Events - September 17
1787 - The Constitution of the United States of America was signed by delegates from twelve states at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, PA. The U.S. Constitution is the world’s oldest working Constitution.
1872 - Phillip W. Pratt, of Abington, MA, patented an automatic sprinkler system for putting out fires. The system was operated by means of a valve to which cords and fuses were attached. The cords held the valve closed with a spring-loaded lever. In case of a fire, when the fuses ignited, the cords burned, and the valve opened, releasing a stream of water.
1920 - The National Football League was formed -- in Canton, Ohio. Canton is now the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
1931 - RCA Victor began demonstrating a very early version of the long-playing (LP), 33-1/3 RPM phonograph record. It would be another 17 years before RCA rival Columbia would begin mass production of the LP.
1952 - Frank Sinatra sang at his final session with Mitch Miller and Columbia Records.
1953 - Ernie Banks became the first black baseball player to wear a Chicago Cubs uniform. Banks was also quick to say, “Let’s play two!” Banks was the Cubs’ outstanding shortstop from 1954 to 1960. In 1961 he was moved to left field, then to first base, where he spent the rest of his career. In 1969, Ernie Banks was voted the Cub’s best player ever by Chicago fans. ‘Mr. Cub’ retired in 1971.
1954 - Rocky Marciano retained possession of the world heavyweight boxing title. He knocked out Ezzard Charles in the eighth round of their championship bout.
1955 - "The Perry Como Show" moved to Saturday nights on NBC-TV. Soon, U.S.A. audiences would “Sing along with me ... I’m on my way to the stars...” with the incomparable Mr. C. Como’s hourlong variety show replaced his three-times-per-week, 15-minute show, which had been on the air since 1948. The new version of "The Perry Como Show" soon became Saturday’s highest-rated TV program, beating CBS competitor Jackie Gleason.
1961 - A new team debuted in the National Football League: the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings defeated the Chicago Bears by a score of 37-13 in the team’s first game.
1965 - "The Smothers Brothers Show", a sitcom, debuted on CBS-TV. Dick Smothers played young executive Dick Smothers, who worked for publisher Leonard J. Costello (Rolland Winters). Dick was trying to enjoy life as a prosperous bachelor, when his brother Tom (played by Tom) showed up as an apprentice angel. Tom, who had been lost at sea some years before, had to perform good deeds on earth in order to gain permanent angel wings. Instead of the helpful angel, he was often the blundering angel, constantly depending on brother Dick to get him out of scrape after scrape. "The Smothers Brothers Show" ran in this format for one year. The funny and talented duo returned in February of 1967 with "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour", and continued to get into scrape after scrape -- this time with the network.
1965 - CBS-TV debuted an oxymoron this night in 1965. "Hogan’s Heroes", a comedy, took place in a World War II Nazi POW camp. For six years the prisoners, under the lead of Colonel Robert Hogan (played by former KNX, Los Angeles, radio air personality, Bob Crane), managed to outwit the incompetent and inept Nazi Colonel Wilhelm Klink (played very competently by Werner Klemperer [2-time Emmy-Award winner for his role]) and Nazi Sgt. Shultz (played quite deftly by John Banner).
1983 - Vanessa Williams, Miss New York, was crowned Miss America. Williams was the first black woman in the 62-year history of the Miss America Pageant to win the coveted title. Williams relinquished her crown during her reign when nude pictures of her were published in "Penthouse" magazine. She went on to enjoy popularity as a singer ("Dreamin’", "Save the Best for Last") and an actress ("Candyman", "Another You", "Under the Gun").
1983 - The Cincinnati Reds honored Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Bench as he ended his 16-year career as a catcher.
1984 - Seventeen years to the day after his first major-league home run, Reggie Jackson of the California Angels hit his 500th career homer -- in a game against the Kansas City Royals.
1986 - The New York Mets clinched their first divisional title since 1973 by defeating the Chicago Cubs 4-2. The Mets later won the World Series as well.
1994 - "II", by Boyz II Men, debuted at number one on the "Billboard" U.S. album chart. Cuts on the LP: "Thank You", "All Around the World", "U Know", "Vibin’", "I Sit Away", "Jezzebel", "Khalil [Interlude]", "Trying Times", "I’ll Make Love to You", "On Bended Knee", "50 Candles", "Water Runs Dry", "Yesterday". "II" was #I for IV weeks.
1999 - Four flicks featured at U.S. theatres this day: "Blue Streak" (starring Martin Lawrence, Luke Wilson, Peter Greene, William Forsythe); "Breakfast of Champions" (with Bruce Willis, Albert Finney, Nick Nolte, Barbara Hershey); "For Love of the Game" (Kevin Costner, Kelly Preston, John C. Reilly, Jena Malone); and "Get Bruce!" (Whoopi Goldberg, Bette Midler, Nathan Lane, Lily Tomlin and about a zillion others).
