Today's History Trivia for September 26
1983 The Man Who Prevented World War III Stanislav Petrov was the duty officer at a Soviet early-warning system when the system reported that up to six Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles had been launched from the United States. This was just three weeks after the Soviet military had shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007 killing all 269 people aboard, including U.S. Congressman Larry McDonald and many other Americans. Petrov believed it might be a false alarm and disobeyed orders by not reporting the attack to his superiors. He feared that had he reported the attack, his superiors would have launched a retaliatory nuclear attack, leading to an all out nuclear war. Later analysis showed that the detection system had malfunctioned and it was indeed a false alarm. Petrov was reprimanded for not correctly documenting the incident.
1933 John Dillinger Helps the Pierpont Bunch Break Out of Prison The Pierpont Bunch, soon to be known as John Dillinger's gang, breaks out of prison. Dillinger had bribed authorities and smuggled guns in for them. Dillinger was himself in prison at the time. The escapees would soon break Dillinger out of prison.
2010 Segway Disaster James William Heselden, the British entrepreneur who had just bought the Segway company backs off a cliff while riding an off road version of the Segway.
2002 Iraq War When asked, "Are there linkages between al Qaeda and Iraq, and where are they?" Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld replied, "The deputy director of Central Intelligence briefed on that subject. I have no desire to go beyond saying the answer is yes."
1993 First person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel twice John David Munday makes the 176-foot drop for the second time; he had also done it in 1985.
1990 Dan Quayle "I support efforts to limit the terms of members of Congress, especially members of the House and members of the Senate."
1990 A new rating NC-17 (No Children), to apply to adult films, is announced by the Motion Picture Association of America.
1990 Cop Rock debuts on ABC, featuring not only singing cops, but singing murderers, crack dealers, and juries.
1983 First non-U.S. yacht to win the America's Cup The Australia II defeats the U.S. yacht Liberty four races to three.
1969 The Brady Bunch debuts on ABC.
1962 The Beverly Hillbillies debuts on CBS. Hated by the critics, it quickly became #1 breaking many records.
1961 U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency is established.
1960 First televised U.S. presidential candidate debate 75 million viewers tuned in to watch Kennedy and Nixon square off. Kennedy's style helped him win the election.
1957 West Side Story by Leonard Berstein opens.
1955 The Adventures of Robin Hood debuts on CBS.
1914 The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is established by Congress.
1887 First disc record player is patented, by Emile Berliner.
1789 First chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court is confirmed, John Jay.
1789 First U.S. postmaster general is appointed, Samuel Osgood.
1580 Sir Francis Drake - Circumnavigation of the globe The English navigator arrives in England after completing his voyage. He had begun in December of 1577.
Today's Birthdays for September 26
1951 Ronald "Butch" DeFeo Jr American murderer. He was convicted of the 1974 killings of his father, mother, two brothers and two sisters in their home at 112 Ocean Avenue. These murders were the basis for The Amityville Horror.
1774 Johnny Appleseed d. 1845 (John Chapman), American folk hero. He devoted his life to planting apple seeds. It is said that his usual dress consisted of bare feet, a burlap sack for a shirt, and a tin pan hat.
1985 Shamu first killer whale born in captivity to survive. Born at Sea World Orlando, Florida.
1968 Rob Moroso d. 1990 American race car driver, NASCAR 1990 Rookie of the Year (awarded posthumously). He died in a car crash near his home in North Carolina. He was doing 75 mph (121 km/h) in a 35 mph (56 km/h) curve with a blood alcohol level of 0.22. The accident killed himself and the driver of the oncoming vehicle.
1962 Melissa Sue Anderson American Emmy-winning actress. TV: Little House on the Prairie (Mary Ingalls).
1956 Linda Hamilton American actress, Catherine of Beauty and the Beast, and co-star of the Terminator films.
1948 Olivia Newton-John British singer, actress. Music: Let Me Be There (1973) and Have You Never Been Mellow (1975). Film: Grease (1978) and Xanadu (1980).
1947 Lynn Anderson d. 2015 American Grammy-winning country singer. Music: I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1971).
1942 Kent McCord American actor. TV: Adam 12 (officer Jim Reed).
1932 Donna Douglas d. 2015 (Dorothy Smith), American actress, Miss New Orleans (1957). TV: The Beverly Hillbillies (1962-71, Elly May), The Twilight Zone (1960, The Eye of the Beholder). Film: Frankie and Johnny (1966, starring opposite Elvis Presley).
1927 Patrick O'Neal d. 1994 American actor of TV and film.
1926 Julie London d. 2000 (Julie Peck), American singer, actress. TV: Emergency! (1972, nurse Dixie McCall). Music: Cry Me a River (1955).
1919 Barbara Britton d. 1980 American actress. TV: Mr. and Mrs. North (Pamela North).
1914 Jack LaLanne d. 2011 (Francois Henri LaLanne), American fitness expert. He opened the first U.S. fitness club (1936), invented the jumping jack, designed the first leg extension machines, and pulley machines using cables. TV: The Jack LaLanne Show (1951-85, the first television exercise program).
