On January 28…

“The past remains integral to us all, individually and collectively. We must concede the ancients their place, but their place is not simply back there in a separate and foreign country; it is assimilated in ourselves, and resurrected into an ever-changing present.”
~David Lowenthal


1547 – King Henry VIII died at the age of 55. At the time of his death, his waist measured 54 inches and he weighed nearly 400 pounds.
As a young adult, Henry had been described as “one of the most charismatic rulers to sit on the English throne,” but an accident at a jousting tournament in 1536 changed both his personality and physical health.
He was in full armor and was thrown from his horse, itself armored, which then fell on top of him. He was unconscious for two hours and was thought at first to have been fatally injured.
But, although he recovered, the incident aggravated serious leg problems which plagued him for the rest of his life, and may well have caused an undetected brain injury which profoundly affected his personality.

1915 – The United States Coast Guard is created by merging the U.S. Life Saving Service & the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service.

1922 – A blizzard dumped a measured 28 inches of snow at the main observing site in Washington, D.C. Railroad lines between Philadelphia and Washington were covered by at least 36 inches of snow, with drifts as high as 16 feet.
Congress adjourned as a result of the storm, but the storm will always be remembered for the collapse of the Knickerbocker Theatre roof while a movie was playing.

The roof was flat, which allowed the snow which had recently fallen to remain on the roof. During the movie’s intermission – and in a storm like that, why was anyone at the movies? – the weight of the heavy, wet snow became too much for the roof to bear. The roof split down the middle, bringing down the balcony seating as well as a portion of the brick wall, killing 98 people and injuring another 133.
The disaster ranks as one of the worst in Washington, D.C. history. Congressman Andrew Jackson Barchfeld was among those killed in the theater. The theater’s architect, Reginald Wyckliffe Geare, and owner, Harry M. Crandall, later committed suicide.

1948 – A twin-engine DC-3C chartered by the U.S. Immigration Service crashed in western Fresno County’s Los Gatos Canyon, killing all 32 people on board, including 28 Mexican farm workers being deported by the U.S. Immigration Service.
The crash inspired folk singer Woody Guthrie to write a song about what he considered the racist mistreatment of the passengers before and after the accident. The genesis of Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos) occurred when Guthrie was struck by the fact that radio and newspaper coverage of the Los Gatos plane crash listed the names of the American flight crew and security guard, but did not give the Mexican victims’ names, referring to them merely as “deportees.”
The song was immortalized by Pete Seeger but Arlo Guthrie’s recording of his father’s song remains my personal favorite version.

1956 – Elvis Presley made his first national television appearance, appearing on Stage Show, a program produced by Jackie Gleason and hosted by bandleaders Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey.
Gleason was not impressed. “I don’t like this guy. The kid has no right behaving like a sex maniac on a national show. He can’t last. I tell you flatly, he can’t last.”
That didn’t prevent Gleason from booking five more appearances by Presley.

1964 – A USAF T-39 Sabreliner flying over West Germany on a training mission veered nearly 100 miles off course when the pilots became disoriented by a violent storm and crossed into East German airspace.
The jet was shot down by a Soviet MiG-19 near Vogelsberg, killing all three aboard; Captain John F. Lorraine, 34, an instructor pilot; Lieut. Colonel Gerald K. Hannaford, 41; and Captain Donald G. Millard, 33.

The Soviet attack on the plane provoked angry protests from the Department of State and various congressional leaders, but the Soviets said they had every reason to believe that “this was not an error or mistake. It was a clear intrusion.” Soviet officials also claimed that the plane was ordered to land but refused the instructions.

1967 – The Rolling Stones released Let’s Spend The Night Together / Ruby Tuesday.
Ruby Tuesday would reach #1 on the Billboard chart, but due to the sexually charged nature of the lyrics, Let’s Spend The Night Together received less airplay and stalled at #55.

1969 – The first selection 1969 AFL-NFL Draft was held by the AFL’s Buffalo Bills. They drafted USC running back O.J. Simpson.
Simpson asked for what was then the largest contract in professional sports history: $650,000 over five years. The Bills initially refused to consider his demands, but when Simpson threatened to become an actor and skip professional football, Buffalo owner Ralph Wilson relented.

1969 – The Beatles recorded the single version of Don’t Let Me Down.
That evening, Allen Klein met The Beatles together for the first time (having previously met John Lennon). At the time the group was close to buying NEMS, the company formerly owned by Brian Epstein. The money to make the purchase was to be lent to them by EMI as an advance against future royalties.
Klein told them that until he was able to properly examine Lennon’s finances, the NEMS deal shouldn’t go ahead. George Harrison and Ringo Starr asked Klein to also look at their finances. Paul McCartney, unimpressed by the brash American accountant, walked out of the meeting.

