TLW's Prime Time TVscope™ (Prime Time TV Historyscope)
By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™
© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.
Original Pub. Date: Oct. 5, 2015. Last Update: Mar. 13, 2019.
Westerners are not only known as history ignoramuses, but double dumbass history ignoramuses when it comes to American prime time TV history. Since I'm the one-and-only Historyscoper (tm), let me quickly bring you up to speed before you dive into my Master Historyscope.
The gigantic middle-class market in the U.S. has long nurtured the birth and development of prime-time television as a mass entertainment medium, with some series like "Gunsmoke" reaching 600 episodes, which doesn't compare with daytime soap operas like "Guiding Light", which have reached 18K+ episodes, and game shows like "The Price Is Right", which have reached 9K+ episodes; as always, the production values are skewed between art and commerce, with the lowest common denominator audiences bringing in the biggest advertising revenue, while the artistic community attempts to counter with public TV, award ceremonies, etc., which is why the daytime fare is lower in the artistic quality department; meanwhile the basic fact that the people of the U.S. are fairly free to do what they want drives the whole industry. For Historyscopers the history of the changes in the subject matter, casting, scripts, etc. is an absorbing reflection of the changes in society, as well as the changes desired by the production companies, which don't always come out as they want.
TV has its birth pangs in the Twenties? In 1923 Russian-born Am. RCA-Westinghouse engineer Vladimir Kosmich Zworykin (1889-1982) patents the Iconoscope (Gr. "ikon" + "skopion" = image + look at) TV camera tube; all he needs now is a TV receiver tube - is it zworykin? On Oct. 30, 1925 Scottish inventor John Logie Baird (1888-1946) transmits human features by television in the first TV broadcast of moving objects (in England), using a mechanical system based on Paul von Nipkov's 1886 rotating disk. In 1928 both independently develop color TV, Zworykin's electronic, Baird's mechanical - your insurance company will only pay three-quarters of what it takes to replace it?
In May 1928 Studio City is founded in the San Fernando Valley near Los Angeles, Calif. on a triangular lot bisected by the Los Angeles River; by Mack Sennett; in 1933 he declares bankruptcy and sells it to Mascot Pictures, which in 1935 merges with Monogram Pictures and Consolidated Film Corp. to form Republic Pictures, becoming Republic Studios, producing B-Westerns starring Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, John Wayne et al.; in the 1950s Republic leases space to Revue Productions (founded in 1943 by MCA), which produces "Leave It To Beaver" et al before moving to Universal City; meanwhile Four Star Productions leases space to produce "The Rifleman", "Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater", "The Big Valley" et al.; Republic Pictures ceases film production, leasing the lot to CBS-TV, producing "Gunsmoke", "Rawhide", "My Three Sons", "Gilligan's Island", and "The Wild Wild West"; in Feb. 1967 CBS-TV purchases the lot for $9.5M, renaming it CBS Studio Center; in 1970 it rents space to the new MTM Enterprises.
Early in the 1930s vaudeville goes kaput, and by 1935 the Golden Age of Radio begins in the U.S. (ends 1950), with a few acts incl. Bob Hope, George Burns, and Gracie Allen making graceful transitions, while most vaudeville acts go kaput; Jack Benny (Benjamin Kubelsky) (1894-1974) debuts on the "Ed Sullivan Show" in 1932, then becomes a radio star; Richard Bernard "Red" Skelton (1913-97) holds out until 1937 before going to radio and becoming a star.
In the 1930s the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (founded Sept. 18, 1927), and the Nat. Broadcasting Co. (NBC) (founded 1926), consisting of the Red Network and Blue Network begin experimental TV broadcasts.
In 1931 Brooklyn, N.Y.-born Allen Balcom DuMont (Du Mont) (1901-65) invents a long-lasting cathode-ray tube (CRT) for use in TV sets, and the Magic Eye Tube in 1932, selling the first commercially practical all-electronic TV set, the Model 180 in June 1938, becoming the first millionaire in the TV business.
On June 19, 1934 the U.S. Communications Act creates the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate interstate and foreign communications, abolishing the Federal Radio Commission and absorbing functions of the Interstate Commerce Commission; the wavelength of European broadcasting stations is altered to conform with recommendations of the Lucerne Committee; on July 11 Miss. Supreme Court judge (1916-24) Eugene Octave Sykes Jr. (1876-1945) becomes dir. #1 (until Mar. 8, 1935).
On Aug. 16, 1937 the Am. Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) is founded in Los Angeles, Calif.; the T is added on Sept. 17, 1952.
In 1937 Paramount Pictures agrees to purchase a minority interest in DuMont Laboratories, maker of the first commercially successful TV sets; too bad, in 1939 Paramount Pictures opens its own experimental TV stations, KTLA-TV (Ch. 5) in Los Angeles, Calif. and WBKB-TV (Ch. 4) in Chicago, Ill., effectively controlling DuMont while while holding it back, dropping financial support in 1941 after investing $400K, with the FCC counting these stations as part of DuMont Network, preventing it from acquiring two of its own; in 1949 Paramount launches the Paramount TV Network to undercut it; it folds in 1956.
On May 17, 1939 the first televised baseball game, the 2nd game of a double header between Columbia U. and Princeton U. at Columbia's Baker Field is broadcast by NBC to 400-odd TV sets by sportscaster Bill Stern (1907-71); on Sept. 30 the first college football game to be televised is shown on experimental station W2XBS in New York as Fordham U. defeats Waynesburg College 34-7 in Triboro Stadium on Randalls Island; on Aug. 26 the first televised ML baseball games are shown on W2XBS, a double-header between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field; announced by Walter Lanier "Red" "the Ol' Redhead" Barber (1908-92); the Reds win game #1 5-2, the Dodgers win game #2 6-1; on Oct. 22 NBC televises its first ML baseball game from Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, N.Y.; there are only about 400 TV sets in operation in the New York area.
On Mar. 6, 1940 German-born Raymond "Ray" Forrest (Feuerstein) (1916-99) becomes the announcer for the first airborne telecast from an airplane flowing low over New York City; later this year he becomes the NBC announcer at the first televised political convention, the Repub. Convention in Philly, at which Wendell Willkie is nominated for U.S. pres.; CBS-TV broadcasts the convention in color.
On July 1, 1941 the FCC authorizes commercial TV in the U.S.; NBC-TV begins operation on WNBT (formerly W2XBS, later WNBC) New York (Channel 1), with Ray Forrest reading the first formal on-camera announcement, followed on July 4 by the first live TV commercial, for Adam Hats, who give him a free hat; Bulova Watch Co. sponsors the first TV commercial, "America runs on Bulova time" on WNBT before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies, at a cost of $4-$9; the shows a ticking watch but has no announcer; CBS-TV begins operation on WCBW New York (Channel 2); there are only 1K TV sets in operation in the viewing area; on Dec. 7 Forrest becomes the first TV announcer to break into a program with a news bulletin, interrupting the Sun. afternoon movie "The Playboy" (1938) to announce the Pearl Harbor Attack.
In 1943 after the U.S. govt. finds NBC's Red-Blue Network setup a monopoly, it spins-off the Blue Network as the Am. Broadcasting Co. (ABC), owned by Life Savers candy magnate Edward John Noble (1882-1958); the Big Three TV Networks (CBS, NBC, ABC) go on to dominate U.S. TV until the late 1980s.
On Dec. 11, 1944 (7:00 p.m.) Chesterfield Supper Club debuts on NBC Radio on weeknights (until 1950), starring Pierino Ronald "Perry" Como (1912-2001); in 1945 "The Voice of America" Jo Elizabeth "Josie" "G.I. Jo" Stafford (1917-2008) hosts on Tuesdays and Thursdays; theme songs incl. "Smoke Dreams" and "A Cigarette, Sweet Music and You"; on Apr. 5, 1946 it is broadcast from a TWA plane at 20K ft. alt., becoming the first network radio broadcast from an airplane; in 1948-50 it is broadcast on NBC-TV.
In 1945 as WWII ends there are less than 10K TV sets in the U.S.
On Aug. 9, 1945 the DuMont TV Network is founded with the announcement of the dropping of the A-bomb on Nagasaki, Japan; regular service begins on Aug. 15, 1946; too bad, it has no radio network to fall back on for a built-in audience and talent, instead partnering with Paramount Pictures, with only three stations (WABD in New York City, WTTG in Washington, D.C., and WDTV in Pittsburgh, Penn.), launching the TV careers of Jackie Gleason and Bishop Fulton Sheen, and pioneering the selling of commercials to different advertisers for the same show; on Jan. 11, 1949 the Golden Spike connecting the U.S. East Coast (WABD in New York City) and U.S. Midwest (WGN-TV in Chicago, Ill.) is activated, followed in 1951 by a West Coast-East Coast link; in 1954 the DuMont Tele-Centre at 205 E. 67th St. in New York City o pens in the former Jacob Ruppert Central Opera House; too bad, after the FCC forces it to expand to UHF, it folds on Aug. 6, 1956, becoming known as the Forgotten Network.
On May 9, 1946 Hour Glass, sponsored by Standard Brands and hosted by Edward Mier "Eddie" Mayehoff (1909-92) and Helen Parrish (1924-59) debuts on NBC-TV (until Mar. 1947), becoming the first regularly-scheduled variety show on U.S. network TV; on Nov. 14, 1946 ventriloquist Edgar Bergen appears on the show, becoming one of the first major radio stars to appear on TV.
On June 20, 1946 Cash and Carry debuts on the DuMont TV Network (until July 1, 1947), hosted by and Jersey City, N.J.-born Dennis James (Demie James Sposa) (1917-97), becoming the first network TV game show, in which contestants take cans off a supermarket shelf and answer the question on it; of course the cans are all made by sponsor Libby Foods.
On July 3, 1946 Wyllis Cooper's 15-min. horror radio program Lights Out (since 1934) debuts on NBC-TV, produced by Fred "Pappy" Coe (1914-79), becoming a live program in 1949-52 sponsored by Admiral and hosted by Frank Gallop, finally being killed off by "I Love Lucy" on CBS-TV.
On Nov. 17, 1946 (Sun.) (8:30 p.m.) the half-hour series Television Screen Magazine debuts on NBC-TV (until 1949), with a panel incl. Robert William "Bob" Haymes (1923-89), John K.J. McCaffery (1913-83), Millicent Vernon Hammond Fenwick (1910-92), Raymond "Ray" Forrest (Feuerstein) (1916-99), George F. Putnam et al. hosting various guests, which incl. few celebs, who are still leerie of the new medium.
In 1946 Boxing from St. Nicholas Arena debuts on DuMont Network, hosted by Chris Schenkel, airing boxing matches from St. Nicholas Arena at the corner of 69 W. 66th St. and Columbus Ave. in Manhattan, N.Y. (founded 1896) on Mon. nights, becoming the last program aired by the network on Aug. 6, 1956.
In 1947 the Golden Age of Television begins (ends 1961), with serious fare incl. hour-long anthology drama series making TV worth watching; too bad, the relentless amoral power of capitalism turns it into the boob tube, catering to lowest-common-denominator mass audiences to sell advertising; in 1947 NBC begins kinescoping its programs, i.e., filming the picture from a TV monitor.
On May 7, 1947 (Wed) (7:30 p.m.) the hour-long drama-anthology series Kraft Television Theatre debuts on NBC-TV for 525 episodes (until Oct. 1, 1958), featuring TV plays with new stories and chars. each week, launching the careers of Hope Lange et al.; on Jan. 12, 1955 Rod Serling's Patterns is aired, becoming such a hit that it is reshown 3 weeks later and turned into a feature film, winning Serling his first of six Emmys for dramatic writing; on Oct. 10, 1963 it is replaced by Kraft Suspense Theatre (Crisis) for 59 episodes (until July 1, 1965).
On Oct. 27, 1947 You Bet Your Life, starring Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx (1890-1977) debuts on ABC Radio, moving to CBS Radio on Oct. 5, 1949; on Oct. 4, 1950 it becomes an NBC-TV show (until 1961), with a combined total of 529 episodes, becoming the first TV game show to have its reruns syndicated; every episode has a secret word; the intro features the song Hooray for Captain Spaulding from the 1928 Broadway musical "Animal Crackers"; on Feb. 18, 1954 Groucho takes on a spunky old lady (secret word = "clock").
On Nov. 6, 1947 Meet the Press, hosted by Lawrence Edmund Spivak (1900-94) (until 1975) debuts on NBC-TV, becoming America's longest-running TV program (ends ?).
On Nov 13, 1947 Pantomime Quiz (originally Pantomime Quiz Time), based on the parlor game Charades debuts on KTLA-TV (ends Oct. 9, 1959), hosted by Mike Stokey (1918-2003), winning the first Emmy Award for most popular TV program, moving to CBS-TV in Oct. 1949-Aug. 28, 1951, NBC-TV on Jan. 2-Mar. 26, 1952, CBS-TV on July 4-Aug. 28, 1952, DuMont Network on Oct. 20, 1953-Apr. 13, 1954, CBS-TV on July 9-Aug. 2, 1954, ABC-TV on Jan. 22-Mar. 6, 1955, CBS-TV on July 8-Sept. 6, 1957, and ABC-TV on Apr. 8, 1958-Oct. 9, 1959; on Sept. 17, 1962-Sept. 2, 1964 it returns to CBS-TV as "Stump the Stars"; in Jan.-Sept. 1979 it is syndicated as "Celebrity Charades".
On Dec. 4, 1947 (every 3rd Sun.) the half-hour live anthology series Television Playhouse debuts on NBC-TV (until Apr. 11, 1948), sponsored by the Nat. Theater and Academy, using unknown actors; the first episode is "The Last of My Solid Gold Watches" by Tennessee Williams.
On Dec. 27, 1947 The Howdy Doody Show (originally the Puppet Playhouse) (the first network weekday children's show) debuts on NBC-TV (until Sept. 24,1960), produced in Rockefeller Center, Studio 3A in New York City, selling people on the future of TV; "Say, kids, what time is it? It's Howdy Doody time!"; Howdy Doody has 48 fernticles, er, freckles on his face, one for each U.S. state, and he and his twin bro' Double Doody were born on Dec. 27, 1941; show founder and host "Buffalo Bob" Smith (Robert Emil Schmidt) (1917-98) is the voice; Smith's sidekick is mute seltzer bottle and bicycle horn-wielding Clarabell the Clown, first played by Robert James "Bob" Keeshan (1927-2004) (until 1952); other chars. incl. Chief Thunderthud, of the Ooragnak (Kangaroo backwards) Tribe, known for the greeting "Kowabonga", Princess Summerfallwinterspring (Judy Tyler), J. Cornelius Cobb, Sir Archibald the Explorer, The Featherman, Ugly Sam (Dayton Allen), and Pierre the Chef (Dayton Allen); it is shown in color starting in 1955
In 1948 there are only 35K TV sets in use in the U.S., and only 37 stations on the air.
On Apr. 22, 1948 Barney Blake, Police Reporter debuts on NBC-TV for 13 episodes (until July 8, 1948), sponsored by Am. Tobacco Co. and starring Orville Eugene "Gene" O'Donnell (1911-92) as Barney Blake, and Judy Parrish (1916-) as his secy. Jennifer Allen, becoming the first mystery series on U.S. network TV.
On May 24, 1948 the live weekly variety series Village Barn debuts on NBC-TV (until Sept. 1949), originating from the underground Village Barn nightclub in Greenwich Village, N.Y., becoming the first country music program on U.S. network TV; the debut episode features Tex Ruby, Curly Fox, and The Dixie Boys; later episodes feature Pappy Howard and His Tumbleweed Gang, Harry Ranch and His Kernels of Korn, Bill Long's Ranch Girls, Plute Pete, Romolo De Spirito, Shorty Warren and His Western Rangers, and Okla. gov. Roy J. Turner; when it closes in the late 1960s, the Village Barn becomes Electric Lady Studios, famous as the place where Jimi Hendrix records; above it is the 8th Street Playhouse.
On June 1, 1948 the CBS Radio Show (since 1936) debuts as the half-hour talk show We the People on CBS-TV (until Jan. 1, 1952 after switching to NBC-TV in 1949), with the host interviewing celebs "up close and personal".
On June 8, 1948 New York City-born Jewish comedian Milton "Uncle Miltie" Berle (Mendel Berlinger) (1908-2002) hosts the first 1-hour Texaco Star Theater, which causes TV to become wildly popular in the U.S., causing Berle to be called "Mr. Television"; the show lasts until June 1956.
On June 12, 1948 Thoroughbred Racing on CBS debuts on CBS-TV with the broadcast of the Belmont Stakes, followed by the Preakness Stakes; it first broadcasts the Kentucky Derby in 1952, becoming the first time it is connected to network lines; meanwhile NBC-TV broadcasts the Belmont Stakes 1950-2.
On June 20, 1948 (Sun.) (8-9 p.m. ET) the New York City-based variety show Toast of the Town debuts on CBS-TV (until June 6, 1971), hosted by former boxer and newspaper sportswriter Edward Vincent "Ed" Sullivan (1901-74), featuring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Monica Lewis, and Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II previewing "South Pacific", becoming the longest-running show in TV history; "a really big shoe"; on Sept. 25, 1955 it becomes "The Ed Sullivan Show"; in 1965 it switches to color; in June 1968 CBS-TV Studio 50 is renamed the Ed Sullivan Theater.
On July 1, 1948 after years of experimental broadcasts, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approves commerical TV broadcasts; New York City station WNBT (later WNBC) becomes the first to make the changeover, hosting a 1-time episode of Truth of Consequences (which debuted on NBC Radio on Mar. 23, 1940), hosted by producer Ralph Livingstone Edwards (1913-2005), featuring impossible-to-answer trivia questions followed by Beulah the Buzzer, and the "consequences", a zany and embarrassing stunt, often involving reunion with a loved one; after a 1-time special on NBC-TV on July 1, 1948, it debuts again on Sept. 7, 1950 (until Dec. 31, 1987), becoming the first TV program with a live audience to be recorded on 35mm film with multiple cameras; in 1954 Edwards is replaced by Jack Bailey, followed in 1956 by Bob Barker, in 1977 by Bob Hilton, and in 1987 by Larry Anderson; on Jan. 22, 1957 it becomes the first TV program to be broadcast in all U.S. time zones from a videotape; in 1966 it becomes the first successful daily game show in first-run syndication (until 1978, then 1987-8); on Mar. 31, 1950 Hot Springs, N.M. (founded 1916) renames itself Truth or Consequences, N.M. (modern-day pop. 6K) to get Edwards to host the show there, after which he attends the annual fiesta the first weekend of every May until his death.
On July 19, 1948 the sitcom Our Miss Brooks debuts on CBS Radio, moving to CBS-TV on Oct. 3, 1952 (until July 7, 1957), starring Eve Arden (Eunice Mary Quedens) (1908-90) as Constance "Connie" Brooks, an English teacher at Madison H.S., Gale Gordon (Charles Thomas Aldrich Jr.) (1906-95) as principal Osgood Conklin, handsome Robert Rockwell (1920-2003) as shy biology teacher Philip Boynton, whom Miss Brooks has the hots for, Jane Morgan (1880-1972) as Miss Brooks' absent-minded landlady Mrs. Davis, known for exotic inedible breakfasts and her cat Minerva, and Richard Donald "Dick" Crenna (1926-2003) as student Walter Denton; filmed in 1956.
On Aug. 10, 1948 the musical variety show The Alan Dale Show debuts on the DuMont Network (until Jan. 16, 1951 after switching to CBS in 1950), starring Alan Dale (Aldo Sigismondi) (1925-2002).
On Aug. 10, 1948 after debuting on ABC Radio on June 28, 1948 (ends Sept. 23, 1948), the joke reality series Candid Camera (originally Candid Microphone) debuts on ABC-TV (until 1954 after switching to NBC-TV in fall 1949), starring Allen Albert Funt (1914-99); it returns on CBS-TV in 1959-67.
On Aug. 11, 1948 the sitcom The Laytons debuts on DuMont Network for 10 episodes (until Oct. 13, 1948), starring Amanda E. Randolph (1896-1967), who becomes the first African-Am. performer to star in a regular role in a U.S. network TV series.
On Sept. 27, 1948 (Mon.) (8:00 p.m.) the anthology series The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre debuts on NBC-TV for 82 episodes (until June 26, 1950).
On Oct. 3, 1948 the anthology drama The Philco Television Playhouse, produced and dir. by Fredco, er, Fred "Pappy" Coe (1914-79) debuts on NBC-TV for 251 episodes (until Oct. 2, 1955), featuring adaptations of Broadway musicals and plays, starting with "Dinner at Eight" by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber; season 2 features adaptations of Book of the Month Club novels; season 3 features original stories and adaptations, launching the careers of writers incl. Paddy Chayefsky, Horton Foote, and Gore Vidal; on May 24, 1953 it debuts Chayefsky's drama "Marty", starring Rod Steiger; in 1951 Goodyear becomes co-sponsor; in 1955 Alcoa becomes the sponsor; on Oct. 2, 1955 the last episode is Robert Alan Arthur's "A Man Is Ten Feet Tall", starring Don Murray and Sidney Poitier, which is filmed in 1957 by MGM as "Edge of the City", starring Poitier and John Cassavetes.
On Oct. 3, 1948 the variety show Welcome Aboard, sponsored by Admiral debuts (until Feb. 20, 1949); the first two episodes feature Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.
On Nov. 7, 1948 the 1-hour anthology drama series Studio One, based on the 1947-8 CBS Radio show debuts on CBS-TV for 467 episodes (until Sept. 29, 1958), created by Winnipeg, Canada-born Fletcher Markle (1921-91), receiving Emmy nominations every year from 1950-8; on Sept. 20, 1954 Reginald Rose's "Twelve Angry Men" debuts, spawning a 1957 film version starring Henry Fonda; on Sept. 9, 1957 "The Night America Trembled", a recreation of Orson Welles' "The War of the Worlds" debuts.
On Nov. 10, 1948 (Wed.) (8:30 p.m.) the half-hour talk show The Wendy Barrie Show (Through Wendy's Window) (Who's Who with Wendy Barrie) (Inside Photoplay) (PhotoplayTime) debuts on ABC-TV (until Sept. 27, 1950 and DuMont Network on Jan. 17-July 13, 1949 then NBC in Feb. 1950, which cuts it to 15 min.), starring Hong Kong-born English actress Wendy Barrie (Marguerite Wendy Jenkins) (1912-78).
On Nov. 21, 1948 (Sun.) (4:30 p.m.) the ecumenical religious anthology Lamp Unto My Feet, sponsored by the Nat. Council of Churches, New York Board of Rabbis, and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops debuts on CBS-TV (until 1979); on Apr. 28, 1979 it is combined with "Look Up and Live" to create the new show For Our Times (until 1988).
On Nov. 25, 1948 the first wide-audience TV broadcast in the Puget Sound, Wash. area. is shown on almost 1K TV sets.
On Dec. 6, 1948 Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts debuts on CBS-TV for ? episodes (until Jan. 1, 1958), starring "the Old Redhead" Arthur Morton Godfrey (1903-83), who hawks Lipton Tea and Chesterfield brand cigarettes, with the slogan "Buy 'em by the carton", later quitting smoking and terminating his relationship with the co. five years before being diagnosed with lung cancer, becoming an anti-smoking activist. Meanwhile on Jan. 12, 1949 the hour-long live variety show Arthur Godfrey and His Friends debuts on CBS-TV (until Apr. 28, 1959).
On Dec. 17, 1948 the 6-mo.-old radio sitcom The Morey Amsterdam Show debuts on CBS-TV for 71 episodes (until Oct. 12, 1950 after switching to DuMont Network on Apr. 21, 1949), starring Moritz "Morey" Amsterdam (1908-96) as the MC of the Golden Goose Cafe in New York City; Arthur William Matthew "Art" Carney (1918-2003) plays Charlie the Doorman; aspiring novelist Jacqueline Susann (1918-74) plays Lola the Cigarette Girl.
On Dec. 26, 1948 Bowling Headliners debuts on DuMont Network (until Apr. 9, 1950), becoming the first regularly-scheduled bowling show on U.S. network TV, airing from Rego Park Lanes in Queens, N.Y.; it is featured on the cover of the Oct. 29, 1949 TV Guide.
On Jan. 21, 1949 the anthology drama series Your Show Time debuts on NBC-TV for 26 episodes (until July 15), sponsored by Lucky Strike brand cigarettes, becoming the first U.S. dramatic TV series to be shot on film, and the first series to win an Emmy for best film made for TV with "The Necklace"; in 1955 it is syndicated as "Film Drama", and in 1956 as "Story Theater".
On May 5, 1949 (9:00 p.m.) (Thur.) Stop the Music (based on the ABC Radio show that debuted in 1948) debuts on ABC-TV (until June 14, 1956), hosted by Atlanta, Ga.-born Bert Parks (Bertram Jacobson (1914-92) and Jersey City, N.J.-born Dennis James (Demie James Sposa) (1917-97), in which viewers call in to identify songs.
On Sept. 1, 1949 the detective radio series (since Aug. 7, 1949) Martin Kane, Private Eye debuts on NBC-TV for 175 episodes (until June 17, 1954 after switching to NBC-TV in 1951-2) as a live series, becoming the first P.I. TV series, sponsored by United States Tobacco Co., which integrates its commercials into the action, starring pipe-smoking trench coat and fedora-wearing Lloyd Benedict Nolan (1902-85) (1951-2), William Lee Tracy (1898-1968) (1952-3), and Mark Stevens (1916-94) (1953-4); Walter Kinsella (1900-75) plays tobacco shop owner Happy McMann; Walter Noel Greaza (1897-1973) plays Capt. Leonard; on Sept. 14, 1957 "The New Adventures of Martin Kane" debuts in syndication for 39 episodes, starring original radio star William Gargan (1905-79), who contracts throat cancer in 1958 and is forced to have his larynx removed, becoming a spokesman for the Am. Cancer Society through his artificial voice box.
On Sept. 15, 1949 (Thur.) the Westerm drama series The Lone Ranger debuts on ABC-TV for 221 episodes (until June 6, 1957), starring former circus acrobat, model, and stuntman Jack Carlton "Clayton" Moore (1914-99) as the masked white hero, and Canadian Mohawk Indian Jay Silverheels (1912-80) as his Indian sidekick Toto, with the cavalry charge finale of Gioacchino Rossini's "William Tell Overture" as the theme music, and the voice of Frederick William "Fred" Foy (1921-2010) announcing: "A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty 'Hi-ho Silver away!'... Return with us now, to those thrilling days of yesteryear"; in the 1952 season the producers replace Moore with similarly-built John Hart (1917-2009), until audience demand gets him back after one season.
On Sept. 16, 1949 the top-rated NBC Radio crime drama show (since Apr. 2, 1947) The Big Story debuts on NBC-TV for 349 half-hour episodes (until June 28, 1957, then in syndication until 1958), narrated by Robert "Bob" Sloane, dramatizing the lives of newspaper reporters.
On Oct. 12, 1949 (Wed) (9:00 p.m.) the crime drama series The Plainclothesman debuts on the DuMont Network (until Sept. 12, 1954), starring Kenneth E. "Ken" Lynch (1910-90) as "The Lieutenant"", whose face is never shown on camera.
On Nov. 6, 1949 (Sun.) the variety series Paul Whiteman's Goodyear Revue debuts on ABC-TV (until Mar. 30, 1952), hosted by bandleader ("the King of Jazz") Paul Samuel Whiteman (1890-1967), featuring entertainers Victor Borge, Jane Froman, Mel Torme, Charles Laughton, Mindy Carson, and Peggy Lee.
In 1950 there are 6M TV sets in the U.S., and 15M next year; the big three networks are CBS-TV ("the eye web"), ABC-TV ("the alphabet web"), and NBC-TV ("the peacock web").
On Feb. 2, 1950 What's My Line debuts on CBS-TV (until Sept. 3, 1967, then revived as a syndicated show from 1968-75), produced by Mark Goodson (1915-92) and William S. "Bill" Todman (1916-79), and hosted by South African-born ABC-TV newsman John Charles Daly (1914-91), with mystery guests whose occupation (line) must be guessed by a panel consisting of gold necklace-wearing Arlene Francis (1907-2001) (1950-75), Dorothy Kilgallen (1913-65) (1950-65), Louis Untermeyer (1885-1977) (1950-1), Random House ed. Bennett Cerf (1898-1971) (1951-71) et al.; the first mystery guest is Yankees shortstop Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto (1917-2007) - I make money with bags and balls in New York?
On Feb. 25, 1950 Your Show of Shows debuts on Sat. nights on NBC-TV for 139 episodes (until June 5, 1954), starring Isaac Sidney "Sid" Caesar (1922-2014) and Imogene Fernandez de Coca (1908-2001).
On June 11, 1950 The Hazel Scott Show debuts on the DuMont TV Network, starring Trinidad-born jazz singer Hazel Scott (1920-81), who becomes the first African-Am. woman with her own TV show; too bad, she mouths off, dissing McCarthyism and racial segregation, and the show is canceled after the Sept. 29 episode.
On June 26, 1950 The Garry Moore Show debuts on CBS-TV (until Jan. 8, 1967), starring Garry Moore (1915-93) and Homer Durward Kirby (1912-2000), going on to help launch the careers of Carol Burnett, Jonathan Winters, Don Adams et al.
On July 15, 1950 Jackie Gleason (1916-87) takes over the Cavalcade of Stars (begun Sept. 19, 1949) on the DuMont TV Network, and on Sept. 20, 1952 it switches to CBS-TV under the title The Jackie Gleason Show for a total of 187 episodes (until June 22, 1957), featuring the June Taylor Dancers, led by his sister-in-law; Gleason performs many recurring skits incl. millionaire Reginald Van Gleason III, loudmouth Charlie Bratten, milquetoast Fenwick Babbitt, Rudy the Repairman, the pantomine char. Poor Soul, and Joe the Bartender, who serves zany Crazy Guggenheim, played by Frank Fontaine (1920-78).
On Sept. 5, 1950 the 30-min. Western series The Cisco Kid, based on the 1907 O. Henry short story about two fugitives from justice who turn into Robin Hoods debuts in syndication for 156 episodes (until Mar. 22, 1956), becoming the first TV series to be filmed in color, starring Duncan Renaldo (Renault Renaldo Duncan) (1904-80) as the Cisco Kid, who roams the Wild West on his black-and-white horse Diablo, and Leopold Antonio "Leo" Carrillo (1880-1961) as his sidekick Pancho, who rides the horse Loco.
On Sept. 7, 1950 Truth or Consequences debuts on CBS-TV (until Dec. 31, 1987), becoming the first TV show to be regularly filmed before a live studio audience; on Dec. 31, 1956 Bob Barker (1923-) becomes the host (until 1975).
On Sept. 10, 1950 (Sun.) (8-9 p.m.) the New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles-based variety show The Colgate Comedy Hour debuts on NBC-TV (until Dec. 25, 1955) to compete with "Toast of the Town", sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive, hosted by Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, featuring Hans Conried, Rosemary DeCamp, and Dick Foran, going on to feature Abbott and Costello, Eddie Cantor et al.; in June 1955 it becomes the "Colgate Variety Hour", featuring Frank Sinatra, Ethel Merman et al.; on Nov. 22, 1953 the show is hosted by Donald O'Connor, becoming the first TV broadcast using the NTSC system, which is used in the U.S. until June 2009.
On Sept. 11, 1950 the crime drama series Treasury Men in Action (Federal Men) debuts on ABC-TV for 189 episodes (until July 1, 1955), starring Walter Noel Greaza (1897-1973) as the Chief.
On Oct. 6, 1950 the 1-hour anthology drama show Pulitzer Prize Playhouse debuts on ABC-TV for 53 episodes (until June 4, 1952), hosted by journalist Elmer Davis (1890-1958) and sponsored by Schlitz Brewing Co., presenting adaptations of Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction works, with the Columbia U. Pulitzer School of Journalism getting $100K from Schlitz, pissing-off the Woman's Christian Temperance Untion (WCTU); the first episode is "You Can't Take It with You", going on to win the 1952 Emmy for best drama series.
On Oct. 11, 1950 the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issues the first license to broadcast TV in color to CBS-TV; RCA goes to court and blocks it from taking effect.
On Oct. 12, 1950 The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show debuts on CBS-TV for 291 episodes (until 1958), replacing their 1932-50 radio show (until 1958), starring New York City-born Jewish comedian George Burns (Nathan Birnbaum) (1896-1996) and San Francisco, Calif.-born Roman Catholic comedian Grace Ethel Cecile Rosalie "Gracie" Allen (1895-1964); the shows are filmed, allowing them to be replayed in syndication; "Say good night, Gracie."
On Oct. 21, 1950 The Stu Erwin Show (The Trouble with Father) debuts on ABC-TV for 128 episodes (until Apr. 13, 1955), starring real life husband-wife Stuart "Stu" Erwin (1903-67) and June Collyer (1906-68) (sister of Bud Collyer) as a high school principal and his family.
On Oct. 28, 1950 after airing on NBC Radio since 1932, The Jack Benny Program, starring miserly violin-playing forever-39-years-old ("Well!") Jack Benny (Benjamin Kubelsky) (1894-1974) debuts on CBS-TV, moving in 1964 to NBC-TV (until Apr. 16, 1965), becoming a favorite of JFK et al.
On Nov. 20, 1950 writer T.S. Eliot gives a speech against newfangled TV in Britain.
In Dec. 1950 You Asked For It (originally "The Art Baker Show") debuts on the DuMont Network, then next Dec. moves to ABC-TV (until Sept. 1959), hosted by Art Baker (Arthur Shank) (1898-1966) ("Your Genii with the light white hair"), and sponsored by Skippy Peanut Butter and Studebaker Automobiles, featuring attempts to satisfy viewer write-in requests, such as to see the Our Gang troupe reunited, or to watch a cowboy bullwhip artist; in Apr. 1951 Ivory Joe Hunter makes his network TV debut on the show; in Jan. 1958 Baker is succeeded by "Smiling" Jack Smith (1913-2006) ("the Man with the Smile in His Voice") (until 1960).
On Apr. 15, 1951 the Western series The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickock debuts on CBS-TV (ABC-TV in 1957-8) for 113 episodes (until May 16, 1958), starring Guy Madison (Robert Ozell Moseley) (1922-96) as U.S. Marshal James Butler "Wild Bill" Hicock (who rides the horse Buckshot), and 300-lb. Andrew Vabre "Andy" Devine (1905-77) as his comical raspy-voiced deputy Jingles P. Jones.
On June 25, 1951 CBS-TV transmits the first commercial color telecast, a 1-hour Arthur Godfrey special from New York City to four other cities.
On June 28, 1951 Amos 'n' Andy debuts on CBS-TV (until 1953), based on the WMAQ Chicago Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll radio show of 1928, starring Tim Moore (1887-1958) as George "Kingfish" Stevens, Alvin Childress (1907-86) as Amos Jones, and Spencer Williams (1889-1965) as Andrew Hogg "Andy" Brown, becoming the first U.S. TV series with an all-black cast; too bad, black protests over its racial stereotyping gets it canceled.
On Sept. 16, 1951 the Western series Sky King debuts on NBC-TV for 72 episodes (until Mar. 8, 1959), starring Kirby Grant (Kirby Grant Hoon Jr.) (1911-85) as Ariz. rancher-pilot Schuyler "Sky" King of the Flying Crown Ranch near Grover, Ariz., and his pilot niece Penny, played by Gloria Winters (1931-2010), who use his plane Songbird like a flying horse to catch bad guys and find lost hikers.
On Sept. 30, 1951 The Red Skelton Show, starring Vincennes, Ind.-born Richard Bernard "Red" Skelton (1913-97) debuts on NBC-TV, switching in 1953-70 to CBS-TV, becoming "The Red Skelton Hour", then back to NBC-TV (until Aug. 1, 1971), featuring his comic arsenal of funny characters and acrobatic slapstick, plus his talent for cracking up guest stars; "Good night for now, and may God bless."
On Oct. 15, 1951 the comedy sitcom I Love Lucy (originally a radio show) (B&W) debuts on CBS-TV for 194 episodes (until May 6, 1957), starring red-headed (henna-dyed) Lucille Ball (1911-89) as Lucy Ricardo, Desi Arnaz (1917-86) as her Cuban hubby Ricky Ricardo, Vivian Vance (1909-79) as friend-landlord Ethel Mertz, and William Frawley (1887-1966) as her hubby Fred Mertz, going on to put on classic episodes incl. the Vitameatavegamin Episode, the Candy Factory Episode, and the Grape-Stomping Episode (the stone stomping trough is called a lagar); in season #2 son "Little Ricky" Ricardo Jr. is born, timed to coincide with the birth of Ball's real son Desi Arnaz Jr.; for four of its six seasons it is the #1 show in the U.S., and ends its run as #1. In Dec. 1957 Desilu Productions, founded in 1950 by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz buys the RKO (Radio-Keith-Orpheum) (originally the FBO, Film Booking Office) Hollywood movie studios from Gen. Tire and Rubber for $6M, causing its public stock to jump from $10 to $29 a share next year.
On Oct. 20, 1951 CBS-TV begins using its Big-Brother-is-watching-you CBS-TV "Eye" Logo, designed by William Golden.
On Nov. 27, 1951 the twice-weekly 15-min. The Dinah Shore Show debuts on NBC-TV (until July 18, 1957), sponsored by Chevrolet, sponsored by radio singing star Dinah (Frances Rose) Shore (1916-94), the first Jewish cheerleader at Vanderbilt U.
On Dec. 16, 1951 the 30-min. police procedural drama Dragnet, "a Mark VII Production", based on the 1949-57 NBC radio show debuts on NBC-TV for 276 episodes (until Aug. 23, 1959, then 1967-70, 1989-91, 1 hour show in 2003-4), displaying a badge with the number 714; John Randolph "Jack" Webb (1920-82) plays morally rigid Sgt. Joe Friday; the cool Dragnet Theme is by Walter Schumann; the opening says "This is the city, Los Angeles, California. Every 60 seconds a crime is committed in Los Angeles. In the Los Angeles Police Dept.'s communications center, the telephone rings every 20 seconds, 24 hours a day. Of the 3 million people who live in Los Angeles, 35 thousand of them are known murderers, rapists and thieves. They outnumber the police force seven to one. Every time a policeman answers a call, he takes a calculated risk. There will always be somebody out there who doesn't like him. There are over five thousand men in this city who know that being a policeman is an endless, thankless, glamorous job that's got to be done. I know it too, and I'm damn glad I'm one of them"; the wrapup says "The story you have just seen is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent"; 15 shots are fired in the first 60 episodes.
On Dec. 24, 1951 Hallmark Hall of Fame debuts on NBC-TV, based on the CBS Radio show "The Hallmark Playhouse" (1948), becoming the first TV series produced by a major corp. to promote its products (later the last); the first episode is the opera Amahl and the Night Visitors by Gian Carlo Menotti, starring Chet Allen and Rosemary Kuhlmann; in 1954- it is shown in color; in 1979 it switches to CBS-TV, followed by PBS-TV (1981), ABC-TV (1989-2014), and the Hallmark Channel (2014-), becoming the longest-running prime-time series in TV history.
In 1951 TV replaces radio as the main popular entertainment in the U.S.; the first Nielsen TV Audience Ratings come out (1950-1 season), rating Milton Berle's "Texaco Star Theatre" (vaudeville comedy) as #1, "Fireside Theatre" (TV's first major filmed dramatic anthology) as #2, "Philco TV Playhouse" as #3, "Your Show of Shows" (Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca) as #4, "The Colgate Comedy Hour" (Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis) as #5, "Gillette Calvacade of Sports" as #6, "The Lone Ranger" as #7, "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts" as #8, "Hopalong Cassidy" (William Boyd) as #9, and "Mama" (Peggy Wood and Dick Van Patten) as #10.
On Jan. 14, 1952 the morning news and entertainment program The Today Show (AKA Today) debuts on NBC-TV (until ?), created by Sylvester Laflin "Pat" Weaver Jr. (1908-2002) (father of Sigourney Weaver), and hosted by David Cunningham "Dave" Garroway (1913-82) (until 1961), becoming #1 until ABC-TV's Good Morning America passes it up in the 1980s, regaining the #1 spot on Dec. 11, 1995 (until ?); too bad, Garroway suffers from depression plus an addiction to "The Doctor" (Vitamin B-12 and Dexedrine), and after his wife Pamela commits suicide in Apr. 1961 he lies down in the studio, refusing to get up until NBC meets his contract demands, causing them to fire him on June 16, after which he eventually commits suicide; Weaver becomes pres. of NBC in 1953-5, vainly striving to keep up its intellectual level by requiring all NBC shows to incl. at least one sophisticated cultural reference or performance per episode, pioneering the magazine style of advertising to keep one advertiser from controlling a show.
On Mar. 1, 1952 the former radio show (1930-45) Death Valley Days, based on real-life events debuts in syndication for 452 episodes (until 1970), sponsored by the Pacific Coast Borax Co., known for their 20 Mule Team Borax and Boraxo, featuring different actors in each episode; the first "Old Ranger" (host) is Stanley Andrews (1892-1969), who is replaced in 1964-5 by Ronald Reagan, then Robert Taylor (until 1969), and Dale Robertson (until 1970); Merle Haggard narrates previously-made episodes in 1975.
On June 16, 1952 My Little Margie debuts on CBS-TV as the summer replacement for "I Love Lucy", becoming a hit and running for 126 episodes) until Aug. 24, 1955), starring singer-actress Gale Storm (1922-) as 21-y.-o. Margie Albright, and silent film star Charles Farrell (1901-90) as her widowed 50-y.-o. father Vern Albright, who share an apt. at the Carlton Arms Hotel, phone #Carlton 3-8966; when Margie gets in trouble she emits an odd trilling sound; "Oh no, not Boomies again".
On June 19, 1952 I've Got a Secret debuts on CBS-TV (until Apr. 3, 1967), hosted by Garry Moore (1915-93), with regular panelists incl. Bill Cullen, Henry Morgan, Faye Emerson, and Jayne Meadows, who is replaced in 1958 by Bess Myerson; in 1964 Steve Allen replaces Garry Moore.
On July 1, 1952 The Liberace Show (B&W) debuts on NBC-TV as a replacement for "The Dinah Shore Show" (until 1953), making West Allis, Wisc. pianist Wladziu Valentino Liberace (1919-87) household name as well as the highest-paid entertainer on Earth, earning him $7M in two years, plus 80% residuals; his violinist brother George often appears as a guest, with their mother seated in the front row.
On July 3, 1952 the sitcom Mister Peepers debuts on NBC-TV for 127 episodes (until June 12, 1955), starring Wallace Mayanard "Wally" Cox (1924-73) as bumbling Jefferson Junioer H.S. sience teacher Robinson J. Peepers, known for getting stuck in a basketball hoop, and Jack Warden (John Warden Lebzeleter Jr.) (1920-2006) as athletic coach Frank Whip.
On Sept. 1, 1952 Art Linkletter's House Party moves from daytime CBS Radio (since Jan. 15, 1945) to daytime CBS-TV (until Sept. 5, 1969) (NBC-TV from Dec. 29, 1969 to Sept. 25, 1970); each show he interviews four kids; "Kids say the darnedest things."
On Sept. 19, 1952 the B&W syndicated TV series Adventures of Superman debuts for 104 episodes (until Apr. 28, 1958); George Reeves (1914-59) plays Superman/Clark Kent, Phyllis Coates (1927-) (1st season) and Noel Darleen Neill (1920-2016) play his girlfriend Lois Lane; John Hamilton (1887-1958) plays his boss Perry White, and Jack Edward Larson (1928-2015) plays cub reporter Jimmy Olsen; goes color in 1955; "Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings with a single bound. Look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It's Superman!"; watch intro.
On Nov. 16, 1952 CBS-TV inaugurates Television City, its new Hollywood studios at Beverly Blvd. and North Fairfax Ave. (7800 Beverly Blvd.) with a live performance of the comedy series My Friend Irma (Jan. 8, 1952-June 1954); the next day it introduces its new live set in Burbank with the variety program "All Star Revue".
On Oct. 3, 1952 the lily-white sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet debuts on ABC-TV for 425 episodes (until Sept. 3, 1966), starring married former vaudeville players Oswald George "Ozzie" Nelson (1906-75) and Harriet Nelson (Hilliard) (Peggy Lou Snyder) (1909-), featuring the coming of age of America's first teen hearthrob Eric Hilliard "Ricky" Nelson (1940-85), whose portraits bear a striking resemblance to Superman actor Christopher Reeve (1952-2004)?; Donald John "Don" DeFore (1913-93) plays neighbor Thorny Thornberry.
On Oct. 12, 1952 The Bob Hope Show debuts on NBC-TV (until Dec. 3, 1955), starring 50-y.-o. super entertainer Leslie Townes "Bob" Hope (1903-2003) entertaining guests.
On Dec. 5, 1952 (Fri.) The Abbott and Costello Show debuts in syndication for 52 episodes (until May 1, 1954), starring William Alexander "Bud" Abbott (1897-1974) and Louis Francis "Lou" Cristillo (1906-59) ("Heeey, Abbott! I'm a baaad boy!"), later inspiring Jerry Seinfeld.
In 1952 Filmways (Pictures) is founded in Sonoma County, Calif. by Martin Ransohoff (1927-) and Edwin Kasper, going on to produce CBS-TV's "rural comedies" incl. "Mister Ed", "The Beverly Hillbillies", "Petticoat Junction", and "Green Acres", along with films incl. "The Sandpiper", "The Cincinnati Kid", "Ice Station Zebra", "Dressed to Kill" and "Blow Out", helping launch the careers of actresses Tuesday Weld, Ann-Margret, and Sharon Tate; by 1963 it makes $13M a year; in 1983 it is acquired by Orion Pictures, becoming Orion TV Productions.
1953: U.S. TV ad revenues: $538M; radio ad revenues: $451M, going down for the first time since the Great Depression; cigarette ads account for ?%.
On Jan. 2, 1953 The Life of Riley (originally a 1941 CBS Radio show, then an ABC Radio show in 1944-5, and an NBC Radio show from Sept. 8, 1945 to June 29, 1951, then an NBC-TV show starring Jackie Gleason and Rosemary DeCamp from Oct. 4, 1949 to Mar. 28, 1950) debuts on NBC-TV (until May 23, 1958), starring William Bendix (1906-64) as L.A. Cunningham Aircraft worker Chester A. Riley ("What a revoltin' development this is!"), and Marjorie Reynolds (1917-97) as his wife Peg; a Dumont TV Network version was tried in 1949 starring Jackie Gleason, and flopped in 6 mo.; Wesley Morgan (1939-) stars as Riley's son Junior, and Tom D'Andrea (1909-98) stars as his next-door-neighbor Gillis, and Joan Blondell's sister Gloria Blondell (1915-86) as his wife Honeybee; John Brown (1904-57) stars as "friendly undertaker" Digby "Digger" O'Dell ("I'd better be shoveling off").
On Jan. 18, 1953 (TLW's birthdate) the birth of Little Ricky on TV's I Love Lucy, played by Lafayette, La.-born kid drummer Keith Thibodeaux (1950-) upstages (44M viewers, a 72% share) the inauguration of U.S. pres. Eisenhower, who later this year utters the immortal soundbyte: "There is one thing about being president: nobody can tell you when to sit down" - forever giving TLW a feeling that he's running the U.S., along with a penchant for a sedentary lifestyle with upper body exercises?
On Feb. 1, 1953 Goodman Ace's You Are There (a CBS Radio show on July 7, 1947-Mar. 19, 1950) debuts on CBS-TV for 147 episodes (until June 9, 1957), starring Walter Leland Cronkite Jr. (1916)-2009), with his newsroom transported into the past to report on historical events; episodes feature Paul Newman as Marcus Brutus and Nathan Hale, Rod Steiger as Richard Burbage, James Dean as Robert Ford, Jeanette Nolan as Sarah Bernhardt, Beatrice Straight as Anne Boleyn, and John Cassavetes as Plato; it is revived as a Sat. morning color show in 1971-2, hosted by Cronkite; at the end of each episode, Cronkite utters the soundbyte: "What sort of day was it? A day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times... All things are as they were then, and you were there" - TLW was born on Feb. 18, 1953, so he definitely wasn't there, no wonder he became a historyscoper?
In Feb. 1953 The Romper Room TV show for Baby Boomer children debuts in Baltimore, Md. on station WBAL-11 (until Sept. 1994); starting in Apr. it features Nancy Claster (nee Goldman) (1915-97), wife of the producer as Miss Nancy, who trains hosts for franchised versions in 160 U.S. cities; "I have to go potty, and I'm doing it right now."
