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Today in History: Saturday, August 19, 2023


ABC was the first television network to begin Saturday morning programming for children beginning in 1950 with informational program “Animal Clinic” and the western circus setting of “Acrobat Ranch, where kids competed in games and stunts. Both programs originated from Chicago…“The Midnight Special, a 90-minute late night musical variety series following the Friday edition of “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” on NBC, premiered as a special in 1972. It began its eight season run as a regularly scheduled series on Feb. 2, 1973…Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey jumped on the growing docuseries bandwagon in “Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica” on MTV, which debuted in 2003. In the first episode, Simpson famously stated, “Is this chicken, what I have, or is this fish? I know it’s tuna, but it says Chicken…by the Sea.” “Newlyweds” ran three seasons and ended its run in March, 2005. The couple divorced in June 2006

Enter the Dragon,” the martial arts motion picture that marked the first Hollywood production for action star Bruce Lee, opened in theaters in 1973. In 2004, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

“My Sharonna” by the Knack hits #1 on the Billboard charts in 1979…“The Fame, debut album by Lady Gaga, is released (Grammy Award Album of the Year, Best Electronic/Dance Album 2009).

Life Savers candy was officially trademarked by its inventor Clarence Crane in 1913. He invented the brand in 1912 as a “summer candy” that could withstand heat better than chocolate. The candy’s name is due to the fact that its shape resembles that of a traditional ring-style life preserver also known as a “life saver”…President Gerald Ford won Republican presidential nomination at Kansas City convention in 1976.

In 2004 in Athens, Greece: Carly Patterson became the second American female in Olympic history to win the gold medal in the individual all-around competition in gymnastics; the first American woman to do so in a non-boycotted Olympics (the Soviet Union boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics when Mary Lou Retton had won.)

Celebrity Birthdays
Actress Debra Paget (“Love Me Tender”) is 90; actress Diana Muldaur (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”) is 85; singer Johnny Nash is 83; actress Jill St. John (“Diamonds Are Forever”) is also 83; former President Bill Clinton is 77; actor Gerald McRaney (“Simon & Simon”) is 76; actor Jim Carter (“Downton Abbey”) is 75; actor Jonathan Frakes (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”) is 71; actor Peter Gallagher (“The O.C.”) is 68; actor-director Adam Arkin is 67; legendary NFL kicker Morten Andersen is 63; former Mets pitcher Ron Darling is also 63; actor Eric Lutes (“Caroline in the City”) is 61; actor John Stamos (“Full House”) 60; “The Closer star Kyra Sedgwick is 58; actor Kevin Dillon (“Entourage”) is also 58; country singer Lee Ann Womack is 57; former MTV reporter Tabitha Soren is 56; “Friends” star Matthew Perry is 54; college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit is also 54; rapper Fat Joe is 53; former tennis player Mary Joe Fernández is 52; actress Tracie Thoms (“Cold Case”) is 48; Erika Chistensen (“Parenthood”) is 41; actress Melissa Fumero (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) is also 41; singer Christina Perri is 37; rapper Romeo is 34,

Did You Know?
Since “Friends, Matthew Perry has appeared as a regular on four network series: “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” (NBC: 2006-07), and sitcoms “Mr. Sunshine” (ABC: 2011), “Go On” (NBC: 2012-13) and the latest revival of “The Odd Couple” (CBS: 2015-17).