February 8th in history:
The U.S. has had three vice-presidents named Johnson. The first one was Richard Johnson, who served under President Martin Van Buren. Johnson was chosen for VP by the Senate on February 8th, 1837, when no candidate could get a majority in the Electoral College.
Lyndon Johnson was vice-president in the summer of 1963, when Ted Koppel began his journalism career as the youngest reporter ever hired by ABC Radio. Koppel was only 23 — born on February 8th, 1940.
And radio made its way into the White House for the first time on February 8th, 1922, when President Warren Harding brought the new invention into the mansion.
November 19 in history:
Comedian Dick Cavett (1936) was given a daytime talk show on ABC in 1968, eventually leading to a late-night show on that network and a series on PBS. Cavett appeared as himself in two movies that won the Oscar for best picture…”Annie Hall” (1977), and “Forrest Gump” (1994).
October 3 in history:
The popular “Siegfried and Roy” magic act at the Mirage in Las Vegas was disrupted on October 3rd, 2003, when one of the duo’s famous tigers bit Roy Horn in the neck. The attack effectively brought an end to the long-running act, although Siegfried and Roy did comeback performances a few years later. The tiger attack happened on Roy’s 59th birthday.
A mouse and a “kangaroo” both began long-running children’s shows on TV on October 3rd, 1955. The mouse was Mickey Mouse, cartoon star of the original “Mickey Mouse Club” on ABC, featuring the Mouseketeers, talented kids wearing sweaters and mouse ears. Same day, different network…”Captain Kangaroo” made his debut on CBS. Bob Keeshan played the Captain as a grandfatherly host with a big mustache and deep-pocketed jackets. He had a number of “animal” co-stars, including Dancing Bear and the puppets Bunny Rabbit and Mr. Moose.
And “buffalo wings” were invented on this date in 1964. That is, a special recipe for chicken wings coated with cayenne pepper sauce, created at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, N.Y.
September 25 in history:
On September 25th, 1513, explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa became the first European to see the Pacific Ocean from the east, while traveling on the Isthmus of Panama. Balboa claimed the ocean for the king and queen of Spain.
On this date in 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor took office as the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
ABC was the first U.S. network to hire a woman to anchor the evening news, when it teamed Barbara Walters with Harry Reasoner in 1976. Walters was born on September 25th, 1929.
And the first weekly TV cartoon show about living celebrities debuted on ABC on September 25th, 1965. On “The Beatles” series, the animated adventures portrayed the band members as they looked in 1965. But during the four years that “The Beatles” aired on network TV, the show did take note of the band’s changes in appearance and musical styles.
July 10th in history:
There was no such thing as a communications satellite until July 10th, 1962, when the first Telstar was sent into orbit. On that same day in ’62, President Kennedy signed a bill called the All-Channel Receiver Act, requiring new TV sets in the U.S. to carry UHF signals beyond VHF Channel 13.
Satellite technology helped make TV programs like “ABC World News Tonight” possible. That newscast debuted on July 10th, 1978, officially replacing the anchor team of Harry Reasoner and Barbara Walters. Three men – Frank Reynolds, Max Robinson and Peter Jennings – anchored the program from three different cities.
ABC’s new newscast began on the 58th birthday of competitor David Brinkley, who was then co-anchor of “NBC Nightly News”. Three years later, Brinkley moved to ABC.