440 International Those Were the Days
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March 4

Events - March 4
1791 - Vermont, the 14th state, was admitted to the union on this day. It sits way up in the northeast corner of the United States, adjacent to New York, nestled in the Green Mountains. No wonder it’s known as the Green Mountain State! Coincidentally, that’s what the French phrase ‘vert mont’ means. Montpelier is Vermont’s capital city. "Hail Vermont" is the state song which goes right along with the state motto: Vermont, Freedom and Unity. The hermit thrush stands alone as the state bird; and the red clover is the colorful state flower which attracts the state insect, the honeybee. The Morgan horse is the state animal, and the state tree ... you guessed it ... is the one that makes all that famous Vermont maple syrup, the sugar maple tree. Every now and then some of these state symbols make sense.

1829 - The ‘spoils system’ was introduced by President Andrew Jackson when he appointed Simon Cameron as a reward for political assistance. Today, many people are spoiled by the system of political appointments for a variety of reasons -- usually financial contributions.

1877 - Emile Berliner, the man behind so many inventions, came up with a thing called the microphone. Good thing, too, because the Bell System -- run by Alexander Graham Bell, of course -- was in desperate need of something to save it from financial ruin and to help the progress of the telephone. So, the Bell Labs came up with a compact way to put Mr. Berliner’s microphone on a wooden box, a crank, an earpiece, a cradle hook for the earpiece and some wires and called it the telephone.

1880 - Halftone engraving was used for the first time as the "Daily Graphic" was published in New York City.

1881 - Eliza Ballou Garfield became the first mother of a U.S. President to live in the executive mansion. She moved into the White House with her son James, the President.

1925 - Calvin Coolidge took the oath of office in Washington DC. The presidential inauguration was broadcast on radio for the very first time.

1930 - ‘The Redhead’, Red Barber, began his radio career this day. Barber broadcast on WRUF at the University of Florida in Gainsville. He soon became one of the best known sports voices in America.

1937 - Actor/producer/writer/composer/comedian and this night’s host, George Jessel, welcomed the glamorous crowd to the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, the setting for the 9th Annual Academy Awards show. Which film was which, you ask? The envelope, if you please... For the films of 1936: Outstanding Production/Best Picture: "The Great Ziegfeld" (from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer); Best Director: Frank Capra for "Mr. Deeds Goes To Town"; Actor: Paul Muni ("The Story Of Louis Pasteur"); Actor in a Supporting Role: Walter Brennan ("Come and Get It"); Best Actress: Luise Rainer ("The Great Ziegfeld"); Actress in a Supporting Role: Gale Sondergaard ("Anthony Adverse"); Best Song: Dorothy Fields & Jerome Kern for "The Way You Look Tonight" from the movie, "Swing Time".

1942 - Dick Jurgen’s orchestra recorded "One Dozen Roses" on Okeh Records in Chicago.

1942 - Shirley Temple had a starring role in "Junior Miss" on CBS radio this day. The show, heard for the first time, cost $12,000 a week to produce and stayed on the airwaves until 1954.

1942 - The Stage Door Canteen opened on West 44th Street in New York City. The canteen became widely known as a service club for men in the armed forces and a much welcomed place to spend what would otherwise have been lonely hours. The USO, the United Service Organization, grew out of the ‘canteen’ operation, to provide entertainment for American troops around the world.

1943 - The 15th Academy Awards presentation drew Hollywood luminaries to the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles to celebrate the great work done during the year 1942. Everybody seemed to like "Mrs. Miniver" (from Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer) better than any other movie that year. That movie was so good that it won William Wyler the Best Director Oscar; Greer Garson the Best Actress statuette; Teresa Wright the Best Actress in a Supporting Role prize; Joseph Ruttenberg the Cinematography/black-and-white Oscar; and George Froeschel, James Hilton, Claudine West and Arthur Wimperis the Writing/Screenplay award. Ah, but there was more to celebrate on that March night in 1943: James Cagney was presented the Best Actor Oscar for "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and Van Heflin was voted Best Actor in a Supporting Role for "Johnny Eager". And one other award is worth mentioning: a guy named Irving Berlin picked up the Best Song Oscar for a little ditty he had written for the film, "Holiday Inn": "White Christmas".

1950 - Walt Disney’s "Cinderella" was released. It was the first full-length, animated, feature film in eight years from the man who brought us Mickey Mouse.

1951 - Sir John Gielgud, starring as "Hamlet", was heard on "The U.S. Steel Hour" on the NBC Radio Network this day.

1952 - President Harry Truman dedicated the "Courier", the first seagoing radio broadcasting station, in ceremonies in Washington, DC.

1978 - Andy Gibb reached the top of the music charts as "(Love is) Thicker Than Water" reached #1 for a two-week stay. The Bee Gees also set a record on this day as their single, "How Deep Is Your Love", from the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack stayed in the top 10 for an unprecedented 17 weeks. (Gibb died on March 10, 1988 of an inflammatory heart virus in Oxford, England. He was 30 years old.)

1981 - Lyricist E.Y. ‘Yip’ Harburg died in an auto accident in Hollywood, CA at the age of 82. Two of his most successful hits were "Over the Rainbow" from "The Wizard of Oz" and "It’s Only a Paper Moon", popularized by Nat King Cole and many others.

1989 - Time Incorporated and Warner Communications Incorporated announced plans to merge into the world’s largest media and entertainment conglomerate.

1991 - The Soviet parliament ratified a six-nation treaty setting the legal seal on German unification after two years of revolutionary change in central Europe.

