On This Day

What Happened in January 1961

Historical Events

  • Jan 1 Briggs Stadium, home of baseball's Detroit Tigers is officially renamed Tigers Stadium
  • Jan 1 Largest check issued, National Bank of Chicago to Sears ($960.242 billion)
  • Jan 1 Russia introduces a new ruble worth $1.11
  • Jan 1 1st AFL Championship, Jeppesen Stadium, Houston; Houston Oilers beat Los Angeles Chargers, 24-16; QB George Blanda 3 TD passes, 3 conversions and a field goal
  • Jan 2 Hawaii's, then all time low temperature, 14°F recorded atop Haleakale
  • Jan 2 47th Rose Bowl: #6 Washington beats #1 Minnesota, 17-7
  • Jan 2 27th Sugar Bowl: #2 Mississippi beats Rice, 14-6
  • Jan 2 27th Orange Bowl: #5 Missouri beats #4 Navy, 21-14

Election of Interest

Jan 3 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. elected Chairman of US House Education and Labor Committee

  • Jan 3 US breaks diplomatic relations with Cuba
  • Jan 3 An explosion at the Nuclear Reactor Testing Station in Idaho Falls kills three operators
  • Jan 4 Longest recorded strike ends as the Danish barbers' assistants end a 33 year strike
  • Jan 7 1st NFL Playoff Bowl (runner-up bowl)-Detroit beats Cleveland 17-16
  • Jan 7 Trucial States (now UAE) issue their 1st postage stamps
  • Jan 8 Bollingen Prize for poetry awarded to Yvor Winters
  • Jan 8 The French vote for Algerian independence from French rule in the wake of seven years of guerrilla war
  • Jan 9 Twins agree on $500,000 payment to AA for Minn/St Paul territory
  • Jan 11 Racial riot at University of Georgia
  • Jan 12 "Show Girl" opens at Eugene O'Neill Theater NYC for 100 performances
  • Jan 12 UN genocide pact goes into effect
  • Jan 14 Chicago Bear Willard Dewveall becomes 1st NFLer to join AFL

NFL Pro Bowl

Jan 15 11th NFL Pro Bowl, LA Memorial Coliseum: Western Conference beats Eastern Conference, 35-31; MVPs: Johnny Unitas, Baltimore Colts, QB; Sam Huff, NY Giants, LB

  • Jan 16 "Conquering Hero" opens at ANTA Theater NYC for 8 performances
  • Jan 16 Russian espionage ring detected in Great Britain
  • Jan 17 President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers a televised farewell address to the nation three days before leaving office, in which he warns against the accumulation of power by the "military-industrial complex".

NBA All-Star Game

Jan 17 11th NBA All-Star Game, Onondaga County Coliseum, Syracuse, NY: West beats East, 153-131; MVP: Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals, PG; at 22, youngest player to receive All-Star MVP honours, 23 points & 14 assists

  • Jan 18 Zanzibar's Afro-Shirazi party wins 1 seat by a single vote & parliament by a single seat

Television Debut

Jan 19 1st episode of "Dick Van Dyke Show" is filmed

Historic Event

Jan 20 Yugoslav ex-vice-president Milovan Djilas flees

President Inaugurated

Jan 20 Democrat John F. Kennedy, the youngest elected President of the United States, is administered his oath of office at his inauguration by Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren. Robert Frost recites "Gift Outright".

  • Jan 21 Francis Poulenc's "Gloria" premieres in Boston (Boston Symphony and Chorus Pro Musica under conductor Charles Münch)
  • Jan 21 "Conquering Hero" closes at ANTA Theater NYC after 8 performances
  • Jan 21 KIFI TV channel 8 in Idaho Falls, Idaho (NBC) begins broadcasting
  • Jan 21 Portuguese rebels seize cruise ship Santa Maria
  • Jan 23 Supreme Court rules cities & states have right to censor films
  • Jan 23 Venezuela adopts constitution

Historic Event

Jan 24 Edward Albee's "American Dream" premieres in NYC

  • Jan 24 Lazard Brothers Ltd draw a check for $334,867,807.68
  • Jan 25 1st live, nationally televised presidential news conference with JFK
  • Jan 25 Military coup in El Salvador

