On This Day

What Happened in February 1940

Historical Events

  • Feb 1 Soviet Union begins new offensive against Finland
  • Feb 1 NBC performs the first inter-city television broadcast from its station in New York City to another in Schenectady, New York by General Electric relay antennas.

Music History

Feb 2 Frank Sinatra performs at the Lyric Theater in Indianapolis, Indiana, his first as featured singer with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra

  • Feb 5 General Winckelman replaces Gen Reijnders as Dutch supreme commander

Music History

Feb 5 Glenn Miller and his Orchestra record "Tuxedo Junction"

Film Premiere

Feb 7 Walt Disney's second feature length movie, "Pinocchio" premieres (NYC)

  • Feb 8 Lewis & Hamilton's musical "Two for the Show" premieres in NYC
  • Feb 8 Lodtz, 1st large ghetto established by Nazis in Poland

Boxing Title Fight

Feb 9 Joe Louis beats Arturo Godoy in 15 for heavyweight boxing title

Film & TV History

Feb 10 "Tom & Jerry" cartoon created by William Hanna & Joseph Barbera debut by MGM

  • Feb 10 US female Figure Skating championship won by Joan Tozzer
  • Feb 10 US male Figure Skating championship won by Eugene Turner

Sports History

Feb 13 Bradman scores 209* in 161 minutes for South Aust at the WACA

  • Feb 14 British merchant vessel fleet is armed
  • Feb 16 British search plane finds German supply ship Altmark, used to accommodate allied sailors from vessels sunk by the Graf Spee off Norway
  • Feb 17 Altmark Incident: Crew of the British destroyer "Cossack" board German "Altmark" in Jøssingfjord, Norway, releasing 299 British prisoners after hand-to-hand fighting with bayonets and the last recorded Royal Naval action with cutlass
  • Feb 20 Larry Clinton & his Orchestra record "Limehouse Blues"
  • Feb 22 Finnish troops vacate Koivisto island
  • Feb 22 German air force sinks 2 German destroyers, killing 578
  • Feb 23 Russian troops conquer Lasi Island
  • Feb 23 Walt Disney's animated movie "Pinocchio" released
  • Feb 24 Frances Langford records "When You Wish Upon a Star"
  • Feb 25 1st televised (W2XBS, NYC) hockey game (Rangers vs Canadians)
  • Feb 26 US Air Defense Command forms at Mitchel Field, LI, NY
  • Feb 27 Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben discover carbon-14 (radiocarbon dating) at the University of California Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley, California
  • Feb 28 1st televised basketball game (U of Pitts beats Fordham U, 50-37)
  • Feb 28 Richard Wright's "Native Son" published
  • Feb 28 US population at 131,669,275 (12,865,518 African American (9.8%))
  • Feb 29 Frederic from G & S "Pirates of Penzance" finally released by pirate

Film & TV History

Feb 29 Hattie McDaniel becomes 1st African American woman to win an Oscar for "Gone With The Wind"

Academy Awards

Feb 29 12th Academy Awards: "Gone With The Wind" wins eight Oscars, Robert Donat & Vivien Leigh also win

  • Feb 29 Finland initiates Winter War peace negotiations

Golf Tournament

Feb 29 American golfer Jimmy Demaret wins his third PGA Tour event within an 8-day span, taking the St. Petersburg Open by 1 stroke from Byron Nelson

  • Feb 29 Detroit's Cecil "Tiny" Thompson becomes first goaltender in NHL history to play 40 (or more) games for 12 straight seasons; milestone comes in a 3-1 Red Wings loss at Toronto

Famous Birthdays

  • Feb 1 Bibi Besch, actress (Star Trek 2, Beast Within), born in Vienna, Austria
  • Feb 1 Hervé Filion, Canadian harness racing driver (World Driving C'ship 1970; Harness Tracks of America Driver of the Year 1969-74, 76, 78, 81, 89), born in Angers, Quebec (d. 2017)
  • Feb 2 Thomas M[ichael] Disch, American sci-fi author (Genocides, 102 H-Bombs)
  • Feb 2 David Jason, English actor
  • Feb 2 Wayne Fontes, American football coach
  • Feb 2 Alan Caddy, English musician (The Tornados), born in Chelsea, London (d. 2000)

Fran Tarkenton

Feb 3 Fran Tarkenton, NFL quarterback (NY Giants, Minnesota Vikings), born in Richmond, Virginia

  • Feb 3 Jim Hartz, American journalist and newscaster (NBC-TV Today, 1974-77; PBS - Innovations), born in Tulsa, Oklahoma (d. 2022)
  • Feb 4 John Schuck, American actor (McMillan & Wife, Holmes & Yoyo), born in Boston, Massachusetts

George A. Romero

Feb 4 George A. Romero, American-Canadian director (Night of the Living Dead), born in The Bronx, New York (d. 2017)

