The First Time 'The New York Times' Covered 19 Famous Things

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Michael Appleton/The New York Times

Today the New York Times has a nice piece about the mental_floss YouTube channel. This is the first Times feature on our videos, and we're pretty excited. Exactly as excited as the Sony people must have been when the Walkman was first written up in 1980.

Here are some other NYT first mentions worth mentioning. Click on any date for the full article.

1. The Walkman

July 7, 1980

Stereo-to-Go — And Only You Can Hear It
Josh Lansing and the young blonde woman had never even met before, but as they passed each other on Madison Avenue the other afternoon, she waved and smiled and he tipped his headphones in salute. What the two well-dressed strangers first noticed about each other was that they were both possessors of the newest status symbol around town: the Walkman.

"It's just like Mercedes-Benz owners honking when they pass each other on the road," explained Mr. Lansing, whose cassette hung from his Gucci belt.

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2. Sesame Street

May 7, 1969

Rich TV Program Seeks Youngest
The most expensive and expansive television show ever beamed at the nation's 12 million preschool children -- who will watch TV more hours before they get to kindergarten than they will spend in six grades of elementary school -- was announced yesterday by National Educational Television.

Sesame Street is named to reflect the balance between fantasy and the real-life educational open-a-new-window need of pre-school youngsters — particularly members of minority groups in the inner cores of big cities — that the show hopes to achieve.

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3. Princess Diana

December 15, 1980

For 'Hounding' a Friend of Charles, Press Is Chided
The latest round of feverish speculation about Prince Charles's marriage prospects has touched off a new debate in Britain about the press and royal privacy.

"May I ask the editors of Fleet Street," said Lady Diana's mother, Frances Shand Kydd, in a letter published in The Times of London this month, "whether they consider it necessary or fair to harass my daughter daily, from dawn until well after dusk? Is it fair to ask any human being, regardless of circumstances, to be treated in this way?"

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4. Nintendo

October 8, 1955

Among the notices of trademark applications published this week is one from the Nintendo Playing Card Company, Ltd., Kyoto City, Japan. The notice explains that one of the Japanese characters in the mark means "happiness, fortune or wealth." Three other characters, pronounced "nintendo," are harder to translate. They constitute a fanciful expression having no precise dictionary meaning either in Japanese or English, but the application gives them the approximate sense of "a corporation whose fortune or prosperity should be left to the mercy of heaven." Evidently heaven has smiled on the Nintendo Company, because it has been using the mark since 1887.

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5. Donald Trump

January 28, 1973

Builder Looks Back But Moves Ahead
The big change in Fred Trump's operations in recent years is the advent of his son, Donald." Donald, who was graduated first in his class from the Wharton School of Finance of the University of Pennsylvania in 1968, joined his father about five years ago. He has what his father calls "drive." He also possesses, in his father's judgment, business acumen. "Donald is the smartest person I know," he remarked admirably. "Everything he touches turns to gold."

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6. iPod

October 24, 2001

Apple Introduces What It Calls an Easier to Use Portable Music Player
Apple Computer introduced a portable music player today and declared that the new gadget, called the iPod, was so much easier to use that it would broaden a nascent market in the way the Macintosh once helped make the personal computer accessible to a more general audience. But while industry analysts said the device appeared to be as consumer friendly as the company said it was, they also pointed to its relatively limited potential audience, around seven million owners of the latest Macintosh computers.

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7. Microwave Oven

March 31, 1949

New Improvements to Electronic Range Reported as Overcoming Present Faults
Though the electronic range that cuts cooking time from hours to minutes will not be possible for home kitchens for several years, one of it chief drawbacks is being overcome. The new combination of "regular" electricity with microwave energy will enable products to brown and to crust as well as cook through. One will bake bread in a matter of minutes without any sacrifice of the delicious crisp surface. incidentally, with this new oven it will be possible to use metal pans, something that cannot be done with other similar appliances, in which glass and paper utensils are used.

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8. Gatorade

August 27, 1967

Chocolate-Flavored Soft Drinks And Slush Are Selling Briskly
Perhaps the most unusual soft drink to be announced in some years is a lemon-lime-flavored product called Gatorade, which will be produced by Stokely-Van Camp, Inc., food packer of Indianapolis. The new product, not yet on the market, is a water solution of glucose, inorganic salts and flavorings and was designed to quench thirst, particularly during periods of physical exertion. It has been tested in Florida by the University of Florida athletes to quench their thirst in training periods and during actual competition.

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9. Times Square

March 23, 1904

Times Triangle, Times Square: New Names for Long Acre Square Suggested by a Reader of This Newspaper
To the Editor of The New York Times:
When the new building of The New York Times shall be completed and become a thing of art and beauty in that section of the city in which it is to stand, why would it not be fitting that the space about the edifice be called "Times Triangle" or "Times Square," though perhaps it may not be a square? It is, it seems, more euphonious than "Long Acre Square," and very soon would become as well known as "Printing House Square" or "Herald Square." No doubt the Board of Aldermen would take up such a suggestion at the proper time and act upon it favorably. Can it not be entertained?

