[Cool!] This Day In History February 2


33rd day of 2011 - 332 remaining
Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It was comedian Bill Murray’s least favorite day. For those of you who have seen the 1993 movie, Groundhog Day, you’ll remember that Bill Murray had to relive Ground Hog Day over and over again. Well, not here, bubba!

We have the goods on just what this special day is about. Ground Hog Day is when a bunch of folks in Punxsutawney, PA get up way before the crack of dawn, put on tuxedos and fancy gowns, march to the city park, and pull old Punxsutawney Phil out of his little house in a tree trunk. Then they observe him as he goes about doing his groundhog shadow thing. If the woodchuck (aka ground hog) doesn’t see his shadow, it means spring is on its way. If the critter sees his shadow, it means six more weeks of winter, which upsets the folks gathered ’round. So they fry him up for breakfast... Surely, you’ve heard of ‘ground chuck’? (Sorry.)

The tradition of groundhog weather watching dates back to this day in 1887, long before Willard Scott. But not that much longer.

Events February 2

1802 - The first leopard to be exhibited in the United States was shown by Othello Pollard in Boston, MA. Where else can you expect to find a leopard on display, huh? It cost 25 cents to see the ‘import from Bengal’.

1863 - Samuel Langhorne Clemens decided to use a pseudonym for the first time on this very day. Now he is better remembered by the name, Mark Twain.

1876 - Baseball’s National League was born. Eight competing baseball teams met in New York City’s Grand Central Hotel. The first president of the new league was Morgan Gardner Bulkeley, who later became a U.S. Senator. The eight original cities with teams were: Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Louisville and Hartford. Two of the original teams are now in the American League (Boston and New York) while Louisville and Hartford are now minor-league baseball towns.

1892 - William Painter of Baltimore, MD patented the crown-cork bottle cap this day.

1913 - Jim Thorpe signed a pro baseball contract with the New York (baseball) Giants this day. And, if you will allow a little digression, here is some interesting history regarding Jim’s transition from amateur to professional athlete. Thorpe had run into problems at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden. He was stripped of his gold medals for his pentathlon and decathlon victories when, somehow, Olympic officials learned that he had received what could be considered a pittance for playing pro baseball ... well, it was really semiprofessional baseball ... in North Carolina. Therefore, they determined that Thorpe was not an amateur and was not eligible to compete in the Olympic Games. In 1982, the decision was reversed and Jim Thorpe was honored as the record holder for the 1912 events, and co-winner with those who had received the original gold. The following year, the gold medals were finally presented to his family (30 years after his death). We now resume our regular programming...

1935 - Leonard Keeler conducted a test of the polygraph -- lie detector -- machine in Portage, WI. It marked the first time that one of the mysterious boxes was used.

1937 - Guy Lombardo and his orchestra recorded one of Guy’s most famous tunes. Boo Hoo was waxed on Victor Records and became one of the group’s all-time great hits.

1946 - The first Buck Rogers atomic pistol was made -- for the annual American Toy Fair. The suggested retail price for this clever little toy of destruction was 89 cents.

1946 - The Mutual Broadcasting System presented Twenty Questions for the first time on radio. Bill Slater was the master of ceremonies. The show moved to television in 1949.

1949 - Golfer Ben Hogan was seriously hurt in an auto accident in Van Horn, TX.

1953 - J. Fred Muggs (the chimp) joined NBC’s Today show.

1958 - Radio’s last big serial debuted on CBS. Frontier Gentleman began a brief run. Starring in the role of J.B. Kendall was John Dehner.

1959 - “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” Famous words from Vince Lombardi head coach of the Green Bay Packers, who, on this day, signed a five-year contract with the club that made the ‘green-and-yellow’ a team of destiny in the 1960s.

1959 - The Coasters tune, Brown, was released. The tune went to #2 and stayed there for three weeks, but didn’t make it to the top spot of the charts. A catchy song (“Fee fee fi fi fo fo fum. I smell smoke in the auditorium...”), it was on the charts for a total of 12 weeks. And what song was at number one, preventi Brown from reaching the top, you ask? Venus, by Frankie Avalon.

1962 - John Uelses became the first pole-vaulter to jump 16 feet indoors. Only one problem, though. The ceiling was only 15’6", so, John went through it to set the mark. (We’re still trying to verify that!)

1967 - A second professional basketball league was formed by representatives of the NBA: the American Basketball Association.

1967 - Bolivia adopted its fourteenth constitution.

1970 - ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich scored 49 points for Louisiana State University against Mississippi State. Maravich became the first collegiate player to score over 3,000 career points. Maravich went on to become a star for the, then, New Orleans Jazz (now, Utah Jazz). Sadly, Maravich died of a heart attack (Jan. 5, 1988), after collapsing during a pickup three-on-three game, in a California gym.