Birthdays - September 17
1900 - J.W. (John Willard) Marriott (hotel magnate; died Aug 13, 1985)
1902 - Esther Ralston (actress: Tin Pan Alley, We’re in the Legion Now, Oliver Twist, Shadows of the Orient, To the Last Man; died Jan 14, 1994)
1903 - Dolores Costello (actress: The Magnificent Ambersons; died Mar 1, 1979)
1904 - Jerry Colonna (comedian, actor: Meet Me in Las Vegas, Kentucky Jubilee, The Road to Singapore; TV host: The Jerry Colonna Show; died Nov 21, 1986)
1907 - Warren (Earl) Burger (Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; died June 25, 1995)
1922 - Ursula Howells (actress: Girly, The Gilded Cage; died Oct 16, 2005)
1923 - Hank (Hiram) Williams Sr. (musician, songwriter, singer: I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, Cold, Cold Heart, Take These Chains from My Heart, Honky Tonkin’, Jambalaya, Kaw-Liga, Your Cheatin’ Heart, Lovesick Blues; 1st country musician whose music crossed over into pop; wrote 125 compositions; died Jan 1, 1953)
1926 - Bill Black (musician: bassist: group: Bill Black Combo: White Silver Sands, Smokie Pt. 2; played in Elvis Presley band, backup for Elvis; died Oct 21, 1965)
1927 - George Blanda (Pro Football Hall of Famer: Chicago Bears QB, Houston Oilers QB: AFL MVP , LA Raiders kicker and quarterback: AFC Player of the Year, AP Male Athlete of the Year ; holds NFL individual record for points scored in career [2002, 1949-75] and points scored after touchdowns ; died Sep 27, 2010)
1928 - Roddy (Roderick Andrew Anthony Jude) McDowall (Tony Award-winning actor: The Fighting Cock ; Planet of the Apes series, The Poseidon Adventure, The Longest Day, How Green was My Valley, My Friend Flicka, Lassie Come Home; died Oct 3, 1998)
1929 - Sil Austin (musician, tenor saxophone: Slow Walk; composer: Ping-Pong; died Sep 1, 2001)
1931 - Anne Bancroft (Anna Maria Louisa Italiano) (Oscar and Tony Award-winning actress: The Miracle Worker ; The Graduate, The Turning Point, Agnes of God, Malice, Point of No Return, The Elephant Man, Silent Movie; married to Mel Brooks; died June 6, 2005)
1933 - Dorothy Loudon (actress: The Garry Moore Show, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; died Nov 15, 2003)
1935 - Ken Kesey (author: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; died Nov 10, 2001)
1937 - Orlando (Manuel) Cepeda (‘Baby Bull’, ‘Cha Cha’: Baseball Hall of Famer: SF Giants [Rookie of the Year: 1958/all-star: 1959-1964, 1967/World Series: 1962, 1967, 1968], SL Cardinals [Baseball Writers’ Award: 1967], Atlanta Braves, Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals)
1938 - Paul Benedict (actor: The Jeffersons, The Freshman; died Dec 1, 2008)
1938 - Bobby (Robert Paul Sr.) Wine (baseball: Philadelphia Phillies Philadelphia Phillies, Montreal Expos)
1938 - LeeRoy Yarborough (race car driver: Daytona 500 winner ; died Dec 7, 1984)
1939 - LaMont McLemore (singer: group: The 5th Dimension: Up Up and Away, Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In, [Last Night] I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All, Wedding Bell Blues, Stoned Soul Picnic)
1939 - David H. Souter (attorney: Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court)
1947 - Jeff MacNelly (Pulitzer Prize-winning [1972, 1978, 1985] cartoonist: Shoe; died June 8, 2000 [lymphoma])
1948 - John Ritter (Emmy Award winning actor: Three’s Company [1983-1984]; Problem Child I & II, Hooperman, Stay Tuned; son of Tex Ritter; died Sep 11, 2003)
1950 - Fee Waybill (John Waldo) (singer: group: The Tubes)
1951 - Kermit Washington (basketball: American Univ., LA Lakers, Portland Trailblazers [suspended 26 games for punching Rockets’ Rudy Tomjanovich: 1977])
1952 - Harold Solomon (tennis: player, coach)
1953 - Rita Rudner (comedienne, actress: Rita Rudner TV series, Hollywood Squares)
1954 - Wayne (Richard) Krenchicki (baseball: Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, Montreal Expos)
Chart Toppers - September 17
Because of You - Tony Bennett
The Loveliest Night of the Year - Mario Lanza
Sweet Violets - Dinah Shore
Always Late (With Your Kisses) - Lefty Frizzell
Sleep Walk - Santo & Johnny
I’m Gonna Get Married - Lloyd Price
(’Til) I Kissed You - The Everly Brothers
The Three Bells - The Browns
Ode to Billie Joe - Bobbie Gentry
Reflections - Diana Ross & The Supremes
Come Back When You Grow Up - Bobby Vee
My Elusive Dreams - David Houston
Rhinestone Cowboy - Glen Campbell
At Seventeen - Janis Ian
Fame - David Bowie
Feelins’ - Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynne
Maniac - Michael Sembello
Tell Her About It - Billy Joel
The Safety Dance - Men Without Hats
Night Games - Charley Pride
The Promise of a New Day - Paula Abdul
I Adore Mi Amor - Color Me Badd
Motownphilly - Boys II Men
Leap of Faith - Lionel Cartwright
Those were the days, my friend. We thought they‘d never end...
Written and edited by Carol Williams and John Williams
Produced by John Williams
Those Were the Days, the Today in History feature
from 440 International
No portion of these files may be reproduced without the express, written permission of 440 International Inc.