440 International Those Were the Days
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January 28

Events - January 28
1808 - Messenger, America’s first trotting horse, was buried on this day. Admit it. There is no way you could have made it through the day without this knowledge...

1878 - The first telephone switchboard was installed -- in New Haven, Connecticut. The phone company that owned the switchboard had 21 subscribers. “Is this the party to whom I am speaking? One moment pa-leeeeeeze.”

1878 - "The Yale News" was published for the very first time. It was the first daily collegiate newspaper in the United States.

1902 - The Carnegie Institution was established in Washington DC. It began with a gift of $10 million, compliments of Andrew Carnegie.

1904 - Enrico Caruso signed his first contract with Victor Records. He had debuted at the Metropolitan Opera just two months before.

1921 - The National Football League franchise in Decatur, Illinois was transferred this day to Chicago. The team took the name, Chicago Staleys for the 1921 season. The following year, it was decided that since the team was playing in the stadium of the Chicago Cubs, it should be named the Chicago Bears, or as they say in the Windy City, “Da Bears.”

1934 - As a result of a compliment paid on this day, by Walter Winchell, in his newspaper column; a local disc jockey began receiving several offers from talent scouts and producers. The DJ became known as the Redhead, adored by thousands in Washington, DC and, later, by millions across the country on CBS radio and TV. His trademark (strumming a ukulele and delivering down-home patter) endeared him to fans for many years. We remember the broadcasting legend, Arthur Godfrey. “I wanna go back to my little grass shack...”

1934 - Robert Royce’s famous invention was used for the first time in Woodstock, VT. Previously, snow skiers had no way to get to the top of the mountain conveniently. Remember the ski tow rope the next time you schuss the slopes and have to make it back to the top.

1940 - "Beat the Band" made its debut on NBC radio. The band was that of Ted Weems and his 14-piece orchestra, who were joined by Elmo ‘The Whistling Troubadour’ Tanner, Harry Soskind and Country Washington. One other star of the show was a barber from Pittsburgh, PA (nearby Canonsburg, actually), who would record many hits for RCA Victor from 1943 right through the dawn of the 1970s. His name was Perry Como.

1942 - “Sighted Sub, Sank Same” was the message sent by enlisted pilot Donald Francis Mason on this day. Mason believed that he had sunk a German U-boat off Argentia, Newfoundland.

1956 - Elvis Presley made his first appearance on national television. No, he didn’t appear on some teenage dance show; but rather, "The Dorsey Brothers Show", starring Tommy and Jimmy. Elvis sang "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Heartbreak Hotel". He was backed by the instruments of the Dorsey band, believe it or not.

1957 - The Brooklyn Dodgers (‘da Bums’) announced this day that circus clown Emmett Kelly had been hired to entertain fans at baseball games. The Dodgers moved to Los Angeles the following year. Today, the only clowns in baseball are many of the highly paid ones out on the field.

1958 - One of the most respected players in baseball, Roy Campanella, was seriously injured in an auto accident in New York. ‘Campy’ would never return to play again; but would still be a part of the Dodgers organization for many years. The talented Dodger catcher’s career with the Dodgers lasted from 1948 to 1957.

1973 - CBS-TV presented the first program of "Barnaby Jones" (a Quinn Martin Production). Lee Meriwether (Miss America 1955) played the detective’s lovely daughter-in-law assistant. Buddy Ebsen played the detective, Jones. Ebsen, who started in show biz back in the 1920s, was also selected to play the Tin Man in "The Wizard of Oz", but had bowed out. And he shot the first film used in the animation tests for a Walt Disney character named Mortimer Mouse (aka Mickey Mouse). Ebsen is best known, however, for playing Jed Clampett on another CBS-TV series, "The Beverly Hillbillies". “Weee doggies!”

