On This Day

What Happened in January 1931

Historical Events

  • Jan 1 17th Rose Bowl: Alabama beats Washington State, 24-0
  • Jan 3 Montreal Maroons centre Nels Stewart scores fastest 2 goals in NHL history with a pair 4 seconds apart in a 5-3 win over Boston Bruins at Montreal Arena
  • Jan 5 1st woman to purchase a baseball team Lucille Thomas purchases Topeka franchise in the Western League

InventionHistoric Invention

Jan 6 Thomas Edison submits his last patent application

Inventor Thomas Edison
Inventor
Thomas Edison
  • Jan 7 Guy Menzies flies the first solo non-stop trans-Tasman flight (from Australia to New Zealand) in 11 hours and 45 minutes, crash-landing on New Zealand's west coast.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 16 Australian cricket batting prodigy Don Bradman scores 223 v West Indies in 3rd Test in Brisbane; most runs scored by a player in a Test match in Australia in one day

Cricket Legend Donald Bradman
Cricket Legend
Donald Bradman
  • Jan 22 French government of Steeg falls
  • Jan 22 VARA begins experimental TV broadcast in Diamantbeurs Amsterdam
  • Jan 22 Sir Isaac Isaacs is sworn in as the first Australian-born Governor-General of Australia
  • Jan 26 Hungary-Austria sign peace treaty
  • Jan 26 Lynn Riggs' "Green Grow the Lilacs" premieres in NYC
  • Jan 26 "Cimarron" directed by Wesley Ruggles and starring Richard Dix and Irene Dunne premieres in New York. 1st western to win Best Outstanding Production/Picture (1931)

Film release premierFilm Premier

Jan 30 "City Lights", American silent romantic comedy film directed by Charlie Chaplin, starring himself and Virginia Cherrill, premieres at Los Angeles Theater

Comedian, Actor and Filmmaker Charlie Chaplin
Comedian, Actor and Filmmaker
Charlie Chaplin
  • Jan 31 Philip Barry's "Tomorrow & Tomorrow" premieres in NYC

Famous Birthdays

  • Jan 1 Carel Brons, Dutch composer, born in Groningen (d. 1983)
  • Jan 1 Siddig El Nigoumi, ceramicist
  • Jan 2 Toshiki Kaifu, premier of Japan (1989-91)
  • Jan 2 Frank Marocco, American jazz and classical accordionist, arranger and composer, born in Joliet, Illinois (d. 2012)
  • Jan 4 Guido Messina, Italian road and track cyclist (World C'ship gold individual 4000m pursuit 1948, 53, 54, 55, 56; Olympic gold team 1952), born in Monreale, Italy (d. 2020)
  • Jan 4 Adi Lady Lala Mara, First Lady of Fiji (d. 2004)
  • Jan 4 Sir William Deane, Governor-General of Australia 1996-2001
  • Jan 5 Alfred Brendel, Austrian pianist, born in Loučná nad Desnou, Czech Republic
  • Jan 5 Alvin Ailey, African-American choreographer (American Dance Theater), born in Rogers, Texas (d. 1989)

Person of interestRobert Duvall

Jan 5 Robert Duvall, American award-winning actor and filmmaker (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, MASH, Great Santini, Taxi Driver), born in San Diego, California

