This Day In History February 4


35th day of 2011 - 330 remaining
Friday, February 4, 2011

On this day in 1941, the Salvation Army, the YMCA and YWCA, the National Catholic Community Services, the National Travelers Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board pooled their resources, at the request of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to form a new organization. The United Service Organizations was created to provide unduplicated recreational services to members of the U.S. Armed Forces who were on leave.

USO centers became the GI’s home away from home, providing a meeting place, a quiet place, religious counsel, entertainment and free coffee and doughnuts. The USO at once became synonymous with the entertainment of American troops. During World War II, USO Camp Shows entertained on the home front and overseas. The Korean War, Viet Nam, peace time stations, Desert Storm, Somalia ... anywhere, anytime there is an American in the Armed Forces, the USO is there.

The USO’s mission has changed since its inception; its objective is to enhance the quality of life of U.S. Armed Forces personnel and to create a partnership between the military and civilian communities worldwide.

This volunteer, civilian organization, although chartered by Congress, is not part of the U.S. government; yet without it, the men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces would be isolated from civilian influences and without a place to call home.

Events February 4

1895 - The first rolling lift bridge opened over the Chicago River at Van Buren Street, Chicago. The bridge used steel trusses or girders across the navigable channel supported by, and rigidly connected to, large steel rollers as curved steel bases, like rocking chair rockers, weighted in the rear to counterbalance the span. To open, the bridge rolled back on its rockers until upright, like a jackknife.

1901 - Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines opened in New York City, marking the first time that Ethel Barrymore received billing as a star.

1913 - Louis Perlman of New York City received a patent for his famous, demountable tire-carrying rims. We call them wheels.

1926 - John Giola of New York City became famous as the Charleston endurance dance champion. With the new dance craze sweeping the U.S., Giola decided to make good on it by dancing, non-stop, for 22 hours and 30 minutes. When he finally collapsed, his legs wouldn’t stop flapping! Even later, he’d walk in some place and it looked like he was still doing the Charleston. It proved embarrassing for years. (Most of this is true.)

1932 - The first Winter Olympics in the United States were held at Lake Placid, NY. The venue would again be the home of the Winter Olympics in 1980, when the U.S. Hockey Team won its “Do you believe in miracles?” gold medal.

1937 - Glen Gray and his Casa Loma Orchestra recorded A Study in Brown, on Decca Records.

1938 - The play, Our Town, by Thornton Wilder, opened in New York City at the Henry Miller Theatre. The play was a Pulitzer prize-winner for the writer.

1939 - World mile record-holder Glenn Cunningham said in the newspaper that “running a four-minute mile is beyond human effort,” and that the best mile run will always be 4:01.66. That, of course, was his own best time. The mark has been shattered several times since. The current world record of 3:43:13 was set by Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj [Golden Gala Meet, Rome, Italy, July 7, 1999].

1944 - The U.S. Seventh Infantry Division captured Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

1945 - U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Josef Stalin began a wartime conference at Yalta.

1948 - The island nation of Ceylon became an ‘independent dominion’ within the British Commonwealth. Ceylon, now known as the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island in the Indian Ocean about 28 kilometers (18 miles) off the southeastern coast of India with a population of some 19 million.

1952 - Baseball great Jackie Robinson signed a contract with New York’s WNBC and WNBT (TV) to serve as Director of Community Activities.

1953 - Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis appeared in the film, The Stooge, which premiered this day at the Paramount Theatre in New York City. The comedy duo went dramatic in this film -- which had been sitting on the shelves of the Hal Wallis Studios until that time.

1957 - Smith-Corona Manufacturing Inc. of New York began selling portable electric typewriters. The first machine was a ‘portable’ of 19 pounds! Soon, other manufacturers offered similar models, made of lighter-weight plastics, with a lot less of the sophisticated workings inside.

1964 - The FAA began six months of testing for reactions to sonic booms over Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Sounds like an enjoyable experience for the people of OKC.

1966 - An All Nippon Airways Boeing 727 jet aircraft crashed in Tokyo Bay killing 133 passengers and crew.

1969 - Bowie Kuhn took office as Commissioner of Baseball. He succeeded General William D. ‘Spike’ Eckert and served for 16 seasons, until Sep 30, 1984.

