January 16th in history:
Prohibition became the law in the U.S. when 36 states ratified the 18th Amendment. That threshold was reached on January 16th, 1919, when five states approved the amendment in one day. The actual ban on alcohol took effect one year later.
“I get no kick from champagne” is the opening line of the song “I Get a Kick Out of You,” introduced by Ethel Merman in the Cole Porter musical “Anything Goes.” Merman was born January 16th, 1908. She originated the roles of Annie Oakley in “Annie Get Your Gun” and Mama Rose in “Gypsy,” and played Mrs. Marcus in the movie “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”
The beer-brewing Busch family has its name on the home stadium of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. Two famous players for the Cardinals were born on January 16th…Jay “Dizzy” Dean (1910) and Albert Pujols (1980).
On this date in 1970, center fielder Curt Flood sued Major League Baseball to protest his trade from the Cardinals to the Phillies. Flood’s challenge of the baseball “reserve clause” eventually helped Major League players to become free agents, who could choose which teams to play for.
January 12th in history:
Just a month after Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt took action on January 12th of 1942 to prevent major industries from shutting down. Roosevelt created the National War Labor Board, to stop strikes by workers at businesses supplying vital materials for the war.
It wasn’t Roosevelt that Archie and Edith Bunker wanted to see again, but Herbert Hoover. Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton, as the Bunkers, praised Hoover in the song “Those Were the Days” to open the first episode of “All in the Family” on CBS, January 12th, 1971.
January 12th was the premiere date for “Batman” on ABC in 1966. For most of its three years on the air, “Batman” was seen twice a week, with a story beginning on the Wednesday episode and building to a cliff-hanger ending to be resolved on Thursday, “same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.” Many stories began with Bruce Wayne/Batman (Adam West) receiving his assignment over the “Batphone” from Police Commissioner Gordon of Gotham City.
For 23 years, Kenesaw Mountain Landis was the commissioner of bats, balls, diamonds, and all things related to baseball in the US. Landis, a federal judge, was elected the first commissioner of baseball on January 12th, 1921.
And happy birthday to Mr. Freese…not a “Batman” villain, but saxophone player Jason Freese, born on this date in 1975. Freese has performed with Green Day and other popular rock bands..
September 14 in history:
Do you remember what major event happened in England on September 13th, 1752? You do? LIAR!! It was a trick question. Nothing happened in England, or America, or anywhere in the British Empire on that day, because the date did not exist. The Gregorian calendar was adopted by the British on September 14th, 1752. They had to eliminate 11 days from the calendar that year…September 3rd through the 13th…to make the British calendar match those used by other countries. Also, before the change, the British used to start a new year on March 25th instead of January 1st.
Okay, do you remember the 1994 World Series? Liar, liar, pants on fire! There was no World Series that year, because on September 14th of ’94, major league baseball cancelled the rest of the season because of a players’ strike.
Now, do you remember a TV show called “My Mother, the Car”? Liar, liar…oh, sorry, there really WAS a series by that name. It starred Jerry Van Dyke as a guy whose late mother was rein-“car”-nated as an antique auto. Mom (the voice of Ann Sothern) spoke to him through the car radio. “My Mother, the Car” debuted on NBC on September 14th, 1965. Longer-running series which began on this date over the years include “The Waltons” (1972), and “The Golden Girls” (1985).
August 27 in history:
August 27th is the only date which is the birthday of more than one Vice-President of the United States. Three V-P’s actually were born on this date: Lincoln’s first V-P, Hannibal Hamlin (1809), Coolidge’s V-P, Charles Dawes (1865), and Lyndon Johnson (1908), who later became President after Kennedy’s assassination.
Dawes is the only U.S. vice-president who wrote a number-one hit song. His tune titled “Melody in A Major” was turned into “It’s All in the Game,” and the Tommy Edwards recording topped the charts in 1958. On this date in ’58, it looked like the game of major league baseball would be leaving Washington, D.C., when the owner of the Senators ball club said he would probably move the team to Minnesota. President Eisenhower even weighed in that day, urging the Senators to stay in D.C.
Another town got a professional sports team on August 27th, 1921, when the Green Bay Packers went pro and joined an organization which would soon be renamed the National Football League.
July 30 in history:
The last of the traditional Volkswagen Beetles came off an assembly line in Mexico on this date in 2003. The Beetle had been sold only in Mexico since 1998.
Former Teamsters Union president Jimmy Hoffa disappeared on July 30th. 1975. Hoffa was declared legally dead seven years later. His car was abandoned in the parking lot of a restaurant outside Detroit.
Henry Ford’s name is synonymous with Detroit, the car industry, and the assembly line. The founder of the Ford Motor Company was born July 30th, 1863.
Allan “Bud” Selig ran a Ford dealership in Milwaukee before becoming the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, and later commissioner of baseball. Bud Selig was born on this date in 1934, one year after the birth of actor Edd Byrnes, best known as hot-rod driver and parking attendant “Kookie” on the TV series “77 Sunset Strip.”