The First Time News Was Fit To Print, XX

Every Monday, mental_floss finds the first time The New York Times mentioned select topics. If you have a suggestion for our next episode, leave us a comment.


July 14, 1985

Is it Wrestling or Theater?
wrestlemania.jpg Make no mistake. Professional wrestling is low comedy, but it has become thoroughly respectable. These days it increasingly attracts a mixed, middle-class crowd, with audiences up a full third over last year. The most recent ''WrestleMania'' in March drew an overflow crowd of 25,000 to Madison Square Garden, while an estimated one million others watched the show on closed-circuit television throughout the country and many more in 24 nations abroad. Scalpers were demanding $100 a ticket to see Hulk Hogan and Mr. T have at Rowdy Roddy Piper and Paul (Mr. Wonderful) Orndorff. The show included Muhammad Ali as referee, New York Yankee manager Billy Martin as announcer, Liberace as timekeeper and the Rockettes from Radio City Music Hall.

Phil Knight

April 25, 1959

Illinois Breaks College Record In Drake Sprint Medley Relay
knight-oregon.jpg A brilliant half-mile anchor leg by Jamaican George Kerr today gave Illinois' sprint medley relay team an American collegiate record of 3 minutes, 17.8 seconds. The race, high mark of the golden anniversary Drake Relays, had Illinois' baton men running this way: Del Coleman 440 yards, John Lattimore 220, Ward Miller 220 and Kerr 880.

Summaries of Finals

Four-Mile Relay: 1. Oregon (Mack Robbins, Phil Knight, George Larson, Jim Grelle); 2. Nebraska; 3. Houston; 4. Iowa State; 5. Arkansas. Time "“ 17:15.2 (Meet record; former record, 17:15.9, set by Kansas, 1952).

Keep reading for Mary Matalin, 'My Two Dads,' John McEnroe and more.

My Two Dads

September 19, 1987

Two New NBC Comedy Series
my_two_dads_2.jpgIn the category of just plain old premiere, NBC has My Two Dads, being introduced tomorrow night at 8:30, immediately after the popular Family Ties but up against the formidable CBS competition of Angela Lansbury's Murder, She Wrote. The plot of My Two Dads makes Mama's Boy seem like a well-made Ibsen play. Michael Jacobs is the executive producer and writer.

Two men in their 30's "“ one a suit-and-tie type with appointment book, the other a carefree, T-shirted artist "“ are summoned to a lawyer's office for a reading of a will. It seems that the former college roommates were once in love with the same young woman in Key West. She has died "“ the details are gently skipped over "“ and left her 12-year-old daughter in their care. It also seems that either of them could be the real father. You can just imagine the contrived fun.
* * * * *
Meanwhile, the two dads are constantly bickering. Michael (Paul Reiser), the yuppie one, is a fretting mass of responsibility. Joey (Greg Evigan) is a bearded testimonial to unreliability. All would seem doomed, but there's a sitcom at stake here. Arguing about their old girlfriend, the dads suddenly realize: "Now that we're going to become fathers, why don't we become adults, too?" Well, perhaps just for a moment or two.

Mary Matalin

September 12, 1987

In Iowa, Republicans Who Pay Their Money Can Vote Their Choice
carville-matalin.jpg At what they call "The 1987 Presidential Cavalcade of Stars," Iowa Republicans plan to raise a lot of money on Saturday night and give all the party's 1988 candidates a chance to set forth their messages. The gathering at the campus of Iowa State University in Ames has become the symbolic coming-out party for a campaign that has really been going on for months.

The event will mark the first time that Vice President Bush has agreed to appear on the same platform as his main adversaries, including such lesser challengers as the Rev. Pat Robertson and former Gov. Pierre S. du Pont 4th of Delaware.
* * * * *
"We are kind of heartsick that they put on the straw ballot," said Mary Matalin, Mr. Bush's Midwest coordinator, while volunteers lettered Bush for President banners at 10:30 Thusday night amid pledge cards of Bush supporters who were being asked to make the trek. "This is the month we were putting together our precinct organization, which is far more important than driving six hours to Ames."

Mr. Bush is generally seen as the favorite on Saturday, even though the latest Des Moines Register poll put him neck-and-neck with Senator Bob Dole of Kansas among Iowa Republicans considered likely to attend next February's precinct caucuses. This is because Mr. Bush has deep organizational roots here that go back to his upset victory over Ronald Reagan in the 1980 caucuses.

John McEnroe

August 7, 1970

mcenroe.jpgGiammalva, McEnroe Win Metropolitan Tennis Titles
Tony Giammalva of White Plains and John McEnroe of Douglaston, Queens, won singles titles yesterday in Metropolitan boys' tennis....McEnroe, seeded first, won the 12-years division at the North Shore Tennis and Racquets Club by defeating Joe Rosenberg of Roslyn Heights, L.I., 5-7, 6-3, 6-1.