1985 - 45 of the world’s top recording artists were invited to an all-night recording session at the A&M studios in Los Angeles. As each of the artists walked through the studio door, they were greeted by a hand-lettered sign -- put there by Lionel Richie. It simply said, “Check your ego at the door.” The session started at 10 p.m. with producer Quincy Jones conducting. At 8 o’clock the following morning, the project, "USA for Africa", spearheaded by promoter, Ken Kragen, was recorded and mixed. The resulting song, "We Are the World", featuring Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Sting, Harry Belafonte, Diana Ross, Paul Simon and many others became the top song in the U.S. on April 13, 1985.

1986 - 73 seconds after launch from Cape Canaveral, the U.S. space shuttle Challenger exploded, killing seven astronauts. After a flawless liftoff, the Challenger, traveling at a speed of 2900 feet per second, soared nine miles into space when suddenly the ship’s liquid hydrogen tank exploded. Millions watched the tragedy unfold on TV. This catastrophe took the lives of Commanders Francis ‘Dick’ Scobee and Michael J. Smith, Dr. Judith A. Resnik, Dr. Ronald E. McNair, Lt. Colonel Ellison S. Onizuka, Gregory B. Jarvis and school teacher Christa McAuliffe.

1987 - Roger Mudd left NBC news after seven stormy years. Previously, Mudd had been an icon at CBS news. When it was announced that Dan Rather would replace Walter Cronkite as anchor of "The CBS Evening News", Mudd felt that he had been passed over. He went on to find yet another network home at PBS, where he contributed to "The MacNeil Lehrer News Hour".

1990 - Super Bowl XXIV (at New Orleans): San Francisco 49ers 55, Denver Broncos 10. The 49ers had won all three trips they had made to the Super Bowl. The Broncos had lost all three times they had been there. At the end of this game the 49ers were still winners and the Broncos were still losers. MVP: 49ers’ QB Joe Montana. Tickets: $125.00.

1995 - TLC’s "Creep" hit number one on the "Billboard" "Hot 100". The smash held down the top spot for four weeks : “So I creep yeah; Just keep it on the down low; Said nobody is supposed 2 know; So I creep yeah; ’Cause he doesn’t know; What I do and no attention; Goes to show oh so I creep.”

1996 - Super Bowl XXX (at Tempe): Dallas Cowboys 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 17. Most Valuable Player of the game: Dallas cornerback Larry Brown. Who’s Larry Brown, you ask? He’s the one who intercepted the two Neil O’Donnell passes that (1) stopped two Pittsburgh drives and (2) set up two Dallas touchdowns. Tickets: $200.00-$350.00.

1960 2001 - Super Bowl XXXV (at Tampa Bay): Baltimore Ravens 34, New York Giants 7. “We feel we’re the best defense to ever play the game,” boasted Ravens’ defensive tackle Tony Siragusa. Arguably, the 2000 Ravens’ defense ranks up there with the 1960’s Fearsome Foursome of the Los Angeles Rams, Miami’s 1972-1973 No-Name Defense, the 1974-1979 Pittsburgh Steelers’ Steel Curtain, Dallas’ Doomsday defense of the 1970s, the 1973-1976 Purple People Eaters in Minnesota and the 1985-1986 Chicago Bears. MVP: Ravens’ linebacker Ray Lewis, who led a defense that intercepted four of NY quarterback Kerry Collins’ passes, allowed only a punt-return touchdown (by the Giants’ Ron Dixon) and held New York to 152 yards of offense. Tickets: $325.00 to $400.

