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Today in History: Friday, January 26, 2024

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The Dukes of Hazzard” opened its seven-season run on CBS in 1979. The hour-long action comedy, which was inspired by the 1975 film “Moonrunners, was a top 10 staple in primetime from 1979 to 1982. In its peak season, 1980-81, it finished second overall (behind “Dallas,” which immediately followed it on Friday)…Also debuting in 1979 were two short-lived NBC sitcoms: “Turnabout” starring John Schuck and Sharon Gless; and, “Hello, Larry” starring MacLean Stevenson…Detective drama “Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer,” starring Stacy Keach, debuted on CBS in 1984. Darren McGavin originally played the role of Mike Hammer in a syndicated version of the series from 1957 to 1959…Also in 1984, on an episode of NBC sitcom “Family Ties“, Uncle Ned (Tom Hanks) visits the Keaton family and they eventually confront him about his alcoholism…Family science-fiction series “Otherworld” debuted on CBS in 1985. It co-starred Jonathan Banks (“Breaking Bad”). Only eight episodes had aired…Following the Chicago Bears’ dominant 46-10 win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX in 1986, NBC debuted the Stephen J. Cannell comedy “The Last Precinct” starring Adam West and “Ghostbusters'” Ernie Hudson. It returned as a Friday night series on NBC later that spring but it only ran for seven additional episodes…Two series premiered in 1994: sci-fi drama “Babylon 5” on TNT; animated “The Critic” on ABC that starred Jon Lovitz…Critically acclaimed ABC drama “My So-Called Life, starring Claire Danes, concluded after just one season in 1995…Following the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 48-21 victory over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003, ABC aired the action-packed special episode of spy drama “Alias” entitled “Phase One”, with a start time of 11:01 p.m. Eastern. Although creator J.J. Abrams‘ reset of the series’ plotline was a critical favorite, “Alias” (at 17.36 million viewers) remains as the least-watched post-Super Bowl telecast to-date…Also on ABC in 2003, late night talker “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” debuted. Kimmel’s first guests were George Clooney and Snoop Dogg.

Romantic comedy “The Wedding Planner” starring Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey was released in theaters in 2001.

Single “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” by Elvis Presley hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1961…Bishop Burke of Buffalo Catholic dioceses declared Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” to be impure and bans it from all Catholic schools in 1962…Single “Blame It (On The Alcohol)” was released by Jamie Foxx featuring T-Pain in 2009. It was named the Billboard Song of the Year…Reaching No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart: “You’re Sixteen” by Ringo Starr in 1974; “The First Time” by Surface in 1991.

Hank Greenberg and Joe Cronin were elected to Baseball Hall of Fame in 1956…Los Angeles Lakers basketball legend Kobe Bryant and eight other passengers (including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna) were killed in a helicopter crash in foggy conditions in the hills above Calabasas, Southern California in 2020.

The world’s largest diamond, the 3,106-carat Cullinan, was found in South Africa in 1905…At a White House press conference in 1998, President Bill Clinton declared “I did not have sex with woman Miss Lewinsky.“… Condoleezza Rice was sworn in as U.S. Secretary of State in 2005, the first African American woman to hold the post…The World Health Organization in 2010 rejected claims that it overstated the severity of the swine flu pandemic under pressure from vaccine companies.

Celebrity Birthdays:
Sports announcer-actor Bob Uecker is 90; actor Scott Glenn (“The Right Stuff”) is 85; singer Jean Caliste aka Jean Knight is 81; actor David Strathairn (“A League of Their Own”) is 75; comedienne Ellen DeGeneres is 66; singer Anita Baker is also 66; Hockey player Wayne Gretzky is 63; guitarist Andrew Ridgeley (from Wham!) is 61; actor Bryan Callen (“The Goldbergs”) is 57; gospel singer Kirk Franklin is 54; actor Gilles Marini (“Sex and the City” movie) is 48; actress Sara Rue (“B Positive”) is 45.

Did You Know?
Sonny Shroyer, who played Officer Enos Strate on “The Dukes of Hazzard, was the subject of spin-off series “Enos” on CBS in the 1980-81 season. After “Enos” failed, the character was shipped back to fictional Hazzard County…Prior to the show’s début, Stacy Keach starred as Mike Hammer in made-for-TV movies “Murder Me, Murder You” in (April 9, 1983) and “More Than Murder” (January 26, 1984).