On Apr. 3, 1953 pocket-size weekly TV Guide, created by Wharton School of Finance-educated anti-McCarthy Jewish-Am. moneybags Walter Hubert Annenberg (1908-2002), owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer begins pub., becoming the first TV program mag. in the U.S.; the cover shows Lucille Ball and her baby Desi Arnaz Jr.; it becomes the most successful periodical of the decade, reaching 1.5M circ. with 10 regional eds. by the end of the year, and 7M circ. with 53 regional eds. by the end of the decade; in 1998 he sells it along with his other holdings for $3B, and gives $1B of it away - comment about Jews controlling the media here?
On Sept. 2, 1953 Letter to Loretta debuts on NBC-TV for 165 episodes (until June 4, 1961) starring "Farmer's Daughter" Loretta Young (1913-2000), who answers a different fan mail question each episode; on Feb. 14, 1954 it is renamed "The Loretta Young Show", and the letter gimmick is dropped in favor of guest hosts and guest stars after swirling through a door in a gown at the start of the show.
On Sept. 29, 1953 Make Room for Daddy (The Danny Thomas Show) debuts on ABC-TV for 351 episodes (until Sept. 14, 1964 after switching to CBS-TV in 1957), starring Danny Thomas (Amos Muzyad Yakhoob Kairouz) (1912-91) as Danny Williams, a comedian working at the Copa Club, and Jean Hagen (1923-77) as his son Margaret, Sherry Jackson (1942-) as their daughter Terry, and Russell Craig "Rusty" Hamer (1947-90) as their son Rusty; in Apr. 1957 after Rusty gets the measles, Danny hires Irish nurse Kathy "Clancy" O'Hara, played by Marjorie Lord (Marjorie F. Wollenberg) (1918-)), and in the season finale she proposes to him, and on Oct. 7, 1957 it debuts on CBS-TV in old time slot of "I Love Lucy", showing them on their honeymoon, after which they adopt Linda, played by Angela Margaret Cartwright (1952-); Hans Georg Conried Jr. (1917-82) plays Danny's eccentric Lebanese Uncle Tonoose; Bill Dana (William Szathmary) (1924-) plays Jose Jimenez; Annette Joanne Funicello (1942-2013) plays italian exchange student Gina Manelli; Jimmy Durante and Harry James make guest appearances.
On Oct. 2, 1953 Person to Person debuts on CBS-TV (until Sept. 8, 1961), with cigarette-puffing Edward R. (Egbert Roscoe) Murrow (1908-65) interviewing celebs in their homes from his comfy chair in the New York studio, usually two 15-min. interviews per episode, with guests wearing wireless microphones, incl. John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Jerry Lewis, Marlon Brando, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Groucho and Harpo Marx, Pres. Harry S. Truman, Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, Bing Crosby, Kirk Douglas, John Steinbeck, even Fidel Castro; in 1959 Charles Collingwood (1917-85) substitutes; "Good evening, I'm Ed Murrow. And the name of the program is 'Person to Person'. It's all live, there's no film."
On Oct. 11, 1953 (Sun.) (9:30 p.m.) the half-hour police drama series The Man Behind the Badge debuts on CBS-TV for 38 episodes (until Sept. 4, 1955), starring Charles Ambrose Bickford (1891-1967).
On Oct. 19, 1953 after singing I'll Take Manhattan, singer Julius La Rosa (1930-), a popular regular on the CBS-TV program Arthur Godfrey Time is fired on the air by short-fused insecure Arthur Morton Godfrey (1903-83), who accuses him of "lacking humility", boomeranging on him with the audience, who were hooked on him as one of them; he also fires his musical dir. (since 1946) Archie Bleyer (1909-89), who founded Cadence Records in 1952 and takes La Rosa under his arm, and when he flops he signs Andy Williams (until 1961), followed by the Everly Brothers (until 1960), then quits in 1964 when he can't stand Beatles music, and sells out to Williams; Godfrey's show goes into a decline, and after cancer surgery he retires in 1959, turning from the #1 sponsor for Liggett and Myers' Chesterfield cigarettes ("Buy 'em by the carton") in 1953 into an anti-smoking spokesman, dying of emphysema in 1983.
On Oct. 27, 1953 the radio series "Theatre Guild on the Air" (1943-53) switches to ABC-TV as The United States Steel Hour, airing live dramas in bi-weekly alternation with "The Motorola Television Hour", switching to CBS-TV in 1955-63, featuring writers Ira Levin, Richard Maibum, and Rod Serling; in Apr. 1956 it presents "Noon on Doomsday", by Rod Serling, about a town that circles the wagons for an anti-Semitic bigot, causing the press to accuse it of really being about the Emmett Till case, drawing 15K complaints from white supremacists, launching Serling's career as a writer on controversial issues; on Nov. 20, 1957 it presents "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", starring Jimmy Boyd, Basil Rathbone, Jack Carson, and Florence Henderson; in 1960 it presents "Queen of the Orange Bowl" starring Anne Francis and Johnny Carson.
On Feb. 23, 1954 the syndicated U.S. TV series Rocky Jones, Space Ranger (B&W) debuts for 39 episodes (until Nov. 16, 1954), starring Richard Crane as clean-cut Rocky Jones, who likes to blastoff on missions to ludicrous non-existent planetoids and moons on Orbit Jet XV-2 and Silver Moon XV-3; space battles are fistfights rather than with ray guns with ETs that look like humans in silly costumes.
On Aug. 28, 1954 (Sat. eve.)The Mickey Rooney Show (Hey, Mulligan) debuts on NBC-TV for 33 episodes (until June 4, 1955), starring Mickey Rooney (Joseph Yule Jr.) (1920-2014) as Irish-Am. Internat. Broadcasting Co. TV studio page Mickey Mulligan, who is studying at night to become a star, and John Regis Toomey (1898-1991) as his father John, a veteran LA police officer; Carla Balenda (Sally Bliss) (1925-) plays Mickey's babe Pat Harding.
On Sept. 9, 1954 Captain Midnight (Jet Jackson, Flying Commando) (an adaptation of the radio show that ran from 1938-49) debuts on CBS-TV for 39 episodes (until Jan. 21, 1956), starring Richard Webb (1915-93) in the title role, who flies a Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket named the Silver Dart, Sid Melton (Sidney Meltzer) (1917-2011) as Ichabod "Ikky" Mudd ("Mudd with two Ds"), and Olan Evart Soule (1909-94) as Dr. Aristotle "Tut" Jones.
On Sept. 12, 1954 the TV spectacular Satins and Spurs, the first full-scale musical comedy written specially for TV bombs, causing Betty Hutton to retire from show biz.
On Sept. 12, 1954 Lassie (B&W) debuts on CBS-TV (until Mar. 24, 1973), created by producer Robert Maxwell Joffe (1908-71) and Engle, N.M.-born animal trainer Russell Bird "Rudd" Weatherwax (1907-85), and starring Rudd's Rough Collie Pal (1940-58) as Lassie (later her son Lassie Jr.), Thomas Noel "Tommy" Rettig (1941-96) as Jeff Miller, and Jan Clayton (1917-83) as his mother Ellen; in season 4 Rettig is replaced by Jonathan Bion "Jon" Provost (1950-) as Timmy Martin, with Cloris Leachman (1926-) as his adoptive mother Ruth, who is replaced in season 5 by June Lockhart (1925-); written by Sumner Arthur Long (1921-93); it switches to color in 1965.
On Sept. 13, 1954 the medical drama Medic debuts on NBC-TV for 59 episodes (until Aug. 27, 1956), starring strangely miscast (should be in a Western?) craggy, menacing Richard Boone (1917-81), who makes the hospital rounds with his stethoscope as Dr. Konrad Steiner, with opening credits featuring a giant caduceus, and the announcer saying: "Guardian of birth, healer of the sick, comforter of the aged. And the qualities of a worthy physician are three, the eye of an eagle, the heart of a lion, the hand of a woman", becoming the first realistic doctor-hospital series focusing on medical procedures of more than 50 on U.S. prime-time TV by the end of the cent.; Dennis Hopper makes his acting debut as a guest star.
On Sept. 21, 1954 the anthology series Heinz Studio 57 debuts on DuMont Network for 119 episodes (until 1958 after going into syndication in Sept. 1955 after the July 26, 1955 episode), sponsored by Heinz 57 and hosted by Joel Aldrich, struggling with low budgets and bland scripts, starting out with top actors incl. Brian Keith, Claude Akins, Carolyn Jones, Pat O'Brien, Peter Lorre, Rod Taylor, DeForest Kelley, Whit Bissell, Jane Darwell, Joanne Dru, Peter Lawford, Angela Lansburgy, Keenan Wynn, Strother Martin, Barbara Hale, Peter Graves, Keye Luke, Gene Barry, Dan Duryea, Lorne Greene, and Lloyd Bridges, and finally hiring unknown actors incl. Hugh O'Brian and Natalie Wood; on A pr. 23, 1957 "It's a Small World", the pilot episode of "Leave It To Beaver" airs.
On Oct. 4, 1954 the former CBS Radio show (since Aug. 15, 1949) Father Knows Best debuts on CBS-TV for 203 episodes (until May 23, 1960), starring Robert George Young (1907-98) as James "Jim"Anderson Sr., mgr. of the Gen. Insurance Co. of Springfield, Jane Waddington Wyatt (1910-2006) as his housewife Margaret Anderson, Mary Eleanor "Elinor" Donahue (1937-) as daughter Betty "Princess" Anderson, William Thomas "Billy" Gray (1938-) as son James "Bud" Anderson Jr., and Lauren Ann Chapin (1945-) as youngest daughter Kathy "Kitten" Anderson.
On Oct. 7, 1954 Climax! (Climax Mystery Theater) debuts on CBS-TV for 166 episodes (until June 26, 1958), pioneering color with massive RCA TK-40A color cameras used in live performances, hosted by 6'2 "voice with a smile in it" William Lundigan (1914-75), who becomes a spokesman for Chrysler Motors, going on a 100K mi. road trip where he sees 560K people in 90 weeks; on Oct. 21 James Bond makes his screen debut on the series, starring Kiwi-born Am. actor Barry Nelson (1918-2007) as 007, a U.S. CIA agent, and Peter Lorre as the villain Le Chiffre; Ian Fleming originally modelled Bond on actor Cary Grant, who turned down the part.
On Oct. 15, 1954 The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin debuts on ABC-TV for 166 episodes (until May 8, 1959), starring Lee William Aaker (1943-) as Cpl. Rusty of B-Company, a boy who was orphaned in an Indian raid and is being raised by the U.S. Cavalry post Ft. Apache along with his German shepherd dog, 6'2" Tex.-born James E. (L.) (Bowen) "Jimmy" Brown (1920-92) as Lt. Ripley "Rip Masters" (known for his rich baritone voice), and Rand Brooks (1918-2003) as Cpl. Randy Boone, known for playing Charles Hamilton in "Gone with the Wind" (1939).
If they're going to integrate our schools, let's keep kiddie TV white? On Oct. 27, 1954 Disneyland debuts on ABC-TV, becoming "Walt Disney Presents in 1959 (until Oct. 17, 1961), then "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" (1961-9), "The Wonderful World of Disney" (1969-79), "Disney's Wonderful World" (1979-81), "Walt Disney" (1981-3), "The Wonderful World of Disney" (1983-8), "The Disney Sunday Movie" (1986-8), and "The Wonderful World of Disney" (1991-), with saintly Walter Elias "Walt" Disney (1901-66) hosting various Disney made-for-TV films; on Dec. 15 Walt Disney's Davy Crockett, starring Fort Worth, Tex.-born Fess Elisha Parker Jr. (1924-2010) (fess = a broad horizontal band across a shield) as Crockett, and Belleville, Ill.-born Christian Ludolf "Buddy" Ebsen Jr. (1908-2003) as his sidekick George Russel debuts on TV for five episodes (until Dec. 14, 1955), starting a children's craze for memorabilia, Coonskin Caps, and Lincoln Logs; the theme song is The Ballad of Davy Crockett by George Bruns and Thomas W. Blackburn, sung by The Wellingtons; "Born on a mountain top in Tennessee,/ Greenest state in the Land of the Free,/ Raised in the woods so's he knew ev'ry tree, /Kilt him a b'ar when he was only three./ Davy, Davy Crockett,/ King of the wild frontier".
On Jan. 2, 1955 The Bob Cummings Show debuts on NBC-TV for 173 episodes (until Sept. 15, 1959), switching to CBS in 1955-7, then returning to NBC, starring Robert "Bob" Cummings (1910-90) as playboy bachelor Hollywood aviator-photographer Bob Collins, Rosemary DeCamp (1910-2001) as his sister Margaret MacDonald, Dwayne Bernard Hickman (1934-) as Margaret's son Chuck, and Ann B. (Bradford) Davis (1926-) as his secy. Charmaine "Schultzy" Schultz; Nancy Jane Kulp (1921-91) plays secy. Pamela Livingston; the first hit by producer-writer Paul William Henning (1911-2005), who goes on to develop rural comedies for CBS, incl. "The Beverly Hillbillies", "Petticoat Junction", and "Green Acres".
On Jan. 19, 1955 the anthology series The Millionaire (If You Had a Million) debuts on CBS-TV for 206 episodes (until June 7, 1960), starring "the Man of a Thousand Voices" Paul (Solomon Hersh) Frees (1920-86) (voice only) as unseen benefactor John Beresford Tipton Jr., who lives on the 60K-acre Silverstone Estate and in his last years picks deserving people and has his exec. secy. Michael "Mike" Anthony, played by Marvin Elliott Miller (Mueller) (1913-85) (voice of Robby the Robot in "Forbidden Planet") hand them a cashier's check for $1 million drawn on the Gotham Trust Bank, after which he must file "a full report"; Tipton considers his lucky pluckers as pieces in a chess game, with the soundbyte: I'm going to choose a number of people for my chessmen, and give them each a million dollars. No one is ever to know that I am the donor"; the announcer is Ed Herlihy.
On Mar. 7, 1955 NBC-TV airs the 7th Annual Emmy Awards, hosted by Steve Allen from the Moulin Rouge Nightclub in Hollywood, Calif., becoming the first coast-to-coast Emmy Awards telecast; Fredric March becomes the first actor to be nominated for two different works in the same category, losing 2x for best actor in a single performance.
On July 2, 1955 The Lawrence Welk Show of Strasburg, N.D.-born "Mr. Wunnerful" bandleader Lawrence Welk (1903-92) debuts on ABC-TV (until 1971, then in syndication until Apr. 17, 1982), with his orchestra playing "champagne music" (he pops his mouth with his index finger, then makes a fizzing noise shhhhh.... while bubbles are shown), going on to hook viewers on the Lawrence Welk Musical Family of entertainers, who produce flawless performances of mainly dated and corny but good music, incl. the Lennon Sisters ("America's Sweethearts"), Dick Dale (1926-) (not to be confused with the artist b. 1937 known for "Misirlou"), Jimmy Roberts (1924-99), Aladdin (1912-70), Irish tenor singer Joe Feeney (1931-2008), bass singer Larry "Hoopie" Hooper (1917-83), "Champagne Ladies" Alice Lon (1926-81) (1955-9) (fired for allegedly showing too much knee, but really for asking for a pay raise?) and Norma Zimmer (1923-), cute Mary Lou Metzger (1950-) (who dances with Welk at the end of the show), horseface but perfect pitch soprano Natalie Nevins (1925-2010), singers Gail Farrell (1947-) and Clay Hart (1942-) (R.I.-born easterner who fakes being a Western music star?), white dancer (former Mickey Mouse Club member who does the dance moves perfectly but like a cerebral robot, proving that white people don't have "soul"?) Bobby Burgess (1941-) and his dancing partner Cissy King (1946-), clarinetist Henry Cuesta (1931-2003), accordionist Myron Floren (1929-2005), ragtime pianists Dudley "Big Tiny" Little Jr. (1930-2010) (1955-9) and Jo Ann Castle (1940-) (1959-69), organist Bob Ralston (1938-), tapping dancing token, er, Arthur Duncan (1933-) (first African-Am. regular on a U.S. variety show), married lovebirds singing duo Guy Lee Hovis Hr. (1941-) (born in Elvis' birthplace Tupelo, Miss., and known for his Elvis impersonation) and Haskell, Tex.-born Ralna Eve English (1942-), Mexican-French singer Anacani (1954-), 6'5" Nordic blonde effeminate baritone (closet gay Christian, or just plays one on TV?) Thomas Harold "Tom" Netherton Jr. (1947-), Ava Barber (1954-), Tanya Falan Welk (1948-), wife of Lawrence Welk Jr., and conductor George Cates (1911-2002) - a one and a two and a...?
On Sept. 6, 1955 the Western series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp debuts on ABC-TV for 229 episodes (until June 27, 1961), starring Hugh O'Brien (Hugh Charles Krampe) (1925-), whose portraits allegedly resemble those of the real Wyatt Earp, and who carries a Buntline Special with a 12-in. barrel (unlike the real dude) (creating a toy craze), and set in Ellsworth, Kan., Dodge City, Kan., and Tombstone, Ariz., becoming the first adult TV Western; the last five episodes set up the fabled Oct. 26, 1881 Gunfight at the OK Corral; the theme song is by legendary songwriter Harry Warren.
On Sept. 10, 1955 the B&W TV Western series Gunsmoke debuts on CBS-TV for 633 episodes (until Mar. 31, 1975) (longest running scripted primetime U.S. TV series) (debut episode introduced by John Wayne) (switches to color in 1966), starring James King Arness (1923-2011) as Marshall Matt Dillon, William Dennis Weaver (1924-2006) as Chester Goode, Amanda Blake (1929-89) as Kitty Russell, Milburn Stone (1904-80) as Doc Galen Adams, and longtime Sons of the Pioneers singer Ken Curtis (Curtis Wain Gates) (1916-91) as Festus Haggin - white America can escape to a cozy, bleached white past coming from Hollywood into their living rooms, while the real world goes to Hell?
On Sept. 20, 1955 Cheyenne debuts on ABC-TV for 108 episodes (until Apr. 30, 1963), starring 6'6" Norman Eugene "Clint" Walker (1927-) as Cheyenne Brodie, a wandering cowboy raised by you know what Indians, featuring his baritone singing voice.
On Sept. 20, 1955 the all-Jew York Phil Silvers Show, TV's first military satire (created by Nat Hiken) debuts for 143 episodes (until Sept. 11 1959), with the first few episodes under the title "You'll Never Get Rich"; stars vaudeville-trained Brooklyn-born Russian Jewish immigrant son Phil Silvers (1911-85) as M/Sgt. Ernie Bilko, a con man with a heart of gold, with trademark oversize black glasses, dimples, and wide grin, heading a platoon in Fort Baxter, near Roseville, Kan. (later Camp Fremont near Grove City, Calif.), and often shouting "You meatballs!"; rotund Jewish-Am. actor Maurice Lionel Gosfield (1913-64) plays Pvt. Duane Doberman (as his sister Diane), and Allan Melvin (1923-2008) plays Cpl. Henshaw; unknowns Alan Alda, Dick Van Dyke, Joe E. Ross, and Fred Gwynne get their start, along with some black actors.
On Oct. 1, 1955 the comedy sitcom The Honeymooners, based on a recurring sketch (since 1951) on DuMont Network's "Cavalcade of Stars" debuts on CBS-TV for 39 episodes (until Sept. 22, 1956), starring Herbert Walton "Jackie" Gleason Jr. (1916-87) as paunchy bus driver Ralph Kramden (Gotham Bus Co.), Audrey Meadows (1922-96) as his younger wife Alice Kramden (nee Gibson), Art Carney (1918-2003) as Ralph's best friend, sewer worker Edward "Ed" Norton, and Joyce Randolph (1924-) as Ed's wife Thelma "Trixie" Norton; the original Alice, Pert Kelton (1907-68) was kicked off for being on the Hollywood Blacklist; even though its competition "The Perry Como Show" torpedoes it, it is later considered one of the top 1950s TV comedies; the Internat. Order of Friendly Sons of the Raccoons.
On Oct. 2, 1955 the horror-thriller-mystery anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents debuts on CBS-TV for 360 episodes (until June 26,1965) after switching to NBC-TV in 1960-2 and 1964, starting out at 30 min. per episode until 1962, when it expands to 60 min. per episode under the title "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour"; the theme music is Gounod's "Funeral March of a Marionette", with the title sequence starting out with a line-drawing caricature of Hitchcock's rotund profile, ending with him walking to the center of the screen and saying "Good evening".
On Oct. 3, 1955 (Mon.) the action crime drama series Highway Patrol debuts in syndication for 156 episodes (until Sept. 1, 1959), starring William Broderick Crawford (1911-86) as fedora-wearing Dan Matthews, who likes to tool around in his black-and-white 1955 Buick Century patrol car saying "21-50 to headquarters"; the series helps many actors get their start incl. Paul Burke, Robert Conrad, Clint Eastwood, Barbara Eden, Larry Hagman, and Leonard Nimoy; most car chases are filmed on rural dirt roads because Crawford's driver's license is suspended for drunk driving.
On Oct. 7, 1955 (Fri.) the half-hour anthology series Crossroads debuts on ABC-TV for 78 episodes (until June 6, 1957 after going into syndication in Oct. 1956), about religious clergy of various denominations, incl. Victor Jory as "Lone Star Preacher" (George Washington Truett); James Dean appears in the the 1955 episode "Broadway Trust" along with Lloyd Bridges and Mary Treen; too bad, its competition "Our Miss Brooks" (CBS) and "The Life of Riley" (NBC) causes it to be canceled, and it skids to a thud in syndication.
On Oct. 7, 1955 (Fri.) (9:00 p.m.) the adventure drama series Crusader debuts on CBS-TV for 52 episodes (until Dec. 28, 1956), starring Robert Alba "Brian" Keith (921-97) as freelance journalist Matt Anders, whose mother died in a WWII Nazi concentration camp in Poland, turning him into a crusader for justice against Communism and its new boss Nikita Khrushchev.
On May 22, 1956 NBC-TV begins using the NBC Peacock Logo, with Benjamin Franklin "Ben" Grauer (1908-77) uttering the words: "The following program is brought to you in living color on NBC"; designed by John J. Graham (1923-94) (known for hiring Andy Warhol in the early 1950s); it starts out with 11 tail feathers, is animated on Sept. 7, 1957, is joined by a snake logo in 1959, is revamped on Jan. 1, 1962, and retired in Sept. 1975.
On Sept. 14, 1956 the anthology series The Joseph Cotten Show (On Trial) debuts on NBC-TV for 31 episodes (until Sept. 13, 1957), starring Joseph Cheshire Cotten Jr. (1905-94).
On Sept. 25, 1956 the B&W Western series Broken Arrow debuts on ABC-TV for 73 episodes (until Sept. 23, 1958), based on the 1950 film, starring Michael Ansara as Chiricahua Apache chief Cochise, who disses the role with the soundbyte: "Cochise could do one of two things - stand with his arms folded, looking noble; or stand with arms at his sides, looking noble."
On Oct. 2, 1956 (Tue.) The Jonathan Winters Show debuts on NBC-TV (until June 25, 1957), starring comedian Jonathan Harshman Winters III (1925-2013); on Oct. 23 color video tape is first used in the airing of a program on the show, causing him to experiment with having two characters talking to each other, becoming the first video stunt.
On Oct. 4, 1956 (Thur.) the 90-min. anthology drama series Playhouse 90 debuts on CBS-TV for 134 episodes (until May 18, 1960); the first episode is an adaptation of Pat Frank's 1956 Cold War thriller novel "Forbidden Area", starring Charlton Heston and written by Rod Serling; the 2nd episode is "Requiem for a Heavyweight", written by Rod Serling, which wins six Emmy awards, along with the first George Foster Peabody Award for TV writing; on Feb. 14, 1957 it debuts The Comedian, written by Rod Serling based on a novella by Ernest Lehman, starring Mickey Rooney and Edmond O'Brien; too bad, when it is canceled and dir. John Michael Frankenheimer (1930-2002) departs television permanently for film, the Golden Age of TV (begun 1947) is kaput; in Nov. 1960 former NBC pres. (1953-55) Sylvester Laflin "Pat" Weaver Jr. (1908-2002) (father of Sigourney Weaver) utters the soundbyte in The Denver Post: "Television has gone from about a dozen forms to just two - news shows and the Hollywood stories. The blame lies in the management of NBC, CBS and ABC. Management doesn't give the people what they deserve. I don't see any hope in the system as it is."
On Oct. 4, 1956 (Thur.) The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show (really The Ford Show, named after sponsor Ford Motor Co.) debuts on NBC-TV for 121 episodes (until June 29, 1961), hosted by "Sixteen Tons" songer Ernest Jennings "Tennessee Ernie" Ford (1919-91), switching to color in Sept. 1958; Ford closes each show with a spiritual song or hymn over the objection of the mainly Jewish studio bosses, becoming one of the most popular features of the show; "Bless your pea-pickin' hearts!"
On Oct. 29, 1956 NBC-TV takes advantage of all the news to debut The Huntley-Brinkley Report (until July 31, 1970), with co-anchors Chester Robert "Chet" Huntley (1911-74) and David McClure Brinkley (1920-2003); each show closes with "Good night, Chet. Good night, David. And good night for NBC News", which Jewish-Am. producer (until 1962) Reuven Frank (1920-2006) made them say, although they didn't like it.
On Nov. 3, 1956 CBS-TV airs the 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz" for the first time, becoming an annual Thanksgiving tradition - gee it's good to be in safe Muslim-free Kansas?
On Nov. 5, 1956 after a kidnap attempt in Birmingham, Ala. by the White Citizens' Council, led by Asa Earl "Forrest" Carter (1925-79), after which he never again performs in the South, and a bum trip at the Tropicana in Cuba, where he is barred from staying at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba because of his color, Nat King Cole (1919-65) debuts The Nat King Cole Show on NBC-TV for 47 episodes, becoming the first hosted by an African-Am.; too bad, it folds on Dec. 17, 1957 after failing to find a nat. sponsor, causing him to comment "Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark"; Carter goes on to pub. the 1973 novel The Rebel Outlaw: Josie Wales (Gone t The Education of Little Tree, in which he claims to have Cherokee grandparents, selling millions of copies despite his KKK background.
On Mar. 18, 1957 (Mon.) the Western series Tales of Wells Fargo debuts on NBC-TV for 200 episodes (until June 2, 1962), starring Harrah, Okla.-born Dale (Dayle Lymoine) Robertson (1923-2013) (whose voice bears an amazing resemblance to that of "Jock Ewing" actor Jim Davis?) as roving 1870s-1880s Wells Fargo agent Jim Hardie, "the left-handed gun".
On July 1, 1957 (Mon.) Blake Edwards' detective drama Richard Diamond, Private Detective, based on the CBS Radio show (1949-53) debuts on CBS-TV for 77 episodes (until Sept. 6, 1960 after switching to NBC-TV in 1959), starring David Janssen (David Harold Meyer) (1932-80) as a former NYPD officer turned hard-boiled P.I., whose secy. Sam (Mary Tyler Moore et al.) is shown only from the waist down; in season 2 he moves to Los Angeles, Calif., living in a beautiful ranch house with sunken living room, bar, loveseat, sliding glass doors, and a great view of the Hollywood Hills, driving a 1959 DeSoto Fireflite with big tailfins, complete with car phone, channeling Hugh Hefner; when that doesn't work, in season 3 he moves to an apt., and drives a 1959 Ford Galaxie convertible.
On Sept. 14, 1957 (Sat.) Have Gun - Will Travel debuts on CBS-TV for 225 episodes (until Apr. 20, 1963), starring snazzy black-dressing polyglot opera-loving gourmand former Army officer Richard Allen Boone (1917-81), who lives in the Carlton Hotel in San Francisco, Calif., and wears a holster with chess knight emblems plus a concealed derringer under his belt, and passes out calling cards saying "Have Gun Will Travel/Wire Paladin/San Francisco".
On Sept. 15, 1957 (Sun.) the sitcom Bachelor Father, based on the General Electric Theatre episode "A New Girl in His Life" (May 26, 1957) debuts on CBS-TV for 157 episodes (until Sept. 25, 1962 after switching to NBC-TV in 1959 and ABC-TV in 1961), starring John Forsythe (Jacob Lincoln Freund) (1918-2010) as wealthy bachelor atty. Bentley Gregg, who lives in Beverly Hills, Calif. and assumes the care of his niece Kelly, played by Noreen M. Corcoran (1943-) after her parents died in an automobile accident; San Francisco, Calif.-born comedian Sammee Tong (1901-64) plays Chinese houseboy Peter Tong, who carries the show with Forsythe.
On Sept. 18, 1957 (Wed.) the Western series Wagon Train debuts on NBC-TV for 284 episodes (switching to ABC-TV in 1962) (until May 2, 1965), based on the 1950 John Ford film "Wagon Master" and the 1930 John Wayne flick "The Big Trail", starring Wardell Edwin "Ward" Bond (1903-60) as wagonmaster Maj. Seth Adams, and Robert Horton (Meade Howard Horton Jr. (1924-) as scout Flint McCullough, with other actors subbing after Bond's death, incl. Robert Fuller (1933-) as scout Cooper Smith.
On Sept. 19, 1957 (Thur.) Robert A. Cinader's Western series Boots and Saddles debuts in syndication for 38 episodes (until May 29, 1958), set in 1871 in Ft. Lowell in Arizona Territory, about the 5th Cavalry fighting the fierce Apaches, starring John M. "Jack" Picard (1913-93) as Capt. Shank Adams, Patrick "Pat" McVey (McVeigh) (1910-73) as Lt. Col. Wesley Hayes, and George Cadogan Gardiner McKay (1932-2001) as Lt. Dan Kelley.
On Sept. 20, 1957 (Fri.) the crime drama series M Squad debuts on NBC-TV for 117 episodes (until June 28, 1960), set in Chicago, Ill., starring Lee Marvin (1924-87) as Det. Lt. Frank Ballinger, who fights organized crime and corruption in his 1957 Ford Fairlaine when not hawking Pall Mall cigarettes, GE, Bulova, and Hazel Bishop, making him a star; Nelson Case is the announcer; Paul Newlan is his boss; the M Squad Theme is by Count Basie; the short-lived 1982 TV series Police Squad! later spoofs it; too bad, an episode showing a police officer in a bad light pisses-off Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley, who virtually bans TV and movie location filming until the late 1970s.
On Sept. 21, 1957 (Sat.) the courtroom series Perry Mason debuts on CBS-TV for 271 episodes (until May 22, 1966), based on the Erle Stanley Gardner stories, starring Raymond William Stacey Burr (1917-93) as Perry, Barbara Hale (1921-) as Della Street, William Talman (1915-68) as Hamilton Burger, William Joseph "Bill" Hopper (1915-70) as Paul Drake, Ray Collins (1887-1965) as Det. Lt. Arthur Tragg, Connie Cezan (1925-2004) as Gertie, and Kenneth MacDonald (1901-72) as here cum da judge; only the final episode is in color; followed by "The New Perry Mason" (1973-4).
On Sept. 24, 1957 (Tue.) the Western series The Californians debuts on NBC-TV for 54 episodes (until May 26, 1959), set in 1850s San Francisco, Calif., starring Adam Kennedy (1922-97) as Irish newspaperman Dion Patrick, who helps the local vigilante committee fight the unruly Forty-Niner miners.
On Sept. 27, 1957 (Fri.) the Western comedy Maverick (B&W) (Warner Bros.) debuts on ABC-TV for 124 episodes (until Apr. 22, 1962), starring Okla.-born James Garner (1928-), Queens, N.Y.-born John Augustus "Jack"Kelly (1927-92), and Long Beach, Calif.-born Robert Colbert (1931-) (season 4), as Tex.-born high-stakes poker-playing traveling Maverick brothers Bret, Bart, and Brent; after season 3 Garner leaves after a winning a lawsuit freeing him to go into movies; no more than two brothers appear in the same episode, often only one; after Sean Connery turns the part down, London-born Roger George Moore (1927-) (season 4) (who suffers from hoblophobia, fear of guns, blinking when he touches on) plays their English cousin Beau; after uttering the soundbyte: "Put me in a dress and call me Brenda, but don't do this to me!", Colbert is deliberately palmed-off as Garner, lasting only two seasons when the voice gives him away.
On Oct. 3, 1957 (Thur.) the sitcom The Real McCoys debuts on ABC-TV for 224 episodes (until June 23, 1963) after switching to CBS in 1962), about a hillbilly family from Smokey Corners, W. Va. who moved to the San Fernando Valley of Calif., starring Walter Andrew Brennan (1894-1974) as Grandpa Amos McCoy, Richard Donald "Dick" Crenna (1926-2003) as his grandson Luke, Kathleen "Kathy" Nolan (Jocelyn Schrum) (1933-) as his new bride Kate, Lydia Reed (1944-) as his teenie sister Tallahassee "Hassie"", and Michael L. Winkelman (1946-99) as his 11-y.-o. brother Little Luke; Puerto-Rican bandleader Tony Martinez (1920-2002) plays Mexican farm hand Pepino Garcia, who on the Jan. 8, 1962 episode becomes a U.S. citizen and changes his surname to McCoy, becoming a big breakthrough in casting.
On Oct. 4, 1957 (Fri.) as the Soviets are launching Sputnik I, Leave It to Beaver debuts on CBS-TV (until 1957, then ABC-TV) for 234 episodes (until June 20, 1963), screwing up the minds of millions of young baby boomers with its thick layers of false innocence as it pretends it's still the uncomplicated lost golden years of childhood before Sputnik; stars chipmunky-cute kid Gerald Patrick "Jerry" Mathers (1948-) as Theodore "The Beaver" Cleaver, propertly straight-white-right-looking Hugh Beaumont (1909-82) as his daddy Ward, equally straight-white-looking Barbara Billingsley (1915-2010) as his mother June, and wannabe Ricky Nelson hearthrob Tony Lee Dow (1945-) as his older big brother-model Wally Cleaver, who all live at 428 Mapleton and 211 Pine St. in lily-white Mayfield (in a house later used by TV's Marcus Welby), experiencing a carnival of neighbors, incl. prankster Eddie Haskell, played by Kenneth Charles "Ken" Osmond (1943-), Clarence "Lumpy" Rutherford Jr., played by Frank Bank (1942-2013), and nubile teacher Miss Landers, played by Sue Randall (Marion Burnside Randall) (1935-84).
On Oct. 4, 1957 (Fri.) "the thinking man's Western" series Trackdown debuts on CBS-TV for 70 episodes (until Sept. 23, 1959), starring Robert Martin Culp (1930-2010) as Texas Ranger Hoby Gilman in 1870s Porter (NE of Houston), Montgomery County, Tex.
On Oct. 16, 1957 (Wed.) the Western series Tombstone Territory debuts on ABC-TV for 93 episodes (until July 8, 1960), starring Patrick Douglas "Pat" Conway (1931-81) (son of dir. Jack Conway) as Sheriff Clay Hollister of "the Town Too Tough to Die"; the theme song is Whistle Me Up a Memory by William M. Backer.
On Sept. 22, 1958 (Mon.) the B&W detective series Peter Gunn, created by Blake Edwards debuts on NBC-TV for 114 episodes (until Sept. 18, 1961), starring Craig Stevens (1918-2000) (husband of Alexis Smith since 1944) as the dapper-dressing jazz-and-gun-loving hipster peter, er, dick, er, P.I., Lola Albright (1924-) as his blonde babe Edie Hart, who sings at Mother's wharfside jazz club, and Herschel Bernardi (1923-86) as Lt. Jacoby; the super-cool Peter Gunn Theme is by Henry Mancini.
On Sept. 23, 1958 (Tues.) after Clint Walker er, walks out of Warner Bros over his contract, causing them to hire him, the B&W Western series Bronco debuts on ABC-TV for 68 episodes (until Apr. 30, 1962), starring Ty Hardin (Orison Whipple Hungerford Jr.) (1930-2017) as ex-Confed. officer Bronco Layne, who roams the Wild West meeting celebs incl. Wild Bill Hickock, Jesse James, Billy the Kidd, Belle Starr, Cole Younger, John Wesley Hardin, and Theodore Roosevelt.
On Sept. 23, 1958 (Tues.) the action adventure series Sea Hunt debuts in Syndication for 155 episodes (until Sept. 23, 1961), filmed at Marineland of the Pacific in Palos Vedes, Los Angeles, Calif., starring sea hung, er, Lloyd Vernet Bridges Jr. (1913-98) as freelance scuba diver and ex-Navy frogman Mike Nelson, who uses his boat The Argonaut to fight bad guys and rescue helpless children, adults, and animals.
On Sept. 24, 1958 (Wed.) the sitcom The Donna Reed Show debuts on ABC-TV for 275 episodes (until Mar. 19, 1966), starring Donna Reed (Donna Belle Mullenger) (1921-86) as corny white middle class housewife and sometime-nurse Donna Stone, Carl Betz (1921-78) as her pediatrician hubby Dr. Alex Stone, and Shelley Fabares (1944-) and Paul Petersen (1945-) as their children Mary and Jeff; after Mary leaves for college, they adopt runaway child Trisha, played by Patty Petersen (1954-); in 1963 Bob Crane and Ann McCrea apear as their friends Dr. Dave and Midge Kelsey.
On Sept. 30, 1958 (Tue.) the police drama series Naked City, created by Detroit, Mich.-born Stirling Dale Silliphant (1918-96) based on the 1948 film and copying its semi-documentary format debuts on ABC-TV for 138 episodes (until May 29, 1963), about the New York Police Dept. 65th Precinct, with plots focusing on criminals and victims portrayed by guest stars; each episode concludes with the spoken line: "There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them"; spawns the series "Route 66".
On Sept. 30, 1958 (Tue.) the B&W Western series The Rifleman debuts on ABC-TV for 168 episodes (until Apr. 8, 1963), starring tall, lanky lefty Irish-faced former cavalry lt. (8th Indiana Infantry Regiment) Chuck Connors (1921-92) as widower Lucas McCain (whose wife Margaret died in 1875 in Enid, Okla.), and 10-y.-o. (b. 1869) former Mousketeer John Ernest "Johnny" Crawford (1946-) as his angel-voiced son Mark (born in 1869), who move to North Fork, N.M. from Claypool, Wyo., a town where there seems to be a gunfight every day?; the great Rifleman Theme by Herschel Burke Gilbert sets the mood; the opening scene shows him pumping off 13 straight shots with his trick rifle; the debut episode "The Sharpshooter" features a story by Sam Peckinpah, who also directs; another early episode stars Michael Landon quitting a bank robbing gang; later episodes introduce Paul Fix (1901-83) as on-again off-again sheriff-drunk (bad right arm) Micah Torrance, and Patricia Blair (1931-) as his feisty babe Lou Mallory; Sammy Davis Jr. stars in one episode as a famed gunfighter who's really a big-mouthed phony, and is saved by guess who's trick shooting - the original Barack Obama?
On Oct. 5, 1958 (Sun.) the Western series Lawman debuts on ABC-TV for 156 episodes (until June 24, 1962), starring John Lawrence Russell (1921-91) as marshal Dan Troop, and Peter Brown (Pierre Linde de Lappe) (1935-) as deputy marshal Johnny McKay in 1879 Laramie, Wyo.; in season 2 Peggie Castle (Peggy Blair) (1927-73) joins the cast as Dan's babe Lily Merrill, owner of the Birdcage Saloon; the two main stars do spots endorsing sponsors Camel cigarettes and Cheerios breakfast cereal.
On Oct. 8, 1958 (Wed.) the Western series Bat Masterson debuts on NBC-TV for 107 episodes (until June 1, 1961), starring Gene Barry (Eugene Klass) (1919-2009) as the Wild West gambler dandy marshal who dresses in expensive East Coast clothing and often uses his cane instead of his gun.
On Jan. 9, 1959 (Fri.) the hour-long B&W series Rawhide debuts on CBS-TV for 217 episodes (until Jan. 4, 1966), starring Eric Fleming (1925-66) as Gil Favor, and launching the career of Clinton "Clint" Eastwood Jr. (1930-) as Rowdy Yates; the theme song by Dimitri Tiomkin (1894-1979) and Ned Washington (1901-76) is sung by Italian-Am. crooner Frankie Laine (1913-2007).
On Jan. 20, 1959 (Tues.) (10:00 p.m.) Merwin Gerard's anthology documentary series Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond debuts on ABC-TV for 96 episodes (until July 4, 1961), hosted by John Newland (1917-2000), "your guide to the supernatural", "our guide into the world of the unknown", telling allegedly true stories of the supernatural; in Jan. 1961 the episode "The Sacred Mushroom" airs, featuring Newland ingesting psychedelic mushrooms on camera and noting the effects, becoming their most popular episode; in 1978-9 he hosts "The Next Step Beyond" for 25 episodes - the breakfast of champions?
On Mar. 10, 1959 (Tue.) the syndicated TV series Border Patrol debuts for 34 episodes (until Nov 17), starring Richard Webb (1915-93) as Deputy Chief Don Jagger.
On Apr. 15, 1959 (Wed.) the detective series Manhunt debuts in syndication for 78 episodes (until 1961), set in San Diego, Calif., starring Victor Jory (1902-82) as Lt. Howard Finucane, and Patrick "Pat" McVey (McVeigh) (1910-73) as police reporter Ben Andrews.
On Apr. 20, 1959 (Mon.) Desilu's B&W crime drama The Untouchables debuts on ABC-TV for 118 episodes (until May 21, 1963), based on the bestelling 1957 memoir of Elliot Ness and Oscar Fraley, starring Robert (Charles Langford Midini) Stack (1919-2003) as Chicago Prohibition U.S. Treasury agent Eliot Ness (1903-57), with Walter Winchell as narrator, about a special federal govt. elite squad formed after the 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre; both J. Edgar Hoover and Frank Sinatra object to it for different reasons, Sinatra because it defames Italian-Ams, Hoover because it confuses Treasury cases with FBI cases.
On July 7, 1959 (Tue.) the variety series The Andy Williams Show, starring singer Howard Andrew "Andy" Williams (1927-2012) debuts on CBS-TV for the summer; in 1962 it becomes a weekly prime-time show (until 1967, then 1969-71); each year the Christmas Show features his three singing brothers.
On Sept. 12, 1959 (Sat.) the TV series Bonanza debuts on NBC-TV for a whopping 430 episodes (until Jan. 16, 1973), becoming the first network TV series in color and first color Western on TV, reaching #1 in1964-7 after it switches to Sun. nights in 1961; its plot echoes real events in Nevada exactly 100 years earlier, and stars Lorne Greene (Lyon Hilman Green) (1915-87) as rich trice-widowed Swedish immigrant landowner Ben "Pa" Cartwright, who owns the 600K acre Ponderosa ranch situated between Lake Tahoe, Virginia City, and Carson City S of Reno, Pernell Roberts (1928-2010) (last to die) as eldest son Adam Cartwright, Dan Blocker (1928-72) as middle son Eric "Hoss" Cartwright, and Michael Landon (Eugene Maurice Orowitz) (1936-91) as youngest son Joseph "Little Joe" Cartwright (after the role is turned down by Robert Blake), going on to experiment with social injustice themes as far as sponsors would allow; San Francisco, Calif.-born Victor Sen Yung (1915-80) plays Chinese cook Hop Sing.
On Sept. 15, 1959 (Tue.) the Western TV series Laramie debuts on NBC-TV for 124 episodes (until Sept. 1963), set in 1870s Wyoming Territory, starring Robert "Bob" Fuller (1933-) as Jess Harper, and John Smith (Robert Errol Van Orden) (1931-95) as Slim Sherman, who run a stagecoach stop for the Great Central Overland Mail; the show is used to introduce the NBC peacock "living color" logo on Jan. 1, 1962.
On Sept. 20, 1959 (Sun.) the hour-long color anthology series NBC Sunday Showcase debuts on NBC-TV (until 1960), a series of specials incl. comedies, historical dramas, musicals, and sci-fi, making use of newfangled videotape to air repeats; the debut episode is S. Lee Pogostin's "People Kill People Sometimes", dir. by John Frankenheimer, starring Zina Bethune, Geraldine Page, Jason Robards, and George C. Scott; it follows with Budd Schulberg's 1941 novel "What Makes Sammy Run?" (2 parts), starring Larry Blyden and dir. by Delbert Mann; on Oct. 11, 1959 it presents "A Tribute to Eleanor Roosevelt on Her Diamond Jubilee"; on Nov. 29, 1959 it presents the first annual Grammy Awards; the theme is "Sunday Drive" by Richard Adler.
On Sept. 28, 1959 (Mon.) the sitcom Hennesey debuts on CBS-TV for 95 episodes (until Sept. 17, 1962), starring John "Jackie" Cooper Jr. (1922-2011) as U.S. Navy physician Lt. Charles J. "Chick" Hennesey, and Abby Dalton (Marlene Wasden) (1935-) as nurse Lt. martha Hale, who work at the U.S. Naval Station hospital in San Diego, Calif.
On Sept. 29, 1959 (Tues.) the CBS-TV series The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis debuts for 147 episodes (until June 9, 1963), based on the short stories by Max Shulman, becoming the first major U.S. TV series featuring teenies as leading chars., starring Dwayne Hickman (1934-), and making a star of Bob Denver (1935-2005), who plays work-hating bongo-banging beatnik Maynard G. Krebs; Dwayne's brother Darryl Hickman (1931-) plays his brother Davey Gillis, Frank Faylen (1905-85) plays his dad Herbert T. Gillis, Florida Friebus (1909-88) plays his mom Winnie Gillis, Tuesday Weld (1943-) plays his babe Thalia Menninger, openly lesbian Sheila James Kuehl (1941-) (later U.S. Dem. Sen. from Calif.) plays Zelda Gilroy, and Warren Beatty occasionally appears as romantic rival Milton Armitage.
On Sept. 30, 1959 (Wed.) the sci-fi series Men into Space debuts on CBS-TV for 38 episodes (until 1960), starring William Lundigan (1914-75) as Col. Edward McCauley, who goes everywhere incl. the Moon.
On Oct. 1, 1959 the B&W Western TV series Law of the Plainsman debuts on NBC-TV for 30 episodes (until May 5, 1960), starring Michael Ansara as U.S. Deputy Marshal Sam Buckhart, an Apache who saved the life of a U.S. Cavalry officer, who left him money to go to Harvard U.
On Oct. 2, 1959 (Fri.) U.S. commercial TV deviates from its usual vapidity with the debut of The Twilight Zone (B&W), narrated by sterling silver genius Rod Serling (1924-75) for 156 episodes (until June 19, 1964); the cool Twilight Zone Theme was composed by Romanian-born French composer Marius Constant (1925-2004); the first episode is Where Is Everybody?, starring Earl Holliman; on Nov. 20 episode #8 Time Enough At Last debuts, based on a 1953 short story by Lyn Venable, starring Burgess Meredith as nearsighted bookworm Henry Bemis; on Jan. 22, 1960 episode #16 The Hitch-Hiker debuts, starring Inger Stevens as Nan Adams, and creepy Leonard Strong as the hitchhiker.
On Oct. 4, 1959 (Sun.) the Western series The Alaskans debuts on ABC-TV for 37 episodes (until June 19, 1960), starring Roger George Moore (1927-) in his first U.S. TV role as Silky Harris, who with buddy Reno McKee (Jeff York) tries to swindle travellers bound for the Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush in Skagway, Alaska, while hooking up with Rocky Shaw (Dorothy Provine) (whom he hooks up with off-camera).
On Oct. 4, 1959 (Sun.) the sitcom Dennis the Menace, based on the Hank Ketcham comic strip debuts for 146 episodes (until July 7, 1963), starring Jay Waverly North (1951-) as Dennis Mitchell, Herbert Anderson (1917-94) as his father Henry Mitchell, Gloria Henry (McEniry) (1923-) as his mother alice Mitchell, William Allen "Billy" Booth (1949-2006) as Dennis' friend Tommy Anderson, and Joseph Sherrard Kearns (1907-62) (voice of the Doorknob in the 1951 film "Alice in Wonderland) as their dour neighbor George Wilson.
On Oct. 4, 1959 (Sun.) the B&W Goodson-Todman Western TV series The Rebel debuts on ABC-TV for 76 episodes (until June 18, 1961), starring Nick Adams (1931-68) as Confed. Army vet Johnny Yuma, who roams the Am. West esp. Tex. to fight injustice with his dead daddy's sawed-off double-barreled shotgun while keeping a journal.
On Oct. 5, 1959 (Mon.) Adventures in Paradise debuts on ABC-TV for 49 episodes (until Apr. 1, 1962), starring George Cadogan Gardner McKay (1932-2001) as Korean War vet Adam Troy, Capt. of the roving South Pacific schooner Tiki III, becoming a "Route 66 on the sea""; dark-haired curvy Linda Lawson (1936-) plays tavern proprietor Renee; James Michener created the idea; after the series ends, he does it for real, then quits acting to be a writer, while she records an album in 1960 and goes into movies.
