November 30 in history:
The two largest oil companies in the world, Exxon and Mobil, merged on November 30th, 1999. The roughly 80 billion dollar deal reunited two companies that had been formed in the break-up of Standard Oil almost a century earlier.
Ken Jennings set a record for the most money won by a U.S. game show contestant while appearing on “Jeopardy” during 2004, taking home over two-and-a-half million dollars. His 75 games in a row on “Jeopardy” were broadcast over a span of six months, ending on November 30th of ’04. On that episode, Jennings was defeated when he gave “What is Fed Ex?” as a response to a Final Jeopardy clue about a company with many seasonal employees. (Correct response: H & R Block.)
Dick Clark had a long career giving away big money on game shows, mainly on the “Pyramid” series. He also hosted “American Bandstand” for more than 30 years, and appeared on “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” for an even longer time. Clark was born November 30th, 1929.
Clark was still the host of “Bandstand” when Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” became the biggest-selling record album of all time. “Thriller” was released November 30th, 1982.
Jackson’s first #1 hit as a solo artist was the theme song to the horror movie “Ben,” made by Bing Crosby’s production company. The last of Bing’s popular TV Christmas specials aired on November 30th, 1977, a month after he died. “Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas” is best remembered for the “Little Drummer Boy” duet between Crosby and David Bowie.
January 10th in history:
The world’s first subway opened on January 10th, 1863, when an underground train began operating in London.
It was January 10th of 1901 when an oil gusher erupted at the Spindletop drilling site near Beaumont, Texas, leading to an oil industry boom in that state.
John D. Rockefeller made his vast fortune in the oil business. Rockefeller incorporated Standard Oil on this date in 1870.
For about 30 years, Mobil Oil — formerly the Standard Oil Company of New York — was the chief sponsor of “Masterpiece Theatre” on PBS. “Masterpiece Theatre” made its debut on American television January 10th, 1971.