Danger, Will Robinson, danger! Welcome back to your weekly fix of the peoples, places, and events that make up the most magical, mystical, and majestic of genres ever: science fiction!
All the way back in the year 2 A.D., the planets Venus and Jupiter were in conjunction, forming what some believe may very well have been the ‘Star of Bethlehem.’ In 1896, the first dial telephones were installed in Albion, N.Y., after they were patented on this day. And in 1960, the USSR recovered two dogs – Dezik and Tsygan – the first living creatures to be launched from Earth to return from space. Auspicious birthdays include FRINGE star John Noble (1948); FALLING SKIES’ Colin Cunningham (1966), who looks an awful lot like Pauly Shore; and yet another incarnation of DOCTOR WHO, Sylvester McCoy (1943).
One could make the case that Skynet had its earliest inklings back on this day in 1888 when William Seward Burroughs patented the adding machine. In 1965, Gemini 5 successfully established Earth orbit with two astronauts on board. And the co-founder of Google, Sergey Brin, was born on the day back in 1973. Other auspicious birthdays include a trio of absolutely lovely ladies: STAR TREK VI’s Kim Cattrall (1956), THE MATRIX’s Carrie Anne-Moss (1967), and HEROES’ star Hayden Panettiere (1989).
The very first iPod – the Victor Victrola – was manufactured on this day in 1906. FYI: it wasn’t all that ‘portable’ and it had no apps to speak of. In 1932, the BBC first experimented with television broadcasting. In 1989, the first ring surrounding Neptune was discovered. Auspicious birthdays include sci-fi legend Ray Bradbury (1920); veteran character actor Colm Feore (1958); and LOST’s Mr. Eko himself, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (1967), who recently signed for a prominent role in THOR 2.
In 1617, London opened the first one-way streets. Lunar Orbitor 1 took the first photographs of the Earth from the Moon in 1966. And legendary Beatles’ front-man John Lennon reported seeing a UFO in New York City on this day in 1974. Auspicious birthdays include the ‘Six Million Dollar Man’ himself, Lee Majors (1940); the best looking female genie in history, Barbara Eden (1934); and the man behind Darth Maul – Ray Park (1974).
On this day in 1966, the USSR launched Luna 11 for its orbit around the Moon. In 1998, the first RFID human implant was tested in the United Kingdom (God shame the Queen!). Auspicious birthdays include ‘the man under the R2D2 dome’ – Kenny Baker (1934); sci-fi author Orson Scott Card (1951); director Takashi Miike (1960); and “Star Trek: Voyager” semi-regular Jennifer Lien (1974).
Is there a more iconic role in science fiction than Klaatu? Granted, he looked mostly human when he first appeared onscreen in the 1951 classic, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, but he delivered that seminal message sci-fi fans love to hear: “Earth, you’d better shape up, or you’re toast.” Klaatu was brought to life by actor Michael Rennie. He never quite found roles of the same relevance as his career progressed, but isn’t it enough to be remembered for giving mankind its first, best ultimatum? Rennie was born on this day in 1909. Other auspicious birthdays include the first (and best) James Bond – Sean Connery (1930); director Tim Burton (1958); and THE EVENT’s Blair Underwood (1964).
Thrills and chills took on a decidedly mechanical twist when the first US roller coaster was built in 1929. George Orwell published “Animal Farm” in 1946. On this day in 1981, Voyager 2 photographed Saturn’s moon, Titan. Auspicious birthdays include veteran TV composer Mark Snow (1946) and the newest star to play Captain James T. Kirk – Chris Pine (1980).