On Oct. 5, 1959 (Mon.) the detective series Bourbon Street Beat debuts on ABC-TV for 39 episodes (until July 4, 1960), starring Richard Long (1927-74) as Rex Randolph, Andrew Duggan (1923-88) as Cal Calhoun, Van Zandt Jarvis Williams (1934-) as Kenny Madison, and Arlene Howell (1939-) (Miss USA 1958) as their secy. Melody Lee Mercer.
On Oct. 7, 1959 (Wed) the detective series Hawaiian Eye debuts on ABC-TV for 134 episodes (until Apr. 1963), starring Anthony (Frederick Glendinning) Eisley (1925-2003) as P.I. Tracy Steele, and Robert "Bob" Conrad (Conrad Robert Norton Falk) (1935-) as his half-Hawaiian partner Thomas Jefferson "Tom" Lopaka, who run the Hawaiian Eye Detective Agency in Honolulu, which provides security services for the Hawaiian Village Hotel with the help of photographer Chryseis "Cricket Blake"", played by Connie Stevens (Concetta Rosalie Ann Ingoglia (1938-) and ukelele-playing cab driver Kazuo "Kim" Quisado, played by Poncie Ponce (Ponciano Hernandez0 (1933-2013)); later Greg McKenzie, played by "The Incredible Shrinking Man" John Grant Williams (1931-85) joins the agency, and hotel social dir. Philip Barton, played by Troy Donahue (Merle Johnson Jr.) (1936-2001) lends his aid; the Hawaiian Eye Theme is by Jerry Livingston and Mack David; launched to coincide with Hawaiian statehood and the advent of mass tourism brought about by the introduction of commericial passenger jetliner service, along with the backing of Henry J. Kaiser to promote his Kaiser's Hawaiian Village (later the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel); the first of the ABC-Warner Bros. exotic location detective series, all filmed on the same backlot in Los Angeles, incl. "77 Sunset Strip", "Bourbon Street Beat", and "Surfside Six".
On Oct. 10, 1959 (Sat.) the detective series 77 Sunset Strip (B&W) debuts on ABC-TV for 205 episodes (until Feb. 7, 1964), starring Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (1918-) as ex-secret agent detective Stuart "Stu" Bailey, Roger LaVerne Smith (1932-) (who marries Ann-Margaret in 1967 after Myasthenia gravis ends his acting career in 1965, becoming her mgr.) as his ex-secret agent partner Jeff Spencer, who operate out of a posh office in West Hollywood, Calif. between La Cienega Blvd. and Alta Loma Rd. on the S side of the Strip next door to Dino's Lodge; Jacqueline Beer plays the French switchboard operator; Edd "Kookie" Byrnes (Edward Byrne Breitenberger) (1933-) as Dino's hair-combing parking attendant Gerald Lloyd "Kookie" Kookson III, who popularizes the expressions "ginchy" and "piling up Zs"; features the 77 Sunset Strip Theme by Mack David and Jerry Livingston; in May 1960 Kookie becomes a partner of the detective firm, and Robert Logan becomes the parking lot attendant.
1960: Total TV sets: U.S. 60M (vs. 6M in 1950), Britain: 10.5M, West Germany 2M, France 1.5M; 88% of American families (40M) own a TV set, producing 100M viewers.
In the 1960s U.S. network TV evening programming reacts to the 1958 TV Quiz Show Scandal by going Western, with eight Westerns on CBS, nine on NBC, and eleven on ABC, for a total of 24.5 hours of prime time every week - how do you say in French?
On Jan. 12, 1960 (Tues.) the crime drama series Johnny Midnight debuts in syndication for 39 episodes (until Dec. 7, 1960), starring Edmond O'Brien (1915-85) as actor-turned-P.I. Johnny Midnight, who lives in a plush penthouse in Manhattan, N.Y. and focuses on cases in Times Square and Broadway, narrating his stories in a terse Humphrey Bogart style; Yuki Shimoda (1921-81) plays his wisecracking Japanese manservant Uki; the theme song is "Lullaby of Broadway".
On Jan. 25, 1960 (Mon.) the half-hour variety show The Kate Smith Show debuts on CBS-TV for 25 episodes (until July 18, 1960), starring "God Bless America" singer ("the First Lady of Radio") ("the Songbird of the South") Kathryn Elizabeth "Kate" Smith (1907-86), with the theme song "When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain"; too bad, her 1930s-40s popularity doesn't carry over into the 1960s, and it tanks in 6 mo.
On Feb. 15, 1960 the Danny Thomas Show (Make Room for Daddy) guest-stars Andy Samuel Griffith (1926-2012) as a small town sheriff in Mayberry, N.C. stopping Danny for a traffic violation and putting him in jail; the positive response results in the Oct. 3 debut of The Andy Griffith Show on CBS-TV (until Apr. 1, 1968), produced by Danny Thomas and Sheldon Leonard, starring Andy Samuel Griffith (1926-2012) as Sheriff Andy of Mayberr, N.C., Jesse Donald "Don" Knotts (1924-2006) as bumbling deputy Barney Fife, and Ronald William "Ron" Howard (1954-) as Andy's innocent loveable son Opie, whom Andy raises sans wife with the help of spinster Aunt Bee, played by Frances Bavier (1902-89); it is filmed in B&W until 1965; the theme song The Fishin' Hole is composed by Earle Hagen (the whistler), Herbert Spencer, and Everett Sloane.
On Sept. 10, 1960 (Sat.) the B&W Western series The Tall Man debuts on NBC-TV for 75 episodes (until Sept. 1, 1962), set in Lincoln, N.M., starring 6'3" Patrick Barry Sullivan (1912-94) as Sheriff Pat Garrett, and William Martin "Clu" Gulager (1928-) as Billy the Kid (William H. Bonney); an episode depicting Garrett killing the Kid is never filmed.
On Sept. 17, 1960 (Sat.) (8:30-9:30 p.m.) the detective series Checkmate debuts on CBS-TV for 70 episodes (until Sept. 1, 1962), starring Anthony (Ottavio Gabriel) George (1921-2005) as Don Corey, and Douglas Osborne "Doug" McClure (1935-95) as Jed Sills, who run the Checkmate Inc. detective agency in San Francisco, Calif. at 3330 Union St.; Charles Sebastian Thomas Cabot (1918-77) plays their advisor Dr. Carl Hyatt, who has a pet dachshund named Bismarck; Kenneth E. "Ken" Lynch (1910-90) plays Police Lt. Thomas Brand.
On Sept. 18, 1960 (Sun.) the drama series National Velvet, based on the 1944 film debuts on NBC-TV for 58 episodes (until Sept. 17, 1962), starring Lori Martin (Dawn Catherine Menzer) (1947-)2010 as Velvet Brown, who had her haired dyed black during the competitive auditions (contestant #975) to look more like Elizabeth Taylor, then had her name changed by the studio.
On Sept. 18, 1960 (Sun.) the sitcom The Tab Hunter Show debuts on NBC-TV for 32 episodes (until Apr. 30, 1961), starring closet gay hunk Tab Hunter (Arthur Andrew Kelm) (1931-) as "Bachelor at Large" comic strip cartoonist Paul Morgan, who gets into amorous hetero adventures around Malibu Beach, Calif.; he gets the part after losing the role of Tony in the 1961 film "West Side Story" to Richard Beymer, and being acquitted by a jury for beating his dog Fritz; too bad, it has to compete with "The Ed Sullivan Show", and doesn't last er, long.
On Sept. 19, 1960 (Mon.) (10:00 p.m.) the half-hour anthology drama series The Barbara Stanwyck Show debuts on NBC-TV for 36 episodes (until Sept. 11, 1961), starring hostess Barbara Stanwyck (Ruby Catherine Stevens) (1907-90) in all but four episodes in a failed attempt to spin-off a dramatic series about Am. Josephine Little, who runs an import-export shop in Hong Kong.
On Sept. 27, 1960 ABC-TV debuts Bell and Howell Closeup, their first news documentary series in primetime, hosted by John Daly.
On Sept. 29, 1960 My Three Sons debuts on ABC-TV for 380 episodes (until Aug. 24, 1972) (2nd longest-running sitcom after "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet"), starring Fred Martin MacMurray (1908-91) as a widowed aeronautical engineer, who raises his three sons Tim Considine (1940-) as Michael "Mike" Douglas, Don Grady (Agrati) (1944-) as Robert "Robbie" Douglas, and Stanley Livingston (1950-) as Richard "Chip Douglas, and later adopts Barry Livingston (1953-) as Ernest "Ernie" Thompson; William Clement Frawley (1887-1966) plays grumpy maternal grandfather Bub O'Casey, who is replaced because of bad health in 1965 (when it switches to CBS-TV) by William Demarest (1892-1983), who plays his brother Charley, causing Frawley to become disgruntled.
On Sept. 30, 1960 Hanna-Barbera's animated prime time TV series The Flintstones debuts on ABC-TV (until Apr. 1, 1966), about "modern" working class Stone Age couple Fred and Wilma Flintstone in Bedrock and their friends Barney and Betty Rubble, becoming the most successful animated network series until "The Simpsons" in 1989; later babies Pebbles Flintstone and Bamm-Bamm Rubble make their debut; during the end credits pet saber-toothed cat Baby Puss throws Fred out of the house.
On Sept. 30, 1960 Sam Peckinpah's highbrow B&W Western series The Westerner debuts on NBC-TV for 13 episodes (until Dec. 30, 1960), starring Brian Keith (1921-97) as drifter cowhand Dave Blassingame, who ditches his dog Brown (Spike of "Old Yeller" fame, trained by Frank Weatherwax) after stealing a lost govt. payroll.
On Oct. 6, 1960 (Thur.) the detective series Surfside 6 debuts on ABC-TV for 74 episodes (until June 25, 1962), starring blonde-blue male sex symbol Troy Donahue (Merle Johnson Jr.) (1936-) as Miami Beach, Fla. P.I. Sandy Winfield II, who works out of his houseboat at Surfside 6, which is berthed next to that of socialite Daphne Dutton, played by blonde-blue Diane McBain (1942-); Madrid, Spain-born Margarita Sierra (Maria Margarita Suarez Sierra) (1936-63) plays entertainer Cha Cha O'Brien, who works at the Boom Boom Room in the Fontainebleau Hotel across the street, and releases the non-charting single "The Cha Cha Twist"; the Surfside 6 Theme by Jerry Livingston and Mack David is a keeper."
On Oct. 7, 1960 (Fri.) the half-hour crime drama The Law and Mr. Jones debuts on ABC-TV for 45 episodes (until July 5, 1962), starring James Allen Whitmore Jr. (1921-2009) as former star college athlete atty. Abraham Lincoln Jones, who takes on white collar crime in New York City; on Mar. 3, 1961 the episode "Cold Turkey" features Peter Falk, who gets an Emmy nomination.
On Oct. 7, 1960 (Fri.) Stirling Silliphant's and Herbert Breiter Leonard's drama Route 66 debuts on CBS-TV for 116 episodes (until Mar. 20, 1964), starring Martin Sam Milner (1931-2015) as recent college grad Tod Stiles, who decides to travel U.S. Route 66 from Chicago, Ill. to Santa Monica, Calif. in his Chevy Corvette with friend Buz Murdock, played by George Maharis (1928-),who is replaced in season 3 by Vietnam vet Lincoln "Linc" Case, played by Glenn Corbett (1933-93); filming ends up covering 25 states plus Toronto, Canada, vs. only eight states on the real Route 66; the ultra-cool Route 66 Theme is by Nelson Riddle.
On Jan. 5, 1961 Mister Ed debuts on CBS-TV for 143 episodes (until Feb. 6, 1966), becoming the first mid-season replacement show; it originally debuted from Jan. 5-July 2 in syndication; English-born Alan Young (1919-) plays architect Wilbur Post, and Bamboo Harvester (1946-1979) plays the horse, Mr. Ed (palomino Am. Saddlebred), voiced by former B-Western star Allan "Rocky" Lane (1909-73).
On Jan. 27, 1961 Sing Along With Mitch debuts on NBC-TV for 42 episodes (until 1963), hosted by bandleader Mitchell William "Mitch" Miller (1911-2010), featuring "follow the bouncing ball", pioneering karoke.
On May 9, 1961 in a speech to the Nat. Assoc. of Broadcasters, new FCC chmn. (until May 15, 1963) Newton Norman Minow (1926-) gives his Vast Wasteland Speech ("Television and the Public Interest"), bemoaning the loss of its limitless educational potential to mental crap, with the soundbyte: "When television is good, nothing - not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers - nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there without a book, magazine, newspaper, profit-and-loss sheet or rating book to distract you - and keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that you will observe a vast wasteland"; the SS Min(n)ow on "Gilligan's Island" is later named in his honor; meanwhile he gets the U.S. All-Channels (All-Channel Receiver) Act (ACRA) passed, mandating UHF reception capability for all TV sets sold in the U.S., helping to launch non-profit educational TV stations, and talks Congress into clearing the way for communications satellites, telling JFK: "Communications satellites will be much more important than sending man into space because they will send ideas into space. Ideas last longer than men."
On June 3, 1961 the adventure series Ripcord debuts in syndication for 76 episodes (until Sept. 1, 1963), starring Lawrence Kenneth "Larry" "Bud" Pennell (1928-2013) as skydiver Ted McKeever, and Ken Curtis (Curtis Wain Gates) (1916-91) as his mentor Jim Buckley, who at the end of each episode give a sermon on skydiving safety; a Ripcord plastic parachute toy becomes a bestseller.
On Sept. 16, 1961 the courtroom drama series The Defenders debuts on CBS-TV for 132 episodes (until May 13, 1965), starring E.G. Marshall (Everett Eugene Grunz) (1914-98) and Robert Reed (1932-92) as father-son defense attys. Lawrence and Kenneth Preston, who represent controversial defendants incl. civil rights demonstrators, neo-Nazis, conscientious objectors, pornographers, mercy-killing doctors, schoolteacher atheists, etc., exploring abortion, capital punishment, the insanity defense, the Hollywood Blacklist, jury nullification et al.; the 1962 episode "The Benefactor", about the defense of an abortionist causes the sponsors to drop out until a new one is found; the title of the Dec. 7, 1963 episode "The Gentle Assassin" is changed to "Climate of Evil" after the Nov. 22 assassination of JFK; the Jan. 4, 1964 episode "Clare Cheval Died in Boston" has a reference to "President Kennedy" deleted; "perhaps the most socially conscious series the medium has ever seen".
On Sept. 17, 1961 the B&W 1950s-feel Car 54, Where Are You? debuts on NBC-TV for 60 episodes (until Sept. 8, 1963), starring rubber-faced Frederick Hubbard "Fred" Gwynne (1926-93) as Officer Francis Muldoon, and "Ooh ooh!" Joe E. Ross (1914-82) as Officer Gunther Toody, who humorously patrol the Bronx; the Car 54 Theme is played while they are driving and playing checkers at the same time, and goes "There's a holdup in the Bronx/ Brooklyn's broken out in fights/ There's a traffic jam in Harlem/ That's backed up to Jackson Heights/ There's a scout troop short a child/ Khrushchev's due at Idlewild/ Car 54,where are you?"
On Sept. 20, 1961 (Wed.) the sitcom The Joey Bishop Show debuts on NBC-TV for 123 episodes (until Mar. 30, 1965 after witching to CBS-TV in 1964 and going color), starring Rat Pack comedian Joey Bishop (Joseph Abraham Gottlieb) (1918-2007).
On Sept. 24, 1961 (Sun.) after switching from ABC-TV, Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color debuts on NBC-TV (until 1969), causing sales of color TVs to jump 105% over last Sept.
On Sept. 25, 1961 the crime drama 87th Precinct debuts on NBC-TV for 30 episodes (until Apr. 30, 1962), based on the Ed McBain novels, starring Robert Lansing (Robert Howell Brown) (1928-94) as Det. Steve Carella of Isola (really Manhattan), N.Y., Ronald Robert "Ron" Harper (1936-) as rookie Det Bert King, Gregory Walcott (Bernard Mattox) (1928-2015) as Det. Roger Havilland, and Norman Fell (Norman Noah Feld) (1924-98) as Det. Meyer Meyer; Virginia Cathryn "Gena" Rowlands (1930-) plays Carella's deaf mute wife Teddy.
On Sept. 26, 1961 (Tue.) the crime drama series Shannon debuts in syndication for 36 episodes (until June 12, 1962), starring George Nader (1921-2002) as insurance investigator Joe Shannon, who drives a 1961 Buck Special equipped with James Bond type equipment incl. weapons, cameras, dictating machine, tape recorder, and a car phone; John Regis Toomey (1898-1991) plays his boss Bill Cochran.
On Sept. 28, 1961 (Thur.) the medical drama series Dr. Kildare, based on the Max Brand novels debuts on NBC-TV for 191 episodes (until Apr. 5, 1966), starring heartthrob closet gay actor George Richard Chamberlain (1934-) (after William Shatner turns it down) as young intern Dr. James Kildare of Blair Gen. Hospital (really the Irving Thalberg Bldg. on the MGM lot), who tries to live up to the expectations of his boss Dr. Leonard Gillespie, played by Raymond Hart Massey (196-1983), who tells him "Our job is to keep people alive, not to tell them how to live", which Kildare ignores to make it interesting?; Chamberlain records the hit song Three Stars Will Shine Tonight with music from the show's opening theme.
On Sept. 28, 1961 (Thur.) the sitcom Hazel, based on the Ted Key comic strip debuts on NBC-TV for 154 episodes (until Apr. 11, 1966 after switching to CBS-TV in 1965 and going to color in in the last episode of season 1), starring Shirley Booth (Marjory Ford) (1898-1992) as feisty live-in maid Hazel Burker, who works for the Baxter family, incl. atty. (Butterworth, Hatch, Noll and Baxter) George "Mr. B" Baxter, played by Donald John "Don" DeFore (1913-93), his interior decorator wife Dorothy "Missy" Baxter, played by Whitney Blake (Nancy Ann Whitney) (1926-2002), and their son Harold "Sport" Baxter, played by Robert W. "Bobby" Buntrock (1952-74); in July 1963 the NAACP announces a boycott if the show doesn't add a black to the technical staff, causing them to fold in Sept., hiring a black production exec.
On Sept. 29, 1961 (Fri). the crime drama series Target: The Corruptors! debuts on ABC-TV for 35 episodes (until June 8, 1962), starring Horace Vincent "Stephen" McNally (1911-94) as newspaper reporter Paul Marino, and Robert "Bob" Harland (Yurgatis) (1934-) as undercover agent Jack Flood, who infiltrate the New York City mafia and report on it.
On Oct. 2, 1961 (Mon.) the medical drama Ben Casey debuts on ABC-TV for 153 episodes (until Mar. 21, 1966), starring Vince Edwards (Vincente Eduardo Zoino III) (1928-96) as young idealistic surgeon Dr. Ben Casey at County Gen. Hospital, and Sam (Shalom) Jaffe (1891-1984) as his mentor Dr. David Zorba, chief of surgery; Stella Stevens (Estelle Caro Eggleston) (1936-) plays Casey's babe Jane Hancock; "Man, woman, birth, death, infinity."
On Oct. 3, 1961 (Tue.) the sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show debuts on CBS-TV for 158 episodes (until June 1, 1966), starring Richard Wayne "Dick" Van Dyke (1925-) as Robert "Rob" Simpson Petrie, Mary Tyler Moore (1936-2017) as Laura Meeker, Richard Deacon (1921-84) as Melvin "Mel" Cooley, Rose Marie (1923-) as Sally Rogers, and Moritz "Morey" Amsterdam (1908-966) as Maurice B. "Buddy" Sorrell.
On Oct. 10, 1961 the anthology drama series Alcoa Premiere debuts on ABC-TV for 58 episodes (until July 21, 1963), hosted by Fred Astaire (Frederick Austerlitz) (1899-1987)), featuring provocative subjects starting with the rehabilitation of disturbed war veterans.
On Oct. 12, 1961 the sitcom Margie debuts on ABC-TV for 26 episodes (until Apr. 12, 1962), baed on the 1946 film, starring pigtail-wearing Cynthia Pepper (Cynthia Anne Culpepper) (1940-) as Roaring Twenties teenie Margie Clayton, a student at Madison H.S. in New England.
On July 10, 1962 (night) the $3M 170 lb. Bell Labs Telstar I, the world's first privately-funded commercial communication satellite is launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., carrying 12 voice circuits with a combined throughput of 768K bps; on July 23 (2:58 p.m.) the first transatlantic TV broadcast, relayed from Andover, Maine to Goonhilly, Cornwall and Pleumeur-Boudou, France is seen by millions, starting with a split screen of the Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower, followed by Walter Cronkite saying "Good evening Europe. This is the North American continent live via AT&T Telstar, July 23, 1962"; although the first images were supposed to be of JFK in a trans-Atlantic press conference in Washington, D.C. on nuclear testing and the devaluation of the dollar, he isn't ready on time so a ML ballgame between the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field actually shows Ernie Banks first, with BBC broadcaster ichard Dimbleby uttering the soundbyte: "There is a face - it's a man's face!" (and yes, it's black), becoming the first expore to baseball for many Europeans; after Philly's Tony Taylor flies-out and Johnny Callison hits a single to right field at the top of the 3rd inning, the signal is switched to JFK's press conference, which is already in the Q/A phase; at 6:00 p.m. after live scenes from the U.S.-Mexico border at Juarez, Niagara Falls, the World's Fair in Seattle, Wash., the U.N. HQ in New York City, a chat with NASA astronauts at Cape Canaveral, Fla., a rehearsal of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" at the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ont., a close-up of Mount Rushmore in S.D. and the singing of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Euro program opens with live shots of Big Ben in London and a welcome from Brussels, Belgium by Richard Dimbleby of BBC-TV; in Nov. Telestar's electronics fail due to radiation, then come back online until Feb. 21, 1963; meanwhile this year the U.K. transmits the first color TV pictures via satellite.
On Sept. 19, 1962 the color Western series The Virginian (The Men from Shiloh) debuts on NBC-TV for 249 episodes (until Mar. 24, 1971), based on the 1902 Owen Wister novel and set in 1898, starring James Child Drury Jr. 91934-) as the tough foreman of the Shiloh Ranch in Medicine Bow, Wyo., known only as the Virginian, and Douglas Osborne "Doug" McClure (1935-95) as top hand Trampas; Lee J. Cobb (Leo Jacob) (1911-76) plays ranch owner Judge Garth.
On Sept. 26, 1962 (Wed.) the corn-filled Filmways B&W comedy series The Beverly Hillbillies debuts on CBS-TV for 274 episodes (until Sept. 7, 1971), switching to color in 1965, created by Paul Henning (1911-2005), becoming the top-ranked U.S. TV show for two seasons; Buddy Ebsen (1908-2003) stars as Jed Clampett, who strikes oil while hunting on his land in the Ozark Mts. of Tenn., then sells it to an oil co. for $25M, and moves his family to a mansion at you know where at 518 Crestview Dr., incl. Irene Ryan (1902-73) as cantankerous Confederate States of Am.-loving Daisy May "Granny" Moses, Maximilian Adalbert "Max" Baer Jr. (1937-) as dimwitted yokel Jethro Bodine, who made it clear through the 6th grade ("If brains was lard, Jethro couldn't grease a pan"); Donna Douglas (1932-2015) as dickteaser Elly May Calmpett, who wears blue jeans with a rope belt, ruffled pink blouse, and leather mocassins; Raymond Thomas Bailey (1904-80) plays Jed's banker Milburn Drysdale, Harriet E. MacGibbon (1905-87) plays his wife Margaret Drysdale, and Nancy Jane Kulp (1921-91) plays his plain spinster secy. Miss Jane Hathaway, who pines for Jethro; features the cool bluegrass theme The Ballad of Jed Clampett, composed by Paul Henning, sung by Jerry Scoggins (1911-2004), and accompanied by bluegrass musicians Lester Flatt (1914-79) and Earl Scruggs (1924-), who make several guest appearances; in Aug. 2017 the Bel-Air mansion used in the series is put for sale for $350M, becoming the most expensive listing in the U.S. (until ?).
On Sept. 28, 1962 (Fri.) Leonard Stern's sitcom I'm Dickens, He's Fenster debuts on ABC-TV for 32 episodes (until May 10, 1963), starring John Allen Astin (1930-) as Harry Dickens, and Marty Ingels (Martin Ingerman) (1936-2015) as Arch Fenster, two carpenters who work on a construction gang.
On Sept. 29, 1962 (Sat.) effeminate-sounding 6'4" "Am. singer Carson Wayne Newton (1942-) (whose voice bears a striking resemblance to k.d. lang?) debuts on The Jackie Gleason Show, becoming a hit, performing there 11x more in the next two years, after which he becomes a headliner in Las Vegas, performing his 25,000th show in 1994, becoming known as "Mr. Las Vegas", "Mr. Entertainment", and "The Midnight Idol".
On Oct. 2, 1962 the hour-long WWII drama Combat! debuts on ABC-TV for 152 episodes (until Mar. 14, 1967), about a group of GIs fighting toward Paris, France after D-Day, starring Rick Jason (Richard Jacobson) (1923-2000) as platoon leader 2nd Lt. Gil Hanley, and Victor "Vic"Morrow (1929-82) as Sgt. Chip Saunders, who play the lead in alternating episodes.
On Oct. 3, 1962 (Wed.) the medical drama The Eleventh Hour, about the "fascinating developing world of psychiatry" debuts on NBC-TV for 62 episodes (until Apr. 22, 1964), starring Wendell Reid Corey (1914-68) as psychiatrist Dr. Theodore Bassett, and Jack Lee Ging (1931-) as clinical psychologist Dr. Paul Graham.
On Oct. 11, 1962 the silly B&W comedy McHale's Navy debuts on ABC-TV for 138 episodes (until Apr. 12, 1966), based on the 1-hour Apr. 3 drama "Seven Against the Sea", starring Ernest Borgnine (Ermes Effron Borgnino) (1917-2012) as Lt. Cmdr. Quentin McHale of PT Boat 73, stationed in the Pacific island base of Taratupa, and Thomas Daniel "Tim" Conway (1933-) as his 2nd in command Ensign Charles "Chuck" Parker, who regularly outwit ever-frustrated base cmdr. Capt. Wallace Burton Binghampton (AKA Old Leadbottom), played by Joe Flynn (1924-74), and his butt-kissing asst. Lt. Elroy Carpenter, played by Robert "Bob" Hastings (1925-).
On Jan. 6, 1963 (Sun.) the half-hour wildlife-nature series Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom debuts on NBC-TV (until May 22, 2011 after going into syndication in 1971 and switching to Animal Planet in 2002), starring zoologist Richard Marlin Perkins (1905-86).
On Jan. 7, 1963 (Mon.) the Western series The Dakotas debuts on ABC-TV for 20 episodes (until Sept. 9) as a spinoff of "Cheyenne", set in 1889 Dakota Territory, starring Larry Ward (1924-85) as U.S. Marshall Frank Ragan, wall-eyed William Scott "Jack" Elam (1920-2003) as deputy J.D. Smith, Mike Harris Greene 91933-) as deputy Vance Porter, and Chad Everett (Raymond Lee Cramton) (1937-2012) as deputy Del Sark; too bad, in episode 19 there is a shootout in a church where a priest (Charles Irving) is injured, pissing-off viewers and causing it to be canceled.
On Sept. 14, 1963 (Sat.) Gene Roddenberry's first series The Lieutenant debuts on NBC-TV for 29 episodes (until Apr. 18, 1964), starring Gary Lockwood (John Gary Yurosek) (1937-) as UMC 2nd Lt. William Tiberius Rice, whose first assignment is with a rifle platoon at Camp Pendleton in peacetime.
On Sept. 15, 1963 (Sun.) the crime-legal drama series Arrest and Trial debuts on ABC-TV for 30 episodes (until Sept. 6, 1964), set in Los Angeles, Calif., starring Ben Gazzara (Biagio Anthony Gazzarra) (1930-2012) as Det. Sgt. Nick Anderson, and Roger Perry (1933-) as Det Sgt. Dan Kirby, who track down and capture a suspect, after which he is defended by atty. John Egan, played by Kevin Joseph "Chuck" Connors (1921-92).
On Sept. 16, 1963 (Mon.) the medical drama Breaking Point debuts on ABC-TV for 30 episodes (until Apr. 27, 1964) as a spinoff of "Ben Casey", sarring Paul Richards (Paul Richard Levitt) (1924-74) as York Hospital chief psychiatrist Dr. McKinley Thompson ("Dr. Mac") in Los Angeles, Calif., and Eduard Franz (Schmidt) (1902-83) as clinic dir. Dr. Edward Raymer; episode 4 features Robert Redford in one of his last TV roles.
On Sept. 16, 1963 (Mon.) the B&W TV series The Outer Limits by Leslie A. Stevens III (1924-98) debuts on ABC-TV for 49 episodes (until Jan. 15, 1965), featuring episodes written by Harlan Jay Ellison (1934-)* that are later used by James Cameron for his 1984 film "The Terminator"; on Oct. 14 David McCallum appears in episode #5 The Sixth Finger with pointy ears, which are later copied by Leonard Nimoy in "Star Trek"; the opening shows an oscilloscope screen with "Control Voice" Vic Perrin (1916-89) saying: "There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission"; too bad, all the aliens are mean, sinister, and scary?
On Sept. 17, 1963 (Tues.) the drama series The Fugitive debuts on ABC-TV for 120 episodes (until Aug. 29, 1967), starring David Janssen (David Harold Meyer) (1932-80) as wrongly-convicted on-the-run wife-murderer Dr. Richard Kimble, who chases the one-armed man (played by Billy Raisch) while being tracked by Police Lt. Philip Gerard, played by Herbert "Barry" Morse (1918-2008); in season 4 it switches to color; Diane Brewster, who played Miss Canfield in "Leave It to Beaver" plays murdered wife Helen Kimble in flashbacks; Janssen becomes the first actor to receive major residual earnings, causing his income to skyrocket from $55K to $4.5M in one year.
On Sept. 18, 1963 (Wed.) (10:00 p.m.) the hour-long drama series Channing (The Young and the Bold) debuts on ABC-TV for 26 episodes (until Apr. 8, 1964), starring Jason (Herb) Evers (1922-2005) as Channing College prof. Joseph Howe, and Henry Burk Jones (1912-99) as Dean Henry Jones.
On Sept. 18, 1963 (Wed.) The Patty Duke Show debuts on ABC-TV for 104 episodes (until Apr. 27,, 1966), starring up-and-coming 17-y.-o. star Anna Marie "Patty" Duke (1946-) as identical cousins Patty and Cathy Lane, whose fathers are identical twin brothers, and who end up living together in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y.; William Joseph Schallert (1922-) plays Patty's father Martin Lane, plus Cathy's father whatsisname; the episodes are written by Sidney Sheldon (1917-2007), and the show is filmed in New York because of child labor laws; the Patty Duke Theme features the lyrics "Meet Cathy, who's lived most everywhere, from Zanzibar to Berkeley Square. But Patty's only seen the sights a girl can see from Brooklyn Heights, what a crazy pair. But they're cousins, identical cousins all the way, one pair of matching bookends, different as night and day. Where Cathy adores a minuet, the Ballets Russes, and Crepes Suzette, our Patty loves to rock & roll, a hot dog makes her lose control, what a wild duet. Still they're cousins, identical cousins, and you'll find they laugh alike, they walk alike, at times they even talk alike. You can lose your mind when cousins are two of a kind."
On Sept. 19, 1963 (Thur.) the Western series ("Perry Mason out West") Temple Houston debuts on NBC-TV for 26 episodes (until Apr. 2, 1964), becoming the first Western with an atty. as the main char., starring Jeffrey "Jeff" Hunter (Henry Herman "Hank" McKinnies Jr.) (1926-69), who plays real-life flamboyant gunfighting circuit-riding lawyer Temple Lea Houston (1860-1905), son of Sam Houston.
On Sept. 20, 1963 Burke's Law debuts on ABC-TV for 81 episodes (until Jan. 12, 1966), starring Gene Barry (1919-2009) as Los Angeles millionaire Amos Burke, who solves crimes in his Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud while dispensing prof. wisdom, e.g., "Never ask a question unless you already know the answer: Burke's Law"; the title of each episode starts with "Who Killed"; Anne Francis appears as femme detective Honey West, spawning her own ABC-TV series of 30 episodes from Sept. 17, 1965 to Apr. 8, 1966.
On Sept. 20, 1963 (Fri.) the sitcom The Farmer's Daughter debuts on ABC-TV for 101 episodes (until Apr. 22, 1966), sponsored by Lark brand cigarettes and Clairol hair coloring preps, and starring Inger Stevens (1934-70) as Katrin "Katy" Holstrum, housekeeper for widowed Minn. Congressman Glen Morley, played by William Windom (1923-2012), who finally get married on the show on Nov. 1, 1965, after which ratings tank.
On Sept. 21, 1963 (Sat.) the variety show The Jerry Lewis Show debuts on ABC-TV for 63 episodes (until Dec. 21, then Sept. 12, 1967-May 27, 1969), starring Jerry Lewis (Joseph Levitch) (1926-).
On Sept. 22, 1963 (Sun.) the comedy series The Bill Dana Show debuts on NBC-TV for 42 episodes (until Jan. 17, 1965) as a spinoff of "Make Room for Daddy", starring Hungarian-Jewish-Am. "The Ed Sullivan Show" regular Bill Dana (William Szathmary) (1924-) as Bolivian New York hotel bellhop "My Name" Jose Jimenez.
On Sept. 23, 1963 (Mon.) the drama series East Side/West Side debuts on CBS-TV for 26 episodes (until Apr. 27, 1964), starring George Campbell Scott (1927-99) as New York City social worker Neil Brock, whose black secy. Jane Foster (Cicely Tyson) shocks white audiences by wearing her hair in cornrows, along with scripts investigating sin in the Big Apple; Barbara Feldon plays his babe; too bad, it is relegated to the Mon. 10 p.m. time slot opposite Mitch Miller, and lasts only one season.
On Sept. 24, 1963 (Tue.) the drama series Mr. Novak debuts on NBC-TV for 60 episodes (until Aug. 31, 1965), starring James Grover Franciscus (1934-91) as John Novak, a first-year English teacher at Jefferson H.S. in Los Angeles, and Dean Jeffries Jagger (1903-91) as Principal Albert Vane; in episode 44 Vane is promoted to supt. of public instruction, and is replaced by Martin Woolridge, played by Oliver Burgess Meredith (1907-97).
On Sept. 24, 1963 (Tue.) Petticoat Junction debuts on CBS-TV for 222 episodes (until Apr. 4, 1970), set in the Shady Rest Hotel 25 mi. from the farming town of Hooterville on the CF&W Railroad line, 25 mi. from Pixley the other way, run by Bea Benaderet (1906-68) (as Kate Bradley) and Edgar Buchanan (1903-79) (as Uncle Joe Carson), with Kate's bodacious daughters Jeannine Riley (1940-) (as blonde Billie Joe), Pat Woodell (1944-) (as brunette Bobbie Joe), and Linda Kaye Henning (1944-) (daughter of series creator Paul Henning) (as redhead Betty Jo); Billie Jo is later played by Gunilla Hutton (1944-) and Meredith MacRae (1944-2000), and Bobbie Joe is later played by Lori Saunders (1941-); the sisters have a dog called Dog, played by Higgins (1957-75), who later stars in the film "Benji"; Smiley Burnette (1911-67) and Rufe Davis (1908-74) play Hooterville Cannonball engineer Charley Pratt and conductor Floyd Smoot; Frank Cady (1915-) plays Sam Drucker, owner of Drucker's Store, which gives farmers credit, unlike those in Pixley; Mike Minor (1939-) plays handsome crop duster Steve Elliott starting in season 4, and ends up marrying Linda on the show and in real life; as the political upheavals and social changes of the 1960s unfold, behind-the-scenes-Jew-knows CBS-TV and later ABC-TV let viewers hide their heads in the sand with an increasing stable of safe, conservative, lily-white, small-town, corny retro "hillbilly" shows like this, then in 1970 suddenly axe them all in favor of what they really want, super-liberal social engineering fare; meanwhile NBC-TV plays the weathercock and rabbit with "Star Trek", "Laugh-In", "The Flip Wilson Show", et al., and ABC-TV plays loss leader with "The Mod Squad", et al.?
On Sept. 25, 1963 (Wed.) the variety show The Danny Kaye Show debuts on CBS-TV for 120 episodes (until June 28, 1967), starring Danny Kaye (David Daniel Kaminsky) (1911-87), switching to color in 1965.
On Sept. 29, 1963 (Sun.) The Judy Garland Show debuts on CBS-TV for 26 episodes (until Mar. 29, 1964), starring world's greatest female singer Judy Garland (Frances Ethel Gumm) (1922-69), and comedian Jerry Van Dyke (1931-) (brother of Dick Van Dyke); too bad, it has to compete with "Bonanza", and lasts only 1 season.
On Sept. 29, 1963 (Sun.) My Favorite Martian debuts on CBS-TV for 107 episodes (until May 1, 1966), starring Ray Walston (1914-2001) as Uncle Martin the Martian AKA Exigius 12-1/2, and Bill Bixby (1934-93) as human Tim O'Hara; in 1965 it is shown in color.
On Sept. 29, 1963 (Sun.) the Western series The Travels of Jamiie McPheeters debuts on ABC-TV for 26 episodes (until Mar. 15, 1964), based on the 1958 novel by Robert Lewis Taylor, starring Kurt Vogel Russell (1951-) as Jaimie, Daniel Peter "Dan" O'Herlihy (1919-2005) as his alcoholic-gambleholic father "Doc" Sardius McPheeters, and Michael Witney (Whitney Michael Armstrong) (1931-83) (first 14 episodes) and Charles Bronson (Charles Dennis Buchinsky) (1921-2003) as the wagon masters Buck Coulter and Linc Murdock, becoming breakthrough roles for Russell and Bronson; each episode begins with the title "The Day of...".
On Oct. 4, 1963 the anthology series Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre debuts on NBC-TV for 107 episodes (until May 17, 1967), hosted by Bob Hope, who receives $25K to host an episode, and $500K to star in one, winning primetime Emmys for Shelley Winters, Simone Signoret, Cliff Robertson, Rod Steiger, Sydney Pollack, and Rod Serling.
On Oct. 10, 1963 the anthology color series Kraft Suspense Theatre debuts on NBC-TV for 59 episodes (until July 1, 1965); it is later syndicated under the title "Crisis".
On Sept. 14, 1964 Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, based on the 1961 film and set in the 1970s debuts on ABC-TV for 110 episodes (until Mar. 31, 1968), starring John Richard Basehart (1914-84) as Adm. Nelson, designer of the U.S. submarine Seaview, and Albert David Hedison Jr. (1927-) as Capt. Lee Crane; the first 32 episodes are B&W.
On Sept. 16, 1964 prime-time London-based Shindig! debuts on ABC-TV (until Jan. 8, 1966), showcasing top musical acts, hosted by Los Angeles disc jockey Jimmy O'Neill; the first episode features the Beatles playing "Kansas City". On Jan. 12, 1965 NBC-TV counters with Hullabaloo! (until Aug. 29, 1966), which features a different host each week, and records from both England and Calif.; it is later replaced by "The Monkees".
On Sept. 17, 1964 the sitcom Bewitched debuts on ABC-TV for 254 episodes (until Mar. 25, 1972) (shown in color in 1966-72), starring Elizabeth Victoria Montgomery (1933-95) as nose-twitching witch Samantha Stephens (after Tammy Grimes turns it down), and Dick York (1928-92) as her ordinary non-magical hubby Darrin Stephens until 1969, when an old back injury causes him to have a spasm on the set and get fired, ruining his career, getting replaced by Dick Sargent (1930-) in 1969-72 after the network reruns all 14 episodes in which York doesn't appear in order to ease the transition (so much for equal rights for the handicapped?); in the 1970s the show films on location for several episodes in Salem, Mass., giving a boost to real witch Laurie Cabot (1933-), owner of The Cat, The Crow, and The Crown store (founded 1971), which becomes a tourist stop after the publicity; in the 1970s she is declared the official witch of Salem by Mass. gov. Michael Dukakis.
On Sept. 17, 1964 the prime-time soap opera Peyton Place, based on the 1956 Grace Metalious novel and 1957 film debuts on ABC-TV, becoming the first show to air two installments a week (Tues., Thur.); it ends on June 2, 1969 after 514 episodes and reaching three episodes a week; stars Dorothy Malone (1925-) as Constance MacKenzie, Mia (Maria de Lourdes Villiers) Farrow (1945-) as her daughter Allison MacKenzie, and Charles Patrick Ryan O'Neal (1941-) as Rodney Harrington, known for wearing a Baracuta G9 jacket, and Barbara Parkins (1942-) as Rodney's steady Betty Anderson.
On Sept. 18, 1964 (Fri.) the B&W series The Addams Family, created by David Levy (1913-2000) based on The New Yorker cartoons of Charles Samuel "Chas" Addams (1912-88) about a socially superior family of ghouls debuts on ABC-TV for 64 episodes (until Sept. 2, 1966), starring mustachioed cheeky-grinning John Allen Astin (1930-) as Gomez Addams, Carolyn Sue Jones (1930-83) as his wife Morticia, Kenneth Patrick "Ken" Weatherwax (1955-) as pudgy son Pugsley, Lisa Loring (1958-) as daughter Wednesday, former child star John Leslie "Jackie" Coogan (1914-84) as Uncle Fester (known for lighting lightbulbs by putting them in his mouth), Blossom Rock (1895-1978) (Edith Marie Blossom MacDonald) as Grandmama, 6'9" Theodore Crawford "Ted" Cassidy (1932-79) as harpsichord-playing butler Lurch (known for the soundbyte "You rang"), and Felix Anthony Silla (1937-) as Cousin Itt, who all live at 0001 Cemetery Lane (inspired by Westfield, N.J.); while the series is running, the snooty New Yorker mag. refuses to pub. any new Addams Family cartoons; not to be outdone in the Baby Boomer prime time horror comedy market, on Sept. 24 CBS-TV debuts an alternate blue-collar B&W version, The Munsters for 70 episodes (until May 12, 1966), starring Frederick Hubbard "Fred" Gwynne (1926-93) as Frankenstein lookalike Fred Munster, Yvonne De Carlo (1922-2007) as his catatonic wife Lily Munster, Al Lewis (1923-2006) as aging vampire Grandpa, Butch Patrick (Patrick Alan Lilley) (1953-) as the son Eddie, Beverley Owen (nee Ogg) (1937-) (for the first 13 episodes, after which she leaves to get married), and Patricia Ann "Pat" Priest (1936-) as "ugly" (beautiful) daughter Marilyn, who all live at spooky 1313 Mockingbird Lane, and think they're as normal as everybody else.
On Sept. 18, 1964 (Fri.) the animated sci-fi Hanna-Barbera series Jonny Quest (based on the 007 flick "Dr. No") debuts on ABC-TV for 26 episodes (until Mar. 11, 1965), starting out a hit then getting canceled after one season, when it goes into syndication and going the "Star Trek" route of continued popularity until new episodes are produced in 1986.
On Sept. 18, 1964 (Fri.) the drama series Twelve (12) O'Clock High debuts on ABC-TV for 78 episodes (until Jan. 13, 1967), based on the 1949 film, starring Robert Lansing (Robert Howell Brown) (1928-94) as Brig. Gen. Frank Sage, who is killed off in episode 1 of season 2, and replaced by younger-looking Paul Burke (1926-2009) as Col. Joe Gallagher, and Patrick Barry Sullivan (1912-94) as his father Lt. Gen. Maxwell Gallagher; the last 17 episodes are in color.
On Sept. 19, 1964 "Aquatic Lassie" Flipper, based on the 1963 film starring Chuck Connors debuts on NBC-TV for 88 episodes (until Apr. 15, 1967), about a bottlenose dolphin and his human friend Porter Ricks, chief warden and park ranger at the Coral Key Park and marine Preserve in S Fla., played by Brian Kelly (1931-2005).
On Sept. 22, 1964 the TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement) debuts on NBC-TV for 105 episodes (until Jan. 15, 1968), starring Robert Francis Vaughan (1932-2016) and David McCallum (1933-) as super-cool secret agents Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakin, who battle the evil forces of THRUSH (Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity).
On Sept. 24, 1964 the action-adventure series Daniel Boone debuts on NBC-TV for 165 episodes (until Sept. 10, 1970), starring Fess Elisha Parker Jr. (1924-2010) as 1770s vintage Daniel Boone in Boonesborough, Ky. (who wears his Davy Crockett coonskin cap although the real one didn't), Patricia Blair (1931-) as his wife Rebecca, and Darby Hinton (1957-) as his son Israel; Jewish-Am. pop singer-actor Ed Ames (Edmund Dantes Urick) (1927-) plays Boone's Am. Indian pal Mingo, and next year throws a tomahawk on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson; it starts out B&W then switches to color in fall 1965; too bad, the series plays fast and loose with history, mixing up events by decades to make for dramatic thrills, incl. having Aaron Burr stage his alleged breakaway republic revolt 30 years early; Star Trek later copies the formula of a WASP action hero with a Jewish-Am. sidekick who pretends to be some other non-white race in order to preach the theme of tolerance?
On Sept. 25, 1964 the Andy Griffith Show spinoff Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. debuts on CBS-TV for 150 episodes (until May 2, 1969), starring James Thurston "Jim" Nabors (1930-) as hick with a heart of gold Gomer Pyle, Frank Spencer Sutton (1923-74) as cranky with a heart of gold Gunnery Sgt. Vince Carter, Ronald Ralph "Ronnie" Schell (1931-) as Gomer's friend Duke Slater, and Elizabeth MacRae (1936-) as Gomer's sexy nightclub singer babe Lou-Ann Poovie.
On Sept. 26, 1964 Gilligan's Island debuts on CBS-TV for 98 episodes (until Sept. 4, 1967) (shown in color in 1965-7), giving actor Robert Osbourne "Bob" Denver (1935-2005) another hit role as the goofy "little buddy" Gilligan, first mate of "The Skipper" Jonas Grumby, played by Alan Hale Jr. (1921-90), who are forever marooned on a tiny little island after being beached while on a "3-hour cruise"; Russell David Johnson (1924-2014) plays "The Professor" Roy Hinkley (who can build or fix anything except the hole in the boat), Tina Louise (1934-) plays "The Movie Star" Ginger Grant, Dawn Wells (1938-) plays cute innocent Mary Ann (unknown and too dark Raquel Welch auditioned for the part), Jim Backus (1913-89) plays "The Millionaire" Thurston Howell III, and Natalie Schafer (1900-91) plays his wife Lovey; Denver later claims that his character's first name is Willie, although it is never mentioned; the must-remember-the-words theme song, The Ballad of Gilligan's Island was written by producer Sherwood Charles Schwartz (1916-) and George Wyle (Bernard Weissman) (1916-2003).
On Jan. 23, 1965 (Sat.) the musical variety series The King Family Show debuts on ABC for 39 episodes (until Sept. 10, 1969 after switching to color in 1969).
On Jan. 24, 1965 (Sun.) (8:30 p.m.) the Western series Branded debuts on NBC-TV for 48 episodes (until Sept. 4, 1966), starring Kevin Joseph "Chuck" Connors (1921-92) as U.S. Army Cavalry Capt. Jason McCord, who was drummed out of the service for a false charge of cowardice; features the Branded Theme by Dominic Frontiere and Alan Alch; "All but one man died...There at Bitter Creek...and they say he ran away./ Branded! Marked with a coward's shame./ What do you do when you're branded, will you fight for your name?/ He was innocent . . . not a charge was true . . . but the world would never know./ Branded! Scorned as the one who ran./ What do you do when you're branded, and you know you're a man?/ Wherever you go for the rest of your life you must prove ... you're a man."
On Sept. 13, 1965 (Mon.) the sitcom The John Forsythe Show debuts on NBC-TV for 29 episodes (until Aug. 29, 1966), starring John Forsythe (Jacob Lincoln Freund) (1918-2010) as USAF veteran John Foster, who inherits the Foster School for Girls in San Francisco, Calif.; on Feb. 21, 1966 he is recalled to active duty as a spy, with an all-new cast, which doesn't save the show from being canceled.
On Sept. 14, 1965 (Tues.) the wacky Western sitcom F-Troop debuts on ABC-TV for 65 episodes (until Apr. 6, 1967), starring Kenneth Ronald "Ken" Berry (1933-) as U.S. Army Pvt. Wilton Parmenter, "the Scourge of the West", who won a Medal of Honor for instigating the final charge at the Apr. 9, 1865 Battle of Appomattox by sneezing and being mistaken for giving the order to charge, getting him a promotion to capt. in charge of remote Ft. Courage, a dumping ground for goof-offs, incl. Sgt. Morgan Sylvester O'Rourke, played by 6'4" actor Forrest Tucker (1919-86), and Corp. Randolph Agarn, played by Lawrence Samuel "Larry" Storch (1923-), who deal with the local Hekawi ("Where the heck are we?") Indian tribe (played mainly by Yiddish comedians as an in-joke that they're the 13th tribe of Israel), while Parmenter's babe, shopkeeper "Wrangler" Jane Angelica Thrift, played by Melody Patterson (1949-) (who is only 16-y.-o. when the series starts) is always trying to hook him into marriage.
