Events - September 26
1892 - The ‘March King’ was introduced to the general public. John Philip Sousa and his band played the "Liberty Bell March" in Plainfield, New Jersey.
1955 - Debbie Reynolds married singing idol Eddie Fisher. The couple made it through four tempestuous years.
1957 - "West Side Story" opened in New York. The musical ran for 732 performances. The loose adaptation of William Shakespeare’s "Romeo and Juliet" produced several hit songs, including "Maria" and "Tonight".
1960 - The first of the presidential debates between hopefuls Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy took place. The debate, moderated by Howard K. Smith, reached more than 69 million people via TV and another 17 million on radio.
1962 - “Come and listen to the story ’bout a man named Jed...” "The Beverly Hillbillies" aired on CBS-TV. U.S. audiences were enchanted with Jed, Ellie Mae, Granny, Jethro, Miss Jane and that banker feller. Enchanted, as in a trance, in fact, for 216 shows. Bluegrass stars Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs had the honor of composing and recording the theme song and hit record, "The Ballad of Jed Clampett".
1964 - "Gilligan’s Island" began its 98-show run on CBS. The TV show starred Bob Denver in the title role, Jim Backus as Mr. Howell, Natalie Schafer as Lovey Howell, Alan Hale as the Skipper, Russell Johnson as the Professor and Dawn Wells and Tina Louise as Mary Ann and Ginger, respectively.
1969 - The Beatles walked the road toward a hit LP for the last time, as "Abbey Road" was released in London. The 13th and last album for the ‘fab four’ zoomed quickly to the #1 spot on the charts and stayed there for 11 weeks.
1983 - The longest winning streak in sports -- 132 years -- was broken. It was the America’s Cup race and the United States team expected to maintain their title; one they were defending for the 25th time. Challenger Australia II won!
1984 - History was made at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. Neil Shicoff, lead tenor in the "The Tales of Hoffmann", was unable to perform due to illness. His understudy, a chap named William Lewis, was a bit under the weather as well, and his voice began to falter during the performance. So, Kenneth Riegel was called in to sing the part from the orchestra pit while Mr. Lewis lip-synced the part on stage.
1984 - Liz Taylor starred in the season opener of the TV soap, "Hotel". Despite incredibly biting bits from John Belushi on NBC’s "Saturday Night Live" regarding her plumpness at the time, viewers were quite amazed when Ms. Taylor appeared in a gown -- with a 24-inch waistline. Definitely no more, “I followed Liz Taylor to McDonald’s to watch the numbers change,” from Joan Rivers.
1985 - Shamu was born this day in 1985 at Sea World in Orlando, Florida. She was the first killer whale to be born in captivity and survive.
1986 - "Dallas", on CBS-TV, smashed NBC’s "Miami Vice" in the overnight ratings. The episode, from Southfork Ranch, had Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) returning from the dead -- in the shower, no less! Pam Ewing (Victoria Principal) was a bit perplexed. So were the viewers. Somebody had stayed up very, very late writing this episode.
1987 - Whitney Houston’s fifth consecutive #1 U.S. single hit the top. "Didn’t We Almost Have It All" was a cut from her LP, "Whitney", which was number one on the album charts from June 27 to Sep 11 that year.
1991 - A group of scientists, four men and four women began a two-year stay inside "Biosphere 2", a sealed structure in Oracle, AZ. They had planned to have no contact with the outside world; to grow their own food and live peacefully together as future pioneers in a harsh and alien world. Unfortunately, the outside world had to intervene a few times; to get rid of an ant invasion, to pump in oxygen, to tend to a health emergencies, to bring in forgotten necessities like makeup. The scientific team managed to last out the term, but they were half-crazy and half-starved when U.S. marshals led them out two years later.
1997 - Motion pictures opening in the U.S. this day: Triumph Films’ "The Assignment"; Dreamworks’ "The Peacemaker"; and "The Edge" and "Soul Food" from 20th Century Fox.
