Events - July 4
1776 - Americans celebrate their independence from the British on this day. July 4th commemorates the approval of the "Declaration of Independence". No it wasn't signed on this day - just approved. The actual signing didn't take place until a month later.
1832 - It was on this day that "America" was sung in public for the first time -- at the Park Street Church in Boston, MA. Dr. Samuel Francis Smith wrote the words, borrowing the tune from a German songbook. Ironically, and unknown to Dr. Smith at the time, the melody is the same as the British national anthem.
1855 - The first edition of "Leaves of Grass", by Walt Whitman, was published in Brooklyn, NY.
1881 - Tuskegee Institute opened its doors to the students who built it with bricks made in their own kiln. An abandoned plantation in Tuskegee, Alabama was the site chosen for Booker T. Washington’s institution for academic and vocational training.
1884 - Bullfighting was introduced in America. No, not in Texas or Arizona, but in Dodge City, Kansas.
1888 - The first rodeo in America was held at Prescott, Arizona.
1895 - "America the Beautiful", the famous song often touted as the true U.S. national anthem, was originally a poem written by Katharine Lee Bates. The Wellesley College professor’s poem was first published this day in the "Congregationalist", a church newspaper.
1923 - Jack Dempsey defeated Tommy Gibbons in a fight held in that boxing mecca of Shelby, Montana. The fight had been called the strangest fight in boxing history (until the 1997 match between Evander Holyfield and the ‘ear-biting’ Mike Tyson).
1939 - Lou Gehrig retired from baseball in a touching ceremony at Yankee Stadium in New York City. Some 62,000 fans of the ‘Iron Horse’ came out to bid him goodbye. To feel the emotion of the moment, see the movie "Pride of the Yankees".
1942 - The Irving Berlin musical, "This is the Army", opened at New York’s Broadway Theatre. Net profits of the show were $780,000.
1943 - The Rhythm Boys, Bing Crosby, Al Rinker and Harry Barris, were reunited for the first time since the 1930s on "Paul Whiteman Presents" on NBC radio.
1951 - Jack Webb did a summer switch -- from his "Dragnet" role of Sgt. Joe Friday to that of Pete Kelly. "Pete Kelly’s Blues", a crime drama, was the summer replacement on NBC radio for "Halls of Ivy" (with Ronald Colman and Benita Hume). Webb also played Pete Kelly in the 1955 movie of the same name; then produced and directed a 1959 TV series, also titled "Pete Kelly’s Blues", starring William Reynolds as Pete.
1955 - The first king cobra snakes born in captivity in the United States were hatched at the Bronx Zoo in New York City. A total of nine eggs hatched between July 4th and 12th of 1955.
1970 - Casey Kasem hosted radio’s "American Top 40" for the first time this day.
1973 - Riva Ridge won the Brooklyn Handicap in a world-record time of 1:52.2/5 in the 1-3/16-mile event. Riva Ridge became thoroughbred racing’s 12th, million-dollar race horse.
1985 - A crowd, estimated at one million, gathered in Philadelphia to celebrate the 209th anniversary of America’s independence. The Beach Boys were joined by Mr. T. on drums to really add some fireworks to the festivities. The Oak Ridge Boys, Joan Jett and Jimmy Page joined in the celebration (but wouldn’t let Mr. T. play ...)
1987 - Martina Navratilova captured her sixth consecutive Wimbledon singles title.
1997 - The Mars Pathfinder spacecraft, launched by NASA from the Earth in December 1996, entered the atmosphere of Mars. A heat shield, parachutes, and airbags helped it land safely. The Sojourner rover searched the surface of Mars for rocks while millions of earthlings watch it on TV and the Internet.
1999 - Jose Canseco of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays smacked his 30th home run of the season, although Tampa Bay lost to the Toronto Blue Jays 6-3. Canseco became the first player in major-league history to hit 30 home runs with four different teams. He had previously reached that mark with the Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays and the Oakland Athletics. Note: Canseco hit 30 or more homers with Oakland five times.
