1761 - The first life insurance policy issued in the United States was issued on this day. Can you think which company it was? Nope. Don’t even try. You’ll never guess. It was the Corporation for the Relief of Poor and Distressed Presbyterian Ministers and of the Poor and Distressed Widows and Children of Presbyterian Ministers. WOW-Zers! Can you image what size their letterhead must have been? It was the CftRoPaDPMaoftPaDWaCoPM ... for short. We wonder how long the policy must have been...
1819 - The steamship "Savannah" was the first to cross the Atlantic. It sailed from Savannah, Georgia to Liverpool, England. This day is now celebrated in the United States as National Maritime Day.
1841 - Henry Kennedy of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was lounging around the house when the mailman rang his doorbell (or cranked it, since electricity wasn’t even available, yet ... or, heck, maybe he just knocked on the door. There were doors back then, you know...) In any case, a patent had arrived for Mr. Kennedy for the first reclining chair. So, sit back (er, recline), relax, and enjoy the rest of today’s show...
1849 - Abraham Lincoln received patent number 6469 for his floating dry dock.
1868 - The masked Reno Gang pulled off the great train robbery at Marshfield, IN. They hauled in $98,000 in loot.
1900 - A. DeVilbiss, Jr. of Toledo, OH patented his pendulum-type computing scale. Many are still around. Check out your nearest produce stand at the market.
1900 - Edwin S. Votey of Detroit, MI patented his pianola: a pneumatic piano player. The device could be attached to any piano. Batteries not included.
1931 - From the Mmmm, Good! file: The Floridian Products Corporation of Arcadia offered its product for sale. Was it orange juice, rattlesnake meat, sectioned grapefruit or alligator purses? If you said rattlesnake meat, you were looking a line ahead and were cheating, but that is the correct answer!
1955 - Jack Benny signed off his last live network radio broadcast after a run of 23 years. Mr. Benny was devoting his time fully to TV. His program brought many of his old cronies to TV as well: announcer Don Wilson; bandleader Phil Harris; Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson; singer Dennis Day; and Benny’s wife, Mary Livingstone.
1961 - Ernie K-Doe, aka Ernest Kador Jr., joined the growing list of one hit wonders (recording artists who had only one hit song). "Mother-In-Law" was Ernie’s one hit, and a number one tune on U.S. pop music charts.
1965 - The Beatles got their eighth consecutive number one hit as "Ticket to Ride" rode to the top of the singles list. The song topped the charts for one week.
1966 - Bruce Springsteen recorded his very first song, along with his band, The Castilles. It was titled, "That’s What You Get". The song was never released. Bruce was just practicing. He was just sixteen...
1967 - What was to become the Public Broadcasting System’s longest-running children’s program, "Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood", debuted on this day.
1967 - The final "To Tell the Truth" program was seen on CBS-TV. It had been on the air for over 10 years. The show began syndication sometime later, in a slightly different format.
1970 - The Guess Who from the Winnipeg, Canada area earned a gold record for both the album and single, "American Woman". It would be one of three million-seller awards for the group. Their other hits included, "These Eyes", "Laughing" and "No Sugar Tonight". The group, which dates back to 1963, disbanded in 1975, with several reunions since then. From the Additional Information You Probably Didn’t Need To Know department: Randy Bachman played lead guitar before leaving the group in August, 1970 to form Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Burton Cummings was lead singer starting in 1966.
1972 - The first U.S. president to visit Moscow did so on this day. President Richard Nixon met with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.
1985 - GTE Corporation (General Telephone and Electronics) was named by "Fortune" magazine as the largest utility in the U.S. In the same issue of "Fortune", Sears was named as the nation’s largest retailer for the 21st year in a row.
1986 - Sylvester Stallone agreed to a 10-picture, six-year deal with United Artists. He signed for a reported $15 million for each film . The deal made him the richest actor in Hollywood.
1992 - Johnny Carson hosted "The Tonight Show" for the last time. It was the end of three decades of late nights spent with Carson and his sidekick, Ed McMahon and bandleader, Doc Severinsen. Comedian Jay Leno replaced Carson.
