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* January 3 - The March of Dimes is established by Franklin Delano
* January 11 - Frances Moulton is the first woman to become president of
a US national bank.
* January 28 - The first ski tow begins operation (Vermont).
* February 4 - Thornton Wilder's play Our Town opens (New York City).
* February 12 - World War II: German troops enter Austria
* February 24 - A nylon bristle toothbrush becomes the first commercial
product to be made with nylon yarn.
* March 3 - Oil is discovered in Saudi Arabia.
* March 12 - Anschluss: German troops occupy Austria; annexation declared
the following day.
* March 18 - Mexico nationalizes all foreign-owned oil properties within
* June 1 - Superman first published in comic book form.
* July 3 - Steam locomotive "Mallard" sets the world speed record for
steam by reaching 126 mph.
* July 10 - Howard Hughes sets a new record by completing a 91 hour
airplane flight around the world.
* July - Building of the concentration camp Mauthausen
* August 18 - The Thousand Islands Bridge, connecting the United States
with Canada, is dedicated by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
* September - European crisis over German demand for annexation of
Sudeten borderland of Czechoslovakia.
* September 29 - Munich agreement of German, Italian, British and French
leaders agrees to German demands.
* October 12 - Filming starts on The Wizard of Oz.
* October 30 - Orson Welles's radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds
is broadcast, causing mass panic in the eastern United States.
* October 31 - Great Depression: In an effort to try restore investor
confidence, the New York Stock Exchange unveils a fifteen-point program
aimed to upgrade protection for the investing public.
* November 9 - Kristallnacht ("night of broken glass"): widespread
anti-semitic pogrom in Germany.
* December 13 - 100 deportees from Sachsenhausen built the Neuengamme
concentration camp near Hamburg.
* December 23 - Coelacanth caught off the coast of South Africa.
* Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)
* Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945)
Art, Culture & Fashion
* 1938 in film
o January - MGM announces that Judy Garland would be cast in the
role of "Dorothy" in the upcoming Wizard of Oz motion picture. Ray
Bolger is cast as the "Tinman" and Buddy Ebsen is cast as the
"Scarecrow". At Bolger's insistence, the roles are switched
between the two actors.
o April 5 - Noel Langley completes the first script for The Wizard
o May 7 - Lyricist Edgar Yipsel Harburg and composer, Harold Arlen,
begin work on the musical score for The Wizard of Oz.
o July 25 - MGM announces that Bert Lahr has been cast as the
"Cowardly Lion" in The Wizard of Oz.
o October 21 - Buddy Ebsen suffers from a near fatal allergic
reaction to the aluminum dust used in his "Tinman" make-up on the
set of The Wizard of Oz. Ebsen is replaced by Jack Haley.
o December 23 - Margaret Hamilton is severely burned during a mishap
on the set of The Wizard of Oz. Hamilton, who was cast in the role
of the "Wicked Witch", left the film for six weeks.
* 1938 in music
o January 16 - Benny Goodman plays Carnegie Hall
* 1938 in television
o May 31 - W2XBS telecasts the film The Return of the Scarlet
Pimpernel, starring Leslie Howard. The staff projectionist
accidentally played the last reel out of order, ending the film 20
minutes early. NBC was unable to obtain the rights to first run
movies for many years to follow.
o November 15 - NBC's W2XBT airs what was the first telecast of an
unscheduled event, a fire which broke out on Ward's Island.
* January 5 - King Juan Carlos of Spain
* January 10 - Donald Knuth, American mathematician and computer
* January 10 - Willie McCovey, Baseball Hall of Famer
* January 14 - Jack Jones, singer, actor
* January 18 - Curt Flood, baseball star (+ 1997)
* January 23 - Georg Baselitz, painter and sculptor
* January 25 - Etta James, singer
* January 31 - Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands
* February 1 - Sherman Hemsley, comedian, actor
* February 11 - Boris Majorov, Soviet ice hockey player.
* February 11 - Yevgeniy Majorov, Soviet ice hockey player.
* February 11 - Bevan Congdon, New Zealand cricket player.
* February 11 - Willy Correa de Oliveira, composer.
* February 11 - Manuel Noriega, Panamanian general and dictator.
* February 12 - Judy Blume, author
* February 13 - Oliver Reed, actor (+ 1999)
* February 18 - Istvan Szabo, director
* February 28 - Klaus Staeck, graphic artist
* March 17 - Rudolf Nureyev, dancer and choreographer (+ 1993)
* March 7 - Janet Guthrie, automobile racer
* March 18 - Charley Pride, country musician
* March 25 - Hoyt Axton, musician, actor (+ 1999)
* April 4 - A. Bartlett Giamatti, president of Yale Univ. and baseball
commissioner who banned Pete Rose. He died Sept. 1, 1989.
* April 8 - Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations
* April 26 - Duane Eddy, musician
* April 29 - Larry Niven, author
* May 22 - Richard Benjamin, actor
* May 28 - Osvaldo Romberg, painter, architect
* May 31 - Peter Yarrow (singer)
* June 28 - Moy Yat, Chinese Sealmaker, Martial Artist
* July 4 - Bill Withers, singer/songwriter
* July 27 - Gary Gygax, author
* August 9 - Rod Laver, Australian tennis player
* August 31 - Martin Bell, British journalist and politician
* September 25 - Jonathan Motzfeldt, first Prime Minister of Greenland
* September 29 - Wim Kok, Prime Minister of the Netherlands
* November 13 - Jean Seberg, actress
* November 16 - Robert Nozick, (philosopher)
* January 21 - Georges Mˇli¸s, French film director, allegedly the first.
* February 7 - Harvey Firestone, manufacturer
* March 13 - Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin, Soviet politician and
* March 13 - Clarence Darrow, attorney
* August 16 - Robert Johnson, blues musician
* November 11 - Mary Mallon, Irish domestic servant and cook , famous
carrier of Typhoid fever.
* December 28 - Florence Lawrence, Hollywood's first "star"
* Physics - Enrico Fermi
* Chemistry - Richard Kuhn
* Medicine - Corneille Jean Fran¨ois Heymans
* Literature - Pearl S. Buck
* Peace - Nansen International Office For Refugees, Geneva.