• On Jan. 6, 1838, Samuel Morse’s telegraph system is demonstrated for the first time at the Speedwell Iron Works in Morristown, N.J.. In May 1844, Morse sent the first official telegram over the first telegraph line, with the message: “What hath God wrought!”
• On Jan. 4, 1935, Billboard magazine publishes its first pop music chart. A song called “Stop! Look! Listen!” by jazz violinist Joe Venuti topped the first chart.
• On Jan. 2, 1941, the Andrews Sisters record “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” on Decca Records. The song, which became a classic World War II hit, was heard in the Abbott and Costello film “Buck Privates.” The Andrews Sisters were the most popular “girl group” of their time.
• On Jan 1, 1951, the Zenith Radio Corp. of Chicago demonstrates the first pay-per-view television system. The company sent movies over the airways via scrambled signals, and the 300 families who participated in the test could send telephone signals to decode the movies for $1 each.
• On Dec. 31, 1972, Roberto Clemente, future Hall of Fame baseball player, is killed when the cargo plane in which he is traveling crashes off the coast of Puerto Rico. Clemente was on his way to deliver relief supplies to Nicaragua following a devastating earthquake.
• On Jan. 5, 1982, a series of landslides near San Francisco kills up to 33 people and closes the Golden Gate Bridge after the area received 24 inches of rain in two days. In all, about 7,800 homes and businesses were seriously damaged. Damages exceeded $100 million. Aerial surveillance showed that 18,000 separate slides occurred.
(c) 2007 King Features Synd., Inc.