David Ogilvy

May 28, 1940

Gallup Survey of the Audience Interest in Pictures Is Being Conducted for Company
ogilvy.jpgDr. George Gallup, head of the Institute of Public Opinion [has] been engaged to conduct a "scientific study of the motion picture public and the tastes, habits, and interests of picture patrons." He stated that the chief function of the new organization which Dr. Gallup will organize for this purpose will be to "scientifically assist and guide the studio in its selection of stories, casts and titles."

The new Gallup unit will be known as the Audience Research Institute and will conduct its surveys from headquarters in Princeton, NJ. He emphasized that the bureau is entirely separate from the Institute of Public Opinion, which now is making a survey on the double-feature question, and said it would operate solely in the interests of RKO films. David Ogilvy will direct the bureau.

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Win a Trip to Any National Park By Instagramming Your Travels

If you're planning out your summer vacation, make sure to add a few national parks to your itinerary. Every time you share your travels on Instagram, you can increase your chances of winning a VIP trip for two to the national park of your choice.

The National Park Foundation is hosting its "Pic Your Park" sweepstakes now through September 28. To participate, post your selfies from visits to National Park System (NPS) properties on Instagram using the hashtag #PicYourParkContest and a geotag of the location. Making the trek to multiple parks increases your points, with less-visited parks in the system having the highest value. During certain months, the point values of some sites are doubled. You can find a list of participating properties and a schedule of boost periods here.

Following the contest run, the National Park Foundation will decide a winner based on most points earned. The grand prize is a three-day, two-night trip for the winner and a guest to any NPS property within the contiguous U.S. Round-trip airfare and hotel lodging are included. The reward also comes with a 30-day lease of a car from Subaru, the contest's sponsor.

The contest is already underway, with a leader board on the website keeping track of the competition. If you're looking to catch up, this national parks road trip route isn't a bad place to start.

15 Dad Facts for Father's Day

Gather 'round the grill and toast Dad for Father's Day—the national holiday so awesome that Americans have celebrated it for more than a century. Here are 15 Dad facts you can wow him with today.

1. Halsey Taylor invented the drinking fountain in 1912 as a tribute to his father, who succumbed to typhoid fever after drinking from a contaminated public water supply in 1896.

2. George Washington, the celebrated father of our country, had no children of his own. A 2004 study suggested that a type of tuberculosis that Washington contracted in childhood may have rendered him sterile. He did adopt the two children from Martha Custis's first marriage.

3. In Thailand, the king's birthday also serves as National Father's Day. The celebration includes fireworks, speeches, and acts of charity and honor—the most distinct being the donation of blood and the liberation of captive animals.

4. In 1950, after a Washington Post music critic gave Harry Truman's daughter Margaret's concert a negative review, the president came out swinging: "Some day I hope to meet you," he wrote. "When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!"

5. A.A. Milne created Winnie the Pooh for his son, Christopher Robin. Pooh was based on Robin's teddy bear, Edward, a gift Christopher had received for his first birthday, and on their father/son visits to the London Zoo, where the bear named Winnie was Christopher's favorite. Pooh comes from the name of Christopher's pet swan.

6. Kurt Vonnegut was (for a short time) Geraldo Rivera's father-in-law. Rivera's marriage to Edith Vonnegut ended in 1974 because of his womanizing. Her ever-protective father was quoted as saying, "If I see Gerry again, I'll spit in his face." He also included an unflattering character named Jerry Rivers (a chauffeur) in a few of his books.

7. Andre Agassi's father represented Iran in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics as a boxer.

8. Charlemagne, the 8th-century king of the Franks, united much of Western Europe through military campaigns and has been called the "king and father of Europe" [PDF]. Charlemagne was also a devoted dad to about 18 children, and today, most Europeans may be able to claim Charlemagne as their ancestor.

9. The voice of Papa Smurf, Don Messick, also provided the voice of Scooby-Doo, Ranger Smith on Yogi Bear, and Astro and RUDI on The Jetsons.

10. In 2001, Yuri Usachev, cosmonaut and commander of the International Space Station, received a talking picture frame from his 12-year-old daughter while in orbit. The gift was made possible by RadioShack, which filmed the presentation of the gift for a TV commercial.

11. The only father-daughter collaboration to hit the top spot on the Billboard pop music chart was the 1967 hit single "Something Stupid" by Frank & Nancy Sinatra.

12. In the underwater world of the seahorse, it's the male that gets to carry the eggs and birth the babies.

13. If show creator/producer Sherwood Schwartz had gotten his way, Gene Hackman would have portrayed the role of father Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch.

14. The Stevie Wonder song "Isn't She Lovely" is about his newborn daughter, Aisha. If you listen closely, you can hear Aisha crying during the song.

15. Dick Hoyt has pushed and pulled his son Rick, who has cerebral palsy, through hundreds of marathons and triathlons. Rick cannot speak, but using a custom-designed computer he has been able to communicate. They ran their first five-mile race together when Rick was in high school. When they were done, Rick sent his father this message: "Dad, when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!"


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