1799 - Printed ballots were authorized for use in elections in the State of Pennsylvania. Originally these ballots, which are still used in many smaller municipalities across the county, were called ‘vest-pocket tickets’. Why? Because the ballot ticket slid into a heavy-paper pocket which fit nicely in a vest pocket.
1842 - Adhesive postage stamps were used for the first time by the City Dispatch Post (Office) in New York City. They probably tasted just like today’s adhesive lick ’em and stick ’em stamps. Maybe flavored postage stamps will be the next great idea. Remember that you read about it first right here.
1898 - The "USS Maine" exploded on this day in el Puerto De Habana, Cuba. The "Maine" had been sent to Cuba to help ‘calm’ the situation between Cuba and Spain. Although no one knows who and what caused the explosion, the U.S. blamed it on the Spaniards. The explosion, which killed 266 crewmen, marked the beginning of the Spanish-American War.
1932 - George Burns and Gracie Allen debuted as regulars on "The Guy Lombardo Show" on CBS radio. The couple was so popular that soon, they would have their own "Burns & Allen Show". George and Gracie continued on radio for 18 years before making the switch to TV. All in all, they were big hits for three decades.
1941 - Duke Ellington and his orchestra recorded one of big band’s all time classics on this day. "Take the "A" Train" was recorded at Victor’s Hollywood studio and became the Duke’s signature song.
1943 - "My True Story" was heard for the first time on ABC radio. The program continued for 17 years and was presented in cooperation with "True Story" magazine.
1946 - Edith Houghton, age 33, was signed as a baseball scout by the Philadelphia Phillies; the first female scout in the major leagues.
1953 - The first American to win the women’s world figure skating championship was 17-year-old Tenley Albright. She won the competition in Davos, Switzerland.
1958 - "Get A Job", by The Silhouettes, reached the top spot on the music Tunedex. It remained at #1 for two weeks. Talk about sudden change in American popular music! One week earlier, the number one song was "Sugartime", by The McGuire Sisters, a song that definitely was not classified as rock ’n’ roll. "Get A Job" was replaced by "Tequila", an instrumental by a studio group known as The Champs.
1965 - Canada displayed its new red and white Maple Leaf flag, which replaced the old Red Ensign standard.
1965 - This was a sad day in music, as singer Nat ‘King’ Cole died in Santa Monica, CA. The music legend was 45. Cole was born in Alabama and raised in Chicago. He first recorded in 1936, then formed the King Cole Trio in 1939 (he was the group’s pianist). He began his phenomenal solo career in 1950. Cole had feature roles in the films "St. Louis Blues" and "Cat Ballou", and made many appearances in Hollywood and on TV. His own network show was abruptly canceled in the mid-1950s when sponsors refused to advertise on a program hosted by a black entertainer. His daughter, Natalie, became a pop music star with many hits in the 1990s -- including an album of standards made popular by her father: "Mona Lisa", "For Sentimental Reasons", "Nature Boy", "Too Young", "Unforgettable", etc. With modern recording technology, she was able to record a duet with her father’s voice. Nat Cole was posthumously awarded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1990.
1978 - Boxer Leon Spinks defeated Muhammad Ali to win the universally recognized heavyweight boxing crown. Spinks won a split decision over Ali, who had held the title for seven years. The 24-year-old challenger had only seven professional fights to his credit. The title bout was held in the Pavilion at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
1982 - Sugar Ray Leonard, the welterweight boxing champion, knocked out Bruce Finch in the third round of a fight in Reno, NV. Leonard was injured in the second round and underwent retinal surgery in May. He retired -- for the first time -- in November 1982. He returned to the ring in 1984.
1986 - Whitney Houston reached the #1 spot on the music charts. Her single, "How Will I Know", replaced a song recorded by her first cousin, Dionne Warwick ("That’s What Friends are For"). Whitney is the daughter of singer Cissy Houston. This day also saw Sade’s album "Promise" hit #1 in the U.S.
1998 - Dale Earnhardt finally won the Daytona 500. Earnhardt won the race on the 50th Anniversary of NASCAR, the 40th Anniversary of the Daytona 500 and his 20th running of the Daytona 500. During a post-race interview he took a stuffed toy monkey and threw it on the ground and said, “Now I have that monkey off my back!”
