281st day of 2005 - 84 remaining
Saturday, October 8, 2005
MRS. O’LEARY’S COW DAY
When Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over a lantern in the barn on this day in 1871, it was no laughing matter.
The barn, on DeKoven Street in Chicago, caught fire. The fire spread, scorching almost four square miles, killing about 300 people and leaving a path of destruction valued at over two hundred million dollars -- a lot of dollars for that time.
Of course, Patrick & Mrs. O’Leary’s barn was destroyed; as were 17,450 other buildings, leaving almost 99,000 people homeless. The city of Chicago was virtually leveled. And out of the ashes, a phoenix, in the guise of a steel and concrete Chicago, rose -- all because of one cow.
Now, more than 125 years later, a history buff, Richard Bales, says it may not have been Mrs. O’Leary’s cow, after all. It seems that Daniel ‘Peg Leg’ Sullivan, a neighbor of the O’Leary’s, was in the barn feeding his mother’s cow. He either kicked over a lantern or dropped a match or pipe, setting the famous fire. Sullivan, who had been questioned about the fire, said he was across the street when he saw the fire break out. A two-story building would have blocked his view. So, Bales theorizes that Sullivan lied and was the cause of the fire, rather than Mrs. O’Leary’s cow.
You’ll have to draw your own conclusion about the Great Chicago Fire.
1871 - This day was one for the history books as far as fires go. In Wisconsin, one of the most disastrous forest fires ever destroyed the town of Peshtigo, burned across six counties and killed over 1100 people.
1895 - The Berliner Gramophone Company was founded in Philadelphia. Record players were not too far off in the future.
1904 - Little Johnny Jones opened in Hartford, CT. The show became a hit several times, due in part to a little ditty which became quite popular. Give My Regards to Broadway was penned, as was the entire musical, by the ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ himself, George M. Cohan. Yetttthhhhiiirr!
1935 - The O’Neills debuted on CBS. The theme song, Londonderry Air, opened the 15-minute soap opera. The O’Neills aired Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m. In 1936 it moved to daytime where it stayed until 1943 on NBC’s Red and Blue networks and on CBS, too. One of radio’s original soaps, it was sponsored appropriately by Silver Dust, Ivory soap and Ivory soap flakes.
1935 - Wedding bells pealed for a singer and a bandleader who tied the knot, making radio history together. The bandleader was Ozzie Nelson and the singer was Harriet Hilliard. They would make the history pages again on this very day -- nine years later. Read on...
1938 - This day’s cover of The Saturday Evening Post portrayed Norman Rockwell. The illustrator chose to picture himself trying to come up with a cover concept and to complete the assignment before the magazine’s deadline.
1941 - The Benny Goodman Orchestra recorded Buckle Down Winsocki, with Tom Dix as featured vocalist, on the Columbia label.
1944 - The first broadcast of The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet was heard on the CBS radio network. The show would continue on radio until 1953 and on ABC-TV from 1952 to 1966. “Hi Mom, Hi Dad, Hi Dave, Hi Ricky.”
1952 - The Complete Book of Etiquette was first published. Get your elbows off the table!
1956 - Lawrence “a-one and a-two” Welk was doing so well with “da boys inta bant” on ABC-TV, that, after being on the tube for just one year with The Lawrence Welk Show, Welk originated another popular show called Lawrence Welk’s Top Tunes and New Talent. Mr. Welk wasn’t much on hip show titles, was he?
1956 - Legendary broadcaster Mel Allen was at the mike, describing Don Larson’s perfect game, as the New York Yankee pitched the only perfect game in World Series history. Larson threw 97 pitches, faced 27 batters, struck out 11 and lead the Bronx Bombers to a 2-0 shutout of the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5 of the Fall Classic. In the words of the immortal sports play-by-play great: “How about that!”
1961 - New York Yankees’ pitcher Whitey Ford set the World Series record for consecutive scoreless innings, while extending his streak to 32 in a 7-0 shutout of the Cincinnati Reds in Game 4. Ford added one more scoreless inning in the 1962 World Series to bring that consecutive scoreless inning total to 33. The previous record was 29-2/3 innings, held by Babe Ruth.
1961 - Green Bay Packers’ running back/kicker Paul Hornung set a Packer records for points scored in a game: 33. Hornung scored 33 points: four touchdowns, six extra points and one field goal. (The Packers beat the Baltimore Coltsto, 45-7.)
1970 - Soviet author Alexander Solzhenitsyn won the Nobel Prize in literature, “for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature.”
1974 - Then Came You, by Dionne Warwicke and The Spinners, went solid gold this day. While the editors are poring over the proper spelling of her name, might we add that due to some superstitious feeling having to do with astrology, the former Ms. Warwick changed her name for good luck to Warwicke. It apparently worked. That is, until she went solo again upon meeting Barry Manilow in the early 1980s. Tunes like, I’ll Never Love This Way Again, Deja Vu and hits with Johnny Mathis, Luther Vandross and some friends made it OK to be just Dionne Warwick again.
1979 - Sugar Babies, opened at the Mark Hellinger Theatre on Broadway. The star of the hit show was also making his debut on the Great White Way. Mickey Rooney, who had been acting since the 1930s, once again delighted one and all with his performance.
1984 - Anne Murray won the Country Music Association’s Album of the Year Award this day for A Little Good News. Murray was the first woman to win this award.
1990 - American doctors Joseph E. Murray and E. Donnall Thomas won the Nobel Prize in medicine, “for their discoveries concerning organ and cell transplantation in the treatment of human disease.”
