To celebrate one our Founding Father's birthday, as well as the first signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) established today as National Handwriting Day back in 1977. Most people who were around then were taught penmanship as children, but that may no longer be the case for younger generations.
In most schools today, greater emphasis is placed on typing and computer technologies. Cursive is disappearing from the curriculum; many young people today learn only enough to sign their name – if they learn any cursive at all.
January 23, 1948 -
John Huston's classic film, Treasure of Sierra Madre, starring Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston and Tim Holt opens in NYC on this date.
On seeing the depth of Walter Huston's performance, Humphrey Bogart famously said. "One Huston is bad enough, but two are murder."
January 23, 1965 –
Petula Clark' s song Downtown, hit No. #1 on the Billboard Charts on this date.
This was Petula Clark's first hit in the US, which was slow to discover her talents. In the UK, she was a star as a singer and as a television performer, where she was a regular on the BBC. In the early '60s, she also caught on in France when she started recording her songs in French. Oddly, she didn't get an American record deal until late in 1964 when a Warner Bros. executive named Joe Smith, who was vacationing in England, heard the song and signed her to a deal.
January 23, 1975 -
Barney Miller, a TV series set in a New York City police station in Greenwich Village, premiered on ABC-TV on this date.
During its broadcast run amid the many cop shows on television, many real-life police officers considered this the TV show that best depicted the reality of police life.
January 23, 1977 -
The twelve-hour miniseries Roots premiered on ABC-TV on this date.
The show was programmed by ABC to air on several consecutive nights in prime time. It was considered a revolutionary approach to programming a mini-series, since most minis were aired once or twice a week over several weeks' time. It was revealed years later that the reason the network did this was so that they get the show "out of the way" in a hurry because they felt, nobody would watch the story if it aired over a longer period of time.
January 23, 1983 -
The A-Team starring George Peppard, Dirk Benedict and Mr. T premiered on NBC-TV on this date.
The gold that was worn by Mr. T during filming varied in weight, usually between 35 and 40 pounds.
January 23, 2003 –
The pilot episode of Mythbusters premiered on The Discovery Channel on this date.
Series creator/producer Peter Rees originally pitched the show to all the Australian TV networks but all of them turned him down. Rees then pitched the show to the Discovery Channel which picked it up. Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage were not known for being friendly with each other off-set.
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Today in History:
January 23, 1849 -
The idea of winning a doctor's degree gradually assumed the aspect of a great moral struggle, and the moral fight possessed immense attraction for me.
English-born Elizabeth Blackwell, becomes the first woman to receive an American medical degree, graduated at the top of her class from the medical school of Hobart College, Geneva, NY on this date.
January 23, 1870 -
One of the worse slaughters of Native American by U.S. troops occurred on this date. The Incident has become known as the Marias Massacre. While the U.S. Cavalry was looking for a band of hostile Blackfoot Indians led by Mountain Chief, they stumbled instead, onto a peaceable band of Piegan Indians led by Chief Heavy Runner and killed about 200 tribes people, many of them women and children.
140 others were captured, later to be turned loose without horses, adequate food, and clothing. As the refugees made their way to Fort Benton, Montana, some ninety miles away, many of them froze to death. In the meantime Mountain Chief and his people had escaped across the border into Canada.
Another proud day for the American military
January 23, 1897 -
Elva Zona Heaster was found dead in Greenbrier County, West Virginia on this date. Authorities originally thought Heaster had died of natural causes, but her mother later claimed that Elva's ghost visited her and told her otherwise, leading to her widowed husband's arrest and conviction.
January 23, 1931 -
While touring in the Netherlands, the prima ballerina Anna Pavlova's train had a slight accident, derailing and being delayed for 12 hours. She went outside dressed only in pajamas and a light scarf to see what was happening. As a result of this she caught a cold, which developed into pneumonia.
She died three weeks later on this date. At the end, she asked to hold her Dying Swan costume. Her last words were, "Play that last measure very softly."
So kids, once again, your mother was right - when it's cold outside, put on a sweater.
January 23, 1978 -
Terry Kath of band Chicago accidentally killed himself on this date while pretending to play Russian Roulette in Woodland Hills.
Kaith’s last words were “Don’t worry, it’s not loaded.” The circumstances of his death gave him the dubious distinction of being one of the first celebrities to be nominated for a Darwin Award.
Moral: Remember guns don't kill - however one bullet in the chamber is a killer.
And so it goes.