January 18: ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
ON THIS DAY IN 1901, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “LONDON — Alarming rumors were circulated today to the effect that Queen Victoria is seriously ill and that her family had been summoned to Osborne. They are groundless. Inquiries at Osborne, at 3 o’clock this afternoon, elicited a flat denial of the reports. The Prince of Wales is now at Marlborough House, where no news has been received indicating that her majesty is not enjoying her usual health. The Duke of York went to Sandringham this afternoon. In spite of the denials from Osborne and Marlborough House, the rumors about the Queen’s illness have alarmed the public and adversely affected the Stock Exchange.”
ON THIS DAY IN 1936, the Eagle reported, “SANDRINGHAM, ENGLAND (A.P.) — Seventy-year-old King George V, ill of a bronchial ailment, suffered further symptoms of a heart ailment this afternoon, increasing anxiety over his condition. A bulletin posted at the gate of Sandringham House, at 3:30 this afternoon, said: ‘His Majesty the King has had some hours of restful sleep. The cardiac weakness and embarrassment of circulation have slightly increased and give cause for anxiety.’ A typed sheet of notepaper bearing the royal crest carried the announcement to hundreds of passersby who were gathered outside the gates. Just before the posting of the bulletin, Lord Wigram, the King’s private secretary, arrived from London. Earlier in the day one of England’s most noted heart specialists was summoned from London to the bedside of the monarch, to join the three physicians already in attendance. The reference in the afternoon bulletin to ‘embarrassment of circulation’ was taken to mean that the action of the heart was growing weaker. The departure of his Majesty’s granddaughters, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose, for their London home, appeared to townspeople another indication of the serious nature of the King’s illness.”
ON THIS DAY IN 1955, the Eagle reported, “TAIPEI, FORMOSA (UP) — Red Chinese amphibious forces launched a full-scale invasion of tiny but vital Yijiangshan in the Tachen Islands today and the Nationalists said the situation was ‘critical.’ The Communists struck at the outpost guarding the approaches to strategic Tachen from two directions after Red Chinese bombers and artillery had destroyed half the Nationalists’ supplies in the island group. A Nationalist communique issued at Taipei stated that the battalion of Nationalist guerrillas defending the little island still was fighting tonight. But reliable sources said the defenders’ position was in jeopardy and some fears were expressed that Yijianghsan had fallen to the Nationalists’ hated enemy. Yijiangshan, which lies only 12 miles north of the main island of Tachen, had been under sporadic Communist shelling for months, but early today the Reds attacked the rugged outpost with bombers and a heavy barrage from nearby Toumen Island. Tachen Island itself was hit hard by more than 60 Red bombers under escort of Russian-made MIG-15Js. The Communist raiders destroyed 70 tons of supplies which had been sent to the Tachens from America as a Christmas gift. The air-sea attack was the first combined operation against Chiang Kai-shek’s outpost islands since the ‘little war’ erupted in the South China Sea last September with the shelling of Nationalist-held Quemoy Island.”
ON THIS DAY IN 1963, the Eagle reported, “Plans for construction of a $100 million sports arena on the site of Pennsylvania Station moved forward yesterday when the New York City Planning Commission gave the project its approval. The controversial project still must win the approval of the Board of Estimate. Architectural groups voiced strong objections to it at a public hearing two weeks ago and other groups protested that the proposed sports complex would add heavily to the area’s traffic congestion. The sponsors, Madison Square Garden Center Inc., proposed to build a 35-story, twin tower office building on the 8.1 acre site.”
NOTABLE PEOPLE BORN ON THIS DAY include “Deliverance” director John Boorman, who was born in 1933; Oscar-winner Kevin Costner, who was born in 1955; Oscar-winner Mark Rylance, who was born in 1960; Hockey Hall of Famer and former N.Y. Rangers center Mark Messier, who was born in 1961; “Little House on the Prairie” star Alison Arngrim, who was born in 1962; former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who was born in 1963; International Boxing Hall of Famer Virgil Hill, who was born in 1964; “Absolutely Fabulous” star Jane Horrocks, who was born in 1964; “Law & Order” star Jesse L. Martin, who was born in 1969; former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, who was born in 1973; former N.J. Devils right wing Brian Gionta, who was born in 1979; singer-songwriter Estelle, who was born in 1980; former NFL defensive end Julius Peppers, who was born in 1980; “How I Met Your Mother” star Jason Segel, who was born in 1980; and Atlanta Braves pitcher Max Fried, who was born in 1994.
OH-KAYE: Danny Kaye was born in Brooklyn on this day in 1913. His most notable films are “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (1947), “Hans Christian Andersen” (1952), “White Christmas” (1954) and “The Court Jester” (1955). He also hosted “The Danny Kaye Show” on TV in the 1960s. In addition, Kaye helped raise millions of dollars for UNICEF and musicians’ pension plans. He died in 1987.
MOVIN’ ON UP: “The Jeffersons” premiered on this day in 1975. The CBS sitcom was about an African-American family (formerly neighbors of the Bunkers on “All in the Family”) who moved to Manhattan’s East Side thanks to the success of George Jefferson’s dry-cleaning stores. The cast included Sherman Hemsley as George, Isabel Sanford as his wife Louise and Marla Gibbs as their maid Florence. The show ran until 1985.
Special thanks to “Chase’s Calendar of Events” and Brooklyn Public Library.
“I wasn’t born a fool. It took work to get this way.”
— entertainer Danny Kaye, who was born in Brooklyn on this day in 1913
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