1969 - 33-year-old John Madden became head coach of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders. In his first season Madden took the Raiders to a 12-1-1 record and earned them a spot in the AFC Conference Championship Game. Madden went on to become the youngest head coach in the modern NFL era to win 100 games in his first ten seasons.

1973 - The comic strip Hagar the Horrible debuted 136 newspapers. Like his earlier strip, Hi and Lois, Dik Browne’s Hagar the Horrible revolves around a man who has amusingly imperfect success in dealing with both his job and his home life. In this case, the man is a Viking rather than a suburbanite, and his ‘job’ is looting and pillaging. Hagar now appears in some 2,000 papers throughout the world, and has been translated into over a dozen languages, including Swedish, as no less than 58 of Sweden’s daily papers carry the strip about their ancient countryman.

1976 - Lourenço Marques, the capital of Mozambique, was renamed Maputo.

1976 - An earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale -- and its resulting mudslides -- killed 23,000 people near Guatemala City. 1.5 million people were made homeless.

1978 - Junius Richard Jayawardene was sworn in as Sri Lanka’s first president.

1980 - Abolhassan Bani-Sadr was installed as president of Iran by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

1983 - Singer Karen Carpenter died at her parent’s home in Los Angeles of heart failure caused by chronic anorexia nervosa. Her death, at the age of 32, brought about more public awareness of the disease, characterized by a loss of appetite brought on by mental illness.

1987 - A proud day for America’s yachtsmen and women: Dennis Conner, Tom Whidden and Peter Isler brought the America’s Cup back ‘up’, defeating Australia’s Kookaburra III with Stars and Stripes ’87.

1987 - The show-biz world was saddened when Liberace died of AIDS at his Palm Springs, CA estate. He was 67 and had been gravely ill for weeks. Lee, as he was known, was the master of Las Vegas. Hundreds of thousands flock to his museum there (operated by his brother, George) to see Liberace’s garish suits, trademark candelabra, and learn of the myths behind this hugely successful star of television, stage and concerts the world over.

1990 - Hundreds of thousands of cheering protesters filled Moscow streets demanding that the Communists surrender their stranglehold on power. And, for the first time in decades, the protest was not broken up.

1993 - The Family and Medical Leave Act was passed by the U.S. Congress this day. The law gives employees unpaid leave in the event of a birth or a medical emergency in their family.

1994 - The Federal Reserve increased interest rates for the first time in five years. The surprise announcement triggered a sell-off on Wall Street.

1995 - A standoff between the United States and China escalated into a trade war, with each country ordering stiff tariffs against the other.

1997 - A civil jury in Santa Monica, California found O.J. Simpson liable for the deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman. The jury awarded $8.5 million in compensatory damages to Goldman’s parents. A few days later, the jury added $25 million in punitive damages to go to Nicole Brown Simpson's estate and Goldman’s father. Simpson was later ordered to give up his Heisman Trophy and nearly $500,000 in valuables, including his golf clubs, to help satisfy the judgment.

1998 - An earthquake, measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale, hit Takhar, near the Tajik-Afghan border of Northeastern Afghanistan. The quake left 5,000 dead and over 30,000 homeless, while thousands more were missing. The rumbling lasted under ten minutes and was centered about 150 miles north of the Afghan capital, Kabul. Some 15,000 homes were destroyed.

1999 - Gravely ill with lymphatic cancer, Jordan’s King Hussein left the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and was flown home.

2000 - These new films hit U.S. theatres: the comedy Gun Shy, starring Liam Neeson, Oliver Platt, Sandra Bullock, Jose Zuniga and Richard Schiff; and the funny, scary Scream 3, with Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox Arquette, David Arquette and Parker Posey.

2000 - Singer Doris Kenner-Jackson of The Shirelles died in Goldsboro, North Carolina. She was 58 years old.

2001 - From the 440 Sports Desk: NHL All-Star Game: the North America team beat the World squad 14-to-12; and in the NFL Pro Bowl: the AFC defeated the NFC, 38-to-17.