Birthdays - July 4
1826 - Stephen Foster (song writer of about 200 songs including: Oh! Susannah, Camptown Races, Old Folks at Home [Swanee River], Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair, Beautiful Dreamer; died Jan 13, 1864)
1872 - Calvin Coolidge (30th U.S. President [1923-1929]; married to Grace Goodhue [two sons]; nickname: Silent Cal; died Jan 5, 1933)
1883 - Rube (Reuben Lucius) Goldberg (inventor of elaborate, involved contraptions that accomplish simple tasks; cartoonist; died Dec 7, 1970)
1902 - George (Lloyd) Murphy (actor: This is the Army, Little Miss Broadway, For Me and My Gal; politician: U.S. Senator; died May 3, 1992)
1911 - Mitch Miller (record company executive, producer, arranger: Columbia, Mercury; musician & instrumentalist: Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, The Yellow Rose of Texas, March from The River Kwai; Sing Along with Mitch LPs and TV show; died Jul 31, 2010)
1912 - Virginia Graham (Komiss) (TV hostess: The Strawhatters; panelist: Where Was I?; died Dec 22, 1998)
1918 - Ann Landers (Esther Pauline Friedman) (advice columnist; twin sister of Abigail Van Buren; died June 22, 2002)
1918 - Abigail Van Buren (Pauline Esther Friedman) (advice columnist: Dear Abby; twin sister of Ann Landers; died Jan 16, 2013)
1920 - Leona Helmsley (hotel mogul: Helmsley Hotels; died Aug 20, 2007)
1924 - Eva Marie Saint (Academy Award-winning actress: On the Waterfront ; North by Northwest, Exodus, Raintree County)
1927 - Gina Lollobrigida (actress: Trapeze, Belles de Nuit, Solomon and Sheba, Strange Bedfellows, Come September)
1927 - Neil (Marvin) Simon (Tony Award-winning playwright: The Odd Couple , Lost in Yonkers [and Pulitzer Prize: 1991]; The Sunshine Boys, Barefoot in the Park, The Goodbye Girl, California Suite, Plaza Suite, Seems like Old Times, Prisoner of Second Avenue)
1929 - Al Davis (football general manager: Oakland Raiders; only one in pro football to be scout, asst. coach, head coach, general manager, league commissioner and owner; died Oct 8, 2011)
1929 - Chuck (Charles William) Tanner (baseball: Milwaukee Braves, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, LA Angels; manager: Pittsburgh Pirates, Atlanta Braves; died Feb 11, 2011)
1930 - George Steinbrenner (shipping magnate, baseball team owner: New York Yankees; died Jul 13, 2010)
1937 - Rosey (Roosevelt) Taylor (football: Grambling College, Chicago Bears, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins: Super Bowl VII)
1937 - Ray Pillow (singer: Take Your Hands Off My Heart, Thank You Ma’am, I’ll Take the Dog, Volkswagon, Gone with the Wine)
1938 - Bill Withers (Grammy Award-winning songwriter, singer: Ain’t No Sunshine , Lean on Me, Use Me)
1940 - Pat Stapleton (hockey: NHL: Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks)
1942 - Floyd Little (College Football Hall of Famer: Syracuse: 3-time All-American running back; Denver Broncos: rushed for 6,323 yards on 1,641 carries & 43 touchdowns)
1943 - Emerson Boozer (football: NY Jets running back: Super Bowl III)
1943 - Geraldo Rivera (investigative reporter, talk show host: Geraldo)
1943 - Al ‘Blind Owl’ Wilson (musician: guitar, harmonica, singer: group: Canned Heat: On the Road Again, Going Up the Country, Let’s Work Together)
1948 - Jeremy Spencer (musician: guitar: group: Fleetwood Mac: Black Magic Woman, Need Your Love So Bad, Albatross, Man of the World, The Green Manalishi [With the Two-Pronged Crown])
1955 - John Waite (singer: Missing You, Tears; group: The Babys: Isn’t It Time, Everytime I Think of You, Back on My Feet Again)
1958 - Kirk Pengilly (musician: guitar, saxophone: group: INXS: Just Keep Walking, The One Thing, Original Sin, Melting in the Sun, This Time)
1960 - Signy Coleman (actress: The Young and the Restless)
1962 - Pam Shriver (tennis: grand slam doubles winner ; w/ Martina Navratilova won 7 Australian, 4 French, 5 Wimbledon, 4 U.S. Opens [1981-1989])
1965 - Harvey Grant (basketball: Washington Bullets, Portland Trailblazers, Philadelphia 76ers, Washington Wizards; twin brother of Horace)
1965 - Horace Grant (basketball: Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic, Seattle Supersonics, LA Lakers; twin brother of Harvey)
Chart Toppers - July 4
Laura - The Woody Herman Orchestra
Dream - The Pied Pipers
Sentimental Journey - The Les Brown Orchestra (vocal: Doris Day)
Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima - Bob Wills
Song from Moulin Rouge - The Percy Faith Orchestra
April in Portugal - The Les Baxter Orchestra
Ruby - Richard Hayman
Take These Chains from My Heart - Hank Williams
Quarter to Three - U.S. Bonds
Raindrops - Dee Clark
Tossin’ and Turnin’ - Bobby Lewis
Hello Walls - Faron Young
Get Back - The Beatles
Love Theme from Romeo & Juliet - Henry Mancini
Bad Moon Rising - Creedence Clearwater Revival
Statue of a Fool - Jack Greene
Got to Give It Up (Pt. I) - Marvin Gaye
Gonna Fly Now (Theme from "Rocky") - Bill Conti
Undercover Angel - Alan O’Day
That was Yesterday - Donna Fargo
Heaven - Bryan Adams
Sussudio - Phil Collins
Raspberry Beret - Prince & The Revolution
She Keeps the Home Fires Burning - Ronnie Milsap
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.