Today in History: Sept. 27

Today is the 11th anniversary of Google claiming that it was launched on September 27, 1998, making the Internet giant 18 today. The company is celebrating with a “Google doodle” that may have already greeted you this morning. (See above.)

Google registered “” on September 15, 1997, which means it is at least 19 years of age, and the company received its first payments from investors in August 1998, before it was even incorporated, which finally took place on September 4, 1998, but starting in 2005, the company has claimed September 27 as its “official” birthday. Its corporate website semi-explains, semi-cutely: “Google opened its doors in September 1998. The exact date when we celebrate our birthday has moved around over the years, depending on when people feel like having cake.”

“I Wish I Was Eighteen Again” by Sonny Throckmorton, sung by George Burns (after the jump):

* * * *
Albert Einstein’s fourth in a series of four papers that changed physics was received at his publisher on this date in 1905. It was titled, “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?” and it introduced an equation that proposed the idea that the energy of a body at rest (E) equals its mass (m) times the speed of light (c) squared, or E = mc2.

It was published in the scientific journal Annalen der Physik on November 21 of that year.

* * * *
“This program is going to go forever.” Steve Allen was referring to the late concluding hour for each episode of The Tonight Show, but he was prescient in other ways.

The first episode of The Tonight Show aired on NBC on this date in 1954. Steve Allen was its host, Gene Rayburn was the announcer, and Skitch Henderson was the bandleader. The clip below is from the first show, and, yes, Steve Allen is sitting at a piano instead of a desk. According to IMDb, Willie Mays was the first guest.

* * * *
A mail train en route from Monroe, Virginia, to Spencer, North Carolina, derailed and fell off a bridge near Danville, Virginia, on this date in 1903. When it arrived at a station to switch crews, it was an hour late, and the crew was ordered to make up time to keep on its schedule. The train was speeding when it derailed. Eleven people were killed on the train.

The train had been nicknamed Old 97, and the wreck of Old 97 was soon commemorated in song: “The Wreck of the Old 97.” Several dozen famous recordings of the ballad have landed in the country charts through the decades, including one by Johnny Cash. The final lyric reads:

So come all you ladies, you must take warnin’
From this time on and learn
Never speak harsh words to your true lovin’ husbands
They may leave you and never return

Rhett Miller, an Ulster County, New York, neighbor of mine (and object of one of my several “Mark Should Not Meet People, Famous or Otherwise” anecdotes), co-founded an alt-country band in the 1990s called the Old 97s, and here he is performing the song in his energetic style:

* * * *
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson was published on this date in 1962.

* * * *
Edgar Degas died 99 years ago today. Babe Didrikson Zaharias died 60 years ago today. Oona O’Neill Chaplin died 25 years ago today.

* * * *
Harry Blackstone, Sr. was born on this date in 1885. Louis Auchincloss was born on this date in 1917. Jayne Meadows (wife of Steve Allen) was born 97 years ago today. Roger C. Carmel was born on this date in 1932.

* * * *
Wilford Brimley is 82. Joyce Johnson is 81. Randy Bachman is 73. Meat Loaf is 69 today. Mike Schmidt is 67 today. Shaun Cassidy is 58. Irvine Welsh is 58. Gwyneth Paltrow is 44. Avril Lavigne is 32.

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  1. bf62183703 · September 27, 2016

    Hi Mark, thanks for reading my blog. Your interesting twist on blog contact is certainly more interesting than mine! B

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Southern by Design · September 28, 2016

    Hard to believe that Google’s birthday is the same year I graduated high school! Ugh, now I feel old! 😳😉

    Liked by 1 person

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