On This Day March 31

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Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1943 – Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” premieres on Broadway. In 1955, the musical is produced as a motion picture starring Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones (in her film debut).

1958 – Chess Records releases “Johnny B. Goode,” by Chuck Berry. The song climbs as high as No. 8 on the pop chart and goes on to become a rock and roll classic.

1962 – Connie Francis claims the top spot on the pop chart for a week with “Don’t Break the Heart That Loves You”

1967 – Jimi Hendrix suffers minor burns to his hands when he sets his guitar on fire during a performance at Finsbury Park in London. Nevertheless, he goes on to torch guitars several times during his short career.

1973 – Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly with His Song” returns to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for a fifth week after The O’Jays interrupted her for a week with their hit, “Love Train.”

1979 – “Tragedy,” by the Bee Gees, dominates the singles chart for a second and final week.

1984 – Kenny Loggins kicks off a three-week run atop the Billboard Hot 100 with “Footloose,” from the movie of the same name.

1987 – Prince releases his ninth studio album, “Sign o’ the Times,” which spawns three Top 10 hit singles: “If I Was Your Girlfriend,” “U Got the Look,” (with Sheena Easton) and the title track. 

1995 – Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, known as the “Mexican Madonna,” is shot and killed by Yolanda Saldívar, the president of her fan club. Selena was the first female Tejano artist to win a Grammy, in the Best Mexican-American album category, for her 1993 album “Selena Live!” At the time of her murder, at age 23, Selena was on the brink of international fame, recording her first English language album.

2007 – “Glamorous,” by Fergie featuring Ludacris, enters its second and final week as the No. 1 single.

On This Day March 30

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1814 – European forces allied against Napoleonic France march triumphantly into Paris, formally ending a decade of French domination on the continent.

1842 – Anesthesia is used for the first time in an operation by Dr. Crawford Long. 

1858 – The first wooden pencil featuring a built-in rubber eraser on top is patented by Philadelphia inventor Hymen Lipman, who later sells his patent for $100,000 (about $2 million in today’s market). In 1875, The Supreme Court invalidates the patent, ruling that because the pencil combined two existing devices, it was not a legitimate invention. Nevertheless, this is observed as National Pencil Day.

1867 – U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward signs a treaty with Russia for the purchase of Alaska for $7.2 million. Despite the bargain price of roughly two cents an acre, the Alaskan purchase is ridiculed in Congress and in the press as “Seward’s Folly.” 

1964 – The popular game show “Jeopardy!” premieres on NBC with host Art Fleming. Alex Trebek takes over in 1984 and continues hosting until his death in 2020.

1981 – President Ronald Reagan is shot in the chest outside a Washington, D.C. hotel by John Hinckley, Jr., who claims he was seeking to gain the attention of actress Jodie Foster. Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a psychiatric hospital until 2016, when he is allowed to live with his mother in her Virginia home. Reagan is released from the hospital less than two weeks after the attempted assassination.

2009 – President Barack Obama issues an ultimatum to struggling American automakers General Motors (GM) and Chrysler: In order to receive additional bailout loans from the government, he says, the companies need to dramatically change the way they run their businesses. 

On This Day March 29

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Celebrity Birthdays
Celebrity Birthdays

1790 – Tenth U.S. President John Tyler, who was the first VP to succeed a president that died, and the first president to wed while in office (d. 1862)

1867 – Legendary pitcher Cy Young, after whom Major League Baseball named its annual top honor for pitching (the Cy Young Award) (d. 1955)

1918 – Entrepreneur and Walmart/Sam’s Club founder Sam Walton (d. 1992)

1918 – Tony Award-winning actress-singer Pearl Bailey (“Carmen Jones,” “House of Flowers,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “Porgy and Bess”) (d. 1990)

1940 – Brazilian singer Astrud Gilberto, who sang the popular, Grammy-winning 1964 hit, “The Girl From Ipanema”

1943 – Comedian, actor and author Eric Idle, best known as part of the creative team behind the “Monty Python” comedy franchise and its Broadway spinoff, “Spamalot”

1945 – Retired NBA star Walt “Clyde” Frazier 

1955 – Pro football Hall of Fame running back and 1977 Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell, who played for the NFL’s Houston Oilers and New Orleans Saints

1955 – Actor-director Brendan Gleeson, who played Alastor “Madeye” Moody in the “Harry Potter” movies (“In Bruges,” “28 Days Later,” “Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow,” “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” “Paddington 2”)

1960 – Actress Annabella Sciorra (“Cadillac Man,” “Jungle Fever,” “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle,” “The Sopranos”)

1964 – Supermodel and actress Elle Macpherson 

1976 – Former pro tennis star Jennifer Capriati 

On This Day March 28

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On This Day March 27

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On This Day March 26

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On This Day March 25

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On This Day March 24

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On This Day March 23

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On This Day March 22

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