-J.W.C. Corbusier

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10. Wayne Gretzky

July 6, 1978

Hockey Star, 17, Is Always Ahead of Himself
With mock fear he asked if it was safe to walk the streets of New York. The joke was that Wayne Gretzky, now 17 years old, has been thwarting assaults since he began outclassing the big boys as a 5-year-old all-star player on a hockey team for 11-year-olds.

Now the slight center is skipping three years of junior hockey to join the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association with a seven-year contract worth $1.75 million. ... Gretzky proudly announced he had just received his driver's license two weeks ago. His face fell flat when he was reminded he would have to apply for a United States license. "I get nervous at driving tests," he said.

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11. McDonald's

October 6, 1963

Franchises Lure Wide Investment
The lure to the individual or small businessman is that by investing a little money and lots of time, he can derive the benefits of a widely known name, cooperative advertising, "protected" territories and a cram course on how to run the business. A coast-to-coast chain, McDonald's Hamburgers, gives its franchisees a three-week course in everything from advertising to janitoring.

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12. Mount Rushmore

July 10, 1927

Making a Monument out of a Black Hills Mountain
Out of the granite face of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota within the next five years will appear in heroic proportions the features of four of our illustrious Presidents — Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt. This memorial will be to the founding, extending and preserving the Union and to the completion of the dream of Columbus by the cutting of the Panama Canal, and the four Presidents represent these epochs in our history.

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13. Personal Computer

November 3, 1962

Pocket Computer May Replace Shopping List
Pocket-size computers may eliminate the housewife's weekly shopping list. Electronic communication would tell the store in advance what she needed. She would simply pick up the bundles.

This was envisioned today by Dr. John W. Mauchly, inventor of some of the original room-size computers, who has developed one the size of a suitcase and is now working on a pocket variety.

Dr. Mauchly also predicted the day when a headwaiter could accurately forecast the cocktail a person wanted merely by matching the drinker's characteristics against preferences recorded in his own pocket computer...."There is no reason to suppose the average boy or girl cannot be a master of a personal computer," he said.

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14. Jon Stewart

November 4, 1988

Weekender Guide
Also performing are the stand-up comedians Bob Shaw, Ray Romano and Jon Stewart. The cover charge is $10 tonight, $12 tomorrow, and $7 on Sunday, and there is a two-drink minimum. Reservations are suggested.

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15. Online Dating

August 26, 1999

You've Got Romance! Seeking Love On Line
More and more single people, used to finding everything else on the Internet, are using it to search for love. More than 2,500 Web sites for adults are now devoted to matchmaking, said Daniel Bender, founder of Cupid's Network (www.cupidnet.com), an Internet portal for personals sites that went on line in 1995 listing only a handful.

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16. Harry Truman

May 20, 1934

Missouri Political Leaders Have Already Selected Their Candidates [For Senate]
Tom J. Pendergast, head of the Kansas City machine, then turned to Harry S. Truman, presiding judge of the Jackson County Court. Truman accepted and the gage of battle was thrown down.

But within the past few days there has been a growing sentiment in favor of John J. Cochran, Representative from St. Louis. [Jacob L. "Tuck"] Milligan's candidacy did not strike much fire. Truman is little known and his only strength is that given him by Pendergast in Kansas City.

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17. ESPN

July 22, 1979

Tomorrow—'A Video Supermarket'
An equally ambitious cable operation, due to begin in September, is the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN), based in Bristol, Conn. With the Getty Oil Company as its major backer, ESPN plans to become the nation's first all-sports network, offering not only play-by-play coverage but also sports-related news and feature programs.

"Our goal is to provide a continuous 'Wide World of Sports' for the sincere sports fan," explains ESPN's president William F. Rasmussen, referring to the highly successful ABC series....During its premiere weekend, the network plans to carry four football games, two soccer games, the European Open Golf Tournament, the U.S. slow-pitch softball championship and highlights of the American Legion baseball playoffs.

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18. Steve Urkel

April 17, 1991

Snookums! Steve Urkel is a Hit
When he is not the centerpiece of Family Matters, Urkel pops up on other shows. On Full House, Urkel jetted into town to explain to Stephanie that wearing glasses is not such a bad thing. He showed up on Johnny Carson as a guest, in the form of Mr. Jaleel White (sans glasses and irritating voice). On the American Comedy Awards, Mr. White taught Bea Arthur how to do the Urkel, a very nerdy dance.

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19. YouTube

October 27, 2005

Now Playing: Your Home Video
The entrepreneurs who have started companies like ClipShack, Vimeo, YouTube and Blip.tv are betting that as consumers discover the video abilities built into their cellphones and digital still cameras, and get better at editing the often-lengthy video from their camcorders, they will be eager to share video on the Web. While most of the services are free today, the entrepreneurs eventually hope to make money by selling ads or charging fees for premium levels of service.

Now go read the story about our YouTube channel! Most of these first mentions came from an old column we used to run called 'The First Time News Was Fit to Print.'

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