The first of John Ford's famed 'Cavalry Trilogy', Fort Apache (a thinly veiled retelling of Custer's Last Stand), premiered on this date. This film was followed by She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Rio Grande, though it was not originally intended as a trilogy.
The Fort Apache fort, built for this production, stood for years. It was reused in dozens of productions, most notably the TV series The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin (1954). It was located at the Corriganville Movie Ranch in Simi Valley, California. Today it is possible to visit this location, as it is now administered as a City Park in Simi Valley.
March 9, 1954 -
... No one familiar with the history of his country can deny that Congressional committees are useful. It is necessary to investigate before legislating. But the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one, and the junior senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly.
Edward R. Murrow, cigarette smoking, gin guzzling reporter took on the cigarette smoking, whiskey drinking junior senator and demagogue from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy and the Red Scare hysteria on his program, See It Now, on this date.
March 9, 1954 -
The first local color television commercial was aired on WNBT television, now WNBC television, in New York on this date, for Castro Decorators of New York City. Castro were the folks who made the Castro convertible sofa beds.
The television commercial featured Bernadette Castro opening a big couch into a bed (only the B & W kinescope exists.)
It was so-o-o easy! Let me see you try it.
March 9, 1959 -
The Barbie doll went on display at the American Toy Fair in New York City for the first time. Barbie was the first mass-produced toy doll in the United States with adult features.
With its sponsorship of the Mickey Mouse Club TV program in 1959, Mattel became the first toy company to broadcast commercials to children. They used this medium to promote their new toy, and by 1961, the enormous consumer demand for the doll led Mattel to release a boyfriend for Barbie. Ruth Handler named him Ken, after her son. Barbie's best friend, Midge, came out in 1963; her little sister, Skipper, debuted the following year.
March 9, 1966 -
The Beach Boys began recording God Only Knows on this date. (Paul McCartney once called God Only Knows, "The greatest song ever written.")
The song is considered a Beach Boys classic, but it only managed to scrape the Top-40 in the United States. It was released as the B-side of Wouldn't It Be Nice in the US, partly because of fear that radio stations would refuse to play a song with "God" in the title.
March 9, 1979 -
ABC-TV aired the documentary Heroes of Rock & Roll, on this date.
This was one of the first comprehensive documentaries to be made about rock music
Today in History:
March 9, 1170 -
In Essex, a UFO is spotted over St. Ostwyth, manifesting itself as a "wonderfully large dragon ... borne up from the Earth through the air". The craft kindled the air and destroyed a house.
March 9, 1454 -
Amerigo Vespucci was born on this date. He was an Italian explorer who made many voyages to the new world at about the same time as Columbus.
The two continents of the new world were therefore named for him, and it wasn't until the seventeenth century (Greenwich time) that North and South Vespucci were renamed the Americas.
March 9, 1556 -
David Rizzio, the secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots, was stabbed 56 times by a gaggle of Scottish nobles on this date.
Isn't love among the royalty grand?
March 11, 1562 -
March 9, 1961 -
Korabl-Sputnik-4, also known as Sputnik 9, was launched with a dog named Chernushka (Blackie) on a one orbit mission. Also onboard the spacecraft was a cosmonaut dummy (whom Russian officials nicknamed "Ivan Ivanovich"), mice and a Guinea pig.
The dummy was ejected out of the capsule during re-entry and made a soft landing using a parachute. The animals were recovered unharmed inside the capsule. Chernushka went on to a successful career as the provincial governor of the Kazakhian region. The Cosmonaut dummy could not be used again as 'Blackie' had spent the entire flight having a 'brief but intense' relationship with the leg of Ivan Ivanovich.
March 9, 1967 -
Josef Stalin's daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva, walks into the U.S. Embassy at New Delhi and asks to defect (some reports have it that she defected on March 6th - does it really matter - you don't give a damn.)
Her defection was one of a series of high-profile defections throughout the Cold War.
March 9, 1981 -
Dan Rather succeeded Walter Cronkite as anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News.
He was the third person to occupy that seat since the program's 1948 launch. His last broadcast was March 9, 2005.
March 9, 1996 -
Nathan Birnbaum, the comedian Gracie Allen carried around for years, forgot to have his daily martini and died on this date.
Kids, let this be a lesson to us all - not only does alcohol taste good, it's good for you - even if you are 100 years old.
March 9, 1997 -
Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace) was killed in a drive-by outside the Soul Train Music Awards in Los Angeles on this date. The murder has never been officially solved, though an ongoing feud with Death Row Records may have had something to do with it.
Be thankful that most of us aren't hip hop stars.
And so it goes