1973 – Actor John Banner (best known for his role as lovable Sergeant Schultz in the television comedy Hogan’s Heroes) died from an abdominal hemorrhage on his 63rd birthday.
Banner was born to Jewish parents in Vienna, Austria-Hungary. He briefly studied for a law degree at the University of Vienna, but decided instead to become an actor.
In 1938, when he was performing with an acting troupe in Switzerland, Adolf Hitler annexed Austria to Nazi Germany. Banner escaped to the United States.
He would later learn that his family members who had remained in Vienna all perished in Nazi concentration camps.

1973 – Barnaby Jones premiered on CBS.
The program featured Buddy Ebsen and Lee Meriwether as a father and daughter-in-law who ran a private detective firm in Los Angeles.
The show never finished in the Top 10 in the ratings (it finished at #17 in the second year) but even though ratings were relatively poor, it lasted eight seasons.

1977 – The Blizzard of 1977 started in Western N.Y. state, upstate New York and Southern Ontario and continued until February 1.
Daily peak wind gusts ranged from 46 to 69 mph with snowfall as high as 100 inches. The high winds blew those already staggering amounts of snow into drifts of 30 to 40 feet. There were 23 total storm-related deaths in western New York, with 5 more in northern New York.

1981 – President Ronald Reagan signed Executive Order 12287 which lifted domestic petroleum price and allocation controls in the United States and helped to end the 1979 energy crisis under former President Jimmy Carter.

1985 – More than 40 artists got together, put egos aside, and recorded We Are The World, a benefit single for African famine relief, at A&M Recording Studios in Los Angeles.
When it was released in March 1985, the song – co-written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and released under the group name ‘USA For Africa’ – topped music charts throughout the world and became the fastest-selling American pop single in history.

1986 – After a delay of five days because of weather problems and technical issue, the space shuttle Challenger lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 11:38 a.m. EST.
Seventy-three seconds later, hundreds on the ground stared in disbelief as the shuttle exploded in a forking plume of smoke and fire. Millions more watched the tragedy unfold on live television. There were no survivors.
On the night of the disaster, President Ronald Reagan had been scheduled to give his annual State of the Union address. He postponed the address for a week and instead spoke to the nation from the Oval Office of the White House.
He finished by quoting from the poem High Flight by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.: “We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of Earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.'”
On July 28, 1986, NASA’s Associate Administrator for Space Flight, former astronaut Richard H. Truly, released a report on the deaths of the crew (Francis R. Scobee, Commander, Michael J. Smith, Pilot, Ronald McNair, Mission Specialist, Ellison Onizuka, Mission Specialist, Judith Resnik, Mission Specialist, Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist, Gregory Jarvis, Payload Specialist).
“Our final conclusions are the cause of death of the Challenger astronauts cannot be positively determined; the forces to which the crew were exposed during Orbiter breakup were probably not sufficient to cause death or serious injury; and the crew possibly, but not certainly, lost consciousness in the seconds following Orbiter breakup due to in-flight loss of crew module pressure.”

1990 – At Super Bowl XXIV, the San Francisco 49ers pounded the Denver Broncos, 55-10. San Francisco quarterback Joe Montana was the game MVP.

2005 – Drummer Jim Capaldi died of stomach cancer at the age of 60.
His musical career spanned more than four decades. He co-founded the band Traffic in 1967 with Steve Winwood with whom he co-wrote the majority of the band’s output, including Dear Mr. Fantasy, The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys, and Paper Sun.
Traffic was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

2006 – The roof of Katowice Trade Hall at the Katowice International Fair in Chorzów/Katowice, Poland, collapsed due to the weight of snow, killing 65 and injuring more than 170 others.

2009 – Billy Powell, pianist with Lynyrd Skynyrd (Free Bird, Sweet Home Alabama) died of a heart attack at the age of 56.
He had missed a doctor’s appointment the previous day for which he was supposed to have his heart checked.

2016 – Paul Kantner, co-founder, rhythm guitarist, and occasional vocalist with Jefferson Airplane (White Rabbit, Somebody To Love), died of a heart attack at the age of 74.
On the same day, Signe Toly Anderson, the original lead singer with the band (Chauffeur Blues), died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also at the age of 74.

Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2020 RayLemire.com / Streamingoldies.com. All Rights Reserved.

Comments (8)

  1. Barbara

    I’m always impressed with the little known (at least to me) history facts that I learn in these Ray … That King Henry VIII might have had a brain injury from his jousting accident that impacted his personality; that Jackie Gleason joined the ranks of fools that didn’t see talent because it didn’t fit into their mold of what talent should look like; that another personality we knew was effected by Nazi Germany; and how many performers’ lives ended so early.

    We both know how treacherous snow can be as those beautiful and delicate flakes collect. We Are The World — always loved that song -still do – and the message it carries. The Challenger Tragedy – we watched as those brave explorers lost their lives — I wonder if any other President would have had a speech that could soothe our souls the way President Reagan could — and did …. Thanks for another great way to start the day- Rock this One Ray!

    1. Ray (Post author)

      Thanks, Barbara (and it’s great to have you back!)

      It’s always pleasing to discover that I can come up with information that was unknown to readers before reading the column.

