440 International Those Were the Days
December 30

Events - December 30
1927 - The first subway in the Orient was dedicated in Tokyo, Japan. Many people had worried that the ground under Tokyo was too soft for a subway, but their fears proved unfounded as the Tokyo Underground Railway Company opened the first section of the subway between Ueno and Asakusa.

1936 - The famous feud between Jack Benny and Fred Allen was ignited. After a 10-year-old performer finished a violin solo on "The Fred Allen Show", Mr. Allen said, “A certain alleged violinist should hide his head in shame for his poor fiddle playing.” It didn’t take long for Mr. Benny to respond. The humorous feud lasted for ten weeks on both comedian’s radio shows.

1940 - The Arroyo Seco Parkway (between Los Angeles and Pasadena) was dedicated by Los Angeles, California Mayor Fletcher Bowron. It was the first freeway in the western U.S. The Pasadena Freeway, as it was known from 1954-2010, was designated as a historic engineering landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1999.

1942 - "Mr. and Mrs. North" debuted on NBC radio. Joseph Curtin played Jerry North and Alice Frost played Pam. A typical "Mr. and Mrs. North" episode would find Pam leading Jerry on what seemed to be a wild-goose chase as they tracked down criminals. Pam always ended up being right and leading police to the criminals. The theme song for the show was "The Way You Look Tonight". Sponsors included Woodbury soap, Jergens lotion and Halo shampoo.

1942 - Frank Sinatra opened at New York’s Paramount Theatre for what was scheduled to be a 4-week engagement (his shows turned out to be so popular that he was booked for an additional 4 weeks). An estimated 400 policemen were called out to help curb the excitement. It is said that some of the teenage girls were hired to scream, but many more screamed for free. Sinatra was dubbed ‘The Sultan of Swoon’, ‘The Voice that Thrills Millions’, and just ‘The Voice’. Whatever he was, it was at this Paramount Theatre engagement that modern pop hysteria was born.

1948 - Alfred Drake and Patricia Morrison starred in "Kiss Me Kate" which opened at the New Century Theatre in New York City. Cole Porter composed the music for the classic play that was adapted from Shakespeare’s comedy, "The Taming of the Shrew". The show ran for 1,077 performances on the Great White Way.

1954 - Pearl Bailey opened on Broadway in the play, "House of Flowers", about two madams with rival bordellos. Diahann Carroll was also cast in the play, written by Truman Capote. Harold Arlen provided the musical score.

1954 - James Arness made his dramatic TV debut on the "Lux Video Theatre" in "The Chase". (The "Gunsmoke" series didn’t begin for Arness until the fall of 1955.)

1961 - Jack Nicklaus lost to Gary Player in an exhibition match in Miami, FL. It was Nicklaus’ first attempt at pro golf. Lucky for Jack that he didn’t give up golf. The following year he entered the pro tour, winning $61,868.95, more than any other golf rookie in history.

1969 - Peter, Paul and Mary received a gold record for the single, "Leaving On a Jet Plane". The song had hit #1 on December 20.

1970 - Paul McCartney sued the other three Beatles to dissolve the partnership and gain control of his interest. The suit touched off a bitter feud between McCartney and the others, especially his cowriter on many of the Beatles compositions, John Lennon. The partnership officially came to end in 1974.

1976 - The Smothers Brothers, Tom and Dick, played their last show at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas and retired as a team from show business. Each continued as a solo artist. They reunited years later for another stab at TV (on NBC) plus concert appearances that proved very successful.

1980 - The Selective Service System sent a warning to Mickey Mouse at Disneyland in Anaheim, California: Register for the draft or else! The Selective Service said that Mickey was in violation of registration compliance. Of course, Mickey, age 52 at the time, sent in his registration card proving that he’s a World War II veteran.

1980 - The longest-running series in prime-time television history was canceled this day by NBC. "The Wonderful World of Disney" was axed after more than 25 years on the tube.

