Events - May 31
1870 - As we get ready for the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer (a great Nat King Cole tune...) we also add ‘sticky’. Edward J. de Smedt of New York City patented the stuff that sticks to car tires and shoes when it gets sticky under the hot sun beginning at this time of year. Mr. DeSemdt came up with the idea of the asphalt pavement, you see.
1880 - The League of American Wheelmen was formed in Newport, RI. It was the first national bicycle society to be organized in the United States.
1889 - 2,300 people died and thousands lost their homes on this unfortunate day in Johnstown, PA. Heavy rains throughout the month caused the Connemaugh River Dam to break, flooding Johnstown. Some 800 unidentified victims were buried in a common grave. The flood was such a tragedy that the phrase, “Johnstown Flood,” became synonymous with a disaster.
1930 - Golfing great Bobby Jones captured the first leg of the golfing grand slam by winning the British Amateur golf title.
1937 - The first quadruplets to complete college courses of study were awarded Bachelor of Arts degrees, individually. Mary, Mona, Roberta and Leota Keys received their degrees from Baylor University in Waco, TX.
1938 - Henry Armstrong defeated Barney Ross in New York City to win the welterweight boxing title.
1941 - The very first issue of "Parade: The Weekly Picture Newspaper" went on sale. Some 125,000 copies were sold for a nickel each. "Parade" became the most-read publication in the U.S. with a circulation of over 22-million readers in 132 newspapers.
1943 - A comic strip came to radio as "The Adventures of Archie Andrews". It was heard on the NBC Blue network. Archie, Veronica and the gang stayed on radio for about ten years, moving to Mutual Broadcasting in January 1944, and then to NBC in June 1945. The radio sitcom was based on Bob Montana’s comic strip about Archie Andrews and his teen-age pals.
1949 - A crowd of 35,000 people paid tribute to radio personality Mary Margaret McBride at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, (one of the five boroughs that make up New York City). McBride was celebrating her 15th year in radio.
1964 - The longest major-league baseball doubleheader (to the time) ended in 9 hours, 52 minutes. The New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants battled it out at Shea Stadium in New York. The first game of the doubleheader set a major-league mark for the longest game (by time) as the Giants beat the Mets 8-6. The game lasted 23 innings and was played in 7 hours and 23 minutes.
1969 - Stevie Wonder’s "My Cherie Amour" was released by Tamla Records. The song made it to number four on the pop music charts on July 26 and stayed on the nation’s radios for eleven weeks. Trivia: "My Cherie Amour" was not the original title of the song. Wonder had named the song, "Oh My Marcia", for a former girlfriend. Of course, singing it back with the original tune, one could see that "Oh My Marcia" doesn’t quite fit as well as "My Cherie Amour". This is Casey in Hollywood. Now back to the countdown...
1974 - William DeVaughn, a soul singer, songwriter and guitarist from Washington, DC, received a gold record for his only hit, "Be Thankful for What You Got". The tune made it to number four on the pop music charts (6/29/74). Ever hear the phrase, “Don’t give up the day job?” This was quite applicable to DeVaughn, who was never heard musically again. His day job was working for the federal government.
1976 - Ear doctors didn’t have to drum up business this day. There were plenty of walk-ins as The Who put out a total of 76,000 watts of power at 120 decibels. They played the loudest concert anyone had ever heard, making it into "The Guinness Book of World Records".
1984 - Lightweight boxing champion Ray ‘Boom Boom’ Mancini boomed no more. He was defeated in the 14th round of a scheduled 15-round World Boxing Association title fight in Buffalo, NY. Livingstone Bramble is the boxer who did the deed. Never heard from him, again, either...
1992 - The (46th annual) Tony Awards show was held at the at the Gershwin Theatre. Winners included "Dancing at Lughnasa " (best Play); "Crazy for You" (best Musical); "Guys and Dolls" (best Revival); Judd Hirsch in "Conversations with My Father" (best Actor Dramatic); Glenn Close in "Death and the Maiden" (best Actress Dramatic); Gregory Hines in "Jelly’s Last Jam" (best Actor Musical); and Faith Prince in "Guys and Dolls" (best Actress Musical).
