February 11th in history:
A judge in Pennsylvania tried a different way of heating his home on February 11th, 1808. Judge Jesse Fell became the first American to use anthracite coal in his home fireplace.
“Shovel all the coal in, gotta keep it rollin'” is a famous rhyme from the song “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” Glenn Miller received a gold record for “Chattanooga Choo Choo” on a live radio show during the second week of February, 1942. And on this date in 1950, a record with a similar title, “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” by Red Foley, topped the Billboard chart of songs played most often in jukeboxes.
Singer Whitney Houston earned gold, platinum, and diamond records for outstanding music sales during her career. On February 11th, 2012, Houston died of accidental drowning at a Beverly Hills hotel, the day before that year’s Grammy Awards.
Houston won six Grammys in all, including record of the year in 1994 for “I Will Always Love You.” The following year, 1995, the Grammy for record of the year went to “All I Wanna Do” by Sheryl Crow, born on this day in 1962. Crow has won nine Grammys during her career. She shares a February 11th birthday with phonograph inventor Thomas Edison (born 1847), who also popularized motion pictures and the light bulb.
November 24 in history:
A one-of-a-kind crime in the sky happened on this date in 1971, aboard a Northwest Orient jet. A passenger who bought a ticket under the name “Dan Cooper” hijacked a flight between Portland, Oregon and Seattle, suggesting that he had a bomb inside a briefcase. Cooper was given parachutes and $200,000 in cash after the plane landed. He then jumped out of the plane after it took off again. Investigators have never figured out what happened to the hijacker, who became known as “D.B. Cooper,” but some of the ransom money did turn up in the woods years later.
Millions of Americans witnessed a real-life crime on live TV when tavern owner Jack Ruby shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald in front of reporters and television cameras at the Dallas jail on November 24th, 1963. It was just two days after Oswald was arrested for the assassination of President Kennedy.
The three major networks suspended all regular programming for four days after Kennedy’s death. One of the cancelled programs that was scheduled for the night of November 24th was a special recapping the 1963 Grammy Awards, at which the Album of the Year award went to the Vaughn Meader satire of Kennedy, “The First Family.”
Marvin Hamlisch won four Grammys for 1974, including Best Pop Instrumental Performance for his recording of “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin, from the movie “The Sting.” The film’s ragtime score led to a revival of Joplin’s songs. Many musicians celebrate November 24th of 1868 as Joplin’s birthday, but now it is believed he was born sometime in 1867.
May 24th in history:
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The first night game in major league baseball was played at Crosley Field in Cincinnati on May 24th, 1935. The Reds had the home field advantage, beating the Phillies, 2-1.
On this date in 1976, the Concorde supersonic jet began regular service between Washington and London.
Inventor Samuel Morse was in Washington on this date in 1844 when he sent a message over the telegraph to Baltimore for the first time. The message “What hath God wrought” was transmitted in Morse code.
The first message that Thomas Edison recorded on his phonograph was the poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” That nursery rhyme by Sarah Josepha Hale was first published on this date in 1830.
A couple of popular singers who have won multiple Grammy awards for their recordings were born on May 24th…Bob Dylan (born 1941), and Patti La Belle (1944).