  • Feb 4 Theodore "Ted" Stanley, American anesthesiologist and medical entrepreneur (created the fentanyl lollipop), born in Manhattan, New York (d. 2017)
  • Feb 5 H. R. Giger, Swiss artist and special effects designer (Alien), born in Zürich (d. 2014)
  • Feb 6 Jimmy Tarbuck, English comedian, born in Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • Feb 6 Tom Brokaw, American news anchor (NBC Nightly News 1982-2004), born in Webster, South Dakota
  • Feb 7 Gary Bond, England, actor (Outback, Zulu, Anne of Thousand Days)
  • Feb 8 Averil Cameron, British historian, born in Leek, England
  • Feb 8 Talib Rasul Hakim [Stephen Chambers], American composer (d. 1988)
  • Feb 8 Ted Koppel, American journalist (ABC Nightline), born in Lancashire, England
  • Feb 9 Brian Bennett, British rock drummer (Shadows), born in Palmers Green, North London, England
  • Feb 9 J. M. Coetzee, South African novelist, born in Cape Town, South Africa
  • Feb 10 Hamish Imlach, Scottish folk-comic singer-songwriter ("Cod Liver Oil and the Orange Juice"), born in Calcutta, British India (d. 1996)
  • Feb 10 Mary Rand, English field athlete (Olympic long jump gold 6.76m WR 1964), born in Wells, Somerset
  • Feb 10 Peter Middleton, CEO (Lloyd's)
  • Feb 10 Jimmy Merchant, American rock vocalist (Frankie Lymon & Teenagers - "Why Do Fools Fall In Love"), born in NYC, New York
  • Feb 10 Kenny Rankin, American singer-songwriter ("Peaceful"), born in Washington Heights, New York City (d. 2009)
  • Feb 11 Calvin Fowler, American basketball point guard (Olympic gold 1968 co-captain; Saint Francis University), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (d. 2013)
  • Feb 12 Hank Brown, American politician (Senator-R-CO 1991-97, Rep-R-CO, 1981-91), born in Denver, Colorado
  • Feb 12 Richard Lynch, American actor (Xaviar-Battlestar Galactica), (d. 2012)
  • Feb 14 Porpoise, 1st born in captivity in US (Marineland, Fla)
  • Feb 14 Willie Hunter, Scottish soccer forward (3 caps; Motherwell) and manager (Queen of the South, Inverness Caledonian), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 2020)
  • Feb 15 John Hadl, American football player
  • Feb 15 Hamzah Haz, Indonesian politician
  • Feb 15 Trygve Madsen, Norwegian pianist and composer (The Dream of the Rhinoceros; Aurora), born in Fredrikstad, Norway
  • Feb 17 Dennis Gamsy, South African cricket wicketkeeper (2 Tests, 5 dismissals; Natal), born in Glenwood, South Africa
  • Feb 17 Gene Pitney, American vocalist and songwriter ("Town Without Pity"; "Hello Mary Lou"; "He's A Rebel"), born in Hartford, Connecticut (d. 2006)
  • Feb 17 Willi Holdorf, German athlete (Olympic gold, United Team of Germany, decathlon 1964), born in Blomesche Wildnis, Germany (d. 2020)
  • Feb 17 Vicente Fernández, Mexican Grammy Award-winning singer, known as "El Rey de la Música Ranchera" (The King of Ranchera Music), actor, and film producer, born in Huentitán El Alto, Jalisco, Mecico (d. 2021)
  • Feb 18 Fabrizio de André, Italian singer-songwriter (Storia di un impiegato), born in Genoa, Italy (d. 1999)

Smokey Robinson

Feb 19 [William] Smokey Robinson, American soul singer-songwriter (The Miracles - "You Really Got A Hold On Me"; "Tears Of A Clown"; "My Girl"), born in Detroit, Michigan

  • Feb 19 Bobby Rogers, American pop and soul tenor vocalist (The Miracles - "You've Really Got a Hold on Me"), and songwriter ("Going To A Go-Go"; "The Way You Do the Things You Do"),, born in Detroit, Michigan (d. 2013)
  • Feb 19 Carlin Glynn, American actress (Continental Divide)
  • Feb 19 Saparmurat Niyazov, President of Turkmenistan (d. 2006)
  • Feb 20 Barbara Ellis, American pop vocalist (Fleetwoods - "Mr. Blue"; "Come Softly To Me"), born in Olympia, Washington
  • Feb 20 Christoph Eschenbach, German pianist and conductor (Houston Symphony, 1988-99; Philadelphia Orchestra, 2003-08: National Symphony 2010-17), born in Breslau, Germany (now Wrocław, Poland)
  • Feb 20 Jimmy Greaves, English soccer striker (57 caps; FIFA World Cup 1966; Chelsea, Tottenham) and journalist/broadcaster (The Sun, World of Sport, On the Ball), born in London, England (d. 2021)
  • Feb 20 RA Weiss, director (Institute of Cancer Research)
  • Feb 20 V Payne, British headmistress (Malvern Girls' College)

John Lewis

Feb 21 John Lewis, American politician (Rep-D-Georgia) and prominent civil rights leader (Big Six), born in Troy, Alabama (d. 2020)