Birthdays - May 22
1813 - Wilhelm Richard Wagner (composer: Tristan, Isolde, Lohengrin; died Feb 13, 1883)
1844 - Mary Cassatt (artist: The Bath; died June 14, 1926)
1859 - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (physician; writer: Sherlock Holmes: 56 short stories, 3 novels: The Sign of Four, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Valley of Fear; died July 7, 1930)
1907 - Sir Laurence (Kerr) Olivier (Academy Award-winning actor: Hamlet ; War Requiem, The Boys from Brazil, Brideshead Revisited, Carrie, The Jazz Singer, Peter the Great, Richard III, Spartacus, The Merchant of Venice, Marathon Man, Khartoum; Emmy Award-winning actor: The Moon and Sixpence , A Long Day’s Journey into Night , Love Among the Ruins , Brideshead Revisited, King Lear ; died July 11, 1989)
1914 - Vance Packard (writer: The Hidden Persuaders; died Dec 12, 1996)
1914 - Sun Ra (Herman Blount) (jazz musician: piano, organ, synthesizer; died May 30, 1993)
1922 - Judith Crist (Klein) (TV critic: TV Guide, Saturday Review, Today Show)
1924 - Charles Aznavour (Shahnour Varenagh Aznavurjian) (actor: Edith & Marcel, The Tin Drum, Twist, Ten Little Indians, Candy, Shoot the Piano Player; singer, songwriter)
1926 - Elaine Leighton (drummer: played w/Billie Holiday)
1927 - Michael Constantine (Constantine Joanides) (Emmy Award-winning actor: Room 222 [1969-70]; Sirota’s Court, Hey Landlord, The Hustler)
1928 - Jackie (Jacqueline) Cain (singer: duo: Jackie & Roy [Kral]: Flamingo, Over the Rainbow, Euphoria, I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles)
1931 - Kenny Ball (musician: trumpet: bandleader: Midnight In Moscow; died Mar 7, 2013)
1934 - Al Brown (entertainer: group: Al Brown & The Tunetoppers: LP: The Madison Dance Party)
1934 - Peter Nero (Nierow) (pianist: Theme from the Summer of ’42)
1938 - Richard Benjamin (actor: Goodbye Columbus, Diary of a Mad Housewife, He and She, Portnoy’s Complaint, Love at First Bite, The Sunshine Boys, Westworld; director: The Money Pit, Little Nikita, Made in America, Milk Money)
1938 - Frank Converse (actor: Brother Future, Tales of the Unexpected, Home at Last, Cruise into Terror, N.Y.P.D., Movin’ On, The Family Tree, Coronet Blue, Dolphin Cove)
1938 - Susan Strasberg (actress: The Marriage, Toma, Picnic, Rollercoaster, Delta Force; died Jan 21, 1999)
1939 - Larry Siegfried (basketball: Boston Celtics)
1939 - Paul Winfield (actor: Tyson, Breathing Lessons, Carbon Copy, Cliffhanger, Dennis the Menace, Presumed Innocent, Sounder, The Terminator, Star Trek 2; died Mar 7, 2004)
1940 - Michael Sarrazin (actor: Lena’s Holiday, They Shoot Horses Don’t They, The Reincarnation of Peter Proud, The Flim Flam Man, For Pete’s Sake, Mascara, The Seduction; died Apr 17, 2011)
1940 - Mick Tingelhoff (football: Minnesota Vikings center: All-Pro team [1964, 65, 66, 67, 68, 68])
1942 - Barbara Parkins (actress: Peyton Place, Captains and the Kings, Valley of the Dolls, Calendar Girl Murders, The Deadly Trap)
1943 - Tommy (Thomas Edward) John (baseball: pitcher: Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox [all-star: 1968], LA Dodgers [World Series: 1977, 1978/all-star: 1978], NY Yankees [all-star: 1979, 1980/World Series: 1981], California Angels, Oakland Athletics)
1950 - Bernie Taupin (lyricist: Your Song, Friends, Rocket Man, Honkey Cat, Crocodile Rock, Daniel, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me; Elton John’s lyricist)
1955 - Iva Davies (musician: guitar, singer: group: Icehouse)
1959 - Morrissey (Stephen Morrissey) (singer: group: The Smiths: Hand in Glove, This Charming Man, What Difference Does It Make, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, William It Was Really Nothing, Reel Around the Fountain, Suffer Little Children, Bigmouth Strikes Again, That Joke isn’t Funny Anymore, Shakespeare’s Sister, Boy with the Thorn in His Side, The Queen is Dead, Frankly Mr. Shankly, Cemetry Gates)
1970 - Naomi Campbell (model; writer: Swan; actress: Miami Rhapsody)
Chart Toppers - May 22
My Foolish Heart - The Gordon Jenkins Orchestra (vocal: Eileen Wilson)
Bewitched - The Bill Snyder Orchestra
If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked a Cake - Eileen Barton
Birmingham Bounce - Red Foley
All I Have to Do is Dream - The Everly Brothers
Return to Me - Dean Martin
Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry
Just Married - Marty Robbins
Monday Monday - The Mamas & The Papas
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 - Bob Dylan
When a Man Loves a Woman - Percy Sledge
Distant Drums - Jim Reeves
The Streak - Ray Stevens
Dancing Machine - The Jackson 5
The Entertainer - Marvin Hamlisch
Country Bumpkin - Cal Smith
Ebony and Ivory - Paul McCartney with Stevie Wonder
Don’t Talk to Strangers - Rick Springfield
I’ve Never Been to Me - Charlene
Just to Satisfy You - Waylon & Willie
Vogue - Madonna
All I Wanna Do is Make Love to You - Heart
Hold On - Wilson Phillips
Walkin’ Away - Clint Black
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.