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Today Years Ago

Today in 1940, Disney’s masterpiece film Fantasia had its first screening at New York City’s Broadway Theater. The film is comprised of several classical music pieces by different composers (Beethoven, Bach, and Tchaikovsky, among others) set to various styles of animation. Over 1,000 artists and technicians worked on the film’s animation. The music was performed […]
Today in 1954, the second volume of English fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings novel was published. Entitled The Two Towers, it comprises the third and fourth books in the series, which span from Boromir’s fate to Frodo’s kidnapping. As if being one of the best-selling novels of all time wasn’t enough, […]
Today in 1969, producer Joan Ganz Cooney and psychologist Lloyd Morrisett’s educational children’s television show Sesame Street premiered on the Public Broadcasting Service. It was the first children’s show to be modeled on contemporary child psychology. The format and pacing of the original series was carefully crafted to keep children’s attention. Research has continued to […]
Today in 1967, magazine editors Jann Wenner and Ralph Gleason founded Rolling Stone magazine in San Francisco, CA. The name of the magazine was said to have been inspired by multiple sources: Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ Stone,” Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” and the British rock band The Rolling Stones. While initially a “hippie” magazine, […]
Today in 1972, the Home Box Office first began airing programming, beginning with Paul Newman’s 1971 drama Sometimes a Great Notion. HBO debuted on a Service Electric cable TV system in Wilkes-Barre, PA. It premiered to little fanfare and even less interest. HBO maintained a small subscriber base for two years, almost constantly losing money. […]
Today in 1947, NBC’s news analysis series Meet the Press aired it’s first episode, moderated by creator Martha Rountree (currently the only female host in the show’s history). The first guest was Jim Farley, who served as Postmaster General under President Franklin Roosevelt. With 70 seasons, Meet the Press is the longest-running television program in […]
Today in 1847, Scottish physician Sir James Young Simpson first demonstrated the anesthetic qualities of chloroform at a dinner party. Although he used it for entertainment purposes, it was the first time chloroform, had ever been tested as an anesthetic on humans. This would help popularize the use of chloroform in medicine.
Today in 1973, NASA launched its space probe Mariner 10 from Cape Canaveral. Almost 4 months later, it became the first probe to reach Mercury, which it studied extensively. It was also the first spacecraft to make use of an interplanetary gravitational slingshot maneuver.