September 21 in history:
A letter about Santa Claus appeared in the newspaper in September…on this date in 1897. The New York Sun printed the letter from 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon, which asked “Is there a Santa Claus?” The famous response by editor Francis P. Church included the answer, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”
In “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” little Cindy Lou Who believed that the Grinch was Santa Claus. “Looney Tunes” animator Chuck Jones, born on September 21st, 1912, made the 1966 TV version of “Grinch.”
Looney Tunes characters starred with basketball legend Michael Jordan in the movie “Space Jam,” which featured a cameo appearance by Bill Murray. The former “Saturday Night Live” star was born on this day in 1950. Murray’s hit movies include “Caddyshack,” “Ghostbusters,” and “Groundhog Day,” and he got an Oscar nomination for best actor in “Lost in Translation.”
Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith claimed he wrote the Book of Mormon by translating golden plates revealed to him by an angel named Moroni. Smith had his first vision of the angel on September 21st, 1823.
A musical called “The Book of Mormon” would become a Broadway hit in 2011. A big hit musical from the 1940s, “Annie Get Your Gun,” was revived on September 21st, 1966, in New York. The show’s original star, Ethel Merman, once again played Annie Oakley in the new version.
Mary Martin starred in the touring company of “Annie Get Your Gun” when Merman was performing in the original Broadway run. September 21st was the birthday of Martin’s son Larry Hagman (1931), who starred on TV in “Dallas” and “I Dream of Jeannie.”
July 1st in history:
Canada celebrates its version of the 4th of July on this day, marking the date it became a dominion of the British Empire on July 1st, 1867.
It was on Dominion Day of 1980 that “O Canada” officially became the country’s national anthem.
Twenty-year-old Prince Charles was crowned Prince of Wales by his mother in a ceremony at a Welsh castle on July 1st, 1969. On that same day, future Princess of Wales Diana Spencer was celebrating her eighth birthday.
In a 1982 TV movie about Charles and Diana, the Queen Mother was played by two-time Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland. At the time of her 100th birthday on July 1st, 2016, de Havilland — best known as Melanie in “Gone With the Wind” — was the oldest living winner of an acting Oscar.
It’s also the birthday of Canadian actress Genevieve Bujold (born 1942) who received an Oscar nomination for playing a royal wife, Anne Boleyn, to Richard Burton’s Henry VIII in “Anne of the Thousand Days.” Fellow Canadian Dan Aykroyd was an Oscar nominee for “Driving Miss Daisy.” Aykroyd was born on this day in 1952, and became famous as an original cast member on “Saturday Night Live.” His most popular characters include Elwood Blues of the Blues Brothers, alien driving instructor Beldar Conehead, and Ray Stantz in the original “Ghostbusters” films.