  • Jan 5 Walt Davis, American athlete (Olympic gold high jump 1952) and basketball center (NBA C'ship 1956, 58; Philadelphia Warriors, St. Louis Hawks), born in Beaumont, Texas (d. 2020)
  • Jan 5 Joan Coxsedge, Australian politician, born in Ballarat, Australia
  • Jan 6 Graeme Hole, Australian cricketer (Australian batsman of the fifties), born in Concord West, Australia (d. 1990)
  • Jan 6 E. L. Doctorow, American author (Ragtime, Billy Bathgate), born in The Bronx, New York (d. 2015)
  • Jan 6 P J Kavanagh [Patrick Joeseph], British poet, actor and journalist (The Perfect Stranger), born in Worthing, Sussex (d. 2015)
  • Jan 7 Mack Mattingly, American diplomat and politician (Sen-R-Georgia, 1981-86), born in Anderson, Indiana
  • Jan 8 Bill Graham, German-American impresario & rock concert promoter (Fillmore), born in Berlin, Germany (d. 1991)
  • Jan 9 Algis Budrys, Lithuanian-American sci-fi author (Man of Earth), born in Kaliningrad, Russia (d. 2008)
  • Jan 10 Alex Boraine, South Africa politician, born in Cape Town, South Africa
  • Jan 10 Ron Galella, American celebrity photographer (sued by Jackie O), born in NYC, New York
  • Jan 10 Peter Barnes, English writer, born in Manchester, United Kingdom (d. 2004)
  • Jan 11 Ed Hall, American actor (Mannis, baby... I'm Back!, Medical Center), born in Roxbury, Massachusetts
  • Jan 11 Betty Churcher, director of the National Gallery of Australia
  • Jan 13 Charles Nelson Reilly, American actor, comedian and gameshow panelist (Match Game, Ghost & Mrs Muir), born in NYC, New York (d. 2007)

Person of interestRip Taylor

Jan 13 Rip Taylor, American actor and comedian (Gong Show, $1.98 Beauty Show), born in Washington, D.C. (d. 2019)

Comedian and Actor Rip Taylor
Comedian and Actor
Rip Taylor
  • Jan 13 Ian Hendry, British actor (The Avengers, The Lotus Eaters), born in Ipswich, Suffolk (d. 1984)
  • Jan 14 Juraj Pospisil, Czech composer, born in Olomouc, Czech Republic (d. 2007)
  • Jan 14 Caterina Valente, Italian singer, dancer, and actress (Bon soir, Kathrin!, The Entertainers), born in Paris, France
  • Jan 14 Frank Costigan, Australian lawyer, born in Melbourne, Australia (d. 2009)
  • Jan 15 Derek Meddings, British special effects technician, born in St. Pancras, London (d. 1995)
  • Jan 15 Murad Kazhlayev, Soviet and Dagestani composer, born in Baku, Azerbaijan
  • Jan 15 Thomas Hoving, American news correspondent (20/20), born in NYC, New York
  • Jan 16 Vladimír Škutina, Czechoslovakian writer and actor (Hvezda jede na jih), born in Prague, Czechoslovakia (d. 1995)
  • Jan 16 Johannes Rau, German politician, born in Wuppertal, Germany (d. 2006)
  • Jan 17 Frederick A. Fox, American classical composer (Nightscenes; Shaking The Pumpkin),and educator (Indiana University, 1974-94), born in Detroit, Michigan (d. 2011)
  • Jan 17 James Earl Jones, American Tony, Emmy, Grammy, and Golden Globe winning actor (The Great White Hope; Star Wars - "voice of Darth Vader"; Field Of Dreams"), born in Arkabutla, Mississippi
  • Jan 17 Douglas Wilder, American politician, Governor of Virginia (1990-94), 1st African American Governor since Reconstruction, born in Richmond, Virginia
  • Jan 17 Don Zimmer, American baseball player (1949-66), and coach or manager (19671-2014), born in Cincinnati, Ohio, (d. 2014)
  • Jan 19 Robert MacNeil, news anchor (NBC Weekend News, 1965-67), born in Montreal, Quebec
  • Jan 19 Ron Packard, (Rep-R-CA, 1983- )
  • Jan 20 Sawako Ariyoshi, Japanese writer (Compound Pollution, Doctor's Wife), born in Wakayama, Japan (d. 1984)
  • Jan 20 Hachidai Nakamura, Japanese jazz pianist and songwriter, born in Tsingtao, Republic of China to (d. 1992)
  • Jan 20 Earl Grant, American musician and singer (Ebb Tide, Winter Wonderland), born in Idabel, Oklahoma (d. 1970)
  • Jan 22 Galina Zybina, USSR, discus thrower (15 world records between 1952-58)
  • Jan 22 Sam Cooke [Cook], American singer and entrepreneur described as "the inventor of soul music" ("You Send Me"; " A Change Is Gonna Come"), born in Clarksdale, Mississippi (d. 1964)
  • Jan 24 Ib Norholm, Danish composer & organist, born in Søborg, Gladsaxe (d. 2019)
  • Jan 24 Maria Piątkowskacka, Polish athlete (WR 4 x 100m relay 1964), born in Goleni, Moldova (d. 2020)
  • Jan 25 Dean Jones, American actor (Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, The Love Bug), born in Decatur, Alabama (d. 2015)
  • Jan 25 Harold Lloyd Jr., American actor, singer and son of famous silent film actor Harold Lloyd, Sr. (Frankenstein's Daughter), born in Beverly Hills, California (d. 1971)
  • Jan 25 Paavo Haavikko, Finnish poet & writer, born in Helsiniki, Finland (d. 2008)
  • Jan 25 Stig "Stikkan" Anderson, Swedish music entrepreneur and co-founder of Polar Music (ABBA), born in Hova, Sweden (d. 1997)
  • Jan 26 Mary Murphy, American actress (A Man Alone, Maggie-Investigators), born in Washington, D.C. (d. 2011)
  • Jan 27 John Hopkins, English TV, film and stage writer (Z-Cars), born in London (d. 1998)
  • Jan 27 Mordecai Richler, Montreal author, (Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz)
  • Jan 27 Rudi Maugeri, Canadian pop singer (The Crew Cuts), born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 2004)
  • Jan 27 Nigel Vinson, British Lord and inventor, born in Kent, England
  • Jan 27 Ronald "Buster" Edwards, British Great Train Robber turned flower-seller, born in London (d. 1994)
  • Jan 28 Timothy Kitson, British politician
  • Jan 29 Leslie Bricuse, British theater and film composer and lyricist ("Stop the World - I Want to Get Off; Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), born in Pinner, Middlesex
  • Jan 30 Shirley Hazzard, Australian-born author (Transit of Venus), born in Sydney, Australia (d. 2016)
  • Jan 30 Stewart McKinney, American politician (Rep-R-CT, 1971- ), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (d. 1987)
  • Jan 30 John Crosbie, Canadian politician, born in St. John's, Canada (d. 2020)
  • Jan 30 Allan W. Eckert, American historian, naturalist, and author, born in Buffalo, New York
  • Jan 31 Bill Watson, cricketer (NSW & Australian opening batsman mid-50s)
  • Jan 31 Christopher Chataway, British MP/athlete (world record 5k)