Birthdays - September 26
1774 - Johnny Appleseed (Chapman) (nurseryman: planter of apple orchards; died Mar 10, 1845)
1888 - T.S. (Thomas Stearns) Eliot (Nobel Prize-winning poet ; The Waste Land, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock; died Jan 4, 1965)
1895 - George Raft (Ranft) (actor: Scarface, Eighty Days, Some Like It Hot, Casino Royale; died Nov 24, 1980)
1897 - Pope Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini) (262nd pope of the Roman Catholic Church [1963-1978]; died Aug 6, 1978)
1898 - George Gershwin (Jacob Gershvin) (composer: Rhapsody in Blue, Swanee, Porgy & Bess, The Man I Love, Strike Up the Band, Funny Face, I Got Rhythm, Summertime, An American in Paris, They Can’t Take That Away from Me, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off, A Foggy Day [In London Town], Fascinating Rhythm, Embraceable You, Our Love is Here to Stay; collaborated with brother Ira; died July 11, 1937)
1901 - Ted Weems (Wilfred Theodore Weymes) (orchestra leader: Ted Weems Orchestra: Heartaches, Piccolo Pete; played mostly on network radio shows; musician: violin, trombone; died May 6, 1963)
1914 - Jack LaLanne (fitness guru; died Jan 23, 2011)
1919 - Barbara Britton (Brantingham) (actress: Mr. & Mrs. North, Dragonfly Squadron, Bandit Queen, Captain Kidd, I Shot Jesse James, Wake Island; died Jan 17, 1980)
1925 - Marty Robbins (Robertson) (Country Music Hall of Famer; Grammy Award Winner: El Paso , My Woman, My Woman, My Wife ; A White Sport Coat, Don’t Worry, Devil Woman; actor: Road to Nashville, Ballad of a Gunfighter, Hell on Wheels, The Drifter; last Grand Ole Oprey singer to perform in Ryman Auditorium, 1st to perform in new Opryland; died Dec 8, 1982)
1925 - Bobby (Robert Clayton) Shantz (baseball: pitcher: Philadelphia Athletics [all-star: 1951, 1952/Baseball Writers’ Award: 1952], KC Athletics, NY Yankees [all-star: 1957/World Series: 1957, 1960], Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Colt .45’s, SL Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies)
1926 - Julie London (Peck) (singer: Cry Me a River; actress: Emergency; died Oct 18, 2000)
1927 - Patrick O’Neal (actor: In Harm’s Way, Under Siege, The Way We Were, Diagnosis: Unknown, Dick and the Duchess, Emerald Point N.A.S., Kaz; died Sep 9, 1994)
1931 - George Chambers (musician: bass, singer: group: The Chambers Brothers: Time Has Come Today)
1932 - Joyce Jameson (comedienne, actress: The Spike Jones Show, Club Oasis, The Balcony, The Comedy of Terrors; died Jan 16, 1987)
1933 - Donna Douglas (actress: Beverly Hillbillies, Frankie and Johnny; died Jan 1, 2015)
1936 - Winnie Mandela (political activist; married South African president Nelson Madela; died Apr 2, 2018)
1941 - Joe Bauer (musician: drums: group: The Youngbloods: Get Together)
1942 - Kent McCord (McWhirter) (actor: Adam 12, Unsub, Battlestar Gallactica, Accidental Meeting, Return of the Living Dead, Predator 3, Vice President of Screen Actors Guild)
1945 - Dave (David Edwin) Duncan (baseball: catcher: KC Athletics, Oakland Athletics [all-star: 1971/World Series: 1972], Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles)
1945 - Bryan Ferry (singer: group: Roxy Music: Virginia Plain, Pyjamarama, Do the Strand, Editions of You, In Every Dream a Heartache, Street Life, All I want is You, Out of the Blue, Love is the Drug, Dance Away, Angel Eyes, More than This, Heart on My Sleeve; solo: Let’s Stick Together)
1947 - Lynn Anderson (Grammy Award-winning singer: Rose Garden ; Ride, Ride, Ride, If I Kiss You, Promises, Promises; CMA Female Vocalist of the Year ; died July 30, 2015)
1948 - Mary Beth Hurt (actress: Six Degrees of Separation, The Age of Innocence, Compromising Positions, The World According to Garp, A Change of Seasons, Interiors, Working It Out, Tattingers)
1948 - Olivia Newton-John (singer: You’re the One that I Want, If Not for You, Let Me Be There, I Honestly Love You, Have You Never Been Mellow, Please Mr. Please, Physical, Magic; actress: Grease, Xanadu, Two of a Kind)
1949 - John Roche (basketball: Univ. South Carolina, Denver Nuggets [record: 7 three-pointers in a quarter)
1951 - Dave Casper (football: Oakland Raiders tight end: Super Bowl XI)
1952 - Garry Howatt (hockey: NHL: NY Islanders, Hartford Whalers, NJ Devils)
1954 - Craig Chaquico (musician: guitar, singer: group: Jefferson Starship: We Built this City, Sara, Tomorrow Doesn’t Matter Tonight)
1955 - Carlene Carter (singer: I Fell in Love, Every Little Thing, Do It in a Heartache; June Carter’s daughter)
1956 - Linda Hamilton (actress: Terminator series, Beauty and the Beast, Children of the Corn)
1962 - Melissa Sue Anderson (actress: Little House on the Prairie, The Loneliest Runner, The Equalizer: Memories of Manon)
1962 - Tracey Thorn (singer: groups: Marine Girls: LPs: Lazy Ways, Beach Party; Everything But the Girl: Night and Day, Each and Everyone, Sean, Come on Home, I Fall to Pieces; solo LP: A Distant Shore)
Chart Toppers - September 26
I’ll Walk Alone - Dinah Shore
Is You is or is You Ain’t - Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
I’ll Be Seeing You - Bing Crosby
Smoke on the Water - Red Foley
You Belong to Me - Jo Stafford
Wish You Were Here - Eddie Fisher
Half as Much - Rosemary Clooney
Jambalaya (On the Bayou) - Hank Williams
My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own - Connie Francis
Chain Gang - Sam Cooke
Mr. Custer - Larry Verne
Alabam - Cowboy Copas
Harper Valley P.T.A. - Jeannie C. Riley
Hey Jude - The Beatles
Hush - Deep Purple
Mama Tried - Merle Haggard
Play That Funky Music - Wild Cherry
I’d Really Love to See You Tonight - England Dan & John Ford Coley
A Fifth of Beethoven - Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band
If You’ve Got the Money I’ve Got the Time - Willie Nelson
Missing You - John Waite
Let’s Go Crazy - Prince & The Revolution
Drive - The Cars
Let’s Chase Each Other Around the Room - Merle Haggard
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.