1972: Mark Spitz Wins Seven Gold Medals
It was on this day that Mark “the Shark” Spitz won seven gold medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. Besides setting a record for the most gold medals won in a single sport, Spitz also set a new record for each of those seven events. Spitz had commented before the seventh event, 100m freestyle that he was reluctant to participate. “I know I say I don’t want to swim before every event but this time I’m serious. If I swim six and win six, I’ll be a hero. If I swim seven and win six, I’ll be a failure.” His impressive record was kept until swimmer Michael Phelps won eight medals at the 2008 Olympics.
1956: The Price is Still Right
Contestants have been told to “Come on down!” since The Price is Right first aired on NBC in 1956. Created by Bob Stewart, Mark Goodson and Bill Todman, the first rendition of the show appeared during the day and was hosted by Bill Cullen. An evening version first appeared on the network during the fall of 1957 and was the first game show to be broadcast in color. In 1963 the ratings for the show began to fall and it was cancelled but was quickly picked up by ABC. It only aired one season during prime time and two seasons during the day before the show was cancelled again. It was on this day in 1972 that The Price is Right began airing on CBS with Bob Barker who at the time was still hosting the stunt game show, Truth or Consequences. Other prime time versions of the show aired weekly from 1972-1977 (hosted by Dennis James) and 1977-1980 (hosted by Barker). There have also been two short-lived daily syndicated versions of the show from 1985-1986 (hosted by Tom Kennedy) and 1994-1995 (hosted by Doug Davidson). Barker has the distinction as being the show’s longest-running host ending his time in June of 2007 when Drew Carey took over the reins and has hosted the show ever since.
1950: Beetle Bailey Debuts
It was on this day that comic strip character, Beetle Bailey, first appeared on newspaper pages in 1950. Mort Walker originally created the strip around a college student attending Rockview University whose characters were modeled after Walker’s friends at his Alma matter, the University of Missouri. However, that all changed on March 13, 1951 when Bailey enlisted with the U.S. Army and he has been there ever since. The strip’s title character has only been seen once without a helmet or hat covering his eyes and that was during his college days, but that particular strip was pulled before it could appear in a newspaper (although it has appeared in books about the strip’s history). In 1988, the Candlewood Playhouse in New Fairfield, Conn. ran a musical based on the comic and the following year, CBS planned to air a Beetle Bailey cartoon TV special that was completed, but never aired. Beetle Bailey is one of the oldest comic strips that is still being produced by its original creator, although Walker has been assisted by several others over the years including his three sons, Neal, Brian and Greg.
- 1918: Paul Harvey (radio host)
- 1928: Dick York (actor)
- 1931: Mitzi Gaynor (actress)
- 1958: Drew Pinsky (TV doctor)
- 1960: Damon Wayans (actor)
- 1980: Max Greenfield (actor)
- 1981: Beyonce (singer)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.