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Today in History: Saturday, December 23, 2023

Television and Radio
The long-defunct Dumont Network aired the first televised NFL championship game (the Los Angeles Rams vs. the Cleveland Browns) in 1951 for a reported $75,000…In the classic episode of the original “The Twilight Zone” on CBS in 1959 titled “The Night of the Meek,” Art Carney portrayed a drunk and disorderly department store Santa Claus who gets fired on Christmas Eve but then discovered a mysterious bag that gives out presents. The closing narration from Rod Serling: A word to the wise to all the children of the twentieth century, whether their concern be pediatrics or geriatrics, whether they crawl on hands and knees and wear diapers or walk with a cane and comb their beards. There’s a wondrous magic to Christmas and there’s a special power reserved for little people. In short, there’s nothing mightier than the meek.

Margaret Hamilton’s costume caught fire while filming “The Wizard of Oz” in 1938. The incident occurred during the scene of her fiery exit from Munchkinland. Hamilton needed a few weeks to recover in the hospital and at home, before coming back to the set to finish her part as the Wicked Witch…”Good Morning, Vietnam” with Robin Williams in an Academy Award-nominated starring role premiered in theaters in 1987…“As Good as It Gets”, written and directed by James L. Brooks, and starring Jack NicholsonHelen Hunt and Greg Kinnear, opened in theaters in 1997. Nicholson and Hunt won the Oscars for Best Lead Actor and Lead Actress, respectively.

Reaching No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart: “Another Day in Paradise” by Phil Collins in 1989.

“Emma” by Jane Austen by published by John Murray in London in 1815.

Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, serving a life sentence for attempted assassination of President Gerald Ford, escapes from Alderson Prison in 1987. She was captured two days later and incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell, in Fort Worth, Texas.

In 1972, running back Franco Harris caught a deflected pass to score the winning touchdown for his Pittsburgh Steelers, who defeated the Oakland Raiders. It was one of the most famous plays in NFL history and dubbed as the “Immaculate Reception“… Colorado Avalanche Jari Kurri became the eighth NHLer to score 600 career goals in 1997.

Celebrity Birthdays:
Actor-comedian Ronnie Schell (“Gomer Pyle”) is 92; “The Simpsons” voice actor/writer Harry Shearer is 80; “All My Children” star Susan Lucci is 77; actress Joan Severance (“Wiseguy”) is 65; Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh is 60; Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder is 59; “Stranger Things” star Finn Wolfhard is 21.

Did You Know?
Susan Lucci made six guest appearances on the original “Dallas” in its final season (in 1990-91). More recently, she appeared in primetime on Lifetime drama “Devious Maids” from 2013 to 2016.