I guess we shouldn’t be surprised when the month of August suddenly arrives. But we always are, right? It seemed like just the other day we relished the arrival of June and July. And now, we’re abruptly into the last of these always cherished, but infernally short, summer months.
But, we can’t stop the calendar, so let’s make the best of the new month and while you're planning your remaining summer activities, ponder what the new month offers in the way of interesting, amusing, historical, silly or significant events and memories:
• Television talk will turn to the Emmy awards, which is TV’s version of the Oscars. And by the way, do you know how it came to be called the Emmy?
The TV awards started in 1948 and the search for an appropriate name produced several that were technological in nature. Iconoscope, after the old TV tube, was rejected as being too long. Tilly, for television, didn’t find many fans, either. The name that stuck came from a pioneer television engineer who suggested Immy, a nickname for the image-orthicon TV tube, which was feminized to Emmy to match the female statue. And it has been Emmy ever since.
• Later in the month of August, the attention of tennis lovers will turn briefly from their court to the U.S. Open action at Flushing Meadows, New York. It has been held there since 1978, but do you remember where it was before that?
The U.S. Open Tennis Championship was previously a tradition at Forest Hills, New York, since 1951.
Do you remember these dates?
August 8, 1974 — U.S. President Richard Nixon announced that he would resign the Presidency the following day due to a very bad case of a fatal disease called “Watergate.”
August 16 — The anniversary of Elvis Presley’s tragic death at the young age of 42. Try this Elvis trivia quiz (answers at the end of the column):
1. In 1960, Elvis received five Grammy nominations. How many did he win?
2. Most of us probably remember seeing Elvis for the first time on network TV on the old Ed Sullivan Show. Was that Elvis’ first network performance?
3. Who was Elvis named after?
4. From 1969 onward, Elvis sang the same song at the end of almost every concert. What song was it?
August 29, 1896 — A Chinese chef in New York concocted a new dish to please American palates. It was called “chop suey.”
And we always thought it was an exotic import directly from China. Surprise, surprise!
August 29 — This is the day to remember Edmond Hoyle, especially if you’re a lover of cards, games and playing by the rules. Hoyle lived in England and gave lessons on playing games. In 1742, his paper on playing whist was published and his name forever became synonymous with the correct playing of games. His fame resulted in the phrase, “According to Hoyle.”
Friday, August 30 — the beginning of the Labour Day weekend, which is the last long holiday weekend of our short summer months. Enjoy the three day break, but remember the cautionary words of a veteran policeman who said: “Drive carefully! It’s true that a lot of things come to an end on Labour Day, but you don’t have to be one of them.”
Harry and Charlie are enjoying a beaker of lemonade in the back yard, and Charlie says: “You know, my TV gave me a lot of pleasure this summer — I traded it for an air conditioner.”
Elvis quiz answers
1. In 1960, Elvis didn’t win any of the five Grammies for which he was nominated. In fact, he lost three of those awards to Ray Charles.
2. Although the Ed Sullivan Show appearances were probably the most-watched, Elvis’ first network appearance was in January 1956 on Stage Show, which was hosted by Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey.
Elvis actually made his first six network appearances on their show. That’s sort of ironic, since the Dorseys were not creatures of the early rock era, but were old-time, big-band leaders.
3. Elvis was named after his dad, Vernon Elvis Presley.
4. At the end of almost every concert, Elvis sang, Can’t Help Falling in Love. Many people refer to this song as, “Wise Men Say,” which is the beginning of the song’s first line.