“We’ll be deliberate, yet time is not on our side. I will not wait on events while dangers gather. I will not stand by as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons.”
~President George W. Bush
State of The Union Address 2002
1863 – A detachment of California Volunteers led by Col. Patrick Edward Connor engaged the Shoshone tribe at Bear River, Washington Territory, killing hundreds of men, women, and children.
A San Francisco Bulletin reporter described the battle scene: “The carnage presented in the ravine was horrible. Warrior piled on warrior, horses mangled and wounded in every conceivable form, with here and there a squaw and papoose, who had also been killed.”
Col. Connor and the California Volunteers were treated as heroes. Connor was promoted to the permanent rank of Brigadier General.
1900 – The American League, consisting of eight baseball teams, was organized in Philadelphia.
The teams began play in the 1901 season, and were located in Milwaukee, Chicago, Washington, Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Baltimore (which moved to New York City in 1903).
1936 – The Baseball Hall of Fame elected its first members – selected by a vote of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America – in Cooperstown, New York: Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson.
1959 – Sleeping Beauty, the sixteenth animated Walt Disney film, premiered.
The film’s production costs totaled $6 million and grossed $5.3 million at the box office, resulting in the company posting an annual loss with massive layoffs throughout the animation department.
Subsequent re-releases, beginning in 1970, were far more successful, adding another $48 million in revenue.
1963 – The first inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio – selected by a 48-person committee, largely made up of media members – were announced.
Players Sammy Baugh, Red Grange, Mel Hein, Pete Henry, Cal Hubbard, Don Hutson, John McNally, Bronko Nagurski, Ernie Nevers, and Jim Thorpe were chosen, while coaches Curly Lambeau, Bert Bell, and George Halas were also selected.
1963 – Poet Robert Frost died of complications from prostate surgery at the age of 88.
Naming only a few examples of his creative genius would be an injustice to the rest
In the days following Frost’s death, President John F. Kennedy, at whose inauguration the poet delivered a poem, said, “He has bequeathed his nation a body of imperishable verse from which Americans will forever gain joy and understanding.”
1964 – Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb, starring Peter Sellers (in three roles) and George C. Scott, premiered in theaters.
Close scrutiny of the Dr. Strangelove character indicated that he was probably a composite of three people: Henry Kissinger, a political scientist who had written about nuclear deterrence strategy; Edward Teller, a key scientist in the development of the hydrogen bomb; and Wernher von Braun, the German scientist who was a leading figure in missile technology.
Little scrutiny was needed, however, to grasp director/producer Stanley Kubrick’s satirical attacks on the American and Russian policies of nuclear stockpiling and massive retaliation.
The film’s jabs at some of the sacred core beliefs of America’s defense strategy struck a chord with the American people. Particularly after the frightening Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 – when nuclear annihilation seemed a very real possibility – the American public was increasingly willing to question the nation’s reliance on nuclear weapons.
1966 – Actor Alan Ladd died at the age of 50 due to cerebral edema caused by an accidental acute overdose of “alcohol and three other drugs.”
After injuring his knees earlier that month, Ladd was recuperating at his home in Palm Springs. He suffered from chronic insomnia and regularly used sleeping pills and alcohol to induce sleep. While he had not taken a lethal amount of any one drug, the combination of alcohol, a barbiturate and two tranquilizers proved fatal.
He starred in Shane, This Gun For Hire, The Blue Dahlia, The Great Gatsby and Whispering Smith.
1968 – President Lyndon B. Johnson asked for $26.3 billion to continue the war in Vietnam, and announced an increase in taxes.
Johnson had been given a glowing report on progress in the war from Gen. William Westmoreland, senior U.S. commander in South Vietnam. Westmoreland stated in a speech before the National Press Club that, “We have reached an important point when the end begins to come into view. I am absolutely certain that, whereas in 1965 the enemy was winning, today he is certainly losing. The enemy’s hopes are bankrupt.”
The following day, the “bankrupt” communists launched the Tet Offensive, a massive attack across the length and breadth of South Vietnam.