Birthdays - May 31
1819 - Walt Whitman (poet: Leaves of Grass, When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d, Passage to India, O Captain! My Captain!; died Mar 26, 1892)
1857 - Pope Pius XI (Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti) (259th pope of the Roman Catholic Church [1922-1939]; died Feb 10, 1939)
1894 - Fred Allen (John Florence Sullivan) (comedian: radio star: Allen’s Alley, The Fred Allen Show, The Linit Bath Club Revue; died Mar 17, 1956)
1898 - Dr. Norman Vincent Peale (clergyman: radio ministry; author and syndicated newspaper column: The Power of Positive Thinking; died Dec 24, 1993)
1908 - Don Ameche (Dominic Felix Amici) (Academy Award-winning actor: Cocoon ; Trading Places, Corinna Corinna; inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame ; died Dec 6, 1993)
1912 - Henry ‘Scoop’ Jackson (U.S. Senator from Washington; died Sep 1, 1983)
1920 - Edward Bennett Williams (attorney; owner: Baltimore Orioles; died Aug 13, 1988)
1922 - Denholm Elliott (actor: A Room with a View, The Bourne Identity, The Boys from Brazil, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Voyage of the Damned, Trading Places, Scorchers; died Oct 6, 1992)
1923 - Ellsworth Kelly (American hard-edge [Abstract Geometric] painter: Seine, Green Red Yellow Blue, Blue Yellow Red III, Orange Red Relief; died Dec 27, 2015)
1923 - Prince Rainer III (head of state: Monaco; married American film star, Grace Kelly; died Apr 6, 2005)
1930 - Clint Eastwood (Jr.) (Academy Award-winning director and producer: Unforgiven ; actor: Play Misty for Me, High Plains Drifter, The Eiger Sanction, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Bronco Billy, Firefox, Heartbreak Ridge, Rawhide, A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Play Misty for Me, Dirty Harry, The Bridges of Madison County; mayor of Carmel, California)
1931 - Shirley Verrett (opera singer: soprano: New York Met; died Nov 5, 2010)
1938 - Johnny Paycheck (Donald Eugene Lytle) (country singer: Take This Job and Shove It, The Lovin’ Machine, [Don’t Take Her] She’s All I Got, Someone to Give My Love To, Mr. Lovemaker, Song and Dance Man, For a Minute There, Slide Off Your Satin Sheets, Friend, Lover, Wife, Heartbreak Tennessee, Motel Time Again, Jukebox Charlie, The Cave; songwriter: Apartment No. 9, Touch My Heart; died Feb 18, 2003)
1938 - Peter Yarrow (singer: group: Peter, Paul and Mary: Leaving on a Jet Plane, Puff the Magic Dragon, If I Had a Hammer, Blowin’ in the Wind, I Dig Rock ’n’ Roll Music; songwriter: Torn Between Two Lovers)
1939 - Terry Waite (envoy; hostage: Lebanon [1987-1991])
1941 - Augie Meyers (musician: keyboards: groups: Sir Douglas Quintet: She’s About a Mover; Texas Tornados: It was Fun While It Lasted; operates his studio north of San Antonio TX)
1942 - ‘Happy’ (Harold) Hairston (basketball: Sacramento Kings, LA Lakers; died May 1, 2001)
1943 - Sharon Gless (Emmy Award-winning actress: Cagney & Lacey [1985-1986, 1986-1987]; Revenge of the Stepford Wives, Tales of the Unexpected)
1943 - Joe Namath (‘Broadway Joe’: Pro Football Hall of Famer: quarterback: New York Jets: AFL’s Rookie of the Year , Player of the Year , Super Bowl III MVP; pantyhose and ointment spokesperson)
1945 - Rainer Werner Fassbinder (director: Chinese Roulette, Querelle, Veronika Voss, Berlin Alexanderplatz, Beware of a Holy Whore; died June 10, 1982)
1948 - John ‘Bonzo’ Bonham (musician: drums: group: Led Zeppelin: Whole Lotta Love, Stairway to Heaven, Immigrant Song; died Sep 25, 1980)
1949 - Tom Berenger (Thomas Michael Moore) (actor: One Life to Live, If Tomorrow Comes, Platoon, Sliver, The Big Chill, Eddie and the Cruisers, Gettysburg, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, A Murder of Crows, In the Company of Spies, Turbulence II: Fear of Flying)
1950 - Gregory Harrison (actor: Logan’s Run, Trapper John, M.D., Family Man, Cadillac Girls, Caught in the Act)
1952 - Jean Lemieux (hockey: NHL: Atlanta Flames, Washington Capitals)
1955 - Laura Baugh (golf: U.S. Women’s Amateur champ )
1961 - Lea Thompson (actress: The Right to Remain Silent, Dennis the Menace, The Beverly Hillbillies, Howard the Duck, Back to the Future series, Jaws 3, All the Right Moves, Caroline in the City)
1965 - Brooke Shields (model: Ivory Snow baby; actress: The Blue Lagoon, Pretty Baby, Brenda Starr, The Seventh Floor, Backstreet Dreams, Stalking Laura, Suddenly Susan)
1967 - Kenny Lofton (baseball: Houston Astros [AL rookie-season record: most stolen bases [66: 1992], Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians [record: most stolen bases])
Chart Toppers - May 31
On Top of Old Smokey - The Weavers (vocal: Terry Gilkyson)
Too Young - Nat King Cole
Mockingbird Hill -Patti Page
I Want to Be with You Always - Lefty Frizzell
Kansas City - Wilbert Harrison
Dream Lover - Bobby Darin
Personality - Lloyd Price
The Battle of New Orleans - Johnny Horton
Groovin’ - The Young Rascals
Respect - Aretha Franklin
I Got Rhythm - The Happenings
Sam’s Place - Buck Owens
Before the Next Teardrop Falls - Freddy Fender
How Long - Ace
Sister Golden Hair - America
Thank God I’m a Country Boy - John Denver
Flashdance...What a Feeling - Irene Cara
Overkill - Men At Work
Time (Clock of the Heart) - Culture Club
You Take Me for Granted - Merle Haggard
I Don’t Wanna Cry - Mariah Carey
More Than Words - Extreme
I Wanna Sex You Up - Color Me Badd
In a Different Light - Doug Stone
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.