      I remember the Challenger tragedy as if it happened yesterday. As horrible as it was, you’re right about Ronald Reagan’s ability to have such a calming influence on all of us. We could certainly use someone like him today.

      If you do nothing else today, make sure you Rock The Day!

  2. Lee Gould/Rosa-Lee

    As always a thought provoking quote at the beginning followed by previously unknown (by me) info on Henry VIII & the Coast Guard. Heavy snowfall & flat roofs definitely are not a good mix & my friend Angie & her family were in my thoughts in ’77 as they lived in the area hardest hit by the snow. Teary day listening to “Deportees” & “We are the World” & remembering lost lives in 1964 & 1986. The later bringing memories of a FL phone call after it happened. “High Flight” was a poem that Mr. Vincent passed out to his English class. I kept it & the words to “Blowing in the Wind” from that class. OJ Simpson did act in a show called “1st & Ten” in 1984. Ted & I watched it. We are currently on disc 4 of season 1 of “Barnaby Jones” which we watch when there is nothing else that interests us. Ted has a habit of tuning in to “Hogan’s Heroes” too. The cast of that show is certainly interesting since it includes someone who lost their family in the concentration camps & another who was in them. A good lesson, good music, well done as always. Reag, listened & hopefully learned. 🙂

    1. Ray (Post author)

      Lee. thank you so very much. I’m amazed at how many of your personal memories are wrapped inside this particular column. 🙂

  3. Donna

    Wow didn’t know about Henry…brain injury would explain a lot.
    Interesting merger to make the Coas Guard, they don’t get enough recognition for the amazing work they do and the danger that is part of their jobs.
    So was the blizzard the catalyst for Congress shutting down at the sign of a snowflake?? 🙂
    Never hear Deportees til today. Arlo always said it like it was. It is disheartening that we can’t seem to find a better way to harvest our crops.
    You know it is laughable now that Elvis was considered such a “nasty” singer, when you look at what we see and hear today. And once again a man made a profit (Gleason) I spite of his distaste. Got to wonder if Elvis would have been a different kind of star if he hadn’t been encouraged to use dance moves and not his beautiful voice to promote his talent. Maybe he would even been a different person, less troubled.
    Sad story about the Sabreliner. Shoot first ask questions later. Would we have some the same?
    Ahhh The Rolling Stones, the “bad boys” of the era.
    OJ…what a waste.
    Never knew about John Banner, just goes to show you, what we see on the screen is not who they are. So sad.
    No Barnaby Jones for me.
    Buffalo has always been famous for lots of nasty storms but that one was unimaginable. I remember the news and the pictures and wondering how it was possible to get that much snow.
    Don’t you think egos were involved in We Are the World? Dont’t you think many of them jumped on just to show how magnanimous they were? It was a good cause but I am not convinced some were motivated by their own egos to be “one “ of the good guys.
    The Challenger explosion was devasting to the country. Because we all witnessed it, it was more real. Such a shock.
    Again with the 49ers, not this year!
    You would think flat roofs in snowy countries would be a no brainer.
    Ironic that Billy died that way, sad that he missed his appointment that might have saved his life. We are so good at ignoring what our bodies are trying to tell us. Heart disease took it’s toll on so many.
    Thanks, Ray for illuminating my life.

    1. Ray (Post author)

      Thank you, Donna, for putting together another great commentary.

      Based on what Barbara, Lee and you have said, I guess the after effects of Henry’s jousting accident wasn’t well known!

  4. Wendyl

    First off, the intro quote and the mug are just perfect! I also didn’t realize the resulting details about Henry’s accident. Arlo’s song is WOW! I didn’t know about that either or think I’ve heard the song before. Speaking of songs, I love the historical selections from the Stones and the Fab Four! (Sixties are where it’s at!) How I loved Sgt. Schultz (and watching Hogan’s Heroes with you!)! I believe I remember The Blizzard of 77? We Are The World really resonated with a sensitive girl such as myself. Sadly, so did the Challenger Disaster. I was only in high school for both. I didn’t touch on everything but I know this: I wouldn’t know or easily remember most of these events without your lessons. Of course I could choose to learn of daily events from the internet but your platform is very enjoyable. I hope it’s enjoyable for you to put it together for us. One thing we’ll never say to you is “Don’t let me down” because it could never happen! (Loved Donna’s last sentence)

    1. Ray (Post author)

      Thank you, Wendyl. ❤

      The more I think about it, the more I believe poor Henry, who changed from a very kind person before the accident into an absolute ogre after it, has been much maligned over the centuries through no fault of his own.
      Thank you for mentioning Arlo’s song! It is a gem, for sure. Glad you enjoyed the Beatles and Stones (and yes, the Sixties are where it’s at!).
      John Banner did not have a happy life but he sure made us laugh as Sgt. Schultz.
      ‘We Are The World’ was a treasure and the Challenger disaster was mind-numbing.
      I LOVED the “Don’t Let Me Down” comment! ❤


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