2002 - Tucson, AZ Bishop Manuel D. Moreno told parishioners at a church linked to several abuse lawsuits that the local Catholic diocese would fix its internal problems. “We are putting together broken pieces,” Moreno told 700 parishioners attending Mass early Sunday at Our Mother of Sorrows. “We are making new what has been damaged by sin and neglect and ignorance and betrayal of trust.”

2003 - U.S. President George Bush (II) visited the Johnson Space Center in Houston, where he took part in a tribute to the lost crew of the shuttle Columbia.

2003 - Opera singer Jerome Hines, 81, died in New York.

2005 - Movies opening in the U.S.: Boogeyman, starring Barry Watson, Emily Deschanel, Skye McCole Bartusiak, Lucy Lawless, Tory Mussett, Charles Mesure, Philip Gordon, Louise Wallace, Robyn Malcolm, Michael Saccente and Lee Foreman; and The Wedding Date, with Debra Messing, Dermot Mulroney, Holland Taylor, Jack Davenport, Jeremy Sheffield and Sarah Parish.

2005 - Actor Ossie Davis was found dead in his hotel room in Miami. He was 87 years old. Davis was distinguished for roles dealing with racial injustice on stage, screen -- and in real life. He was also well known as the husband and partner of actress Ruby Dee.

2006 - A stampede at a sports stadium in Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines killed 73 people and injured some 320 others, mostly women. Tens of thousands of people had gathered to watch the anniversary presentation of the popular ABS-CBN afternoon TV gameshow, Wowowee.

2007 - Barbara McNair, singer (Bobby, You’re Gonna Love My Baby) and actress (General Hospital, If He Hollers, Let Him Go!, Change of Habit), died in Los Angeles. She was 72 years old. She hosted the Barbara McNair Show on TV from 1969-1972.

2007 - Super Bowl XLI (Dolphin Stadium, Miami FL): Indianapolis Colts 29, Chicago Bears 17. A wet and wild night of Super Bowl firsts brought Tony Dungy, Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts to the top of the NFL. Dungy became the first black coach to win the championship, beating good friend and protege Lovie Smith in a game that featured the first two black coaches in the Super Bowl. It was also the first rainy Super Bowl and the first time an opening kickoff had been run back for a touchdown (Bears rookie Devin Hester sped downfield for 92 yards on the opening play of the game). MVP: Quarterback Peyton Manning who completed 25 of 38 passes for 247 yards and one touchdown, and keeping the Bears on their heels with his play calling at the line of scrimmage. Tickets: No longer available to the general public; distributed through NFL teams only.

2007 - The Queen Mary 2 sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge. She was the largest ship to enter San Francisco Bay.

2008 - Finishing touches were applied to a ‘doomsday’ seed vault, built to protect millions of food crops from climate change, wars and natural disasters. The vault was built deep within an Arctic mountain in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard.

2008 - Kenya reported that violence over disputed elections had eased enough to lift a monthlong ban on live TV broadcasts. The fighting had killed over 1,000 people and made 300,000 homeless since the Dec 27 presidential election.

2009 - U.S. President Barack Obama imposed $500,000 cap on senior executive pay for the most distressed financial institutions receiving federal bailout money.
2009 - A document was released that listed thousands of people identified as customers and victims of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

2009 - Rain-battered residents in northeastern Australia were advised to be on the alert for snakes in their bathrooms and crocodiles in the road. The local wildlife was in search of dry land and/or a safe haven following repeated heavy storms.

2010 - Dubai’s government announced the discovery of a new offshore oil field, the first such find by the city-state in decades.

2010 - Miguel Angel Caro Quintero was sentenced at his trail in Denver to 17 years in federal prison for racketeering in Colorado and conspiracy to distribute marijuana in Arizona. Quintero’s Sonora cartel was tied to the 1985 torture and killing of an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent, Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena Salazar.

2011 - New movies in U.S. theatres: The Roommate, with Leighton Meester, cam Gigandet, Matt Lanter, Billy Zane and Minka Kelly; Sanctum, with Richard Roxburgh, Ioan Gruffudd, Rhys Wakefield, Alice Parkinson and Asim Ahmad; Cold Weather, starring Cris Lankenau, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Raúl Castillo, Robyn Rikoon and Jeb Pearson; the Documentary, Dressed, from Onerock Moving Pictures; and The Other Woman, starring Natalie Portman, Lauren Ambrose, Lisa Kudrow, Anthony Rapp and Scott Cohen.

