Events - July 17
1862 - National cemeteries were authorized by the U.S. government on this day. Arlington National Cemetery, located just outside Washington, D.C. in Virginia, is one of the most honored in the country. In addition to those who died in battle, other war veterans, including U.S. Presidents and government leaders, are buried there. Arlington National Cemetery also houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in honor of those who lay unidentified on the battlefields of freedom.
1866 - Authorization was given to build a tunnel beneath the Chicago River. The project was completed three years later at a cost of $512,709.
1867 - Harvard School of Dental Medicine was established in Boston, MA. It was the first dental school in America.
1902 - Dr. Willis Carrier installed a commerical air conditioning system at a Brooklyn, NY printing plant. The system was the first to provide man-made control over temperature, humidity, ventilation and air quality. It was originally installed to help maintain quality at the printing plant and for the first two decades of the 20th Century, Carrier’s invention was used primarily to cool machines, not people. The development of the centrifugal chiller by Carrier in the early 1920s led to comfort cooling for movie theaters (remember the marquees with “It’s cool inside”?) and, before long, air conditioning came to department stores, office buildings and railroad cars. Cool...
1920 - Sinclair Lewis finished the now-famous novel, "Main Street".
1938 - Douglas Corrigan, unemployed airplane mechanic, left Floyd Bennett Field in New York, supposedly headed for Los Angeles. He landed his 1929 Curtiss Robin monoplane about 28 hours later - not in California but in Ireland at Dublin's Baldonnel Airport. Corrigan made the 3,150-mile flight without benefit of a radio or navigational equipment other than a compass. His explanation for the monumental mistake was that he was following the wrong end of the compass needle. (Folks were never sure whether his feat was a mistake or moxie.) He was, however, welcomed home as a hero (ticker tape parade and all) and known forever more as ‘Wrong Way’ Corrigan.
1939 - Charlie Barnet and his orchestra recorded "Cherokee" for Bluebird Records. Listen carefully and you’ll hear the horn of Billy May on the piece.
1941 - The hitting streak of Joe DiMaggio came to an end after 56 games. The Yankee slugger couldn’t get a hit. Since May 16th, he batted at an average of .408. He hit 19 homers during the streak. Two pitchers were responsible for putting the skids on DiMaggio’s hitting streak: Al Smith and Jim Bagby of the Cleveland Indians. After a day off, Joltin’ Joe resumed his hitting ways, in a shorter, but still impressive, 14-game streak.
1954 - The first Newport Jazz Festival was held on the grass tennis courts of the Newport Casino in Newport RI. Eddie Condon and his band played "Muskrat Ramble" as the opening number of the world’s first jazz fest.
1955 - Disneyland opened the gates to “The Happiest Place on Earth” in Anaheim, California. In the famous theme park’s first year of operation, some four million people visited Main Street USA, Fantasyland, Frontierland and Tomorrowland. On its opening day, Disneyland held a gala TV broadcast featuring Walt Disney, Bob Cummings, Art Linkletter and Ronald Reagan.
1961 - John Chancellor became the on-air host of the "Today" show on NBC-TV. Chancellor replaced Dave Garroway, who had resigned after 10 years of early morning duty on the popular program.
1961 - Ty Cobb died of cancer at age 74. Cobb was considered by many to be the greatest baseball player of all time.
1961 - Rocker Bobby Lewis was starting week #2 of a seven-week stay at number one (one, one, one) on the pop-music charts with his smash, "Tossin’ and Turnin’". Lewis, who grew up in an orphanage, learned to play the piano at age 5. He became popular in the Detroit, MI area before moving on to fame and fortune with Beltone Records.
1968 - The Beatles’ feature-length cartoon, "Yellow Submarine", premiered at the London Pavilion. The song, "Yellow Submarine", had been a #2 hit for the supergroup (9/17/66) and was the inspiration for the movie.
1981 - Two skywalks suspended from the ceiling over the atrium lobby at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City, MO collapsed, killing 114 people. Five years later, two design engineers were convicted for their gross negligence.
