Nightline & The Hostage Crisis Countdown…

TODAY IN HISTORY, MARCH 24, 1981:

“Nightline”, an ABC news show, premieres, according to Historyorb.com.

The most interesting part of this story is that “nightline” with Ted Koppel actually began in November 1979 with the Iran Hostage Crisis. But then, that was focused on the Democrat administration of Jimmy Carter, so we can’t report that accurately.

The program had its beginnings on November 8, 1979, just four days after the Iran hostage crisis started. ABC News president Roone Arledge felt the best way to compete against NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson was to update Americans on the latest news from Iran. At that time, the show was called:

“The Iran Crisis—America Held Hostage: Day xxx” where xxx represented each day Iranians held hostage the occupants of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran. Originally, World News Tonight lead anchor Frank Reynolds hosted the special report. Shortly after its creation, Reynolds stopped hosting the program.

Ted Koppel, then ABC News’s State Department Correspondent, took on the hosting duties. It wasn’t until a few days later that a producer had the idea of displaying the number of days on “America Held Hostage”: Day 15, Day 50, Day 150, and so on.

The show continued to run as Nightline after the hostages were freed, and Ted Koppel became one of America’s most respected journalists.

Rawhide Down!!

Today in History, March 30, 1981:

“I hope you’re all Republicans”. President Ronald Reagan quipped to the medical team preparing to operate on him at George Washington University Hospital after he had been shot. “Today, sir, we all are.” ”

“Ronny” was leaving the D.C. Hilton where he had given a speech to Union members when he, a Secret Service agent, a D.C. Police Officer, and Press Secretary James Brady were shot by a man attempting to impress Jodie Foster.

Reagan showed his usual good form and humor in the hospital. When he awoke, a nurse was holding his hand; he looked up and asked, “Does Nancy know about us?” When Nancy arrived, he commented, “Honey, I forgot to duck” (quoting Jack Dempsey). While waiting for surgery, he stated, “All in all, I’d rather be in Philadelphia” (W.C. Fields quote). Within two weeks the President was back at work.

I’m glad we were allowed to have his honor, humor, positive attitude and leadership as long as we did.