Series launches: “Lassie” on CBS in 1954; NBC western “Bonanza” in 1959; sitcoms “Family Affair” on CBS and “The Monkees” on NBC in 1966; CBS’ animated “Josie & the Pussycats” on Saturday morning in 1970; “All in the Family” spin-off “Maude” on CBS in 1972; ABC family drama “Life Goes On” in 1989; ABC’s “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” in 1993; and Fox’s “Party of Five” in 1994. At 17 seasons on CBS (and three additional in first-run syndication from 1971-74), this first edition of “Lassie” had a particularly long run. “Bonanza” at 13 and one-half seasons, however, was not far behind.
The film that started Spaghetti Western genre “A Fistful of Dollars”, starring Clint Eastwood, opened in Italy. It was followed by “For a Few Dollars More” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, also starring Eastwood.
U.S. senator and future president John F. Kennedy married Jacqueline Bouvier in Newport, Rhode Island in 1953.
Astronaut Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to fly in space, part of the STS-47 Spacelab J mission in 1992.
“Gotham” star Benjamin McKenzie is 44; Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson is 41.
Did You Know?
“Bonanza” was the top-rated show in all of primetime from 1964 to 1967. It finished nine of its 14 seasons ranked in the Top 5…Originally appearing in the Season 2 “All in the Family” episode “Cousin Maude’s Visit” (December 11, 1971), Bea Arthur made enough of an impact to return in a backdoor pilot in the season-ending episode on March 11, 1972, titled “Maude.” With ratings beginning to thin out by season six, a proposed seventh season had Maude Findlay move to Washington, D.C. to pursue a career in politics. When Bea Arthur decided to call it quits, the storyline for Maude evolved into the pilot “Mr. Dugan”, with John Amos replacing Arthur as the lead character. But a negative backlash from a screening for African-American members of Congress resulted in CBS pulling the plug and not airing any of the three episodes produced. Still interested, Norman Lear reworked the premise into “Hanging In” with Bill Macy returning to play a former professional football player turned university president. It aired for four episodes in August 1978….An unhappy TV couple:In her autobiography, Patti LuPone mentioned that she and her TV hubby Bill Smitrovich disliked each other so much so that by the fourth season that they weren’t even speaking to each other off the set.
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