Birthdays: Elector Johann-Frederich the Magnanimous, Franz Lehar, Joachim Von Ribbentropp, Max Skladanowsky, Jaroslav Hasek, Eve Arden, Jill Clayburgh, Alice B. Toklas, Isaiah Thomas, Cloris Leachman is 92, Jane Campion, Al Lewis, Bill Plympton is 71, Lars von Trier, Burt Young, Willie Nelson is 85, Kirsten Dunst is 35
1939- The 1939 World’s Fair opened in Flushing Meadows, NY. The Trylon & Perisphere presided over the gleaming Art-Deco paean to optimism, even as the world waited nervously for Hitler’s next move. With President Franklin D. Roosevelt in attendance the NBC network began regular television broadcasting. It only went to a few homes. Experts were not optimistic." It requires a darkened room and constant attention." one said.
1945- "Arthur Godfrey Time" debuts on CBS radio. Godfrey was a local Washington D.C. deejay who gained nationwide fame for his emotional coverage of the funeral of FDR. He then went from radio to television, hosting the first regularly successful television entertainment program. Godfrey in later life got increasingly hard on his employees and in an infamous incident actually fired singer Julius LaRosa live on the air.
1952- Mr. Potato Head became the first toy advertised on television. Over one million kits will be sold in the first year! Originally invented by George Lerner in 1949 to stuck faces on real vegetables, Mr. Potato Head was sold to brothers Henry and Merrill Hassenfeld in 1951 (the creators of the toy company Hasbro). In 2000 Rhode Island declared itself the Mr Potato Head State. The Hasbro Toy Company is headquartered in Pawtucket, a city just outside of Providence.
1976- Great Disney animator Milt Kahl retired.
1988- Tom Hanks married actress Rita Wilson.
1992- BERN, the Geneva particle lab where the World Wide Web was developed by Tim Berners-Lee, declared that WWW, aka The Web, would be open and free to all with no restrictions or royalties to be paid to them.
1993- In Hamburg, young tennis star Monica Seles had just completed a match when lunatic fan named Gunter Parche jumped out of the crowd and stabbed her in the back with a knife. He didn’t want Monica to overtake Stephy Graff, whom he was stalking. Monica Seles recovered and resumed competition but never again regained her world championship poise. Parche spent a little time in prison but was soon released. Stephy Graff did stay the number one seed.
1993- The Walt Disney Company announced its’ purchase of top independent film producer Miramax. They produced films like The Crying Game. Ten years later a feud with Michael Eisner caused Miramax founders the Weinsteins to leave and form another company. The Weinstein Company went on to produce more hit movies. By the time Miramax was sold off in 2010, it was a shadow of its former self.
1997- In the last show of the season, comedian Ellen Degenere’s character Ellen admits to Laura Dern that she’s gay. Disney promptly canceled the Ellen Show. Ellen returns with a talk show that became even more popular.