1986 - The largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history took place as LTV Corporation asked for court protection from more than 20,000 creditors. LTV Corp. had debts in excess of $4 billion.
1996 - TWA (Trans World Airlines) flight 800, carrying 230 people, including four cockpit crew members and 14 flight attendants, exploded, falling into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Long Island, New York. The Boeing 747 had lifted off from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport at 8:19 p.m. bound for Paris, France. The explosion happened about 26 minutes later, some 40 miles east of New York, as the plane was climbing through 13,800 feet. The victims included celebrities in sports, entertainment and the arts, business people, and vacationers. Possibly the most poignant were the deaths of sixteen teen-agers, all students from the Montoursville, PA high school French club, and their five chaperones. There are several theories as to the cause of the explosion. Some believe that the airliner was sabotaged and destroyed by a bomb planted on board. Others swore they knew the plane had been struck by a U.S. missile. But, after a 16-month probe, the FBI announced it had found no evidence of a criminal act or stray (or otherwise) missile. It concluded that the crash was caused by electrical arcing in the plane’s center fuel tank igniting fuel vapors.
1998 - Just after seven in the evening, the inhabitants of the West Sepik area of Papua New Guinea felt the tremors from a magnitude 7.1 earthquake. Eye-witnesses reported that minutes later the villages were hit in quick succession by three tsunami (tidal waves) reaching heights of 14 meters (45 feet: taller than a four-story building), followed by two smaller waves. More than 2,000 people were killed and some 10,000 left homeless. In addition, many of the survivors were badly injured, with broken bones and bruising. Costas Synolakis, a researcher at UCLA and co-leader of a science team that visited PNG in early August 1998: “We were in a state of shock. It was really something we had not seen before. It was sort of a new threshold in terms of what a wave can do.”
Birthdays - July 17
1744 - Elbridge Gerry (politician: 5th vice president of the U.S. [1813-1814]; governor of Massachusetts: wrote a redistricting bill, hence the origin of the word ‘gerrymandering’; died Nov 23, 1814)
1763 - John Jacob Astor (fur tycoon: American Fur Company; died Mar 29, 1848)
1859 - Luis Munoz-Rivera (Puerto Rican patriot; poet; journalist; died Nov 15, 1916)
1889 - Erle Stanley Gardner (A.A. Fair) (novelist: Perry Mason; died Mar 11, 1970)
1898 - Berenice Abbott (photographer: 1930s B/W photos of NYC: Changing New York; died Dec 9, 1991)
1899 - James Cagney (James Francis Cagney, Jr.) (Academy Award-winning actor: Yankee Doodle Dandy ; Mr. Roberts, The Seven Little Foys, Man of a Thousand Faces; died Mar 30, 1986)
1905 - William Gargan (actor: Dynamite, The Canterville Ghost, Rain; died Feb 16, 1979)
1912 - Art Linkletter (Arthur Gordon Kelly) (TV host: House Party, Kids Say the Darnedest Things; died May 26, 2010)
1914 - Eleanor Steber (soprano: internationally acclaimed Metropolitan Opera diva, appeared in 50 different leading operatic roles, heard in more premiers at the Met than any other artist; died Oct 3, 1990)
1917 - Lou Boudreau (Baseball Hall of Famer: Cleveland Indians shortstop [all-star: 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1947, 1948/World Series/Baseball Writer’s Award: 1948]; player, manager: Boston Red Sox; manager: KC Athletics; sportscaster: Chicago Cubs; died Aug 10, 2001)
1917 - Phyllis Diller (Driver) (comedienne: The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show, actress: Boy Did I Get the Wrong Number; died Aug 20, 2012)
1929 - Roy (David) McMillan (baseball: shortstop: Cincinnati Reds, Cincinnati Redlegs [all-star: 1956, 1957], Milwaukee Braves, NY Mets; died Nov 2, 1997)
