A THREE-YEAR TOUR

September 26 in history:

Explorer Francis Drake ended a three-year voyage around the world when he arrived back at his starting point of Plymouth, England, on this date in 1580.  Drake was knighted by Queen Elizabeth less than a year later.

The cruise ship Queen Mary was launched on September 26th, 1934.  It made regular cruises between Europe and the U.S. before it was retired in 1967, and docked in Long Beach, California.

“A three-hour tour” for the S.S. Minnow led to a three-year run on CBS for the sitcom “Gilligan’s Island,” which premiered on September 26th, 1964.  “Gilligan” producer Sherwood Schwartz launched another iconic sitcom on this day exactly five years later in 1969, when “The Brady Bunch” made its debut on ABC.

“The Beverly Hillbillies” also had its premiere on September 26th, in 1962…the birthday of Donna Douglas (1933), who played Elly May Clampett on the show.  Immediately after “Hillbillies” that night on CBS, “The Dick Van Dyke Show” began its second season with a new opening sequence, in which Van Dyke, as TV writer Rob Petrie, walks into his house and either trips over an ottoman, or sidesteps it.  Three versions were shot, so viewers could guess every week whether Rob would trip or not.

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