Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
September 8 is the 251st day of the year (252nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 114 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1966, The TV series, “Star Trek“, debuted on NBC-TV, on its mission to “boldly go where no man has gone before” and despite ratings and only a three year run that gave us 79 episodes, the series did exactly that.
When Star Trek premiered on NBC-TV in 1966, it was not an immediate hit. Initially, its Nielsen ratings were rather low, and its advertising revenue was modest. Before the end of the first season of Star Trek, some executives at NBC wanted to cancel the series because of its rather low ratings. The chief of the Desilu Productions company, Lucille Ball, reportedly “single-handedly kept Star Trek from being dumped from the NBC-TV lineup.”
Toward the end of the second season, Star Trek was also in danger of cancellation. The lobbying by its fans gained it a third season, but NBC also moved its broadcast time to the Friday night “death slot”, at 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (9:00 p.m. Central Time). Star Trek was cancelled at the end of the third season, after 79 episodes were produced. However, this was enough for the show to be “stripped” in TV syndication, allowing it to become extremely popular and gather a large cult following during the 1970s. The success of the program was followed by five additional television series and eleven theatrical films. The Guinness World Records lists the original Star Trek as having the largest number of spin-offs among all TV series in history.
The series begat five televisions series and 11 movies with more to come. I knew I loved Lucille Ball for a reason.
70 – Roman forces under Titus sack Jerusalem.
1264 – The Statute of Kalisz, guaranteeing Jews safety and personal liberties and giving battei din jurisdiction over Jewish matters, is promulgated by Boleslaus the Pious, Duke of Greater Poland.
1380 – Battle of Kulikovo – Russian forces defeat a mixed army of Tatars and Mongols, stopping their advance.
1449 – Battle of Tumu Fortress – Mongolians capture the Chinese emperor.
1504 – Michelangelo’s David is unveiled in Florence.
1514 – Battle of Orsha – in one of the biggest battles of the century, Lithuanians and Poles defeat the Russian army.
1565 – Pedro Menendez de Aviles settles St. Augustine, Florida.
1565 – The Knights of Malta lift the Turkish siege of Malta that began on May 18.
1755 – French and Indian War: Battle of Lake George.
1756 – French and Indian War: Kittanning Expedition.
1761 – Marriage of King George III of the United Kingdom to Duchess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.
1793 – French Revolutionary Wars: Battle of Hondschoote.
1796 – French Revolutionary Wars: Battle of Bassano – French forces defeat Austrian troops at Bassano del Grappa.
1810 – The Tonquin sets sail from New York Harbor with 33 employees of John Jacob Astor’s newly created Pacific Fur Company on board. After a six-month journey around the tip of South America, the ship arrives at the mouth of the Columbia River and Astor’s men establish the fur-trading town of Astoria, Oregon.
1831 – William IV and Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen are crowned King and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
1863 – American Civil War: Second Battle of Sabine Pass – on the Texas-Louisiana border at the mouth of the Sabine River, a small Confederate force thwarts a Union invasion of Texas.
1888 – In London, the body of Jack the Ripper’s second murder victim, Annie Chapman, is found.
1888 – In England the first six Football League matches are played.
1892 – The Pledge of Allegiance is first recited.
1900 – Galveston Hurricane of 1900: a powerful hurricane hits Galveston, Texas killing about 8,000 people.
1914 – World War I: Private Thomas Highgate becomes the first British soldier to be executed for desertion during the war.
1921 – 16-year-old Margaret Gorman wins the Atlantic City Pageant’s Golden Mermaid trophy; pageant officials later dubbed her the first Miss America.
1923 – Honda Point Disaster: nine US Navy destroyers run aground off the California coast. Seven are lost.
1926 – Germany is admitted to the League of Nations.
1930 – 3M begins marketing Scotch transparent tape.
1934 – Off the New Jersey coast, a fire aboard the passenger liner SS Morro Castle kills 135 people.
1935 – US Senator from Louisiana, Huey Long, nicknamed “Kingfish”, is fatally shot in the Louisiana capitol building.
1941 – World War II: Siege of Leningrad begins. German forces begin a siege against the Soviet Union’s second-largest city, Leningrad.
1943 – World War II: The O.B.S. (German General Headquarters for the Mediterranean zone) in Frascati is bombed by USAAF.
1943 – World War II: United States General Dwight D. Eisenhower publicly announces the Allied armistice with Italy.
1944 – World War II: London is hit by a V2 rocket for the first time.
1944 – World War II: Menton is liberated from Germany.
1945 – Cold War: United States troops arrive to partition the southern part of Korea in response to Soviet troops occupying the northern part of the peninsula a month earlier.
1951 – Treaty of San Francisco: In San Francisco, California, 48 nations sign a peace treaty with Japan in formal recognition of the end of the Pacific War.
1954 – The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) is established.
1960 – In Huntsville, Alabama, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally dedicates the Marshall Space Flight Center (NASA had already activated the facility on July 1).
1962 – Newly independent Algeria, by referendum, adopts a Constitution.
1962 – Last run of the famous Pines Express over the Somerset and Dorset Railway line (UK) fittingly using the last steam locomotive built by British Railways, 9F locomotive 92220 Evening Star.
1966 – The Severn Bridge is officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
1966 – The first Star Trek series premieres on NBC.
1967 – The formal end of steam traction in the North East of England by British Railways.
1968 – The Beatles perform their last live TV performance on the David Frost show. They perform their new hit “Hey Jude”.
1970 – Hijacking (and subsequent destruction) of three airliners to Jordan by Palestinians; the events to follow would later become known as Black September
1971 – In Washington, D.C., the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is inaugurated, with the opening feature being the premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass.
1974 – Watergate Scandal: US President Gerald Ford pardons former President Richard Nixon for any crimes Nixon may have committed while in office.
1975 – Gays in the military: US Air Force Tech Sergeant Leonard Matlovich, a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, appears in his Air Force uniform on the cover of Time magazine with the headline “I Am A Homosexual”. He is later given a general discharge.
1991 – The Republic of Macedonia becomes independent.
1993 – Chinese athlete Wang Junxia sets a new women’s 10,000 m world record of 29:31.78, breaking the former record by 42 seconds.
1999 – United States Attorney General Janet Reno names former Senator John Danforth to head an independent investigation of the 1993 fire at the Branch Davidian church near Waco, Texas in response to revelations in the film Waco: The Rules of Engagement that contradicted the official government stories.
2004 – NASA’s unmanned spacecraft Genesis crash-lands when its parachute fails to open.
2005 – Two EMERCOM Il-76 aircraft land at a disaster aid staging area at Little Rock Air Force Base; the first time Russia has flown such a mission to North America.