabeth Mary) (Queen of the United Kingdom [1952- ]; eldest daughter of George VI and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon; married Philip Mountbatten : four children: Charles [Prince of Wales], Anne, Andrew, Edward)
1931 - Carl (Robert) Belew (country singer: Welcome Back to My World, songwriter: Am I That Easy to Forget?, Stop the World and Let Me Off, Lonely Street, What’s He Doing in My World?; died Oct 31, 1990)
1932 - Elaine May (actress: California Suite; comedienne: half of a comedy duo with Mike Nichols; director: A New Leaf, The Heartbreak Kid, Ishtar, Mikey and Nicky)
1935 - Charles Grodin (actor: Clifford, Beethoven I & II, Midnight Run, Dave; director, host: The Charles Grodin Show)
1936 - Reg Fleming (hockey: NHL: Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, NY Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Buffalo Sabres; died Jul 11, 2009)
1938 - Ernie Maresca (entertainer: Shout! Shout! [Knock Yourself Out], songwriter: Runaround Sue, The Wanderer; died Jul 8, 2015)
1940 - Jacques Caron (hockey: NHL: LA Kings, SL Blues; coach: NJ Devils)
1947 - Al (Alonza Benjamin) Bumbry (Bumbrey) (baseball: Baltimore Orioles (Rookie of the Year: 1973/World Series: 1979, 1983/all-star: 1980), SD Padres)
1947 - Iggy Pop (James Newell Osterburg) (singer, songwriter: group: Psychedelic Stooges: LP: The Stooges)
1947 - John Weider (musician: bass: group: Family: No Mule’s Fool, Weaver’s Answer, In My Own Time, Burlesque, LPs: Fearless, Bandstand)
1949 - Patti LuPone (actress: Evita, Song Spinner, Driving Miss Daisy, Wise Guys, 1941, Life Goes On)
1951 - Paul Carrack (musician: piano, singer, songwriter: groups: Noise to Go, Mike and the Mechanics, Ace: How Long; Squeeze: Goodbye Girl, Up the Junction, Cool for Cats; solo: LPs: Paul Carrack, Suburban Voodoo)
1951 - Tony Danza (actor: Family Law, Who’s the Boss, Taxi, Angels in the Outfield, Baby Talk; TV talk show host: The Tony Danza Show [co-executive producer])
1958 - Andie (Rosalie Anderson) MacDowell (actress: Multiplicity, Unstrung Heroes, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Short Cuts, Groundhog Day, Green Card, sex lies and videotape, St. Elmo’s Fire, The Player, Greystroke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes)
1959 - Robert Smith (musician: guitar, singer, songwriter: group: The Cure: A Forest, Charlotte Sometimes, Let’s Go to Bed, Love Cats, The Caterpillar, Inbetween Days)
Chart Toppers - April 21
If - Perry Como
Mockingbird Hill - Les Paul & Mary Ford
Would I Love You - Patti Page
The Rhumba Boogie - Hank Snow
Come Softly to Me - The Fleetwoods
I Need Your Love Tonight - Elvis Presley
(Now and Then There’s) A Fool Such as I - Elvis Presley
White Lightning - George Jones
Somethin’ Stupid - Nancy Sinatra & Frank Sinatra
This is My Song - Petula Clark
A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You - The Monkees
Lonely Again - Eddy Arnold
Philadelphia Freedom - The Elton John Band
(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song - B.J. Thomas
He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You) - Tony Orlando & Dawn
Always Wanting You - Merle Haggard
Billy Jean - Michael Jackson
Come on Eileen - Dexys Midnight Runners
Mr. Roboto - Styx
Dixieland Delight - Alabama
You’re in Love - Wilson Phillips
Baby Baby - Amy Grant
Joyride - Roxette
Down Home - Alabama
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.