Events - January 20
1885 - The roller coaster was patented by La Marcus Thompson of, where else, Coney Island, NY. His coaster was 450 feet long with the highest drop being 30 feet.
1892 - The first organized basketball game was played by students at the Springfield, MA YMCA Training School.
1929 - "In Old Arizona" was released. The movie was the first full-length talkie to be filmed outdoors. Mainly, the great outdoors of the states of Utah and California.
1937 - Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to be inaugurated on January 20th. The "20th Amendment" of the "U.S. Constitution" set the date, officially, for the swearing in of the President and Vice President. The amendment was ratified by Congress in 1933.
1942 - Harry Babbitt sang as Kay Kyser and his orchestra recorded, "Who Wouldn’t Love You", on Columbia Records. The record went on to be a big hit for Kyser.
1952 - Patricia McCormick debuted as the first professional woman bullfighter! She got herself two bulls in the contest held in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
1954 - The National Negro Network was formed on this date. Some 40 radio stations were charter members of the network.
1958 - The rock ’n’ roll classic, "Get a Job", by The Silhouettes, was released.
1958 - Elvis Presley got a little U.S. mail this day with greetings from Uncle Sam. The draft board in Memphis, TN ordered the King to report for duty; but allowed a 60-day deferment for him to finish the film, "King Creole".
1964 - This was a big day in U.S. record stores as the first album by The Beatles was released. The LP, "Meet the Beatles", became a huge success and was #1 on the charts by February 15, 1964. The British Invasion had begun. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
1965 - Alan Freed, the ‘Father of Rock ’n’ Roll’, died in Palm Springs, CA. Freed was one of the first radio disc jockeys to program black music, or race music, as it was termed, for white audiences. In the 1950s, Freed, called ‘Moon Doggy’ at WJW Radio in Cleveland, coined the phrase, “rock ’n’ roll,” before moving to WABC in New York. He was fired by WABC for allegedly accepting payola (being paid to play records by certain artists and record companies). The 1959-1960 congressional investigation into payola made Freed the scapegoat for what was a wide spread practice. Freed, not so incidentally, died nearly penniless after the scandal was exposed.
1974 - After an auto accident that had almost taken his life five months earlier, Stevie Wonder was back at work, playing a gig at the Rainbow Theatre in London.
1974 - Golfing great Johnny Miller won the Tucson Open Golf Tournament and became the first pro golfer to win four consecutive major tournaments.
1978 - Fred Silverman quit as head honcho of programming for ABC-TV. He accepted an offer to be president of NBC. Silverman had developed shows like "Happy Days", "Laverne and Shirley", "Charlie’s Angels" and "Three’s Company" to earn ABC its highest ratings ever. His magic, however, didn’t work as well at NBC. Silverman’s Waterloo, so to speak, was a most expensive TV bomb: "Super Train", starring Steve Lawrence. Grant Tinker replaced Silverman and took the Peacock Network to number one in a few years. Silverman went on to become one of Hollywood’s top, independent producers.
1980 - Super Bowl XIV (at Pasadena): Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Los Angeles Rams 19. The Rams led 13-10 at the half and 19-17 at the end of the third quarter. A 73-yard pass completion to John Stallworth and a Franco Harris 1-yard run changed that in the fourth quarter. MVP: Steelers’ QB Terry Bradshaw. Tickets: $30.00.
1985 - Super Bowl XIX (at Palo Alto): San Francisco 49ers 38, Miami Dolphins 16. The only Super Bowl played at Stanford University Stadium saw Bill Walsh’s 49ers overwhelm Don Shula’s Dolphins. The 1984 49ers, the first team to win 15 games in a regular season (15-1), outscored opponents by 2 to 1 and had ten players voted to the Pro Bowl. MVP: 49ers QB Joe Montana. Tickets: $60.00. It was the most-watched Super Bowl game in history, seen by an estimated 115.9 million people. The program with the largest audience ever (aside from man landing on the moon) was the final episode of "M*A*S*H" in 1983. Super Bowl XIX also marked the first time that TV commericals sold for a million dollars a minute! That breaks down to less than a penny a person or a CPM (cost per thousand) under $9 or, in other words... not such a bad advertising deal... if you could remember the sponsors.
1986 - New footage of the 1931 horror classic, "Frankenstein", was found. It depicted the monster, played by Boris Karloff, throwing a girl into a lake and showed a hypodermic needle in the monster’s arm! Yeeeeeow! The scenes had been cut because they were considered too shocking for the 1930’s theatre crowd. They have since been put back in and the film has been rereleased.
1998 - The headline read, “Cloned Calves Offer Promise of Medicines.” The calves were cloned from the cells of cow fetuses by University of Massachusetts scientists, James Robl and Steven Stice, who also worked for Advanced Cell Technology Inc., a biotech start-up in Worcester, MA. The hope is for genetically customized calves that will be able to safely, easily and cheaply produce medicines for humans in their milk.
