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Today in History: Monday, September 18, 2023

ABC sitcom “The Patty Duke Show” launched in 1963. It aired for three seasons…In 1964, ABC launched “The Addams Family, which like “The Munsters” on CBS, only aired for two seasons

Barbara Eden debuted as a 2,000 year-old (but remarkably well preserved) genie on NBC sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie” in 1965. It ran for five seasons…Also in 1965 was the launch of Emmy-winning “Get Smart,” starring Don Adams and Barbara Feldon. It aired for five seasons: the first four on NBC and the final season on CBS. And it was unsuccessfully revived on Fox for seven episodes in 1995. Three films, to-date, have been produced following the end of the TV series.

In 1969, Tiny Tim announced his engagement to Miss Vicki on NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” Tiptoe through the weird tulips!..Also in 1969, Dick Sargent officially replaced Dick York as Darrin Stephens on ABC comedy “Bewitched“…CBS sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati” began its four season run in 1978. It was revived in first-run syndication as “The New WKRP in Cincinnati” in the fall of 1991.

ABC action/drama “Hardcastle and McCormick,” starring Brian Keith and Daniel Hugh Kelly, launched in 1983. It aired for three seasons…Janet (Joyce DeWitt) got married while Jack Tripper (John Ritter) fell in love with a stewardess name Vicky (Mary Cadorette) and decides to live with her despite her father’s (Robert Mandan) wishes on the one-hour series finale of ABC sitcom “Three’s Company” in 1984. This set the stage for the one season spinoff “Three’s A Crowd”David Letterman aired his first Top 10 List in 1985 on his NBC talk show “Late Night with David Letterman.” The topic of that first list: Top 10 Words That Almost Rhyme with “Peas”…Teenage Leonardo DiCaprio joined the cast of ABC’s “Growing Pains” in 1991 for what it turn out to be the sitcom’s final season…Family drama “Picket Fences” starring Tom Skerritt premiered on CBS in 1992. Created by David E. Kelley, it would win the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series in 1993 and 1994, respectively. The series lasted four seasons.

A Streetcar Named Desire,” directed by Elia Kazan and based on Tennessee Williams’ 1947 play of the same name, starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh, was released in theaters in 1951. The movie won four Oscars, including three acting awards (Leigh for Best Actress, Karl Malden for Best supporting Actor. and Kim Hunter for Best Supporting Actress). Historically, this was the first time a film won three out of four acting awards. Brando was nominated for Best but lost to Humphrey Bogart for “The African Queen.”

Funny Girl,”  based on life of Fanny Brice with Barbra Streisand in the lead role, opened in 1968…One of the most popular guilty-pleasure films of all-time, “Mommie Dearest” starring Faye Dunaway as the Oscar-winning actress with a torturous parenting style Joan Crawford opened in theaters in 1981…The iconic film that explored infidelity and extreme obsession, “Fatal Attraction” starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close was released in theaters in 1987… “Rush Hour” starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker was released in 1998.

Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1976… The rock band KISS appeared on MTV in 1983 without their traditional makeup.

Newspaper heiress Patty Hearst was arrested in 1975 in a San Francisco apartment and arrested for armed robbery. She had been kidnapped from her apartment in Berkeley, California on February 4, 1974 but in April she sent letters to the media saying she was joining the SLA of her own free will.

Celebrity Birthdays
Actor-singer Frankie Avalon is 83; actress Beth Grant (“The Mindy Project”) is 74; actress Anna Deavere Smith (“The West Wing”) is 73; actress Holly Robinson Peete (“21 Jump Street”) is 59; actress and TV host Aisha Tyler (“Whose Line Is It Anyway?”) is 53; actress Jada Pinkett Smith (“Set It Off”) is 52; actor James Marsden (“Dead to Me”) is 50; actress Emily Rutherfurd (“The New Adventures of Old Christine”) is 49; “Ted Lasso” star Jason Sudeikis is 48; legendary Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo is 47; actor-comedian Billy Eichner (“Billy on the Street”) is 45.

Did You Know?
ABC was interested in a fourth season of “The Patty Duke Show, but the production company, United Artists Television, refused the network’s demands to switch to color. ABC also wanted to shift the sitcom’s production from New York to Los Angeles, but Patty Duke, who was then 18, nixed the idea.

Rumor has it that the producers of “I Dream of Jeannie” wanted to replace co-star Larry Hagman with Darren McGavin because he was difficult to work with. There was even a proposed episode written to address the change in casting, but Hagman remained Tony Nelson and rose to greater fame as J.R. Ewing on CBS’ “Dallas.”

In the spring of 1985 ABC had to make a decision which of its two freshman comedies, “Three’s a Crowd” or “Who’s The Boss, it would renew for a second season. Although both sitcoms at the time had equally modest ratings, the network chose “Who’s The Boss?” because it was a fresher concept. “Who’s The Boss?” ultimately went on to an eight season run and is being rebooted from Sony Pictures Television with Tony Danza and Alyssa Milano set to return.