Film Release

Jan 25 Walt Disney's animated film "101 Dalmatians", based on the novel by Dodie Smith and directed by Clyde Geronimi and Hamilton Luske is released in the US

Sports History

Jan 25 Toronto left wing Frank Mahovlich scores twice, giving him 39 for the season, and making him highest single season goal scorer in Maple Leafs' history, as Toronto beats Montreal Canadiens, 5-3

#1 in the Charts

Jan 26 "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" by Elvis Presley hits #1

  • Jan 26 1st woman personal physician to a US President - Janet G. Travell (to John F. Kennedy)
  • Jan 27 "Sing Along with Mitch" [Miller] premieres on NBC TV

Music History

Jan 27 Leontyne Price and Franco Corelli make debuts at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in "Il trovatore"; final curtain call lasts 35 minutes

  • Jan 27 Australian Championships Women's Tennis: Margaret Court retains title; repeat of previous year's final beating Jan Lehane O'Neill 6-1, 6-4

Australian Men's Tennis Open

Jan 27 Australian Championships Men's Tennis: Roy Emerson beats fellow Australian Rod Laver 1-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 for his first Grand Slam title

  • Jan 28 Republic of Rwanda proclaimed
  • Jan 29 US female Figure Skating championship won by Laurence Owen
  • Jan 29 US male Figure Skating championship won by Bradley Lord
  • Jan 30 Bobby Darin is youngest performer to headline a TV special on NBC
  • Jan 30 JFK asks for an Alliance for Progress & Peace Corps
  • Jan 30 KAET TV channel 8 in Phoenix, AZ (PBS) begins broadcasting
  • Jan 30 Outstanding West Indian spin bowler Lance Gibbs takes hat-trick (Ken Mackay, Wally Grout, Frank Misson) in drawn 4th Test v Australia in Adelaide

Music Single

Jan 30 "I Fall to Pieces" single released by Patsy Cline (Billboard Song of the Year 1961)

Historic Event

Jan 31 David Ben-Gurion resigns as Prime Minister of Israel

  • Jan 31 Ham the chimpanzee is 1st primate in space (158 miles) aboard Mercury/Redstone 2
  • Jan 31 Houston voters approve bond to finance luxury domed stadium
  • Jan 31 Kanhai completes twin tons (117 & 115) v Aust at Adelaide
  • Jan 31 NATO secretary-general Paul-Henri Spaak says he'll resign
  • Jan 31 USAF launches Samos spy satellite to replace U-2 flights

Film Premiere

Jan 31 "The Misfits" premieres in NYC, final movie for both Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe

  • Jan 31 West Indian cricket batsman Rohan Kanhai scores back-to-back centuries in the drawn 4th Test against Australia in Adelaide; follows 1st innings 117 with 115 in 2nd knock

Famous Birthdays

  • Jan 1 Fiona Phillips, British television presenter
  • Jan 1 Mark Wingett, British actor

Gabrielle Carteris

Jan 2 Gabrielle Carteris, American actress (Andrea in Beverly Hills 90210), born in Scottsdale, Arizona

  • Jan 2 Todd Haynes, American film director
  • Jan 2 Craig James, American NFL running back and sports commentator (Pro Bowl 1985; New England Patriots; ABC, ESPN), born in Jacksonville, Texas
  • Jan 2 Orrett Rhoden, Jamaican concert pianist, born in Kingston, Jamaica
  • Jan 3 Erwin Blom, Dutch rock singer and guitarist (Eton Crop)
  • Jan 3 Lynn Hill, American rock climber (IFSC Climbing World Cup gold 1990), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • Jan 4 Lee Curreri, American actor (Bruno Martelli-Fame), born in NYC, New York
  • Jan 5 Curt Bader, American sprint kayaker (Olympics 1996), born in Bloomfield, Iowa
  • Jan 5 Iris DeMent, American country singer ("Our Town"), born in Paragould, Arizona
  • Jan 6 Howie Long, American NFL tackle/actor/broadcaster (Broken Arrow), born in Somerville, Massachusetts
  • Jan 7 Andrew Thomson, Australian politician, born in Melbourne, Australia
  • Jan 7 Supriya Pathak, Indian actress, born in Mumbai, India
  • Jan 7 John Thune, American politician, born in Pierre, South Dakota
  • Jan 8 Shoaib Mohammad, Pakistani cricket batsman (45 Tests @ 44.34; 7 x 100; 63 ODIs; son of Hanif Mohammad), born in Karachi, Pakistan
  • Jan 8 Kazuki Takahashi, Japanese creator of Yu-Gi-Oh, born in Tokyo, Japan
  • Jan 8 Calvin Smith, American athlete, born in Bolton, Mississippi
  • Jan 9 Oliver Goldstick, American screenwriter
  • Jan 10 Evan Handler, American actor (Dear Mr Wonderful), born in NYC, New York
  • Jan 10 Janet Jones, American actress (American Anthem, Flamingo Kid), born in Bridgeton, Missouri
  • Jan 10 Nadja Salerni-Sonnenberg, Italian concert violinist, born in Rome, Italy
  • Jan 11 Jasper Fforde, British author
  • Jan 12 Andrea Carnevale, Italian soccer player (Napoli), born in Monte San Biagio, Italy

