Today's History Trivia for September 23
Nixon's Checkers Speech
Vice-Presidential candidate Richard Nixon gives his famous speech explaining an $18,000 campaign fund. He claimed the only personal gift he received was a dog named Checkers - which he refused to give up. An outpouring of public sympathy kept him on the ticket for vice president. His speech was watched or heard by about 60 million Americans, the largest television audience to that time.
1949 Russia Announces it is a Nuclear Power Russia announces that it has exploded its first atom bomb. They had exploded the bomb the previous month. The development was aided by blue prints of the original American Trinity bomb design given to the Russians by the spy Klaus Fuchs, a Los Alamos physicist.
1908 Merkle's Boner - Mistake Loses the Pennant Race Bottom of the 9th of the deciding game of the National League pennant race; score 1-1. The New York Giants hit to center field, bringing the man on 3rd in for the winning run. Fred Merkle, who had been on 1st, considered the game won and headed for the dugout without advancing to 2nd. This resulted in a forced out at 2nd, nullifying the run, and therefore a tie game. Merkle's team lost the playoff game, causing the Giants to lose the National League pennant to the opposing Chicago Cubs.
1993 Youngest girl to fly across the U.S. 11-year-old Vicki Van Meter lands in San Diego, after her 3-day flight from Maine.
1992 First woman to play in one of the four major pro sports leagues Manon Rhéaume plays goalie for the NHL Tampa Bay Lightning in an exhibition game against the St. Louis Blues. They lost (4-6).
1986 The rose is voted the official flower of the U.S. by Congress.
1972 Ferdinand Marcos declares martial law in the Philippines.
1966 Vietnam War U.S. begins using aerial defoliants south of the demilitarized zone.
1962 The New York Philharmonic Hall opens.
1962 The Jetsons cartoon debuts on ABC.
1952 First undefeated boxer to win the world heavyweight championship Rocky Marciano KO's Jersey Joe Walcott in the 13th round.
1926 Jack Dempsey loses the world heavyweight boxing title to Gene Tunney on a decision. He had held the title since 1919.
1912 First Keystone Kops film Mack Sennett's short Cohen Collects a Debt is released featuring the famous slapstick police troop.
1846 Neptune discovered The planet is discovered by German astronomer J.G. Galle. Its existence had been predicted the previous year by English astronomer John Couch Adams and French astronomer Le Verrier.
1845 First baseball team The New York Knickerbocker Club is organized. Source: Famous First Facts
1806 Lewis and Clark expedition The famed explorers return to St. Louis after exploring the American West. Their work established a route to the Pacific.
1780 American Revolution Benedict Arnold's plot to betray West Point is revealed by British Major John André. André was later hanged as a spy.
1779 American Revolution John Paul Jones in the Bonhomme Richard captures the British ship Serapis in the most famous battle of the war. It was during this battle that he declared "I have not yet begun to fight."
Today's Birthdays for September 23
63 B.C. Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus Augustus d. A.D. 14 the first Roman Emperor. He was the heir of Julius Caesar. His defeat of Antony and Cleopatra at Actium in 31 A.D. made him ruler of the world.
1959 Jason Alexander American actor. TV: Seinfeld (chronically unemployed George).
1949 Bruce Springsteen American singer, songwriter, "The Boss." Music: Born To Run (1975) and Born In The USA (1984).
1947 Mary Kay Place American Emmy-winning actress. Film: The Big Chill (1983). TV: Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (Loretta).
1943 Julio Iglesias Spanish singer, songwriter, who has sold over 100,000,000 records. Music: To All The Girls I've Loved Before (1984, with Willie Nelson).
1939 Roy Buchanan d. 1988 American guitarist. A pioneer of the Telecaster sound, he is considered one of the world's greatest rock guitarists.
1938 Tom Lester American actor. TV: Green Acres (Eb).
1938 Romy Schneider d. 1982 (Rosemarie Albach-Retty), Austrian actress. Film: Visconti's segment of Boccaccio '70 (1962, for which she gained international acclaim), The Trial (1962), and What's New, Pussycat? (1965).