1974 - Amazine at it may sound now, Barbra Streisand hit #1 for the first time on this day -- with The Way We Were.

1979 - The first Susan B. Anthony dollar coin was struck at the U.S. Mint in San Francisco. Public issue began July 1.

1980 - Reports surfaced that the FBI had conducted a sting operation targeting members of the U.S. Congress. The sting used phony Arab businessmen in what became known as Abscam a code name protested by Arab-Americans.

1984 - Ralph Sampson, one of the Houston Rockets twin towers was named Rookie of the Month in the National Basketball Association. To earn the honor, Sampson averaged 24.4 points, 12 rebounds and 2.43 blocked shots per game during the month of January. In addition, Sampson became the only rookie (up to that time) to be named to the NBA’s All-Star Game.

1987 - In a poll conducted by People magazine, readers selected Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant as their favorite, all-time acting greats.

1987 - Dennis Leonard, after four knee operations, decided to retire from professional baseball. Leonard, 35, was a three-time 20-game winner.

1989 - U.S. President George Bush (I) met at the White House with Japanese Prime Minister Noboru Take****a, after which both leaders sounded upbeat about U.S-Japanese relations.

1992 - Longtime Miss America TV emcee Bert Parks died in La Jolla, CA at age 77.

1993 - The U.S. Internal Revenue Service agreed to accept nine million dollars from singer Willie Nelson to settle his $17-million tax debt. And the Feds said they would take proceeds from sales of Nelson’s “Who’ll Buy My Memories? - The IRS Tapes”, plus any judgment he might get in a lawsuit against his former accountant.

1995 - Air Force Lt. Col. Eileen Collins became the first woman space-shuttle pilot this day as the space shuttle Discovery (STS-63) blasted off from Cape Kennedy, Florida.

1996 - Films made their debuting in the U.S.: The Juror, starring Demi Moore, Alec Baldwin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anne Heche; and White Squall, with Jeff Bridges, Caroline Goodall, John Savage and Scott Wolf.

1996 - Dancer, actor singer Gene Kelly died in Los Angeles after complications from two strokes. He was 83 years old. Kelly is immortalized as that guy who sang and danced in the rain in "Singin’ in the Rain" (1952). He danced as he splashed in the puddles, but he also choreographed exactly how he would splash, and he directed exactly how the camera should zoom in on his face as he did so. Kelly also starred in "An American in Paris" (1951) and enjoyed many other film and TV roles.

1998 - The state of Florida charged American Family Publishers and its celebrity spokesmen, **** Clark and Ed McMahon, with using deceptive tactics to sell magazine subscriptions through its nationwide sweepstakes. “In their zeal to sell magazines, American Family Publishers and its high-profile pitchmen have misled millions of consumers. They have clearly stepped over the line from advertising hype to unlawful deception,” Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth said. Butterworth filed a civil complaint against AFP, Clark and McMahon in state court in Tampa, where the company processed sweepstakes entries. The following year the sweepstakes company agreed to stop sending letters claiming “You Are A Winner!” under a $33 million settlement of lawsuits brought by several U.S. states.

2000 - Searchers recovered the cockpit voice recorder from the wreckage of Alaska Airlines Flight #261 in the Pacific Ocean. The plane had gone down off the California coast January 31, 2000.

2001 - These movies opened in U.S. theatres: Head Over Heels, with Monica Potter and Freddie Prinze Jr.; and Valentine, starring David Boreanaz and Denise Richards.

2002 - Jim Kelly of the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers star John Stallworth were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

2003 - Vaclav Havel stepped down after 13 years as president of the Czech Republic.

2004 - U.S. President George Bush (II) proposed a $2.4 trillion federal budget with a projected deficit of $521 billion for the year.

2005 - Former heavyweight boxing champ Max Schmeling died at the age of 99 at his home in Hollenstedt, Germany. Schmeling’s fights with Joe Louis set off a propaganda war between the Nazi regime and the U.S. on the eve of World War II.

2006 - A leaked memo in the U.K., detailing a conversation between U.S. President George Bush (II) and British Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2003, revealed that Blair intended to follow the U.S. into Iraq even without a U.N. resolution. The memo also revealed that Bush had considered provoking a response from Iraq -- using falsely marked U-2 spy planes -- to provide an excuse for war.

2007 - It was opening day in the U.S. for Because I Said So, starring Diane Keaton, Mandy Moore, Neil Hopkins, Piper Perabo, Colin Ferguson, Levi Chambers; and The Messengers, starring Kristen Stewart, Dylan McDermott, Penelope Ann Miller and John Corbett.

2007 - A French court convicted 56 people in a baby-trafficking case involving the sale of 23 Bulgarian infants over two years - for up to $9,000 each.