1932 - Bob Leonard (basketball: All-American: Indiana University; coach: Indiana Pacers [Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard])
1933 - Mimi Hines (pop singer, actress: duo: Ford & Hines [w/husband, Phil Ford]; Broadway singer, actress: Funny Girl, Grease)
1935 - Diahann Carroll (Carol Diahann Johnson) (actress: Claudine, Julia, Dynasty, The Five Heartbeats)
1935 - Donald Sutherland (actor: Dirty Sexy Money, JFK, Klute, Backdraft, M*A*S*H, The Dirty Dozen, National Lampoon’s Animal House, Outbreak)
1941 - Daryle Lamonica (football: Oakland Raiders quarterback: Super Bowl II)
1942 - Spencer Davis (musician: group: Spencer Davis Group: Keep on Runnin’, Somebody Help Me, Gimme Some Lovin’, I’m a Man)
1942 - Connie (Cornelius) Hawkins (Basketball Hall of Famer: Pittsburgh Rens, Harlem Globetrotters, Pittsburgh Pipers, LA Lakers, Atlanta Hawks, Phoenix Suns [Suns jersey retired 11/19/1976])
1942 - Don (Donald Eulon) Kessinger (baseball: shortstop: Chicago Cubs [all-star: 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974], SL Cardinals, Chicago White Sox)
1947 - Mick Tucker (musician: drums: group: Sweet: Funny Funny, Co-Co, Little Willy, Wig Wam Bam, Blockbuster, Hell Raiser, Ballroom Blitz, Teenage Rampage, Fox on the Run; died Feb 14, 2002)
1948 - Cathy Ferguson (swimming: U.S. Olympic gold medalist [Tokyo - 1964]: women’s 100-meter backstroke, women’s 400-meter medley relay w/Cynthia Goyette, Sharon Stouder, Kathleen Ellis)
1949 - Terence ‘Geezer’ Butler (musician: bass: group: Black Sabbath: Paranoid)
1949 - Lon Hinkle (golf: champ: World Series of Golf )
1950 - Phoebe Snow (Laub) (singer: Poetry Man, Gone at Last)
1950 - P.J. (Pamela Jane) Soles (actress: Carrie, Rock ’n’ Roll High School, Private Benjamin, Stripes, The Power Within)
1951 - Lucie Arnaz (actress: They’re Playing Our Song, Here’s Lucy; Emmy Award-winning producer [w/Laurence Luckinbill]: Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie [1992-93]; Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’ daughter)
1952 - David Hasselhoff (actor: Bay Watch, Knight Rider, The Young and the Restless; TV talent-show judge: America’s Got Talent)
1952 - Nicolette Larson (singer: Lotta Love; died Dec 16, 1997)
1953 - Mike Thomas (football: Washington Redskins RB [Offensive Rookie of the Year: 1975])
1960 - Robin Shou (actor: Mortal Kombat, Beverly Hills Ninja, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation)
1963 - Paul Hipp (actor: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Lethal Weapon 3, The Chippendales Murder)
1963 - Bobby (Robert Thomas) Thigpen (baseball: pitcher: Chicago White Sox [all-star: 1990/record for saves: 57 in one season: 1990], Philadelphia Phillies [World Series: 1993], Seattle Mariners)
1965 - Alex Winter (actor: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure)
Chart Toppers - July 17
Bewitched - The Gordon Jenkins Orchestra (vocal: Mary Lou Williams)
My Foolish Heart - The Gordon Jenkins Orchestra (vocal: Eileen Wilson)
Mona Lisa - Nat King Cole
Mississippi - Red Foley
The Purple People Eater - Sheb Wooley
Hard Headed Woman - Elvis Presley
Poor Little Fool - Ricky Nelson
Guess Things Happen that Way - Johnny Cash
Hanky Panky - Tommy James & The Shondells
Wild Thing - The Troggs
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me - Dusty Springfield
Think of Me - Buck Owens
Rock Your Baby - George McCrae
Annie’s Song - John Denver
On and On - Gladys Knight & The Pips
He Thinks I Still Care - Anne Murray
Don’t You Want Me - The Human League
Rosanna - Toto
Hurts So Good - John Cougar
’Till You’re Gone - Barbara Mandrell
Step By Step - New Kids on the Block
She ain’t Worth It - Glenn Medeiros featuring Bobby Brown
Hold On - En Vogue
The Dance - Garth Brooks
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.