1982 - An uncommon sight in the sky this night, as a ‘blue moon’ appeared. It was not really a blue moon, but one unobstructed by pollution and haze -- appearing grayish in color. It was the second full moon of the month; a rare event that attracted many sky watchers. Now you know where the expression, “once in a blue moon” came from.

1993 - After some 2,000 years of rocky Jewish-Christian relations, the Holy See and the State of Israel signed an agreement to recognize each other. The agreement was seen as a significant step forward in relations between the Vatican and Israel.

1998 - "Hi-Lo Country" (“A woman like Mona can drive men to extremes.”) opened in U.S. theatres. The flick stars Woody Harrelson, Billy Crudup, Patricia Arquette (as Mona), Cole Hauser, James Gammon, Penelope Cruz, Sam Elliott, Enrique Castillo, John Diehl, Darren Burrows and Jacob Vargas.

Those Were the Days: Current Issues

Birthdays - December 30
1865 - Rudyard Kipling (novelist, short story author, poet: Nobel Prize for Literature [1907]; The Jungle Book, Captains Courageous, Wee Willie Winkie and other Stories, Gunga Din; died Jan 18, 1936)

1867 - Simon Guggenheim (philanthropist: established the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation providing grants to scientists, scholars, artists; died Nov 2, 1941)

1869 - Stephen Leacock (humorist: Literary Lapses, Nonsense Novels, Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town; died Mar 28, 1944)

1873 - Al Smith (former governor of New York, 1928 Democratic Party presidential nominee; died Oct 4, 1944)

1884 - Hideki Tojo (Prime Minister of Japan; WWII war criminal, hanged Dec 22, 1948)

1895 - Vincent Lopez (bandleader: played at NYC’s Astor Hotel, some of the greats started with him: Artie Shaw, Buddy Morrow, Buddy Clark; died Sep 20, 1975)

1914 - Bert Parks (Jacobson) (radio/TV host: Miss America Pageant, Break the Bank, Stop the Music; died Feb 2, 1992)

1914 - Jo Van Fleet (Academy Award-winning actress: East of Eden [1955]; The Rose Tattoo, Cool Hand Luke, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Cinderella; died June 10, 1996)

1920 - Jack Lord (John Joseph Patrick Ryan) (actor: Hawaii Five-O, Stoney Burke, God’s Little Acre, Dr. No, The Doomsday Flight; died Jan 21, 1998 [age 77])

1928 - Bo Diddley (Otha Ellas Bates McDaniel) (singer: Bo Diddley, I’m a Man, Say Man, Diddey Wah Diddey; died Jun 2, 2008)

1931 - Skeeter Davis (Mary Frances Penick) (singer: I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know, The End of the World, I Can’t Stay Mad at You; died Sep 19, 2004)

1934 - Joseph Bologna (Emmy Award-winning writer: Acts of Love -- And Other Comedies [ABC, 1972-73]; Lovers and Other Strangers; actor: Danger of Love, Revenge of the Nerds 4: Nerds in Love, Citizen Cohn, Blame It on Rio, My Favorite Year, Torn Between Two Lovers, The Big Bus, Honor Thy Father, Cops and Robbers, Top of the Heap, Rags to Riches)

1934 - Fred Lorenzen (NASCAR racecar driver: Daytona 500 winner [1965])

1934 - Del Shannon (Charles Westover) (singer: Runaway, Hat’s Off to Larry, Little Town Flirt, Keep Searchin’ [We’ll Follow the Sun]; songwriter: I Go to Pieces; inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame [Mar 15, 1999]; died Feb 8, 1990)

1934 - Russ Tamblyn (actor: Twin Peaks, Cabin Boy, The Last Movie, How the West was Won, West Side Story, Cimarron, Peyton Place, Don’t Go Near the Water, Hit the Deck, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Father of the Bride, tom thumb)