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Jan 13 Julia Louis-Dreyfus, American comedienne and actress (Elaine Benes-Seinfeld, SNL, Veep), born in NYC, New York

  • Jan 13 Kelly Hrudey, Canadian NHL goalie, 1983-98 (NY Islanders; LA Kings), and broadcaster, born Edmonton, Alberta
  • Jan 13 Kent Hull, NFL center (Buffalo Bills)
  • Jan 13 Suggs [Graham McPherson], English singer-songwriter (Madness), born in Hastings, England
  • Jan 13 Wayne Coyne, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist, and theremin player (The Flaming Lips - "Do You Realize??"), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Jan 14 Robert Edwin Hall, New Zealand mountaineer & businessman, born in Christchurch, New Zealand (d. 1996)
  • Jan 14 Mike Tramp [Trempenau], Danish heavy metal rocker (White Lion - "Mane Attraction"), born in Copenhagen Denmark
  • Jan 15 Yves P. Pelletier, Canadian comedian & film director, born in Laval, Canada
  • Jan 16 Paul Raven, English rock bassist (Killing Joke), born in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom (d. 2007)
  • Jan 16 Jill Sobule, American singer-songwriter ("I Kissed a Girl"), born in Denver, Colorado
  • Jan 17 Maia Chiburdanidze, Soviet women's world chess champ, born in Kutaisi, USSR
  • Jan 17 Brian Helgeland, American writer & film director, born in Providence, Rhode Island

Mark Messier

Jan 18 Mark Messier, Canadian NHL Center (Edmonton, NY Rangers), born in Edmonton, Alberta

  • Jan 18 Peter Beardsley, English footballer, born in Hexham, United Kingdom
  • Jan 18 Jeff Yagher, American actor, born in Lawrence, Kansas
  • Jan 19 Paul McCrane, American actor (Hotel New Hampshire, We're Fighting Back), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Jan 19 William Ragsdale, American actor (Fright Night, Mannequin 2, Smooth Talk), born in El Dorado, Arkansas
  • Jan 21 Sherry Ramsay, American actress (Trish Mason-As the World Turns), born in Stauton, Virginia
  • Jan 22 Daniel Johnston, American musician and visual artist (Hi, How Are You), born in Sacramento, California (d. 2019)
  • Jan 23 Trey Junkin, American football tight end (Arizona Cardinals), born in Conway, Arkansas
  • Jan 23 Mas Selamat bin Kastari, Singapore's most-wanted terror fugitive, born in Kendal Regency, Indonesia
  • Jan 23 Fausto Gresini, Italian Grand Prix motorcycle racer (125cc World C'ship 1985, 87) and team manager (Aprilia Racing, Gresini MotoGP), born in Imola, Italy (d. 2021)
  • Jan 24 Nastassja Kinski, German actress (Tess, Cat People), born in Berlin, Germany
  • Jan 24 Krasimir Mikhailov Stoyanov, Soviet cosmonaut, born in Varna, Bulgaria
  • Jan 24 Vince Russo, American writer, born in Long Island, New York
  • Jan 24 William Van Dijck, Belgian athlete, born in Leuven, Belgium
  • Jan 25 Michele Tobin, American actress (Fitzpatricks), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Jan 25 Vivian Balakrishnan, Singaporean politician, born in Singapore