20088 - French President Nicolas Sarkozy married former model Carla Bruni at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

2008 - Mitt Romney beat all other Republicans in the Maine caucuses.

2009 - Eric Holder won Senate confirmation as the first African-American Attorney General of the U.S. The Senate approval came after supporters from both parties touted his impressive resume. He also convinced Republicans of his commitment to fight terrorism; and overcame their fears about his unwillingness to back the general public right to keep and bear arms. (Holder’s oposition to the Second Amendment stemmed from his belief that it does not protect an individual’s right to keep and bear arms for purposes unrelated to a State’s operation of a well-regulated militia.)

2010 - Germany and Switzerland clashed over banking secrecy after Berlin indicated it would buy a disc holding details of some 1,500 suspected tax-dodgers with funds in Swiss accounts. The move resulted in many of the dodgers making voluntary tax declarations to clear their records with the German government.

Birthdays February 2

1754 - Prince Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord
French statesman, diplomat; died May 17, 1838

1875 - Fritz Kreisler
Austrian-born violin virtuoso/composer: Caprice Viennois, Tambourin *****is, Liebesfreud, La Gitana; died Jan 29, 1962

1882 - James Joyce
poet, author: Ulysses, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Finnegan’s Wake, Chamber Music; died Jan 13, 1941

1890 - Charles Correll
creator with Freeman Gosden of: Amos ’n’ Andy; voice of Andy (Brown) on radio; died Sep 26, 1972

1895 - George Halas
Pro Football Hall of Famer: Chicago Bears owner/coach: 40 seasons, seven NFL titles, 324 coaching wins; pioneer of the National Football League: only person associated with NFL throughout first 50 years; died Oct 31, 1983

1901 - Jascha Heifetz
Russian-born violin virtuoso, first public appearance at age of six; died Dec 10, 1987

1905 - Ayn Rand (Alissa Rosenbaum)
social critic, writer: The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged; died Mar 6, 1982

1906 - Gale Gordon (Charles Aldrich)
actor: The Lucy Show, The Lucille Ball Comedy Hour, My Little Margie, Our Miss Brooks; died June 30, 1995

1909 - Frank Albertson
actor: Johnny Cool, Don’t Knock the Twist, Psycho, The Last Hurrah, Shed No Tears, It’s a Wonderful Life; died Feb 29, 1064

1912 - Burton Lane (Levy)
composer: How Are Things in Glocca Morra, That Old Devil Moon, Look to the Rainbow, How About You, I Hear Music, Come Back to Me, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, How Could You Believe Me?; Broadway musicals: Finian’s Rainbow [collaboration with Yip Harburg], On a Clear Day You Can See Forever [collaboration with Alan Jay Lerner] contributed songs to over 30 films: Babes on Broadway, Royal Wedding, Ship Ahoy, St. Louis Blues; credited with discovering Judy Garland; died Jan 5, 1997

1914 - Judith Barrett (Lucille Kelly)
actress: Those Were the Days!, Disputed Passage, Illegal Traffic, Armored Car, Marriage Humor, The Fighting Parson, Dynamite, The Sock Exchange, Yellowstone, Road to Singapore; died Mar 10, 2000

1923 - James Lafayette ****ey
poet: The Firebombing; novelist: Deliverance; died Jan 19, 1997

1923 - Bonita Granville
actress: The Lone Ranger, Guilty of Treason, The Glass Key, White Banners, Westward Passage; died Oct 11, 1988

1923 - Red (Albert Fred) Schoendienst
Baseball Hall of Fame second baseman: SL Cardinals [World Series: 1946/all-star: 1946, 1948-1955], NY Giants, Milwaukee Braves [World Series: 1957, 1958/all-star: 1957]; hit .300 or better on seven occasions; coach, manager: SL Cardinals: guided Cardinals twice to World Series

1923 - Liz Smith
journalist: journalist: gossip columnist: Newsday & syndicated

1925 - Elaine Stritch
Emmy Award-winning actress: Point of View/Law and Order [1993]; Three Violent People, Providence, September, Company; singer: The Ladies Who Lunch

1927 - Stan Getz (Stanley Gayetzby)
jazz musician: The Girl from Ipanema [w/Astrud Gilberto]; 17-time winner of Down Beat mag’s top tenor saxophone poll; died June 6, 1991

1927 - Herb Kaplow
news reporter: ABC-TV News

1931 - Les Dawson
actor: Nona, The Boys in Blue, Christmas Box, Electric Cinema, Holiday with Strings, State of the Union; died June 10, 1993

1937 - Tom Smothers
entertainer: The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Smothers Brothers Show, The Steve Allen Show; ****’s Brother

1940 - Alan Caddy
musician: guitar: groups: The Tornados: Telstar, Johnny Kidd and The Pirates: Shakin’ All Over; died Aug 16, 2000