1935 - Sandy (Sanford Braun) Koufax (Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher: Brooklyn Dodgers, LA Dodgers: [World Series: 1959, 1963 (MVP), 1965 (MVP), 1966/all-star: 1961-1966/Baseball Writers Award: 1963/Cy Young Award: 1963, 1965, 1966/record: 382 strikeouts: 1965]; broadcaster: NBC)

1937 - John Hartford (Grammy Award-winning songwriter: Gentle on My Mind [1966]; musician: banjo, fiddle, guitar: Glenn Campbell’s Good Time Comedy Hour; died Jun 4, 2001)

1937 - (Noel) Paul Stookey (singer: The Wedding Song; group: Peter, Paul and Mary: Blowin’ in the Wind, Puff the Magic Dragon, I Dig Rock ’n’ Roll Music, Leavin’ on a Jet Plane)

1941 - Mel Renfro (College & Pro Football Hall of Famer: Dallas Cowboys defensive back: 10 consecutive Pro Bowl games [1964-1973]; All-Pro [1965, 1967-1969, 1973])

1942 - Jim ‘Bo’ Nance (football: Boston Patriots full back: AFL Player of the Year [1966], NY Jets, World Football League: Memphis Southmen; NCAA Heavyweight Wrestling Champion [1963, 1965]; died June 16, 1992)

1942 - Michael Nesmith (guitarist: group: The Monkees; wrote: Different Drum; formed: The First National Band: Joanne; movie producer: Repo Man, Elephant Parts: the first Grammy-winning video)

1942 - Fred Ward (actor: Tremors series, Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult, Short Cuts, Miami Blues, Henry and June, Big Business, Swing Shift, Silkwood, The Right Stuff, Escape from Alcatraz)

1945 - Davy Jones (David Thomas Jones) (singer: group: The Monkees: Last Train to Clarksville, I’m a Believer, Daydream Believer; actor: UK version: Godspell; died Feb 29, 2012)

1946 - Patti Smith (songwriter, singer: Career of Evil, Piss Factory, Because the Night; playwright: Cowboy Mouth)

1947 - Jeff Lynne (singer, guitar: group: Electric Light Orchestra: Livin’ Thing, Telephone Line, Evil Woman, Hold on Tight, Calling America; songwriter: Mr. Blue Sky, Last Train to London)

1956 - Sheryl Lee Ralph (actress: White Man’s Burden, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, The Distinguished Gentleman, The Mighty Quinn, Codename: Foxfire, It’s a Living, George, Designing Women)

1957 - Matt Lauer (TV host: Today, Esquire: About Men, For Women)

1961 - Ben Johnson (track: 100 meter world-record holder [9.79 - 1988]; AP Athlete of the Year [1987]; suspended from track competition for life for steroid use)

1975 - (Eldrick) ‘Tiger’ Woods (golf: champ: Masters [1997, 2001], US Open [2000], British Open [2000], PGA [1999, 2000]; first player to win four consecutive majors (2000-2001: US Open, British Open, PGA, Masters])

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Chart Toppers - December 30
Slowpoke - Pee Wee King
Sin (It’s No) - Eddy Howard
Down Yonder - Del Wood
Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way - Carl Smith

Why - Frankie Avalon
The Big Hurt - Miss Toni Fisher
It’s Time to Cry - Paul Anka
El Paso - Marty Robbins

Hello Goodbye - The Beatles
Woman, Woman - The Union Gap
Judy in Disguise (With Glasses) - John Fred & His Playboy Band
For Loving You - Bill Anderson & Jan Howard

Let’s Do It Again - The Staple Singers
Saturday Night - Bay City Rollers
Love Rollercoaster - Ohio Players
Convoy - C.W. McCall

Say Say Say - Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson
Say It Isn’t So - Daryl Hall-John Oates
Union of the Snake - Duran Duran
Houston (Means I’m One Day Closer to You) - Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers

Black or White - Michael Jackson
It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday - Boyz II Men
All 4 Love - Color Me Badd
My Next Broken Heart - Brooks & Dunn

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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