Wednesday, February 29, 2012


1940 - A big party was thrown at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Partygoers were celebrating the motion pictures of 1939 at the 12th annual Academy Awards presentation. "Gone with the Wind" won for Best Picture, Best Director (Victor Fleming), Best Actress (Vivien Leigh) and Best Supporting Actress (Hattie McDaniel). The Best Actor honor went to Robert Donat for his performance in "Goodbye, Mr. Chips". Thomas Mitchell won Best Supporting Actor for "Stagecoach". What happened to "The Wizard of Oz"? It did capture the Oscar for Original Score (Herbert Stothart) and Best Song "Over the Rainbow" (Harold Arlen, E. Y. Harburg) but was pretty much blown away by "Gone with the Wind". In any other year...
1944 - The invasion of the Admiralty Islands began on this date as U.S. General Douglas MacArthur led his forces in "Operation Brewer". Troops surged onto Los Negros, following a month of Allied advances in the Pacific.
1944 - The first woman appointed secretary of a national political party was named to the Democratic National Committee. Dorothy McElroy Vredenburgh of Alabama began her new appointment this day.
1944 - The Office of Defense Transportation, for the second year, restricted attendance at the Kentucky Derby to residents of the Louisville area so that the railroads would not be overburdened by passenger traffic during wartime. We imagine that horses were allowed in from elsewhere, though...
1960 - A report from the White House stated that America’s kids were getting too fat! I’ll have a cheeseburger, fries and a shake.
1960 - The first Playboy Club opened on this day at 116 E. Walton, Chicago, IL. According to a list of frequently asked questions we found at, “During the last three months of 1961, more than 132,000 people visited the Chicago club, making it the busiest night club in the world.” In case you hadn’t noticed, the last U.S. club, located in Lansing, MI, closed in 1988. The last international club, located in Manila, closed in 1991.
1964 - Dawn Fraser got her 36th world record this day. The Australian swimmer was timed at 58.9 seconds in the 100-meter freestyle in Sydney, Australia.
1964 - The United States was in the grip of Beatlemania! "I Want to Hold Your Hand", by the lads from Liverpool, was in its 5th week at #1 on the pop charts. It stayed there until March 21, when it was replaced by "She Loves You", which was replaced by "Can’t Buy Me Love", which was finally replaced by "Hello Dolly", by Louis Armstrong, on May 9, 1964. 14 straight weeks of #1 stuff by the Beatles! Yeah, yeah, yeah...
1964 - Hang on to your racquets on this one, sports fans: A shuttlecock drive record was set by Frank Rugani this day. Mr. Rugani slammed the birdie 79-feet, 8-1/2 inches in a test at San Jose, CA. A giant leap for badminton. A little leap for all mankind.
1972 - The U.S. Justice Department had recently settled an antitrust lawsuit in favor of International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation. On this day, newspaper columnist Jack Anderson revealed a memo written by ITT’s Washington lobbyist, Dita Beard, that connected ITT’s funding of part of the Republican National Convention with the resulting lawsuit settlement.
1972 - Swimmer Mark Spitz was named the 1971 James E. Sullivan Memorial Trophy winner as the top amateur athlete in America.
1972 - Karen and Richard Carpenter of Downey, CA received a gold record for the hit single "Hurting Each Other". When they tore the golden platter from its protective frame and plunked it on the player, they heard, "Hurt So Bad", by Little Anthony and the Imperials. They were so upset by this that they ran out to the back yard and used the record as a Frisbee for the rest of the day. (Some of the preceding is based upon actual fact.)
1980 - Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings became the first player in NHL history to score 800 career goals (in a 3-0 Wings’ win over the St. Louis Blues). Howe finished his career with 801 regular-season goals. Only Wayne Gretzky has surpassed that mark.
1988 - "Day by Day", a situation comedy, premiered on this date on NBC-TV. It was one of the "yuppie sitcoms" that were all over the TV dial in the late 1980s. This particular one was about a suburban overachieving couple who dropped out and opened up a day-care center in their home to spend more quality time with their children. The quality time lasted just under five months.
1992 - Mr. Big hit it big this day, moving to #1 with "To Be with You". It was the biggest hit in the U.S. for three big weeks

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