Thursday, October 04, 2007

The news of Sputnik had spread quickly in government and scientific circles earlier that day. Around 6:30 PM on the East Coast, President Dwight Eisenhower was at Camp David when he was told.

It was just a few minutes after 8 PM in New York when RCA technicians recorded the sound. Sputnik had already orbited over the U.S. three times by then.NBC News broke into radio and TV programming coast to coast. “Listen now for the sound,” the radio announcer said, “which forevermore separates the old from the new.” (The announcement did not, as some stories say, break into broadcast of the World Series. October 4, 1957 was a travel day for the Yankees and Milwaukee Braves--no game was played. Besides, night games in the World Series didn't begin until 1971.)

It was rush hour on the West Coast. That's where a 36 year old television writer named Gene Roddenberry would have heard about it. Commuters might have been listening to Jimmie Rodgers sing “Honeycomb,” the current number one hit, or the song it dethroned, “That’ll Be the Day” by Buddy Holly and the Crickets. When they first heard the Sound.

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