1940 - David Jason
actor: The Quest, Micawber, A Perfect Two Ronnies Show, March in Windy City, Amongst Barbarians

1942 - Bo Hopkins
actor: The Wild Bunch, American Graffiti, The Rockford Files, Dynasty, The Innocent and the ****ed, Doc Elliot

1942 - Graham Nash
singer, musician: group: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young: Ohio; Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, Wasted on the Way

1944 - Geoffrey Hughes
actor: The Memoirs of Hyacinth Bucket, The Man From the PRU, Nijinsky, Tiffany Jones, Carry On at Your Convenience, Till Death Us Part

1946 - Howard Bellamy
singer, songwriter, musician: guitar, banjo, mandolin: group: The Bellamy Brothers: Let Your Love Flow, Slippin’ Away, If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me, Sugar Daddy, Dancin’ Cowboys, Old Hippie

1947 - Farrah Fawcett
actress: Charlie’s Angels, The Burning Bed; ex-Mrs. Lee Majors; Playboy pictorial [12/95]; died Jun 25, 2009

1947 - Peter Lucia
musician: drums: group: Tommy James and The Shondells: I Think We’re Alone Now, Mirage, Mony Mony, Crimson and Clover, Sweet Cherry Wine, Crystal Blue Persuasion

1948 - Alan McKay
musician: guitar: group: Earth Wind and Fire: Shining Star, That’s the Way of the World, September, Got to Get You Into My Life, Sing a Song

1949 - Ross Valory
musician: bass: group: Journey: Who’s Crying Now, Open Arms

1953 - Mike Fanning
football [defensive tackle]: Los Angeles Rams: Super Bowl XIV, Detroit Lions

1954 - Christie Brinkley
model: Cover Girl Cosmetics; actress: National Lampoon’s Vacation

1954 - John (Thomas) Tudor
baseball: pitcher: Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, SL Cardinals [World Series: 1985, 1987], LA Dodgers [World Series: 1988]

1955 - Michael Talbott
actor: Miami Vice, Three Blind Mice, Captain Nuke and the Bomber Boys, Little Vegas, Vacation, Jack Reed: Badge of Honor, Used Cars

1962 - Michael T. Weiss
actor: The Pretender, Profiler, Days of Our Lives, Dark Shadows, Freeway, The Legend of Tarzan

1968 - Sean Elliott
basketball [forward]: Arizona Univ; NBA: San Antonio Spurs, Detroit Pistons

1968 - Scott Erickson
baseball [pitcher]: Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, New York Mets, LA Dodgers

1969 - Jody Hull
hockey [right wing]: Hartford Whalers, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers

1971 - Ken Dilger
football [tight end]: Univ of Illinois, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1977 - Shakira (aka Shakira f. Wyclef Jean aka Shakira Mebarak)
Grammy Award-winning singer: LPs: Magia, Peligro, Pies Descalzos, The Remixes, ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones?, MTV Unplugged, Laundry Service / Servicio de Lavanderia, Laundry Service: Washed & Dried, Grandes Éxitos, Live & Off the Record [En Vivo Y En Privado], Fijación Oral Vol. 1, Oral Fixation Vol. 2, Fijación Oral Vol. 1/Oral Fixation Vol. 2, Oral Fixation Tour: Live from Miami; she is the highest-selling Colombian music artist of all time

Chart Toppers February 2

1945Don’t Fence Me In - Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
Accentuate the Positive - Johnny Mercer
I Dream of You - The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (vocal: Freddy Stewart)
I’m Losing My Mind Over You - Al Dexter

1954Oh! My Pa-Pa - Eddie Fisher
Secret Love - Doris Day
Make Love to Me - Jo Stafford
Bimbo - Jim Reeves

1963Walk Right In - The Rooftop Singers
Hey Paula - Paul & Paula
The Night Has a Thousand Eyes - Bobby Vee
The Ballad of Jed Clampett - Flatt & Scruggs

1972American Pie - Don McLean
Let’s Stay Together - Al Green
Day After Day - Badfinger
Carolyn - Merle Haggard

1981The Tide is High - Blondie
Celebration - Kool & The Gang
I Love a Rainy Night - Eddie Rabbitt
I Feel like Loving You Again - T.G. Sheppard

1990How Am I Supposed to Live Without You - Michael Bolton
Downtown Train - Rod Stewart
Two to Make It Right - Seduction
Nobody’s Home - Clint Black

1999...Baby One More Time - Britney Spears
Have You Ever? - Brandy
Miami - Will Smith
Stand Beside Me - Jo Dee Messina

2008Low - Flo Rida featuring T-Pain
No One - Alicia Keys
Clumsy - Fergie
Letter to Me - Brad Paisley

Chart Topper February 2dn, 1981...The Tide is High - Blondie