This Week in History: September 29-October 5

Featured Article, History, This Week in History
on September 29, 2013
Ford T
Ford's Model T

A series of monumental TV series premieres happened this week, along with the premiere of one of the world’s best-known cars.  Also, a Pope decided time was going to change forever as well, all this week in history.

October 1:
Model T Introduction 
For the low, low price of $850, you could get your family into a Ford Model T on this day in 1908. Available in any color “so long as it is black,” the Model T put America on the road and revolutionized how transportation and travel worked in the country. Henry Ford developed a system of streamlined production, an assembly line where the car came to the worker, to meet demand. Ford sold more than 15 million cars between 1908 and 1927.

October 2:
“Peanuts” Debut
Good grief! On this day in 1950, Charles M. Schulz’s gang of lovable blockheads and their dogs, blankets and kite-eating trees appeared in newspapers for the first time. “Peanuts” stars Charlie Brown and his friends explore the meaning of life and love in their small town. The comic strip branched out into film and stage with features such as “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” “Peanuts” had 17,897 strips in total and ended on February 13, 2000, the day after Schulz’s death.

“Twilight Zone” Premiere
On this day in 1959, television audiences crossed over into another dimension—the Twilight Zone. Rod Serling’s hybrid of science fiction, horror and drama, “The Twilight Zone,” challenged viewers to reconsider reality and consistently provided scares worth coming back for. The show, which won two Emmys for writing, inspired a movie and two revival series that were met with less enthusiasm. The show airs today in syndication.

October 3:
German Reunification
On this day in 1990, Germany finally mended wounds caused by World War II and worsened by the Cold War. The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany (West) merged into one nation under the constitution and name of the former West. Berlin was also reunified. German Unity Day is a national holiday in Germany.

“Andy Griffith” Premiere
Small town America had its day in the television sun with the premiere of the “Andy Griffith Show” on this day in 1960. The sitcom starred Andy Griffith as sheriff Andy Taylor and Ron Howard as his son, Opie, and chronicled their life in the fictional town of Mayberry, N.C. The show had eight seasons and ranked consistently in the top seven of Nielsen ratings. “Andy Griffith” had multiple spin-offs and a television movie. The 249 episodes air today in syndication.

October 4:
Gregorian Calendar Change
Check your dates because on this date in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII moved the year up 10 days. He decreed that the day after Thursday, October 4 was to be Friday, October 15. This was to adjust for miscalculations in the common style of dating, the Julian Calendar (created by Julius Caesar in the first century B.C.). Seasonal equinoxes, religious festivals and holidays were falling in the wrong seasons or too early; Gregory’s adjustment fixed that. The change was immediate in most Catholic countries, was adopted in England and the Americas in 1752 and Russia and Greece adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1918 and 1923, respectively.

October 5:
Civil War Submarine Warfare
Both the Union and Confederate armies experimented with submersible vessels; neither had much success. One success happened on the night of October 5, 1863, when the Confederate “David” attacked the Union “New Ironsides” with a spar torpedo (bomb attached to a pole) near Charleston. “New Ironsides” suffered some damage, but the “David” nearly sank because the explosion filled the ship’s power plant with water. The “David” escaped back to Charleston. This was the first successful Southern attack using a submarine.