Milestones: Wednesday, September 27, 2023
ENLIGHTENMENT INSPIRED HIM — SAMUEL ADAMS, born Sept. 27, 1722, was a Revolutionary leader who drew his inspiration for human rights from the British philosopher John Locke of the Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, a time when traditional authority and structure was questioned. Sam Adams, cousin to founding father and 2nd President John Adams, was so impassioned by Enlightenment ideas that he wrote his master’s thesis on the legality of resisting Britain, which was imposing taxes on the colonists to recoup losses sustained in the Seven Years War. Sam Adams became more outspoken over time, supporting the War for Independence. He was a signer on the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation.
Samuel Adams also became a namesake for a popular beer on the market today. He grew up in a family of brewers and may have even tried his hand at making beers. However, he was much better as a writer and legislator than at conducting business, and the business failed.
JESUIT ORDER FOUNDED — THE SOCIETY OF JESUS, also known as the Jesuits, were a Roman Catholic missionary order founded on Sept. 27, 1534. The Society of Jesus — a Roman Catholic missionary organization — played an important role in the Counter-Reformation and eventually succeeded in converting millions around the world to Catholicism. The Jesuit movement’s founder was Ignatius de Loyola, a Spanish soldier turned priest. The first Jesuits–Ignatius and six of his students–took vows of poverty and chastity and made plans to work for the conversion of Muslims. Unable to travel to Jerusalem because of the Turkish wars, they went to Rome instead to meet with the pope and request permission to form a new religious order. In September 1540, eight years after Ignatius established the order, Pope Paul III approved Ignatius’ outline of the Society of Jesus, and the Jesuit order was born.
However, the Roman Catholic Church did not have a Jesuit Pope until 2013, when Pope Francis was elected in a conclave, after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI (now deceased). Born in Argentina as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the current Pope is the first to have taken the papal name of Francis (for St. Francis of Assisi).
SHAPED BLACK ENTERTAINMENT — DON CORNELIUS, born Sept. 27, 1936, in Chicago, was an American television show host and producer, and the creator of the nationally syndicated dance and music show Soul Train, which he hosted for 23 years. Cornelius, who possessed a deep and resonant voice, creative drive and astute eye for new talent, built a successful variety show that introduced Black culture to American homes. He debuted “Soul Train” in 1970; the program expanded nationwide “Soul Train” introduced many now-legendary performers from James Brown, Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye.
Don Cornelius was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 1995. Eleven years later, in 2006, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
THE CARTOON THAT BROUGHT DOWN BOSS TWEED — AMERICAN POLITICAL CARTOONIST THOMAS NAST was born in Landau, Germany, on Sept. 27, 1840. He gained fame as the “Father of the American Cartoon,” and was most famous for his Civil War illustrations in Harper’s Weekly, ones that influenced the election of President Ulysses S. Grant and for the political cartoons that helped bring down the corrupt Boss Tweed and the Tammany Hall machinery. The mascots of both major political parties were also Nast’s inventions: the Democratic donkey and the Republican elephant.
Nast had an untimely end, dying of yellow fever on Dec. 7, 1902, during his service as U.S. consul at Guayaquil, Ecuador.
‘AND….HERE’S JOHNNY!’ — THE “TONIGHT SHOW” MADE ITS TV PREMIERE on Sept. 27, 1954 as a late-night talk and variety show. It was the founding host, Steve Allen, who developed the program’s format of opening monologue — which would over the years launch many new stand-up comics — and games, segments and celebrity interviews. Jack Paar succeeded Steve Allen, hosting from 1957-62. Johnny Carson would reign as “the king of comedy” and “The Tonight Show’s” host for almost 30 years, from October 1962 to May 1992. Comedian Jay Leno, who made his own stand-up debut on The Tonight Show in 1977, blended in so well that he became the permanent guest host for Johnny Carson before taking over that famous desk in 1992.
Over the years as American culture shifted, so did The Tonight Show, with Conan O’Brien hosting briefly (before Leno returned in 2010). Upon Leno’s retirement, Jimmy Fallon became host in 2014.
See previous milestones, here.
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