On This Day, September 17

Posted on 17th Sep 2012 by ian under On This Day, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Don’t panic but there are only 105 days left in the year!

Well here’s an odd one… In 1859, English born Joshua Abraham Norton declared himself “Emperor Norton I” of the United States and subsequently “Protector of Mexico”. Norton, initially a businessman, lost his fortune investing in Peruvian Rice (the equivalent perhaps of Nigerian banking schemes back in the day?) Yet, the slightly unbalanced “monarch” was treated deferentially in San Francisco, and currency that was issued in his name was honored in the establishments he frequented. On January 8, 1880, Norton collapsed at a street corner, and died before he could be given medical treatment. The following day, nearly 30,000 people packed the streets of San Francisco to pay their respects.  He certainly looks the full quid in the photo…

In 1872 Phillip W. Pratt patented a version of the sprinkler system, this is why during droughts and severe water restrictions one often hears the phrase “what a pratt!”

In 1914 Andrew Fisher (right) became Prime Minister of Australia for the third time. Serving a collective total of 4 years & 10 months, Fisher is second only to Bob Hawke as Australia’s longest serving Labor Prime Minister.  Under Fisher “Labour” was renamed to “Labor” at the urging of the colourful “King” O’Malley….or should that be colorful?

In 1940, following the German defeat in the Battle of Britain, Hitler postponed Operation Sea Lion indefinitely. Speaking of Sea Lions, did you know the Australian Sea Lion is considered one of the rarest of the species in the world. Did you also know that a group of seals is called a raft?  Look for that if you are ever stranded on a desert isle!

In 1962 US space official announced the selection Neil Armstrong along with eight other new astronauts. 14 years later, on the same day in 1976, NASA unveiled the first Space Shuttle “Enterprise”.

Talking of astronauts, I once had a lovely conversation with Buzz Aldrin and his then wife Lois at a posh rooftop cocktail party in Los Angeles. They told me how much they loved visiting Australia and how wonderful we Aussies were….aww shucks..

To the wonderful world of television… and all these shows had their premieres on this day…

In 1963, The Fugitive starring David Janssen…

1964, Bewitched starring Elizabeth Montgomery…

1965, Hogan’s Heroes starring Bob Crane

1966, Mission Impossible starring Peter Graves

1972, M*A*S*H starring Alan Alda

To music…

In 1931 RCA Victor Records began demonstrating what historians now refer to as a long-playing 33-1/3 RPM LP, or as we used to call ’em…a record!  “Hey diddle diddle there’s a hole in the middle and we’ll spin that fantastic black plastic for a sound that was around when you were closer to the ground…” Sorry.

In 1999 rapper Eminem’s mother filed a $10 million lawsuit against her baby boy, claiming he had made defamatory remarks in several interviews… talk about your Mummy Dearests

To those born on this day…

1928 – Roddy McDowall, English actor

1945 – Bruce Spence, New Zealand/Aussie actor

1956 – Rita Rudner, American comedian

1962 – Baz Luhrmann, Australian film director

1963 – Wendy Northcutt, Author of the Darwin Awards, she once said “If there are multiple stupidity genes, then having one or two might make someone creative, while having a dozen would make her a dangerous idiot.”