Today in History: September 17

RCA Victor introduced the long-playing record, the 33 1⁄3 rpm, 12-inch, record on this date in 1931. It was the first record that could play up to fifteen minutes on a side.

Because classical music seemed to be the only appropriate music for the new format, the first recording that the company offered (under the catalog number of Victor L-7001) was a brand-new recording of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stowkowski. The orchestra was recorded with new equipment designed especially for recordings to be played on the new LP phonographs, which were to be outfitted with the company’s own chrome-plated steel needle, the “Chromium Orange,” when playing the new LPs.

The orchestra was recorded in August; 85 years ago today, these recordings were released (click to play):

1931 Beethoven Symphony no 5 movement 1
1931 Beethoven Symphony no 5 movement 2
1931 Beethoven Symphony no 5 movements 3 & 4

* * * *
The delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the U.S. Constitution on this date in 1787.

* * * *
Joshua Norton declared himself “Emperor of these United States” on this date in 1859.

* * * *
Major League Baseball suspended games for several days after the attacks on September 11, 2001. Fifteen years ago tonight, the games resumed. In St. Louis, long-time Cardinals announcer Jack Buck spoke to the crowd. He had lung cancer and Parkinson’s disease and less than a year of life left:

* * * *

Wanderer moon
smiling a
faintly ironical smile
at this
brilliant, dew-moistened
summer morning,—
a detached
sleepily indifferent
smile, a
wanderer’s smile,—
if I should
buy a shirt
your color and
put on a necktie
where would they carry me?
—William Carlos Williams, “Summer Song, 1917

William Carlos Williams was born on this date in 1883.

* * * *
Hank Williams was born on this date in 1923. Roddy McDowall was born in 1928 on this date. Jim Rohn was born on this date in 1930. The late Edgar Mitchell was born on this date in 1930. (He died on February 4.) The late David Huddleston was born on this date in 1930. (He died on August 2.) Anne Bancroft was born in 1931 on this date. Ken Kesey was born in 1935 on this date. Jeff MacNelly was born on this date in 1947. John Ritter was born on this date in 1948.

* * * *
Senator Chuck Grassley is 83. Orlando Cepeda is 79. Justice David Souter is 77. Phil Jackson is 71 today. Fee Waybill is 66. Cassandra Peterson (Elvira, Mistress of the Dark) is 65. Rita Rudner is 63. John Franco is 56. Baz Luhrmann is 54. Bryan Singer is 51.

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One comment

  1. loisajay · September 17, 2016

    I never knew Elvira’s real name. Rita–where have you been, honey? I miss your humor!

    Liked by 1 person

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