Events - April 19
1892 - The Duryea gasoline buggy was first driven in the United States.
1897 - The first annual Boston Marathon -- the first of its type in the United States -- was run. John J. McDermott of New York City won.
1924 - A new show joined the airwaves. "The Chicago Barn Dance" aired on WLS radio in the Windy City. Later, the famous program would be renamed "The National Barn Dance". This program was the first country music jamboree on radio. ("The Grand Ole Opry" on WSM Radio in Nashville, TN began in 1925.) "National Barn Dance" continued for many years on the radio station that was owned by retailer, Sears Roebuck & Co. WLS, in fact, stood for ‘World’s Largest Store’. Though the "Barn Dance" gave way to rock music and now, talk radio, "The Grand Ole Opry" continues each weekend in Nashville.
1940 - Paavo Nurmi, a runner from Finland, predicted that a four-minute mile would be run within the next decade. He was off by only 4 years! Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile at Oxford, England in a time of 3:59.4 on May 6, 1954. Don Bowden was the first American runner to break the mark with a 3:58.7 mile at Stockton, California on June 1, 1957. Jim Beatty became the first sub-four-minute indoor mile runner with a 3:58.9 mark in Los Angeles on February 10, 1962.
1945 - The musical "Carousel", based on Molnar’s "Liliom", opened at the Majestic Theatre in New York City. John Raitt and Jan Clayton starred in the show which ran for 890 performances. Music was by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein.
1951 - General Douglas MacArthur spoke before Congress. The highlight of this memorable address was General MacArthur stating, “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”
1951 - Shigeki Tanaka, who survived the atomic blast at Hiroshima, Japan in World War II, won the Boston Marathon.
1956 - Actress Grace Kelly became Princess Grace of Monaco on this day. The beloved U.S. actress from Philadelphia married Prince Rainier III of Monaco in a storybook wedding. More than 1,500 radio, TV, newspaper and magazine reporters were on hand for the event in Monaco, as were most of the citizens of the tiny country.
1956 - Major-league baseball came to New Jersey for the first time as the Brooklyn Dodgers defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City. Walter O’Malley’s Dodgers played several games in New Jersey during the 1956 season, taking a major step toward vacating Ebbets Field and moving to LA. The Dodgers broke the hearts of many in Flatbush who rallied around the team. Many still talk about the team like it was just yesterday when they played in Brooklyn. Ebbets Field was named for Charles Ebbets and was built, beginning in 1912, on a plot of land he purchased for $500.
1958 - The San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers met for the first time as major-league baseball came to the West Coast.
1959 - Singer Harry Belafonte appeared in the first of two benefit concerts for charity at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
1967 - Nancy Sinatra and her dad, Frank, found a gold record award in the mailbox, for their collaboration on the hit single, "Something Stupid".
1981 - The first major-league baseball team to win 11 straight games at the beginning of a season was the Oakland A’s. Win number 11 came with a few fireworks, as a brawl or two became a part of a 6-1 victory over Seattle in the first game of a doubleheader. In the second game, however, Seattle ended the A’s win streak with a 3-2 win.
1993 - The Branch-Davidian’s compound in Waco, Texas burned to the ground. It was the anticlimax of a 51-day standoff between the religious cult led by David Koresh and U.S. federal agents (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms). 86 perished including 17 children. Koresh and his followers opted not to surrender themselves and the children to the agents; exchanging gun fire, instead. Nine members of the cult escaped.
1995 - The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK was destroyed by a bomb estimated at 5,000 pounds, hidden in a rent-a-truck. The blast was the worst bombing on U.S. soil. Timothy McVeigh was charged with terroristic murder. 168 people including 19 children died in the blast. 490 were injured. On June 2, 1997, McVeigh was found guilty on 11 different counts, including several first degree murder convictions for the deaths of federal officers. He was executed (lethal injection) on June 11, 2001 at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. Terry L. Nichols, an Army buddy of McVeigh, was sentenced to life in prison.
2000 - “The empty chairs are a simple yet powerful portrayal of someone’s absence. Like an empty chair at a dinner table, we are always aware of the presence of a loved one’s absence,” said architects Hans and Torrey Butzer and Sven Berg, explaining their inclusion of 168 bronze and stone chairs, each inscribed with a victim's name and mounted on a glass base, the focus at the opening of the Oklahoma City National Memorial. The memorial marks the place where 168 people died in 1995 in the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history. A new expanse of green lawn was once the site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, and a 320-foot-long reflecting pool lined with black stone has replaced the bombed-out street. The chairs, symbolic of tombstones, are also placed in symbolic positions: Nine rows representing the nine floors of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, with each victim's chair placed in the row according to the floor on which he or she worked or was visiting at the time of the blast. 19 of the chairs are smaller, representing the children who were murdered in the attack. Ironically, A 70-year-old elm tree survived the bombing. “The Survivor Tree” is now protected by the Rescuer's Orchard: Fruit trees symbolic of the many rescue workers who pulled survivors from the rubble.