Person of interestErnie Banks

Jan 31 Ernie Banks, American baseball shortstop, 1st baseman and hall of famer known as "Mr Cub" as he played all 19 of his seasons with the Chicago Cubs, born in Dallas, Texas (d. 2015)

MLB shortstop Ernie Banks
MLB shortstop
Ernie Banks
  • Jan 31 Jean Burroughs, educationalist
  • Jan 31 Nicholas Gordon Lennox, diplomat

Famous Deaths

  • Jan 1 Martinus Beijerinck, Dutch microbiologist & botanist (1st to coin the name virus), dies at 79
  • Jan 3 Joseph J C Joffre, French marshal, dies at 78
  • Jan 4 Arthemus "Art" Acord, American silent film actor and rodeo champion (Arizona Kid, Hard Fists), commits suicide by poison at 40
  • Jan 9 Claude Anet [Jean Schopfer], French writer (La fille perdue), dies at 62
  • Jan 9 Wayne Munn, wrestler (b. 1896)
  • Jan 10 Oscar Fetrás [Otto Faster], German composer (Mondnacht auf der Alster), dies at 76
  • Jan 11 James Milton Carroll, American Baptist pastor, leader, historian, and author (b. 1852)
  • Jan 14 William Ernst Johnson, British mathematician, dies
  • Jan 21 Felix Blumenfeld, Russian composer, conductor and pianist, dies at 67
  • Jan 22 Alma Rubens, American actress (Humoresque), dies of Lobar pneumonia and bronchitis at 33
  • Jan 23 Anna Pavlova, Russian prima ballerina and choreographer (Diaghilew, Dying Swan), dies from pneumonia at 49