Saturday, September 15, 2012

Better late than never

It's Felt Hat Day

Remember, you can leave your hat on.

September 15, 1949 -
A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty 'Hi-Yo Silver!

The Lone Ranger, the masked hero rode onto the fledgling ABC network for the first time on this date

The "Hi-Yo Silver!" shout at the beginning of each episode is a recording of Earle W. Graser, who played The Lone Ranger on radio from 1933-1941.

September 15, 1965 -
This was an incredibly busy day in TV History:

The Big Valley premiered on this date.

The series was canceled despite its popularity, because the networks were phasing out westerns in favor of more modern TV shows.

Green Acres premiered on this date.

The show took place in the same fictional universe as The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction. Characters from the latter series often appeared on this show and vice-versa.

Danger Will Robinson, danger. Dr. Smith is attempting to inappropriately stimulate your reproductive organs!

The Robinson Family gets Lost in Space for the first time on CBS-TV on this date.

And last, but not least, the first American television drama to feature an African-American actor in a lead role, I Spy, starring Bill Cosby and Roger Culp, premiered on NBC-TV on this date.

The show was the first American dramatic TV series to feature a black actor in a lead role. Scripts were peppered with unique lingo. One catchphrase, "wonderfulness," became popular and was later used by Bill Cosby for the title of one of his comedy albums.

September 15, 1971 -
Just one more thing...

The first episode of the Columbo series premiered on NBC-TV on this date.

Steven Spielberg was the director of this episode and Steven Bochco was one of the writers.

September 15, 1986
Los Angeles law firm McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak first opened their doors to television viewer when LA Law premiered on NBC-TV on this date.

In the opening title sequence, the car's L.A. Law license plate expiration sticker always showed the ending year for a given season (it showed "87" for the 1986-1987 season).

Today in History:
September 15, 1776 -
The British, led by General Howe, occupied Manhattan, capturing Kip's Bay, on this date.

Outraged by the rents, discouraged by the lack of parking and homesick for bubble and squeak and spotted dick, however, they left shortly afterwards, leaving only drunken journalists behind.

September 15, 1830 -
British MP William Huskisson was chatting amiably with the Duke of Wellington at the grand opening of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway, when all at once the right honorable gentleman distinguished himself for posterity by becoming the first human being in history to be run over by a train.

Apparently, Mr. Huskisson number was up.

(The Duke of Wellington, on the other hand, is remembered for his Beef.)

September 15, 1864 -
Thirty-four years later, on this date, another hardy British soul, the explorer John Speke, distinguished himself by becoming the first European to see Africa's Lake Victoria, and then accidentally shoots and kills himself while hunting partridges.

(conveniently, the day before he was to debate his finding with his famous exploration partner, Richard Burton - no, not that Richard Burton, the other one, the famous self circumciser, and translator of 1001 Arabian Nights & Kama Sutra.)

September 15, 1885 -

P.T. Barnum's prize elephant Jumbo was struck dead by a freight train in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. It took 150 men to haul the carcass up an embankment, from whence it is taken to a taxidermist. The stuffed Jumbo becomes a featured attraction in Barnum's circus.

Goodbye Jumbo.

September 15, 1890 -
It's the birthday of Agatha Christie (Vanessa Redgrave), born in Devon, England. She was a Red Cross nurse during World War I. She started reading detective novels because she found they took her mind off her troubles (her hushand couldn't help sleeping with other women) and soon after, started writing her own.

Her big breakthrough book was her novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, which came out in 1926. It was the same year in which Christie had a fight with her husband, fled her own home, and was missing for ten days. There was a nationwide search. It was on the front pages of all the papers. And when she finally turned up, she was famous and all of her books were best-sellers.

September 15, 1928 -
Scottish bacteriologist and noted slob Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered that the mold penicillin had an antibiotic effect, on this date. Had he cleaned his laboratory every night and put all his things away like a good little boy, he never would have discovered penicillin, and half of us would be dead right now.

As I am deathly allergic to penicillin, his discovery has done little for me but I pass this along to you all.

September 15, 1954 -
In front of thousands of spectating New Yorkers at 51st and Lexington, Marilyn Monroe performed the now-famous skirt blowing scene during filming for The Seven Year Itch. The event basically boils down to a publicity stunt, as the whole thing gets reshot later on a Hollywood soundstage.

Unfortunately, this event is the final straw in the Monroe - Dimaggio marriage and it soon comes undone.

September 15, 1972 -

 Indictments were brought against the seven Watergate conspirators: James McCord, Frank Sturgis, Bernard L. Barker, Eugenio R. Martinez, Virgilio R. Gonzales, E. Howard Hunt (noted spy, novelist and possible Kennedy assassin, rumored to have been the man on the grassy knoll) and G. Gordon Liddy (noted rat connoisseur), on this date.

And so it goes.

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