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“Ol’ Blue Eyes,” Frank Sinatra, made his initial plunge into regularly scheduled series television as host of CBS’ variety-driven “The Frank Sinatra Show” beginning in 1950. The hour lasted two seasons…Other series premieres: “Route 66” (CBS, 1960), “Mr. Merlin” (CBS, 1981), “It Takes Two” (ABC, 1982)…A short-lived edition of “American Bandstand,“ hosted by Dick Clark, opened on ABC in 1975…The Fox News Channel was introduced in 1996…Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon debuted as co-anchors of “Weekend Update” on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” in 2000.
Romantic comedy “Pillow Talk” was released nationwide in the United States in 1959. It was the first of several on-screen pairings of Rock Hudson and Doris Day…the Motion Picture Association of America adopted the film-rating system that ranged for “G” to “X” in 1968…“The French Connection” directed by William Friedkin and starring Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider and Fernando Rey opened in the United States in 1971. It won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor (Hackman), Best Director (Friedkin), Best Film Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay…Comedy “Oh, God!” directed by Carl Reiner and starring George Burns and John Denver opened in 1977… Sean Connery returned in the role of James Bond in “Never Say Never Again,” a remake of “Thunderball” but filmed outside of Albert Broccoli’s EON Productions. It opened in 1983.
In 1989, “Miss You Much” by Janet Jackson reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100; “Forever Your Girl“, the debut studio album by Jackson’s former choreographer Paula Abdul hit No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart.
Archbishop of South Africa Desmond Tutu is 90; talk show host Joy Behar (“The View”) is 79; actress Jill Larson (“All My Children”) is 74; actress Mary Badham (“To Kill A Mockingbird”) is 69; cellist Yo-Yo Ma is 66; actor Christopher Norris (“Trapper John M.D.) is also 66; gospel singer Michael W. Smith is 64; British ice dancer Jayne Torvill (of Torvill & Dean) is also 64; actress Judy Landers (“Vega$”) is 63; reality competition judge Simon Cowell (“America’s Got Talent”) is 62; actor Dylan Baker (“The Good Wife”) is also 62; actress Paula Newsome (“Chicago Med”) is 60; Exposé lead singer Ann Curless is 58; R&B singer Toni Braxton is 54; Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke is 53; actress Nicole Ari Parker (“Empire”) is 51; actress Allison Munn (“That 70’s Show”) is 47; former NFL linebacker Charles Woodson is also 47: “American Idol” season five winner Taylor Hicks is 45; actor Omar Miller (“The Unicorn”) is 43; twin brother actors Aaron Ashmore and Shawn Ashmore are 42; actor Jake McLaughlin (“Quantico”) is 39; MLB third baseman Evan Longoria is 36; actress Amber Stevens West (“The Carmichael Show”) is 35; pop singer Lewis Capaldi is 25.
Did You Know?
At the time of his first variety series, the controversy surrounding Frank Sinatra’s highly publicized affair with Ava Gardner, along with several unpopular singles, led to the demise of the TV variety series…A failed reboot of “Route 66,” starring James Wilder and Dan Cortese, aired on NBC for four episodes in 1993.