Events - April 20
1832 - The U.S. Congress and President Andrew Jackson made Hot Springs, Arkansas the first Federal Reservation in order to protect the hot springs flowing from the southwestern slope of Hot Springs Mountain. Although Hot Springs Federal Reservation's name wasn't changed to Hot Springs National Park until 1921, Hot Springs is the oldest park in the National Park System. Yellowstone National Park was the first to bear the title of ‘National Park’. It became a national park in 1872.
1931 - Louis Armstrong recorded the classic, "When It’s Sleepy Time Down South", for Okeh Records. Satchmo would use the tune as his theme song for decades. The song was waxed in Chicago, IL.
1931 - The great Knute Rockne died in a plane crash on March 31, 1931. It would be tough to fill his shoes. Twenty days later, Jesse Harper became the new athletic director and Heartley ‘Hunk’ Anderson took over as coach of Notre Dame. Anderson coached the Fighting Irish from 1931-33. Elmer Layden replaced Anderson from 1934-1940 and Frank Leahy coached Notre Dame twice -- from 1941-1943 and from 1946-1953.
1935 - "Your Hit Parade", starring Kay Thompson, Charles Carlyle, Gogo DeLys and Johnny Hanser, was first broadcast on radio. A youngster named Frank Sinatra would later be part of the program as a featured vocalist. "Your Hit Parade" stayed on the radio airwaves for 24 years.
1947 - Comedian Fred Allen of "Allen’s Alley" fame didn’t find things so funny when censors cut him off the air during his radio broadcast. Allen was telling a joke about a mythical network vice-president when he was suddenly taken off the air. One moment please...
1949 - Willie Shoemaker won his first race as a jockey aboard Shafter V at Golden Gate Fields in Albany, CA, not far from San Francisco.
1959 - "Desilu Playhouse" on CBS-TV presented a two-part show titled, "The Untouchables" starting this night. Robert Stack starred in the program and became a major television star when "The Untouchables" become a weekly network series in the fall of 1959.
1961 - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gave approval for FM stereo broadcasting. It would be another five or six years before FM stations went ‘underground’ or ‘progressive’ to attract listeners who were tired of the lack of audio quality on AM stations. FM stations to that time had broadcast in glorious monaural sound.
1979 - Johnny Carson was said to be leaving "The Tonight Show". Newspapers around the country gave details about why the comedian and late-night host was said to be unhappy after 17 years on the show. Guess what? More moola, more vacation time and a four-day week (not working Mondays) was enough for the ‘Great Carsoni’ to hang around NBC for another 12 years...
1985 - The British pop music group Wham!, featuring George Michael, became the first to release cassettes in the People’s Republic of China. Selections from two of the group’s albums were packaged and sold on the tape.
1987 - "Starlight Express" posted the largest week’s gross in Broadway history. The roller-skating musical earned $606,081 at the box office. The revival of "The King and I" starring Yul Brynner had been the previous leader (1985).
Birthdays - April 20
1850 - Daniel Chester French (sculptor: public monuments: Minute Man statue in Concord, MA, Abraham Lincoln seated in the Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC; died Oct 7, 1931)
1889 - Adolf Hitler (murderer of over six-million people, the ultimate racist and as TIME magazine said, “...redefined the meaning of evil forever.”; committed suicide Apr 30, 1945)
1893 - Harold Lloyd (comedian, actor: For Heaven’s Sake, Slapstick, Feet First, Safety Last, The Sin of Harold Diddlebock; died Mar 8, 1971)
1893 - Joan Miro (artist: Chiffres et Constellations, Le Carnaval d’Arlequin, The Gold of Azure; died Dec 25, 1983)
1900 - Norman Norell (Norman David Levinson) (costume designer: Astoria Studio of Paramount Pictures; fashion designer: worked w/Charles Armour, Hattie Carnegie, Anthony Traina [Traina-Norell collection], solo: American fashion leader [1941-1972]; died Oct 25, 1972)
1908 - Lionel Hampton (singer, songwriter, jazz musician: vibes, drums, piano, bandleader: On the Sunny Side of the Street, Hey! Hot Mallets, Ba-Ba-Re-Bop, Rag Mop; played with Benny Goodman; died Aug 31, 2002)
