HOLY HOAXES, MAN-BAT!

August 25 in history:

Philbin Hall

Thirty-five years after being launched from Earth, the Voyager 1 space probe left the solar system on August 25th of 2012. It became the first man-made object to enter interstellar space

On August 25th of 1609, Galileo Galilei demonstrated his first telescope to lawmakers in Venice, hoping they would purchase it. His introduction of the telescope was once parodied on “The Carol Burnett Show.”  In the sketch, when a spectator looked through the telescope and complained that he couldn’t see anything, Galileo responded that you had to put a dime in first.

The New York Sun newspaper claimed in 1835 that a powerful new telescope revealed an unknown civilization on the moon.  In a series of stories beginning on August 25th, the Sun told of oceans, beaches, and trees seen on the lunar surface.  What became known as the “Great Moon Hoax” also included reports of beavers walking on two legs, and winged humans called “man-bats.”

Moviegoers went batty for “Batman” when director Tim Burton made two movies about the comic-book hero.  Burton, born August 25th, 1958, has a fanciful film resume that includes “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure,” “Beetlejuice,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” and new versions of “Alice in Wonderland” and the TV drama “Dark Shadows.”

On the same day Tim Burton was born, the game show “Concentration” made its debut.  The show requiring players to match hidden prizes and solve a rebus ran for 15 years on NBC before going into syndication and returning to NBC as “Classic Concentration” in the 1980s.  Two men famous for hosting other popular game shows share an August 25th birthday:  Monty Hall of “Let’s Make a Deal” (born 1921), and Regis Philbin of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” (1931).


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