On Sept. 14, 1965 (Tues.) the wacky sitcom My Mother the Car debuts on NBC-TV for 30 episodes (until Apr. 5, 1966), starring Dick Van Dyke's brother Jerry Van Dyke (1931-) as atty. David Crabtree, whose dilapidated 1928 Porter touring car turns out to be haunted by his deceased mother Gladys (Ann Sothern); it later is touted as the worst TV sitcom of all time, although if it had been targed only to kids it might have been called one of the best kiddie shows of all time?
On Sept. 15, 1965 (Wed.) the Western series The Big Valley debuts on ABC-TV for 112 episodes (until May 19, 1969), starring Barbara Stanwyck (Ruby Catherine Stevens) (1907-90) as wealthy widow Victoria Barkley who owns the Barkley Ranch in Calaveras County, Calif. near Stockton, based on the 30K acre Hill Ranch (1955-1931), her sons Jarrod Thomas Barkley (atty.), played by Richard Long (1927-74), Nicholas Jonathan "Nick" Barkley, played by Joseph Peter Breck (1929-2012), known for dressing in black, and Heath Barkley, played by Lee Majors (Harvey Lee Yeary) (1939-), and her daughter Audra Barkley, played by Linda Evans (1942-).
On Sept. 15, 1965 (Wed.) the color sitcom Gidget debuts on ABC-TV for 32 episodes (until Apr. 21, 1966), starring Sally Margaret Field (1946-) as 15-y.-o. boy-crazy surfer girl Frances "Gidget" Lawrence, and Donald "Don" Porter (1912-97) as her widowed father Prof. Russ Lawrence of UCLA; too bad, after the British Rock Invasion it's too retro, and is canceled after one season?
On Sept. 15, 1965 (Wed.) the wacky sitcom Green Acres debuts on CBS-TV for 170 episodes (until Apr. 27, 1971), starring Eddie Albert (1906-2005) and Eva Gabor (1919-95) as New York City atty. Oliver Wendell Douglas and his socialite wife Lisa Douglas, who move to a farm and play fish out of water; a sister show to "Petticoat Junction".
On Sept. 15, 1965 (Wed.) the cool TV series I Spy, produced by Sheldon Leonard debuts for 82 episodes (until Apr. 15, 1968), starring Robert Martin Culp (1930-2010) as internat. tennis star Kelly Robinson, and William Henry "Bill" Cosby Jr. (1937-) as his Man Friday, er, black trainer Alexander Scott, who are really U.S. spies and totally equal; Three-F Productions is formed by David Friedkin, Morton Fine, and Fouaid Said to produce the show.
On Sept. 15, 1965 (Wed.) the sci-fi series Lost in Space, a "Space Family Robinson" show debuts on CBS-TV for 83 episodes (until Mar. 6, 1968); the first season is shot in B&W, and starts out serious, after which it goes campy and wacky in color; it stars 6'3" Guy Williams (Armand Joseph Catalano) (1924-89) and June Lockhart (1925-) as the parents prof. John Robinson and Maureen Robinson, Charles William "Bill" Mumy Jr. (1954-) (pr. "MOO-me") and Angela Margaret Cartwright (1952-) as the children Will and Penny, Mark Goddard (1936-) and Marta Kristen (Birgit Annalisa Rusanen) (1945-) as the single hot wild cards, eligible bachelor Maj. Don West and nubile daughter Judy Robinson, and Jonathan Harris (Charasuchin) (1914-2002) as the bad guy Dr. Zachary Smith, who ends up stealing the show, which is set in the year 1997.
On Sept. 16, 1965 (Thur.) The Dean Martin (Variety) Show debuts on NBC-TV for 264 episodes (until Apr. 5,, 1974), starring whiskey-swigging "King of Cool" "Los Muertos" "Dino" Dean Martin (Dino Paul Crocetti) (1917-95), whose theme song is his 1964 hit "Everybody Loves Somebody (Sometime)"; since it fits, he gets the network to bow to his demands that he only show up for the final taping and keep the flubbed lines in along with the retakes; usually his whiskey glass is really filled with apple juice; meanwhile his feud with former partner Jerry Lewis simmers, as Lewis' career skids to a thud while his soars.
On Sept. 16, 1965 (Thur.) the Western color series Laredo debuts on NBC-TV for 56 episodes (until Apr. 7, 1967) as a spinoff from "The Virginian", set in Laredo, Tex., starring Lawrence Neville Brand (1920-92) as Texas Ranger Reese Bennett, Peter Brown (Pierre Lind de Lappe) (1935-) as Texas Ranger Chad Cooper, 6'2" bodybuilder William Smith (1933-) as Texas Ranger Joe Riley, and Eugene Joseph "Philip" Carey (1925-2009) as Capt. Edward Parmalee; 14-y.-o. Kurt Russell appears in an episode as Indian boy Grey Smoke.
On Sept. 17, 1965 (Fri.) the wacky color sitcom Hogan's Heroes (a Bing Crosby production) debuts on CBS-TV for 168 episodes (until Mar. 28, 1971), starring Robert Edward "Bob" Crane (1928-78) as U.S. Col. Robert E. Hogan, Werner Klemperer (1920-2000) as bumbling German Col. Wilhelm Klink, John Banner (1910-73) as Sgt. Hans Schultz (known for the soundbyte "I know nothing, nothing!"), and Leon Askin (1907-2005) as German Gen. Albert Burkhalter; the in-joke is that Banner and Askin are Austrian Jews who fled Hitler.
On Sept. 17, 1965 (Fri.) (9:30 p.m.) the wacky sitcom The Smothers Brothers Show debuts on CBS-TV for 32 episodes (until Apr. 2, 1966), starring Tommy Smothers as an angel who comes back to Earth to watch over his swinging bachelor brother Dicky Smothers, becoming the last CBS-TV sitcom filmed in B&W.
On Sept. 17, 1965 (Fri.) the semi-wacky Old Western spy show ("James Bond on horseback") The Wild Wild West debuts on CBS-TV for 104 episodes (until Apr. 4, 1969), starring handsome athletic playboy Robert "Bob" Conrad (Conrad Robert Norton Falk) (1935-) as Secret Service agent James West, and Polish-Am. Jewish actor Ross Martin (1920-81) as his partner Artemus Gordon, a master of easy-to-see-thru disguises and Shakespearean ham, who protect Pres. Ulysses S. Grant from Victorian mad scientists while travelling in their own luxury train "Wanderer".
On Sept. 18, 1965 (Sat.) the wacky sitcom (James Bond 007 parody) Get Smart! debuts on NBC-TV for 138 episodes (until May 15, 1970, then on CBS-TV from Sept. 26, 1969 to Sept. 11, 1970), starring ("Would you believe?") ("Missed it by that much") Don Adams (Donald James Yarmy) (1923-2005) as bumbling shoe-phone-wearing secret agent Maxwell Smart (drives a Sunbeam) (Agent 86), and Barbara Feldon (Hall) (1932-) ("Oh Max!") (a Carnegie Inst. of Tech. grad in real life who won the grand prize in "The $64,000 Question" in the category of Shakespeare, and starred in Top Brass hair pomade for men commercials laid out on an animal print rug) as his partner Agent 69, er, 99; they work for the secret U.S. govt. agency CONTROL, with HQ at 123 Main St. in Washington, D.C., and fight the "internat. org. of evil" KAOS; their boss is Chief, played by Edward C. Platt (1916-74); the Get Smart Theme is played to a sequence of the wacky Rube Goldberg HQ entrance; Agents 86 and 99 get married in season 4, and have twins in season 5.
On Sept. 18, 1965 (Sat.) the wacky sitcom I Dream of Jeannie, created by Sidney Sheldon based on 1964 film "The Brass Bottle" the debuts on NBC-TV for 139 episodes (until May 26, 1970); (the first 30 episodes are in B&W), starring Barbara Eden (Barbara Jean Morehead) (1934-) as Jeannie the Genie, who never shows her navel until season four, shocking U.S. morals, and lives in a bottle in the home of U.S. astronaut Capt. Anthony "Tony" Nelson, played by Larry Martin Hagman (1931-2012), whose friend is fellow astronaut Capt. Roger Healey, played by Bill Daily (1927-).
On Sept. 19, 1965 (Sun.) the unwacky Quinn Martin drama The F.B.I., based on the 1959 film "The FBI Story" debuts on ABC-TV for 240 episodes (until Sept. 8, 1974), starring Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (1918-)as inspector Lewis Erskin, and Philip Abbott (1923-98) as asst. dir. Arthur Ward; J. Edgar Hoover serves as series consultant so that the cases are laundered, er, authentic; sponsor Ford Motor Co. sees that all the chars. drives Fords.
On Sept. 19, 1965 (Sun.) the wackiest comedy series The Wackiest Ship in the Army, based on the 1960 film debuts for 29 episodes on NBC-TV (until Apr. 17, 1966), starring Jack Warden (John Warden Lebzeleter Jr.) (1920-2006) as Army Maj. Simon Butcher, who manages shore operations for leaky wooden twin-master schooner USS Kiwi, commanded by Navy Lt. JG Richard "Rip" Riddle, played by Gary Ennis Collins (1938-2012), with the goal of placing spies behind Japanese lines.
Speaking of tongue-in-cheek? On Jan. 12, 1966 the tongue-in-cheek series Batman, starring Walla Walla, Wash.-born Adam West (William West Anderson) (1928-2017) (after Lyle Waggoner is passed over) as Batman the Caped Crusader, and Burt Ward (Bert John Gervis Jr.) (1945-) as Robin the Boy Wonder debuts on ABC-TV for 120 biweekly episodes (until Mar. 14, 1968) (weekly in the 3rd and last season); disgraced TV game show host Jack Barry plays a newsman in the debut episode; recurring villains incl. Cesar Julio Romero Jr. 91907-94) as the Joker, Oliver Burgess Meredith (1907-97) as the Penguin, Frank John Gorshin Jr. (1933-2005) as the Riddler, and Julie Newmar (Julia Chalene Newmeyer) (1933-) as the Catwoman; too bad, although popular, it's too expensive to make, and loses money, ending in cancellation; the Batusi dance becomes a craze - he said one billion, not one batman with a burt ward?
On Sept. 6, 1966 (Tues.) the sitcom Love on a Rooftop debuts on ABC-TV for 30 episodes (until Apr. 6, 1967), starring Peter Ellstrom "Pete" Deuel (1940-71) as Dave Willia, n apprentice architect in San Francisco, Calif. who has to live on $85.37 a week, and Judy Carne (Joyce Audrey Botterill) (1939-2015) as his new wife Julie.
On Sept. 6, 1966 (Tues.) the sitcom The Pruitts of Southampton (The Phyllis Diller Show) debuts on ABC-TV for 30 episodes (until Sept. 1, 1967), based on the 1954 novel "House Party", about a broke family who pose as wealthy (an inverted version of "The Beverly Hillbillies"?), starring Phyllis Diller (Phyllis Ada Driver) (1917-2012) as Phyllis Pruitt; also stars Gypsy Rose Lee and Richard Deacon.
On Sept. 7, 1966 (Wed.) the Western series The Monroes debuts on ABC-TV for 26 episodes (until Mar. 15, 1967), starring set in Grand Teton Nat. Park near Jackson, Wyo., about five orphans trying to survive after their parents die in an accident, starring English actor Michael Joseph Anderson Jr. (1943-) as eldest male Clayton Monroe, and Barbara Hershey (Barbara Lynn Herzstein) (1948-) as eldest female Kathy Monroe.
To boldly crow where no Jim has crowed before? I'm a PC and I'm 8 years old? On Sept. 8, 1966 (Thur.) Star Trek: The Original Series, created by Tex.-born Eugene Wesley "Gene" Roddenberry (1921-91) debuts on NBC-TV for 79 episodes (until Apr. 4, 1969) with The Man Trap, starring Jeanne Bal (1928-96) as a shape-shifting salt-sucking space siren, unveiling a new technology-based Jesus-and-Muhammad-free futuristic leftist Jewish kingdom of heaven combined with a mostly white Wagon Train in Space show about the 23rd cent. voyages of the faster-than-light USS Enterprise NCC-1701, featuring Canadian Jewish actor William Shatner (1931-) as straight womanizing swashbuckling Capt. James Tiberius Kirk (born in Riverside, Iowa), the Capt. Horatio Hornblower of Space, who is so good at his job that he's allowed to break the rules, incl. sex with blacks, browns, yellows, greens, blues, non-humans, anything they can sign an acting contract with; Jewish-Am. actor Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015) plays his 2nd in command, pointy-eared half-human half-Vulcan half-Salmon super-smart Science officer Spock (blood type T-negative) (only mates once every 11 years) (likes to put his hand in the shape of the Hebrew letter shin because in real life he's Jewish); Ga.-born actor DeForest Kelly (1920-79) plays liquor-pouring Southern-drawling Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, and Canadian actor James Doohan (1920-2005) plays Scottish engineer Scotty, who is the real brains of the ship, staying safely behind while the reckless captain and crew go beaming into danger and he takes the credit for superhuman repair work by inflating repair time estimates while swigging Scottish whiskey; on Sept. 15 episode #2 Charlie X stars Robert Hudson Walker Jr. (1940-), son of Robert Walker Sr. and Jennifer Jones as a space orphan raised by aliens who gets his first crush on a woman, Capt. Kirk's yeoman Janice Rand, played by Grace Lee Whitney (1930-), and can't grow up fast enough to avoid using his superhuman powers to destroy the ship until his alien parents intervene and take him back; in real life, Walker's mom Jennifer Jones cheated on his daddy then dumped him in 1945 for producer David O. Selznick, causing daddy to go nuts and become an alcoholic and have an early death in 1951, affecting him, while Whitney in real life was an orphan, and is cut from the show in the first season so that Kirk could have a guest babe each episode, causing her to spiral down also; episode #3 Where No Man Has Gone Before stars Gary Lockwood (1937-) as Lt. Cmdr. Gary Mitchell, who develops super-ESP when the Enterprise is driven over the edge of the galaxy; episode #9 Dagger of the Mind (Nov. 3) is about the Neural Neutralyzer Device; episode #28 The City on the Edge of Forever (Apr. 6, 1967), written by Harlan Ellison and featuring a working Historyscope called the Guardian of Forever plus yummy Joan Henrietta Collins (1933-) as Am. Depression Era social worker Edith Keeler wins a Hugo Award; episode #29 (last of season 1) Operation Annihilate! (Apr. 13, 1967) (filmed Feb. 15, 1967) is set on the campus-like grounds of TRW Inc. in Redondo Beach, Calif; episode #35 The Doomsday Machine (Oct. 20, 1967) about a planet-eating machine is written by Norman Robert Spinrad (1940-); Theodore Sturgeon (Edward Hamilton Waldo) (1918-85) writes the screenplays for "Shore Leave" (1966), and "Amok Time" (1967), in which he invents the Vulcan Pon Farr mating ritual, the Vulcan benediction "Live long and prosper", and the Vulcan hand symbol; he also creates the Prime Directive; the show creates a new social class of fans called Trekkies (Trekkers), coined by Arthur William Saha (1923-99), incl. TLW, who took to emulating a Spock haircut in 9th grade (1967); too bad, after some go overboard, they get a bad name as nerdy escapist losers without a life; it's really an attempt to prepare youth for the New Age Movement?
On Sept. 8, 1966 (Thur.) Sy Weintraub's jungle adventure series Tarzan debuts for 57 episodes (until Apr. 5, 1968), starring Ronald Pierce "Ron" Ely (1938-), who grew up, got educated, and returned to the jungle minus Jane but with Cheeta.
On Sept. 8, 1966 (Thur.) the sitcom That Girl debuts on ABC-TV for 136 episodes (until Mar. 19, 1971), starring marshmallow-bright Jewish Am. princess Marlo (Margaret Julia) Thomas (1937-) (daughter of Danny Thomas); her steady boyfriend Donald Hollinger is played by Howard Weston "Ted" Bessel (1935-96).
On Sept. 9, 1966 (Fri.) the non-campy Batman alternative The Green Hornet debuts on ABC-TV for 26 episodes (until July 14, 1967), featuring the cool Green Hornet Theme by Al Hirt, and starring Van Zandt Williams (1934-) as Britt Reid AKA the Green Hornet, and chopsockey star Bruce Lee (Lee Jun-fan) (1904-73) as his sidekick Kato.
On Sept. 9, 1966 (Fri.) Irwin Allen's The Time Tunnel debuts on ABC-TV for 30 episodes (until Apr. 7, 1967), starring teen idol James Darren (James William Ercolani) (1936-) as young physicist Dr. Tony Newman, who tests Project Tic-Toc on himself and gets lost in time, and is followed by Dr. Doug Phillips, played by Robert Colbert (1931-).
On Sept. 11 (9/11/66) (Sun.) the Sherwood Schwartz series It's About Time debuts on CBS-TV for 26 episodes (until Apr. 2, 1967), starring Frank Aletter (1926-2009) and Jack Mullaney (1929-82) as U.S. astronauts Mac and Hector, who break the speed of light and end up in the Stone Age, meeting cave woman Shad, played by Imogene Coca (1908-2001) and her hubby Gronk, played by Joe E. Ross (1914-82); despite being a flop, it has a cool It's About Time Theme Song.
On Sept. 12, 1966 (Mon.) Family Affair debuts on CBS-TV for 138 episodes (until Mar. 4, 1971), starring Robert Alba "Brian" Keith (1921-97) as well-to-do New York City civil engineer William Sean "Uncle Bill" Davis, and Charles Sebastian Thomas Cabot (1918-77) as his English butler Giles French, who are snookered into raising Bill's dead brother Bob's children, incl. Kathleen Marie "Kathy" Garver (1945-) as Catherine Patterson "Cissy" Davis, and cute tykes Mary Anissa Jones (1958-76) and John Orson "Johnny" Whitaker Jr. (1959-) as Elizabeth Patterson "Buffy" Davis and Jonathan Joshua Patterson "Jody" Davis; Buffy's doll Mrs. Beasley is marketed as a talking toy by Mattel; too bad, Jones dies of a drug OD on Aug. 28, 1976.
On Sept. 12, 1966 (Mon.) the crime drama Felony Squad debuts on ABC-TV for 73 episodes (until Jan. 31, 1969), starring Howard Green Duff (1913-90), known for his forlorn eyebrows. as Det. Sgt. Sam Stone, who makes a cameo apperance in "Batman".
On Sept. 12, 1966 (Mon.) the Western series The Iron Horse debuts on ABC-TV for 47 episodes (until Jan. 6, 1968), filmed on the Sierra Railroad in Sonora, Calif., starring Daryl Lymoine "Dale" Robertson (1923-2013) as gambler Ben Calhoun, who wins the incomplete Buffalo Pass, Scalplock & Defense Railroad in a poker game.
On Sept. 12, 1966 (Mon.) the Hollywood-designed answer to the Beatles, "Hey, Hey, We're"The Monkees debuts for 58 episodes on NBC-TV (until Mar. 25, 1968), starring English-bornDavid Thomas "Davy" Jones (1945-2013), Tex.-born Robert Michael Nesmith (1942-) (known for wearing a woolen hat), "Circus Boy" George Michael "Micky" Dolenz Jr. (1945-), and Washington, D.C.-born Peter Tork (1942-) debuts on NBC-TV, and runs for two seasons (58 episodes); created by Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider (Raybert Productions), it features Euro avant-garde production techniques and music videos; the ad for auditions looking for "4 insane boys" appeared on Sept. 8, 1965, and 400 showed up, of which 14 were given screen tests; lifer con Charles Manson tried-out for a spot and didn't quite fit in?
On Sept. 12, 1966 (Mon.) (8:30p.m.) the half-hour variety series The Roger Miller Show debuts on NBC-TV for ? episodes (until Dec. 26), starring "King of the Road" singer Roger Dean Miller Sr. (1936-92), who performs with the Eddie Karam Orchestra.
On Sept. 12, 1966 (Mon.) the action-adventure series The Rat Patrol debuts on ABC-TV for 58 episodes (until Mar. 18, 1968), about the Allied North African campaign in WWII targeting German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps, starring Christopher John George (1931-83) as Australian army Slouch hat-wearing leader Sgt. Sam Troy ("Let's shake it"), Gary Raymond (1935-) as black beret-wearing British Sgt. Jack Moffitt, Lawrence P. Casey (1940-) as Cpl. Mark T. "Hitch" Hitchcock, and Justin Tarr (Howard Kenneth Barnes) (1940-2012) as red French kepi-wearing Ky. moonshine runner PFC Tully Pettigrew; Hans-Jorg Gudegast (Eric Braden) (1941-) plays their main foe German Capt. Hans Dietrich.
On Sept. 16, 1966 (Fri.) the sci-fi series The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. debuts on NBC-TV for 29 episodes (until Apr. 11, 1967) as a spinoff of "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.", starring Stefanie Powers (Stefanie Zofya Paul) (1942-) as April Dancer, and Noel John Christopher Harrison (1934-2013) (son of Rex Harrison) as her British partner Mark Slate; Powers is featured on the cover of the Dec. 31, 1966 TV Guide, which contains the soundbyte: "...allocating roughly $1,000 an episode for stretch vinyl jackets and skirts, a bare-midriff harem-dancer outfit, miniskirts and the latest mod fashions from London's Carnaby Street"; too bad: "Unlike her fellow U.N.C.L.E. agents, the ladylike April is not required to kill the bad guys. Her feminine charms serve as the bait, while her partner Noel Harrison provides the fireworks. She does carry, however, a perfume atomizer that sprays gas, earrings and charm bracelets that explode, among other interesting gadgets."
On Sept. 17, 1966 (Sat.) Bruce Geller's hip spy show Mission: Impossible debuts on CBS-TV for 171 episodes (until Mar. 30, 1973), starring Steven Hill (Solomon Krakovsky) (Solomon Berg) (1922-2016) as team leader Dan Briggs (season one), followed by Peter Graves (1926-2010) (brother of "Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke" actor James Arness) as team leader Jim Phelps, Barbara Bain (1931-) and Martin Landau (1928-2017) as chameleon rubber-mask agents Cinnamon and Rollin Hand, Greg Morris (1933-96) as white-shirted has-to-be-black electronics whiz Barney Collier, and 6'4" Peter Lupus (1932-) as blue collar Italian muscleman Willy Armitage; in season four Leonard Simon Nimoy (1931-2015) replaces Landau as magician "The Great Paris", who is replaced in season six by Lynda Day George (1944-) as master of disguise Lisa Casey; the cool (5/4-time) Mission: Impossible Theme by Lalo Schifrin (1932-) is a hit single in 1968; the creeping feeling that the network execs are giving away the big secret of the JFK assassination conspiracy supercharges it?
On Jan. 10, 1967 Larry Cohen's sci-fi series The Invaders debuts for 43 episodes (until Mar. 26, 1968), produced by Quinn Martin and starring Roy Thinnes (1938-) as architect David Vincent; the aliens pose as humans and red-out and evaporate when they die; The Invaders Theme features the soundbyte: "The Invaders, alien beings from a dying planet. Their destination: the Earth. Their purpose: to make it their world. David Vincent has seen them. For him, it began one lost night on a lonely country road, looking for a shortcut that he never found. It began with a closed deserted diner, and a man too long without sleep to continue his journey. It began with the landing of a craft from another galaxy. Now David Vincent knows that the Invaders are here, that they have taken human form. Somehow he must convince a disbelieving world that the nightmare has already begun."
On Feb. 5, 1967 (Sun.) TLW-favorite The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour debuts on CBS-TV for 72 episodes (until June 8, 1969), combining great comedy and music with boundary-pushing political criticism of the LBJ regime and the Vietnam War, going on to beat "Bonanza" for the top audience ratings and host top rock groups incl. the Beatles until LBJ pulls strings with his personal friend and CBS head William S. Paley and gets the show summarily canceled, using a comic sermon by Canadian Jewish comedian David Steinberg (1942-) as an excuse, when he said, "The Old Testament scholars say that Jonah was swallowed by a whale. The Gentiles, the New Testament scholars say, 'Hold it, Jews, no'. They literally grabbed the Jews by the Old Testament"; South Bend, Wash.-born comedian Patrick Layton "Pat" Paulsen (1927-97) runs for U.S. pres. in 1968, repeating every four years until 1996 - why does every one of TLW's favorite shows always get canceled?
On Mar. 29-Apr. 11, 1967 the first nationwide strike in the 30-year history of the Am. Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) occurs.
On Sept. 5, 1967 (Tue.) (9:30 p.m.) the half-hour crime drama N.Y.P.D. debuts on ABC-TV for 49 episodes (until Mar. 25, 1969), starring Jack Warden (John Warden Lebzelter Jr.) (1920-2006) as Lt. Mike Haines, African-Am. actor Robert Dean "Bobby" Hooks (1937-) as Det. Jeff Ward, and Frank Converse (1938-) as Det. Johnny Corso; episode 1 is about a man blackmailing gays, becoming the first U.S. TV series with a gay-themed episode.
On Sept. 7, 1967 (Thur.) The Flying Nun, based on the book "The Fifteenth Pelican" by Tere Rios debuts on ABC-TV for 82 episodes (until Apr. 3, 1970), starring Sally Margaret Field (1946-) as Sister Bertrille of the Daughters of Charity nuns in Convent San Tanco in Puerto Rico; also stars Madeleine Sherwood as Rev. Mother Superior Placido, Marge Redmond as Sister Jacqueline, and Alejandro Rey as Carlos Ramirez.
On Sept. 7, 1967 (Thur.) the detective series Mannix debuts on CBS-TV for 194 episodes (until Apr 10, 1975), starring Armenian-Am. Mike "Touch" Connors (Kreker Ohanian) (1925-) as Armenian-Am. L.A. private dick Joe Mannix of Intertect, Joseph Anthony Campanella (1924-), as his boss Lew Wickersham, and Gail Fisher (1935-2000) as his black asst. Peggy Fair, becoming a breakthrough role for blacks on U.S. TV; the firm pioneers the use of computers to solve crimes until Lucille Ball orders them removed; the last series produced by Desilu Productions before it is sold on Dec. 31 to Gulf and Western, w ho rename it Paramount Television.
On Sept. 8, 1967 (Fri.) the hour-long legal drama series Judd for the Defense debuts on ABC-TV for episodes (until Sept. 19, 1969), starring Carl Lawrence Betz (1921-78) as flamboyant Houston, Tex. atty. Clinton Judd, Stephen Young (Levy) (1931-) as his asst. Ben Caldwell, exploring yet more liberal causes incl. homosexuality, the Hollywood Blacklist, and draft dodgers, turning viewers off, causing it to be abruptly canceled after two seasons despite an attempt to combine it with "Felony Squad" cast members on the Jan. 31, 1969 episode, after which it also gets abruptly canceled.
On Sept. 10, 1967 (Sun.) David Dortort's Western series The High Chaparral debuts on NBC-TV for 98 episodes (until Mar. 12, 1971), starring Leif Erickson (William Wycliffe Anderson) (1911-86) as "Big John" Cannon, a rancher in 1870s Arizona who runs the High Chapparal Ranch with his brother Buck Cannon, played by Cameron Mitchell (Cameron MacDowell Mitzell) (1918-94), and his son Billy Blue Cannon (Blue Boy), played by Mark Van Blarcom Slade (1939-).
On Sept. 10, 1967 (Sun.) The Mothers-in-Law debuts on NBC-TV for 56 episodes (until Apr. 13, 1969), starring very out-of-the-1950s-looking Eve Arden and Herbert Rudley as Eve and Herb Hubbard, and Roger C. Carmel (later Richard Deacon) and Kaye Ballard as their neighbors Roger and Kaye Buell; the kinky part is that the Buells' 20s-something son Jerry (Jerry Fogel) lives in the Hubbards' garage with the Hubbards' daughter Susie (Deborah Walley), and try to push '60s culture on them, incl. a live performance of Pushing Too Hard by The Seeds; after competition with "The FBI" and "The Ed Sullivan" show kills it, it is replaced by "The Bill Cosby Show".
On Sept. 11, 1967 (Mon.) the comedy sketch variety series The Carol Burnett Show debuts on CBS-TV for 287 episodes (until Mar. 29, 1978), starring Carol Creighton Burnett (1933-), with regular guests incl. Harvey Herschel Korman (1927-2008), Vicki Ann Lawrence (nee Axelrad) (1949-), and Lyle Wesley Waggoner (1935-), who leaves in 1974 to star as Steve Trevor in "Wonder Woman", and is replaced by Thomas Daniel "Tim" Conway (1933-); in 1977 Richard Wayne "Dick" Van Dyke (1925-) replaces Korman; Jim Nabors is the first to sign her guestbook.
On Sept. 14, 1967 (Thur.) the detective series Ironside debuts on NBC-TV for 199 episodes (until Jan. 16, 1975), starring Raymond William Stacey Burr (1917-93) as wheelchair-bound San Francisco PD chief of detectives Robert T. Ironside, Don Galloway as Det. Sgt. Ed Brown, Eve Whitfield as Barbara Anderson, and Don Mitchell as asst. Mark Sanger.
On Jan. 9, 1968 (Tue.) the action-adventure series It Takes a Thief debuts on ABC-TV for 66 episodes (until Mar. 24, 1970), inspired by the 1955 Alfred Hitchcock film "To Catch a Thief", starring Robert John Wagner Jr. (1930-) as sophisticated thief Alexander Mundy, who works for the U.S. govt. in exchange for his release from prison; Malachi Throne (1928-2013) plays his boss Noah Bain.
U.S. evening TV becomes a political veapon? On Jan. 22, 1968 (Mon.) Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In debuts on NBC-TV for 140 episodes (until May 14, 1973) to cheer up a jittery America, hosted by stand-up comedians Dan Rowan (1922-87) and Dick Martin (1922-2008), who begin the standing joke format (later adopted by the Smothers Brothers) of pretending not to be too obvious about being against the Vietnam War as well as totally politically and socially liberal, despite the jokes ridiculing the KKK, NRA, Pentagon et al.; the anti-establishment show makes a star of ditzy blonde Goldie Jeanne Hawn (1945-) ("My I.Q. has never been questioned; come to think of it, it has never been mentioned"), along with Arthur Stanton Eric "Arte" Johnson (1929-) ("Ve-e-e-ry interesting, but stupid"), Ruth Buzzi (1936-), Judy Carne (Joyce Audrey Botterill) (1939-2015) "Sock it to me!", JoAnne Worley (1937-) ("Is that a chicken joke?"), and Mary Jean "Lily" Tomlin (1939-), introducing "Look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls", "You bet your bippy", and "Heah come de judge" to the Am. lexicon; what uncanny luck debuting eight days before the Tet Offensive?; "Say good night, Dick"; "Good night Dick".
On Sept. 20, 1968 the pioneering 90-min. wheel (rotating leads) series The Name of the Game debuts on NBC-TV for 76 episodes (until Mar. 19, 1971), based on the 1966 TV movie "Fame Is the Name of the Game", about Howard Pubs., a prototype of "People" mag., starring Anthony "Tony" Franciosa (Anthony George Papaleo) (1928-2006) as reporter Jeffrey "Jeff" Dillon, Gene Barry (Eugene Klass) (1919-2009) as publisher Glenn Howard, Robert (Charles Langford Midini) Stack (1919-2003) as "Crime" mag. ed. Daniel "Dan" Farrell, and Susan Saint James (Susan Jane Miller) (1946-) in her TV debut as ed. asst. Peggy Maxwell.
On Sept. 21, 1968 (Sat.) the Los Angeles, Calif. cop series Adam-12 (Adam precinct, car 12), starring Martin Sam Milner (1931-2015) and Kent Franklin McCord (1942-) debuts on NBC-TV for 174 episodes (until May 20, 1975), helping the U.S. TV public know that their cops are square, honest and hip too, and mostly white; on Sept. 26 copycat Hawaii Five-O debuts for 278 episodes (until Apr. 26, 1980) on CBS-TV with Brooklyn-born actor Jack Lord (John Joseph Patrick Ryan) (1920-98) as Detective Steve "Book 'em, Dano" McGarrett (HQ in 'Iolani Palace) (after Richard Boone, who persuades Leonard Freeman to film exclusively in Hawaii rather than in S Calif. bugs out), and James Gordon MacArthur (1937-) as his partner Dan "Danno" Williams, who try to prove that paradise doesn't spoil cops?; Det. Chin Ho Kelly, played by Kam Fong (1918-2002) does ballistics testing; the longest-running U.S. crime TV show until "Law & Order" in 2003; the Hawaii Five-O Theme (Walk Don't Run) by the Ventures becomes a hit.
On Sept. 23, 1968 (Mon.) Mayberry R.F.D. debuts on CBS-TV for 78 episodes (until Mar. 29, 1971) as a spinoff of "The Andy Griffith Show", starring Kenneth Ronald "Ken" Berry (1933-) as widowed farmer Sam Jones, Lucius Fisher "Buddy" Foster IV (1957-) (brother of Jodie Foster) as his son Mike; episode 1 "Andy and Helen's Wedding" has the highest ratings in TV history so far; too bad the 1971 Rural Purge causes it to be canceled.
On Sept. 24, 1968 (Tues.) the Bonanza-wannabe Western color series Lancer debuts on CBS-TV for 51 episodes (until June 23, 1970), starring Andrew Duggan (1923-88) as Lancer family patriarch Murdoch Lancer, James "Jim" Stacy (Maurice William Elias) (19361) as half-Mexican gunslinger son Johnny Madrid Lancer, and Wayne E. Maunder (1937-) as educated older son Scott Lancer.
On Sept. 24, 1968 (Tues.) the interracially-suggestive detective series The Mod Squad debuts on ABC-TV (until Aug. 23 1973), starring white Michael Cole (1945-) as Pete Cochran, big-bushy-Afro black Clarence Williams III (1939-) as Linc Hayes, and white (really Jewish) flower child Margaret Ann "Peggy" Lipton (1946-) (who marries black composer Quincy Jones in 1973 after being dumped by Elvis for her Scientology habit) as Julie Barnes, all undercover agents for the Los Angeles Police Dept. - the shock of first finding out?
On Sept. 24, 1968 (Tues.) the prime-time TV newsmagazine 60 Minutes, produced by Donald S. "Don" Hewitt (1922-2009) debuts on CBS-TV (until ?); Mike Wallace (1918-) turns down an offer to be Richard Nixon's press secy. and participates in the broadcast, ending up introducing all programming at the start of each show, with his cool voice over a ticking stopwatch becoming a narcotic to millions; Harry Reasoner (1923-91) is the main investigative reporter; later liberal Jewish Shana Alexander (1925-2005) and conservative James Jackson Kilpatrick (1920-2010) square-off on "Point-Counterpoint", boosting the show's popularity.
On Sept. 24, 1968 (Tues.) the musical comedy series That's Life debuts on ABC-TV for 32 episodes (until 1969), starring Robert Alan Morse (1931-) and Edra Jean "E.J." Peaker (1944-) as newlyweds Bobby and Gloria Dickson, and Kay Medford (1919-80) as Gloria's mother Mrs. Quigley.
On Sept. 28, 1968 the sitcomThe Ghost & Mrs. Muir debuts on NBC-TV for 50 episodes (until Mar. 13, 1970 after switching to ABC-TV in season 2), based on the 1945 R.A. Dick novel and 1947 film, starring Hope Elisa Ross Lange (1933-2003) as young widow Carolyn Muir, who rents Gull Cottage in Schooner Bay, Maine and lives with her two children, her housekeeper, and her dog, and finds that it's haunted by the ghost of Capt. Daniel Gregg, played by Edward Mulhare (1923-97).
On Dec. 10, 1968 the 1-hour wheel series The Bold Ones debuts on NBC-TV for 90 episodes (until May 4, 1973), with four rotating segments, incl. "The New Doctors", starring E.G. Marshall and David Hartman, "The Lawyers", starring Burl Ives and Joseph Campanella, "The Protectors", starring Leslie Nelsen and Hari Rhodes, and "The Senator", starring Hal Holbrook.
On June 7, 1969 The Johnny Cash Show debuts on ABC-TV for 58 episodes (until Mar. 31, 1971), going on to feed his outlaw image by refusing to cut the word "stoned" from Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down", hosting Vietnam protester Peter Seeger, and flaunting his Christian faith; meanwhile on June 8 the last Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour airs after CBS-TV canceled it.
On June 15, 1969 the corny Nashville country music comedy variety show Hee-Haw debuts on CBS-TV (until 1971, then in syndication until Sept. 19, 1992), hosted by Alvis Edgar "Buck" Owens Jr. (1929-2006) and Roy Linwood Clark (1933-) in Kornfield Kounty, featuring Minnie Pearl (Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon) (1912-96), along with Grandpa Jones (Louis Marshall Jones) (1913-98), David "Stringbean" Akeman (1916-73), Junior Samples (Alvin Samples Jr.) (1926-83), Lulu Roman (Bertha Louise Hable) (1946-), and Gordon Robert "Gordie" Tapp (1922-) (the Culhanes of Cornfield County), plus Roy Claxton Acuff (1903-92), and Archie Campbell (1914-87).
On Sept. 11, 1969 (Thur.) the comedy-drama series Room 222 debuts on ABC-TV for 112 episodes (until Jan. 11, 1974), starring African-Am. actor Samuel Lloyd Haynes (1934-86) as teacher Pete Dixon, African-Am. actress Donna Denise Nichols (1944-) as guidance counselor Liz McIntyre, Michael Constantine (Constantine Ioannides) (1927-) as principal Seymour Kaufman, and Karen Lynne Valentine (1947-) as teacher Alice Johnson.
On Sept. 14, 1969 (Sun.) the sitcom The Bill Cosby Show debuts on NBC-TV for 52 episodes (until Mar. 21, 1974), sponsored by Procter & Gamble, starring William Henry "Bill" Cosby Jr. (1937-) as physical education teacher Chet Kincaid at a h.s. in Los Angeles, Calif., becoming the first African-Am. to star in his/her own eponymous comedy series.
On Sept. 15, 1969 (Mon.) Mel Shavelson's sitcom My World and Welcome to It debuts on NBC-TV for 26 episodes (until Mar. 8, 1970), based on the cartoons of James Thurber, starring William Windom (1923-2012) as cartoonist-writer John Monroe.
On Sept. 17, 1969 (Wed.) the sitcom The Courtship of Eddie's Father debuts on ABC-TV for 73 episodes (until Mar. 1, 1972), based on the 1963 movie, starring Wilfred Bailey Everett "Bill" Bixby (1934-93) as 30-something widowed mag. publisher Tom Corbett in Los Angeles, Calif. who tries to raise his mischievous 6-y.-o. son Eddie, played by Brandon Edwin Cruz (1962-), who tries to manipulate him into hooking up with women; Japanese-born Miyoshi Umeki (1929-2007) plays housekeeper Mrs. Livingston.
On Sept. 17, 1969 (Wed.) the adventure-drama series Then Came Bronson debuts on NBC-TV for 26 episodes (until Sept. 9, 1970), starring Michael (Harry Samuel) Parks (1938-), who drives a 1969 Harley-Davidson motorcycle and wears a cool black leather jacket.
On Sept. 23, 1969 (Tues.) the medical drama Marcus Welby, M.D. debuts on ABC-TV for 170 episodes (until 1976), starring "Father Knows Best" actor Robert George Young (1907-98), becoming the network's biggest hit to date; James Brolin (1940-) plays Dr. Steve Kiley, and Elena Verdugo (1925-) plays office asst. Consuelo Lopez.
On Sept. 23, 1969 (Tues.) the ABC Movie of the Week debuts on ABC-TV, helping it achieve parity with CBS and NBC in audience ratings with 90-min. made-for-TV films venturing into cool areas avoided by Hollywood such as drugs, homosexuality, and the Vietnam War, launching the meteoric rise of Jewish-Am. studio exec Barry Diller (1942-), who becomes chmn. of Paramount Pictures in 1974.
On Sept. 24, 1969 (Wed.) the medical drama series Medical Center debuts on CBS-TV for 171 episodes (until Sept. 6, 1976), set in a univ. hospital in Los Angeles, Calif., starring James Firman Daly (1918-78) as mature experienced Dr. Paul Lochner, and Chad Everett (Raymond Lee Cramton) (1937-2012) as young whippersnapper Dr. Joe Gannon, becoming the longest-running medical drama on U.S. TV along with "Marcus Welby, M.D."
Speaking of something being dead and hiring an impersonator? The last gasp of White is Right on U.S. TV, only this time it's got persistent family-unfriendly sexual undertones? On Sept. 26, 1969 (Fri.) the comedy series The Brady Bunch debuts on ABC-TV for 117 episodes (until Aug. 30, 1974), portraying a still lily-white straight U.S., and based on an article claiming that 30% of people who married in 1965 had kids from a previous marriage; too bad, closet gay Robert Reed (1932-92) (who later dies of AIDS) plays daddy architect Michael Paul "Mike" Brady, who dislikes publicly kissing straight Florence Agnes Henderson (1934-2016), who plays mommy Carol Ann Brady, while lifelong Roman Catholic er, Episcopalian virgin Ann Bradford Davis (1926-2014) plays housekeeper Alice; the sons are Barry Williams (1954-) (Greg) (who is rumored to be doing Henderson and/or McCormick), Christopher Anton Knight (1957-) (Peter), and Michael Lookinland (1960-) (Bobby); the daughters are Maureen Denise McCormick (1956-) (Marcia), Eve Aline Plumb (1958-) (Jan), and Susan Olsen (1961-) (Cindy); mini-John Denver (Dutch Boy haircut, wire-rimmed glasses) Robert Anthony "Robbie" Rist (1964-) appears in the final season as Cousin Oliver, later claiming that he "killed the show"; Robert Reed doesn't appear in the final episode; McCormick later claims to have had lez encounters with Plumb.
On Sept. 29, 1969 (Mon.) the comedic anthology series Love, American Style debuts on ABC-TV for 108 episodes (until Jan. 11, 1974); in the 1971-2 season it switches to Fri. as part of the ABC Friday prime-time lineup incl. "The Brady Bunch", "The Patridge Family", "Room 222", and "The Odd Couple".
On Dec. 28, 1969 (Sun.) the sitcom To Rome with Love debuts on CBS-TV for 48 episodes (until Sept. 1, 1971), starring John Forsythe (John Lincoln Freund) (1918-2010) as widowed college professor Michael Endicott, whose wife dies, causing him to take a new position at the Am. Overseas School in Rome, where his children experience future shock.
On Dec. 29, 1969 (Mon.) witty Yale-educated Richard Alva "Dick" Cavett (1936-) (who played the title role in "The Winslow Boy" in 8th grade) replaces Joey Bishop as host of ABC-TV's late-night show, leaving his job as host (since 1968) of "This Morning", which he was too sophisticated for; in 1975 he moves to CBS-TV, followed by PBS-TV in 1977-82, USA Channel in 1985-6, ABC-TV in 1986-7, and CNBC in 1989-96.
In 1969 Mary Tyler Moore and her TV exec hubby Grant Tinker found MTM Enterprises, going on to produce "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", "Rhoda", "The Bob Newhart Show", "WKRP in Cincinnati", "Hill Street Blues", and "St. Elsewhere"; the logo is Mary's cat Mimsie inside a circle of gold ribbons, mocking MGM's Leo the Lion; in July 1982-Mar. 1992 it co-owns CBS Studio Center in Studio City, Calif.
On Jan. 21, 1970 (Wed.) the fantasy sitcom Nanny and the Professor debuts on ABC-TV for 54 episodes (until Dec. 27, 1971), starring Juliet Maryon Mills (1941-) (sister of Hayley Mills) as English nanny Phoebe Figalilly, who has psychic powers a la Mary Poppins, likes to wear a navy blue Inverness cape and deerstalker cap, and takes care of the three children of Prof. Harold Everett, played by Richard Long (1927-74).
First trivialize it, then marginalize it, then eradicate it for its opposite? After decades of preparation, one Jew can now tell the entire U.S. white Christian viewing public to shove it? Or is it all just free market economics and nothing sinister? On Feb. 22, 1970 (Sun.) after claiming to be offended by their rep as the "Country Broadcasting System", CBS-TV exec Fred Silverman (1937-) orders the Rural Purge, the cancellation at the end of the 1970-1 season of their "hillbilly network" (white conservative middle America family-centered straight non-race-mixing) image, to make way for a younger urban audience, axing The Red Skelton Hour, Jackie Gleason Show, and their hit show The Beverly Hillbillies, along with Green Acres, Petticoat Junction, Hee Haw, and Mayberry, R.F.D., Family Affair, Hogan's Heroes, and even The Lawrence Welk Show, which had practically built the network; ABC-TV soon follows suit; Pat Buttram (Mr. Haney in Green Acres) utters the soundbyte: "CBS killed everything with a tree in it"; CBS-TV fields a new generation of shows incl. All in the Family, M*A*S*H, and The Bob Newhart Show, and resurrects network game shows incl. The Price is Right; luckily the same year the FCC forces networks to devote one more hour of prime time to local shows, so that the Welk Show and Hee Haw survive in syndication - time for Jewish leftist, race-mixing, and gay-lez promotion shows to be let loose on the well-detached-from-their-parents white straight youngsters as fast as they can be forced down their throats, whoopee, how many years to President Obama?
On July 5, 1970 (Sun.) the concert series Evening at Pops, produced by WGBH-TV debuts on PBS-TV (until 2005), featuring performances by the Boston Pops Orchestra in the Symphony Hall in Boston, Mass.
On Aug. 3, 1970 (Mon.) NBC Nightly News debuts on NBC-TV (until ?), anchored by Lester Holt, followed by David Brinkley, John Chancellor, Tom Brokaw, and Brian Williams.
On Sept. 16, 1970 (Wed.) McCloud debuts on NBC-TV for 46 episodes (until Apr. 17, 1977), starring Dennis Weaver (1924-2006) as rustic country deputy marshal Sam McCloud from Taos, N.M., who is assigned to NYPD's 21st precinct, and rides his horse through Manhattan traffic wearing a sheepskin coat and Stetson hat, calling it "the most satisfying role of my career."
On Sept. 17, 1970 (Thur.) The Flip Wilson Show debuts on NBC-TV for 94 episodes (until June 27, 1974), starring Flip Wilson (Clerow Wilson Jr.) (1933-98), who cracks audiences up with his chars. incl. Geraldine Jones the ghetto drag queen, and Rev. Leroy of the Church of What's Happenin' Now; "The Devil made me do it," "I don't smoke and I don't do windows"; "When you're hot, you're hot, when you're not, you're not"; "What you see is what you get"; "Heah come de judge"; reaching #2 in the ratings, signaling the acceptance of blacks on prime-time U.S. TV.
On Sept. 19, 1970 (Sat.) the sitcom Arnie debuts on CBS-TV for 48 episodes (until Mar. 6, 1972), starring Herschel Bernardi (1923-86) as Arnie Nuvo, a blue collar worker at Continental Flange Co. who suddenly gets promoted to mgt., becoming a fish out of water.
On Sept. 19, 1970 (Sat.) the sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show debuts on CBS-TV for 168 episodes (until Mar. 19, 1977), starring Very Smily Whore (Merry Smiler More?), er, Mary Tyler Moore (1936-2018) as Minneapolis, Minn. newspaper reporter Mary Richards, Edward "Ed" Asner (1929-) (Head In Asser?) as her boss Lou Grant ("You've got spunk; I hate spunk"), Valerie Kathryn Harper (1940-) (Very Harping?) as Mary's Jewish friend Rhoda Morgenstern, Ted Knight (Tadeusz Wladyslaw Konopka) (1923-86) (Dead Night?) as TV news anchor Ted Baxter, Gavin McLeod (Allan George See) (1931-) (Grumbling Out Loud?) as Murray Slaughter, Cloris Leachman (1926-) (Clorox Bleachman?) as Phyllis Lindstrom, and Georgia Bright Engel (1948-) (gorgeous bright angel?) as Georgette Franklin Baxter; the theme song is Love is All Around by Tex.-born Sonny Curtis (1937-), composer of "I Fought the Law".
