On This Day

Historical Events in May 1959

Boxing Title Fight

May 1 Floyd Patterson scores 11th round KO of Englishman Brian London in Indianapolis; his 4th World Heavyweight Boxing title defence

  • May 1 West Germany introduces 5 day work week

Sports History

May 2 85th Kentucky Derby: Bill Shoemaker aboard Tomy Lee wins in 2:02.2

  • May 3 Tiger's Charlie Maxwell hits 4 consecutive HRs in a doubleheader

Grammy Awards

May 4 First Grammy Awards: Perry Como & Ella Fitzgerald win

  • May 4 Pulitzer Prize awarded to Archibald Macleish (JB)
  • May 4 "The 400 Blows", French film directed by François Truffaut, starring Jean-Pierre Léaud, is released
  • May 6 Iceland gunboats shoot at British fishing vessels

Sports History

May 7 "Roy Campanella Night" Largest baseball crowd at 93,103 at the LA Coliseum see Yankees beat Dodgers 6-2 in exhibition game

  • May 8 3-deck Nile River excursion steamer springs a leak panicking passengers who capsized ship; 200 drown just yards from shore

Historic Event

May 8 Little Caesars Pizza is founded by Mike Ilitch and his wife Marian Ilitch in Garden City, Michigan

Sports History

May 9 Dorothy Rigney, husband John, and Hank Greenberg resign from White Sox

  • May 10 Soviet forces arrive in Afghanistan
  • May 10 Giants Jim Hearn allows 2 runs against Pirates, game is suspended, Hearn is released & charged with loss 2 months after his retirement
  • May 11 "Kookie, Kookie Lend Me Your Comb" by Byrnes & Connie Stevens hits #4

Music Premiere

May 11 Mary Rodgers & Marshall Barer's musical "Once Upon A Mattress", starring Carol Burnett and directed by George Abbott, opens at Phoenix Theatre, NYC; runs for 244 performances

Sports History

May 11 New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra's errorless streak of 148 games ends

Music History

May 12 "Nervous Set" opens at Henry Miller's Theater NYC for 23 performances

Television Finale

May 13 Kraft Music Hall with Milton Berle last airs on NBC-TV

  • May 15 100th anniversary of 1st college baseball game, between Amherst & Williams Teams reenact the original contest
  • May 15 12th Cannes Film Festival: "Black Orpheus" directed by Marcel Camus wins the Palme d'Or
  • May 16 84th Preakness: William Harmatz aboard Royal Orbit wins in 1:57
  • May 16 WTOM TV channel 4 in Cheboygan, MI (NBC) begins broadcasting

Golf Record

May 17 Sam Snead sets PGA record for 36 holes at 122

Sanctuary of Christ the King

May 17 Sanctuary of Christ the King inaugurated, a 28 meter (92 ft) high monument and shrine overlooking Lisbon, Portugal by sculptor Francisco Franco de Sousa

  • May 18 "Castin' My Spell" by The Johnny Otis Show hits #52
  • May 18 "Judy" by David Seville hits #86
  • May 18 "Russian Band Stand" by Spencer & Spencer hits #91
  • May 19 Jan de Quay becomes premier of Netherlands
  • May 19 The USS Triton, the first submarine with two nuclear reactors, is completed
  • May 20 Ford wins battle with Chrysler to call its new car "Falcon"
  • May 20 Japanese-Americans regain their citizenship

Historic Event

May 20 Shah of Persia Mohammad Reza Pahlavi visits Netherlands

  • May 20 Yanks sink to last place, 1st time since May 25, 1940
  • May 21 "Gypsy" opens at Broadway Theater NYC for 702 performances
  • May 21 Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Children's Petting Farm opens (Cleveland, Ohio)
  • May 22 Benjamin O Davis Jr becomes 1st black major general in US Air Force
  • May 23 "Party with Comden & Green" closes at John Golden NYC after 44 performances
  • May 24 1st house with built-in bomb shelter exhibited (Pleasant Hills, Pennsylvania)
  • May 24 Empire Day renamed Commonwealth Day in Great Britain

Historic Event

May 25 Russian premier Nikita Khrushchev visits Angola

  • May 25 US Supreme Courtt rules Louisiana prohibiting black-white boxing unconstitutional
  • May 26 Harvey Haddix pitches 12 perfect innings, loses in 13th
  • May 28 Congressional Committee of Astronautics meets Project 7 astronauts
  • May 28 Johnson & Bart's musical "Lock Up Your Daughters" premieres in London
  • May 28 Monkeys Able & Baker zoom 300 miles (500 km) into space on Jupiter missile, become 1st animals retrieved from a space mission

Historic Event

May 29 Charles de Gaulle forms French government

  • May 29 Saunders-Roe SR.N1, the first practical hovercraft, performs its first engine run
  • May 30 "First Impressions" closes at Alvin Theater NYC after 84 performances
  • May 30 "Nervous Set" closes at Henry Miller's Theater NYC after 23 performances
  • May 30 Iraq withdraws from the Baghdad Pact (Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, and the United Kingdom)
  • May 30 President Luis Somoza Debayle ends emergency crisis in Nicaragua
  • May 30 President Stroessner disbands Paraguay's parliament
  • May 30 The Auckland Harbour Bridge is officially opened in Auckland, New Zealand.
  • May 30 Indianapolis 500: Rodger Ward earns first of 2 career Indy 500 victories as a record 16 cars complete full 500 miles; for the first time all cars required to have roll bars
  • May 30 58th Men's French Championships: Nicola Pietrangeli beats Ian Vermaak (3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1)
  • May 30 58th Women's French Championships: Christine Truman beats Zsuzsi Kormoczy (6-4, 7-5)