Wayne Gretzky

Jan 26 Wayne Gretzky, Canadian ice hockey HOF center (Stanley Cup 1984, 85, 87, 88; Hart Memorial Trophy [MVP] 1980–87, 89; Art Ross Trophy [scoring champion] 1981–87, 90, 91, 94; Edmonton Oilers, LA Kings), born in Brantford, Ontario

  • Jan 26 Neil Taylor, British touring and session guitarist (Tears For Fears - "Everybody Wants To Rule The World"; Robbie Williams), born in Bristol, England
  • Jan 27 Gillian Gilbert, British rock keyboard and guitar player (New Order - "Round & Round"), born in Manchester, England
  • Jan 27 Jean-Paul Banos, Lavelanet France, Canada sabre (Olympic 9/10-88, 92, 96)
  • Jan 27 Karen Velez, American Playboy playmate (December, 1984; 1985 Playmate of the Year), born in Rockville Center, New York
  • Jan 27 Margo Timmins, Canadian folk-rock singer (Cowboy Junkies - "Sweet Jane"; "Anniversary Song"), born in Montreal, Quebec
  • Jan 27 Martin Degville, British rock singer-songwriter (Sigue Sigue Sputnik - "Love Missile F-111"), born in Walsall, England
  • Jan 27 Dina Bonnevie, Filipina actress (Beautiful Strangers; The Blood Sisters), born in 60) Quezon City, Philippines
  • Jan 27 Narciso Rodriguez, American fashion designer, born in Newark, New Jersey
  • Jan 27 Tessa Niles, British session and touring singer (Eric Clapton; Duran Duran; Robbie Williams), born in Ilford, Essex, England
  • Jan 29 Eddie Jackson, American heavy metal rock bassist (Queensrÿche - "Silent Lucidity"), born in Robstown, Texas
  • Jan 29 Mike Aldrete, American baseball infielder (Oakland Athletics, NY Yankees)
  • Jan 30 Ranjit Madurasinghe, Sri Lankan cricketer (3 Tests for Sri Lanka 1988-92), born in Kurunegala, Sri Lanka
  • Jan 31 Lloyd Cole, English rocker (Lloyd Cole and the Commotions), born in Buxton, Derbyshire
  • Jan 31 Fatou Bensouda, Gambian lawyer & Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, born in Banjul, Gambia

Famous Weddings

Mike Ditka

Jan 28 NFL coach Mike Ditka (21) weds Marge Dougherty

Famous Deaths

  • Jan 2 Bob Catterall, South African cricketer (1555 runs/24 Tests for South Africa 1922-31), dies at 60
  • Jan 4 Barry Fitzgerald, Irish actor (Academy Award, Going My Way), dies at 72
  • Jan 6 Regina Ullmann, Swiss poet and writer, dies at 76
  • Jan 7 Clarice Baright, 1st woman admitted to American Bar Association, dies at 74
  • Jan 8 Lynwood Thomas "Schoolboy" Rowe, American baseball pitcher (Detroit Tigers), dies at 50
  • Jan 9 Emily Greene Balch, American writer, Nobel Peace Prize laureate (b. 1867)
  • Jan 10 Dashiell Hammett, American detective writer (Thin Man, Maltese Falcon), dies at 66
  • Jan 11 Elena Gerhardt, German mezzo-soprano singer (b. 1883)
  • Jan 13 Blanche Ring, American singer ("In The Good Old Summer Time"), and stage and screen actress, dies at 89
  • Jan 14 Ernest Thesiger, English actor (Brass Monkey, Ghoul), dies at 81
  • Jan 14 Henry Geehl, English composer, dies at 79
  • Jan 15 Francesco Maria Saraceni, Italian composer, dies at 49
  • Jan 16 Janos Viski, Hungarian composer, dies at 54
  • Jan 21 John Joseph Becker, composer, dies a day before 75th birthday
  • Jan 24 Willem J M van Eysinga, people rights scholar, dies at 82

Alfred Carlton Gilbert

Jan 24 Alfred Carlton Gilbert, American athlete, inventor, and businessman (invented the Erector Set), dies at 76

  • Jan 26 Morris Nichols, cricketer (41 wkts in 14 Tests for Eng 1930-39), dies
  • Jan 30 Maud Wagner, first known American tattoo artist and circus performer, dies at about 83