May 9th in history:
A new show on a Washington TV station made its debut on May 9th, 1955. It was a puppet show – called “Sam and Friends”, featuring comedy sketches by Jim Henson – which evolved into the Muppets.
The televised impeachment hearings against President Nixon by the House Judiciary Committee began in Washington on May 9th, 1974. The committee approved three articles of impeachment in late July. Nixon resigned less than two weeks after the committee votes.
A speech made in Washington, D.C. on the subject of television made headlines on May 9th, 1961. New FCC Commissioner Newton Minow told the National Association of Broadcasters that the majority of TV programming was a “vast wasteland.” Minow said the purpose of the speech was to urge broadcasters to air more programs in the public interest.
And May 9th is the birthday of several people who have won multiple awards for working on TV news shows…real and fictional:
Original “60 Minutes” anchor Mike Wallace, born on this date in 1918, won 21 news Emmys in his career.
Candice Bergen (born 1946) won five Emmy awards for playing fictional TV journalist “Murphy Brown.”
James L. Brooks (1940) directed the movie “Broadcast News,” and was co-creator of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” set in a TV newsroom in Minneapolis, which received 29 Emmys in seven seasons. The “Mary Tyler Moore” theme song, “Love Is All Around,” was written and sung by Sonny Curtis, born on May 9th of 1937. Curtis performed with Buddy Holly’s band, the Crickets, and also wrote the song “I Fought the Law.”
Men landed on the moon for the third time on February 3rd, 1971. America’s first man in space, Alan Shepard, landed on the lunar surface with Edgar Mitchell during the Apollo 14 mission.
Another famous flight ended tragically on February 3rd, 1959. Singers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper were killed when their plane crashed near Clear Lake, Iowa, shortly after their last concert at the nearby Surf Ballroom.
Iowa made history on this date in 1870 by becoming the 28th state to approve the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, making it law. That amendment allowed former slaves and other non-white citizens to vote.
January 23rd in history:
On January 23, 1997, Madeleine Albright became the first member of a very exclusive club when she was sworn in as America’s first female secretary of state. The group of women who have headed the State Department now includes Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The first group of artists to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame received that honor on this date in 1986. Among the first inductees were Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Little Richard and James Brown – not to be confused with TV sports reporter James Brown or Cleveland Browns football star Jim Brown.
O.J. Simpson was in a club all by himself on January 23, 1985. He became the first Heisman Trophy winner voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Another “first” for a hall of fame on this date…Jackie Robinson was the first African-American player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on January 23rd, 1962.