Birthdays - January 20
1896 - George Burns (Nathan Birnbaum) (entertainer: vaudeville, radio, TV: The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show [“Say goodnight, Gracie.”], films [w/Gracie]: International House, We’re Not Dressing, A Damsel in Distress, College Swing, Honolulu; Academy Award-winning actor: The Sunshine Boys ; Oh, God!, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Going in Style, Oh, God! Book 2, Two of a Kind, Oh, God! You Devil, Radioland Murders; died Mar 9, 1996)
1910 - Joy Adamson (Gessner) (naturalist, writer: Born Free, Living Free, Forever Free; died (murdered by an irate former employee) Jan 3, 1980)
1920 - Federico Fellini (director, screenwriter: Oscar-winning Best foreign-language [Italian] films: La Strada , The Nights of Cabiria , 8 1/2 , Amarcord ; died Oct 31, 1993)
1920 - DeForest Kelley (actor: Star Trek series, Apache Uprising, The Law and Jake Wade, Gunfight at O.K. Corral, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, Fear in the Night; died June 11, 1999)
1922 - Ray Anthony (Antonini) (bandleader: themes from Dragnet, Peter Gunn; Bunny Hop, Dancing in the Dark, Melody of Love; host of 1950s TV show; film: Daddy Long Legs, ex of Mamie Van Doren)
1924 - Slim Whitman (singer: Indian Love Call, Secret Love, Rose-Marie, Cattle Call, More Than Yesterday, Guess Who, Something Beautiful [To Remember]; has sold 70,000,000 records worldwide; died Jun 19, 2013)
1926 - Patricia Neal (Academy Award-winning actress: Hud ; All Quiet on the Western Front, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Heidi, In Harm’s Way; died Aug 8, 2010)
1928 - Lionel Hebert (golf champion: PGA ; died Dec 30, 2000)
1929 - Arte Johnson (Emmy Award-winning comedian: Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In [1968-1969]; actor: Love at First Bite, Evil Toons)
1930 - Buzz (Edwin) Aldrin Jr. (astronout: Gemini 12 [Nov 11, 1966]: made then-record 5.5 hour space walk; Apollo 11: one of first trio of American men to land on the moon [July 16, 1969])
1931 - Fireball (Edward) Roberts (stock car driver: Daytona 500 winner ; died July 2, 1964 from injuries sustained May 24 during the World 600 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway)
1933 - Earl Grant (singer: [At] The End [Of a Rainbow], Ebb Tide; killed in car crash June 10, 1970)
1933 - Ron Townson (singer: group: The 5th Dimension: Up Up and Away, Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In, One Less Bell to Answer, [Last Night] I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All; died Aug 2, 2000)
1934 - Camilo (Alberto Lus) Pascual (‘Little Potato’: baseball: pitcher: Washington Nationals, Washington Senators [all-star: 1959, 1960], Minnesota Twins [World Series: 1965/all-star: 1961, 1962, 1964/AL strikeout leader: 1963 (202 in 18 games)], Cincinnati Reds, LA Dodgers, Cleveland Indians)
1935 - Buddy Blake (Buddy Cunningham) (recording artist: recorded for Sun Records as B.B. Cunningham and Buddy Blake; record executive: Cover Record Co., Sam Phillips’ Holiday Inn label; died Oct 14, 2012)
1935 - Milt Plum (football [quarterback]: Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, LA Rams, NY Giants)
1935 - Dorothy Provine (actress: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World; died Apr 25, 2010)
1939 - Murle Lindstrom Breer (golf: U.S. Women’s Open Champion: 1962)
1940 - Carol Heiss (skater: five women’s world titles for figure skating [1956-1960], Olympic silver medal , Olympic gold medal ; married 1956 men’s gold medalist Hayes Jenkins)
1945 - Eric Stewart (guitarist: group: Mindbenders: Game of Love; Hotlegs then 10cc: Donna, I’m Not in Love, The Things We Do for Love)
1946 - David Lynch (director: Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, Dune, The Elephant Man)
1947 - George Grantham (drummer: group: Poco: Crazy Eyes, A Good Feelin’ to Know)
1952 - Paul Stanley (Eisen) (singer: formed group: Kiss [the clown]: Rock and Roll All Nite)
1956 - Bill Maher (TV host, commentator: Politically Incorrect)
1958 - Lorenzo Lamas (actor: Falcon Crest, Renegade, SnakeEater, Bad Blood)
1965 - John Michael Montgomery (country singer: CMA Single of the Year [I Swear: 1994], ACM Song of the Year [I Love The Way You Love Me: 1994])
1967 - Stacey Dash (actress: Clueless, Moving, Mo’ Money, Renaissance Man, Cold Around the Heart, Illegal in Blue, The Strip)
1968 - Melissa Rivers (TV host, comedienne: E! Academy Awards Preshow; daughter of comedienne Joan Rivers)
Chart Toppers - January 20
Ballerina - Vaughn Monroe
How Soon - Jack Owens
Golden Earrings - Peggy Lee
I’ll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms) - Eddy Arnold
Memories are Made of This - Dean Martin
Band of Gold - Don Cherry
Rock and Roll Waltz - Kay Starr
Sixteen Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford
There! I’ve Said It Again - Bobby Vinton
Forget Him - Bobby Rydell
Surfin’ Bird - The Trashmen
Love’s Gonna Live Here - Buck Owens
American Pie - Don McLean
Let’s Stay Together - Al Green
Sunshine - Jonathan Edwards
Carolyn - Merle Haggard
Rock with You - Michael Jackson
Do that to Me One More Time - The Captain & Tennille
Cruisin’ - Smokey Robinson
Coward of the County - Kenny Rogers
Got My Mind Set on You - George Harrison
The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson
Need You Tonight - INXS
One Friend - Dan Seals
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.