Posted in:

This Day in History: Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Television and Radio
A then-record 68 percent of all television sets in the United States — more than the inauguration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower the following day — tuned in for the birth of Little Ricky on CBS sitcom “I Love Lucy” in 1953…CBS anthology drama “The Millionaire” began its six season run in 1955. The series told the stories of people who were given one million dollars from a benefactor who insisted they must never know his identity, with one exception…On an episode of ABC’s “Batman” in 1967, “It’s My Party” singer Lesley Gore portrayed Catwoman’s sidekick Pussycat…CBS primetime newsmagazine “48 Hours” opened in 1988. In the mid-2000s, the program transitioned into its current format, originally known as “48 Hours Mystery”, which mainly presents true crime documentaries…On an episode of CBS mystery drama “Murder, She Wrote” in 1992, Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) visited Universal Studios to discuss the filming of one of her novels, but discovered the producer (Ron Liebman) bludgeoned to death in the foyer of the infamous Bates house — the setting of Alfred Hitchcock‘s 1960 thriller “Psycho” (a Mr. TV film favorite!)

“Donnie Darko” starring Jake Gyllenhaal premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2001.

Bruce Springsteen single “Born in the USA” peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard charts in 1985… Reaching No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart: “Show & Tell” by Al Wilson in 1974; “Rock With You” by Michael Jackson in 1980; “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” by Janet Jackson in 1991.

Board game Scrabble from Mattel debuted in 1955. In 1984, “Scrabble” was turned into a daytime game show on NBC… a trace of snow fell in Miami, Fla. in 1977; the first time in recorded history that it did so in that city… the company Research in Motion introduced the two-way pager and mobile e-mail reader called BlackBerry in 1999; it was among the first generation smartphone models.

Sandy Koufax, Yogi Berra and Early Wynn were elected to Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.

Celebrity Birthdays:
Actress Tippi Hedrin (“The Birds”) is 91; news anchor Robert MacNeil is 90; actress Shelley Fabares (“The Donna Reed Show”) is 79; Beloved country singer-songwriter Dolly Parton is 75; actor Desi Arnaz Jr. (“Here’s Lucy”) is 68; actress Katey Sagal (“Married with Children”) is 67; comedian Paul Rodriguez is 66; actor William Ragsdale (“Herman’s Head”) is 60; champion tennis player Stefan Edberg is 55; actor Shawn Wayans (“Scary Movie”) is 50; actress Drea de Matteo (“The Sopranos”) is 49; actor-comedian Frank Caliendo (“Mad TV”) is 47; “Full House”/”Fuller House” star Jodie Sweetin is 39; presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is 39.

Did You Know?
The airdate of “Lucy Goes to the Hospital” (January 19, 1953) on “I Love Lucy” was chosen to coincide with Lucille Ball’s real-life scheduled Caesarean delivery of her own child, Desi Arnaz, Jr.  For the five episodes following this one, any scene featuring Lucy was filmed in advance to accommodate Ball’s leave, with “flashback” opening scenes with only the other cast members filmed closer to the actual airdate.