Today's History Trivia for September 17
1983 First Black Miss America Vanessa Williams (Miss New York) is crowned Miss America. She was forced to relinquish her crown in 1984 when Penthouse magazine published nude photos of her with another woman.
1972 M*A*S*H The TV show premiers. It initially had poor ratings and was almost dropped by the network. The series finale was the most watched single U.S. TV episode in history up to that point, seen by 125 million viewers.
Lord of the Flies
William Golding's Pulitzer-winning book is published. It chronicled a group of British boys stranded on an uninhabited island and their attempt to govern themselves.
1796 Warnings from George Washington U.S. President George Washington gives his farewell address warning against a large public dept, a large military, and minority interests controlling the government.
Salem Witch Trials
80-year-old Giles Corey is pressed to death for refusing to enter a plea of guilt or innocence to charges of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. According to the law, a person who refused to plead could not be tried. To persuade someone to make a plea, they were stripped naked and a heavy board laid on their body. Rocks were then laid on the plank. He endured the torture for two days until he died.
2001 Too Politically Incorrect Bill Maher in response to the 9-11 attacks states on his TV show Politically Incorrect "We have been the cowards. Lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building… not cowardly." The public outcry and loss of sponsors due to his politically incorrect statement led to the cancellation of his show.
2001 Osama bin Laden - Wanted Dead or Alive When asked, Do you want bin Laden dead?", Bush responds, "I want justice. There's an old poster out west, as I recall, that said, "Wanted: Dead or Alive." Six months later when asked about bin Laden, he would state, "…You know, I just don't spend that much time on him…"
1985 Steven Jobs resigns as chairman of Apple Computers.
1978 Battlestar Galactica debuts on ABC.
1968 Julia debuts on NBC making Diahann Carroll the first black woman to star in a TV series since Beulah (1950-53).
1966 Mission: Impossible The CBS series debuts. "Your mission, should you decide to accept it…"
1964 Bewitched debuts on ABC.
1961 Car 54, Where Are You? debuts on NBC.
1960 U.S. Embassy in Panama is attacked by mobs over dispute of flying U.S. and Panamanian flags.
1937 Mt. Rushmore Lincoln's face is dedicated. The memorial was completed in 1941.
1911 First Airplane Flight Across the U.S. Calbraith P. Rodgers departs from Sheepshead Bay, New York arriving in Pasadena, California on November 5th.
1908 First airplane fatality Orville Wright crashes his plane after the propeller breaks, killing his passenger Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge and seriously injuring himself.
1895 First U.S. battleship The USS Maine is commissioned.
1849 Harriet Tubman The African-American slave makes her first escape with her brothers. However, at her brothers' urging she returned, only to escape again soon after. She joined the Underground Railroad risking her life and freedom helping other slaves to their freedom.
1789 A seventh moon of Saturn Mimas, is discovered by Sir William Herschel.
1787 U.S. Constitution It is signed and adopted. It was ratified by the necessary nine states in June of 1788.
1787 U.S. Congress is established.
1630 Boston The settlement established by John Winthrop receives its name.
Today's Birthdays for September 17
1965 Kyle Martin Chandler American actor. TV: Early Edition (Gary Hobson, 1996-2000) and Friday Night Lights (Coach Eric Taylor, 2006‑). Film: King Kong (2005) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008).
1948 John Ritter d. 2003 (Jonathan Southworth Ritter), American Emmy-winning actor. TV: Three's Company (Jack Tripper), The Waltons (Rev. Fordwick), and 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter (the Father).
1947 Jeff MacNelly d. 2000 American Pulitzer-winning cartoonist. Creator of Shoe (1977). He has three Pulitzer wins (1972, 78, 85).
1938 Paul Benedict d. 2008 American actor. He had acromegaly, which accounted for his over-sized nose and lower jaw. He was diagnosed by an endocrinologist who saw him in a play. Film: The Addams Family (1991, Judge Womack). TV: The Jeffersons (Harry Bentley), and Sesame Street (The Mad Painter).
1935 Ken Kesey d. 2001 American author. Writings: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962).
1934 Maureen "Little Mo" Connolly d. 1969 American tennis player. She was the first woman to win the Grand Slam (1953, by winning Wimbledon, French Open, Australian Open, and U.S. Open in the same year).
1931 Anne Bancroft d. 2005 (Anne Maria Louise Italiano), American Oscar, Tony, and Emmy-winning actress. Film: The Miracle Worker (1962, Oscar), The Graduate (1967, Mrs. Robinson), and Agnes of God (1985).
1928 Roddy McDowall d. 1998 (Roderick Andrew Anthony Jude McDowall), British-born American Tony-winning actor. He won both the Charleston and Cha-Cha contests on The Arthur Murray Party (1950). Film: Lassie Come Home (1943, Joe Carraclough), Planet of the Apes (1968, Cornelius). TV: Batman (Bookworm).
1923 Hank Williams d. 1953 American country singer, composed Your Cheatin' Heart. His chauffeur was stopped by a highway patrolman who commented that Hank looked dead. Later on, the driver realized Hank really was dead.
1903 Ethel Ernestine Harper d. 1979 American singer, advertising performer. She is featured on Aunt Jemima products and worked as a traveling representative in the 1940s and 50s. She graduated from college at seventeen years old, sang with the Ginger Snaps, and sang in the Broadway production of The Hot Mikado with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson (1939).
1902 Esther Ralston d. 1994 (Esther Worth), American silent-film actress. Film: The American Venus (1926, The American Venus became her moniker) and Peter Pan (1925, Mrs. Darling). TV: Our Five Daughters (the mother).
1739 John Rutledge d. 1800 American statesman. Associate justice of the Supreme Court (1789-91) and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (1795). He was nominated for chief justice and served as a recess appointment. However, by the time of his formal nomination, his popularity had diminished due to his opposition to the Jay Treaty and his nomination was rejected.
1550 Paul V d. 1621 (Camillo Borghese), Italian religious leader, 233rd Pope (1605-21).
Deaths for September 17
1775 John Parker b. 1729 American farmer, soldier. He led the minutemen at Lexington during the Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, the first battle of the Revolution. Tradition reports he ordered "Stand your ground. Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here."
1997 Red Skelton b. 1913 (Richard Skelton), American comedian, known for his trademark signoff, "Good night and may God bless, thank you." Quote: "All men make mistakes, but married men find out about them sooner."
1996 Spiro Theodore Agnew b. 1918 39th U.S. Vice-President (1969-73), Governor of Maryland (1967-69). He resigned after pleading no contest to income tax evasion charges (1973).
1984 Richard Basehart b. 1914 American actor. TV: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (Admiral Harriman Nelson).
1909 Herman Long b. 1866 American baseball player. He holds the record for most career errors (1,037 errors during 1,877 games from 1889-1904). In 1900 he led the National League in home runs.
1574 Pedro Menéndes de Avilés b. 1519 Spanish explorer. First governor of Florida (1565-74). He founded St. Augustine, Florida (1565), which is the oldest continuously-inhabited, European-established settlement in the continental U.S.