The day video games were born

Ralph BaerIn a hand-written design document, Ralph Baer, an engineer working for defense contractor Sanders Associates, sketches out his ideas for a device he calls a TV Gaming Display. The design proposal lays out a concept to take television from being a passive form of entertainment to an interactive one in which two players can manipulate simple on-screen displays to play various games. Management at Sanders recognizes the potential of the invention, and Baer proceeds with development of the first video game prototypes, one of which becomes the basis for the first home video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey, six years later.

Doctor Who v2.0

Patrick TroughtonThe BBC announces, for the first time in the show’s history, that Doctor Who will have a new Doctor, in the form of actor Patrick Troughton. There are hints that the new Doctor will have a “new personality” and be “tougher,” though this concept is not elaborated upon any further. (Indeed, the BBC remains tight-lipped on how two actors with such different appearances could play the same part.) Studio taping of the swan song story for the first Doctor, William Hartnell, begins mere days later.

Star Trek: The Man Trap

Star TrekWith over two years of development behind it, Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek finally premieres on NBC with The Man Trap, the completed episode that the network feels most strongly represents the series concept and will connect with a 1960s audience accustomed to police shows and westerns. (It also helps NBC – and its corporate parent, General Electric, who has a stake in the television manufacturing industry – showcase its new season in color.)

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It’s About Time: And Then I Wrote Happy Birthday To You

It's About TimeThe first episode of the time travel sitcom It’s About Time, created by Sherwood Schwarz (I Dream Of Jeannie) and starring Frank Aletter, Jack Mullaney, and Imogene Coca, premieres on CBS. The series involves two astronauts thrown back in time to the prehistoric era, and a comedy of errors ensues as they try to get along with the primitive neighbors with whom they find themselves stranded. Richard Donner (Superman: The Movie, Ladyhawke, Lethal Weapon) directs the series premiere.

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Gemini 11

Gemini 11Gemini 11 lifts off on a three-day mission to continue validating rendezvous, docking and spacewalking techniques that will be needed on the upcoming Apollo lunar missions. With Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon aboard, Gemini 11 becomes the furthest manned object from Earth, using an Agena booster to push itself into a higher orbit that takes Gemini 850 miles away from Earth at its furthest point. After three days of docking, spacewalks and orbit-changing exercises, Gemini 11 returns to Earth.

Lost In Space: Blast Off Into Space

Lost In SpaceThe 30th episode of Irwin Allen’s science fiction series Lost In Space premieres on CBS, starring Guy Williams, June Lockhart, and Jonathan Harris. This is the beginning of Lost In Space’s second season, and is the first episode of the series to be broadcast in color. Strother Martin guest stars.

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Mission: Impossible

Mission: ImpossibleCBS airs the first episode of Bruce Geller’s “spy-fi” series Mission: Impossible, starring Steven Hill, Barbara Bain (Space: 1999), Greg Morris, Peter Lupus, and Martin Landau (Space: 1999, Ed Wood). Together with NBC’s recent pickup and premiere of Star Trek, Mission: Impossible becomes a mainstay of CBS’ prime-time schedule, and marks a major turnaround in the fortunes of Lucille Ball’s Desilu Studios.

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Star Trek: Where No Man Has Gone Before

Star TrekThe third episode of Gene Roddenberry’s science fiction series Star Trek airs on NBC. Sally Kellerman (M*A*S*H) and Gary Lockwood (2001) guest star. This is the second pilot, and shows numerous noticeable differences in casting and costumes, but NBC and Desilu Studios elect to air it anyway, giving the production team time to complete more new episodes.

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Surveyor 2 doesn’t land on the moon

SurveyorThree days after lifting off from Earth, NASA’s Surveyor 2 robotic probe is en route to the moon when all contact is lost. Thanks to an engine failure, Surveyor 2 is left tumbling out of control, and does eventually reach the moon, slamming into the lunar dust of Copernicus Crater at a leisurely speed of 6,000 miles per hour – perfect for traversing the distance between Earth and moon in a hurry, but not so good for landing intact.