Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
September 26 is the 269th day of the year (270th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 96 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day on 1957, West Side Story premieres on Broadway. East Side Story was the original title of the Shakespeare-inspired musical conceived by choreographer Jerome Robbins, written by playwright Arthur Laurents and scored by composer and lyricist Leonard Bernstein in 1949. A tale of star-crossed lovers-one Jewish, the other Catholic-on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the show in its original form never went into production, and the idea was set aside for the next six years. It was more than just a change of setting, however, that helped the re-titled show get off the ground in the mid-1950s. It was also the addition of a young, relatively unknown lyricist named Stephen Sondheim. The book by Arthur Laurents and the incredible choreography by Jerome Robbins helped make West Side Story a work of lasting genius, but it was the strength of the songs by Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein that allowed it to make its Broadway debut on this day in 1957.
There are no videos of the original Broadway production which starred Larry Kert as Tony, Carol Lawrence as Maria, Ken Le Roy as Bernardo and Chita Rivera as Anita (Ms. Rivera reprized her role in the movie), so here is the Prologue from the Academy Award winning movie. The area that the movie was filmed no longer exists. The 17 blocks between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, from West 60th to West 66th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where he filming took place were demolished to build Lincoln Center for the Preforming Arts.
46 BC – Julius Caesar dedicates a temple to his mythical ancestor Venus Genetrix in accordance with a vow he made at the battle of Pharsalus.
715 – Ragenfrid defeats Theudoald at the Battle of Compiegne.
1212 – Golden Bull of Sicily is certified as an hereditary royal title in Bohemia for the Premyslid dynasty.
1580 – Sir Francis Drake finishes his circumnavigation of the Earth.
1687 – The Parthenon in Athens is partially destroyed by an explosion caused by the bombing from Venetian forces led by Morosini who are besieging the Ottoman Turks stationed in Athens.
1687 – The city council of Amsterdam votes to support William of Orange’s invasion of England, which became the Glorious Revolution.
1777 – British troops occupy Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the American Revolution.
1783 – The first battle of Shays’ Rebellion begins.
1789 – Thomas Jefferson is appointed the first United States Secretary of State, John Jay is appointed the first Chief Justice of the United States, Samuel Osgood is appointed the first United States Postmaster General, and Edmund Randolph is appointed the first United States Attorney General.
1792 – Marc-David Lasource begins accusing Maximilien Robespierre of wanting a dictatorship for France.
1810 – A new Act of Succession is adopted by the Riksdag of the Estates and Jean Baptiste Bernadotte becomes heir to the Swedish throne.
1820 – Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson proved tomatoes weren’t poisonous by eating several on the steps of the courthouse in Salem, New Jersey.
1872 – The first Shriners Temple (called Mecca) is established in New York City.
1907 – New Zealand and Newfoundland each become dominions within the British Empire.
1908 – Ed Reulbach becomes the first and only pitcher to throw two shutouts in one day against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
1914 – The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is established by the Federal Trade Commission Act.
1918 – World War I: The Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the bloodiest single battle in American history, begins.
1934 – Steamship RMS Queen Mary is launched.
1944 – World War II: Operation Market Garden fails.
1944 – World War II: On the central front of the Gothic Line Brazilian troops control the Serchio valley region after ten days of fighting.
1950 – United Nations troops recapture Seoul from the North Koreans.
1950 – Indonesia is admitted to the United Nations.
1954 – Japanese rail ferry Toya Maru sinks during a typhoon in the Tsugaru Strait, Japan killing 1,172.
1960 – In Chicago, the first televised debate takes place between presidential candidates Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy.
1960 – Fidel Castro announces Cuba’s support for the U.S.S.R.
1962 – The Yemen Arab Republic is proclaimed.
1970 – The Laguna Fire starts in San Diego County, California, burning 175,425 acres.
1973 – Concorde makes its first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic in record-breaking time.
1981 – Baseball: Nolan Ryan sets a Major League record by throwing his fifth no-hitter.
1983 – Soviet military officer Stanislav Petrov averts a likely worldwide nuclear war by correctly identifying a report of an incoming nuclear missile as a computer error and not an American first strike.
1984 – The United Kingdom agrees to the handover of Hong Kong
1997 – A Garuda Indonesia Airbus A-300 crashes near Medan, Indonesia, airport, killing 234.
1997 – An earthquake strikes the Italian regions of Umbria and the Marche, causing part of the Basilica of St. Francis at Assisi to collapse.
2000 – Anti-globalization protests in Prague (some 20,000 protesters) turn violent during the IMF and World Bank summits.
2000 – The MS Express Samina sinks off Paros in the Agean sea killing 80 passengers.
2002 – The overcrowded Senegalese ferry MV Joola capsizes off the coast of Gambia killing more than 1,000.
2008 – Swiss pilot and inventor Yves Rossy becomes first person to fly a jet engine-powered wing across the English Channel.
2009 – Typhoon Ketsana (2009) hit the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, causing 700 fatalities.