Birthdays - April 19
1772 - David Ricardo (economist, author: The High Price of Bullion, a Proof of the Depreciation of Bank Notes, Principles of Political Economy and Taxation; died Sep 11, 1823)
1905 - Tommy Benford (drummer: with Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers; died Mar 24, 1994)
1920 - Frank Fontaine (comedian, actor, singer: The Jackie Gleason Show; died Aug 4, 1978)
1925 - Hugh O’Brian (Krampke) (actor: In Harm’s Way, Little Big Horn, There’s No Business like Show Business, Twins, Broken Lance, Ten Little Indians, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp)
1927 - Don Barbour (singer: group: The Four Freshmen [1953-1960]: Graduation Day, Charmaine, Blue World; died Oct 5, 1961)
1928 - Alexis Korner (musician: guitar, singer: Whole Lotta Love; died Jan 1, 1984)
1930 - Dick Sargent (Richard Cox) (actor: Bewitched, That Touch of Mink, Body Count, Fantasy Island; died July 8, 1994)
1931 - Alex Webster (football: North Carolina State Univ., NY Giants; died Mar 3, 2012)
1933 - Jayne Mansfield (Vera Jane Palmer) (actress: Pete Kelly’s Blues, It Takes a Thief, The Girl Can’t Help It; killed in car crash near New Orleans, LA June 29, 1967)
1934 - Dickie Goodman (Richard Dorian Goodman) (entertainer: group: Buchanan and Goodman: Flying Saucer [Parts 1 & 2], Mr. Jaws; died Nov 6, 1989)
1935 - Dudley Moore (actor: Arthur, Arthur 2, 10, Crazy People, Parallel Lives, Bedazzled, The Hound of the Baskervilles; died Mar 27, 2002)
1936 - Wilfried Martens (Belgium Prime Minister; died Oct 9, 2013)
1937 - Elinor Donahue (actress: Father Knows Best, The Andy Griffith Show, Get a Life, Pretty Woman)
1941 - Alan Price (musician: keyboards, singer: groups: Alan Price Combo, The Animals: House of the Rising Sun, We Gotta Get Out of This Place)
1942 - Larry (Hilario) Ramos Jr. (musician: guitar, singer: group: The Association: Everything that Touches You, soundtrack for film, Goodbye Columbus; died Apr 30, 2014)
1943 - Eve Graham (Evelyn May Beatsom) (singer: group: The New Seekers: Look What They’ve Done to My Song Ma, I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing)
1943 - Czeslaw Bartkowski (jazz composer, musician: drums: has recorded over 80 LPs)
1946 - Tim Curry (actor: Muppet Treasure Island, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Oscar, Stephen King’s It, The Hunt for Red October, Oliver Twist, Annie, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, My Favorite Year, Amadeus, Hair, Wiseguy, The Legend of Prince Valiant, voice of King Chicken in cartoon: Duckman, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events)
1947 - Mark Volman (musician: saxophone, singer: groups: Nightriders, Crossfires, The Turtles: It Ain’t Me Babe, Let Me Be, You Baby, Happy Together, She’d Rather be with Me, Elenore, You Showed Me; duo: Phlorescent Leech and Eddie aka Flo and Eddie: LP: Rock Steady with Flo and Eddie)
1949 - Lynn Powis (hockey: NHL: Chicago Blackhawks, Kansas City Scouts)
1956 - Sue Barker (tennis: French Open Champion: Women’s Singles )
Chart Toppers - April 19
Cruising Down the River - The Russ Morgan Orchestra (vocal: The Skyliners)
Red Roses for a Blue Lady - Vaughn Monroe
Forever and Ever - Perry Como
Candy Kisses - George Morgan
Little Darlin’ - The Diamonds
Party Doll - Buddy Knox
Come Go with Me - The Dell-Vikings
Gone - Ferlin Husky
I’m Telling You Now - Freddie & The Dreamers
Game of Love - Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders
I Know a Place - Petula Clark
King of the Road - Roger Miller
The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia - Vicki Lawrence
Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree - Dawn featuring Tony Orlando
Sing - Carpenters
A Shoulder to Cry On - Charley Pride
Kiss on My List - Daryl Hall & John Oates
Morning Train (Nine to Five) - Sheena Easton
Just the Two of Us - Grover Washington, Jr./Bill Withers
Old Flame - Alabama
She Drives Me Crazy - Fine Young cannibals
Like a Prayer - Madonna
Funky Cold Medina - Tone Loc
I’m No Stranger to the Rain - Keith Whitley
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.