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Today in History: Tuesday, August 24, 2021

The final telecast of classic sitcom “My Little Margie” aired in 1955. Headlined by Gale Storm as the 21-year-old daughter of a widowed New York investment banker (Charles Farrell), “My Little Margie” alternated between CBS and NBC during its three-and-one-half season run…Two spin-offs premiered: “The Facts of Life” from “Diff’rent Strokes” and starring Charlotte Rae in 1979, and “Those Amazing Animals,” from the producers of “That’s Incredible, hosted by Burgess MeredithJim Stafford and Priscilla Presley in 1980 on ABC. “The Facts of Life” aired for nine seasons, while “Those Amazing Animals” did not make it past season one.

Several comedies were released in theaters: “Men at Work” starring real-life brothers Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez In 1990; “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” starring Kevin Smith in 2001; “Bubble Boy” starring Jake Gyllenhaal also in 2001…”Darkman,” the superhero film written and directed by Sam Raimi and starring Liam Neeson, opened in 1990.

Musical film “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School” featuring the Ramones was released in New York City in 1979…The debut self-titled studio album from Christina Aguilera was released in 1999…Reaching No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart: “You’re Having My Baby” by Paul Anka in 1974; “The Power of Love” (from the film “Back to the Future“) by Huey Lewis & The News in 1985.

US President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Communist Control Act, outlawing the Communist Party, at height of McCarthyism in 1954…Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5-level storm, made landfall in Florida in 1992. It had been the strongest storm to hit the United States since 1969 Microsoft released their operating system Windows 95 in 1995. Its promotions were associated with The Rolling Stones’ hit song “Start Me Up”…In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg announced that for the first time one billion people logged into Facebook.Sports:
Pete Rose, the all-time career hits leader in MLB, was suspended for life from baseball in 1989 due to gambling. He had been the manager of the Cincinnati Reds at the time…Legendary wide receiver Jerry Rice officially announced his retirement from the NFL in 2006. His career spanned 20 seasons, most of which with the San Francisco 49ers where was a member of three Super Bowl winning teams and was Super Bowl MVP (of Super Bowl XXIII) in Jan. 1989. Rice was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.

Celebrity Birthdays

Guitarist Mason Williams is 83; wrestling promoter Vince McMahon is 76; actress Anne Archer (“Fatal Attraction”) is 74; actor Joe Regalbuto (“Murphy Brown”) is 72; British comedian Stephen Fry is 64; actor Steve Guttenberg (“Police Academy”) is 63; actor Kevin Dunn (“Veep”) is also 63; baseball Hall of Fame shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. is 61; actor Jared Harris (“Mad Men”) is 60; actor David Koechner (“Bless This Mess”) is 59; former “Daily Show” host Craig Kilborn is 59; Oscar winner Marlee Matlin (“Children of a Lesser God”) is 56; legendary Indiana Pacers player Reggie Miller is also 56; former “Meet the Press” host David Gregory is 51; director-producer Ava DuVernay is 49; comedian Dave Chappelle is 48; “Hawaii Five-O” star Alex O’Loughlin is 45;“One Tree Hill” star Chad Michael Murray is 40; actor Rupert Grint (“Harry Potter”) is 33.
Did You Know?
Over the course of nine seasons, “The Facts of Life” featured six backdoor pilot episodes, none of which made it to series. The first was the episode titles “Sylvia & Brian” (originally telecast on March 25, 1981), which focused on an interracial marriage (featuring Richard Dean Anderson pre-“MacGyver”). Next was “The Academy” (March 31, 1982), set at an all-boys-military school, followed by “Jo’s Cousin” (April 14, 1982), featuring Jo’s (Nancy McKeon) relatives in New Jersey.
There was also the season four finale of “The Facts of Life”, “The Graduation” (May 4, 1983), which would have focused on Blair (Lisa Whelchel) and Jo in college. In season nine, Natalie (Mindy Cohn) moved to SoHo in the episode titled “Big Apple Blues” (March 19, 1988). And, in the two part series-finale (April 30 and May 7, 1988), the backdoor pilot featured Blair taking over Eastland and making it a co-ed school.