1825 – Ezra Daggett and Thomas Kensett of New York City patented a canning process to preserve salmon, oysters and lobsters.
1915 – George Claude of Paris, France patented the neon tube advertising sign. His handiwork was regularly seen adorning the Eiffel Tower and many pizza parlors throughout America. Now you can buy a neon sign for your in-home office at the discount warehouse. Probably not in one of George Claude’s wildest dreams…
1937 – Howard Hughes set a transcontinental air record, flying from Los Angeles to New York City in 7 hours, 28 minutes and 25 seconds.
1949 – The salary of the President of the United States was increased from $75,000 to $100,000 with an additional $50,000 expense allowance added for each year in office.
1952 – The National Football League bought the franchise of the New York Yanks. To make nice with the New York Giants for having another team in their territory, the NFL permitted the Giants to choose five players from the Yanks roster. One of the five was Tom Landry, who played for the Giants for six years. During that time, the NFL sent the Yanks club to Dallas. They became the Dallas Texans for one season and moved on to Baltimore, where they changed their name to the Colts. In 1960, the Dallas expansion team (the Cowboys) hired Tom Landry as head coach. That original Yanks club was sold to the NFL for a mere $300,000.
1953 – Sixty-eight percent of all TV sets in the U.S. were tuned to CBS-TV this day, as Lucy Ricardo of I Love Lucy gave birth to a baby boy — just as she actually did in real life — following the script to the letter! The audience for the program was greater than that watching the inauguration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower the following day.
1955 – U.S. President Eisenhower allowed a filmed news conference to be used on television (and in movie newsreels) for the first time. The 33-minute conference was cut to 28-1/2 minutes to fit TV formats.
1957 – Philadelphia comedian, Ernie Kovacs, became a major star, when he was able to pull off the challenge of doing a half-hour TV show without uttering a single word of dialogue.
1959 – Dick Clark’s American Bandstand was the number-one daytime TV show in the U.S. Remember Rate-A-Record? Three kids would listen and then rate a new song. Rankings went from 35 to 98. The usual comment, “It has a good beat and you can dance to it.”
1966 – Indira Gandhi, the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, was appointed India’s prime minister. Following the death of her father (May 1964), Gandhi had become minister of information and broadcasting in Lal Bahadur Shastri’s government. Gandhi succeeded him as prime minister this day, after he died suddenly. The following year she was elected to a 5-year term by the Parliament members of the dominant Congress party. She led her party to a landslide victory in the national elections of 1971. Indira Gandhi was assassinated Oct 31, 1984 by Sikh members of her security guard.
1970 – The soundtrack of the film, Easy Rider, the movie that made a star of Peter Fonda, became a gold record. It was the first pop-culture, film soundtrack to earn the gold award.
1971 – Ruby Keeler made her comeback in the play, No, No Nanette, which opened at the 46th Street Theatre in New York City. Keeler played the role of Sue Smith in the revival of the 1925 hit musical. The show played on for 861 performances.
1974 – Notre Dame ended UCLA’s 88-game winning streak — at South Bend, Indiana. The Fighting Irish posted a 71-70 basketball win over the Bruins of the University of California at Los Angeles.
1976 – The Beatles turned down an offer of $50 million to play together again on the same stage. Rock promoter Bill Sargent was astonished when the group turned down the offer.
1983 – Klaus Barbie (“the butcher of Lyon”), Nazi Gestapo chief in Lyon, France during the German occupation, was arrested in Bolivia on charges of having tortured and killed thousands of people. After World War II, Barbie was protected and employed by U.S. intelligence agents because of his “police skills’ and anti-Communist zeal.” Barbie, together with his wife and children, then escaped to Latin America, where he worked primarily as an interrogator and torturer for dictatorships both in Peru and in Bolivia. He was tried in 1987 and died in prison in 1991.
1985 – The New York Times announced that Lee Iacocca’s book, Iacocca, was the best selling hard cover book of 1984. It wasn’t topped in sales until the arrival of Rush Limbaugh’s first tome in the early 1990s.
1991 – Janet Jackson’s single, Love Will Never Do (Without You), hit #1 (for one week) in the U.S.: “I feel better when I have you near me; Cause no other love around; Has quite the same ooh ooh (ha ha ha!); Like you do do do do babe.”
1996 – U.S. debut day for these films: Mr. Holland’s Opus (a frustrated composer finds fulfillment as a high school music teacher), with Richard Dreyfuss, Glenne Headly, Jay Thomas, Olympia Dukakis, W. H. Macy, Alicia Witt and Jean Louisa Kelly; and Screamers, a “sci-fi thriller” starring Peter Weller, Poy Dupuis, Jennifer Rubin and Andy Lauer.
1998 – Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Carl Perkins died at age 65 after a series of strokes. Perkins was a Tennessee sharecropper’s son. His first guitar was made from a cigar box and broom handle, and his “Blue Suede Shoes” was written on a potato sack.
2001 – New movies in the U.S.: The Gift (a woman with extrasensory perception is asked to help find a young woman who has disappeared), starring Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi, Keanu Reeves, Greg Kinnear and Hilary Swank; The Pledge (a retiring police chief pledges to catch the killer of a young child), with Jack Nicholson, Robin Wright Penn and directed by Sean Penn; and Snatch (weirdos tracking down a priceless stolen diamond), starring Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Farina, Jason Flemyng, Vinnie Jones, Brad Pitt, Rade Sherbedgia and Jason Statham.