2001: The First Amazing Race
The reality TV series created by Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster, The Amazing Race began its first competition on this day in 2001 on CBS. Hosted by Phil Keoghan since the show’s premiere the teams of two are typically two people who have something in common: they are brothers, husband and wife, co-workers, best friends, etc. One season the show featured families of four competing and a couple of seasons teamed up total strangers with each other. During their “amazing race,” contestants are face with numerous challenges that they must complete in order to get their next clue which will lead them to yet another clue or instruction on a leg’s pit stop. The last team to reach the pit stop is often eliminated. Throughout the season, teams literally travel the world in a number of days. The Amazing Race has won 13 Emmy Awards often for “Outstanding Reality-Competition Program.” (Image: CBS)
1922: The Mystery House is Finished
On September 30, 1862, Sarah Lockwood Pardee married William Winchester, heir to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. In 1873, the Winchester rifle Model 73 (aka “The Gun that Won the West”) was released. In 1880, Oliver Winchester passed away leaving the company to William. However, just three months later, William died of tuberculosis. Now a widow, Sarah inherited the family’s fortune – about $20 million dollars worth plus nearly 50% of the Winchester Repeating Arms stock. In 1886, Sarah purchased a two-story farmhouse in San Jose, California and it became the start of a 36-year home improvement project later known as the Winchester Mystery House. One could blame all of the construction on a Boston medium who was supposedly channeling Sarah’s late husband and encouraged Sarah to move out West and continuously build up a home big enough to hold her and all of the victims’ spirits who had been shot by a Winchester rifle. By the time Sarah passed away on this day in 1922, the Mystery House contained 161 rooms, 47 fireplaces, 13 bathrooms (however only one was functional) two basements, three elevators and lots of windows made from 10,000 panes of glass and 2,000 doors. It is said that she slept in a different room each night to prevent the spirits from finding her. In April 1923, John and Mayme Brown purchased the house and began to offer tours of property. It still a popular tourist attraction today. The house was partially used for the filming of the 2018 Helen Mirren film Winchester.
1927: Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is Born
In 1927 Universal Studios decided that they wanted to get into the cartoon business and needed a cartoon character of its own. Disney’s distributor, Charles Mintz, talked Disney and Ub Iwerks into creating a new character they could sell to Universal. An agreement was made and on this day in 1927, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit appeared for the first time in the short, Trolley Trouble. Universal didn’t treasure the little guy as much as Walt did. They selected the name “Oswald” out of a hat. The next year, it is reported that Disney met with Mintz in hopes of receiving a more profitable contract. Instead Mintz asked Disney to take a 20% cut in pay. Disney quit the studio leaving Oswald behind. Oswald wasn’t returned to the Disney Company until February 2006. His first appearance back under the Disney brand was his role in both of the Epic Mickey video games.
1994: ‘Sweet Valley High’ Goes to TV
Debuting as a syndicated show on this day in 1994, Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley High series came alive on the small screen with real-life twin sisters Brittany and Cynthia Daniel playing the roles of flirty Jessica and responsible Elizabeth Wakefield living in the fictional town of Sweet Valley. Distributed by Teen Dream Productions, the show was shown in syndication for its first three years before premiering on UPN for its fourth and last season.
- 1847: Jesse James (outlaw)
- 1912: Frank Thomas (animator)
- 1929: Bob Newhart (actor)
- 1932: Carol Lawrence (actress)
- 1940: Raquel Welch (actress)
- 1946: Freddie Mercury (singer)
- 1951: Michael Keaton (actor)
- 1973: Rose McGowan (actress)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.