1902 Albert Anastasia d. 1957 American gangster and hit-man. A founder of both the American Mafia and "Murder Incorporated". He was boss of what would become the modern Gambino crime family. He was killed by two gunmen while sitting in a barber's chair in a in a New York barber shop.
1898 George Gershwin d. 1937 (Jacob Gershvin), American Pulitzer-winning composer. Music: Rhapsody in Blue (1923) and Of Thee I Sing (1931).
1897 Paul VI d. 1978 (Giovanni Battista Montini), 262nd Pope (1963-78). He was the first pope to fly in an airplane, the first to visit Jesus' birthplace, and the first to visit the U.S.
1895 George Raft d. 1980 American actor. Film: Scarface (1932, Guido Rinaldo). He was reputed to be the world's fastest Charleston dancer.
1892 Clinton Stevenson "Praying Benny" Benedict d. 1976 Canadian Hall of Fame hockey goalie. He was the first NHL goalie to wear a face mask (1929). He was the first goalie to drop to his knees to stop the puck along the ice, earning him the name "Praying Benny." This was illegal at the time causing the NHL to make it first rule change: legalized this move.
1888 T.S. Eliot d. 1965 (Thomas Stearns Eliot), American Nobel-winning poet, playwright.
1877 Edmund Gwenn d. 1959 English Oscar-winning actor. Film: Miracle on 34th Street (1947, Oscar as Kris Kringle) and The Trouble with Harry (1955).
Deaths for September 26
2006 Iva Ikuko Toguri D'Aquino b. 1916 American propaganda broadcaster for the Japanese. She was the most famous of the women referred to as "Tokyo Rose" during World War II. Born in the U.S. to Japanese immigrants, she was visiting Japan when the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor. Unable to to return the U.S., she began hosting the radio show Zero Hour broadcasting propaganda and entertainment to U.S. troops. However, she also smuggled food to allied POWs. Convicted of treason for her broadcasts (1949), she served six years in prison. She was pardoned by U.S. President Jimmy Carter (1977).
1902 Levi Strauss b. 1829 (Löb Strauß), Bavarian-born American businessman. Jacob Davis, one of Strauss' customers, was one of the inventors of riveted denim pants. He and Levi went into business together (1873) to produce blue jeans.
2010 James William Heselden b. 1948 British entrepreneur. He bought Segway Inc. (2010) maker of the Segway personal transport system. He died later that year after backing off a cliff while riding an off road version of his scooter.
2006 Byron Nelson b. 1912 (John Byron Nelson, Jr.), American golfer. He won a record 11 consecutive tournaments tournaments in 1945. This feat is chronicled in the book Byron Nelson: The Most Remarkable Year in the History of Golf.
2003 Robert Palmer b. 1949 British singer. Music: Addicted To Love (1986).
2000 Richard Mulligan b. 1932 American Emmy-winning actor. TV: Soap (Bert Campbell) and Empty Nest (Dr. Weston).
1994 Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia b. 1907 Grandson of Germany's last emperor, third in line to the throne. Worked as a mechanic in a Detroit Ford automobile plant (1929-34) and opposed Hitler and the Nazi Party.
1972 Charles J. Correll b. 1890 American comedian. Radio: Amos 'n' Andy (1928-60, Andy). Amos 'n' Andy was the first U.S. syndicated radio program. It featured Charles Correll and Freeman Gosden, both white actors, portraying two black characters.
1966 Helen Kane b. 1904 (Helen Schroeder), American actress, singer. Broadway: Good Boy (1929, giving her famous squeaky-voiced "Boop-boop-a-doop" rendition of I Wanna Be Loved by You). Listen
1966 Gus Edson b. 1901 cartoonist, creator of Dondi (1955).
1961 Charles Erwin Wilson b. 1890 American engineer, president of General Motors (1941-53), designed the motor for the first electric automobile starter, and as U.S. Secretary of Defense (1953-57) stated, "…what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa."
1953 George Cormack b. 1870 American inventor of Wheaties cereal (1921). The name "Wheaties" was chosen by a company-wide naming contest.
1952 George Santayana b. 1863 Spanish-American poet. Writings: The Realms of Being (1928-40). It was he who said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
1947 Hugh John Lofting b. 1886 English-born American children's author, illustrator. Writings: The Story of Dr. Dolittle (1920) and its 10 sequels.
1937 Bessie Smith b. 1894 American blues singer, the most successful blues singer of the 1920s and '30s. After her death from a car accident, it was rumored that she died because white hospitals wouldn't admit her. However, later interviews with the ambulance driver and attending physician dispelled these rumors. The rumors were started by a record executive, probably to increase sales of her records. Source biography: Bessie
1820 Daniel Boone b. 1734 American pioneer, Indian fighter.
1763 John Byrom b. 1692 English poet. Writings: Three Black Crows and Fig and Sutton. He invented and published (1767) a system of shorthand titled The Universal English Shorthand.