Events - September 23
1779 - You’ve heard the expression, “I have not yet begun to fight.” Well, if you thought that John Paul Jones said those words, you were right. He spoke them in a Revolutionary War battle when, as commander of the American warship, "Bonhomme Richard", he led the victory over the British warship, "H.M.S. Serapis".
1846 - The planet Neptune was first observed. Although the planet is about 30 times further away from the sun than we are on planet Earth, German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle spotted it. How’d he do that?
1908 - The baseball term, “Merkle’s Boner” and the expression, “You’re a bonehead,” had their origins on this day -- at the final game of the National League pennant race between the Chicago Cubs and the New York Giants. The Giants were at bat, two men were on base and the score was tied 1-1. The batter hit safely, scoring the winning run. But, Chicago claimed that Fred Merkle, who had been on first, never advanced to second, that he went straight to the dugout upon seeing the winning run come in. Chicago Cubs’ Johnny Evers tried to tag Merkle but was hampered by hundreds of fans pouring on to the field. Fans called the play a ‘boner’, etc. (It was later decided that the game was a tie, and the teams met again for a playoff, a 4-2 Cubs win.)
1912 - Mack Sennett’s Keystone studio opened, complete with Keystone Kops.
1930 - Flashbulbs were patented by Johannes Ostermeier of Athegnenber, Germany. Now that’s an invention that used to be very popular in the little box cameras. You popped the bulb into the socket in front of a silver reflector dish. The bulb would get all crinkly looking and milky white in color after it was used (you could only use it once). Then the bulbs were replaced by flash cubes and now, the automatic flash is built into the camera. So easy to use ... but not half as much fun.
1939 - Jan Savitt and his orchestra recorded "720 in the Books" on Decca Records.
1952 - Rocky Marciano became the world heavyweight boxing champion by knocking out Jersey Joe Walcott in the 13th round in Philadelphia PA. It was Rocky’s 43rd consecutive victory.
1952 - Pay Television for sporting events began with the Marciano-Walcott fight, coast to coast, in 49 theatres in 31 cities.
1952 - U.S. President Richard M. Nixon’s dog, Checkers, was the subject of a speech given this day by Mr. Nixon, then a candidate for vice-president. In the televised speech, he stated that he would not give back a gift -- whether it had political ties or not -- because it was a present for his daughter. The gift in question was Checkers and the speech was forever referred to as the ‘Checkers Speech’.
1967 - The Box Tops from Memphis hit #1 with "The Letter". Though the song was #1 for four weeks and remained on the charts for 13 weeks. The Box Tops reorganized right after that first hit and never made it to #1 again.
1971 - The Honey Cone scored their second gold record with "Stick-Up" on the Hot Wax label. It was a follow-up to their #1 smash, "Want Ads" (June 12, 1971).
1986 - NBC-TV won the ratings race for the 52-week season (1985-1986). "The Cosby Show" and "Family Ties" rated #1 and #2 respectively that year. NBC repeated the feat the following year and "The Cosby Show" remained number one through the 1989-1990 season.
1998 - "Shadrach", from Columbia Pictures, opened in U.S. theatres. Based on the short story by William Styron, it’s about a 99-year-old former slave (Shadrach) who wants to be buried on the plantation where he was born into slavery. Harvey Keitel, Andie Macdowell, John Franklin Sawyer, Scott Terra, Daniel Treat and Monica Bugajski star.
