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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Basic Biittner: The year in review

Monday, January 4, 2010

One thing you can always count on in late December - the media will be full of "Best Of the Year" lists - The year's top movies, the top news stories, top music, etc., etc.

And this year is even worse, because, by many people's figuring, 2009 marks the end of the decade. So, in addition to the usual "Best of the Year" lists, we also inundated with "Best of the Decade" lists.

In keeping with that tradition, then, I present my own lists of the Best of the Year. One slight change, though. The Chronicle Times doesn't want to be like every other paper, and we want to present something "completely different." Since I don't keep up that well with current trends, shows, music, et. al., I now present to you my "Best of the Year" for 1939.

Top News Stories

1. The War in Europe . German dictator Adolf Hitler proclaims the extermination of all European Jews on Jan. 20, later invades several European countries; the "unsinkable" German battleship Bismarck is launched on Feb 15th; Britain declares war on Germany on Sept. 3, followed quickly by France, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada; U.S. declared neutrality on Sept. 5, and on Sept. 8, FDR declares a "limited national emergency" in the U.S.,due to the war in Europe.

2. WGY-TV (Schenectady, NY), 1st commercial TV station, begins service on Nov. 6th.

3. Social Security Administration approves the first unemployment check on Nov 15th.

4. Pan Am begins transatlantic passenger & air mail service on May 20.

5. Yankee star Lou Gehrig ends his 2,130 consecutive game streak on May 3. A short time later, it is revealed that he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; he retires from baseball, gives an emotional farewell speech at Yankee Stadium, and is elected to the new Baseball Hall of Fame, which opened at Cooperstown, New York on June 12, at the end of the year.

6. Pope Pius XII is crowned in Vatican ceremonies in March.

7. In Bombay (Mumbai), Mohandas Gandhi begins a fast in protest of the autocratic rule in India.

8. In publishing, the John Steinbeck novel "The Grapes of Wrath" is published Apr 14th; the Pulitzer Prize is awarded to Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings on May 1 for her novel "The Yearling;" Glamour magazine begins publishing on March 7th; the daily newspaper comic strip "Superman" debuts on Jan. 6, and "Batman" comics hits the street on May 1st.

9. Young crooner Frank Sinatra made his recording debut on Jul 13th.

10. Uranium atom 1st split, Columbia University on Jan 22nd ; Albert Einstein informs FDR of possibilities of atomic bomb on Oct 11th.

among other news stories in 1939, the New York World's Fair opened on April 30th; future Queen Elizabeth of England met her future husband Philip on June 22nd ; LaGuardia Airport opened in NYC on Oct. 15th; FDR laid the cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial in Wash. DC on Nov. 15th; and Al Capone was freed from Alcatraz jail on Nov. 16.

Best Pop record -

1. Over The Rainbow - Judy Garland; 2. If I Didn't Care - Ink Spots;

3.When The Saints Go Marching In - Louis Armstrong; 4. Moonlight Serenade - Glenn Miller ; 5. Little Brown Jug - Glenn Miller; 6. Jeepers Creepers - Al Donohue; 7. Beer Barrel Polka - Will Glahe; 8. God Bless America - Kate Smith; 9. South of the Border (Down Mexico Way) - Shep Fields; 10. Sunrise Serenade - Glenn Miller

Best Country & Western Record

1. Back In The Saddle Again - Gene Autry; 2. San Antonio Rose - Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys; 3. That's What I Like About The South - Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys; 4. Truck Driver Blues - Cliff Bruner; 5.

Convict And The Rose - Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys; 6. It Makes No Difference Now - Jimmie Davis; 7. Yearning - Bob Wills; 8. Annabelle - Hoosier Hot Shots; 9. Whoa Babe -Bob Wills; 10. Silver Bell -- Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys

Best Film

1. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; 2. Gone With the Wind; 3. The Wizard of Oz; 4. Ninotchka; 5. Young Mr. Lincoln; 6. Only Angels Have Wings; 7.
Love Affair; 8. Wuthering Heights; 9. Stagecoach; 10. Of Mice and Men

Athlete of the Year - Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick, U. of Iowa

MLB MVP - Joe DiMaggio

What a year, huh???

In my next column, I'll pick the "Best of the Decade."

Which decade, you ask?

Stay tuned. I haven't decided yet.

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner