1958: Elvis in the Army
On this day in 1958, hip-swinging Elvis Presley was inducted into the United States Army and since publicity makes the world go round, Elvis’ manager was on hand with a photographer to capture this historic day. Always the professional, the 23-year-old showed no nervousness or sadness unlike his mother, Gladys, who was visibly upset. While away on his two year stint with the army, Elvis’ mother passed away and Elvis met the future Mrs. Presley, Priscilla Beaulieu, who at the time was just 14 years old. (Image: Wikimedia)
1980: Nightline Begins
On November 8, 1979, ABC aired a new late night show called The Iran Crisis – America Held Hostage partially as a way to compete with NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Frank Reynolds started the 20-minute long broadcasts, but was soon taken over by Ted Koppel. On this day in 1980, the show’s name was changed to Nightline. After 444 days of the crisis, the show was able to bring other stories with a mix of investigative journalism and interviews that were longer than would be seen during the evening news. On November 22, 2005, Koppel retired from Nightline after 25 years as anchor of the program, and left ABC News after 42 years with the network. Today, the show is hosted by Byron Pitts and Juju Chang appearing on alternate nights. (Image: ABC)
1945: Happy Birthday Sylvester
There seems to be some disagreement on just when this Warner Bros. cartoon cat first appeared in Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes animated shorts. Some say the feline appeared in 1939’s Naughty but Mice in which the cat doesn’t say a word, but most agree that he first appeared in Life with Feathers that was released on this day in 1945 where he was referred to as “Thomas.” He wasn’t paired with Tweety Bird until 1947’s Tweetie Pie and didn’t get a new name until he appeared in the Porky Pig cartoon, Scaredy Cat in 1948. The name Sylvester is a play off the term “Felis silvestris,” the scientific name for a “wild cat species.” In addition to chasing Tweety, Sylvester has been known to hunt Speedy Gonzales and Hippety Hopper, the baby kangaroo who Sylvester mistakes be a giant mouse. Somewhere done the line Sylvester became a father to “Junior” although it is a mystery who Junior’s mother is. Sylvester has appeared in over 100 animated short films. In 1995, Sylvester, Tweety and Granny appeared in the original TV series, The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries. The cat and bird also appeared briefly in the 2014 Roadrunner cartoon, Flash in the Pain and other original shows for Cartoon Network.
1820: The Queen of Gospel Song Writers
Though you may not know her by name, your parents or grandparents probably do. Fanny Crosby, born on this day in 1820, was responsible for writing the bulk of many of the hymns you have sang in church. Throughout her lifetime, Fanny wrote over 8,000 hymns and gospel songs. Over 100 million copies of these songs have been printed includind “Blessed Assurance,” Praise Him, Praise Him” and “To God Be the Glory.” What makes this even more incredible is the fact that she was blind shortly after her birth. Is has been said that publishers were hesitant to publish so many songs under one name, so Crosby went by about 200 different pseudonyms during her lifetime. In addition to her gospel music work, Crosby also wrote many secular songs, patriotic songs, five cantatas, 1,000 poems (which were featured in four books of poetry) and two autobiographies. She passed away on February 12, 1915.
- 1874: Harry Houdini (magician)
- 1901: Ub Iwerks (animator)
- 1930: Steve McQueen (actor)
- 1946: Kitty O’Neil (stuntwoman)
- 1953: Louie Anderson (comedian)
- 1955: Bill Wray (animator)
- 1962: Star Jones (talk show host)
- 1970: Lara Flynn Boyle (actress)
- 1971: Tig Notaro (comedian)
- 1973: Jim Parsons (actor)
- 1976: Peyton Manning (football player)
- 1977: Jessica Chastain (actress)
- 1979: Lake Bell (actress)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.