Birthdays February 4

1802 - Mark Hopkins
educator: Williams College president: U.S. President Garfield said, “All that is needed for a superior education is Mark Hopkins on one end of a log and a student on the other.”; died Jun 17, 1887

1805 - Harrison Ainsworth
author: Rookwood, Guy Fawkes, Jack Sheppard, Old St. Paul’s, The Miser’s Daughter, The Tower of London; died Jan 3, 1882

1902 - Charles Lindbergh
‘Lucky Lindy’: aviator: first to fly solo and nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean: flew The Spirit of St. Louis from NY to Paris [May 1927]; a major name in politics and business; died Aug 26, 1974

1904 - Hylda Baker
actress: Up the Junction, Oliver!, A Catching Complaint, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning; died May 1, 1986

1904 - MacKinlay Kantor
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist: Andersonville [1956]; Long Remember, Gettysburg, Signal Thirty-Two; died Oct 11, 1977

1905 - Eddie Foy Jr.
actor: Yankee Doodle Dandy, Bells Are Ringing, The Pajama Game, Gidget Goes Hawaiian, Four Jacks and a Jill; died July 15, 1983

1911 - Art Mooney
singer, bandleader: I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover, Baby Face, Nuttin’ For Christmas, Honey-Babe; died Sep 9, 1993

1912 - James Craig (Meador)
actor: The Devil’s Brigade, The Human Comedy; died June 28, 1985

1912 - Byron Nelson
World Golf Hall of Famer: Masters Champion [1937 & 1942], U.S. Open Champion [1939], PGA Champion [1940 & 1945]; PGA record for most wins in a season [18 tournaments in 1945]; died Sep 26, 2006

1913 - Rosa Lee Parks
civil rights leader: triggered 1955 boycott of Montgomery AL bus system by refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger; died Oct 24, 2005

1913 - **** Seaman
British auto racer; killed in racing crash June 25, 1939

1915 - William Talman
actor: Armored Car Robbery, The Hitch-Hiker, One Minute to Zero; died Aug 30, 1968

1915 - Norman Wisdom
comedian, actor: The Night They Raided Minsky’s; died Oct 4, 2010

1918 - Ida Lupino
actress: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, On Dangerous Ground, My Boys Are Good Boys; director: The Bigamist, The Hitch-Hiker, The Trouble with Angels; died Aug 3, 1995

1921 - Betty Friedan (Goldstein)
feminist author: The Feminine Mystique; founder of the National Organization for Women [NOW]; died Feb 4, 2006

1923 - Conrad Bain
actor: The Edge of Night, Bananas, Maude, Diff’rent Strokes, Mr. President, Postcards from the Edge

1929 - Paul Burlison
singer: Train Kept a-Rollin’, Lonesome Tears in My Eyes, Love’s Like Rain, Love My Baby, Trouble Is I’m in Love With You, Boogie to Woodstock; died Sep 27, 2003

1929 - Neil Johnston
Basketball Hall of Famer: Philadelphia Warriors center [1951-1959], coach [1960]; 4-time NBA all-star; died Sep 28, 1970

1936 - David Brenner
comedian, talk-show host: The David Brenner Show, Nightlife

1936 - Gary Conway
actor: Burke’s Law, Land of the Giants, I was a Teenage Frankenstein

1940 - John Schuck
actor: McMillan and Wife, Turnabout, Roots, The Odd Couple, Holmes and Yo Yo, Holy Matrimony, Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, M*A*S*H, Brewster McCloud, **** Tracy

1941 - John Steel
singer, musician: drummer: group: Animals: Baby Let Me Take You Home, House of the Rising Sun

1943 - Cheryl Miller
actress: Mountain Man, Dr. Death Seeker of Souls

1944 - Florence LaRue (Gordon)
singer: group: The Fifth Dimension: Up, Up and Away, Stoned Soul Picnic, Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In, Wedding Bell Blues, One Less Bell to Answer