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Birthdays - January 28
1841 - Sir Henry Morton Stanley (explorer: leader of African expedition to find the missing missionary, David Livingstone: “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” said Mr. Stanley; died May 10, 1904)

1887 - Artur Rubinstein (American pianist: played solo for the Berlin Symphony at the age of 12; died Dec 20, 1982)

1926 - Jim Bryan (auto racer: Indianapolis 500 winner [1958]; died Jun 19, 1960)

1927 - Ronnie Scott (Schatt) (bandleader, jazz musician: tenor sax; London jazz club owner; died Dec 23, 1996)

1929 - Acker (Bernard) Bilk (clarinetist, composer: Stranger on the Shore; died Nov 2, 2014)

1934 - Bill (William De Kova) White (baseball: NY Giants, SF Giants, SL Cardinals [all-star: 1959-1961, 1963, 1964/World Series: 1964], Philadelphia Phillies first baseman; broadcaster: NY Yankees)

1935 - Nicholas Pryor (actor: Hoffa, Pacific Heights, Risky Business, The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh, The Happy Hooker, Force Five, The Bronx Zoo, Beverly Hills 90210)

1936 - Alan Alda (Alphonso D’Abruzzo) (actor: M*A*S*H, Paper Lion, The Four Seasons, Same Time Next Year, California Suite)

1936 - Bill Phillips (country singer: Put It Off till Tomorrow, Georgia Town Blues [w/Mel Tillis]; died Aug 23, 2010)

1943 - John Beck (actor: Suspect Device, A Climate for Killing, Time Machine, Rollerball, Sleeper, Paperback Hero, Three in the Attic, Nichols, Flamingo Road, Dallas)

1943 - Paul Henderson (hockey: NHL: Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs [scored winning goal in Canada/Soviet Union Summit Series: 1972], Atlanta Flames)

1943 - Dick Taylor (musician: bass, guitar: group: The Pretty Things: Don’t Bring Me Down)

1944 - Fred Hoaglin (football: Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Colts; Jacksonville Jaguars TE coach)

1944 - Susan Howard (Jeri Lynn Mooney) (actress: Sidewinder One, The Power Within, Dallas)

1944 - Brian Keenan (musician: drums: groups: Manfred Mann; The Chambers Brothers: Time Has Come Today)

1945 - Marthe Keller (actress: Young Catherine, The Nightmare Years, The Amateur, Black Sunday, Marathon Man, And Now My Love)

1949 - Jack Egers (hockey: NHL: NY Rangers, SL Blues, Washington Capitals)

1950 - Barbi Benton (Playboy cover girl, significant other of Hugh Hefner; actress: For the Love of It, Deathstalker)

1959 - Dave Sharp (musician: guitar: group: The Alarm: 68 Guns, Where were You Hiding When the Storm Broke?, The Bells of Rhymney)

1977 - Joey Fatone Jr. (singer: group: ’N Sync: I Want You Back, Tearin’ Up My Heart, Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You, I Drive Myself Crazy, Music Of My Heart)

1981 - Elijah Wood (actor: The Lord of the Rings series, Flipper, North, Radio Flyer, Forever Young, Avalon, Back to the Future, Forever Your Girl video)

Those Were the Days: Current Issues

Chart Toppers - January 28
1948
Golden Earrings - Peggy Lee
How Soon - Jack Owens
Ballerina - Vaughn Monroe
I’ll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms) - Eddy Arnold

1956
Memories are Made of This - Dean Martin
The Great Pretender - The Platters
Moritat (A Theme from ’The Three Penny Opera’) - Dick Hyman
Sixteen Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford

1964
There! I’ve Said It Again - Bobby Vinton
I Want to Hold Your Hand - The Beatles
Surfin’ Bird - The Trashmen
Love’s Gonna Live Here - Buck Owens

1972
American Pie - Don McLean
Let’s Stay Together - Al Green
Day After Day - Badfinger
Carolyn - Merle Haggard

1980
Rock with You - Michael Jackson
Do that to Me One More Time - The Captain & Tennille
Coward of the County - Kenny Rogers
I’ll Be Coming Back for More - T.G. Sheppard

1988
The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson
Need You Tonight - INXS
Could’ve Been - Tiffany
Where Do the Nights Go - Ronnie Milsap

Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end...


Comments/Corrections: TWtDfix@440fun.com

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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