Today's History Trivia for September 21
1897 Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus: Francis Pharcellus Church's famous New York Sun response to 8-year-old Virginia O' Hanlon's letter, is published. It is the most reprinted newspaper editorial in the English language. After asking her father if there was a Santa Claus, he suggested she write to The Sun, telling her that "If you see it in The Sun, it's so." Church then wrote the now famous response. "…Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished…"
1776 I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country Nathan Hale is captured by the British during the American Revolution and accused of spying. As he was being hanged the next day, he made his famous proclamation.
1991 Dead Sea Scrolls Photographs of the scrolls are made public by the Huntington Library in California.
1989 Woman wins custody of her frozen embryos Her husband had filed for divorce saying he no longer wanted to be a father.
1982 Pro Football's First Mid-Season Strike The 57-day strike begins, the longest strike in professional sports.
1976 Baa Baa Black Sheep debuts on NBC.
1970 First game of N.F.L. Monday Night Football The Cleveland Browns beat the New York Jets (31-21).
1969 First NFL 98-Yard Punt Steve O'Neal of the New York Jets boots one against the Denver Broncos.
1968 Adam 12 debuts on NBC.
1965 First American to swim the English Channel round trip 37-year-old Ted Erikson makes the swim in 30 hours and three minutes.
1823 Mormons According to Mormon founder Joseph Smith, he has a vision telling him the hiding place of the plates of gold on which the Book of Mormon was written. He would receive the plates from an angel four years later.
1784 First successful U.S. daily newspaper The Pennsylvania Packet & General Advertiser begins publication. The U.S. Constitution was first published in this paper.
Today's Birthdays for September 21
1971 Bubble Boy d. 1984 (David Vetter). He spent most of his life inside a protective bubble due to a severe immune deficiency. The film The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (1976, starring John Travolta) was inspired by the lives of he and Ted DeVita, who lived most of his life in a sterile hospital room.
1962 Rob Morrow American actor. TV: Northern Exposure.
1950 Bill Murray American Emmy-winning comedian. TV: Saturday Night Live.
1947 Stephen Edwin King American horror writer. Writings: Carrie (1974) and The Shining (1976).
1935 Henry Gibson d. 2009 (James Bateman), American comedian. TV: Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (1968-71, known for his verse).
1934 Leonard Cohen d. 2016 Canadian Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer, songwriter. Music Hallelujah (1984, covered by John Cale and used in the movie Shrek).
1918 Rand Brooks d. 2003 American actor. TV: The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin (Corporal Boone). Film: Hopalong Cassidy's sidekick Lucky Jenkins in 12 movies.
1912 Chuck Jones d. 2002 (Charles M. Jones), American animator, helped create Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Speedy Gonzalez, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Pepé LePew, Porky Pig, and Tweetie Pie. Cartoons: One Froggy Evening (1955, with the reluctant singing frog), What's Opera Doc? (1957, voted #1 greatest cartoon of all time), and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966).
1902 Sir Allen Lane d. 1970 British publisher. He founded Penguin Books (1935), which introduced low-priced paperbacks to the world.
1874 Gustav Holst d. 1934 English composer. Music: The Planets (1919) and The Perfect Fool (1923).
1866 H.G. Wells d. 1946 (Herbert George Wells), English novelist. Writings: The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898).
1863 John Bunny d. 1915 American actor, comedian, the first comic star of the American screen (1910). This 300-pound actor made over 200 comic shorts during his brief five-year film career.
1853 Heike Onnes d. 1926 Dutch Nobel-winning physicist. First to liquefy helium (1908), and coined the term "super-conductivity" after discovering the drop in electrical resistance exhibited by solids at extremely low temperatures.
1756 John Loudon McAdam d. 1836 Scottish engineer. Creator of macadam road surface.
Deaths for September 21
2007 Rex Humbard b. 1919 American televangelist, founder of the Cathedral of Tomorrow (1952). He was the first televangelist to have a nationally-broadcast TV show (1952). Source: An Almanac of the Christian Church
2007 Alice Ghostley b. 1923 American actress. TV: Bewitched (1969–70, 1972, Esmeralda) and Designing Women (1986–93, Bernice Clifton).
1998 Florence Griffith Joyner b. 1959 (Flo Jo), American athlete, "World's Fastest Woman." She was the first U.S. female athlete to win four medals at a single Olympics (1988, three gold and a silver), and was the co-chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness. She died of epilepsy at age 38.
1974 Walter Brennan b. 1894 American Oscar-winning actor. TV: The Real McCoys (Amos McCoy). He was the first actor to win three Oscars (1936, 38, 40).
1974 Jacqueline Susann b. 1918 American actress, author. Writings: Valley of the Dolls (1966), selling 17,000,000 copies and becoming the all-time best-selling novel.
1836 John Stafford Smith b. 1750 English composer. Music: To Anacreon in Heaven, which is the melody to The Star-Spangled Banner.
1832 Sir Walter Scott b. 1771 Scottish poet, novelist. Writings: Waverley (1814) and Ivanhoe (1819).
1820 Joseph Rodman Drake b. 1795 American poet. Writings: The Culprit Fay (1816) and The American Flag (1819).
1798 George Read b. 1733 American lawyer, politician, signer of the Declaration of Independence.
1558 Charles V b. 1500 King of Spain (1516-56) and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (1519-56). He declared Martin Luther an outlaw and a heretic. Source: An Almanac of the Christian Church
1327 Edward II b. 1284 King of England (1307-1327). He decreed that an inch was equal to three average barleycorns laid end to end (1324).
687 Conon b. circa 630 religious leader, 83rd Pope (686-687).
19 B.C. Virgil b. 70 B.C. Roman epic poet, teacher. He is considered the greatest poet of Rome's Golden Age. Writings: Aeneid.