Birthdays - February 15
1803 - John Sutter (early California settler: owned Sutter’s Mill near Sacramento, site of first gold strike in U.S.; died June 18, 1880)
1809 - Cyrus Hall McCormick (inventor: mechanical reaper; died May 13, 1884)
1812 - Charles Lewis Tiffany (jeweler who had a lot of breakfasts at his store; name synonymous with highest quality jewelry; died Feb 18, 1902)
1820 - Susan B. (Brownell) Anthony (suffragist: 1st American woman to be pictured on a coin: the Susan B. Anthony dollar; died Mar 13, 1906)
1905 - Harold Arlen (Hyman Arluck) (composer w/Ted Koehler: Stormy Weather, It’s Only a Paper Moon; w/Gershwin & Mercer: That Old Black Magic; Oscar-winning songwriter: Somewhere Over the Rainbow ; died Apr 23, 1986)
1914 - Kevin McCarthy (actor: Final Approach, Ghoulies 3, The Howling, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Buffalo Bill and the Indians, Matinee; died Sep 11, 2010)
1918 - Hank Locklin (Lawrence Hankins Locklin) (country singer: Please Help Me I’m Falling, Send Me the Pillow You Dream On; died Mar 8, 2009)
1927 - Harvey Korman (Emmy Award-winning performer/music/variety show: The Carol Burnett Show [1972, 1974]; The Tim Conway Show, Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety; died May 29, 2007)
1929 - Graham Hill (auto racer: Indianapolis 500 winner ; killed in crash of his private plane Nov 29, 1975)
1929 - James Schlesinger (U.S. Secretary of Defense [1973-1976]; Secretary of Energy )
1931 - Claire Bloom (actress: Separate Tables, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Queenie, Alexander the Great, Anastasia, Brideshead Revisited)
1933 - Adolfo (Adolfo Sardina) (fashion designer: fashion-wear, sportswear, personal leather goods, accessories)
1935 - Susan Brownmiller (author: Against Our Will, Femininity)
1941 - Brian Holland (songwriter: Motown’s Holland-Dozier-Holland: Baby Love, Stop! In the Name of Love, solo: Don’t Leave Me Starvin’ for Your Love)
1942 - Sherry (Sharon) Jackson (actress: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Ma and Pa Kettle series, The Breaking Point, The Mini-Skirt Mob, The Incredible Hulk: Married, Stingray)
1944 - Mick Avory (musician: drums: group: The Kinks: You Really Got Me, All Day and All of the Night, A Well Respected Man, Sunny Afternoon, Lola, Celluloid Heroes)
1945 - John Anthony Helliwell (musician: saxophone: group: Supertramp: Dreamer, Bloody Well Right)
1947 - Marisa Berenson (actress: Cabaret, Barry Lyndon; model)
1947 - David Brown (musician: bass: group: Santana: Soul Sacrifice, Samba Pa Ti, Black Magic Woman, Evil Ways, Oye Como Va)
1947 - Rusty Hamer (actor: Make Room for Daddy; died Jan 18, 1990)
1948 - Ron (Ronald Charles) Cey (The Penguin: baseball: LA Dodgers [World Series: 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981/all-star: 1974-1979], Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics)
1949 - Ken Anderson (football: Cincinnati Bengals quarterback: Super Bowl XVI)
1951 - Melissa Manchester (singer: Don’t Cry Out Loud, Midnight Blue, You Should Hear How She Talks About You)
1951 - Jane Seymour (Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg) (Emmy-award winning actress: Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman , Onassis: The Richest Man in the World ; Live and Let Die, Somewhere in Time, East of Eden [TV], Lassiter, War and Remembrance)
1954 - Matt Groening (cartoonist: The Simpsons)
1959 - Ali (Alistair) Campbell (musician: guitar, lead singer: group: UB40: Food for Thought, My Way of Thinking, I Think It’s Going to Rain, Dream a Lie, Red Red Wine, Don’t Break My Heart [w/Chrissie Hynde], Orchestral Dub)
1960 - Mikey Craig (musician: bass: group: Culture Club: Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, Time [Clock of the Heart], Karma Chameleon)
1964 - Chris Farley (comedian, actor: Saturday Night Live, Wayne’s World, Wayne’s World 2, Coneheads, Billy Madison, Tommy Boy, Black Sheep, Beverly Hills Ninja, Almost Heroes; died Dec 18, 1997)
Chart Toppers - February 15
Dear Hearts and Gentle People - Bing Crosby
The Old Master Painter - Snooky Lanson
There’s No Tomorrow - Tony Martin
Chatanoogie Shoe Shine Boy - Red Foley
Don’t/I Beg of You - Elvis Presley
Get a Job - The Silhouettes
Catch a Falling Star/Magic Moments - Perry Como
Ballad of a Teenage Queen - Johnny Cash
My Love - Petula Clark
Lightnin’ Strikes - Lou Christie
Uptight (Everything’s Alright) - Stevie Wonder
Giddyup Go - Red Sovine
Love’s Theme - Love Unlimited Orchestra
Americans - Byron MacGregor
Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do) - Aretha Franklin
World of Make Believe - Bill Anderson
Centerfold - The J. Geils Band
Harden My Heart - Quarterflash
Open Arms - Journey
Someone Could Lose a Heart Tonight - Eddie Rabbitt
Opposites Attract - Paula Abdul with The Wild Pair
Two to Make It Right - Seduction
Janie’s Got a Gun - Aerosmith
Southern Star - Alabama
Written and edited by Carol Williams and John Williams
Contributing writer: Joe Benson
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.