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MILESTONES: January 29, birthdays for Oprah Winfrey, Adam Lambert, Sara Gilbert

January 29, 2018 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Oprah Winfrey. Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File

Brooklyn Today

Greetings, Brooklyn. Today is the 29th day of the year.

On this day in 1955, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle’s original era had come to an end, at midnight Jan. 28-29, because of a Newspaper Guild Strike. Publisher Frank D. Schroth published a statement titled “A Parting Word,” in the Jan. 28 edition, which turned out to be its last in what he wondered would be “for a very long time.” Lamenting that since the 1898 great consolidation the borough of Brooklyn “has become a stepchild in government services, charity, social activities and indeed every phase of community life,” Schroth wrote, “Until we meet again, the Brooklyn Eagle expresses its hope for the future and its affection for the borough.” The Eagle and its legacy was revived on Aug. 21, 1996, and has since unfailingly covered the growth and renaissance of the borough.

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On this day in 1922, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle front page reported that the roof of the Knickerbocker Theater in Washington, D.C., collapsed when it buckled under a heavy snow accumulation. More than 100 people were believed killed, including five members from a single family. Poor construction materials were blamed.

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On this day in 1935, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle front page gave extensive coverage on its first two pages to the ongoing murder trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, accused of murdering the baby of Col. Charles Lindbergh. On Jan. 29, 1935, Hauptmann testified about his plans to send to Germany a box of money he “found” — believed to be the ransom money exacted from the Lindberghs. Again, under heavy cross-examinations, he was unable to stand firm on his own story. Accompanying stories included a transcript of Hauptmann’s testimony, a survey on whether citizens believed him to be blameless or guilty and a story with the headline, “Lindbergh Stare Spine-Chilling as it Never Leaves German’s Face,” which appeared on page 2.

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On this day in 1936, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle front page carried a story on the subway unification plan that would include demolition of the Fulton Street and part of the Broadway elevated (“el”) lines. The elevated structure would be dismantled between the former Williamsburg ferry area and Marcy Avenue as part of an agreement in which the city would purchase the BMT and IRT transit system. “Clearing of the Fulton St. structure will aid the Brooklyn Bridge plaza development and answer a long-expressed demand for the larger business firms of Downtown Brooklyn,” the Eagle wrote.

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NOTABLE PEOPLE born on this day include actress Sara Gilbert, who was born in 1975; actress Heather Graham, who was born in 1970; author Germaine Greer, who was born in 1939; former hockey player Dominik Hasek, who was born in 1965; actor Sam Jaeger, who was born in 1977; actress Ann Jillian, who was born in 1951; actor Andrew Keegan, who was born in 1979; sportscaster and former basketball player Stacey King, who was born in 1967; singer and TV personality Adam Lambert, who was born in 1982; actor and Olympic diver Greg Louganis, who was born in 1960; actress Bobbie Phillips, who was born in 1968; actress Katharine Ross, who was born in 1943; actor Tom Selleck, who was born in 1945; actor Nick Turturro, who was born in 1962; and former TV talk show host, actress and producer Oprah Winfrey, who was born in 1954.

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THE SEEING EYE WAS ESTABLISHED ON THIS DAY IN 1929. The Seeing Eye, North America’s first guide dog school, was incorporated on this date in Nashville. The first Seeing Eye dog was Buddy, a German shepherd. The Seeing Eye was the first program in the U.S. that enabled people with disabilities to be full participants in society. Its mission is to enhance the independence, self-confidence and dignity of people who are blind through the use of Seeing Eye dogs. Since its founding, The Seeing Eye has matched more than 16,000 specially bred dogs with blind people from the U.S. and Canada. In 1931, the school moved to N.J., where it continues to breed, raise and train Seeing Eye dogs and instruct blind and visually impaired people in the use and care of their dogs.

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THOMAS PAINE WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1737. The American Revolutionary leader, who was a corset maker by trade, is best remembered as the author of “Common Sense,” “The Age of Reason” and many other influential works. “These are the times that try men’s souls,” are the well-known opening words of his inspirational tract “The Crisis.” Paine died in New York in 1809, but 10 years later his remains were moved to England, his home country, by William Cobbett for reburial there. Reburial was refused, however, and the location of Paine’s bones, said to have been distributed, is unknown.

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EDGAR ALLAN POE’S “THE RAVEN” WAS PUBLISHED ON THIS DAY IN 1845. One of the most famous poems in American literature, “The Raven” appeared in New York’s Evening Mirror newspaper. The author was anonymous, but the poem was such a sensation (it would be reprinted at least 16 times in various periodicals and books that year) that soon the author was revealed as literary critic and author Edgar Allan Poe. Despite the celebrity status Poe enjoyed as a result of “The Raven,” it did not relieve his poverty: Poe received $15 for the poem. The classic lines, “Once upon a midnight dreary,” and, “Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore,'” resound in countless anthologies and dramatic readings as well as in parodies.

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TODAY IS CURMUDGEONS DAY. It is an annual celebration of the crusty, yet insightful, wags who consistently apply the needle of truth to the balloons of hypocrisy and social norms. It is held annually on Jan. 29 on the birthday of W.C. Fields, one of America’s most beloved curmudgeons.

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Special thanks to “Chase’s Calendar of Events” and Brooklyn Public Library.

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“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” — Thomas Paine, who was born on this day in 1737

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