A Blast from the Past

By United Press International  |  Jan. 14, 2003 at 3:00 AM
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Today is Jan. 14.

Something happened on this date which helped make traffic jams possible, as well as superhighway interchanges, speeding tickets, annual emissions tests, rip-off towing companies and host of other modern conveniences. It was in 1914 that Henry Ford introduced the assembly line method of manufacturing cars -- allowing completion of one Model-T Ford every 90 minutes.

Thousands of Cubans marched in Havana on this date in 2000 to demand that 6-year-old refugee Elian Gonzalez be returned to his father in Cuba. The boy's mother had drowned as they tried to enter the United States in Nov. 1999; the child was turned over to a great-uncle in Miami who fought to keep Elian in America.

It was on this date in 1794 that Dr. Jesse Bennett of Edom, Va., performed the first successful Caesarean section. The patient was his wife.

NBC's "Today," the program that started the morning news show format as we know it, premiered on this date in 1952. The show -- which was hosted by Dave Garroway -- was segmented with bits and pieces of news, sports, weather and interviews. The addition of J. Fred Muggs the chimpanzee pushed ratings even higher.

And David Letterman, on this date in 1993, announced that he had accepted a multimillion-dollar deal to move his late night talk show to CBS in August after his NBC contract expired. Letterman had been toiling away in the 12:30 a.m. (ET) timeslot at NBC for years. So when Johnny Carson retired in 1992, Letterman hoped he'd be named the show's new host. Instead, the gig went to Jay Leno.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.

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