On Sept. 21, 1970 Monday Night Football, produced by Roone Arledge (1931-2002) debuts on ABC-TV, with hosts ("I'm just telling it like it is") Howard William Cosell (Cohen) (1918-95) (until 1983), former Dallas Cowboys QB (1960-8) Joseph "Dandy Don" Meredith (1938-), and Keith Jackson (1928-); the Cleveland Browns defeat the visiting New York Jets 31-21; on Nov. 23 ever-schmucky Cosell arrives drunk, slurring his speech and puking on Don Meredith's boots at halftime, leaving the stadium before the 2nd half (Cosell doesn't like ex-jocks who broke into sportscasting); in 1972 former NFL New York Giants star Francis Newton "Frank" Gifford (1930-2015) becomes a host (until 1997); in 1983 Cosell quits after calling football "a stagnant bore".
On Sept. 24, 1970 The Odd Couple, based on the 1965 Neil Simon play debuts on ABC-TV for 114 episodes (until Mar. 7, 1975), starring Tony Randall (1920-2004) as neat photographer Felix Unger, and Jack Klugman (1922-2012) as messy sportswriter Oscar Madison, who share an apt. after Unger is thrown out by his wife Gloria; in the play it's spelled Ungar; in the last episode Unger remarries Gloria and moves out.
On Sept. 25, 1970 The Partridge Family, modeled after the Cowsills bubble gum music family and produced by Screen Gems (known for "The Monkees") debuts on ABC-TV for 96 episodes (until Mar. 23, 1974), starring Shirley Mae Jones (1934-) as a widowed mother in San Pueblo, Calif. with five children, incl. David Bruce Cassidy (1950-2017) (Jones' real-life stepson) as oldest son and heartthrob Keith, carrot-loving orthorexic Susan Hallock Dey (1952-) as Laurie, Dante Daniel "Danny" Bonaduce (1959-) as Danny, Jeremy R. Gelbwaks (1961-) as Chris, who is replaced in 1971-4 by Brian A. Forster (1960-), and Suzanne J. Crough (1963-2015) as tambourine-playing Tracy; Canadian-born David Joseph "Dave" Madden (1931-2014) plays their mgr. Reuben Kincaid; the Ron Hicklin Singers and Wrecking Crew dub their sound at first, then Cassidy and Jones are allowed to sing.
On Dec. 16, 1970 Rod Serling's horror-fantasy-scifi anthology series Night Gallery debuts for 43 episodes on NBC-TV (until May 27, 1973), with each episode introduced by Serling in an art gallery in front of a macabre painting by Thomas J. Wright, with the soundbyte: Good evening, and welcome to a private showing of three paintings, displayed here for the first time. Each is a collector’s item in its own way - not because of any special artistic quality, but because each captures on a canvas, suspends in time and space, a frozen moment of a nightmare"; the pilot on Nov. 8, 1969 features the dir. debut of Steven Spielberg and one of the last performances by Joan Crawford.
On Jan. 12, 1971 (Tue.) Jewish-Am. Norman Lear's leftist political sitcom All in the Family, based on the British series "Till Death Do Us Part" debuts on CBS-TV for 202 episodes (until Apr. 8, 1979), starring John Carroll O'Connor (1924-2001) (who successfully holds out for more money in 1974) as bigoted blue collar worker Archie Bunker, Jean Stapleton (nee Murray) (1923-) as his wife Edith "the Dingbat", who suffers from menopause, Robert "Rob" Reiner (1947-) as his Jewish liberal son-in-law Michael "Meathead" Stivic, and Sally Ann Struthers (1948-) as his daughter Gloria, who becomes the victim of attempted rape and has a miscarriage; Meathead and Gloria go on to have son Joey Stivic in Dec. 1975, after which in 1976 the Ideal Toy Co. releases the 14-in. Joey Stivic doll, complete with an uncircumcised penis, billing it as the "first anatomically correct male doll", becoming a collector's item; on May 13 after Quaker Pres. Nixon watches it, he denounces an episode on homosexuality, telling his Christian Scientist asst. John Daniel Ehrlichman (1925-99): "Why it outrages me because I don't want to see this country go that way... You know what happened to the Greeks. Homosexuality destroyed them. Sure Aristotle was a homo, we all know that. So was Socrates, but he never had the influence that television had... Do you know what happened to the Romans? The last six Roman emperors were fags... You know what happened to the popes? It's all right that popes were laying the nuns. That's been going on for years, centuries. But when the popes, when the Catholic Church went to Hell in, I don't know, three or four centuries ago, it was homosexual, and it had to be cleaned out. Now, that's what happened to Britain. It happened earlier to France."
On Jan. 20, 1971 (Wed.) the comedy-drama series The Smith Family debuts on CBS-TV for 39 episodes (until June 7, 1972), starring Henry Jaynes "Hank" Fonda (1905-82) as Det. Sgt. Chad Smith, "a man you'll like", Janet Blair (Martha Janet Lafferty) (1921-2007) as his wife Betty Smith, Darleen Carr (1950-) as eldest daughter Cindy Smith, and Ronald William "Ron" Howard (1954-) as eldest son Bob Smith.
On Aug. 1, 1971 (Sun.) The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour debuts on CBS-TV for 63 episodes (until May 29, 1974), starring Salvatore Phillip "Sonny" Bono (1935-98) and Cher (Cherilyn Sarkisian) (1946-), who start each show with "The Beat Goes On" and end each show by singing "I Got You Babe", often with daughter Chastity Bono present; the show is canceled after they separate in fall 1974, after which "The Sonny Comedy Revue" debuts in 1974, followed in 1975 by "Cher"; they then get back together in fall 1976, with Cher married to Gregg Allman and pregnant with his child, and they resume with "The Sonny and Cher Show", but it is canceled after two seasons after it proves lame.
On Sept. 14, 1971 (Tues.) Quinn Martin's detective series Cannon debuts on CBS-TV for 124 episodes (until Mar. 3, 1978), starring pudgy William Conrad (John William Cann Jr.) (1920-94) as a P.I. in Los Angeles, Calif., who retired from the LAPD after the deaths of his wife and son in a car accident, and wants to investigate what really happened, and likes to tool around in a dark blue Lincoln Continental Mark IV.
On Sept. 15, 1971 (Wed.) The NBC Mystery Movie debuts (until 1977), featuring a mysterious figure carrying a flashlight in the opening credits; it later splits into Columbo on Sept. 15 for 69 episodes (until Sept. 1, 1978), starring Peter Falk (1927-), McCloud on Sept. 22 for 46 episodes (until Apr. 17, 1977), starring William Dennis Weaver (1924-2006), and McMillan and Wife on Sept 17 for 40 episodes (until Apr. 24, 1977), starring Rock Hudson (1925-85) and next generation Shirley MacLaine Susan Saint James (Susan Jane Miller) (1946-) (until Apr. 24, 1977).
On Sept. 16, 1971 (Thur.) the legal drama series Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law debuts on ABC-TV for 69 episodes (until Aug. 14, 1974), starring Arthur Edward Spence Hill (1922-2006) as compassionate Santa Barbara, Calif. defense atty. Owen Marshall, David Soul (David Richard Solberg) (1943-) as asst. Ted Warrick, Reni Santoni (1939-) as asst. Danny Paterno, and Lee Majors (Harvey Lee Yeary) (1939-) as asst. Jess Brandon.
On Sept. 17, 1971 The Persuaders! debuts on ITV for 24 episodes (until Feb. 25, 1972), starring Tony Curtis (1925-2010) as Danny Wilde, and Roger George Moore (1927-2017) as Lord Brett Sinclair, two internat. playboys who solve hard cases; it flops in the U.S., but is a hit in Europe with funny subtitles.
On Jan. 14, 1972 (Fri.) the Norman Lear black sitcom Sanford and Son debuts on NBC-TV for 135 episodes (until Mar. 25, 1977), based on the 1962-74 BBC series "Steptoe and Son", starring Redd Foxx (Jon Elroy Sanford) (1922-91) as black junk dealer Fred G. Sanford, who lives at 9114 S. Central Ave. in Watts, Los Angeles with his son Lamont Sanford, played by Grady Demond Wilson (1946-), and his cousin-sidekick Grady Wilson, played by Whitman Blount Mayo (1930-2001), known for the catchphrase "Good Goobly Goop!"; LaWanda Page (Alberta Peal) (1920-2002) plays Fred's sanctimonious sister Esther, and Bea Richards (1920-2000) plays Lamont's aunt Ethel; Lynn Hamilton (1930-) plays Lamont's girlfriend Donna Harris; Foxx is billed as the black Archie Bunker; on Sept. 16-Oct. 14, 1977 Sanford Arms debuts on NBC-TV for eight episodes.
On Jan. 15, 1972 (Sat.) Jack Webb's and Robert A. Cinader's Emergency! debuts on NBC-TV for 129 episodes (until May 28, 1977)), based on the 1971 Calif. Wedworth-Townsend Pilot Paramedic Act making Los Angeles County the first in Calif. with paramedics, starring Randolph Mantooth (1945-) (of Seminole descent) as Los Angeles County Fire Dept. Station 51 paramedic Johnny Gage, and Anglo actor Kevin Tighe (Jon Kevin Fushborn) (1944-) as his partner Roy De Soto, plus Robert Wesley "Bobby" Troup Jr. (1918-99) (composer of the 1946 song "Route 66") as neurosurgeon Dr. Joe Early, Troup's wife Julie London (nee Peck) (1926-2000) (known for her sultry singing) as nurse Dixie McCall, and "Jess Harper in Laramie" star Robert "Bob" Fuller (Leonard Leroy "Buddy" Lee) (1933-) as Dr. Kelly Brackett.
On Sept. 11, 1972 (Mon.) after an ABC Movie of the Week pilot on Mar. 7, Rita Lakin's crime drama series The Rookies debuts on ABC-TV for 94 episodes (until Mar. 30, 1976), about the Southern Calif. Police Dept. (SCPD), starring Michael Leonard Ontkean (1946-) as William "Willie" Gillis, Samuel Gardner "Sam" Melville (1936-89) as Mike Danko, Georg Stanford Brown (1943-) as Terry Webster, and Gerald Stuart O'Loughlin Jr. (1921-2015) as their lt. Eddie Ryker; Brown's wife Tyne Daly makes guest appearances.
On Sept. 12, 1972 (Tue.) Norman Lear's "All in the Family" spinoff Maude debuts on CBS-TV for 141 episodes (until Apr. 22, 1978), starring Beatrice "Bea" Arthur (1922-2009) (Edith Bunker's cousin) as Jewish women's libber Maude Findlay, who lives with her 4th hubby Walter Findlay, played by Bill Macy (Wolf Martin Garber) (1922-) in Tuckahoe, Westchester County, N.Y.
On Sept. 13, 1972 (Wed.) Leslie Stevens' sci-fi series Search (Control) (originally titled "Probe") debuts on NBC-TV for 23 episodes (until Aug. 29, 1973), about the World Securities Corp. private investigation firm that uses field operatives equipped with hi-tech scanners attached to their jewelry for surveillance, starring Hugh O'Brian (Hugh Charles Krampe) (1925-) as Hugh Lockwood, Probe One, Anthony "Tony" Franciosa (Anthony George Papaleo) (1928-2006) as Nick Bianco, head of Omega Div., Douglas Osborne "Doug" McClure (1935-95) as C.R. Grover, Standby Probe, and Oliver Burgess Meredith (1907-97) as V.C.R. Cameron, dir. of Probe Control Unit 1 - sounds vaguely like porno?
Ever-ready to make white majority Americans forget their troubles with uppity blacks, Hollyweird throws them a bone with an escapist nostalgia show? On Sept. 14, 1972 (Thur.) The Waltons, created by Schuyler, Va.-born Earl Henry Hamner Jr. (1923-2016) based on his 1963 film "Spencer's Mountain" and set in nostalgic Depression Era Va. debuts on CBS-TV for 210 episodes (until June 4, 1981), starring Ralph Waite (1929-) as John Walton Sr., Michael Learned (1939-) as his wife Olivia, Will Geer (William Aughe Ghere) (1902-78) as Zebulon Tyler "Grandpa" Walton, Ellen Corby (1911-99) as his wife Esther "Grandma" Walton, and Richard Earl Thomas (1951-) as son "John Boy" Walton Jr.
On Sept. 16, 1972 (Sat.) The Bob Newhart Show debuts on CBS-TV for 142 episodes (until Apr. 1, 1978), starring George Robert "Bob" Newhart (1929-) as Chicago psychologist Robert "Bob" Hartley, Suzanne Pleshette (1937-2008) as his wife Emily, Bill Daily (1927-) as their airline navigator neighbor Howard Borden, Marcia Joan Wallace (1942-) as his receptionist Carol Kester Bondurant, and Peter Bonerz (1938-) as orthodontist Jerry Robinson.
On Sept. 16, 1972 (Sat.) (9:00 p.m.) the crime drama series The Streets of San Francisco debuts on ABC-TV for 121 episodes (until June 9, 1977), starring Karl Malden (Mladen George Sekulovich) (1912-2009) as Homicide veteran Lt. Michael "Mike" Stone, and Michael Kirk Douglas (1944-) (son of Kirk Douglas) as wet-behind-the-ears Asst. Inspector Steve Keller.
On Sept. 17, 1972 (Sun.) the super-popular leftist anti-war TV series (about the Korean War, not Vietnam) M*A*S*H (Military Air Supply Hospital) debuts on CBS-TV for 251 episodes (until Feb. 28, 1983), starring Alan Alda (1936-) as ever-horny army surgeon Hawkeye Pierce from Crabapple Cove (who signs 8 hours before the first rehearsal); also stars Loretta Swit (1937-) as head nurse Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan, Gary Richard Burghoff (1940-) as Cpl. Walter Eugene "Radar" O'Relly, Lawrence Lavonne "Larry" Linville (1939-200) as Maj. Frank "Ferret Face" Burns, Jamie Farr (1934-) as cross-dressing (size 36B bra) Maxwell Klinger, William Christopher (1932-) as Father Mulcahy, McLean Stevenson (1927-96) as Col. Henry Blake, Allan Arbus (1918-) as pshrink Dr. Sidney Freedman, and William Wayne McMillan Rogers III (1933-2015) as Col. "Trapper" John McIntyre; it later stars Mike Farrell (1939-) as Capt. B.J. Hunnicutt, David Ogden Stiers (1942-) as Charles Emerson Winchester III, and Harry Morgan (Bratsberg) (Bratsburg) (1915-2011) (joins on Sept. 12, 1975 after playing Maj. Gen. Bartford Hamilton Steele on Sept. 10,1974) as Stevenson's replacement Col. Sherman T. Potter (wife Mildred's photo on his desk is his real-life 1st wife Eileen Detchon). On Feb. 28, 1983 the 2.5-hour final episode of M*A*S*H, Goodbye, Farewell and Amen airs, becoming the highest-rated TV program (until ?), with a 60.3 rating and a 77% share (125M viewers) (highest until?); the show ran for 11 seasons and won 14 Emmys and 109 nominations; Charles Winchester leaves with the garbage; Klinger's yellow dress is buried in a foot locker time capsule during taping of the final episode in Jan.
On Oct. 14, 1972 (Sat.) after a full-length pilot on ABC Movie of the Week on Feb. 22 (Tues.), the martial arts Western drama series Kung Fu debuts on ABC-TV for 63 episodes (until Apr. 16, 1975), starring David (John Arthur) Carradine (1936-2009) as peace-loving Shaolin monk Kwai Chang Caine, orphaned son of Am. man Thomas Henry Caine and Chinese woman Kwai Lin, and Keye Luke (1904-91) as blind Master Po (who calls him "grasshopper"), who is murdered by the emperor's nephew, causing Caine to kill him and flee China for the Wild West, where he seeks his half-brother Danny Caine while experiencing anti-Chinese prejudice and kicking lily white ass.
On Nov. 8, 1972 (Wed.) Home Box Office (HBO) cable TV network begins operation (until ?).
On Jan. 28, 1973 (Sun.) the Quinn Martin-Philip Saltzman detective series Barnaby Jones debuts on CBS-TV for 178 episodes (until Apr. 3, 1980), starring Christian Ludolf "Buddy" Ebsen Jr. (1908-2003) as a milk-drinking private eye who uses brains instead of brawn, and Lee Ann Meriwether (1935-) as his widowed daughter-in-law Betty, who run a private detective firm in Los Angeles, Calif.; William Conrad plays Frank Cannon in the debut episode "Requiem for a Son", reciprocating with a crossover episode "The Deadly Conspiracy" in 1975.
On Mar. 8, 1973 (Thur.) CBS-TV airs the TV movie The Marcus-Nelson Murders, starring Aristotelis "Telly" Savalas (1924-94) as New York City police Lt. Theo Kojak, which gets such good ratings that it spawns the Kojak series (118 episodes from Oct. 24, 1973 to Mar. 18, 1978); based on real detective Thomas J. Cavanaugh Jr. (1924-96), "the Velvet Whip", who is good at getting confessions from tough criminals.
On Sept. 25, 1973 (Tue.) the anthology LA crime drama Police Story, created by Joseph Wambaugh debuts on NBC-TV for 95 episodes (until May 28, 1978).
On Jan. 15, 1974 (Tue.) Garry Marshall's Happy Days, a spinoff of "Love, American Style" set in the 1950s debuts on ABC-TV for 255 episodes (until Sept. 24, 1984), starring Ronald William "Ron" Howard (1954-) (Opie Taylor in "The Andy Griffith Show") as Richie Cunningham, son of hardware store owners Howard and Marion Cunningham, played by Thomas Edward "Tom" Bosley (1927-2010) and Marion Ross (1928-); Erin Marie Moran (1960-) plays Richie's sister Joan; Henry Franklin Winkler (1945-) plays leather jacket-wearing greaser mechanic Arthur "the Fonz" Fonzarelli, who slowly rises in popularity and takes over the show; also stars Anson Williams (1949-) as Warren "Potsie" Weber, Donny Most (1953-) as Ralph Malph, and Scott Vincent James Baio (1961-) as the Fonz's cousin Chachi Arcola; Am. singer Susan Kay "Suzi" Quatro (1950-), who is a big hit in Europe but not in the U.S. has a recurring role where she parodies herself.
On Jan. 18, 1974 (Fri.) after three TV movies in 1973, the TV series The Six Million Dollar Man, based on the 1972 novel "Cyborg" by Martin Caidin debuts on ABC-TV for 106 episodes (until Mar. 6, 1978), starring Lee Majors (Harvey Lee Yeary) (1939-) as astronaut Steve Austin, whose Northrop HL-10 crashed and his body was rebuilt, with his right arm, left eye, and both legs replaced by bionic implants that make him into a superman.
On Jan. 22, 1974 (Tue.) William A. Graham's Get Christie Love!, based on the novel "The Ledger" by Dorothy Uhnak debuts on ABC-TV for 23 episodes (until Apr. 5, 1975), starring "Laugh-in" star Teresa (Terresa) Graves (1948-2002) as an undercover police detective, known for the soundbyte "You're under arrest, Sugah!", becoming the first African-Am. female lead in a U.S. network TV drama until Kerry Washington in "Scandal" (2012); too bad, she converts to Jehovah's Witness, causing scripts to have to be cleaned-up of sex and violence, making it a bore?
On Feb. 8, 1974 (Fri.) Norman Mailer's black sitcom Good Times (a spinoff of "Maude", which is a spinoff of "All in the Family") debuts on CBS-TV for 133 episodes (until Aug. 1, 1979), created by Chicago-born black writer Eric Monte (Kenneth Williams) (1943-) (who goes on to create "The Jeffersons" and "What's Happening!", then ends up on skid row in 2006 after becoming a crack addict), starring Bronx, N.Y.-born James Carter "Jimmie" Walker (1947-) as James "Jimmie" "J.J." Evans Jr., whose "Dy-no-mite" phrase becomes a craze, and Fla.-born Esther Rolle (1920-98) (Maude's former housekeeper) and N.J.-born John Amos Jr. (1939-) as his parents Florida Evans and James Evans Sr.
On Feb. 9, 1974 (Sat.) the Ted Baxter Meets Walter Cronkite episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show is first aired.
On Sept. 9, 1974 (Mon.) the sitcom Rhoda debuts on CBS-TV for 110 episodes (until Dec. 9, 1978) as a spinoff of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", starring Valerie Kathryn Harper (1939-) as spunky lovable Jewish babe Rhoda Morgenstern, who moves from Minneapolis, Minn. to New York City and moves in with her sister Brenda, played by Julie Deborah Kavner (1950-), and hooks up with divorced wrecking co. owner Joe Gerard, played by David Lawrence Groh (1939-2008); the debut episode "Joe" becomes the first TV series to achieve a Nielsen #1 rating (until ?), defeating "Monday Night Football"; on Oct. 28 Rhoda and Joe marry in a special 1-hour episode, which becomes the highest-rated TV episode of the 1970s until "Roots" in 1977, and the 2nd most-watched TV episode (52M viewers) since the birth of Litle Ricky on "I Love Lucy" in 1953.
On Sept. 11, 1974 (Wed.) the family-oriented drama series Little House on the Prairie series, based on the Laura Ingalls Wilder novels (1932-71) debuts on NBC-TV for 204 episodes (until Mar. 21, 1983), starring "Little Joe in Bonzana" actor Michael Landon (Eugene Maurice Orowitz) (1936-91) as daddy Charles Philip Ingalls, Karen Grassle (1942-) as his wife Caroline Lake Quiner Ingalls, Melissa Ellen Gilbert (1964-) as cute cuddly daughter Laura Elizabeth Ingalls, Melissa Sue Anderson (1962-) as brainy Mary Amelia Ingalls who goes blind, and twins Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush (1970-) as doll-like Caroline Celestia "Carrie" Ingalls; the intro showing the did-I-say cute little white girls back in the 19th cent. White-is-Right days frolicking down an African-free and Injun-free hill telegraphs da message, making it an instant hit for whites; Alison Margaret Arngrim (1962-) steals many scenes as spoiled brat Nellie Oleson.
On Sept. 13, 1974 (Fri.) the sitcom Chico and the Man debuts on NBC-TV for 88 episodes (until July 21, 1978), starring Jack Albertson (1907-81) as Ed "the Man" Brown, Anglo owner of a run-down garage in East L.A., and Freddie Prinze Jr. (1954-77) as his Chicano asst.; the first U.S. TV series set in a Mexican-Am. neighborhood; too bad, Prinze (whose father is German and mother is Puerto Rican) commits suicide on Jan. 29, 1977 in LA, although it is later ruled accidental; the Chico and the Man Theme foretells a largely Hispanic L.A.?
On Sept. 13, 1974 (Fri.) after two TV movies on Jan. 11, 1972 and Jan. 16, 1973, the TV series Kolchak: The Night Stalker, based on the novel by Jeffrey Grant Rice debuts on ABC-TV for 20 episodes (until Mar. 28, 1975), starring cross-waving Darren McGavin (William Lyle Richardson) (1922-2006) as Las Vegas journalist Carl Kolchak, who investigates murders committed by supernatural creatures, and Simon Oakland (1915-83) as his editor, becoming a cult hit as well as the inspiration for "The X-Files".
On Sept. 13, 1974 (Fri.) the police drama Police Woman debuts on NBC-TV for 91 episodes (until Mar. 29, 1978), starring big-chested blonde babe Angie Dickinson (Angeline Brown) (1931-) as Sgt. Leann Pepper Anderson, an undercover cop working for the LAPD; Henry Earl Holliman (1928-) plays her boss Sgt. William "Bill" Crowley.
On Sept. 13, 1974 (Fri.) the detective series The Rockford Files debuts on NBC-TV for 122 episodes (until Jan. 10, 1980), starring "Maverick" star James Garner (1928-) as charismatic "$200 a day plus expenses" James Scott "Jim" Rockford, his dilapidated mobile home-office in Malibu, Calif., his answering machine, and an agile Pontiac Firebird; an ex-con pardoned from San Quentin for a wrongful conviction for armed robbery, he prefers closed criminal cases (no domestic cases) to avoid dealing with police, except for friend Sgt. Dennis Becker, played by Joe Santos (1931-); also stars Noah Beery Jr. (1913-94) (nephew of Wallace Beery) as Garner's father Joseph "Rocky" Rockford; created by Roy Huggins, who produced the 1957-62 TV show "Maverick", who teams with up-and-coming Stephen Joseph Cannell (1941-2010) (rhymes with channel).
On Nov. 13, 1974 the TV series The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams debuts on CBS-TV fo 38 episodes (until Feb. 21, 1982), based on the 1974 novel by Charles Edward Sellier Jr. and the 1974 film, starring Dan Haggerty as frontier woodsman James "Grizzly" Adams, who fled into the mountains to escape a false murder rap, and saves orphaned grizzly bear cub Ben, who grows to a huge size and becomes his best friend, along with trader Mad Jack (Denver Pyle) and native American Nakoma (Don Shanks).
On Dec. 4, 1974 the Tony Orlando and Dawn Show debuts on CBS-TV (until Oct. 29, 1975), ultimately becoming the victim of the proliferation of remote controls on TVs, which allow the fickle public to instantly switch channels the second there is a lull, bringing about the demise of the traditional variety TV show.
On Jan. 17, 1975 (Fri.) Stephen J. Cannell's detective series Baretta debuts on ABC-TV for 82 episodes (until May 18, 1978), starring former "Our Gang" kid star Robert Blake (Mickey Gubitosi) (1933-) as maverick undercover Newark, N.J. police officer Det. Anthony Vincenzo "Tony" Baretta, who lives in the run-down King Edward Hotel (apt. 2C) with his sulphur-crested cockatoo, likes to wear a brown suede jacket and newsboy cap, and drives a rusted-out Mist Blue 1966 Chevy Impala 4-door sedan called "The Blue Ghost"; also stars Tom Ewell as Billy Truman, Michael D. Roberts as Rooster, Edward Grover as Lt. Hal Brubaker, and John Ward as Det. Foley.
On Jan. 18, 1975 (Sat.) Norman Lear's sitcom The Jeffersons debuts on CBS-TV as a spinoff of "All in the Family" about a nouveau riche African-Am. couple, lasting 11 seasons and 253 episodes (until July 2, 1985), becoming the longest-running U.S. TV show with a predominantly black cast, incl. Isabel Sanford (1917-2004) as Louise "Weezy" Jefferson, Sherman Alexander Hemsley (1938-) as her hubby George Jefferson, and Marla Gibbs (1931-) as their wisecracking housekeeper Florence Johnston; Paul Benedict (1938-2008) plays British next-door neighbor Harry Bentley; Franklin Edward Cover (1928-2006) and Roxie Roker (1929-95) play interracial couple Tom and Hellen Willis, whose children George calls "zebras".
On Jan. 23, 1975 (Thur.) the sitcom Barney Miller debuts on ABC-TV for 168 episodes (until May 20, 1982), starring Hal Linden (1931-) as Capt. Barney Miller of the Greenwich Village 12th Precinct in New York City, Abraham Charles "Abe" Vigoda (1921-) as Det. Sgt. Phil Fish, Max Gail (1943-) as Det. Stanley "Wojo" Wojciehowicz, Ronald E. "Ron" Glass as black Det. Ronald Nathan "Ron" Harris, Jack Soo (1917-79) as Japanese-Am. gambler Det. Nick Yemana (first regular adult Japanese-Am. char. on U.S. prime time TV), and Gregory Sierra (1941-) as Puerto Rican Det. Sgt. Chano Amanguale.
On Apr. 30, 1975 (Wed.) the cop thriller series Starsky & Hutch debuts on ABC-TV for 93 episodes (until May 15, 1979), starring dark-haired Paul Michael Glaser (1943-) as undercover cop Dave Starsky, and blond David Soul (1943-) as his partner Kenneth "Hutch" Hutchinson, who cruise Bay City in their 2-door red (with white stripe) Ford Gran Torino called the Striped Tomato, with call sign Zebra Three.
On Sept. 9, 1975 (Tue.) the sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter debuts on ABC-TV for 95 episodes (until May 7, 1979), set in James Buchanan H.S. (really New Utrecht High) in Brooklyn, N.Y. featuring Jewish comedian Gabriel W. "Gabe" Kaplan (1944-) as wise-cracking teacher Gabriel "Gabe" Kotter, who has to watch over the remedial misfit Sweathogs of Room 111, which he founded when he was a student there, and now must try to educate out of his own former mistakes; Sweathogs incl. John Joseph Travolta (1954-) as hunky but cocky leader Vincent "Vinnie" Barbarino (known for the phrase "Up your nose with a rubber hose"), Ronald Gabriel "Ron" Palillo (1949-) as hyena-laughing Arnold Horsach (who claims that his name means "the cattle are dying"), Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs (1953-) as African-Am. char. Freddie "Boom Boom" Washington, and Robert Hegyes (1951-) as Jewish Puerto Rican Juan Luis Pedro Philippo DeHuevos Epstein; John Sylvester White (1919-88) plays vice-principal Mr. (Michael) Woodman; Kotter's wife Julie is played by Marcia Strassman (1948-) (known for her world famous tuna casserole); features the theme Welcome Back by John Sebastian.
On Oct. 11, 1975 (Sat.) (11:30 p.m.) the TV sketch comedy variety show Saturday Night Live (SNL) (NBC Saturday Night), named after an article in The New Yorker titled "Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night" debuts on NBC-TV in New York City (Studio 8H) with guest host George Carlin, and writer Michael O'Donoghue ("I would like to feed your fingertips to the wolverines"), along with musical guests Billy Preston, and "Society's Child" singer Janis Ian; regular stars incl. Garrett Gonzalez Morris (1937-) (black), Cornelius Crane "Chevy" Chase (1943-), Gilda Susan Radner (1946-89), Jane Therese Curtin (1947-), John Adam Belushi (1949-82), William James "Bill" Murray (1950-), Daniel Edward "Dan" Aykroyd (1952-), and Laraine Newman (1952-).
On Nov. 7, 1975 bodacious Wonder Woman debuts on ABC-TV for 59 episodes, switching to CBS-TV next year (until Sept. 11, 1979), starring Lynda Carter (1951-) as Princess Diana/Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, who wears the bracelets of submission, and Lyle Waggoner (1935-) as Steve Trevor.
On Dec. 16, 1975 (Tues.) the Norman Lear series One Day at a Time debuts on CBS-TV for 209 episodes (until May 28, 1984), created by husband-wife team Whitney Blake (1926-2002) (mother of Meredith Baxter) and Allan Manings as a 2nd-gen. feminist show, starring Bonnie Gail Franklin (1944-) as divorced mother Ann Romano, Laura Mackenzie Phillips (1959-) and Valerie Anne Bertinelli (1960-) as her teenie daughters Julie and Barbara Cooper, and Daniel Patrick "Pat" Harrington Jr. (1929-) as their bldg. supt. Schneider.
On Dec. 17, 1975 (Wed.) the crime series The Blue Knight debuts on CBS-TV for 24 episodes, based on the 1973 novel by Joseph Wambaugh, starring George Harris Kennedy Jr. (1925-) as veteran LAPD Officer Bumper Morgan.
On Jan. 5, 1976 (Mon.) Norman Lear's soap opera Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman debuts in syndication for 325 episodes (until May 10, 1977); set in fictional Fernwood, Ohio, it covers the same crap as other soap operas but uses the correct names, causing TV stations to move it to after 11 p.m.; Louise Lasser (1939-) (Woody Allen's wife) plays pigtailed Mary Hartman, Greg Mullavey (1939-) plays her hubby Tom, Dody Goodman (1914-2008) plays her mother Mrs. Martha Shumway, and Mary Kay Place (1947-) plays her best friend and neighbor Loretta Haggers, who has older husband Charlie "Baby Boy" Haggers, played by Graham Jarvis (1930-2003); at the end of the first season Mary has a televised nervous breakdown on the David Susskind Show, and the show is renamed Forever Fernwood, portraying her as running off with a policeman; on July 24 Lasser is banned from performing on Saturday Night Live after messing up as host.
On Jan. 14, 1976 (Wed.) the TV series The Bionic Woman, a spinoff of "The Six Million Dollar Man" debuts on ABC-TV (switching to NBC-TV in 1977) for 58 episodes (until May 13, 1978), starring Lindsay Jean Wagner (1949-) as Jaime Sommers, with a bionic right ear, right arm, and legs.
On Jan. 23, 1976 (Fri.) the musical variety series The Donny & Marie Show debuts on ABC-TV for 78 episodes (until Jan. 12, 1979), starring Mormon sibling pop duo Donald Clark "Donny" Osmond (1957-) and Olive Marie Osmond (1959-); The Osmonds began as a barbershop quartet, and in the 1980s they dabble in country music, going go on to sell 100M+ records worldwide.
On Jan. 27, 1976 (Tue.) the sitcom Laverne and Shirley (a spinoff of "Happy Days") debuts on ABC-TV for 178 episodes (until May 10, 1983), starring Penny Marshall (1943-) as Laverne De Fazio, and Cindy Williams (1947-) as Shirley Feeney, roommates who work in a Milwaukee brewery; the theme song Making Our Dreams Come True is performed by Cyndi Grecco, while the pair chant: "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, schlemiel, schlemazl, hassenpfeffer incorporated".
On Jan. 30, 1976 (Fri.) John Goberman's Live from Lincoln Center debuts on PBS-TV (until ?), featuring Andre Previn conducting the New York Philharmonic with guest pianist Van Cliburn.
On Jan. 30, 1976 (Fri.) Steve Gordon's comedy series The Practice debuts on NBC-TV for 27 episodes (until Jan. 26, 1977), starring Danny Thomas (Amos Muzyad Yakhoov Kairouz) (1912-91) as West Side, Manhattan, N.Y. physician Jules Bedford, who does it for love, and David Spielberg as his physician son David Bedford, whose office is on Park Avenue, and does it for money.
On Aug. 17, 1976 Ithaca, N.Y.-born Alexander Murray Palmer "Alex" Haley (1921-92) pub. the bestseller Roots: The Saga of an American Family, which he calls "faction", a combo of fact and fiction, claiming to have spent 12 years researching his family in W Africa, discovering his first ancestor Kunta Kinte from Juffure, Gambia in 1750 (spawning a tourist boom there as well as a genealogy craze in the U.S.); the saga ends at a funeral in Ark.; spawns the Roots 8-episode miniseries on ABC-TV on Jan. 23-30, 1977, becoming the most successful TV miniseries, changing American perceptions of blacks; on Apr. 19, 1977 he receives a special Pulitzer Prize for it; in 1988 black poet Margaret Walker unsuccessfully sues him for plagiarizing her 1966 novel "Jubilee"; in 1997 a BBC documentary exposes his work as plagiarism, and he later pays white writer Harold Courlander $650K, but since he's such a PC sacred cow it's covered up by the U.S. media? On Jan. 23-30, 1977 the Roots miniseries, based on the 1976 Alex Haley bestseller is televised on ABC-TV on eight straight nights, comforting millions of whites that their white president from the Deep South is all for this TV network healing time, and can commiserate with their plight as long as they don't have to actually have to see a black in real life?; over 100M watch the final tearjerker episode.
On Aug. 31, 1976 (Tue.) the sitcom Alice, based on the 1974 film "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" debuts on CBS-TV for 202 episodes (until July 2, 1985), starring Linda Lavin (1937-) as N.J. widow Alice Hyatt, with young son Tommy (Philip McKeon), who starts her life over working at Mel's Diner in Phoenix, Ariz., run by colorful grouchy stingy owner-cook Mel Sharples, played by Syrian-Am. actor Victor "Vic" Tayback (1930-90) (who starred in the film); Polly Dean Holliday (1937-) plays man-eating "Kiss mah grits" waitress Florence Jan "Flo" Castleberry, and Elizabeth "Beth" Howland (1941-) plays scatterbrained waitress Vera Louise Gorman; Martha Raye (1916-94) plays Mel's mother Carrie.
On Sept. 22, 1976 (Wed.) the crime drama Charlie's Angels debuts on ABC-TV for 110 episodes (until June 24, 1981), starring John Forsythe (John Lincoln Freund) (1918-2010) (who is never seen) as millionaire Charles "Charlie" Townsend, boss of the angels, police academy detectives incl. Lucy Kate Jackson (1949-) as Sabrina Duncan, Farrah Fawcett (Fawcett-Majors) (1947-2009) as Jill Munroe (until 1977), and Jaclyn Ellen Smith (1947-) as Kelly Garrett; the series portrays women as independent and able to kick men's butts ithout adopting manly muscles or looks; later Cheryl Ladd plays Sabrina's younger sister Kris Munroe, Shelley Hack plays Tiffany Welles, and Tanya Roberts plays Julie Rogers; meanwhile the Farrah Fawcett 1-Piece Red Bathing Suit Poster by Pro Arts Inc., which shows the outline of her nipples and seems to stare directly into her crotch without actually showing anything becomes a giant hit, selling 5M-12M copies; in 2011 the bathing suit is donated to the Smithsonian.
On Sept. 23, 1976 (Thur.) the period military series Baa Baa Black Sheep (Black Sheep Squadron) debuts on NBC-TV for 36 episodes (until Apr. 6, 1978); "In World War II, Marine Corps Major Greg 'Pappy" Boyington commanded a squadron of fighter pilots. They were a collection of misfits and screwballs who became the terrors of the South pacific. They were known as the Black Sheep"; stars Robert "Bob" Conrad (Conrad Robert Norton Falk) (1935-) as Boyington, Dennis Dirk Blocker (1957-) (son of Dan Blocker) as 1LT Jerome "Jerry" Bragg', James Allan Whitmore Jr. (III) (1948-) (son of James Whitmore) as Capt. James "Jim" Gutterman, Robert Winthrop Ginty (1948-2009) as 1LT Thomas Joseph "T.J" Wiley', and Lawrence Francis "Larry" Manetti (1943-) as 1LT Robert A. "Bobby" Boyle.
On Oct. 3, 1976 (Sun.) the medical drame Quincy, M.E. debuts on NBC-TV for 148 episodes (until Sept. 4, 1983), starring Jack Klugman (1922-) as an LA County medical examiner.
On Jan. 30, 1977 (Sun.) the teenie series The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries debuts on ABC-TV for 46 episodes (until Jan. 14, 1979), starring Pamela Sue Martin (1953-) and Janet Louise Johnson (Janet Julian) (1959-) as detective Nancy Drew of River Heights, N.J., and Parker Stevenson (Richard Stevenson Parker Jr.) (1952-) and Shaun Paul Cassidy (1958-) as amateur detective brothers Frank and Joe Hardy of Bayport, Mass.
On Mar. 15, 1977 (Tues.) the sitcom Eight Is Enough debuts on ABC-TV for 112 episodes (until Aug. 29, 1981), starring Richard Vincent "Dick" Van Patten (1928-) as newspaper columnist Tom Bradford, and Diana Hyland (Diane Gentner) (1936-77) as his wife Joan, who dies of breast cancer on Mar. 27, 1977 only 12 days after the first episode airs, and is replaced by Betty Lynn Buckley (1947-) as Sandra Sue "Abby" Abbott Bradford.
On Mar. 15, 1977 (Tues.) the sitcom Three's Company, a remake of the BBC-TV sitcom "Man About the House" debuts on ABC-TV for 172 episodes (until Sept. 18, 1984), starring Jonathan Southworth "John" Ritter (1948-2003) (son of Tex Ritter) as Jack Tripper, bodacious blonde Suzanne Somers (Suzanne Marie Mahoney) (1946-) as Chrissy Snow, and hot brunette Joyce Anne DeWitt (1949-) as Janet Wood, who share multi-bedroom apt. #201 in Santa Monica, Calif.; Richard Kline (1944-) plays free-swinging sleazy used car salesman neighbor Larry Dallas; on Mar. 13, 1979 the spinoff The Ropers debuts for 28 episodes (until May 22, 1980), about their landlords Stanley and Helen Roper, played by Norman Fell (1924-98) and Audra Marie Lindley (1918-97); Jeffrey Michael Tambor (1944-) plays next-door neighbor realtor Jeffrey P. Brookes III, and Patricia Ellen "Patty" McCormack (1945-) plays his wife Anne.
On Apr. 17, 1977 (Sun.) Alan Landsburg's syndicated TV series In Search of... debuts for 146 episodes (until Mar. 1, 1982), hosted by Leonard Nimoy (1931-), featuring investigations into the paranormal; episode #1 features plant consciousness researcher Marcel Vogel.
On Sept. 13, 1977 (Tues.) the sitcom Soap debuts on ABC-TV for 85 episodes (until Apr. 20, 1981), a sex-soaked parody of daytime soaps by Susan Harris (nee Spivak) (1940-) about sisters Jessica Tate (rich), played by Katherine Marie Helmond (1928-), and Mary Campbell (blue collar), played by Cathryn Lee Damon (1930-87) in Dunns River, Conn., and featuring Robert "Bob" Guillaume (1927-) as black butler Benson Du Bois, and William Edward "Billy" Crystal (1948-) as gay Jodie Dallas, the show becoming a Hollyweird vehicle to launch homosexuality, martial infidelity, racial intermarriage, impotence and gay parenting into U.S. homes despite evangelical Christian and Roman Catholic protests - are you married, this would make it real interesting?
On Sept. 14, 1977 (Wed.) the weekly sports show Inside the NFL debuts on HBO, switching to Showtime in Sept. 2008 (until ?), featuring NFL Films footage of the past week's games along with commentary, analysis, and interviews by Al Meltzer and Chuck Bednarik; in 1978 the new hosts are Len Dawson and Merle Harmon, who is replaced in 1980 by Nick Buoniconti; in 1990 Chris Collinsworth joins; in 2002 the hosts are Cris Carter, Dan Marino, Bob Costas, and Chris Collinsworth.
On Sept. 15, 1977 (Thur.) the cop show CHiPs debuts on NBC-TV for 139 episodes (until May 17, 1983), starring Larry Wilcox (1947-) as straightlaced Jonathan "Jon" Baker, and Henry Enrique "Erik" Estrada (1949-) as wild Francis "Frank" "Ponch" Poncherello, Calif. Highway Patrol officers touring Los Angeles while reporting to Sgt. Joseph Getraer, played by Robert Pine (1941-); since real officers ride alone, they explain that Ponch is on probation and has to be watched over by Baker.
On Sept. 16, 1977 (Fri.) the sci-fi series Logan's Run, a spinoff of the 1976 film debuts on CBS-TV for 13 episodes (until Jan. 16, 1978), starring Gregory Harrison (1950-) as Logan 5.
On Sept. 17, 1977 (Sat.) Operation Petticoat debuts on ABC-TV for 32 episodes (until Aug. 10, 1979), based on the 1959 film, starring Tony Curtis' daughter Jamie Lee Curtis (1958-) as Lt. Duran; too bad, the cast is changed for season 2, leading to quick cancellation.
On Sept. 20, 1977 (Tue.) the drama Lou Grant (a spinoff of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show") debuts on CBS-TV for 114 episodes (until Sept. 13, 1982), starring Edward "Ed" Asner (1929-) as ed. of the Los Angeles Tribune after being fired by WJM-TV.
On Sept. 24, 1977 (Sat.) The Love Boat debuts on ABC-TV for 249 episodes (until May 24, 1986), an escapist show based on the book The Love Boats by cruise dir. Jeraldine Saunders; it is quickly adopted by the viewers, lasting nine seasons and 249 episodes (until Feb. 27, 1987), and soon becoming part of a Sat. night 1-2 escapist punch with Fantasy Island (Jan. 14, 1977 until May 19, 1984) (152 episodes), starring cool debonaire suave-talking Mexican actor Ricardo Montalban (1920-2009) as Mr. Roarke, and dwarf (he prefers to be called midget) Herve (Hervé) Villechaize (1943-93) as his sidekick Tattoo, who rings the bell in the main bell tower and shouts "The plane! The plane!" as new guests arrive; the Love Boat is named Pacific Princess, and is run by Capt. Merrill Stubing, played by Gavin MacLeod (Allan George See) (1931-) (who played Murray Slaughter in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"), who has daughter Vicki, played by Jill Wheling (1966-); Bernard Morton "Bernie" Kopell (1933-) plays Dr. Adam "Doc" Bricker; Frederick Lawrence "Fred" Grandy (1948-) (a Phillips Exeter Academy roommate of David Eisenhower, who in 1987-95 becomes a 4-term Repub. congressman from Iowa) plays dimwitted Burl "Gopher" Smith ("Your Yeoman Purser"); black actor Theodore William "Ted" Lange (1948-) plays ever-smiling head bartender Isaac Washington, and Lauren Tewes (1954-) plays cruise dir. Julie McCoy; the 2,000th guest star is Lana Turner.
On Apr. 2, 1978 (Sun.) the super-popular CBS-TV evening soap opera series Dallas debuts for 357 episodes on CBS-TV (until May 3, 1991) becoming a hit in 90 of 91 countries (exception: Japan) with its portrayal of rich and beautiful people who have as many if not more problems than ordinary folk, starring Larry Martin Hagman (1931-2012) as mean slimy Texas oilman John Ross "J.R." Ewing Jr., Linda Gray (1940-) as his alcoholic former Miss Texas wife Sue Ellen, Patrick Duffy (1949-) as his good brother Bobby, Victoria Principal (1950-) as Bobby's wife Pamela Barnes Ewing (Romeo and Juliet?), Jim Davis (1909-81) as patriarch Jock Ewing, Barbara Bel Geddes (1922-2005) as his wife Miss Ellie, Keenan Wynn (1916-86) as Jock's alcoholic ex-partner Digger Barnes, Ted Shackelford (1946-) as Jock's misfit 3rd son Gary, Charlene Tilton (1959-) as Jock's vixen daughter Lucy, Steve Kanaly (1946-) as ranch foreman and everhard stud Ray Krebbs, and Ken Kercheval (1935-) as Pam's brother Cliff Barnes, who spends his life trying to get J.R. for what he did to his daddy Digger; when Davis dies suddenly in 1981, he is portrayed as dying in a plane crash in South Am.; Hagman holds out for more money in 1981, and wins after Robert Culp and Robert Colbert are suggested as his replacements in vain.
On Mar. 10, 1978 (Fri.) The Incredible Hulk, based on the Marvel comic book series debuts on CBS-TV for 82 episodes (until June 2, 1982), starring Wilfred Bailey Everett "Bill" Bixby (1934-93) as meek mild whimp Dr. David Bruce Banner, and 6'5 bodybuilder Louis Jude "Lou" Ferrigno (1951-) (who beat 6'0" Arnold Schwarzenegger for the part because he's so much taller) as his big pumped-up green alter ego the Incredible Hulk.
On June 6, 1978 (Tue.) the hour-long 60 Minutes clone news mag. series 20/20 debuts on ABC-TV for ? episodes (until ?), hosted by Hugh Malcolm Downs (1921-), moving to Thursdays on May 31, 1979, and Fridays in Sept. 1987 after Barbara Walters (1929-) joins in 1979.
On Sept. 7, 1978 (Thur.) the flop sitcom The Waverly Wonders debuts on NBC-TV for 9 episodes (until Oct. 6), starring retired NFL star Joseph William "Broadway Joe" Namath (1943-) as ex-pro basketball player Joe Casey, who teaches history at Waverly H.S. in Eastville, Wisc. and coaches the school basketball team, whose only decent player is a girl, Connie, played by Kim Lankford (1955-).
On Sept. 9, 1978 (Sat.) the TV series The Paper Chase debuts on CBS-TV for 59 episodes (until 1979, then Apr. 15, 1983-Aug. 9, 1986), based on the 1970 novel by John Jay Osborn Jr. and the 1973 film about Harvard Law School freshmen, starring James Stephens (1951-) as student James T. Hart, and John Houseman (Jacques Haussmann) (1902-88) as stuffed-shorts, er, stuffed-shirt Prof. Charles W. Kingsfield, world's #1 authority on contract law.
On Sept. 12, 1978 (Tue.) Taxi debuts on ABC-TV for 114 episodes (until June 15, 1983), switching to NBC-TV in June 1982, about the Sunshine Cab Co. in Manhattan, N.Y., starring 5'0" Daniel Michael "Danny" DeVito Jr. (1944-) as abusive boss Louie De Palma, Judd Seymore Hirsch (1935-) as Alex Rieger, Mary Lucy Denise "Marilu" Henner (1952-) as Elaine O'Connor Nardo, Tony Danza (Antonio Salvatore Iadanza) (1952-) as Anthony Mark "Tony" Banta, Christopher Allen Lloyd (1938-) as Rev. Jim "Iggy" Ignatowski, and Andrew Geoffrey "Andy" Kaufman (1949-84) as Latka Gravas, exploring the loser lives of the drivers along with social issues incl. drug addiction, single parenthood and divorce, sexuality, racism, teenie runaways et al.; the Checkers Motors Corp. of Kalamazoo, Mich. supplies the cars, until it closes in 1982; the opening credits show Danza driving in Cab #804 over and over along the Queensboro 59th St. Bridge; the theme song Angela is written and performed by Bob James from his 1978 album "Touchdown".