Birthdays - September 23
1713 - Ferdinand VI (King of Spain [1746-1759]; died Aug 10, 1759)
1800 - William Holmes McGuffy (educator, author: McGuffy Readers [122 million copies sold as of 1999]; 4th president of Ohio University; died May 4, 1873)
1889 - Walter Lippmann (journalist, political commentator; died Dec 14, 1974)
1897 - Walter Pidgeon (Mrs. Miniver, Funny Girl, Hit the Deck, How Green was My Valley, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea; died Sep 25, 1984)
1899 - Louise Nevelson (sculptor: Windows to the West, Tropical Tree III, Mirror-Shadow XI, Tropical Night Disc; died Apr 17, 1988)
1920 - Mickey Rooney (Joe Yule, Jr.) (actor: Will Roger’s Follies, Boy’s Town, Captains Courageous, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Human Comedy, The Black Stallion, Babes in Arms, Babes on Broadway, Andy Hardy series; died Apr 6, 2014)
1926 - John (William) Coltrane (composer, musician: tenor & soprano sax: Stablemates, Softly as in a Morning Sunrise, Greensleeves, Chim Chim Cheree, In a Sentimental Mood, LPs: Kind of Blue, Giant Steps, My Favorite Things; died July 17, 1967)
1930 - Colin Blakely (actor: Murder on the Orient Express, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, The Dogs of War, Equus; died May 7, 1987)
1930 - Ray Charles (Robinson) (‘The Genius’: Grammy Award-winning singer: Georgia on My Mind , Let the Good Times Roll , Genius of Ray Charles , Hit the Road Jack , I Can’t Stop Loving You , Busted , Crying Time , Living for the City , Lifetime Achievement Award of 1986, I’ll be Good to You [w/Chaka Khan - 1990]; What’d I Say, One Mint Julep, Take These Chains from My Heart, You Don’t Know Me; actor: The Blues Brothers, Ballad in Blue, Limit Up; died June 10, 2004)
1931 - Pat Suzuki (actress: Skullduggery, Mr. T. and Tina)
1935 - Les McCann (musician, singer: Compared to What, Bang, Bang!, Cold Duck)
1938 - Romy Schneider (Rosemarie Magdelena Albach-Retty) (actress: What’s New Pussycat?, Bloodline, Death Watch, La Passante; died May 29, 1982)
1941 - Bob Vogel (football: Baltimore Colts tackle: Super Bowl III, V)
1942 - Jim (James Phillip) Rooker (baseball: pitcher: Detroit Tigers, KC Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates [World Series: 1979])
1942 - Woody (William Frederick) Woodward (baseball: Milwaukee Braves, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds)
1943 - Steve Boone (musician: bass, singer: group: The Lovin’ Spoonful: Do You Believe in Magic, You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice, Daydream, Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind, Summer in the City, Rain on the Roof, Nashville Cats, Darling Be Home Soon)
1943 - Julio Iglesias (singer: To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before [w/Willie Nelson]; Guinness Book of Records: sales of more than 100 million copies of 60 LPs in five languages; soccer: professional goalie [Spain])
1944 - Óscar (Jose) Zamora (baseball: pitcher: Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros)
1945 - Ronald Bushy (musician: drums: group: Iron Butterfly: In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida)
1945 - Paul Petersen (actor: The Donna Reed Show, Mickey Mouse Club; singer: My Dad; paperback writer: It’s a Wonderful Life)
1947 - Mary Kay Place (Emmy Award-winning actress: Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman [1976-1977]; Forever Fernwood, The Big Chill; singer: Baby Boy)
1949 - Bruce Springsteen (‘The Boss’: singer: group: E-Street Band: Born in the U.S.A., Born to Run, Hungry Heart, Dancing in the Dark, Cover Me, I’m on Fire, Glory Days, My Hometown, War; songwriter: Blinded by the Light [Manfred Mann’s Earth Band], Fire [The Pointer Sisters]; inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame [3-15-99])
1959 - Jason Alexander (actor: Seinfeld, Everything’s Relative, E/R, Duckman, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, For Better or Worse, Dunston Checks In, Bye, Bye Birdy, The Paper, North, Blankman, Coneheads, Pretty Woman, Jacob’s Ladder, The Mosquito Coast, Brighton Beach Memoirs, The Burning, Bob Patterson)
1959 - Elizabeth Peña (actress: Shannon’s Deal, Tough Cookies, I Married Dora, Jacob’s Ladder, Lone Star, The Invaders, Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home, Fugitive Among Us, La Bamba, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, They All Laughed, Times Square, El Super; died Oct 14, 2014)
Chart Toppers - September 23
You’re Breaking My Heart - Vic Damone
Let’s Take an Old Fashioned Walk - Perry Como
Someday - Vaughn Monroe
Slipping Around - Ernest Tubb
Tammy - Debbie Reynolds
Diana - Paul Anka
Mr. Lee - The Bobbettes
My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You - Ray Price
Help! - The Beatles
Eve of Destruction - Barry McGuire
You Were on My Mind - We Five
Is It Really Over? - Jim Reeves
Let’s Get It On - Marvin Gaye
We’re an American Band - Grand Funk
Loves Me like a Rock - Paul Simon
You’ve Never Been This Far Before - Conway Twitty
Endless Love - Diana Ross & Lionel Richie
Queen of Hearts - Juice Newton
Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around - Stevie Nicks with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
You Don’t Know Me - Mickey Gilley
Girl I’m Gonna Miss You - Milli Vanilli
Heaven - Warrant
If I Could Turn Back Time - Cher
Above and Beyond - Rodney Crowell
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
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