1991 - A U.S. District Court in Anchorage, Alaska, approved a $900-million settlement (annual payments stretched over ten years) with Exxon Shipping Company (Exxon Oil Corporation) for the Valdez oil spill. Exxon also agreed to pay a $250-million fine, which would reimburse the state of Alaska and the U.S. for the costs of cleanup, damage assessment and litigation.
1992 - West Indian poet Derek Walcott was the winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize in literature, “for a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment.”
1996 - American economist William Vickrey (Columbia University) and British professor James Mirrlees (Cambridge University) were winners of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, “for their fundamental contributions to the economic theory of incentives under asymmetric information.” The 82-year-old Vickrey died October 11, 1996 (three days after the Nobel announcement).
1998 - Outspoken Portuguese novelist Jose Saramago won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Saramago, first writer in Portuguese to receive the award, received $950,000. In its citation, the Swedish Academy said it gave the award to Saramago for work that “with parables sustained by imagination, compassion and irony continually enables us to apprehend an illusory reality.”
1999 - Movies debuting in U.S. theatres: Best Laid Plans, with Alessandro Nivola, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin; Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas in Random Hearts; Superstar, starring Molly Shannon, Will Ferrell, Elaine Hendrix.
1890 - Eddie Rickenbacker
aviator: decorated World War I hero; President and CEO of Eastern Airlines [1938-63]; died July 23, 1973)
1895 - Juan (Domingo) Peron
President of Argentina [1946-1955] [1973-1974]; married Eva Peron [Evita] who died in 1952; married Maria Estela Martinez aka Isabel, who became Vice President of Argentina in 1973 and then took over the presidency upon the death of her husband ; died July 1, 1974
1910 - Wally (Wallace) Moses
baseball: Philadelphia Athletics [all-star: 1937], Chicago White Sox [all-star: 1945], Boston Red Sox [World Series: 1946]; died Oct 10, 1990
1917 - Billy Conn
International Boxing Hall of Famer: World Light Heavyweight Champion [1939-41]; lifetime pro record: 63-12-1, 14 KOs; in film: The Pittsburgh Kid; died May 29, 1993
1917 - Danny Murtaugh
baseball: Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates; manager: Pittsburgh Pirates; died Dec 2, 1976
1919 - Jack McGrath
auto racer: Indy 500 ; died Nov 6, 1955
1931 - Pepper (Franklin) Rodgers
football: Georgia Tech; head coach: Univ. of Kansas, Georgia Tech., UCLA
1936 - Rona Barrett (Burstein)
gossip columnist: syndicated newspapers, Entertainment Tonight; TV host: The Tomorrow Show
1938 - Fred Stolle
tennis champion: Australian Open , U.S. Open 
1939 - Paul Hogan
actor: Crocodile Dundee series, Lightning Jack, Flipper
1941 - George Bellamy
musician: guitar: The Tornados: Telstar, Globetrotter
1941 - Rev. Jesse Jackson
civil rights leader, founder: Rainbow Coalition; U.S. presidential candidate
1942 - Buzz (Reese) Clifford
singer: Baby Sittin’ Boogie
1943 - Chevy Chase (Cornelius Crane Chase)
Emmy Award-winning comedian, actor: Saturday Night Live ; The Chevy Chase Show, Fletch, Man of the House, Caddyshack I & II, National Lampoon’s Vacation series, Three Amigos, The Groove Tube; Emmy Award-winning comedy writer: The Paul Simon Special , Saturday Night Live ; The Groove Tube
1944 - Ed (Edgar Leon) Kirkpatrick
baseball: LA Angels, California Angels, KC Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers, Texas Rangers
1944 - Susan Raye
singer: I’ve Got a Happy Heart, Willie Jones
1946 - Paul (William) Splittorff
baseball: pitcher: Kansas City Royals [World Series: 1980]
1947 - Tony Wilson
musician: bass, singer: group: Hot Chocolate: Love is Life, I Believe in Love, Brother Louie, Emma, Disco Queen, You Sexy Thing; songwriter [w/Errol Brown]: Think About Your Children, Bet Your Life I Do
1948 - Sarah Purcell
TV reporter: Real People
1948 - Johnny Ramone (Cummings)
musician: guitar: group: The Ramones: Beat on the Brat, Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue, Do You Remember Rock ’n’ Roll Radio?, We Want the Airwaves, The KKK Took My Baby, Howling at the Moon; died Sep 15, 2004
1949 - Enos (Milton) Cabell
baseball: Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros, SF Giants, Detroit Tigers, LA Dodgers
1949 - Brian Glenwright
hockey: Kansas City Blues, Montreal Voyageurs, Denver Spurs, Chicago Cougars, Long Island Cougers, Kenosha Flyers, Saginaw Gears, Columbus Owls
1949 - Hamish Stuart
musician: guitar, singer: group: Average White Band: Pick Up the Pieces, Let’s Go Around Again
1949 - Sigourney (Susan) Weaver
actress: Gorillas in the Mist, Alien series, Working Girl, Dave, Ghostbusters series, Annie Hall, The Year of Living Dangerously; daughter of Sylvester Pat Weaver, Today show creator and author of Best Seat in the House
1950 - Robert ‘Kool’ Bell
musician: bass guitar, singer: group: Kool and the Gang: Celebration
1954 - Michael Dudikoff
actor: Virtual Assassin, Soldier Boyz, The Human Shield, American Ninja series, Platoon Leader, Avenging Force, Bachelor Party, I Ought to Be in Pictures, The Black Marble, Star of the Family, Cobra
1956 - Stephanie Zimbalist
actress: Remington Steele, Centennial, The Gathering, The Awakening; daughter of actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
1970 - Matt Damon
actor: Saving Private Ryan, Courage Under Fire, Good Will Hunting, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Ocean's Eleven