On Sept. 14, 1978 (Thur.) Garry Marshall's sitcom Mork & Mindy debuts on CBS-TV for 95 episodes (until May 27, 1982) as a spinoff of "Happy Days", starring funny man Robin McLaurin Williams (1951-2014) as E.T. Mork from Ork, and sugar britches Pamela Gene "Pam" Dawber (1951-) as his human roommate Mindy McConnell; "Nanu nanu", "Shazbot", "Kay-o", who lives in hippie-friendly Boulder, Colo.
On Sept. 17, 1978 Battlestar Galactica, created by Glen Albert Larson (1937-2014) debuts on ABC-TV for 21 episodes (until Apr. 23, 1979), about a "ragtag group of ships" of the Colonial forces, 12 human colonies who are trying to find the lost 13th colony of Earth while battling the evil robotic Cylons in Yahren 7341; it stars Lorne Greene (1915-87) as Cmdr. Adama, Dirk Benedict (Niewoehner) (1945-) as Lt. Starbuck, Richard Hatch (1945-2017) as Capt. Apollo, John Colicos (1928-2000) as traitor Baltar, and "Lost in Space" star Jonathan Harris (Charasuchin) (1914-2002) as Cylon boss Lucifer; "There are those who believe that life here began out there, far across the universe, with tribes of humans who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians, or the Toltecs, or the Mayans, that they may have been the architects of the Great Pyramids, or the lost civilizations of Lemuria or Atlantis. Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man who even now fight to survive—somewhere beyond the heavens!" (Patrick Macnee); too bad, since Larson is a Mormon he starts it out as a Mormon parable, but ends up getting sued by George Lucas for infringing on his Star Wars franchise, causing them to countersue - them star fighter ships look awfully similar?
On Sept. 18, 1978 Hugh Wilson's WKRP in Cincinnati debuts on CBS-TV for 90 episodes (until Apr. 21,, 1982), starring Howard Hesseman (1940-) as DJ "Dr. Johnny Fever" Caravella, Loni Kaye Anderson (1945-) as receptionist Jennifer Marlowe, Gary Sandy (1945-) as program dir. Andy Travis, Gordon Alexander Jump (1932-2003) as mgr. Arthur "Big Guy" Carlson, Richard Kinard Sanders (1940-) as anchorman Les Nessman, Timothy L. "Tim" Reid (1944-) as DJ Venus Flytrap, and Karin Jan Smithers (1949-) as junior employee Bailey Quarters; on Nov. 23 (Thanksgiving) the Turkeys Away episode immortalizes crass holiday commercialism, showing the radio station using a heli to drop live turkeys over the Pinedale Shopping Mall and forgetting they can't fly, while anchorman Less Nessman (Richard Sanders) gives a frantic live commentary a la the 1937 Hindenburg disaster.
On Nov. 3, 1978 Diff'rent Strokes debuts on NBC-TV for 189 episodes (until May 4, 1985) (followed by ABC-TV from Sept. 27, 1985 to Mar. 7, 1986) for 189 episodes, starring cute little black guy (everybody should own one?) Gary Coleman (1968-) and less-cute black guy (but not old enough to be a threat to white wimmen yet?) Todd Anthony Bridges (1965-) in a mixed-race family, with hot young white sugar britches (close but not too close to interracial sex?) Dana Plato (1964-99), and introduces the U.S. public to the you-know-what-mixing issue in a palatable way, despite the suggestive title; Plato gets pregnant after the 6th season in 1984, and is dropped from the show; Janet Jackson appears on the show in 1980-4; after the show is canceled all the teen actors fizzle and go bad; Plato goes into porno and gets arrested for theft; Bridges becomes a drug and alcohol addict, and is acquitted in 1989 of assault with a deadly weapon in the near-fatal shooting of an L.A. drug dealer; Coleman ends up a no-longer-cute security guard who stays a virgin until age 40, when in Feb. 2008 he reveals his secret marriage to 22-y.-o. white redhead Shannon Price (1985-).
On Jan. 26, 1979 (Fri.) Guy Waldron's comedy sitcom The Dukes of Hazzard debuts on CBS-TV for 145 episodes (until Feb. 8, 1985), based on the 1975 film "Moonrunners", featuring the eye-grabbing short shorts (later called "Daisy Dukes") worn by long-legged Daisy Duke, played by Catherine Bach (Bachman) (1954-) (who also wears a belly-baring T-shirt with "Boars Nest" on the front), and car stunts in the red clays of Jawjah by a fleet of 1969 Dodge Chargers (called the General Lee) driven by tight-butted young blonde Bo Duke, played by John Richard Schneider (1960-), and brunette Luke Duke, played by Thomas Steven "Tom" Wopat (1951-); also stars Denver Dell Pyle (1920-97) as Uncle Jesse Duke, Sorrell Booke (1930-94) as Boss Jefferson Davis "J.D." Hogg, and James Best (Jewel Franklin Guy) (1926-2015) as bumbling Sheriff Rosco Purvis Coltrane; on Nov. 12, 1980 the spinoff Enos debuts on CBS-TV for 18 episodes (unil May 20, 1981), starring Otis Burt "Sonny" Shroyer Jr. (1935-) as Hazzard County deputy Enos Strate, who joins the LAPD, and partners with Turk Adams, played by Samuel E. Wright (1946-).
On Aug. 24, 1979 (Fri.) the sitcom The Facts of Life debuts on NBC-TV for 209 episodes (until May 7, 1988) as a spinoff of "Diff'rent Strokes", starring Charlotte Rae (1926-) as Edna Garrett, the Drummond's housekeeper, who becomes housemother to seven girls at Eastland School in Peekskill, N.Y., incl. Lisa Diane Whelchel (1963-) as spoiled rich Blair Warner, Kim Victoria Fields (1969-) as cute black gossip Dorothy "Tootie" Ramsey, Mindy Cohn (1966-) as overweight Natalie Green; the Facts of Life Theme is by Al Burton, Gloria Loring, and Alan Thicke; in 1979 Molly Kathleen Ringwald (1968-) plays Molly Parker; in 1985-7 handsome stud George Timothy Clooney (1961-) joins the cast as handyman George Burnett.
On Aug. 25, 1979 (Sat.) Sidney Sheldon's mystery series Hart to Hart debuts on ABC-TV for 110 episodes (until May 22, 1984), starring Robert John Wagner Jr. (1930-) and Stefanie Powers (Stefanie Zofya Paul) (1942-) as wealthy jetsetter LA married couple Jonathan and Jennifer Hart, who double as amateur detectives.
On Sept. 13, 1979 (Thur.) the sitcom Benson debuts on ABC-TV for 158 episodes (until Apr. 19, 1986) as a spinoff from "Soap", starring Robert "Bob" Guilaume (1927-) as Benson Du Bois (cousin to Jessica Tate in "Soap"), who starts out as the head butler for Gov. Eugene Gatling, played by James Noble (1922-), and ends up as lt. gov.; Inga Swenson (1932-) (Hoss Cartwright's mother Inger in "Bonanza") plays German cook Gretchen Kraus, and Rene Murat Auberjonois (1940-) plays chief of staff Clayton Endicott III.
On Sept. 20, 1979 (Thur.) after a 90-min. pilot is released on Mar. 30 (Fri.), Glen A. Larson's and Leslie Stevens' wannabe Battlestar Galactica sci-fi series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century debuts on NBC-TV for 37 episodes (until Apr. 16, 1981), based on the 1928 Philip Francis Nowlan comic strip, starring Gilbert C. "Gil" Gerard (1943-) as NASA/USAF pilot Capt. William "Buck" Rogers, who takes off in his Ranger 3 spacecraft in May 1987 and is accidentally frozen for 504 years before thawing out in 2491, learning about a nuclear Armageddon on Nov. 22, 1987 from the Earth Defense Directorate, who recruit him for covert missions to save Earth.
On Sept. 23, 1979 (Sun.) the sitcom Archie Bunker's Place debuts on CBS-TV for 97 episodes (until Apr. 4, 1983) as a spinoff of "All in the Family", starring Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton as Archie and Edith Bunker, knocking "Mork & Mindy" out of its time slot in season 1.
On Sept. 23, 1979 (Sun.) the "M*A*S*H" spinoff Trapper John, M.D. debuts on CBS-TV for 151 episodes (until Sept. 4, 1986), starring Pernell Roberts (1928-2010), as Dr. "Trapper" John McIntyre, who returned from the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital to San Francisco, Calif., where he becomes chief of surgery at San Francisco Memorial Hospital.
On Dec. 27, 1979 (Thur.) the David Jacobs "Dallas" spinoff primetime soap opera Knots Landing (inspired by the 1973 Ingmar Bergman film "Scenes from a Marriage") debuts on CBS-TV for 344 episodes (until May 13, 1993), starring Michele Lee (1942-) as Karen Cooper Fairgate MacKenzie, matriarch of the cul-de-sac Seaview Circle in a suburb of Los Angeles, Calif., home to four married couples; it begins as a competitor for the more popular "Dallas", and goes on to outlast it and become the 3rd longest-running primetime series after "Gunsmoke" and "Bonanza"; also stars Ted Shackelford (1946-) as Gary Ewing, black sheep of the Ewing family in "Dallas", Joan Van Ark (1943-) as his wife Valene, mother of Lucy in "Dallas", Donna Mills (1940-) as Abby Cunningham, and William Devane (1937-) as Greg Sumner.
On Jan. 27, 1980 (Sat.) Stephen J. Cannell's comedy detective series Tenspeed and Brown Shoe debuts on ABC-TV for 14 episodes (until June 27, 1980), starring Ben Vereen (Benjamin Augustus Middleton) (1946-) as hustler-on-parole E.L. (Early Leroy) "Tenspeed" Turner, and Jeffrey Lynn "Jeff" Goldblum (1952-) as accountant Lionel "Brownshoe" Whitney (lover of Mark Savage mysteries), who team up with their own detective agency in Los Angeles, Calif., becoming the first series from Stephen J. Cannell Productions.
On Feb. 11, 1980 (Mon.) Fight Back! with David Horowitz debuts for 582 episodes (until 1992), starring consumer advocate David Horowitz (1937-), featuring live tests of product claims, incl. strapping a Timex watch to an outboard motor.
On Mar. 3, 1980 Alan Landsburg's reality show That's Incredible! debuts on ABC-TV for ? episodes (until Apr. 30, 1984), hosted by Francis Asbury "Frank" Tarkenton (1940-), John Hamilton Davidson Sr. 91941-), and Cathy Lee Crosby (1944-); one episode features retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Edward Woods bringing his son Eldrick "Tiger" Woods on the show to display his ability to putt golf balls.
On Nov. 11, 1980 the sitcom Too Close for Comfort, based on the British sitcom "Keep It in the Family" debuts on ABC-TV for ? episodes (until Sept. 1986), starring Ted Knight (1923-86) as conservative "Cosmic Cow" cartoonist and amateur ventriloquist Henry Rush, who likes to wear different college sweatshirts, Nancy Dussault (1936-) as his freelance photographer wife Muriel Rush, Deborah Gaye Van Valkenburgh (1952-) as their daughter Jackie Rush, Lydia Cornell (1962-) as their other daughter Sara Rush, and Jm (Jim) J. Bullock (1955-) as Sara's beau Monroe Ficus.
On Nov. 27, 1980 (Thur.) the half-hour sitcom Bosom Buddies debuts on ABC-TV for 37 episodes (until May 27, 1982), starring Thomas Jeffrey "Tom" Hanks (1956-) and Peter Scolari (1955-) as young advertising employees Kip Wilson and Henry Desmond, who dress in drag as Buffy and Hildegard in order to share an apt. in the dirt-cheap women-only Susan B. Anthony Hotel.
On Dec. 1, 1980 (Mon.) the advertisement-free Bravo cable channel debuts, owned by NBC Universal, becoming the first devoted to film, drama, and the performing arts; in the early 2000s it switches to celebrity coverage, reality and fashion shows, etc.
On Dec. 11, 1980 (Thur.) the TLW-favorite Glen A. Larson and Donald P. Bellisario series Magnum, P.I. debuts on CBS-TV for 154 episodes (until May 1, 1988), complete with its own cool Magnum, P.I. Theme, starring hunky Coors-swigging eternal-boy Detroit-born Tigers fan Thomas William "Tom" Selleck (1945-) as Vietnam Vet Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV, who sponges as a security specialist off the posh 200-acre Robin's Nest estate of mysterious lurid pulp fiction novelist Robin Masters (voiced by Orson Welles) in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii, which is run by quirky English major domo Jonathan Quayle Higgins III, played by John Benedict Hillerman (1932-2017), who commands Doberman Pinschers Zeus and Apollo, and uses the master's Ferrari 308 GTS as his carrot-stick, while Magnum forever tries to prove that he's the real Robin Masters; Roger Earl Mosley (1938-) plays Vietnam War buddy Theodore Calvin AKA T.C., who runs the Island Hoppers heli business and gives him free rides for his missions while calling Higgins "Higgy Baby"; Lawrence Francis "Larry" Manetti (1943-) plays King Kamehameha Club mgr. Orville Wilbur Richard "Rick" Wright, another Vietnam War vet friend who has a fetish for Humphrey Bogart and maintains connections with local underworld boss Francis "Icepick" Hofstetler, played by Elisha Cook Jr. (1903-95); Jeffery Neill "Jeff" MacKay (1948-) (cousin of Robert Redford) plays Magnum's friend Navy Intel Lt. Mac MacReynolds, who gets killed off and returns as lookalike char. Jim Bonig; William Lance LeGault (Legault) (1935-) plays Magnum's nemesis Marine Corps intel Col. Buck Greene, whose asst. Lt. Maggie Poole, played by Jean Bruce Scott (1956-) sides with Magnum; Gillian Dobb (1929-2001) plays Higgins' ugly but cultured babe Agatha Chumley; Kwan Hi Lim (1931-) plays Honolulu police dept. homicide Lt. Yoshi Tanaka, who likes to impersonate John Wayne; Kathleen Lloyd (1948-) plays Honolulu asst. DA Carol Baldwin; on Nov. 19 a heli crash kills stuntman Robert Vanderkar.
The Reagan Era begins on TV before he gets into the White House? On Jan. 12, 1981 (Mon.) the Esther and Richard Shapiro prime time soap opera Dynasty (their answer to "Dallas") debuts on ABC-TV for 220 episodes (until May 11, 1989), about the ever-warring Carrington and Colby clans (originally Parkhurst and Corby) of Denver, Colo., starring John Forsythe (John Lincoln Freund) (1918-2010) as Denver, Colo. oil baron Blake Carrington, Pamela Sue Martin (1953-) as his daughter Fallon Carrington Colby, Joan Collins (1933-) as his ex-wife Alexis Carrington, and Linda Evans (Evanstad) (1942-) as his fiancee Krystle Grant Jennings, who are ever at each other's throats, even getting into mud-wrestling; only some fixed shots are filmed in Denver, with the real action filmed in the Fioli Mansion in N Calif.; a 1983 episode features Pres. and Mrs. Gerald Ford, plus Henry Kissinger in a real-life Carousel Ball in Denver sponsored by Marvin and Barbara Davis, making it the only prime time soap to give onscreen roles to an ex-pres. and a secy. of state; the show goes on to run in parallel with the Reagan admin.
On Jan. 15 , 1981 (Thur.) the realistic "outdoors Barney Miller" crime drama (filmed with hand-held Arriflex cameras) Hill Street Blues debuts on NBC-TV for 146 episodes (until May 12, 1987), becoming the first ensemble cop show, starring Daniel J. Travanti (1940-) as precinct Capt. Frank Furillo, Veronica Hamel (1943-) as public defender Joyce Davenport (his secret lover, ending each show together in a romantic bubble bath), and Michael Conrad (1925-83) as fatherly Sgt. Phil Esterhaus, who ends each roll call with "Let's be careful out there", while officers Bobby Hill (Michael Warren) and Andy Renko (Charles Haid) play black cop white cop; created by Steven Bochco and Michael Kozell of MTM (Mary Tyler Moore and husband Grant Tinker) Productions, it almost flops until it becomes the lowest-rated show to be picked up for a 2nd season, after which the audience bites, and it gets 21 Emmy nominations and wins a record eight, garnering 98 Emmy nominations during its 7-year run.
On Jan. 16, 1981 (Fri.) Harper Valley PTA debuts on NBC-TV for 30 episodes (until Aug. 14, 1982), based on the 1978 film, based on the 1968 song by Jeannie C. Riley, starring Barbara Eden (Barbara Jean Morehead) (1931-) as single mother Stella Johnson, who gets elected to the board of dirs. of the PTA of Harper Valley, Ohio, and exposes the small town's hypocrisy; she dons a black wig to play her evil twin Della Smith.
On Jan. 16, 1981 (Fri.) the TV series Nero Wolfe debuts on NBC-TV for 14 episodes (until Aug. 25), based on the Rex Stout stories, starring William Conrad (John William Cann Jr.) (1920-94) as refined self-indulgent Manhattan, N.Y. detective Nero Wolfe, and Lee Arthur Horsley (1955-) as his asst. Archie Goodwin.
On Mar. 18, 1981 (Wed.) Stephen J. Cannell's comedy drama series The Greatest American Hero debuts on ABC-TV for 44 episodes (until Feb. 3, 1983), starring William Theodore Katt (1950-) (son of Barbara Hale) as teacher Ralph Hinkley (Hanley), who had an encounter with E.T.s who gave him a red suit conferring superhuman abilities, but lost the instruction booklet, Robert Martin Culp (1930-2010) as FBI agent Bill Maxwell, and Connie Sellecca (Concetta Sellecchia) (1955-) as atty. Pam Davidson.
On Apr. 6, 1981 (Mon.) the sitcom Private Benjamin debuts on CBS-TV for 39 episodes (until Jan. 10, 1983), based on the 1980 Goldie Hawn film, starring Lorna Patterson (1956-) as Pvt. Judy Benjamin, and Eileen Brennan (Verla Eileen Brennen) (1932-2013) as Cpl. Doreen Lewis.
On Apr. 6, 1981 (Mon.) the sitcom The Two of Us debuts on CBS-TV for 20 episodes (until Feb. 24, 1982), a remake of the British sitcom "Two's Company" (1975-9), starring Peter Edward Cook (1937-95) as English butler Brentwood, who works for single Am. mother Nan Gallagher, played by Mary Claire "Mimi" Kennedy (1948-); her daughter Gabby is played by Dana Hill (Dana Lynne Goetz) (1964-96).
On Oct. 29, 1981 (Thur.) the sitcom Gimme a Break! debuts on NBC-TV for 137 episodes (until May 12, 1987), starring African-Am. actress-singer Nell Carter (Nell Ruth Hardy) (1948-2003) as Nellie Ruth "Nell" Harper, a singer from Tuscaloosa County, Ala. who takes care of the three daughters of widowed Glenlawn, Calif. (between Sacramento and Fresno) police chief Carl "Chief" Kanisky, played by Adolphus Jean "Dolph" Sweet (1920-85); in season three foster son Joey Donovan debuts, played by Joseph Lawrence Mignogna Jr. (1976-), performing in blackface at a church benefit; singing guest celebs incl. Sammy Davis Jr., Andy Gibb, Ray Parker Jr., and Whitney Houston.
On Nov. 1, 1981 (Sun.) Irwin Allen's drama series Code Red debuts on ABC-TV for 19 episodes (until Sept. 12, 1982), starring Lorne Greene (Lyon Himan Green) (1915-87) as Los Angeles Fire Dept. battalion fire chief Joe Rorchek, Andrew Stevens (Herman Andrew Stephens) (1955-) (son of Stella Stevens) as fireman son Ted, Samuel Gerald "Sam J." Jones (1954-) as fireman son Chris, and Martina Diegnan as Haley Green, first woman on the force.
On Nov. 24, 1981 (Tue.) the detective series Simon & Simon debuts on CBS-TV for 156 episodes (until Jan. 21, 1989), about two detective brothers in San Diego, Calif., starring Gerald Lee "Mac" McRaney (1947-) as Vietnam vet redneck Richard "Rick" Simon (who drives a Dodge Power Wagon), and Francis Jameson Parker Jr. (1947-) as college-educated Andrew Jackson "A.J." Simon (who drives a 1957 Chevy Bel Air convertible).
On Dec. 4, 1981 (Fri.) the soap opera Falcon Crest debuts on CBS-TV in the time slot after Dallas for 227 episodes (until May 17, 1990), starring Jane Wyman (Sarah Jane Mayfield0 (1917-2007) (ex-wife of Pres. Ronald Reagan in 1940-9) as Calif. Tuscany Valley (NE of San Francisco) wine magnate Angela Channing; Robert Heath Foxworth (1941-) (original choice for J.R. Ewing before Larry Hagman) plays her nephew Chase Gioberti, who returns after the death of his father Jason gioberti to vie with her for the winery; Abby Dalton (Marlene Wasden) (1935-) and Margaret Ladd (1942-) play Angela's daughters Julia Cumson and Emma Channing; Lorenzo Lamas (1958-) (son of Fernando Lamas and Arlene Dahl) plays her lazy playboy grandson Lance Cumson.
On Mar. 13, 1982 (Sat.) the police drama T.J. Hooker debuts on ABC-TV for 91 episodes (until May 4, 1985, switching to CBS-TV until May 28, 1986), starring Canadian "Capt. Kirk in Star Trek" actor William Alan Shatner (1931-) as Sgt. Thomas Jefferson Hooker, who sought to avenge his partner's death and ended up training LAPD academy recruits, incl. young rookie Vince Romano, played by Adrian Zmed (1954-); Richard Herd Jr. (1932-) plays Capt. Dennis Sheridan; starting in season 2 foxy Heather Deen Locklear (1961-) plays Officer Stacy Sheridan, and James Darren (James William Ercolani) (1936-) plays Officer Jim Corrigan.
On Mar. 23, 1982 (Tue.) the sitcom Joanie Loves Chachi debuts on ABC-TV for 17 episodes (until May 24, 1983) as a spinoff of "Happy Days', starring Erin Marie Moran (1960-) and Scott Vincent James Baio 91960-) as Joanie Cunningham and Chachi Arcola, who move to Chicago, Ill. and try to start their own rock band during the British (Beatles) Invasion.
On Mar. 25, 1982 (Thur.) Cagney and Lacey debuts on CBS-TV for 125 episodes (until May 16, 1988), starring Ellen Tyne Daly (1946-) as married NYPD Det. Mary Beth Lacy, and Megan "Meg" Foster (1948-), replaced after six episodes by Sharon Gless (1943-) as single NYPD Det. Sgt. Christine Cagney, becoming the first serious U.S. drama series with two female leads; the disturbing news that Daly is married (1966-90) to Cuban-born black actor Georg Stanford Brown (1943-) (Tom Harvey in "Roots") helps make it more popular?
On Mar. 25, 1982 (Thur.) the sitcom 9 to 5 debuts for 85 episodes (until Oct. 27, 1983, then Sept. 13, 1986-Sept. 1, 1988 in syndication), based on the 1980 film, starring Rachel Dennison (nee Parton) (1959-) (younger sister of Dolly Parton) as Doralee Rhodes, Rita Dolores Moreno (1931-) as Violet Newstead, and Leah Ayres (1957-) as Linda Bowman, who is replaced in season 2 by Sally Anne Struthers (1947-).
On Sept. 19, 1982 (Sun.) the musical series Seven Brides for Seven Brothers debuts on CBS-TV for 22 episodes (until Mar. 23, 1983), based on the 1954 film, starring Richard Dean Anderson (1950-) as Adam McFadden, and Terri Treas (1957-) as Hannah McFadden as his new wife, who helps run a house full of rowdy brothers, incl. Guthrie McFadden, played by River Jude Phoenix (Bottom) (1970-93).
On Sept. 20, 1982 (Mon.) the sitcom Madame's Place debuts in syndication for 150 episodes (until Feb. 23, 1983), featuring the "outrageous old broad" puppet Madame (based on gay Washington, D.C. hostess Margo MacGregor), operated by gay puppeteer Wayland Parrott Flowers Jr. (1939-88), who dies on Oct. 11, 1988 of AIDS.
On Sept. 22, 1982 (Wed.) the sitcom Family Ties debuts on NBC-TV for 180 episodes (until May 14, 1989), set in Columbus, Ohio, becoming the only nuclear white family on the major TV networks, about liberal Dem. UCB-educated hippie flower child parents Steven Keaton, played by Michael Gross (1947-), and Elyse Keaton, played by Meredith Baxter-Birney (1947-) raising conservative Reagan Repub. kids Alex P. Keaton, played by Michael J. Fox (1961-), Mallory "Mal" Keaton, played by Justine Tanya Bateman (1966-), Jennifer Keaton, played by Kristina Louise "Tina" Yothers (1973-), and Andrew "Andy" Keaton, played by Brian Eric Bonsall (1981-); they while always shareg a hug at the end, rising to #2 in the ratings behind the nuclear black Am. middle class family Cosby Show; created by Gary David Goldberg (19442013-), owner of Ubu Productions, with the closing soundbyte "Sit, Ubu, sit. Good dog" (his black labrador retriever Ubu Roi, which he obtained in college and traveled the world with, shown catching a Frisbee in his mouth in Tuileries Garden near the Louvre in Paris; he dies in 1984).
On Sept. 24, 1982 (Fri.) the Raiders of the Lost Ark-wannabe adventure series Bring 'Em Back Alive debuts on CBS-TV for 17 episodes (until May 31, 1983), set in Singapore, starring Bruce William Boxleitner (1951-) as big game hunter Frank Buck.
On Sept. 25, 1982 (Sat.) the sitcom Silver Spoons debuts on NBC-TV for 116 episodes (until May 11, 1986, then Sept. 15, 1986-Mar. 4, 1987 in syndication), starring Joel Franklin Higgins (1943-) as childlike rich man's son Edward W. Stratton III, Richard Bartlett "Ricky" Schroder Jr. (1970-) as his 12-y.-o. son Ricky Stratton, Erin Gray (1950-) as his personal asst. Kate Summers, and John Houseman (1902-88) as grandfather-patriarch Edward Stratton II.
On Sept. 26, 1982 (Sun.) the sitcom Gloria debuts on CBS-TV for 21 episodes (until Apr. 10, 1983) as a spinoff of "Archie Bunker's Place", starring Sally Anne Struthers (1947-) as Gloria Stivic, whose hubby Michael Stivic dumps her, causing her to become an asst. to two veterinarians in Fox Ridge, N.Y., Dr. Adams and Maggie Lawrence, played by Oliver Burgess Meredith (1907-97) and Jo De Winter (1914-2004), while raising her young son Joey, played by Christian Richard Jacobs (1972-).
On Sept. 26, 1982 (Sun.) Glen A. Larson's Knight Rider debuts on NBC-TV for 90 episodes (until Aug. 8, 1986), starring David Michael Hasselhoff (1952-) as Michael Knight, a Lone Ranger with a custom 1982 Pontiac Trans Am with AI called KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand); spawns the films "Knight Rider 2000" (1991), "Knight Rider 2010" (1994), "Knight Rider" (2008), the spinoff "Team Knight Rider" (1997), and the series "Knight Rider" (2008).
On Sept. 26, 1982 (Sun.) the crime drama series Matt Houston debuts on ABC-TV for 67 episodes (until July 19, 1985), starring Lee Arthur Horsley (1955-) as wealthy mustachioed Texas oilman Matlock "Matt" Houston, who works as a P.I. in Los Angeles, Calif. in his spare time, and Pamela Gail Hensley (1950-) as his atty. sidekick C.J., using her Apple III computer named Baby as a database for needed background info.
On Sept. 30, 1982 (Thur.) Cheers debuts on NBC-TV for 270 episodes (until May 20, 1993), set in the Cheers bar in Boston, Mass., starring Edward Bridge "Ted" Danson III (1947-) as bartender-owner (ex-Boston Red Sox relief pitcher) Sam "Mayday" Malone (after the retired football player char. of Fred Dryer is dumped), Shelley Lee Long (1949-) as waitress Diane Chambers, Kirsten Louise "Kirstie" Alley (1951-) as waitress Rebecca Howe (after Long leaves), Rhea Jo Perlman (1948-) as waitress Carla Tortelli, George Robert Wendt (1948-) as beer-loving regular customer Norm Peterson; also stars John Deszo Ratzenberger (1947-) as mailman-customer know-it-all Cliff Clavin, Allen Kelsey Grammer (1955-) as pshrink-customer Frasier Crane, Beatrice "Bebe" Neuwirth (1958-) as pshrink-customer Dr. Lilith Sternin, and Nicholas Colasanto (1924-85)as Coach Ernie Pantusso, who is replaced by Woodrow Tracy "Woody" Harrelson (1961-) as asst. bartender Woody Boyd; the Cheers Theme Song by Judy Hart Angelo and Gary Portnoy incl. the line "Where everybody knows your name"; it barely survives the 1st season as #77 out of 77 shows, then rides the top-10 for 8 of its 11 seasons incl. one season at #1; "Well ya see, Norm, it's like this... A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo, and when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells, but naturally it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That's why you always feel smarter after a few beers." (Cliff Clavin to Norm Peterson)
On Oct. 1, 1982 (Fri.) the detective series Remington Steele debuts on NBC-TV for 94 episodes (until Apr. 17, 1987), starring Stephanie Zimbalist (1956-) as private detective Laura Holt, and Pierce Brendan Brosnan (1953-) as the Bogart-loving thief she hires to hide behind.
On Oct. 3, 1982 (Sun.) the sci-fi series Voyagers! debuts on NBC-TV for 20 episodes (until July 10, 1983), starring Jon-Erik Hexum (1957-84) as Phineas Bogg, member of the Voyagers time travel society, who uses his handheld Omni device to travel back in time and fix mistakes in history with his young asst. Jeffrey Jones, played by Meeno Peluce (1970-); "We travel through time to help history along...give it a push where it's needed. When the Omni's red, it means history's wrong. Our job is to get everything back on track. Green light, kid! We did it!"
On Oct. 6, 1982 (Wed.) the comedy detective series Tucker's Witch (The Good Witch of Laurel Canyon) debuts on CBS-TV for 12 episodes (until Nov. 10), starring Catherine Mary Hicks (1951-) (after Kim Cattrall stars in the pilot then is booted when filthy "Porky's" debuts) and Tim Matheson (Timothy Lewis Matthieson) (1947-) as married couple Rick and Amanda Tucker, who operate a detective agency in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, Calif., where she uses her psychic powers to solve cases.
On Oct. 25, 1982 (Mon.) the sitcom Newhart debuts on CBS-TV for 184 episodes (ends May 21, 1990), starring George Robert "Bob" Newhart (1929-) as how-to book author Dick Loudon, who moves from the Big Apple to rural Vt. to run the historic 200-y.-o. Stratford Inn (real-life Waybury Inn in Vt.), meeting quirky townfolk incl. George Utley (Tom Poston); Mary Frann (born Mary Luecke in St. Louis) is seldom-seen wife Joanna Loudon; William Sanderson (1940-) plays Larry, with the catchphrase "Hi, I'm Larry. This is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl."
On Oct. 26, 1982 (Tue.) the medical drama St. Elsewhere debuts on NBC-TV (137 episodes) (until May 25, 1988), making St. Eligius Hospital in South Boston, Mass. (the "elsewhere" other hospitals send the uninsured) famous; stars David Bowditch Morse (1953-) as Dr. Jack Morrison, and Edward Paul "Ed" Flanders (1934-95) as Dr. Donald Westphall, and makes black actors Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. (1954-) and Alfre Ette Woodward (1952-) famous, along with Canadian actor-comedian Howard Michael "Howie" Mandel (1955-).
On Jan. 22, 1983 (Sat.) the sitcom Mama's Family debuts on CBS-TV for 130 episodes (until Feb. 24, 1990 after discontinuing on Apr. 7, 1984 then going into syndication on Sept. 27, 1986) as a spinoff of "The Carol Burnett Show", about the Harper family of Raytown, headed by 65-y-o. widowed matriarch Thelma Harper, played by Vicki Ann Lawrence (nee Axelrad) (1949-); the theme song "Bless My Happy Home" is by Peter Matz and Vicki Lawrence.
On Jan. 23, 1983 (Sun.) the action-adventure series The A-Team debuts on NBC-TV for 98 episodes (until Mar. 8, 1987), about a group of Vietnam military men wrongly accused of crimes then escaping from prison and taking it on themselves to right peoples' wrongs in Los Angeles, Calif. like in "The Magnificent Seven", starring George Peppard Jr. (1928-94) as cigar-chomping team leader Col. John "Hannibal" Smith, known for the phrase "I love it when a plan comes together", black mohawk-sporting aviophobe muscle man and construction expert Mr. T (Laurence Tureaud) (1952-) as SFC B.A. (Bosco Albert) "Bad Attitude" Baracus, known for the phrases "I pity the fool", "Shut up, fool", "Quit your jibba-jabba", "I ain't gettin' on no plane" and "Hannibal's on the jazz", Dirk Benedict (Niewoehner) (1945-) as con man Lt. Templeton "Faceman" Peck, and William Dwight Schultz (1947-) as pilot Capt. H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdock, all supposed to be from the U.S. 101st Airborne Div. in Vietnam; ex-model Melinda Culea (1955-) plays reporter Amy Amanda Allen for the first 1.5 seasons; the A-Team Theme is catchy and gets the series off to good ratings on Jan. 30 after Super Bowl VIII (26.4% of the audience, #4); too bad, the violence is always cartoonish, with nobody getting hurt, and the writing slips until the show finally runs out of viewers.
On Apr. 1, 1983 (Fri.) Chris McIntyre's prime-time soap opera The Catlins debuts on TBS for 555 episodes (until May 31, 1985), about the feuding wealthy Catlin and Quinn families in Atlanta, Ga.
On May 1-2, 1983 (Sun.-Mon.) Kenneth Johnson's V debuts on NBC-TV, starring Marc Singer (1948-) as human Mike Donovan, and Jane Badler (1953-) as the chief Visitor in a sci-fi miniseries about the seemingly benign and advanced ET Visitors, who promise the moon then turn out to be reptilians in disguise; it is followed by the 3-part V: The Final Battle in 1984, and V the TV Series in 1984-5. On Nov. 3, 2009 ABC-TV debuts the V sci-fi TV series for 22 episodes (until Mar. 15, 2011), a refilming of the 1983 Kenneth Johnson series about disguised reptilian aliens led by Anna, played by Brazilian-born Morena Baccarin (1979-) who come to Earth and try to seduce them into being eaten by promising universal health and happiness, causing viewers to see a parallel with Pres. Obama and his universal health care program.
On June 1, 1983 (Wed.) the sitcom Buffalo Bill debuts on NBC-TV for 26 episodes (until Mar. 19, 1984), starring Dabney Wharton Coleman (1932-) as egotistical talk show host Buffalo Bill Bitinger of WBFL-TV in Buffalo, N.Y., Joanna Cassidy (Joanna Virginia Caskey) (1945-) as his producer Jo-Jo White, and hot 6'0" Virginia Elizabeth "Geena" Davis (1956-) as production asst. Wendy Killian - why do they cancel all the programs TLW likes?
On Sept. 9, 1983 (Fri.) the drama series Lottery! debuts on ABC-TV for 17 episodes (until June 14, 1984), about people who have won the lottery, starring Benjamin Edward "Ben" Murphy 91942-) as Patrick Sean Flaherty, who works for the Intersweep Bank and has the job of informing winners and arbitrating disputes; Marshall Colt (1948-) plays his IRS agent partner Eric Rush.
On Sept. 16, 1983 (Fri.) the sitcom Webster debuts on ABC-TV for 150 episodes (until Mar. 10, 1989), starring Emmanuel Lewis (1971-) as cute 4'3" black Gary Coleman lookalike Webster Long, who is adopted by white parents George and Katherine Papadopolis, played by Detroit Lions star (1958-70) Alexander George "Alex" Karras (1935-), and his real-life wife Susan Clark (Nora Golding) (1940-).
On Sept. 18, 1983 (Sun.) Steven J. Cannell's and Patrick Hasburgh's action drama series Hardcastle and McCormick debuts on ABC-TV for 67 episodes (until May 5, 1986), starring Robert Alba "Brian" Keith (1921-97) as Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Milton C. Hardcastle, who retires with a file of 200 criminals he wants to bring to justice Lone Ranger Style, and Daniel Hugh Kelly (1952-) as ex-con race car driver Mark "Skid" McCormick, who helps him in return for his release from jail and the return of his illegal Coyote X sports car.
On Sept. 23, 1983 (Fri.) Mr. Smith debuts on NBC-TV for 13 episodes (until Dec. 16), starring Cha Cha the Orangutan, who escapes from the circus and ends up in a research lab that pumps his IQ up to 256, causing him to become a political adviser with his old trainer Tommy Atwood (played by Tim Dunigan) becoming his asst.; Leonard Frey (1938-88) plays his secy. Raymond Holbrooke, who tries to keep his identity secret.
On Sept. 26, 1983 (Mon.) the sitcom AfterMASH debuts on CBS-TV for 31 episodes (until May 31, 1985) as a spinoff of "M*A*S*H", starring Harry Morgan (Harry Bratsberg or Bratsburg) (1915-2011) as Col. Potter, Jamie Farr (1934-) as Klinger, and William Christopher (1932-) as Father Mulcahy, who all work at General Pershing Veteran's Hospital (General General) in River Bend, Mo.; Rosalind Chao (1957-) plays Soon-Lee Klinger.
On Sept. 26, 1983 (Mon.) the drama series Boone debuts on NBC-TV for 13 episodes (until Aug. 11, 1984), starring Thomas "Tom" Byrd (1950-) as teenie Boone Sawyer in early 1950s Tenn. who wants to be a rock & roll star, and Leonard Barrie "Barry" Corbin (1940-) as his father Merit Sawyer, who wants him to become an automobile repairman; too bad, it can't compete with "Scarecrow and Mrs. King" on CBS-TV and "That's Incredible!" on ABC-TV.
On Sept. 30, 1983 (Fri.) the flop action adventure series Manimal debuts on NBC-TV for 8 episodes (until Dec. 17), starring Simon Charles Pendered MacCorkindale (1952-2010) as Dr. Jonathan Chase, who has shape-shifting ability to turn into any animal he chooses, and uses it to help police solve crimes; Melody Anderson (1955-) play Police Det. Brooke Mackenzie, who helps keep his secret; "Dr Jonathan Chase... Wealthy, young, handsome. A man with the brightest of futures. A man with the darkest of pasts. From Africa's deepest recesses, to the rarefied peaks of Tibet, heir to his father's legacy and the world's darkest mysteries. Jonathan Chase, master of the secrets that divide man from animal, animal from man... Manimal!"
On Oct. 2, 1983 (Sun.) the "Dallas"-wannabe TV series The Yellow Rose debuts on NBC-TV for 22 episodes (until May 12, 1984), about the Champion family of Tex. and their 200K-acre ranch, founded by dead Wade Chamion, starring David Soul (David Richard Solberg) (1943-) as son Roy Champion, Edward Albert (Edward Laurence Heimberger) (1951-2006) (son of Eddie Albert and Margo) as son Quisto Champion, Samuel Pack "Sam" Elliott 91944-) as Chance McKenzie, and Cybill Lynne Shepherd (1950-) as Wade's hot widow Colleen Champion; "The passionate saga of an American empire."
On Oct. 3, 1983 (Mon.) the TV series Scarecrow and Mrs. King debuts on CBS-TV for 88 episodes (until May 28, 1987), starring Lucy Kate Jackson (1948-) as divorced housewife Amanda King, and Bruce William Boxleitner (1951-) as top-level "Agency" operative Lee Stetson AKA Scarecrow, who meet at a train station and begin hooking up; Beverly Garland (1926-2008) plays Amanda's widowed mother Dotty West.
On Oct. 28, 1983 (Fri.) the animated series Garfield and Friends debuts on CBS-TV for 121 episodes (until Dec. 17, 1994), featuring Jim Davis' lasagna-loving Orange tabby cartoon cat, voiced by Lorenzo Music (1937-2001), who gets the job of Larry the Crash Test Dummy with the U.S. Dept. of Transportation in 1985-98.
On Oct. 29, 1983 (Sat.) George A. Romero's horror anthology series Tales from the Darkside debuts in syndication for 89 episodes (until July 24, 1988).
On Nov. 20, 1983 (Sun.) Nicholas Meyer's The Day After debuts on ABC-TV to an audience of 100M, starring Jason Robards Jr., portraying the U.S. attempting to survive a nuclear attack on Kansas City, after which Carl Sagan debates William F. Buckley, with Sagan arguing against nuclear proliferation and Buckley for nuclear deterrence, and Sagan uttering the soundbyte "two sworn enemies standing waist-deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five".
In 1983 the mystery anthology series The Hitchhiker debuts on HBO for 85 episodes (until 1987, moving to USA Network in 1989-91), filmed in Canada and France, with theme music by Michel Rubini, launching the careers of many actors incl. Kirstie Alley, Sandra Bernhard, Karen Black, Gasy Busey, Robert Carradine, Peter Coyote, Willem Dafoe, Bruce Greenwood, C. Thomas Howell, Helen Hunt, Lauren Hutton, Margot Kidder, Lorenzo Lamas, Bill Paxton, Tom Skerritt, and Alan Thicke; the hitchhiker is played by Nicholas Campbell in 1983-4 and Page Fletcher in 1984-91.
On Jan. 3, 1984 (Tue.) Stephen J. Cannell's and Frank Lupo's detective series Riptide debuts on NBC-TV for 56 episodes (until Aug. 22, 1986), starring Perry Firestone King (1948-) as Cody Allen, and Joseph Edward "Joe" Penny Jr. (1956-) as Nick Rider, U.S. Army buddies who open the Pier 56 "Riptide" Detective Agency at King Harbor in Los Angeles, Calif, hiring computer nerd Murray "Boz" Bozinsky, played by Thomas Edward "Thom" Bray (1954-). who has his own robot named Roboz; Nick drives a red Chevy Corvette and flies an aging Sikorsky S-58T heli; Cody drives the speedboat Ebb Tide and drives a 4-wheel custom GMC Jimmy; too bad, guest stars incl. Geena Davis and George Clooney; too bad, it has to compete with "Moonlighting", parodying it in its next-to-last episode.
On Jan. 4, 1984 (Wed.) the sitcom Night Court debuts on NBC-TV for 193 episodes (until May 31, 1992), moving to Thurs. to follow "Cheers", starring magician-comedian Harry Laverne Anderson (1952-) (Harry the Hat Gittes in "Cheers") as Judge Harold T. "Harry" Stone, John Bernard Larroquette (1947-)/a> as Daniel R. "Dan" Fielding (Reinhold Daniel Fielding Elmore) as narcissistic sex-crazed prosecutor, who makes the show a hit; also stars 6'8" Charles Richard Moll (1943-) as bailiff Nostradamus "Bull" Shannon" ("ohhh-kay")
On Jan. 22, 1984 (Sun.) the espionage series Airwolf debuts on CBS-TV for 79 episodes (until Aug. 7, 1987), about a secret hi-tech heli, starring Jan-Michael Vincent (1944-2019) as pilot Stringfellow "String" Hawke, Ernest Borgnine (Ermes Effron Borgnino) (1917-2012) as his flight engineer Dominic "Dom" Santini, David Edward Leslie Hemmings (1941-2003) as psychotic genius Airwolf designer Dr. Charles Henry Moffet, and Alex Cord (Alexander Viespi) (1933-) as the Firm's Panama hat-wearing point man Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III AKA Archangel.
On Mar. 19, 1984 (Mon.) Sherry Coben's sitcom Kate & Allie debuts on CBS-TV for 122 episodes (until May 22, 1989), starring Susan Saint James (Susan Jane Miller) (1946-) and Jane Therese Curtin (1947-) as divorced women Kate McArdle and Allie Lowell who move in together along with their children into a brownstone apt. in Greenwich Village, N.Y., dating men but being picky to show their independence.
On Sept. 13, 1984 (Thur.) Aaron Spelling's drama series Glitter debuts on ABC-TV for 14 episodes (until Dec. 27, 1985), about the mgt. of the top entertainment mag. "Glitter", starring David Edwin Birney (1939-), Morgan Brittany (Suzanne Cupito) (1951-), and Arthur Edward Spence Hill (1922-2006); too bad, it has to compete against "Simon & Simon" and "Night Court".
On Sept. 16, 1984 (Sun.) the sitcom Punky Brewster debuts on NBC-TV for 88 episodes (until Mar. 9, 1986), starring Soleil Moon Frye (1976-) as Penelope "Punky" Brewster, who is abandoned by her parents in Chicago along with her dog Brandon, causing her to live in an abandoned apt. managed by Henry Warnimont, played by George Gaynes (Jongejans) (1917-), who takes a shine to her and adopts her.
On Sept. 18, 1984 (Tue.) Frank Lupo's Hunter debuts on NBC-TV for 153 episodes (until Apr. 26, 1991), starring 6'6" ex-Los Angeles Rams defensive end John Frederick "Fred" Dyer (1946-) as LAPD Sgt. Rick Hunter ("Works for me"), and Stepfanie Kramer (1956-) as Sgt. Dee Dee McCall.
On Sept. 19, 1984 (Wed.) Highway to Heaven debuts on NBC-TV for 111 episodes (until Aug. 4, 1989), starring Michael Landon (Eugene Maurice Orowitz) (1936-91) as Jonathan Smith, an angel sent down to Earth on probation, and Victor Edwin French (1934-89) as his human partner-friend Mark Gordon, who are given assignments by the Boss to use their humanity and "the Stuff" to help troubled souls by assuming false identities in various cities.
On Sept. 20, 1984 (Thur.) the sitcom The Cosby Show debuts on NBC-TV for 197 episodes (until Apr. 30, 1992), starring William Henry "Bill" Cosby (1937-) as African-Am. physician Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable, Phylicia Rashad (Phylicia Ayers Allen) (1948-) as his wife Clair Olivia Hanks Huxtable, along with their urbane upper middle class black Brooklyn children, incl. Sabrina Le Beauf (1958-) as Sondra Huxtable Tibideaux, Lisa Michelle Bonet (1967-) as Denise Huxtable Kendall, Malcolm-Jamal Warner (1970-) as Theodore Aloysius "Theo" Huxtable, and Tempestt Bledsoe (1973-) as Vanessa Huxtable.
On Sept. 20, 1984 (Thur.) Who's the Boss? (original title "You're the Boss") debuts on ABC-TV for 196 episodes (until Apr. 25, 1992), starring Tony Danza (Anthony Salvatore Iadanza) (1951-) as widowed retired St. Louis Cardinals 2nd baseman Anthony Morton "Tony" Micelli, who moves to Fairfield, Conn. and ends up working as a housekeeper for divorced ad exec Angela Bower, played by Judith Ellen Light (1949-); Alyssa Jayne Milano (1972-) plays Tony's daughter Samantha Micelli, Daniel John "Danny" Pintauro (1976-) plays Angela's son Jonathan Bower, and Katherine Marie Helmond (1928-) plays Angela's "sexually progressive mother" Mona Robinson, who does them all from college age to old age; the joke is that Angela brings in the moolah while Tony runs the house.
On Sept. 30, 1984 (Sun.) Murder, She Wrote debuts on CBS-TV for 265 episodes (until May 16, 1996), starring Angela Brigid Lansbury (1925-) as mystery writer Jessica Fletcher, who dabbles as an amateur detective.
In 1984 the Television Academy Hall of Fame is founded by John H. Mitchell (1921-88) to honor "persons who have made outstanding contributions in the arts, sciences or management of television, based upon either cumulative contributions and achievements or a singular contribution or achievement; the first awards go to Lucille Ball, Milton Berle, Paddy Chayefsky, Norman Lear, Edward R. Murrow, William S. Paley, and David Sarnoff.
On Mar. 3, 1985 the series Moonlighting debuts on ABC-TV for 66 episodes (until May 14, 1989), starring hot Cybill LynneShepherd (1950-) and equally hot Walter Bruce Willis (1955-) as private detectives Maddie hayes and David Addison, becoming the first successful dramedy (comedy-drama), making them into stars; the theme song Moonlighting by Al Jarreau becomes a hit.
On Mar. 15, 1985 Mr. Belvedere,. based on the 1947 Gwen Davenport novel "Belvedere" debuts on ABC-TV for 117 episodes (until July 8, 1990), starring English actor Christopher Michael Hewett (1922-2001) as English butler Lynn Belvedere, who works for "Mr. Baseball" Robert George "Bob" Uecker (1935-) as Am. sports columnist George Owens of Beaver Falls (near Pittsburgh), Penn., and his wife Marshal, played by Ilene Graff (1949-).
