Tagged: Radio

BON VOYAGE

March 8th in history:

Two U.S. presidents died on March 8th: Millard Fillmore in 1874, and William Howard Taft in 1930.  Fillmore was not nominated for a second term by the Whigs in 1852, and finished third in the electoral vote in the 1856 election.  Taft came in third in his 1912 re-election bid, behind Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt.  Taft served as Chief Justice for nine years, and retired just weeks before his death.

Charles De Gaulle was still president of France when construction began on an airport near Paris that would be named after him.  De Gaulle International Airport opened eight years later, on this date in 1974.

Arthur Dent began his travels through the universe when the first episode of the radio show “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” was broadcast on the BBC on this date in 1978.

And March 8th is the birthday of the “Skipper” who led the S.S. Minnow on an infamous “three-hour tour.” Alan Hale of “Gilligan’s Island” was born on this date in 1921.

In its final season, “Gilligan’s Island” aired Monday nights on CBS, opposite “The Monkees” on NBC.  Monkees singer and drummer Micky Dolenz was born March 8th, 1945.

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LONG BEFORE C-SPAN

February 8th in history:

Strong Koppel

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.

Koppel was anchoring the late-night news show “Nightline” in 1984, the year actress Cecily Strong was born on this date.  At the time of her birth, Strong’s father was head of the Associated Press Capitol bureau in Springfield, Illinois.  Cecily co-anchored “Weekend Update” on “Saturday Night Live” for one season, and emceed the 2015 White House Correspondents Dinner.  She’s well-known for her SNL impersonation of First Lady Melania Trump, and her character “The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party.”

Actor Jack Lemmon played Chicago newspaper reporter Hildy Johnson in the 1974 movie remake of the play “The Front Page.” Lemmon was born on this day in 1925. He won Oscars for “Mister Roberts” and “Save the Tiger,” and is also known for his roles in “Some Like It Hot,” “Days of Wine and Roses,” and several movies with “Front Page” co-star Walter Matthau.

A session of the U.S. Senate was broadcast for the first time on the radio, on February 8th, 1978, during debate on a Panama Canal treaty.  And radio made its way into the White House for the first time on this day in 1922, when President Warren Harding brought the new invention into the mansion.

GOOD GUYS AND BAD GUYS

January 30th in history:

The British monarchy came to a temporary end on January 30th, 1649, when King Charles the First was beheaded by opponents of royalty. Oliver Cromwell led England as Lord Protector for several years afterward. When the monarchy was restored, after Cromwell’s death, royalists dug up his body and beheaded him in retaliation on January 30th, 1661.

On January 30th, 1933, Adolf Hitler was sworn in as the chancellor of Germany.  Hitler came to power on the 51st birthday of the newly-elected U.S. president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was sworn in weeks later.  FDR and Hitler would both die in the same month, April 1945, as the U.S. and its allies were about to defeat Nazi Germany in World War Two.

January 30th of 1933 also was the day that a new hero was introduced to radio listeners in America, when station WXYZ in Detroit broadcast the first episode of “The Lone Ranger.”  And another famous masked hero celebrates a birthday on January 30th: actor Christian Bale (1974), who played Batman in the “Dark Knight” series of films that started in 2005 with Batman Begins.