Those Were the Days: Current Issues

Birthdays - March 4
1756 - Sir Henry Raeburn (Scottish artist: mostly male portraits; died July 8, 1823)

1876 - Theodore Hardeen (Ferencz Deszo Weisz) (magician; brother of Harry Houdini; died Jun 12, 1945)

1888 - Knute Rockne (College Football Hall of Famer: coach: Notre Dame [1918-1930]: 122 games: won 105, lost 12, tied 5; killed in plane crash Mar 31, 1931)

1901 - Charles Goren (bridge card game expert; died Apr 3, 1991)

1909 - Harry Helmsley (businessman: husband of Leona Helmsley/Helmsley Hotels; died Jan 4, 1997)

1913 - John Garfield (Jacob Julius Garfinkle) (actor: Destination Tokyo, Gentlemen’s Agreement, The Postman Always Rings Twice; died May 21, 1952)

1917 - Clyde (Edward) McCullough (baseball: catcher: Chicago Cubs [World Series: 1945/all-star: 1948, 1953], Pittsburgh Pirates; died Sep 18, 1982)

1918 - Margaret Osborne duPont (tennis champion: Women’s Singles: French Open [1946, 1949], Wimbledon [1947], US Open [1948, 1949, 1950]; died Oct 24, 2012)

1921 - Joan Greenwood (actress: Little Dorritt series, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Tom Jones, Importance of Being Earnest, Kind Hearts and Coronets, Frenzy; died Feb 27, 1987)

1932 - Miriam (Zensile) Makeba (Empress of African Song: singer: first black South African to attain international stardom; died Nov 10, 2008)

1934 - Barbara McNair (singer; TV hostess: The Barbara McNair Show; actress: The Organization, They Call Me Mr. Tibbs!, Change of Habit, Dead Right; died Feb 4, 2007)

1936 - Jim Clark (British auto racer: Indianapolis 500 winner [1965]; killed in crash Apr 7, 1968)

1938 - Paula Prentiss (Ragusa) (actress: What’s New Pussycat; Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Where the Boys Are, Man’s Favorite Sport, He & She)

1944 - Bobby Womack (songwriter: I’m a Midnight Mover, I’m in Love; singer: Lookin’ for a Love, Harry Hippie, If You Think You’re Lonely Now; died Jun 27, 2014)

1946 - Danny (Vincent) ‘Bear’ Frisella (baseball: pitcher: NY Mets, Atlanta Braves, SD Padres, Milwaukee Brewers, SL Cardinals; died Jan 1, 1977)

1948 - Chris Squire (musician: bass: LP: Fish Out of Water; group: Yes: Roundabout, Owner of a Lonely Heart; died Jun 27, 2015)

1948 - Shakin’ Stevens (Michael Barratt) (singer: Hot Dog, Marie Marie, This Ole House, Green Door, Oh Julie; actor: Elvis, Oh Boy)

1950 - Ron Climie (hockey: WHL: Denver Spurs, Ottawa Nationals, Edmonton Oilers, New England Whalers)

1951 - Chris Rea (musician: guitar: groups: Chris Rea Band, Ambrosia; singer, songwriter: Fool If You Think It’s Over)

1953 - Kay Lenz (actress: Rich Man Poor Man, Trapped in Space, Death Wish 4)

1954 - Catherine O’Hara (actress: A Simple Twist of Fate, Wyatt Earp, Home Alone series, Dick Tracy, Beetlejuice; comedienne: The Steve Allen Comedy Hour, Second City TV, SCTV Network 90)

1954 - Adrian Zmed (actor: Improper Conduct, Eyewitness to Murder, Bachelor Party, The Final Terror, Grease 2, For the Love of It, T.J. Hooker, Goodtime Girls, Flatbush; TV host: Dance Fever)

1961 - Ray ‘Boom Boom’ Mancini (lightweight boxing champion, actor: The Dirty Dozen: The Fatal Mission, Aces: Iron Eagle III, The Search for One-eye Jimmy, Body and Soul; film based on his life: Heart of a Champion: The Ray Mancini Story [1985])

1968 - Patsy Kensit (actress: Tunnel Vision, Fall from Grace, Blame It on the Bellboy, Chicago Joe and the Showgirl, Lethal Weapon, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Great Gatsby)

1969 - Chaz Bono (transgender advocate, writer, musician; only child of entertainers Sonny & Cher)

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Chart Toppers - March 4
1951
If - Perry Como
My Heart Cries for You - Guy Mitchell
Tennessee Waltz - Patti Page
There’s Been a Change in Me - Eddy Arnold

1959
Stagger Lee - Lloyd Price
Donna - Ritchie Valens
Charlie Brown - The Coasters
Don’t Take Your Guns to Town - Johnny Cash

1967
Ruby Tuesday - The Rolling Stones
Love is Here and Now You’re Gone - The Supremes
Baby I Need Your Lovin’ - Johnny Rivers
The Fugitive - Merle Haggard

1975
Best of My Love - The Eagles
Have You Never Been Mellow - Olivia Newton-John
Black Water - The Doobie Brothers
It’s Time to Pay the Fiddler - Cal Smith

1983
Baby, Come to Me - Patti Austin with James Ingram
Shame on the Moon - Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
Stray Cat Strut - Stray Cats
Why Baby Why - Charley Pride

1991
All the Man that I Need - Whitney Houston
Someday - Mariah Carey
One More Try - Timmy -T-
Walk on Faith - Mike Reid

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
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