1944 - Gary Smith
hockey: goalie: NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs, Oakland Seals, Chicago Blackhawks [NHL’s Vezina Trophy: 1972], Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals

1945 - Ron Cerrudo
golf: two-time PGA Tour winner; member of National PGA Teaching Committee; head teaching pro at Hilton Head Island School of Golf

1947 - Dan Quayle
44th Vice President of the United States under President George Bush

1947 - Jeannie Wilson
actress: Simon & Simon, Stir Crazy, Jackals, The Devil and Max Devlin, Marriage Is Alive and Well, Vega$, Storyville

1948 - Alice Cooper (Vincent Furnier)
singer: I’m Eighteen, School’s Out, You and Me, No More Mr. Nice Guy

1948 - Ron Jessie
football: LA Rams receiver

1949 - Michael Beck
actor: Deadly Game, Megaforce, Xanadu, Madman, Holocaust, Robin’s Hood, Houston Knights

1950 - Pamela Franklin
actress: The Food of the Gods, Crossfire, Screamer, Satan’s School for Girls, Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies, The Letters

1952 - Lisa Eichhorn
actress: The Vanishing, King of the Hill

1952 - Jerry Shirley
musician: drums: group: Humble Pie: Natural Born Woman, Big Black Dog, Stone Cold Fever, Shine On, Rollin’ Stone, Four Day Creep, C’mon Everybody

1959 - Lawrence Taylor
football: all-American: Univ. North Carolina; Pro Football Hall of Famer: New York Giants

1962 - Clint Black
singer: Killin’ Time, Like the Rain, Summer’s Comin’, A Good Run of Bad Luck, State of Mind, A Bad Goodbye, A Better Man; actor: Maverick

1969 - Dallas Drake
hockey: Detroit Red Wings, Winnipeg Jets, Phoenix Coyotes, SL Blues

1969 - Joe Sacco
hockey: Toronto Maple Leafs, Anaheim Mighty Ducks, NY Islanders, Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers

1970 - Gabrielle Anwar
actress: Scent of a Woman, Body Snatchers, The Three Musketeers, In Pursuit of Honor, North Beach, Without Malice, Mob Dot Com

1970 - Nicole Wood
model: Playboy Playmate [Apr 1993]; actress

1973 - Oscar De La Hoya
boxer: Olympic gold medalist [1992], IBF lightweight title [1995], Super Lightweight title [1996], WBC Welterweight title [1997]

1977 - Lisa Burke
TV weather forecaster: Sky News

Chart Toppers February 4

1947For Sentimental Reasons - Nat King Cole
Ole Buttermilk Sky - The Kay Kyser Orchestra (vocal: Mike Douglas & The Campus Kids)
A Gal in Calico - Johnny Mercer
Rainbow at Midnight - Ernest Tubb

1956Rock and Roll Waltz - Kay Starr
See You Later, Alligator - Bill Haley & His Comets
No, Not Much! - The Four Lads
Sixteen Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford

1965Downtown - Petula Clark
The Name Game - Shirley Ellis
Hold What You’ve Got - Joe Tex
You’re the Only World I Know - Sonny James

1974The Way We Were - Barbra Streisand
Love’s Theme - Love Unlimited Orchestra
The Americans - Byron MacGregor
Jolene - Dolly Parton

1983Down Under - Men at Work
Africa - Toto
Sexual Healing - Marvin Gaye
Talk to Me - Mickey Gilley

1992Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me - George Michael/Elton John
I Love Your Smile - Shanice
Diamonds and Pearls - Prince & The N.P.G.
A Jukebox with a Country Song - Doug Stone

2001Love Don’t Cost a Thing - Jennifer Lopez
Don’t Tell Me - Madonna
It Wasn’t Me - Shaggy featuring Ricardo ‘Rikrok’ Ducent
Tell Her - Lonestar

2010TiK ToK - Ke$ha
Bad Romance - Lady Gaga
Empire State of Mind - Jay-Z + Alicia Keys
Southern Voice - Tim McGraw

Chart Topper February 4th, 1965...Downtown - Petula Clark