1902: J.C. Penney Opens its First Store
James Cash Penney, Jr. opened his first store, the third in the small chain of Golden Rule store on this day in 1902. By 1907, the owners who took Penny in, dissolved their partnership in 1907 and Penny took them over. By 1913, the stores were renamed the J. C. Penney Company and in 1916, the stores starting appearing nationwide. In 1929, the total number of stores rose to 1,400 but the stock market crash during the Great Depression left Penney in personal financial ruin doing everything he could to pay his employees. The stress was so great, that he checked himself in at the Battle Creek Sanitarium. It is said that after hearing the hymn “God Will Take Care of You” during a chapel service there, he became a born again Christian.
1964: The First African American Male to Win the Best Actor
Sidney Poitier became the first African American Male to win the Oscar for Best Actor on this day in 1964 for his role in the movie, Lilies of the Field. The 1963 movie based on the novel of the same name by William Edmund Barrett also starred Lilia Skala, Stanley Adams, and Dan Frazer. The title comes from the Bible passage, Luke 12:27-30 and story itself is about an African American itinerant worker who finds that a group of East German nuns believe that he was sent to them to build a new chapel. In 1970, the story was turned into a Broadway musical and re-titled, Look to the Lilies.
- 1743: Thomas Jefferson (3rd President of the United States)
- 1866: Butch Cassidy (criminal)
- 1923: Don Adams (actor)
- 1942: Bill Conti (composer)
- 1945: Tony Dow (actor)
- 1946: Al Green (singer)
- 1955: Steve Camp (singer)
- 1964: Caroline Rhea (actress)
- 1970: Rick Schroder (actor)
- 1975: Lou Bega (singer)
- 1988: Allison Williams (actress)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.