Posted in:

Today in History: Saturday, February 24, 2024

Television and Radio
The original police procedural “S.W.A.T.” launched on ABC in 1975. The characters were introduced on the network’s “The Rookies.”  The series, which starred Steve Forrest and Robert Urich, only lasted two seasons and was remade on CBS with Shemar Moore in the lead role. There was also a film version of “S.W.A.T.” in 2003 with Colin Farrell..Space comedy “Quark” created by Buck Henry and starring Richard Benjamin debuted on NBC in 1977. Only eight episodes aired…NBC television movie “Harper Valley PTA,” starring Barbara Eden, debuted in 1980. It was based on the 1978 theatrical of the same name, which itself was based on the 1968 country song of the same name recorded by Jeannie C. Riley. And it led to the two season sitcom from 1981 to 1982…Also in 1980: Polly Holliday exited CBS sitcom “Alice” for her spinoff called “Flo” centered on her sassy Florence Jean Castleberry. “Flo” lasted just over one season and “Alice,” who initially added Diane Ladd, as Belle was never as good….In 1985, Yul Brynner reprised his role in “The King and I” onstage, which was the subject of a short-lived CBS comedy called “Anna and the King” (with Brynner and Samantha Eggar) in the fall of 1972…In 1997, syndicated game show “Wheel of Fortune” premiered its digital puzzle board where Vanna White could reveal letters simply by touching its screens.

A silent film version of Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” opened in New York in 1916. This was the first motion picture filmed underwater…“The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” based on novel by Muriel Spark and starring Maggie Smith opened in London in 1969. Smith won her first of two Oscars for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

Johnny Weissmuller won his first gold medal in 100-meters freestyle in the 1924 Paris Olympics. He went on to win Gold in the 400-meters freestyle and as part of the 800-meters freestyle relay team… two days following the “Miracle on Ice” game, the United States defeated Finland 4-2 to win the gold medal in men’s ice hockey at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. in 1980.

Danielle Steel’s novel “Big Girl” was published in 2010.
The Jewish organization Hadassah was founded in New York City in 1912. The organization advocates on behalf of women’s rights, religious autonomy and US-Israel diplomacy…Britain’s Prince Charles announced his engagement to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. Also in 1981, Jean Harris was convicted of murdering Scarsdale diet doctor Herman Tarnower…In 1989, Margaret Ray was found in David Letterman’s home, claiming to be his wife…In 1998, Elton John was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in London…Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of rape and a criminal sexual act in landmark case that ignited #MeToo movement in 2020.

Celebrity Birthdays:
Actor Dominic Chianese (“The Sopranos”) is 93; actor Barry Bostwick (“Spin City”) is 79; actor Edward James Olmos (“Battlestar Galactica”) is 77; Investigation Discovery host Paula Zahn is 68; actor Mark Moses (“Desperate Housewives”) is 66; actor Billy Zane (“Titanic”) is 58; boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is 47; actor Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”) is 35.

Did You Know?
“Anna and the King” led into another new comedy, which started out slow but rose to the Top 10 when CBS moved it in season two to Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET out of “All in the Family” and into “The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The name of that series was “M*A*S*H”…Legend has it that Linda Lavin on “Alice” was jealous of Polly Holliday’s success as Flo. So, CBS shipped Holliday off to her own spinoff sitcom and brought in Diane Ladd (who originated the role of Flo in 1974 theatrical “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”). When Ladd exited after one season, Celia Weston joined the cast as Jolene Hunnicutt.