  • Feb 21 Peter McEnery, English actor (Game is Over, Moonspinners), born in Walsall, England
  • Feb 21 Peter Gethin, British racing driver
  • Feb 22 Chet Walker, American basketball forward (NBA All-Star 1964, 66, 67, 70, 71, 73, 74; NBA C'ship 1967, Philadelphia 76ers; Chicago Bulls), born in Bethlehem, Mississippi
  • Feb 22 Johnson Mlambo, South African leader (Pan-African Congress), born in Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Feb 22 Julian Chagrin, English mime & actor (Golddiggers), born in London, England
  • Feb 22 Billy Name [William Linich Jr.], American photographer (Andy Warhol's factory), born in Poughkeepsie, New York (d. 2016)
  • Feb 22 Larry Eisenhauer, American football defensive end (AFL All-Star 1962, 63, 64, 66; Boston Patriots), born in Hicksville, New York (d. 2020)
  • Feb 23 Jermyn P Brooks, CEO (Price Waterhouse Europe)
  • Feb 23 Peter Fonda, American actor (Easy Rider, Ulee's Gold), born in NYC, New York (d. 2019)
  • Feb 24 Jimmy Ellis, WBA heavyweight boxing champ (1968-70), born in Louisville, Kentucky, (d. 2014)
  • Feb 24 Theo Bosch, Dutch humanist/architect (Nieuwmarkt, Amsterdam)
  • Feb 24 Pete Duel [Deuel], American stage and screen actor (Gidget; Love on a Rooftop; Alias Smith and Jones), born in Rochester, New York (d. 1971)
  • Feb 24 Denis Law, Scottish footballer (Manchester United, Manchester City), born in Aberdeen, Scotland
  • Feb 24 Nicolae Martinescu, Romanian Greco-Roman wrestler (Olympic gold 100kg 1972), born in Vişani, Romania (d. 2013)
  • Feb 24 John Lyall, English soccer manager (West Ham United 1974-89; FA Cup 1980), born in Ilford, England (d. 2006)
  • Feb 25 Billy Packer, Wellsville NY, basketball sportscaster (CBS)
  • Feb 25 George Paul, CEO (Norwich Union Insurance Group)
  • Feb 25 Hector MacKenzie, trade unionist
  • Feb 25 Jud Taylor, American actor (Dr. Kildare (TV series) - "Dr. Gerson"), and director (Tail Gunner Joe), born in New York City (d. 2008)
  • Feb 25 Ron Santo, American Baseball Hall of Fame third baseman (9-time MLB All Star; 5-time Gold Glove; Chicago Cubs), born in Seattle, Washington (d. 2010)
  • Feb 27 Dame Barbara Kelly, Scottish civic activist & former CEO (Crichton Foundation, Scottish Consumer Council), born in Dumfries and Galloway, United Kingdom
  • Feb 27 Howard Hesseman, American comic actor (WKRP in Cincinnati - "Dr. Johnny Fever"; Head of the Class), born in Salem, Oregon (d. 2022) [1]
  • Feb 27 Bill Hunter, Australian actor, born in Ballarat, Australia (d. 2011)
  • Feb 28 Joe South, American singer-songwriter and guitarist ("Games People Play"; "Walk A Mile In My Shoes"), born in Atlanta, Georgia (d. 2012)

Mario Andretti

Feb 28 Mario Andretti, Italian American auto racer (Indianapolis 500 1969; F1 World Champion 1978), born in Montona, Italy

  • Feb 29 Gretchen Christopher, American singer (The Fleetwoods), born in Olympia, Washington
  • Feb 29 Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople (1991- ), born in Zeytinliköy, Imbros, Turkey
  • Feb 29 Billy Turner Jr., American thoroughbred trainer (Triple Crown 1977 Seattle Slew), born in Rochester, New York (d. 2021)

Famous Weddings

Lana Turner

Feb 13 American actress Lana Turner (19) weds American bandleader Artie Shaw (29) in a Las Vegas elopement; divorce after 4 months

Francis Crick

Feb 18 Molecular biologist Francis Crick (23) weds Ruth Doreen Dodd; divorce 1947


Famous Deaths

  • Feb 1 Philip Francis Nowlan, American sci-fi writer, creator of Buck Rogers character (b. 1888)
  • Feb 2 Vsevolod Meyerhold [Karl Kasimir Theodor], Russian theatrical director and actor (Houligan), executed during the Great Purge at 65
  • Feb 4 Nikolai Yezhov, Head of Soviet NKVD (b. 1895)
  • Feb 7 Francis Ford, cricketer (5 Tests for England v Australia 1894-95), dies
  • Feb 11 John Buchan, Scottish politician, Governor-General of Canada (1935-40), writer (The Thirty-Nine Steps) and historian dies at 64
  • Feb 11 Gunnar Höckert, Finnish athlete (Olympic gold 5,000m 1936), dies of war wounds at 29
  • Feb 25 Mary Mills Patrick, American author and 1st President of Istanbul Woman's College, dies at 89
  • Feb 27 Peter Behrens, German architect, dies at 71
  • Feb 28 Johan Braakensiek, Dutch political cartoonist (Green Amsterdammer), dies at 81
  • Feb 28 Arnold Dolmetsch, French-Bohemian England-based musician, instrument builder, and promoter of early music, dies at 82
  • Feb 29 Edward Frederic Benson, English novelist, dies at 72