1930 Ray Charles d. 2004 (Ray Charles Robinson), American singer, composer, pianist, blind since the age of 6. Music: Georgia On My Mind (1960, #1) and Hit the Road, Jack (1961, #1). The movie Ray (2004, starring Jamie Foxx) is based on his life.
1926 John Coltrane d. 1967 American tenor saxophonist, the most influential jazz musician of the 60s. Music: My Favorite Things (1960).
1920 Mickey Rooney d. 2014 (Joe Yule, Jr.), American Emmy-winning actor. Film: Andy Hardy movies (1937‑) and National Velvet (1944). He made national headlines in 1959 by appearing drunk on The Jack Paar Tonight Show.
1920 Charles "Commando" Kelly d. 1985 American soldier. He was the first WWII solider in the European war theater to receive the Medal of Honor. He had made several reconnaissance missions under fire and held off the Germans so others could evacuate an ammo dump.
1907 Rudd Weatherwax d. 1985 American actor, animal trainer. Lassie's trainer for the film Lassie Come Home (1943) and the TV series. He is also the uncle of Ken Weatherwax who played Pugsley in The Addams Family.
1899 Tom Campbell Clark d. 1977 American lawyer, U.S. Attorney General (1945-49), and U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1949-67).
1897 Walter Pidgeon d. 1984 Canadian-born actor, noted for his films with Greer Garson. Film: The Gorilla (1931, title role).
1882 Herbert McLean Evans d. 1971 American biologist. He co-discovered vitamin E (1922) and proved that iodine is used by the thyroid gland (1940).
1869 Typhoid Mary d. 1938 (Mary Mallon), Irish-born American cook, typhoid carrier. She was the first recorded U.S. case of a healthy carrier of typhoid (1907). She infected 53 people while she herself remained healthy.
1861 Robert Bosch d. 1942 German industrialist, invented the spark plug (1902).
1838 Victoria Claflin Woodhull d. 1927 American politician. She was the first woman nominated for U.S. President - by the Equal Rights Party in 1872 with Frederick Douglas as her running mate.
1745 John Sevier d. 1815 American pioneer and Indian fighter, first and only governor (1785-88) of the U.S. state of Franklin. He was also the first governor (1796-1801) of Tennessee.
1713 Ferdinand VI d. 1759 King of Spain (1746-59).
Deaths for September 23
2000 Carl Thomas Rowan b. 1925 American columnist, "strict gun control" advocate. In 1988 he was arrested for shooting a trespasser with an illegal hand gun. He had previously stated in his column that "…anyone found in possession of a handgun except a legitimate officer of the law goes to jail—period." He also founded "Project Excellence," a college scholarship program for black high school seniors.
1994 Robert Bloch b. 1917 American author. Writings: Psycho (1959, the basis for the Hitchcock film).
1987 Bob Fosse b. 1927 (Robert Louis Fosse), American dancer, choreographer, director. He was the first director to win an Oscar (Cabaret, 1972), a Tony (Pajama Game, 1954), and an Emmy (Liza with a Z, 1973). He also directed his semi-autobiographical All That Jazz (1979).
1974 Cliff Arquette b. 1905 American actor. TV: The Charley Weaver Show (title role) and Hollywood Squares (guest).
1939 Sigmund Freud b. 1856 Austrian psychiatrist, founder of psychoanalysis, defined the "Oedipus complex." When asked about his cigar smoking he replied "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."
1889 Wilkie Collins b. 1824 English writer. A very successful writer in his time, he wrote The Moonstone (1868), the first English language detective novel, which some still consider the best ever written.
1889 Eliza Cook b. 1818 English author. Her poem The Old Armchair made her a household word in England and America.
1877 Urbain Le Verrier b. 1811 French astronomer. Both he and J.C. Adams, working independently, correctly predicted the existence and orbit of Neptune (1845). The planet was discovered the following year using Le Verrier's calculations.