On Sept. 14, 1985 the sitcom The Golden Girls, about four old dames sharing a Miami, Fla. home debuts on NBC-TV for 180 episodes (until May 9, 1992), starring Beatrice "Bea" Arthur (1922-2009) as divorced ex-substitute teacher Dorothy Zbornak, Betty Marion White (1922-) as widow Rose Nylund, Eddi Rue McClanahan (1934-) as Bea's sex-starved best friend and widow Blanche Devereaux (who owns their Miami, Fla. house), and Estelle Getty (Estelle Scher-Gettleman) (1923-2008) as Dorothy's Italian mother Sophia Petrillo, who fled a nursing home; the only non-widow is Dorothy; spawns Empty Nest (170 episodes from Oct. 8, 1988 to Apr. 29, 1995) (which airs directly after it), starring Richard Mulligan (1932-2002) as widowed Miami pediatrician Dr. Harry Weston, Dinah Beth Manoff (1958-) as eldest daughter (divorcee) Carol, and Christina Ann "Kristy" McNichol (1962-) as cop daughter Barbara; his dog's name is Dreyfuss.
On Sept. 18, 1985 The Equalizer debuts on CBS-TV for 88 episodes (until Aug. 24, 1989), starring very British Jaguar-driving Edward Albert Arthur Woodward (1930-2009) as former secret agent Robert McCall, who atones for past sins by offering his services free in the New York City via a newspaper ad reading "Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer."
On Sept. 24, 1985 the sitcom Growing Pains debuts on ABC-TV for 166 episodes (until Apr. 25, 1992), starring Joanna Kerns (1953-) as Huntington, Long Island, N.Y. reporter Margaret "Maggie" Katherine Malone Seaver, and Alan Willis Thicke (1947-2016) as her work-at-home pshrink hubby Jason Roland Seaver; in season 7 young heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio (1974-) joins the cast as Luke Brower.
On Mar. 25, 1986 Perfect Strangers debuts on ABC-TV for 150 episodes (until Aug. 6, 1993), starring Mark Linn-Baker (1954-) as straight man Chicagoan Larry Appleton, and Bronson Alcott Pinchot(1959-) as his super-funny distant cousin Balki Bartokomous, a shepherd from the island of Mypos, in a new take on the country bumpkin in the big city theme; his signature Dance of Joy is a cross between a Dosado and a Hokey Pokey; the Perfect Strangers Theme ("Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now") is performed by David Pomeranz.
On Sept. 15, 1986 Steven Bochco's and Terry Louise Fisher's legal drama series L.A. Law debuts on NBC-TV for 171 episodes (until May 19, 1994), about the Los Angeles law firm of McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak, with an ensemble cast of unknowns and liberal leftist favorite cases incl. racism, gay rights, domestic violence, abortion, and AIDS; makes stars of Don Cheadle, Jeffrey Tambor, David Schwimmer, Bryan Cranston, Kevin Spacey, William H. Macy, Christian Slater, Carrie-Anne Moss et al.; in Feb. 11, 1991 C.J. Lamb, played by Amanda Donohoe (1962-) kisses Abigail "Abby" Perkins, played by Michele Dominguez Greene (1962-) for the first lesbian kiss on U.S. network TV.
On Sept. 17, 1986 Head of the Class debuts on ABC-TV for 114 episodes (until June 25, 1991), about gifted students at Monroe (Millard Filmore) H.S. in Manhattan, starring Howard Hesseman (1940-) as ex-60s radical history teacher Charlie Moore, who gets to teach students Daniel James "Dan" Schneider (1966-) as fat geeky computer nerd Dennis Blunden, Dan Frischman (1959-) as skinny geeky computer nerd Arvid Engen, Tony O'Dell (Anthony Dell'Aquila) (1960-) as narcisisstic conservative Reagan-loving white preppy Alan Pinkard, Robin Simone Givens (1964-) as spoiled black rich girl Darlene Merriman, Kimberly Russell (1964-) as Sarah Nevins, Khrystyne Kamil Haje (1968-) as sensitive redhead Simone Foster, Johar "Jory" Husain (Joher Coleman) (1968-) as Indian exchange student Jawaharlal Choudhury, and Tannis Vallely (1975-) as 10-y.-o. precocious Janice Lazarotto; William G. Schilling (1939-) plays principal Dr. Harold Samuels; too bad, the show attempts to sell braininess to the unbrainy U.S. public with a mixed PC message, and the so-called genius students are not much above avg. Euro students?
On Sept. 18, 1986 Crime Story debuts on NBC-TV for 44 episodes (until May 10, 1988), starring Chicago, Ill.-born Dennis Farina (1944-2013) as Chicago police detective Lt. Mike Torello fighting organized crime in 1963, led by mob boss Ray Luca, played by Anthony Denison (Anthony John Sarrero) (1949-).
On Sept. 22, 1986 ALF (Alien Life Form) debuts on NBC-TV for 102 episodes (until Mar. 24, 1990), starring creator Paul Fusco (1953-) as the voice of ALF Gordon Shumway, who likes to eat cats and crash-landed in the San Fernando Valley, Calif. garage of the Tanner family, starring Max Wright (1943-) as social worker father Willie Tanner, Luanne Ruth "Anne" Schedeen (1949-) as mother Kate Tanner, Andrea Elson (1969-) as daughter Lynn Tanner, and Benji Gregory (Benjamin Gregory Hertzberg) (1978-) as son Brian Tanner.
On Sept. 29, 1986 the Linda Bloodworth-Thomason sitcom Designing Women debuts on CBS-TV (until May 24, 1993), about the Sugarbakers and Assocs. interior design firm in Atlanta, Ga., starring Delta Ramona Leah Burke (1956-) as rich former Miss Georgia World Suzanne Sugarbaker, Dixie Virginia Carter (1939-2010) ("The only Republican in show business") as her liberal intellectual sister Julia Sugarbaker, Anne Hampton "Annie" Potts (1952-) as head designer Mary Jo Shively, and Jean Elizabeth Smart (1952-) as office mgr. Charlene Frazier; token, er, black actor Meshach Taylor (1947-2014) plays Anthony Bouvier, an ex-con who becomes a partner.
On Mar. 31, 1987 (Tue.) the sci-fi series Max Headroom debuts on ABC-TV for 14 episodes (until May 5, 1988), about a future world run by TV networks, starring Matthew George "Matt" Frewer (1958-) as crusading journalist Max Headroom/Edison Carter, Jeffrey Tambor as his neurotic producer Murray, Amanda Pays as Theora Jones, and W. Morgan Sheppard as Blank Reg.
On Apr. 5, 1987 (Sun.) Fox Broadcasting Co. makes its prime-time TV debut by airing the sex-drenched family comedy saga Married... With Children for 262 episodes (until June 9, 1997), created by Michael G. Moye and Ron Leavitt (based on "The Life of Riley" and "The Honeymooners"), about an atypical dysfunctional white Chicago family, starring Edward "Ed" O'Neill (1946-) (who is selected over Sam Kinison and Michael Richards) as poorly hygiened women's shoe salesman daddy Al Bundy (who once scored 4 TDs in a single game for Polk H.S. and won a college scholarship, then became another victim of the Bundy Curse and lost it, ending up working at Gary's Shoes in New Market Mall) ("Hooters hooters, yum yum yum, hooters hooters, on a girl that's dumb"), redhead Stiletto-heel-wearing inbred hillbilly spawn Katey Sagal (1954-) (after Roseanne Barr turns it down) as Margaret "Peggy" Bundy (nee Wanker), Christina Applegate (1971-) as gorgeous-but-dumb-and-promiscuous blonde daughter Kelly "Pumpkin" Bundy, and David Anthony Faustino (1947-) as intelligent unpopular girl-crazy Budrick Franklin "Bud" Bundy (named after Budweiser beer), who all live at 9764 Jeopardy Lane, Chicago, Ill. (phone #555-2878); they are named after wrestler King Kong Bundy, not serial killer Ted Bundy; Amanda Bearse (1958-) as Marcy D'Arcy (Rhoades), David Gene Garrison (1952-) (1987-90), andTheodore Martin "Ted" McGinley (1958-) (1991-7) play their Yuppie neighbors; it then airs The Tracey Ullman Show for 88 episodes (until May 26, 1990), which launches the animated series The Simpsons (which debuts as its own show on Dec. 17, 1989), showing each show 3x each, betting on the lower moral standards than the big three networks have attracting an audience; after suburban Detroit housewife Terry Rakolta organizes a viewer and sponsor boycott, Married With Children becomes a top 20 hit, giving the U.S. its new role model in a totally dysfunctional family that is satisfied with a life not worth living; Homer Simpson makes the word D'oh popular.
On Apr. 12, 1987 (Sun.) the police drama 21 Jump Street debuts on Fox Network for 103 episodes (until Apr. 27, 1991), starring teen idol John Christopher "Johnny" Depp II (1963-) as officer Tom Hanson (after Josh Brolin was passed over), Peter John DeLuise (1966-) as officer Douglas "Doug" Penhall, Holly Elizabeth Robinson Peete (1964-) as officer Judith "Judy" Hoffs, Dustin Nguyen (1962-) as officer Harry Truman Loki, and Steven Williams (1949-) as Capt. Adam Fuller.
On Sept. 22, 1987 (Tue.) the sitcom Full House debuts on ABC-TV for 192 episodes (until May 23, 1995), starring Robert Lane "Bob" Saget (1956-) as widower Danny Tanner, who enlists his best friend Joey Gladstone, played by David Lee "Dave" Coulier (1959-) and brother-in-law Jesse Katsopolis, played by John Phillip Stamos (1963-) to help him raise his three daughters, Donna Jo "D.J." Margaret Tanner, played by Candace Helaine Cameron Bure (1976-), Stephanie Judith Tanner, played by Jodie Lee Ann Sweetin (1982-), and Michelle Elizabeth Tanner, played by twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (1986-).
On Sept. 24, 1987 (Thur.) the ""Platoon""-inspired military drama Tour of Duty debuts on CBS-TV for 58 episodes (until Apr. 26, 1990), set in the Vietnam War and focusing on the bad side, starring Terence Knox (Terry Davis) (1946-) as Sgt. Clayton Ezekiel "Zeke" Anderson, Miguel A. Nunez (Núñez) Jr. (1964-) as Marcus Taylor, Stephen Edwin Caffrey (1959-) as Myron Goldman, Ramon Franco (1963-) as Pvt. Alberto Ruiz, and Kim Delaney (1958-) as Alex Devlin; the theme song is the Rolling Stones' 1966 hit Paint It Black.
On Sept. 25, 1987 (Fri.) the drama series Beauty and the Beast debuts on CBS-TV for 56 episodes (until Aug. 4, 1990), starring Ronald Francis "Ron" Perlman (1950-) as beast Vincent, and Linda Carroll Hamilton (1956-) as beauty asst. N.Y. DA Catherine Chandler; the subliminal message of race-mixing makes it a hit?
On Sept. 26, 1987 (Sat.) the crime drama Jake and the Fatman debuts on CBS-TV for 106 episodes (until May 6, 1992) as a spinoff of "Matlock", starring William Conrad (John William Cann Jr.) (1920-94) as prosecutor Jason Lochinvar "J.L." "Fatman" McCabe, and Joseph Edward "Joe" Penny Jr. (1956-) as investigator Jake Styles.
On Sept. 28, 1987 (Mon.) the syndicated U.S. TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) debuts with the episode Encounter at Farpoint for 178 episodes (until May 23, 1994), giving Trekkies (Trekkers) a new lease on their armchair fantasy lives, but with a tamed-down bureaucratic Ward's catalog model cast of actors set 70 years after ST: TOS (postal clerks in space?), incl. English Shakespearean actor Patrick Hewes Stewart (1940-) as bald Frenchie Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, Jonathan Scott Frakes (1952-) as first officer cmdr. William T. Riker, LeVar Burton (Levardis Robert Martyn Burton Jr.) (1957-) as blind black chief engineer Geordi La Forge, Michael Dorn (1952-) as (black but you're not supposed to notice) Klingon security chief Worf, Cheryl Gates McFadden (1949-) as chief medical officer Beverly Crusher, Marina Sirtis (1955-) as empathetic human-betazoid ship's counselor Deanna Troi, and Brent Jay Spiner (1949-) as Data, an android Pinocchio with a positronic brain - Michael Jackson beat him to that bleached skin look?
On Sept. 29, 1987 (Tue.) Marshall Herskovitz's Thirtysomething debuts on ABC-TV for 88 episodes (until May 28, 1991), about a group of Generation Jones (late Baby Boomers); the first production by Bedford Falls Productions.
On Jan. 31, 1988 (Sun.) (aired right after Super Bowl XXII) the comedy-drama series The Wonder Years debuts on ABC-TV for 115 episodes (until May 12, 1993), starring Frederick Aaron "Fred" Savage (1976-) as Kevin Arnold, who lives in a typical Am. middle-class suburb in 1968-73, each episode airing 20 years after it allegedly takes place; the theme song is "With a Little Help from My Friends" by Joe Cocker, written by the Beatles; at age 13 Savage becomes the youngest actor to be nominated for an Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series.
On Mar. 6, 1988 (Sun.) the drama series In the Heat of the Night debuts on NBC-TV for 142 episodes (until Feb. 17, 1995 after switching to CBS-TV in 1992), based on the 1965 John Ball novel and the 1967 film, starring John Carroll O'Connor (1924-2001) as white police chief William Gillespie of Sparta, Miss., and Howard Ellsworth Rollins Jr. (1950-96) as black Philly police detective Virgil Tibbs.
On Apr. 27, 1988 (Wed.) the drama series China Beach debuts on ABC-TV for 62 episodes (until July 22, 1991), about an evacuation hospital in My Khe Beach in Da Nana, Vietnam during the Vietnam War through the eyes of nurses and civilians, starring Dana Welles Delany (1956-) as 1st Lt. Colleen McMurphy; too bad, despite good reviews it drags the bottom of the ratings until it is canceled.
On Oct. 18, 1988 (Tue.) the sitcom Roseanne debuts on ABC-TV for 222 episodes (until May 20, 1997), starring Roseanne Cherie Barr (1952-) and John Stephen Goodman (1952-) as Roseanne and Dan Conner, and Lauren Ophelia "Laurie" Metcalf (1955-) as Mary Jane "Jackie" Harris; fat real-looking people finally get their show, as the Baby Boomers start getting middle-age spreads?
On Nov. 14, 1988 (Mon.) the sitcom Murphy Brown debuts on CBS-TV for 247 episodes (until May 18, 1998), starring Candice Bergen (1946-) as a reporter for FYI.
On Feb. 25, 1989 (Sat.) the sitcom Coach debuts on ABC-TV for 197 episodes (until May 14, 1997), starring Craig Theodore Nelson (1944-) Hayden Fox, head coach of the Minn. State U. Screaming Eagles.
On Mar. 26, 1989 (Sun.) the sci-fi series Quantum Leap debuts on NBC-TV for 96 episodes (until May 5, 1993), starring Scott Stewart Bakula (1954-) as scientist Dr. Samuel Beckett, who gets lost in his own lifetime in the botched Quantum Leap experiment, maintaining contact only with his cigar-smoking babe-chasing hologram friend Adm. A. Calavicci, played by former child star Dean Stockwell (1936-); the show is a thin disguise for reliving historical moments in the 1950s-60s and giving them a leftist twist?
On July 5, 1989 (Wed.) the comedy series The Seinfeld Chronicles, later titled Seinfeld, created by Big Apple Jewish comedians Lawrence Gene "Larry" David (1947-) and Jerome "Jerry" Seinfeld (1954-) debuts on NBC-TV for 180 episodes (until May 14, 1998), co-starring Julia Scarlett Elizabeth Louis-Dreyfus (1961-) as Jerry's ex-girlfriend Elaine Benes, Michael Anthony Richards (1949-) as Jerry's wacky neighbor Cosmo Kramer, and Jason Alexander (Jay Scott Greenspan) (1959-) as Jerry's best friend George Costanza, pioneering postmodern TV with 30-something New York City singles "with vague identities, no roots, and conscious indifference to morals", with a "no hugging, no learning rule", and "a show about nothing" aura, popularizing catchphrases incl. "Yada yada yada", "No soup for you", "These pretzels are making me thirsty", and "Not that there's anything wrong with that", and terms incl. "Festivus", "spongeworthy", "double-dipping", and "re-gifter"; its first season is a ratings disappointment, then it takes over the top of the ratings from 1994-8 - not that there's anything wrong with that?
On Aug. 20, 1989 (Mon.) the teenie educational sitcom Saved by the Bell (originally "Good Morning, Miss Bliss") debuts on NBC-TV for 86 episodes (until May 22, 1993), teaching social lessons about drug use, environmental issues, homelessness, remarriage, death, etc. while pushing interracial dating, starting with a black-white kiss between Zack and Lisa.
On Sept. 17, 1989 (Sun.) the sitcom Major Dad debuts on CBS-TV for 58 episodes (until Apr. 16, 1993), starring Gerald Lee "Mac" McRaney (1947-) as no-nonsense UMC Maj. John D. "Mac" MacGillis, cmdr. of the infantry training school at Camp Singleton, who also is a husband and father of three daughters.
On Sept. 18, 1989 (Mon.) the sci-fi series Alien Nation debuts on Fox Network for 22 episodes (until May 7, 1990), set in Los Angeles, Calif., starring Gary Graham (1950-) as human detective Matthew Sikes, and Eric Pierpoint (1950-) as Newcomer detective George Francisco, who has the hots f or female Newcomer Cathy Frankel, played by Terri Treas (1957-).
On Sept. 22, 1989 (Fri.) the sitcom Family Matters debuts on ABC-TV for 215 episodes (until July 17, 1998 after switching to CBS in 1997) as a spinoff of "Perfect Strangers", about the middle-class African-Am. Winslow family of Chicago, Ill., making a star of Jaleel Ahmad White (1976-) as Steven "Steve" Urkel.
On Apr. 8, 1990 (Sun.) the bizarre-but-cool cult series Twin Peaks, set in never-sunny Wash. state debuts on ABC-TV for 30 episodes (until June 10, 1991), about the mystery of who killed homecoming queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), starring Kyle Merritt MacLachlan (1959-) as Special Agent Dale Cooper, Michael Leonard Ontkean (1946-) as Sheriff Harry S. Truman, Raymond Herbert "Ray" Wise (1947-) as Laura's father Leland Palmer, Dana Vernon Ashbrook (1967-) as Bobby Briggs, George Richard Breymer Jr. (1938-) as Ben Horne, Madchen E. Amick (1970-) as Shelly Johnson, Lara Flynn Boyle (1970-) as Donna Hayward, Sherilyn Fenn (1965-) as Audrey Horne, Everett McGill (1945-) as Ed Hurley, Margaret Ann "Peggy" Lipton (1946-) as Norma Jennings, and Michael Heinrich Horse (1951-) as Tommy "Hawk" Hill, flooding the eyes with endless shades of brown and orange, and the ears with endless weird music by Angelo Badalamenti (1937-).
On Apr. 15, 1990 (Sun.) the sketch comedy series In Living Color debuts on Fox Network for 125 episodes (until May 19, 1994), created by brothers Keenen Ivory Wayans Sr. (1958-) and Damon Kyle Wayans Sr. (1960-), making stars of comedians James Eugene "Jim Carrey" (1962-), and Jamie Foxx (Eric Marlon Bishop) (1967-); pop music star Jennifer Lopez (Jay-Lo) and Carrie Ann Inaba are members of the dance troupe.
On July 12, 1990 (Thur.) the sitcom Northern Exposure (debuts on CBS-TV) for 110 episodes (until July 26, 1995), starring Robert Alan "Rob" Morrow (1962-) as newly-minted Jewish doctor Joel Fleischman from New York City, who moves into the Alaskan town of Cicely for four years to replay his student loans, where he meets local millionaire Maurice Minnifield (Barry Corbin), ex-felon disc jockey Chris Stevens (John Corbett), bush pilot Maggie O'Connell (Janine Turner), and beauty queen Shelly Marie Tambo Vincoeur (Cynthia Geary), wife of sexagenarian bar owner Holling Vincoeur (John Collum); in 2008 Repubs. compare Maggie with Sarah Palin.
On Sept. 10, 1990 (Mon.) the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air debuts on NBC-TV for 148 episodes (until May 20, 1996), starring Willard Christopher "Will" Smith Jr. (1968-) as a street-smart black teenie from West Philly who moves in with his wealthy relatives in Calif.; Smith takes the role after he underpays his income taxes from his rapper career and gets a $2.8M penalty from the IRS and must pay it back; Smith writes and performs the Fresh Prince Theme Song.
On Sept. 13, 1990 (Thur.) the cop-courtroom drama Law & Order, created by Richard Anthony "Dick" Wolf (1946-) debuts on NBC-TV for 456 episodes (until May 24, 2010), presenting a positive picture of the U.S. criminal justice system, following the NYPD and the Manhattan District Atty. Office, starring Steven Hill (1922-) as DA Adam Schiff, Jerome Bernard "Jerry" Orbach (1935-2004) as Det. Lennie Briscoe, S. (Sharon) Epatha Merkerson (1952-) as Lt. Anita Van Buren, Jesse L. Martin (Jesse Lamont Watkins) (1969-) as Det. Ed Green, Samuel Atkinson "Sam" Waterston (1940-) as DA Jack McCoy, and Freddie Dalton "Fred" Thompson (1942-2015) as DA Arthur Branch.
On Sept. 21, 1990 (Fri.) the sitcom Evening Shade debuts on CBS-TV for 98 episodes (until May 23, 1994), starring Burton Leon "Burt" Reynolds (1936-) as ex-Pittsburgh Steelers football player Woodrow "Wood" Newton, who becomes the coach of the losing h.s. football team in small-town Evening Shade, Ark.; Mary Lucy Denise "Marilu" Henner (1952-) plays his district atty. wife Ava Evans Newton; each episode closes with Ponder Blue, played by Raiford Chatman "Ossie" Davis (1917-2005) summing up the events and ending with "...in a place called Evening Shade".
On Oct. 4, 1990 (Thur.) the teenie series Beverly Hills, 90210 debuts on Fox Network for 293 episodes (until May 17, 2000), producing by Aaron Spelling Television, about upscale twins Brandon Walsh, played by Jason Bradford Priestley (1969-) and Cindy Walsh, palyed by Carol Potter (1948-), who moved to star-studded you know where and attend West Beverly Hills H.S., followed by Calif. U. while exploring date rape, gay rights, animal rights, alcoholism and drug abuse, domestic violence, sex, AIDS and teenage pregnancy and suicide, and anti-Semitism; Aaron Spelling's daughter Victoria Davey "Tori" Spelling (1973-) plays Donna Martin.
On Jan. 3, 1991 (Thur.) the sitcom Blossom debuts on NBC-TV for 114 episodes (until May 22, 1995), starring Mayim Chaya Bialik (1975-) as bright enterprising teenie Blossom Russo, whose best friend is Six LeMeure, played by Jenna van Oy (Oÿ) (1977-), who has a crush on Joseph "Joey" Russo, played by Joey Lawrence (Joseph Lawrence Mignogna Jr.) (1976-).
On May 11, 1991 (Sat.) the drama series Sisters debuts on NBC-TV for 127 episodes (until May 4, 1996), becoming the first U.S. prime-time TV drama series to focus on the lives of women, becoming a hit with er, women; about four sisters in Winnetka, Ill., whose recently deceased father Dr. Thomas Reed wanted males, causing him to give them male names, incl. Swoosie Kurtz (1944-) as Alexandra "Alex" Reed Halsey Baker, Sela Ann Ward (1956-) as Theodora "Teddy" Reed Margolis Falconer Sorenson, Patricia Kathryn Kalember (1957-) as Georgiana "Georgie" Reed Whitsig, and Julianne Phillips (1960-) as Francesca "Frankie" Reed Margolis; Elizabeth Hoffman (1927-) plays their ex-alcoholic mother Beatrice; in season 4 sister #5 is discovered, Dr. Charlotte "Charley" Bennett Hayes, played by Jo Anderson (1958-). they love chatting in a steam bath every week.
On Sept. 17, 1991 (Tue.) the sitcom Home Improvement debuts on ABC-TV for 204 episodes (until May 25, 1999), starring Tim Allen (Timothy Allen Dick) (1953-) as Tim the Tool Man Taylor, who works for the Binford Tool Co., Patricia Castle Richardson (1951-) as his wife Jill, and Richard Karn (1956-) as his sidekick Al Borland; bodaceous tatas Pamela Denise Anderson (1967-) co-stars in the first two seasons.
On Sept. 28, 1991 (Sat.) the crime dramedy series The Commish debuts on ABC-TV for 94 episodes (until Jan. 11, 1996), starring not-yet-bald Michael Charles Chiklis (1963-) as Eastbride, Upstate New York pollice commissioner Tony Scali.
On July 8, 1992 (Wed.) the drama series Melrose Place debuts on Fox Network as a spinoff of "Beverly Hills, 90210) for 226 episodes (until May 24, 1992), about an apt. complex at 4616 Melrose Pl. in West Hollywood, Calif.
On Sept. 18, 1992 (Fri.) the drama series Picket Fences debuts on CBS-TV for 88 episodes (until June 26, 1996), filmed in Monrovia, Calif., which doubles for Rome, Wisc., starring Thomas Roy "Tom" Skerritt (1933-) as Sheriff Jimmy Brock, who has to deal with a weird town filled with people turning up dead in freezers, cows' udders exploding, incest, racism, polygamy and polyamory, animal sacrifice, and spontaneous human combusion, as well as every weird kind of sexuality.
On Sept. 23, 1992 (Wed.) the newlyweds sitcom Mad About You debuts on NBC-TV for 164 episodes (until May 24, 1999), starring Paul Reiser (1957-) as documentary filmmaker Paul Buchman, and Helen Hunt (1963-) as his public relations specialist wife Jamie Semple Buchman.
On Jan. 1, 1993 (Fri.) Beth Sullivan's Western drama series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman debuts on CBS-TV for 150 episodes (May 16, 1998), starring London, England-born Jane Seymour (Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg) (1951-) as Dr. Michaela "Mike" Quinn, who leaves Boston, Mass. and settles in Colorado Springs, Colo. in 1867, hooking up with handsome hunky rugged outdoorsman Byron Sully, played by Joseph "Joe" Lando (1961-).
On Mar. 8, 1993 (Mon.) the un-PC cartoon series Beavis and Butt-Head by Equadorian-born Mike Craig Judge (1962-) debuts on MTV for 222 episodes (until Dec. 29, 2011), starring 9th grade delinquients Beavis and Butt-Head, who attend Highland H.S. in Tex. (N.M.?), and classify everything as either "cool" or "this sucks - change it", while loving to critique MTV music videos.
On Sept. 10, 1993 (Fri.) the super-successful TV series The X-Files debuts on CBS-TV for 202 episodes (until May 19, 2002), created by Christopher Carl "Chris" Carter (1956-), with the creepy X-File Theme and other music by Mark Snow (Martin Fulterman) (1946-) (brother-in-law of Tyne Daly), introducing by-the-book scientific FBI babe-agent Dana Scully, played by Gillian Leigh Anderson (1968-), who is paid to reign in maverick paranormal-curious FBI agent-stud Fox Mulder, played by David William Duchovny (1960-), who is investigating the mysterious deaths of h.s. students in Ore.; introduces Scully's Theme; too bad, 9/11 ends up killing the series - right next to Twin Peaks?
On Sept. 16, 1993 (Thur.) the sitcom Frasier debuts on NBC-TV for 264 episodes (until May 13, 2004) as a spinoff of "Cheers", starring Allen Kelsey Grammer (1955-) as Seatle radio pshrink Frasier Crane, and David Hyde Pierce (1959-) as his pshrink brother Niles Crane.
On Sept. 23, 1993 (Thur.) the Steven Bochco and David Milch cop series NYPD Blue debuts on ABC-TV for 261 episodes (until Mar. 1, 2005), starring Dennis Franz (1944-) as Det. Andy Sipowicz, and Gordon Clapp (1948-) as Det. Greg Medavoy; set in the fictional Manhattan 15th Precinct; David Stephen Caruso (1956-) plays Det. John Kelly in season 1, then gets too big for his britches and leaves for the movies, falling on his face.
On Sept. 25, 1993 Leslie Greif's and Paul Haggis' Walker, Texas Ranger debuts on CBS-TV for 203 episodes (until May 19, 2001), inspired by the 1983 film "Lone Wolf McQuade", starring Chuck Norris as decorated Vietnam War vet (USMC) Sgt. Cordell Walker, who uses martial arts for law enforcement while preaching Just Say No to Drugs and community service, Clarence Gillard as his partner Sgt. James "Jimmy" Trivette, and Sheree J. Wilson as Tarrant County DA Alexandra "Alex" Cahill, who eventually marries Walker.
On Oct. 29, 1993 (Fri.) the comedy-mystery-medical crime drama series Diagnosis: Murder debuts on CBS-TV for 178 episodes (until May 11, 2001) as a spinoff of "Jake and the Fatman", starring Richard Wayne "Dick" Van Dyke (1925-) as Dr. Mark Sloan, who solves crimes with the help of his homicide detective son Steve, played by his real-life son Barry Van Dyke (1951-).
On Nov. 3, 1993 (Wed.) the sitcom The Nanny debuts on CBS-TV for 146 episodes (until May 12, 1999), starring vampiric-looking (Romanian Jewish extraction) Francine Joy "Fran" Drescher (1957-) as Fran Fine, a Jewish girl from Flushing, Queens, N.Y. with an obnoxious accent who becomes the nanny of three upper-class kids in Manhattan, while flirting with their rich Broadway producer dad Maxwell "Max" Sheffield, played by English actor Charles George Patrick Shaughnessy (1955-) and playing off sardonic English butler Niles, played by Ark.-born Daniel Davis (1945-) against Max's sexy jealous socialite business partner C.C. Babcock, played by Lauren Lane (Laura Kay Lane) (1961-), who ends up marrying Niles in the last episode, when she marries Max; her real-life hubby (1978-99) Peter Marc Jacobson (1957-) is the writer-dir.-producer, and later tells her he's gay - all I could do was sit?
On Oct. 28, 1994 Roland Emmerich's Stargate, a sci-fi thriller about an ancient Egyptian wormhole device debuts, starring Kurt Russell as Col. Jack O'Neil, James Spader as Dr. Daniel Jackson, and Jaye Davidson as Ra; grosses $200M worldwide, spawning the Showtime series Stargate SG-1 on July 27, 1997 (Sun.) for 214 episodes (Mar. 13, 2007).
On Sept. 19, 1994 (Mon.) the medical drama ER, created by Michael Crichton debuts on NBC-TV for 331 episodes (until Apr. 2, 2009), starring Anthony Charles Edwards (1962-) as Dr. Mark Greene, George Timothy Clooney (1961-) as Dr. Doug Ross, Sherry Lea Stringfield (1967-) as Dr. Susan Lewis, and Noah Strausser Speer Wyle (1971-) as medical student John Carter. .
On Sept. 21, 1994 ) (Wed.) the drama Touched by an Angel debuts on CBS-TV for 212 episodes (until Apr. 27, 2003), starring Roma Downey (1960-) and Della Reese (1932-) as angels Monica and her boss Tess, who came down from nondenominational Christian heaven to help suffering people.
On Sept. 22, 1994 (Thur.) the sitcom Friends, created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman debuts on NBC-TV for 236 episodes (until May 6, 2004); set in Manhattan, N.Y., it stars Jennifer Joanna Aniston (1969-) as fashion lover Rachel Green, Courtney Cox (1964-) as neat freak Monica Geller, Lisa Valerie Kudrow (1963-) as eccentric masseuse and tone-deaf musician Phoebe Buffay (oldest of the friends), Matthew Steven "Matt" LeBlanc (1967-) as Joey Tribbiani, who gets the role of Dr. Drake Ramoray in "Days Of Our Lives", Matthew Langford Perry (1969-) (son of John Bennett Perry, the Old Spice After Shave sailor) as corp. exec Chandler Bing, who dates Margaret Emily "Maggie" Wheeler (1961-) as Janice Goralnik, and ends up marrying Monica, David Lawrence Schwimmer (1966-) as paleontologist Ross Geller, who hooks up with Rachel; the Friends Theme Song is by Bobby Vinton.
On Sept. 22, 2004 Veronica Mars debuts on UPN for 64 episodes (until May 22, 2007), set in Neptune, Calif. (zip code 90909), starring Kristen Anne Bell (1980-) as a h.s. student and daughter of sheriff Keith Mars, who is dumped by beau Duncan Kane and tries to solve the murder of best friend Lilly Kane, whose software billionaire father Jake Kane is a suspect, turning into a PI.
On Jan. 16, 1995 (Mon.) the United Paramount Network (UPN) debuts; in Dec. 2005 it is acquired by CBS Corp.; it is shut down on Sept. 15, 2006.
On Sept. 4, 1995 (Mon.) the New Zealand-based TV series Xena: Warrior Princess debuts for 134 episodes (until June 18, 2001) as a spinoff of "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" and set in ancient Greece, starring Kiwi-born manly woman Lucille Frances "Lucy" Lawless (nee Ryan) (1968-) (with more black hair dye on her head than Elvis?) enthralls millions of women's libbers with its vision of a self-sufficient woman who can kick 10 mens' butts at the same time, has a lesbian-curious girlfriend named Gabriel, played by Katy, Tex.-born Evelyn Renee O'Connor (1971-), and has never heard of Islam or purdah - as long as you pretend not to notice the hidden wires?
On Sept. 23, 1995 (Sat.) the "Top Gun meets A Few Good Men" takeoff JAG (Judge Advocate General) debuts on NBC-TV for 227 episodes, switching to CBS-TV in 1997 (until Apr. 29, 2005), starring David James Elliott (1960-) as Navy Capt. Harmon "Harm" Rabb Jr., and Catherine Bell (1968-) as USMC Lt. Col. Sarah "Mac" MacKenzie.
In Jan. 1996 NBC has the top four most popular TV series, and six out of the top 10: ER (#1), Seinfeld (2), Friends (3), Caroline in the City (4), The Single Guy (5), and Frasier (9); Home Improvement (6), NYPD Blue (8), and 20/20 (10) are ABC, and 60 Minutes (7) is CBS.
On Jan. 9, 1996 (Tue.) the sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun debuts on NBC-TV for 139 episodes (until May 22, 2001), about four ETs sent to the insignificant planet Earth to Rutherford (near Cleveland), Ohio to pose as a human family and observe humans, starring John Arthur Lithgow (1945-) as Dick Solomon, 6'0" Kristen Johnston (1967-) as Sally Solomon, Milton French Stewart (1964-) as Harry Solomon, and Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt (1981-) as Tommy Solomon; also stars Jane Therese Curtin (1947-) as Dick's human anthropologist babe Dr. Mary Margaret Albright of Pendleton State U.
On Sept. 13, 1996 (Fri.) the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond debuts on CBS-TV for 210 episodes (until May 16, 2005), starring Raymond Albert "Ray" Romano (1957-) as Long Island Newsday newspaper sportswriter Raymond Albrt Barone, Patricia Helen Heaton (1958-) as his wife Debra Louise Whalen Barone, Brad Garrett (1960-) as Ray's brother Robert Charles Barone, who likes to touch food to his "crazy chin" before eating it, Doris Roberts (1930-) as Ray's mother Marie Janelle Barone, and Peter Lawrence Boyle Jr. (1935-2006) as Ray's father Francis Oscar "Frank" Barone.
On Sept. 17, 1996 (Tue.) the sitcom Spin City debuts on ABC-TV for 145 episodes (until Apr. 30, 2002), starring Barry Knapp Bostwick (1945-) as New York City mayor Randall Winston, who hires deputy mayor Mike Flaherty, played by Michael J. (Andrew) Fox (1961-) to handle spin and lies, who is replaced in the last 2 seasons by Charlie Sheen (Carlos Irwin Estevez) (1965-), who plays Charlie Crawford; Michael Patrick Boatman (1964-) plays head of minority affairs Carter Heywood, a well-adjusted black gay with a suicidal dog named Rags.
In 1997 there are 219M TV sets in operation in the U.S.
On Jan. 13, 1997 the action drama series La Femme Nikita, based on the 1999 film "Nikita" by Luc Besson debuts on USA Network for 96 episodes (until Mar. 4, 2001), starring Sydney, Australia-born actress Peta Gia Wilson (1970-) as a hot young homeless woman shanghaied into Section One, a top-secret counter-terrorism org. and forced to kill for them after training by equally hot Michael Samuelle, played by Ont., Canada-born Roy Dupuis (1963-); funny how it is canceled 6 mo. before 9/11?
On Mar. 4, 1997 David E. Kelley's legal drama The Practice debuts on ABC-TV for 178 episodes (until May 16, 2004), about the Boston, Mass. law firm of Donnell, Young, Dole, and Frutt, starring Mark Anthony "Dylan" McDermott (1961-) as law firm head Bobby Donnell, Steve Harris (1965-) as atty. Eugene Young, Debra Frances "Camryn" Manheim 91961-) as atty. Ellenor Frutt, and Kelli Renee Williams (1970-) as atty. Lindsay Dole (later Lindsay Dole Donnell).
On Mar. 10, 1997 the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer debuts on UPN-TV for 144 episodes (until May 20, 2003), starring Sarah Michelle Gellar (1977-) as Buffy Summers, who is aided by a Watcher and surrounds herself with her loyal Scooby Gang.
On July 12, 1997 Tom Fontana's Oz debuts on HBO for 56 episodes (until Feb. 23, 2003), becoming cable's first original dramatic series, about Oswald State Penitentiary and its experimental Emerald City unit, started by Tim McManus (Terry Kinney), narrated by wheelchair-bound Augustus Hill (Harold Perrineau Jr.).
One princess down, another one up? On Sept. 8, 1997 David E. Kelley's Ally McBeal debuts on Fox-TV for 112 episodes (until May 20, 2002), starring unbelievably skinny Calista Kay Flockhart (1964-) as atty. Allison Marie "Ally" McBeal of the Boston law firm Cage and Fish, who ends up in a love triangle with ex-beau Billy Thomas (Gil Bellows) and Georgia Bellows (Courtney Thorn-Smith); the local bar features singer Vonda Shepard; also features Chinese-Am. actress Lucy Liu (1968-) as Ling Woo; features the Dancing Twins (Eric and Steve Cohen), and the Dancing Baby becomes a hit, as does its Lesbian Kiss Scene; too bad, the show's portrayal of Ally as falling over when she meets somebody attractive, and her emotional instability piss-off feminists, causing Time mag.'s June 25, 1998 issue to feature the title "Is Feminism Dead?" along with Flockhart's photo.
On Sept. 24, 1997 Dharma & Greg debuts on ABC-TV for 119 episodes (until Apr. 30, 2002), starring Jenna Elfman (1971-) and Thomas Ellis Gibson (1962-) as flower child Dharma Freedom Finkelstein and normal Stanford-educated atty. Gregory Clifford "Greg" Montgomery, opposites who marry on their first date, and have to deal with Greg's high-class snob mother Kitty (Susan Sullivan).
On Jan. 20, 1998 Kevin Williamson's Dawson's Creek debuts on the WB TV Network for 128 episodes (until May 14, 2003), set in fictional Capeside, Mass., about four h.s. friends centered around Dawson Wade Leery, played by James William Van Der Beek Jr. (1977-).
On Mar. 10, 1998 the sitcom Two Guys and a Girl (originally "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place") debuts on ABC-TV for 81 episodes (until May 16, 2001), starring Ryan Rodney Reynolds (1976-) as slacker Michael Leslie "Berg" Bergen, who works at Beacon Street Pizza in Boston, Mass. while attending Tufts U., Richard Robert Ruccolo (1972-) as Peter "Pete" Dunville, and Traylor Elizabeth Howard (1966-) as Sharon Carter; too bad, after it is moved to Fri. nights in 2000, ratings tank; the series finale "The Internet Show" lets fans vote online on the outcome.
On June 6, 1998 the romantic sitcom Sex and the City, based on the 1997 book by Candace Bushnell debuts on HBO for 94 episodes (until Feb. 22, 2004), about the sex lives of four New York City sluts, er, singles, starring Sarah Jessica Parker (1965-) as Carrie Bradshaw, the narrator, who writes the weekly you know what column for the New York Star, Liverpool, England-born Kim Victoria Cattrall (1956-) as Samantha Jones, Kristin Landen (Lee) Davis (1965-) as Charlotte York, and Cynthia Ellen Nixon (1966-) as Miranda Hobbes.
On Aug. 23, 1998 That '70s Show debuts on Fox Network for 200 episodes (until May 18, 2006), set in fictional Point Place, Wisc. from May 17, 1976 to Dec. 31, 1979, making stars of Christopher Ashton Kutcher (1978-) (as Michael Kelso), Topher Grace (1978-) (as Eric Forman), Kiev-born Milena Markovna "Mila" Kunis (1983-) (as Jackie Burkhart), Wilmer Valderamma (1980-) (as Fez), Laura Prepon (1980-) (as Donna Pinciotti), and Daniel Peter "Danny" Masterson (1976-) (as Steven Hyde); "RoboCop" villain Kurtwood Larson Smith (1943-) plays Korean War vet father Reginald "Red" Forman, and Debra Jo Rupp (1951-) plays mother Kitty.
On Sept. 21, 1998 the sitcom The King of Queens debuts on CBS-TV for 207 episodes (until May 14, 2007) stars Kevin James(Kevin George Knipfing) (1965-) as Internat. Parcel Service (IPS) delivery driver Doug Heffernan of 3121 Aberdeen St. in Rego Park, Queens, N.Y., and Scientologist Leah Marie Remini (1970-) as his wife Carrie; Gerald Isaac "Jerry" Stiller (1927-) plays Carrie's oddball father Arther Spooner.
On Sept. 21, 1998 the sitcom Will & Grace debuts on NBC-TV for 184 episodes (until May 18, 2006), about gay New York City lawyer Will Truman (played by Eric McCormack) and his best friend, straight Jewish interior designer Grace Adler (played by Debra Messing); also features rich socialite Karen Walker (Megan Mullally), and struggling gay actor Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes), teaching mill
On Jan. 10, 1999 The Sopranos debuts on HBO for 86 episodes (until June 10, 2007), about the life of N.J. Italian-Am. mobster Tony Soprano, played by James Joseph Gandolfini Jr. (1961-2013), his pshrink Dr. Jennifer Melfi, played by Lorraine Braco (1954-), his wife Carmela, played by Edith "Edie" Falco (1963-), and his protege Christopher Moltisanti, played by James Michael Imperioli (1966-).
On Jan. 31, 1999 the animated sitcom series Family Guy debuts on Fox Network for ? episodes (until Nov. 9, 2003, then May 1, 2005-), created by Seth Woodbury MacFarlane (1973-), about the dysfunctional Griffins family of Quahog, Providence, R.I., consisting of parents Peter and Lois, children Chris, Meg, and Stewie, and talking dog Brian; Peter Griffin is based on a security guard at Rhode Island School of Design, who "could read a phone book and make me laugh" (MacFarlane).
On Sept. 20, 1999 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU) (a spinoff of "Law & Order") debuts on NBC-TV (until ?), about the NYPD unit that handles sexually-based offenses, starring Christopher Peter Meloni (1961-) as Det. Elliot Stabler, Mariska Hargitay (1964-) (daughter of Jayne Mansfield) as Det. Olivia Benson, B.D. (Bradley Darryl) Wong (1960-) as Dr. George Huang, Richard Jay Belzer (1944-) as Sgt. John Munch, and Ice-T (Tracy Marrow) (1958-) as Det. Odafin "Fin" Tutuola; Hargitay goes on to become the longest-running female char. in a primetime non-animated series (until ?).
On Sept. 22, 1999 the liberal-oriented political drama The West Wing debuts on NBC-TV for 156 episodes (until May 14, 2006), starring Martin Sheen (1940-) as Pres. Jedediah "Jed" Bartlet, Stockard Channing (1944-) as his wife Abigail, John Spencer (1946-2005) as his chief of staff Leo McGarry, Bradley Whitford (1959-) as deputy chief of staff Josh Lyman, and Richard Schiff (1955-) as pres. advisor Tony Ziegler (ends 2006); John Wells of Denver, Colo. is the exec producer; co-producer Aaron Sorkin leaves in 2002; as chimp, er, new Pres. Bush rocks their world, liberals can dream on until the Obama era?
On Jan. 9, 2000 Malcolm in the Middle debuts on Fox Network for 151 episodes (until May 14, 2006), showing that white is still pretty much right in the U.S., starring Francisco Frankie Muniz (Muñiz) IV (1985-) as genius boy Malcolm, who hates taking classes for Krelboynes (gifted children), and Jane Frances Kaczmarek (1955-) and Bryan Lee Cranston (1956-) as his parents Lois and Hal, who are always catching him with his hand in the cookie jar, with the catchy theme song Boss of Me by They Might Be Giants.
On May 31, 2000 Survivor debuts on CBS-TV (until ?), with 16 strangers marooned on a Malaysian island vying to win $1M by being the one to "outwit, outplay, outlast" the other dopes, while suffering horrible primitive living conditions and humiliation under the eye of a camera (good editing though?); after it becomes the top-rated U.S. TV series for the season, it spawns a boom in Reality Shows (until ?); they steal their motto from the 1952 film "Blackbeard the Pirate", which contains the line "When he closes on her, he'll find himself outgunned, outfought, outwitted"?; on Aug. 23 gay white nudist Richard Hatch (1961-) wins in front of 50M viewers despite being the most manipulative and unlikeable, making the show more popular?
On Oct. 5, 2000 Amy Sherman-Palladino's comedy-drama series Gilmore Girls debuts on the WB for 153 episodes (until May 15, 2007 after switching to the CW in 2006), set in everybody-loves-it Stars Hollow, Conn. (based on Washington, Conn.) 30 min. from Hartford, Conn., starring Lauren Helen Graham (1967-) as single mother Lorelai Gilmore, and Kimberly Alexis Bledel (1981-) as her daughter Lorelai (Rory); Melissa Ann McCarthy (1970-) plays Sookie St. James.
On Oct. 6, 2000 the procedural forensics crime TV drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation debuts on CBS-TV for 337 episodes (until Sept. 27, 2015), starring William Louis Petersen (1953-) as Gil Grissom, head of a Las Vegas, Nev. police unit that incl. Mary Marg Helgenberger (1958-) (as Catherine Willows), George Coleman Eads III (1967-) (Nick Stokes), Gary Dourdan (Gary Robert Durdin) (1966-) (as Warrick Brown), Jorja-An "Jorja" Fox (1968-) (as Sara Sidle), and Paul Guilfoyle (1949-) (as Capt. James "Jim" Brass), solving crimes from grisly evidence; the series finale is titled "Immortality"; too bad, its violence and sexual content pisses-off the Parents Television Council, and its inaccurate portrayal of CSI work pisses-off real investigators, which doesn't keep the show from building an audience of 73.8M viewers in 2009.
On June 3, 2001 the drama series Six Feet Under debuts on HBO for 63 episodes (until Aug. 21, 2005), about the Fisher family of LA, who run a funeral home, with an ensemble cast incl. Peter William Krause as dir. Nathaniel Samuel "Nate" Fisher Jr., and Michael Carlyle Hall (1971-) as his brother David Fisher.
On Sept. 26, 2001 (9/11 + 5 = bad omen?) Star Trek: Enterprise debuts on UPN-TV for 98 episodes (until May 13, 2005), starring Scott Stewart Bakula (1954-) as Capt. Jonathan Archer of Earth's first Warp 5 starship Enterprise in the year 2151, his father having designed the engine, Jolene Blalock (1975-) as Vulcan T'Pol, Connor Trinneer (1969-) as aquaphobic chief engineer Charles "Trip" Tucker III, Dominic Keating (1962-) as armory officer Malcolm Reed, Linda Park (1978-) as communications officer Hosi Sato, John Billingsley (1960-) as chief medical officer Dr. Phlox, and Anthony T. Montgomery (1970-1) as helmsman Ensign Travis Mayweather.
On Sept. 30, 2001 Alias debuts on ABC-TV for 105 episodes (until May 22, 2006), starring Jennifer Anne Garner (1972-) as CIA agent Sydney Bristow, who poses as an operative for the SD-6 global criminal org., and struggles to hide her career from her family and friends while tracking down artifacts created by Renaissance-era genius Milo Rambaldi (1444-96).
On Oct. 1, 2001 (Mon.) the sitcom According to Jim debuts on ABC-TV for 182 episodes (until June 2, 2009), starring James Adam "Jim" Belushi (1954-) (brother of the late John Belush) as James "Jim" Orenthal, a lovable suburban father of three who likes blues music, the Chicago Bears, Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bulls, and Chicago Blackhawks, and gets into trouble continually because of his laziness.
On Oct. 2, 2001 (Tue.) the medical comedy series Scrubs debuts on NBC-TV for 182 episodes (until Mar. 17, 2010), set at Sacred Heart Teaching Hospital and based on the daydreams of Dr. John "J.D." Dorian, played by Zachary Israel "Zach" Braff (1975-).
