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This Day in Pop Culture for September 15

USA Today

1982: USA Today Prints its First Edition

The development of the USA Today newspaper began back in February 1980 when a secret task force began working on “Project NN” with the Gannett Company. The first prototypes of the paper were printed on June 11, 1981 mailing two different proposed layout to various news-makers. One of the goals of the paper was to create a shorter form, concise and easy-to-read publication. It wasn’t until this day in 1982 that the first edition was printed, the start of a series of milestones. The paper was first distributed in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. and gradually expanded nationwide. By the end of 1982, the circulation of the newspaper was over 362,800. On July 2, 1984, the newspaper switched from a partially color publication to a full-colored one. On April 8, 1985, the paper published its first special bonus section called “Baseball ’85.” Near the end of that year, the paper had become the second largest newspaper in the U.S. with a circulation of 1.4 million. It reached 5.5 million by 1987. On May 6, 1986, an international version of the publication began to be printed. On January 29, 1988, the largest edition of USA Today was printed previewing Super Bowl XXII. By July 1991, the circulation had grown to 6.6 million. On April 17, 1995, the first online version of USA Today appeared. When that wasn’t enough, USA Today Live appeared on TV sets on February 8, 2000. On September 12, 2001, the paper set a single-day sales record of 3,638,600 copies focusing on the World Trade Center attack. By August 2010, readership of all newspapers began to decline and USA Today announced the layoffs of 130 staffers and in January 2011, the front cover was tweaked and then went through a major redesign in September 2012. On September 3, 2014, the paper announced that it would lay off roughly 70 more employees. Today, the national newspaper has a weekly circulation of over 1,000,600. (Image: Wikimedia)

1954: Marilyn Monroe’s Famous Skirt Stunt is Filmed

Marilyn Monroe was a complicated person. Sadly, when people think of the actress, the image that usually comes to mind is the scene from the film, The Seven Year Itch where Marilyn stands over the subway vent and her skirt is blown up due to a blast from underneath. It was shot on this day at 1 a.m. on Manhattan’s Lexington Avenue. Monroe only had a couple of lines, but she managed to flub them numerous times in front of some 5,000 onlookers. Perhaps she was enjoying the attention or maybe she couldn’t concentrate. Regardless, the scene had be to be re-shot, this time on the studio lot and even then it took about 40 takes. After all of that, the scene only briefly appears in the finished movie, but that was enough for Joe DiMaggio, her husband at that time. He was infuriated, thought that it was an exhibitionist stunt and divorced her soon after.

Marilyn Monroe
(Wikimedia)

Birthdays

  • 1922: Jackie Cooper (actor)
  • 1946: Tommy Lee Jones (actor)
  • 1946: Oliver Stone (film director)
  • 1951: Pete Carroll (football coach)
  • 1975: Tom Dolan (Olympic swimmer)
  • 1986: Jenna Marbles (YouTube star)
  • 1997: Quin Houff (racecar driver)

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Jeffrey Totey View All

I write about arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.

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