1923 - Tito (Ernest) Puente (jazz musician, bandleader: Abanaquito, Para Los Rumberos, Jumpin’ with Symphony Sid, Fancy Feet; died May 31, 2000)
1924 - Nina Foch (Nina Consuelo Maud Fock) (actress: Scaramouche, Spartacus, The Ten Commandments, An American in Paris, Mahogany; died Dec 5, 2008)
1925 - Henri Renaud (French jazz musician: pianist; record producer; died Oct 17, 2002)
1926 - Elena Verdugo (actress: Little Giant, House of Frankenstein, Meet Millie, Marcus Welby, M.D.; died May 30, 2017)
1927 - Phil Hill (race driver: one of only two Americans to win the Formula One title ; died Aug 28, 2008)
1929 - Bob Braun (Emmy Award-winning TV host [WLWT-TV]: The Bob Braun Show ; regular on WCPO-TV’s The Dottie Mack Show [carried on DuMont TV net]; radio host [WLW]: inducted into Cincinnati Radio Hall of Fame ; singer: ’Til Death Do Us Part ; actor: Die Hard 2, Ironside, Murder, She Wrote, The Young and the Restless; died Jan 15, 2001)
1936 - Beaver Harris (William Godwin Harris) (musician: drums: co-led 360 Degree Music Experience [w/Roswell Rudd, Marion Brown, Grachan Moncur III]; died Dec 22, 1991)
1937 - George Takei (actor: Star Trek, Kissinger and Nixon, Oblivion, Star Trek 1-6, The Green Berets, Red Line 7000, Ice Palace)
1939 - Johnny Tillotson (singer: Poetry In Motion, It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin’, Without You, Talk Back Trembling Lips)
1941 - Ryan O’Neal (actor: Love Story, Paper Moon, What’s Up Doc?, Peyton Place)
1945 - Michael Brandon (Feldman) (actor: Lovers and Other Strangers, Red Alert, Rich and Famous, Promises in the Dark)
1945 - Steve Spurrier (football: Univ. of Florida [Heisman Trophy winner: 1966], SF 49ers)
1945 - Jimmy Winston (Langwith) (musician: organ: groups: Moments, Small Faces)
1946 - Tom (Thomas George) Hutton (baseball: LA Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Montreal Expos, Toronto Blue Jays)
1947 - Brian Lavender (hockey: NHL: SL Blues, NY Islanders, Detroit Red Wings, California Seals)
1947 - David Leland (actor: Time Bandits, Personal Services; director/writer: Wish You Were Here; director: Checking Out, The Big Man: Crossing the Line; writer: Mona Lisa, Personal Services, Running Wild)
1948 - Craig Frost (musician: keyboard: group: Grand Funk Railroad: We’re an American Band, The Loco-Motion, Some Kind of Wonderful, Bad Time)
1948 - Joe Bonner (jazz pianist, composer; died Nov 21, 2014)
1949 - Jessica (Phyllis) Lange (Academy Award-winning actress: Tootsie , Blue Sky ; Frances, King Kong, All That Jazz, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Sweet Dreams)
1951 - Luther Vandross (singer, songwriter: Never Too Much, How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye; died July 1, 2005)
1959 - Clint Howard (actor: Backdraft, Cocoon, Ice Cream Man, That Thing You Do!, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, How the Grinch Stole Christmas)
1964 - Crispin Glover (actor: Dead Man, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Doors, Twister, Back to the Future, Friday the 13th, Part 4: The Final Chapter, My Tutor, Charlie's Angels )
1976 - Joey Lawrence (actor: Gimme a Break, Blossom, Chains of Gold, Pulse, Wait Till Your Mother Gets Home, Radioland Murders)
Chart Toppers - April 20
If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked a Cake - Eileen Barton
Music, Music, Music - Teresa Brewer
Peter Cottontail - Gene Autry
Long Gone Lonesome Blues - Hank Williams
He’s Got the Whole World (In His Hands) - Laurie London
Book of Love - The Monotones
Don’t You Just Know It - Huey (Piano) Smith & The Clowns
Oh Lonesome Me - Don Gibson
The Ballad of the Green Berets - SSgt Barry Sadler
(You’re My) Soul and Inspiration - The Righteous Brothers
Daydream - The Lovin’ Spoonful
I Want to Go with You - Eddy Arnold
TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia) - MFSB featuring The Three Degrees
Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me - Gladys Knight & The Pips
The Loco-Motion - Grand Funk
A Very Special Love Song - Charlie Rich
I Love Rock ’N Roll - Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
We Got the Beat - Go-Go’s
Chariots of Fire - Titles - Vangelis
The Clown - Conway Twitty
I’ll Be Your Everything - Tommy Page
Don’t Wanna Fall in Love - Jane Child
Nothing Compares 2 U - Sinead O’Connor
Five Minutes - Lorrie Morgan
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.