On Oct. 5, 2001 (Fri.) the sitcom Reba debuts on The WB for ? episodes (until Feb. 18, 2007 after switching to The CW in 2006), starring country singer Reba Nell McEntire (1955-) as Houston, Tex. single mother Reba Nell Hart, whose hubby Brock (Christopher Rich) left her for young dental hygienist Barbara Jean (Melissa Peterman).
On Oct. 16, 2001 (Tue.) the TV series Smallville debuts on The WB for 218 episodes (until May 13, 2011), based on the DC Comics Superman char., starring Thomas John Patrick "Tom" Welling (1977-) as teenie Clark Kent growing up in Smallville, Kan. - just what America needs right after 9/11?
On Nov. 6, 2001 (Tue.) taking advantage of the 9/11 buzz, 24 debuts on Fox Network for 204 episodes (until July 14, 2014), a 24-episode series in which each episode represents one hour in the day of the life of definitely-no-007 U.S. Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer, played by Kiefer Sutherland (1966-), who fights terrorism and govt. bureaucracy; Dennis Dexter Haysbert(1954-) plays black U.S. pres. David Palmer, who gets assassinated and replaced by his equally black brother Wayne Palmer, played by D.B. (David Bryan) Woodside (1969-).
On Mar. 12, 2002 (Tue.) the crime drama series The Shield debuts on FX Network for 88 episodes (until Nov. 25, 2008), based on the 1990s LAPD Rampart CRASH Scandal, set in the Farmington district of LA ("The Farm), where a converted church called "the Barn" is used as the HQ of the corrupt 4-man anti-gang Strike Team, led by Vic Mackey, played by bald actor Michael Charles Chiklis (1963-); its success attracts film stars Glenn Close (season 4) and Forest Whitaker (seasons 5-6).
On June 2, 2002 (Sun.) The Wire debuts on HBO for 60 episodes (until Mar. 9, 2008), created by police reporter David Simon and set in Baltimore, Md., portraying the drug scene through the eyes of the drug dealers and law enforcement, using unknown mainly black actors and real-life Baltimore figures for realism.
On June 11, 2002 (Tue.) the reality show American Idol, based on the British show "Pop Idol" debuts on Fox-TV for 555 episodes (until Apr. 7, 2016), going on to save sagging pop music sales and generate megabucks for its founders Simon Fuller (1960-) and Simon Philip Cowell (1959-); judges incl. Paula Julie Abdul (1962-) and Randy Darius Jackson (1956-); Ryan John Seacrest (1974-) becomes host in 2002; all the marketable stars are women until ?.
On July 12, 2002 (Fri.) Andy Breckman's comedy-drama mystery series Monk debuts on USA Network for 125 episodes (until Dec. 4, 2009), starring Anthony Marcus "Tony" Shaloub (1953-) as OCD-suffering ex-cop detective Adrian Monk in San Francisco, Calif., and ("Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs") Frank Theodore "Ted" Levine (1957-) as Capt. Leland Stottlemeyer; in seasons 1-3 Elizabeth Natalie "Bitty" Schram (1968-) plays Monk's asst. Sharona Fleming, followed by Traylor Elizabeth Howard (1966-) as Sharon Carter.
On Sept. 20, 2002 (Fri.) Joss Whedon's space Western Firefly debuts on Fox-TV for 14 episodes (until Dec. 20), set in the year 2517 after the renegade crew of Firefly-class spaceship Serenity arrive in a new star system; "Nine people looking into the blackness of space and seeing nine different things"; on Aug. 22, 2005 Joss Whedon's Serenity debuts, bringing in $38.9M on a budget of $39M.
On Sept. 26, 2002 (Thur.) the police procedural drama series Without a Trace debuts on CBS-TV for 160 episodes (until May 19, 2009), about the Missing Persons Unit (MPU) of the FBI in New York City, starring Australian actor Anthony M. LaPaglia (1959-) as Jack Malone. and Australian actress Poppy Montgomery (Poppy Petal Emma Elizabeth Deveraux Donahue) (1972-) as Samantha Spade.
On Oct. 30, 2002 midlevel Am. pop stars Jessica Simpson (1980-) (a self-proclaimed virgin) and Nick Lachey (1973-) (98 Degrees) are married, and become Hollywood superstars on MTV's Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica for the next three seasons (Aug. 19, 2003 - Mar. 30, 2005) (41 episodes), chronicling their lives in a new Calif. home, and showing dippy-blonde Simpson confusing Chicken of the Sea brand tuna with, er, chicken, and refusing Buffalo wings because "I don't eat buffalo"; they announce their separation on Nov. 23, 2005 right after the Dec.-Jan. issue of Teen People, in which they deny breakup rumors, and the Oct. 17 issue of US Weekly, which carries the headline "Split!", with the soundbyte "This is the mutual decision of two people with an enormous amount of respect and admiration for each other."
On July 18, 2003 (Fri.) Ryan Murphy's drama series Nip/Tuck debuts on FX for 100 episodes (until Mar. 3, 2010), starring Dylan (Charles Hunter) Walsh (1963-) as Dr. Sean McNamara, and Australian-born Julian Dana William McMahon (1968-) as Dr. Christian Troy, two plastic surgeons who get all the poontang they want by promising to make them beautiful.
On Aug. 5, 2003 (Tue.) the teen drama series The O.C. debuts on Fox Network for 92 expidodes (until Feb. 22, 2007), about teenies in Newport Beach, Calif., incl. Ryan Atwood, played by Benjamin McKenzie Schenkkan (1978-), a troubled teenie from Chino who is taken in by liberal Jewish public defender Sandy Cohen, played by Peter Killian Gallagher (1955-) and his wife Kirsten, played by Kelly Rowan (1965-), and their son Seth, played by Adam Jared Brody (1979-), who becomes a star playing a Jewish nerd with a Holden Caulfield wanderlust.
On Sept. 22, 2003 (Mon.) the comedy series Two and a Half Men debuts on CBS-TV for 262 episodes (until Feb. 19, 2015), starring Charlie Sheen Carlos Irwin Estevez (1965-) as hedonistic jingle writer Charlie Francis Harper, Jonathan Niven "Jon" Cryer (1965-) (Matthew Broderick lookalike?) as his uptight brother Alan, and Angus Turner Jones (1993-) as his son Jake, who move into his Malibu beachfront house with him; becomes the biggest hit comedy of the decade; on Mar. 7, 2011 Sheen is fired for "moral turpitude", and replaced with Christopher Ashton Kutcher (1978-) as Walden Schmidt.
On Sept. 23, 2003 (Tue.) Donald P. Bellisario's and Don McGill's NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service), debuts on CBS-TV for ? episodes (until ?) as a spinoff of JAG, starring Mark Harmon (1951-) as Leroy Jethro Gibbs, head of the Major Case Response Team in Washington Navy Yard in Washington D.C.
On Sept. 28, 2003 (Sun.) the police procedural series Cold Case debuts on CBS-TV for 156 episodes (until May 2, 2010), about the cold case div. of the Philly Police Dept., starring Kathryn Susan Morris (1969-) as Det. Lilly Rush.
On Nov. 2, 2003 (Sun.) the sitcom Arrested Development debuts on Fox Network for 53 episodes (until Feb. 10, 2006), about the dysfunctional formerly wealthy Bluth family in Newport Beach, Calif., starring Jeffrey Michael Tambor (1944-) as patriarch George Bluth Sr., Jason Kent Bateman (1969-) as Michael, and Portia de Rossi (Amanda Lee Rogers) (1973-) as Lindsay Funke ("It's vodka... it goes bad once it's been opened"), with a handheld camera reality style format narrated by Ron Howard, winning six Emmys and one Golden Globe but lasting only three seasons (Feb. 10, 2006), after which it is revived by Netflix in 2013-.
On Jan. 18, 2004 (Sun.) the soft porn drama The L Word debuts on Showtime for 70 episodes (until Mar. 8, 2009), about lesbians in West Hollywood, Calif., along with their straight, bi, and transgender friends.
On Mar. 21, 2004 the hit drama Deadwood debuts on HBO for 36 episodes (until Aug. 27, 2006), set in 1877 S.D., starring Canadian-born Molly Parker (1972-) as Alma Garret.
On May 6, 2004 the 10-year hit NBC-TV show Friends (debuted Sept. 22, 1994) airs its finale this year, sending Joey, Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica and Phoebe to new lives; the spinoff show Joey is a minor success.
On June 16, 2004 The Ashlee Simpson Show debuts on MTV for 18 episodes (until Mar. 30, 2005), starring Ashlee Simpson (Ashley Nicolle Simpson Ross) (1984-), younger sister of Jessica Simpson.
On July 18, 2004 (Sun.) Doug Ellin's comedy drama series Entourage debuts on HBO for 96 episodes (until Sept. 11, 2011), based on the life of Mark Wahlberg, starring Adrian Grenier (1976-) as Vincent Chase, who grew up in Queens, N.Y. and became an A-list movie star in Hollyweird, and Kevin Connolly (1974-) as his mgr. and best friend Eric "E" Murphy, based on Eric Weinstein (Stephen Levinson?).
On July 21, 2004 (Wed.) the comedy-drama series Rescue Me debuts on FX (until Sept. 7, 2011), about New York City fighters suffering from post-9/11 trauma, starring Tommy Gavin, played by Denis Colin Leary (1957-), who sports a thick Boston accent.
On Sept. 22, 2004 (Wed.) Lost debuts on ABC-TV for 121 episodes (until May 23, 2010), about 48 survivors of crashed Oceanic Flight 815 on a mysterious tropical island somewhere between Australia and Los Angeles (really Oahu, Hawaii); created by Damon Lindelof, J.J. Abrams, and Jeffrey Lieber, it is one of the most expensive TV series on the U.S. networks, with a large multiracial ensemble cast incl. Terrance "Terry" O'Quinn (1952-) as John Locke, Naveen William Sidney Andrews (1969-) as ex-Iranian Repub. Guard member Sayid Jarrah, Matthew Chandler Fox (1966-) as surgeon Jack Shephard, Jorge Garcia (1973-) as lottery winner Hugo "Hurley" Reyes, Margaret "Maggie" Grace Denig (1983-) as dance teacher Shannon Rutherford, Joshua Lee "Josh" Holloway (1969-) as con man James "Sawyer" Ford, Yunjim Kim (1973-) as mobster's daughter Sun-Hwa Kwon, Daniel Dae Kim (1968-) as her hubby Jin-Soo Kwon, Nicole Evangeline Lilly (1979-) as fugitive Kate Austen, Dominic Bernard Patrick Luke Managhan (1976-) as ex-rock star Charlie Pace, Harold Perrineau (1963-) (Link in The Matrix) as construction worker Michael Dawson, Malcolm David Kelley (1992-) as his son Walt Lloyd, Emilie de Ravin (1981-) as pregnant Australian Claire Littleton, and Ian Joseph Somerhalder (1978-) as Boone Carlyle; beside the Others and the DHARMA Initiative, their common enemy is the Monster AKA the Smoke Monster and Man in Black.
On Oct. 3, 2004 (Sun.) David E. Kelley's legal dramedy Boston Legal (original title The Practice: Fleet Street) debuts on ABC-TV for 101 episodes (until Dec. 8, 2008) as a spinoff of "The Practice", starring James Todd Spader (1960-) as atty. Alan Shore, and William "Bill" Shatner (1931-) as atty. Denny Crane.
On Oct. 3, 2004 (Sun.) Marc Cherry's comedy-drama-mystery series Desperate Housewives debuts on ABC-TV for 180 episodes (until May 13, 2012), set on Wisteria Lane in Fairview in the Eagle State, about a group of women as seen through the eyes of neighbor Mary Alice Young (played by Brenda Strong), who committed suicide in the first episode. causing their seemingly perfect suburban neighborhood to have mucho skeletons in the closets; stars Teri Lynn Hatcher (1964-) as Susan Mayer, Felicity Kendall Huffman (1962-) as Lynette Scavo, redheaded Marcia Anne Cross (1962-) as Bree Van de Kamp, and Mexican-Am. Eva Jacqueline Longoria (1975-) as Gabrielle Solis.
On Nov. 16, 2004 (Tue.) the medical drama House, M.D. debuts on Fox Network for 177 episodes (until May 21, 2012), starring English actor Hugh Laurie (1959-) as Dr. Gregory House, who walks with a cane and pops self-prescribed Vicodin pills while chasing his ex-wife Sela Ward and managing his team of diagnosticians, incl. single black man Omar Hashim Epps (1973-) (Dr. Eric Doreman), single white babe Jennifer Marie Morrison (1979-) (as Dr. Alison Cameron), (who's in love with him but can't overcome the ex-wife), and single white doc Jesse Gordon Spencer (1979-) (as Dr. Robert Chase) (who's in love with Morrison in real life, but never get married); meanwhile his female boss Dr. Lisa Cuddy, played by Lisa Edelstein (1966-) struggles to keep control of this authority-bucking precious genius, who never fails to solve the insoluble medical problem just in time to save the patient, his hospital, and his job - TLW's favorite TV show for the next few years?
On Jan. 3, 2005 (Mon.) Medium debuts on NBC-TV for 130 episodes (until Jan. 21, 2011), moving to CBS-TV on Sept. 25, 2009, based on real-life medium Allison DuBois (1972) starring Patricia Arquette as medium Allison DuBois of Phoenix, Ariz., who works with the DA; all three of her daughters have her gift.
On Jan. 23, 2005 (Sun.) Numbers (NUMB3RS) debuts on CBS-TV for 118 episodes (until Mar. 12, 2010), starring Robert Alan "Rob" Morrow (1962-) as FBI Special Agent Don Eppes, and David Krumholtz (1978-) as his math whiz brother Prof. Charlie Eppes, who solve crimes in LA mathematically with their father Alan Eppes, played by Judd Seymore Hirsch (1935-).
On Mar. 24, 2005 (Thur.) the comedy series The Office debuts on NBC-TV for 201 episodes (until May 16, 2013), a "mockumentary" based on the BBC series that debuted on July 9, 2001, starring Steve Carell (1962-) as Michael Scott, mgr. of Dunder Mifflin stationery co. in mainly white PC Scranton, Penn., interacting with mainly white office mates Rainn Wilson (1966-) (as Dwight Schrute), John Krasinski (1979-) (as Jim Halpert), Jenna Fischer (1974-) (as Pam Beesly), and B.J. Novak (1979-) (one of the writers) (as Ryan Howard) while pushing all the latest PC Hollyweird values on the viewers, with the gag being that the camera is part of the show; the theme song is written by Jay Ferguson and performed by the Scrantones.
On Mar. 27, 2005 (Sun.) the medical drama series Grey's Anatomy debuts on ABC-TV for ? episodes (until ?), about surgical interns and residents at Seattle Grace Hospital trying to become full-fledged physicians, with a multiracial cast incl. Ellen Kathleen Pompeo (1969-) as Dr. Meredith Grey, and Patrick Galen Dempsey (1966-) as Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd.
On June 13, 2005 (Mon.) the police procedural show The Closer, a spinoff of "Prime Suspect" debuts on TNT Network for 109 episodes (until Aug. 13, 2012), starring Kyra Minturn Sedgwick (1965-) as LAPD deputy chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, an expert case-closing interrogator who sometimes uses deceit and intimidation to make suspects confess.
On Aug. 4, 2005 (thur.) Rob McElhenney's sitcom It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia debuts on FX Network for ? episodes (until ?), about the self-centered group of misfit friends called The Gang who run Paddy's Pub in South Philadelphia, Penn., incl. Robert Dale "Rob" McElhenney (1977-) as co-owner Ronald "Mac" McDonald, Charles Peckham "Charlie" Day (1976-) as co-owner Charlie Kelly, Glenn Franklin Howerton III (1976-) as co-owner Dennis Reynolds, Kaitlin Willow Olson (1975-) (Rob Mcelhenney's wife in 2008-) as Dennis' twin sister and bartender Deandra "Sweet Dee" Reynolds, Daniel Michael "Danny" DeVito (1944-) as Charlie's sleazy businessman roommate Frank Reynolds, father of Dennis and Sweet Dee, and Mary Elizabeth Ellis (1979-) (wife of Charlie Day in 2006-) as the Waitress; the series tanks until DeVito joins, then becomes the longest-running comedy in cable TV history (until ?).
On Sept. 13, 2005 (Tue.) the crime procedural comedy-drama Bones debuts on Fox Network for ? episodes (until ?), starring Emily Erin Deschanel (1976-) as forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan (based on real life writer Kathy Reichs, the show's producer), who works at the Jeffersonian Inst. in Washington, D.C., and David Paul Boreanaz (1969-) as her partner, FBI special agent Seeley Booth; every episode features a disgusting decomposing corpse, causing some networks to later air reruns at lunchtime as a joke?
On Sept. 19, 2005 (Mon.) How I Met Your Mother debuts on CBS-TV for 208 episodes (until Mar. 31, 2014), about daddy Joshua Thomas "Josh" Radnor (1974-) as Theodore Evelyn "Ted" Mosby telling his kids in 2030 about how he did you know what; co-stars Jason Jordan Segel (1980-) as Marshall Eriksen, Jacoba Francisco Maria "Cobie" Smulders (1982-) as Robin Scherbatsky, Neil Patrick Harris (1973-) as Barney Stinson, and Alyson Lee Hannigan (1974-) as Lily Aldrin; they like to meet in MacLaren's Bar in New York City.
On Sept. 20, 2005 (Tue.) the comedy series My Name Is Earl debuts on NBC-TV for 96 episodes (until May 14, 2009), starring former skateboard champ Jason Michael Lee (1970-) as ex-small-time criminal Earl Jehoshaphat Hickey of Camden County, who spends his remaining life trying to undo all his bad karma with friend Randy Hickey, played by Ethan Suplee (1976-); "Karma is a funny thing."
On Sept. 22, 2005 (Thur.) Jeff Davis' Criminal Minds (original title "Quantico") debuts on CBS-TV for ? episodes (until ?), focusing on profiling the criminal "unsubs" (unknown subjects) rather than the crime, set in the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico, Va., starring Mandel Bruce "Mandy" Patinkin (1952-) for the first three seasons, followed by Joseph Anthony "Joe" Mantegna Jr. (1947-).
On Sept. 22, 2005 (Thur.) the period sitcom Everybody Hates Christ, er, Everybody Hates Chris debuts on UPN for 88 episodes (until May 8, 2009) (after switching to The CW in 2006), inspired by the teenage experiences of African-Am. comedian Chris Rock attending an all-white high school in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1982-7, starring Tyler James Williams (1992-) as Chris, Terry Alan Crews Jr. (1968-) as his father Julius, Tichina Rolanda Arnold (1971-) as his mother Rochelle, Tequan Richmond (1992-) as his brother Drew, and Vincent Michael Martella (1992-) as his white best friend Greg Wuliger.
In 2006 there are 285M TV sets in operation in the U.S.
On Jan. 24, 2006 (Tue.) The CW Television Network is founded by CBS and Warner Bros., replacing UPN and The WB; it begins operations on Sept. 18.
On Mar. 12, 2006 Mark V. Olsen's and Will Scheffer's TV drama series Big Love debuts on HBO-TV for 53 episodes (until Mar. 20, 2011), about the United Effort Brotherhood of fundamentalist polygamous renegade Mormons in the Juniper Creek compound in Utah, starring Bill Paxton as patriarch Bill Henrickson, and his wives Barbara "Barb" (Jeanne Tripplehorn), Nicolette "Nicki" (Chloe Sevigny), and Margene "Margie" (Ginnifer Goodwin); Douglas Smith plays Bill's and Barb's son Ben, who is sexually attracted to Margene; Harry Dean Stanton plays Prophet Roman Grant.
On Mar. 13, 2006 (Mon.) the sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine debuts on CBS-TV for 88 episodes (until May 12, 2010), starring Julia Scarlett Elizabeth Louis-Dreyfus (1961-) as neurotic women's gym owner Christine Campbell.
On Sept. 24, 2006 (Sun.) the drama series Brothers & Sisters debuts on ABC-TV for 109 episodes (until May 8, 2011), airing in the timeslot after "Desperate Housewives", about the wealthy Walker family of LA after the death of patriarch William Walker (Tom Skerritt), starring Sally Margaret Field (1946-) as matriarch Nora Walker, Rachel Anne Griffiths (1968-) as her eldest daughter Sarah Louise Walker, Calista Kay Flockhart (1964-) as #2 Katherine Anne "Kitty" Walker McAllister, Balthazar Getty (1975-) as #3 Thomas "Tommy" Walker, Matthew Rhys (Evans) (1974-) as #4 Kevin Walker, David Rodman "Dave" Annable (1979-) as #5 Justin Walker; Patricia Wettig (1951-) plays Holly Harper.
On Sept. 25, 2006 (Mon.) Tim Kring's sci-fi drama series Heroes debuts on NBC-TV for 85 episodes (until Feb. 8, 2010), about ordinary people who discover they have superhuman abilities.
On Sept. 28, 2006 (Thur.) Silvio Horta's comedy-drama series Ugly Betty, based on Fernando Gaitan's telenovela "You Soy Betta, La Fea" debuts on ABC-TV for 85 episodes (until Apr. 14, 2010), starring braces-wearing America Georgine Ferrera (1984-) as ugly Betty Suarez, who lands a job at a prestigious fashion mag.
On Oct. 3, 2006 (Tue.) the drama series Friday Night Lights, based on the 1990 book by H.G. Bissinger debuts on NBC-TV for 76 episodes (until Feb. 9, 2011), about the Dillon, Tex. Panthers H.S. football team coached by Eric Taylor, played by Kyle Martin Chandler (1965-), with an ensemble cast; too bad, although praised by critics, people not from Texas don't 'get' it, and it lingers at the bottom of the ratings until it is mercifully canceled?
On Oct. 11, 2006 (Wed.) the satirical sitcom 30 Rock debuts on NBC-TV for 138 episodes (until Jan. 31, 2013), about fictional live sketch comedy "TGS with Tracy Jordan", located at the GE Bldg. of NBC Studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, starring creator Elizabeth Stamatina "Tina" Fey (1970-) (based on her experiences at Saturday Night Live) as head writer Liz Lemon, Alexander Rae "Alec" Baldwin (1957-) as exec Jack Donaghy, Tracy Jamal Morgan (1968-) as the show's male African-Am. star Tracy Jordan, and Jane Krakowski (1968-) as co-star Jenna Maroney.
On July 17, 2007 (Tue.) Matthew Weiner's Mad Men debuts on AMC cable network for 92 episodes (until May 17, 2015), about the Sterling Cooper Ad Agency on Madison Ave. in New York City in the 1960s, starring Jonathan Daniel "Jon" Hamm (1971-) as philandering creative dir. Don Draper AKA Richard "Dick" Whitman, who loves the 1960s Manhattan Mod culture.
On Sept. 24, 2007 (Mon.) the comedy sitcom The Big Bang Theory debuts on CBS-TV for ? episodes (until ?), starring John Mark "Johnny" Galecki (1975-) and James Joseph "Jim" Parsons (1973-) as Caltech physicist roommates Leonard Hofstadter (IQ 173, experimental physicist) and Sheldon Cooper (IQ 187, theoretical physicist) (known for the catchphrase "bazinga"), and Kaley Christine Cuoco (1985-) as dumbe blond waitress Penny, who lives across the hall; Simon Maxwell Helberg (1980-) plays MIT engineer Howard Wolowitz, and Kunal Nayyar (1981-) plays astrophysicist Kunal Nayyar.
On Jan. 20, 2008 (Sun.) the brilliantly-written TV show Breaking Bad, created by "The X-Files" producer Vince Gilligan (1967-) debuts on AMC cable TV network for 62 episodes (until Sept. 29, 2013), starring Bryan Lee Canston (1956-) as 50-y.-o. high school chem. teacher Walter White, who has terminal cancer, a handicapped teenie son (R.J. Mitte) and pregnant wife (Anna Gunn), and decides to cook meth with former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) to provide for his family when he goes, entering the sleazy criminal world and keeping viewers entertained with what bad thing's going to happen to him next as they slowly drag him down to their level, which doesn't stop you from rooting for him.
On Sept. 3, 2008 (Wed.) Kurt Sutter's crime drama series Sons of Anarchy debuts on FX Network for 92 episodes (until Dec. 9, 2014), about the outlaw SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original) motorcycle club operating in Charming, Calif., starring Steve McQueen-lookalike Charles Matthew "Charlie" Hunnam (1980-) as Jackson "Jax Teller, who begins questioning the club as it fights the rival Mayans of Oakland, Calif.
On Sept. 7, 2008 (Sun.) Alan Ball's drama series True Blood debuts on HBO for 80 episodes (until Aug. 24, 2014), based on "The Southern Vampire Mysteries" novel series by Charlaine Harris, starring Kiwi actress Anna Hele Paquin (1982-) as Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress in Bon Temps, La. who has to deal with vampires, and falls in love with vampire Bill Compton, played by Stephen Moyer (Stephen John Emery) (1969-); after she comes out as bi on Apr. 1, 2010, they wed on Aug. 21, 2010; "It hurts so good."
On Sept. 8, 2008 (Mon.) Fringe debuts on Fox Network for 100 episodes (until Jan. 18, 2013), about an FBI Fringe Div. team in Boston, Mass. that uses fringe science to investigate a parallel universe incl. a 48-state U.S., starring Anna Torv (1978-) as agent Olivia Dunham, Joshua Carter Jackson (1978-) as consultant Peter Bishop, John Noble (1948-) as mad scientist Walter Bishop, and Lance Reddick (1969-) as agent in charge Phillip Broyles; Mark Thomas Valley (1964-) plays Olivia's secret lover John Scott, whose death causes her to join the div.; they marry for real in Dec. 2008, then separate in early 2010.
On Sept. 23, 2008 (Tue.) the police procedural series The Mentalist debuts on CBS for 151 episodes (until Feb. 18, 2015), starring Tasmania-born Simon Baker (1969-) as fake psychic Patrick Jane, who is an adept magician, and becomes a consultant to the Calif. Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to help them track down Red John, the killer of his wife and daughter.
On Jan. 18, 2009 (Sun.) Diablo Cody's comedy-drama United States of Tara debuts on Showtime for 36 episodes (until June 20, 2011), starring Australian-born Antonia "Toni" Collette (1972-) as suburban housewife-mother Tara Gregson, who is coping with multiple personality disorder., incl. Teenager T, 1950s Housewife Alice, beer-swigging Vietnam Vet Buck, and Gimme.
On Jan. 31, 2009 Lie to Me (me*) debuts on Fox Network for 48 episodes (until Jan. 31, 2011), starring Tim Roth (1961-) as genius psychologist Dr. Cal Lightman, who can figure out what people are thinking via body and facial language - does it work on new Pres. Obama?
On Mar. 9, 2009 (Mon.) the crime drama series Castle debuts on ABC-TV for ? episodes (until ?), starring Canadian-born Nathan Christopher Fillion (1971-) as famed mystery novelist Richard Castle, who suffers from a writer's block, and ends up helping the NYPD solve murders with hot babe detective Kate Beckett, played by Canadian-born Stana Jacqueline Katic (1978-).
On Apr. 9, 2009 (Thur.) the sitcom Parks and Recreation debuts on NBC-TV for 125 episodes (until Feb. 24, 2015), starring Amy Meredith Poehler (1971-) as Leslie Knope, deputy dir. of Parks and Recreation in Pawnee, Ind.
On Apr. 9, 2009 (Thur.) the crime drama series Southland debuts on NBC-TV for 43 episodes (until Apr. 17, 2013 afer switching to TNT on Nov. 2, 2009), about the LAPD and its officers' lives, starring Michael Cudlitz (1964-) as Officer John Cooper, who is a closet gay.
On June 8, 2009 (Mon.) the medical dark comedy-drama series Nurse Jackie debuts on Showtime for 80 episodes (until June 28, 2015), starring Edith "Edie" Falco (1963-) as Jackie Peyton, an emergency dept. nurse at All Saints' Hospital in New York City.
On Sept. 22, 2009 (Tue.) the legal-political drama The Good Wife debuts on CBS-TV for ? episodes (until ?), starring Julianna Luisa Margulies (1966-) as atty.-turned-mother Alicia Florrick, whose hubby Peter is in jail for a political corruption and sex scandal, causing her to return to her old job.
On Sept. 23, 2009 (Wed.) the sitcom Modern Family, created by Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan debuts on ABC-TV (until ?), about the Pritchett family of suburban Los Angeles, Calif., headed by Jay Pritchett (Ed O'Neill), with an ensemble cast and mockumentary style, incl. his way-younger hot wife Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, played by Colombian-born Sofia Margarita Vergara Vergara (1972-).
On Sept. 23, 2009 the sitcom Cougar Town debuts on ABC for 102 episodes (until Mar. 31, 2015), switching to TBS in 2013, set in Gulfhaven "Cougar Town", Fla., starring Courteney Bass Cox (1964-) as recently divorced 40-something woman Jules Cobb, who goes out on the dating circle, dating younger men before turning to men her own age.
On Sept. 30, 2009 the sitcom The Middle debuts on ABC-TV for ? episodes (until ?), about a working-class Ind. family, starring Patricia Helen Heaton (1958-) as Frances "Frankie" Heck (nee Spence), and Neil Richard Flynn (1960-) as her hubby Michael "Mike" Heck Jr.; cute little Atticus Ronald Shaffer (1998-) plays youngest child Brian.
On Mar. 2, 2010 (Tue.) the drama series Parenthood, based on the 1989 film debuts on NBC-TV for 103 episodes (until Jan. 29, 2015), ' set in Berkeley, Calif., starring Craig Theodore Nelson (1944-) as patriarch Zeke Braverman, Bonnie Bedelia (1948-) as matriarch Camille Braverman, Peter William Krause (1965-) as son Adam Braverman, Lauren Helen Graham (1967-) as daughter Sarah Braverman, Dax Randall Shepard (1975-) as son Crosby Braverman, and Erika Jane Christensen (1982-) as daughter Julia Braverman-Graham.
On Mar. 16, 2010 the crime drama TV series Justified, based on the Elmore Leonard short story "Fire in the Hole" debuts on FX Network for 78 episodes (until Apr. 15, 2015), starring Timothy Olyphant as deputy U.S. marshal Raylan Givens, who turns to his home town of Harlan, Ky. to work for Marshal Art Mullen (Nick Searcy) to fight career criminal Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins).
On July 9, 2010 (Fri.) Jim Dunn's and Sam Ernst's supernatural drama series Haven debuts on Syfy for ? episodes (until ?), based on the 2005 Stephen King novel "The Colorado Kid", set in Haven, Maine and filmed in Nova Scotia, Canada, starring Emily Rose (1981-) as FBI Special Agent Audrey Parker, who resigns to join the Haven Police Dept. to investigate The Troubles, a plague of supernatural afflictions, and Lucas Bryant (1978-) as her partner Det. Nathan Wuornos.
On July 12, 2010 the police procedural crime drama series Rizzoli & Isles, based on the novels by Tess Gerritsen debuts on TNT for ? episodes (until ?), starring Angela Michelle "Angie" Harmon (1972-) as Boston, Mass. police detective Jane Rizzoli, and Sasha Alexander (Suzana S. Drobnjakovic Ponti) (1973-) as medical examiner Maura Isles.
On Sept. 20, 2010 (Mon.) Mark Roberts' sitcom Mike & Molly debuts on CBS-TV for 127 episodes (until May 16, 2016), starring William "Billy" Gardell (1969-) and Melissa Ann McCarthy (1970-) as fat couple Mike Biggs and Molly Flynn, who met in a Chicago Overeaters Anonymous group.
On Sept. 24, 2010 (Fri.) the police procedural drama Blue Bloods debuts on CBS-TV for ? episodes (until ?), about the Irish-Am. Reagan family of NYPD police officers, led by former USMC officer and Vietnam vet Francis X. "Frank" Reagan, played by Thomas William "Tom" Selleck (1945-).
On Oct. 31, 2010 (Sun.) (Halloween) the horror drama series The Walking Dead, based on the comic books by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard debuts on AMC-TV for ? episodes (until ?), featuring phony zombies being massacred en mass, becoming super-popular the more bloody and stupid it gets?
On Jan. 9, 2011 (Sun.) the animated sitcom Bob's Burgers debuts on Fox Network for ? episodes (until ?), about the Belcher family, incl. Bob and Linda, and their children Tina, Gene, and Louise, who run a hamburger restaurant on Ocean Ave. in Seymour's Bay, N.J. near Wonder Wharf Amusement Park, and compete with Jimmy Pesto's Pizzeria.
On Apr. 17, 2011 (Sun.) the XXX porno-filled medieval fantasy series Game of Thrones, based on George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" novel series debuts on HBO (until )?, set in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, about noble families who vie for control of the Iron Throne, starring Sean Bean as Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark, Peter Dinklage as dwarf Tyrion Lannister, Aiden Gillen as Littlefinger, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, and Diana Rigg as Olenna Tyrell.
On June 19, 2011 (Sun.) Falling Skies debuts on TNT-TV for 52 episodes (until Aug. 30, 2015), starring Will Patton as Capt. Dan Weaver, and Noah Wyle as history prof. Tom Mason, 2nd-in-command of the 2nd Mass. Militia Regiment, who help a group of civilians flee Boston after an alien invasion by brown 6-legged Skitters, Mech attack drones, and the Overlords (Espheni).
On Sept. 19, 2011 (Mon.) the sitcom 2 Broke Girls debuts on CBS-TV for 138 episodes (until Apr. 17, 2017), about roommates Max Black (poor, brunette), played by Kat Dennings (Katherine Litwack) (1986-), and Caroline Channing (nouveau pauvre, blonde), played by Beth Behrs (1985-), who work in a diner in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, N.Y. to raise $250K to start a cupcake business, with the running tally shown at the end of each episode.
On Sept. 20, 2011 (Tue.) the sitcom New Girl (working title "Chicks & Dicks") debuts on Fox Network for ? episodes (until ?), starring Zooey Claire Deschanel (1980-) as Los Angeles middle school teacher Jessica "Jess" Christopher Day, who moves into a loft with three men, Nick, played by Jake Johnson (Mark Jake Johnson Weinberger) (1978-), Schmidt, played by Max Greenfield (1980-), and has-to-be-black Winston, played by Lamorne Morris (1983-).
On Sept. 22, 2011 Jonathan Nolan's sci-fi crime drama series Person of Interest debuts on CBS-TV for ? episodes (until ?), starring James Patrick "Jim" Caviezel (1968-) as ex-CIA agent John Reese, who is presumed dead, and hooks up with mysterious billionaire genius Harold Finch, played by Michael Emerson (1954-), who uses his AI system The Machine to prevent violent crimes.
On Oct. 2, 2011 (Sun.) the political thriller series Homeland debuts on Showtime for ? episodes (until ?), starring Claire Catherine Danes (1979-) as CIA officer Carrie Mathison, and Damian Watcyn Lewis (1971-) as her USMC hubby Sgt. Nicholas Brody, who is held captive by al-Qaida and is suspected of turning; "The nation sees a hero. She sees a threat"; episode 1 of season 5 has CIA man in Syria Peter Quinn debriefed by his bosses, who ask him how their strategy is working, to which he replies: "What strategy? We have no strategy."
On Oct. 11, 2011 (Tue.) the sitcom Last Man Standing debuts on ABC-TV for ? episodes (until ?), starring Tim Allen as sporting goods store exec Mike Baxter of Denver, Colo., Nancy Travis as his geologist wife Vanessa Baxter, Alexandra Krosney/Amanda Fuller as daughter Kristin Beth Baxter, Molly Ephraim as daughter Amanda Elaine "Mandy Baxter, and Kaitlyn Dever as daughter Eve Baxter.
On Nov. 6, 2011 (Sun.) the Western series Hell on Wheels debuts on AMC for 57 episodes (until July 23, 2016), about the building of the Union Pacific Railroad after the 1865 assassination of Pres. Lincoln, starring Anson Adams Mount IV (1973-) as chief engineer Cullen Bohannon, Colm J. Meaney (1953-) a mean investor Thomas "Doc" Durant, and Common (Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr.) (1972-) as freed slave Elam Ferguson.
On Apr. 5, 2012 (Thur.) the political thriller series Scandal debuts on ABC-TV for ? episodes (until ?), starring black actress Kerry Marisa Washington (1977-) as Olivia Caroyn "Liv" Pope, head of a Washington, D.C. crisis mgt. firm, based on Pres. George H.W. Bush press aide Judy Smith, and white actor Anthony Howard "Tony" Goldwyn (1960-) as her flame and former client and Repub. Calif. gov., now U.S. Pres. Fitzgerald Thomas "Fitz" Grant III; Washington becomes the first African-Am. female lead in a U.S. network TV drama since Teresa Graves in "Get Christie Love" (1974); the first series where race is ignored as part of a character?
On Apr. 22, 2012 (Sun.) the political comedy series Veep debuts on HBO for ? episodes (until ?), starring Julia Scarlett Elizabeth Louis-Dreyfus (1961-) as Dem. vice-pres. Selina Meyer, who gets to be pres.; "The buck stops somewhere near here."
On June 24, 2012 (Sun.) Aaron Sorkin's political drama series The Newsroom debuts on HBO for 25 episodes (until Dec. 14, 2014), starring Jeffrey Warren "Jeff" Daniels (1955-) as anchorman Will McAvoy, with an ensemble cast.
On Aug. 13, 2012 (Mon.) the police procedural seies Major Crimes debuts on TNT for ? episodes (until ?) as a spinoff of "The Closer", starring Mary Eileen McDonnell (1952-) as Capt. Sharon Raydor of the Major Crimes Div. of the LAPD.
On Sept. 27, 2012 (Thur.) Robert Doherty's crime drama series Elementary, based on the stories of Arthur Conan Doyle and set in New York City debuts on CBS-TV for ? episodes (until ?), starring London, England-born Jonathan "Jonny" Lee Miller (1972-) as recovering drug addict Sherlock Holmes, and Lucy Liu (1968-) as Dr. Joan Watson, who assist the NYPD in solving crimes.
On Oct. 10, 2012 (Wed.) the series Arrow debuts on The CW for ? episodes (until ?), based on the DC Comics Green Arrow of Mort Weisinger and George Papp, starring Stephen Adam Amell (1981-) as billionaire playboy Oliver Queen slash Green Arrow.
On Oct. 10, 2012 (Wed.) Callie Khouri's Nashville debuts on ABC-TV for ? episodes (until ?), starring Constance Elaine "Connie" Britton (nee Womack) (1967-) as fading country music superstar Rayna James, and Hayden Leslie Panettiere (1989-) as rising star Juliette Barnes.
On Jan. 30, 2013 (Wed.) Joe Weisberg's period drama series The Americans debuts on FX Network, starring Keri Lynn Russell (1976-) and Matthew Rhys Evans (1974-) as Soviet KGB officers Nadezhda and Mischa, who are posing as married Amerikanskies Elizabeth and Philip Jennings and living in the suburbs of Washington, D.C in the early 1980s, whose two children don't suspect, while their neighbor Stan Beeman, played by Noah Nicholas Emmerich (1965-) is an FBI agent who is onto them.
On Apr. 19, 2013 (Fri.) Garry Trudeau's political satire series Alpha House debuts on Amazon TV, based on real Dem. legislators who share a row house in Washington, D.C. (Sen. Dick Durban of Ill., Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., and Rep. George Miller of Calif.), starring John Stephen Goodman (1952-) as U.S. Sen. Gil John Biggs (R-N.C.), J. Clark (Clarque) "Slappy" Johnson (1954-) as U.S. Sen. Robert Bettencourt (R-Penn.), Matt Mallow (1963-) as Mormon U.S. Sen. Louis Laffer (R-Nev.), and Mark Andrew Conseuelos (1971-) (husband of Kelly Ripa since 1991) as U.S. Sen. Andy Guzman (R-Fla.); comedian Bill Murray guest-stars as Sen. Vernon Smits.
On July 11, 2013 (Thur.) the comedy drama series Orange Is the New Black (OITNB) debuts on Netflix for ? episodes (until ?), based on the 2010 Piper Kerman memoir "Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison" about Litchfield (FCI Danbury) Prison, starring Taylor Schilling (1984-) as Piper Chapman; it becomes the first TV series nominated for both outstanding comedy series (2014) and outstanding drama series (2015) at the Emmys.
On Sept. 16, 2013 (Mon.) the supernatural drama series Sleepy Hollow debuts on Fox Network, based on the short stories of Washington Irving, set in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., starring Surrey, England-born Thomas James "Tom" Mison (1982-) as the resurrected Capt. Ichabod Crane, who chases the resurrected Headless Horseman Abraham Van Brunt.
On Sept. 17, 2013 (Tue).) the action comedy series Brooklyn Nine-Nine debuts on Fox Network for ? episodes (until ?), about the 99th Precinct of the NYPD in Brooklyn, starring has-to-be-black Andre K. Braugher (1962-) as Capt. Raymond "Ray" Holt, Andrew "Andy" Samberg (1978-) as Det. Jacob "Jake" Peralta, Terry Alan Crews Jr. (1968-) as Sgt. Terry Jeffords, and Dennis Dirk Blocker (1957-) (son of Dan Blocker) as Det. Michael Hitchcock.
On Sept. 22, 2013 (Sun.) the crime drama series The Blacklist debuts on NBC-TV for ? episodes (until ?), starring James Todd Spader (1960-) as Raymond "Red" Reddington, "the Concierge of Crime", a U.S. Navy officer turned high-profile criminal, who surrenders to the FBI after eluding capture for decades, and barters a list of the world's most ddebuts on NBC-TV for ? episodes (until ?), starring James Todd Spader (1960-) as Raymond "Red" Reddington, "the Concierge of Crime", a U.S. Navy officer turned high-profile criminal, who surrenders to the FBI after eluding capture for decades, and barters a list of the world's most dangerous criminals for immunity on the condition he work with rookie FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen, played by Megan Boone (1983-); "Never trust a criminal... until you have to."
On Sept. 24, 2013 (Tue.) Adam F. Goldberg's TV series The Goldbergs debuts on ABC-TV for ? episodes (until ?), set in 1980s Jenkintown, Penn., starring Jeffrey Todd "Jeff" Garlin (1962-) as patriarch Murray Goldberg, and Wendi Anne McLendon-Covey (1969-) as his wife Beverly.
On Sept. 29, 2013 Michelle Ashford's period drama series Masters of Sex debuts on Showtime for ? episodes (until )?, based on the 2009 book by Thomas Maier, starring Michael Christopher Sheen (1969-) as Dr. William Mastur, er, Masters, and Elizabeth Anne "Lizzy" Caplan (1982-) as Virginia Johnson.
On Jan. 12, 2014 (Sun.) Nic Pizzolatto's anthology crime drama series True Detective debuts on HBO for ? episodes (until ?), starring Matthew David McConaughey (1969-), Woodrow Tracy "Woody" Harrelson (1961-), Michelle Lynn Monaghan (1976-) et al.; "Touch darkness and darkness touches you back."
On Feb. 6, 2014 (Thur.) Jill Soloway's half-hour comedy-drama series Transparent deubts on Amazon, starring Jeffrey Michael Tambor (1944-) as retired political science prof. Maura Pfefferman, formerly Morton "Mort" Pfefferman, who had a gender change.
On Aug. 8, 2014 (Fri.) the drama series The Knick, dir. by Steven Soderbergh debuts on Cinemax for ? episodes (until ?), starring Coventry, England-born Clive Owen (1964-) as Dr. John W. "Thack" Thackery, chief surgeon at the Knickerbocker Hospital in New York City at the turn of the 20th cent., who suffers from cocaine addiction; "Modern medicine has to start somewhere".
On Sept. 21, 2014 (Sun.) the political drama series Madam Secretary debuts on CBS-TV for ? episodes (until ?), starring Tea Leoni (Elizabeth Tea Pantaleoni) (1966-) as U.S. secy. of state Hillary, er, Dr. Elizabeth "Bess" Adams McCord.
On Sept. 22, 2014 (Mon.) Gotham debuts on Fox-TV for ? episodes (until ?), based on the DC Comics Batman chars., starring David Mazouz (2001-) as teenie Bruce Wayne, Benjamin "Ben" McKenzie (Schenkkan) (1978-) as James Gordon, and Robin Lord Taylor (1978-) as The Penguin (Oswald Cobblepot).
On Sept. 22, 2014 (Mon.) the drama series Scorpion debuts on CBS-TV for ? episodes (until ?), based on the life of Irish computer expert Walter O'Brien (1975-), played by Elyes Cherif Gabel (1983-); Robert Hammond Patrick Jr. (1958-) plays DHS special agent Cabe Gallo; Katharine Hope "Kat' McPhee (1984-) plays Paige Dineen.
On Sept. 23, 2014 (Tue.) the military-police procedural series NCIS: New Orleans debuts on CBS-TV for ? episodes (until ?), starring Scott Stewart Bakula (1954-) as NCIS Special Agent in Charge Dwayne Cassius Pride.
On Sept. 24, 2014 (Wed.) the sitcom Black-ish debuts on ABC-TV for ? episodes (until ?), about an upper middle-class African-Am. family led by Andre "Dre" Johnson Sr., played by Anthony Anderson (1970-), who is worried that his family has lost touch with black culture, and his mixed-race wife Dr. Rainbow "Bow" Johnson, played by Tracee Ellis Ross (1972-) (daughter of Diana Ross), and their daughter Zoey, played by Yara Sayeh Shahidi (2000-); Laurence John Fishburne III (1961-) plays Dre's father Earl "Pops" Johnson; Raven-Symone (Raven-Symoné) Christina Pearman (1985-) plays Dre's lesbian sister Rhonda.
On Sept. 25, 2014 (Thur.) How to Get Away with Murder debuts on ABC-TV for ? episodes (until ?), starring Viola Davis (1965-) as Annalise Keating, an African-Am. law prof. Middleton U. in Philly, who becomes involved in a murder plot with five students; Davis becomes the first African-Am. woman to win an Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama series.
On Dec. 7, 2014 (Sun.) The Librarians, a spinoff of the TNT movie series (2004-8) debuts on TNT for ? episodes (until ?), starring Rebecca Alie Romijn (1972-) as the new guardian of the Library, replacing Flynn Carsen (Noah Wylie); "Filing evil under history".
On Jan. 7, 2015 (Wed.) the musical drama series Empire debuts on Fox Network for ? episodes (until ?), about hip hop music co. Empire Entertainment, starring Terrence Howard as CEO Lucious Lyon, and Taraji P. Henson as his wife Loretha "Cookie" Lyon, who just got back from serving a 17-year prison sentence.
On Feb. 8, 2015 (Sun.) Vince Gilligan's Better Call Saul debuts on AMC-TV for ? episodes (until ?) as a prequel to "Breaking Bad", about the rise of super-interesting schuyster lawyer Saul Goodman AKA James Morgan "Jimmy" McGill, played by Berwyn, Ill.-born Robert John "Bob" Odenkirk (1962-), who starts out as a small-time conman in Cicero, Ill. and takes a correspondence course in law, moving to Albuquerque, N.M., featuring Jonathan Ray Banks (1947-) as his ex-cop partner Mike Ehrmantraut; the Better Call Saul Theme by Junior Brown is a keeper.
On Mar. 1, 2015 (Sun.) The Last Man on Earth debuts on Fox Network for ? episodes (until ?), set in post-apocalyptic 2020 Tucson, Ariz., starring ever-horny bank employee Orville Willis "Will" Forte IV (1970-) as Phil Tandy Miller, Kristen Joy Schaal (1978-) as Carol Pilbasian, January Kristen Jones (1978-) as Melissa Shart, and Melvin Dimas "Mel" Rodriguez (1973-) as Todd.
On Sept. 22, 2015 (Tue.) the horror comedy series Scream Queens debuts on Fox Network for ? episodes (until ?), starring Emma Rose Roberts (1991-) as Chanel Oberlin, leader of the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority at Wallace U., whose members are being targeted by the Red Devil serial killer; Jamie Lee Curtis plays Dean Cathy Munsch.
On Sept. 27, 2015 (Sun.) the thriller series Quantico debuts on ABC-TV for ? episodes (until ?), starring India-born Priyanka Chopra (1982-) as FBI recruit Alex Parris, who is framed for committing a terrorist attack.
On Oct. 26, 2015 (Mon.) the TV series Supergirl debuts on CBS-TV for ? episodes (until ?), based on the DC Comics char., starring Melissa Marie Benoist (1988-) as Supergirl AKA Kara Zor-El.
On Nov. 8, 2015 (Sun.) the action drama series Agent X debuts on TNT for ? episodes (until ?), starring Sharon Yvonne Stone (1958-) as U.S. vice-pres. Natalie Maccabee, who is told about a secret paragraph in the U.S. Constitution creating a special Agent X to help protect the U.S. in times of crisis, currently John Case, played by Jeffrey Lane "Jeff" Hephner (1975-).