This action proved to be a critical turning point for the United States in Vietnam. In the end, the offensive resulted in a crushing military defeat for the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese, but the size and scope of the communist attacks caught the American and South Vietnamese allies by surprise.
The heavy U.S. and South Vietnamese casualties incurred during the offensive, coupled with the disillusionment over the administration’s earlier overly optimistic reports of progress in the war, accelerated the growing disenchantment with the president’s conduct of the war.
Two months after making his request, Johnson announced that he would neither seek nor accept the nomination of his party for re-election.
1977 – Actor/comedian Freddie Prinze, suffering from severe depression, made a series of “goodbye” phone calls and then committed suicide by gunshot in front of his business manager. He was only 22.
For those too young to remember, he co-starred in the television series Chico and The Man
1979 – 16-year old Brenda Spencer killed two men and wounded nine children as they entered the Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego.
Spencer fired rifle shots from her home directly across the street from the school.
After 20 minutes of shooting, police surrounded Spencer’s home for six hours before she surrendered.
Spencer was tried as an adult, and pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon. She was sentenced to prison for 25 years to life at the California Institution for Women in Chino, CA.
She has been denied parole five times.
Asked for some explanation for the attack, Spencer said, “I just don’t like Mondays. I did this because it’s a way to cheer up the day. Nobody likes Mondays.”
Rock Factoid: Bob Geldof and Johnnie Fingers wrote and recorded (with their band, the Boomtown Rats) a song with the title based on that quote.
1980 – Comedian and actor Jimmy Durante died of pneumonia at the age of 86.
He starred in The Wet Parade, Broadway To Hollywood, The Man Who Came To Dinner, Ziegfeld Follies, Billy Rose’s Jumbo, It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World) … and as a singer, his signature song was Inka Dinka Doo.
Durante’s radio show was bracketed with two trademarks: “Inka Dinka Doo” as his opening theme, and the invariable sign off that became another familiar national catchphrase: “Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.”
At a National Press Club meeting in 1966 (broadcast on NBC’s Monitor program), Durante revealed the signoff was a tribute to his wife Jeanne, who died in 1943.
While driving across the country, they stopped in a small town called Calabash, whose name she had loved. “Mrs. Calabash” became his pet name for her, and he signed off his radio program with “Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.”
From the 1944 film, Two Girls and A Sailor…
2002 – In his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush described “regimes that sponsor terror” as an Axis of evil, in which he included Iraq, Iran and North Korea.
Bush described North Korea as “a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.” In regards to Iran, he said they “aggressively pursue these weapons and export terror.”
Democrats blasted the Axis of evil comment as a ridiculous comparison to the Axis powers in World War II and described it as an attempt by “a war cowboy” to argue for the Iraq war.
2009 – Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was removed from office after unanimous votes of 59–0 by the Illinois Senate.
The ouster followed his conviction of several corruption charges, including the alleged solicitation of personal benefit in exchange for an appointment to the United States Senate as a replacement for then-U.S. president-elect Barack Obama.
2017 – Alexandre Bissonnette, a student at Université Laval and former Royal Canadian Army Cadet, opened fire at mosque in Sainte-Foy, Quebec, killing six and wounding 19 others in a spree shooting.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Philippe Couillard believed the shooting to be a terrorist attack, but Bissonnette was not charged under the terrorism provision of the Criminal Code or described as such by terrorism experts.
On February 8, 2019, Bissonnette was sentenced to life in prison, with no possibility of parole for 40 years.
2019 – Singer/songwriter James Ingram died of brain cancer at the age of 66.
He was a two-time Grammy Award-winner and a two-time Academy Award nominee for Best Original Song. He recorded eight Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, including the #1 single, I Don’t Have The Heart
He also recorded the song Somewhere Out There with Linda Ronstadt for the animated film An American Tail. Their duet won the Grammy Award for Song of The Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2020 RayLemire.com / Streamingoldies.com. All Rights Reserved.