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This Day in History: Tuesday, December 14, 2021


Television and Radio
The Jackson Five made their first appearance on CBS’ “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1969…The Rankin/Bass stop-animation Christmas special “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” featuring the voice of Fred Astaire as its narrator, first aired on ABC in 1970…The first broadcast of “The Barbara Walters Special” was broadcast on ABC in 1976. Walters interviewed President-elect Jimmy Carter, his wife, Rosalynn, and their family, and Barbara Streisand and hairdresser-turned-producer Jon Peters, the then-power couple who had collaborated on Streisand’s hit, “A Star is Born”…The original version of the animated series “Teenage Mutant Ninja Series” debuted as part one of a five-part miniseries in syndication in 1987. It returned as a regular series in the fall of 1988 and ran for 10 seasons…In 2000, Ross (David Schwimmer) on NBC sitcom “Friends” dressed up like an armadillo to introduce his son, Ben, to Hanukkah.

Among the various films that were released: 1) Disaster flick “The Towering Inferno” in 1974. It was directed by Irwin Allen and featured an all-star cast that included Steve McQueenPaul NewmanWilliam Holden and Faye Dunaway…2) Classic disco/coming-of-age drama “Saturday Night Fever” in 1977, which made “Welcome Back Kotter” actor John Travolta a bona fide movie star…3) Zany comedy “The Jerk” in 1979, directed by Carl Reiner and starring Steve Martin…4) Science fiction fantasy “Dune” in 1984 directed by David Lynch and starring Kyle McLachlan…”Philadelphia, directed by Jonathan Demme, and starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington premiered in Century City, California in 1993. Hanks won his first of two Best Actor Oscars for this film…Two notable titles opened in 2001: drama “Vanilla Sky” written and directed by Cameron Crowe and starring Tom CruisePenelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz; parody comedy “Not Another Teen Movie” starring Chris Evans and Skyler Leigh“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” directed by J.J. Abrams and starring Daisy RidleyJohn Boyega and Harrison Ford, had its world premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles in 2015.

Reaching No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart: “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye in 1968; “Leaving on a Jet Plane”  sung by Peter, Paul and Mary, and written by John Denver in 1969.

In 1972, American astronaut Eugene Cernan became the last person in the 20th century to walk on the surface of the moon…The Coca-Cola Company introduced a new sugar-free, calorie-free but caffeinated soda called Tab Clear in 1992. The product lasted less than two years.
Celebrity Birthdays:
Singer-actress Abbe Lane is 89; actor Hal Williams (“227”) is 83; actress Dee Wallace (“E.T.”) is 73; Baseball Hall of Fame infielder Craig Biggio is 56; actress Natascha McElhone (“Californication”) is 50; singer Vanessa Hudgens is 33; actress-rapper Nora Lum (aka Awkwafina) is 33; singer Tori Kelly is 29.

Did You Know?
“Friends” ranked fifth overall for the 2000-01 TV season, which featured “The One With the Holiday Armadillo” episode. First overall was CBS’ “Survivor” at a 17.4 household rating, followed by NBC’s “ER” (15.0), two episodes of ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” – Wednesday (13.7) and Tuesday (13.0) and “Friends,” which was tied with “Monday Night Football” on ABC and “Everybody Loves Raymond” on CBS with a 12.6 rating.