September 8th in nerd history: Where no one has gone before

Happy National Ampersand Day! This hardworking piece of punctuation simply doesn’t get enough usage or credit. It holds the power to combine anything with nothing more than a single character. Amazing & efficient.

Ampersand GIF

This is The Reset Button from Classic Nerd, resetting your day.

September 8 in Nerd History

Here are five things that happened on September 8th at the intersection of nerd and pop culture.


Birthdays of honor: Pink (1979), Patsy Cline (1932), Peter Sellers (1925), Gaten Matarazzo (2002), Jonathan Taylor Thomas (1981), David Arquette (1971), Jimmie Rodgers (1897), Neko Case (1970).


Today in 1966 Star Trek premiered in the U.S. on NBC.

Although it was not the first to be filmed, “The Man Trap” was the first episode to air. It has the crew visiting planet M-113 and getting attacked by a shapeshifting creature that steals salt from humans.

Star Trek Thinking GIF by HULU

And that was pretty much the end of Star Trek! Hold on, I’m getting something… yes I’m hearing that it has actually become one of the most enduring franchises in entertainment history and is still producing new content. My bad.

But its initial run was indeed cut short, getting canceled after three seasons and 79 episodes. As the production studio sought to recoup more of its money, it placed it in syndication starting in 1969, and that’s when things started to get crazy.

It was quickly airing in over 150 domestic and 60 international markets, and by 1972 the first Star Trek convention was held. That was followed by an animated series and finally by Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979 — raking in $139 million (in late ’70s numbers) a decade after its TV cancellation.

And if I continue from there, I won’t ever get anything else done. But suffice it to say, if you needed a reason to throw on your Starfleet uniform, now you have one.


In 1960 Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho was released nationwide, scarring the entire nation for life. Becoming the second highest-grossing movie of the year (behind Spartacus), it ushered in a new era of horror and suspense — one which is still emulated but never equaled.

Also, let’s not forget that it gave us that screeching score, perfect for any time you’re using a knife in the kitchen and want to annoy your family.

But let’s not let this masterpiece overshadow the release of Kickboxer in 1989, starring Jean-Claude van Damme.

Dude was RIPPED for this movie. Sheesh.

Kickboxer was a bit of a surprise box-office hit, grossing over $50 million against a $2.7 million budget. It follows the classic story of a kickboxer who gets paralyzed in a fight so his brother vows revenge. Cliché, really.


Today Oprah started telling people they were getting free stuff when The Oprah Winfrey Show was broadcast nationally for the first time in 1986.

oprah winfrey GIF

It won 47 Daytime Emmys and ran for 25 years, and Oprah remains deeply influential in pop culture.


Today in 1973, 50 years ago, Marvin Gaye’s very subtle “Let’s Get It On” was the number one song.