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Today in History: Friday, July 28, 2023

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The live NBC quiz show “Up to Paar, hosted by Jack Paar five years before he sat in “The Tonight Show” chair, debuted in 1952. It aired three nights per week for two months and it was Paar’s first television series…In 1957, the country crooner Jerry Lee Lewis made his first TV appearance ever on “The Steve Allen Show” on NBC…Comedian Andy Kaufman and wrestler Jerry Lawler appeared on NBC’s “Late Night with David Letterman” in 1982 where they both exchanged insults and resulted in Kaufman having fallen to the ground from Lawler’s smack across his face. It was later revealed the fight was staged…NFL analyst Cris Collinsworth was host of “Guinness World Records Primetime,” which premiered on Fox in 1998. It aired in special telecasts until 2001…Kathie Lee Gifford ended her 15-year co-hosting stint at “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee” in 2000.

“White Zombie, starring Bela Lugosi, was released in theaters in 1932. It is considered the first feature length zombie film. A sequel, “Revolt of the Zombies, opened in 1936Walt Disney’s animated musical film “Alice In Wonderland” opened in 1951…On the Waterfront,” directed by Elia Kazan starring Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint (in her first movie role), was released in 1954. It won the Academy Award for Best Picture that year…One of the most iconic comedies of all-time, “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” starring John Belushi, premiered in 1978…Detective comedy “Turner & Hooch” starring Tom Hanks was released in 1989…Two films opened in 1995: the big-budgeted but box office disappointment “Waterworld” starring Kevin Costner; and, “The Net“, Sandra Bullock‘s first thriller as a lead star…Shark thriller “Deep Blue Sea” starring Thomas JaneLL Cool J and Samuel L. Jackson, opened in 1999.

Gloria Estefan released her debut solo album “Cuts Both Ways” in 1989…Mary J. Blige released her debut album “What’s the 411,” with production by Puff Daddy, in 1992.


A B-25 U.S. Army bomber got lost in a blinding fog in Manhattan in 1945 and crashed into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building, killing 14 and injuring 26. Betty Lou Oliver was given the nickname “Elevator Girl” by surviving the 75-story fall of the elevator she was in following the crash…Lee Majors and Farrah Fawcett tied the knot in 1973. Their marriage lasted nine years…U.S. senator John McCain famously gave a thumbs-down on the Senate floor in 2017 as he helped prevent a “skinny” repeal of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).
An estimated 12,000 performers took part in the Opening Ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984. The event was produced by “Roots” producer David Wolper and aired in the U.S. on ABC…Also in Los Angeles, Montreal Expos pitcher Dennis Martinez blanked the Dodgers 2-0 in 1991, marking the 13th perfect game in MLB history… MLB’s 14th perfect game was pitched by Kenny Rogers in Arlington, Tex. in 1994. It was the Texas Rangers‘ only perfect game in the franchise’s history, as Rogers defeated the California Angels 4-0…Then New York Yankee Darryl Strawberry hit his 300th home run in 1996.

Celebrity Birthdays
Retired Cincinnati Reds sportscaster Marty Brennaman is 81; Hall of Fame basketball player and former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley is 80; “Garfield” cartoonist Jim Davis is 78; actress Linda Kelsey (“Lou Grant”) is 77; actress Sally Struthers (“All in the Family”) is 76; actress Lori Laughlin (“Full House”) is 59; UFC president Dana White is 54; actress Elizabeth Berkley (“Saved by the Bell”, “Showgirls”) is 51; San Antonio Spurs legend Manu Ginóbili is 46.

Did You Know?
“On the Waterfront” received 12 Academy Award nominations and won eight, including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Marlon Brandon), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Eva Marie Saint), and Best Director (Eliz Kazan). The film is ranked by the American Film Institute as the eighth-greatest American movie of all time…Three failed TV sitcoms, all in early 1979, were spun-off from “Animal House”: ABC’s “Delta House,” NBC’s “Brothers and Sisters,” and “Co-Ed Fever” on CBS (which was axed after just one episode).