On this day in 1996, Oprah Winfrey launched her book club and announced that “The Deep End of the Ocean” by Jacquelyn Mitchard would be her first selection.
Oprah”s Book Club quickly became a hugely influential force in the publishing world. The popular daytime talk show host's stamp of approval on books often sent them to bestseller lists.
Other notable Sept. 17 happenings in pop culture history:
• 1957: Louis Armstrong canceled his trip to the U.S.S.R.. Announcing that he would not participate in a U.S. government-sponsored tour of the Soviet Union, the jazz musician said, “The way they are treating my people in the South, the government can go to hell.”
• 1967: The Who ended a nationally televised performance of “My Generation” with a literal bang – an explosion, caused by explosives packed into Keith Moon”s drum kit, rocked the stage, singed Pete Townshend”s hair and left shrapnel in Moon”s arm.
• 1972: “M*A*S*H” premiered on CBS. It went on to air for 11 seasons.
• 1983: Vanessa Williams, then 20, became the first African-American to be crowned Miss America. Her reign lasted less than a year, as she gave up her crown the following July after nude photos of her surfaced. Just this past Sunday, the CEO of Miss America apologized for the incident.
• 2002: The first HIV-positive Muppet character debuted. A character on “Takalani Sesame,” the South African co-production of “Sesame Street,” Kami, a five-year-old orphan who loves nature.
• 2011: Adele”s “Someone Like You” became the first piano-and-vocals-only No.1 in the Billboard Hot 100″s history.
Birthdays: “Friday Night Lights” actor Kyle Chandler (50), “District 9” director Neill Blomkamp (36), “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig (53), “Les Misérables” actor Daniel Huttlestone (16), “Moulin Rouge!” director Baz Luhrmann (53), Elvira actress Cassandra Peterson (64), “X-Men” director Bryan Singer (50), former Panic! at the Disco bassist Jon Walker (30)