It’s the birthday of David Brinkley, the NBC-TV newsman who gained special fame in southern West Virginia as he covered the presidential primary of 1960.
In one newscast, viewers saw Brinkley standing along the rickety one-lane bridge over Twelvepole Creek and heard the pitiful pops and groans as vehicles rumbled across the creaky wooden floorboards of the structure built in 1907.
The dilapidated Wayne County bridge had long been the subject of locals’ gripes but it took Brinkley’s report to shame state officials into coughing up the dough for a paint job and a new bridge floor.
Grateful locals soon began calling the crossing the ‘‘Brinkley Bridge’’ and the name became official in 1961 after Wayne residents lobbied to honor the journalist whose attention had accomplished what their complaints could not.
Others with birthdays today: boxer Jake LaMotta; Earl Hamner Jr., the Virginia-born creator of TV’s “The Waltons”; and the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver (who helped found the Special Olympics), John Bradley (the Navy corpsman who helped raise the flag on Iwo Jima on Feb. 23, 1945), actor Fred Gwynne (best known for TV’s “The Munsters”) and Harvey Ball (the artist who came up with the Smiley Face icon in 1963).