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Today in History: Saturday, November 11, 2023

Brian Epstein and Ed Sullivan signed a three episode contract for The Beatles in 1963…The characters of Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney were introduced on an episode of ABC’s “Happy Days” in 1975. Less than three months later, the spinoff “Laverne & Shirley” launched on January 27, 1976, and immediately rose to the top of the ratings charts…In 1980, the Ted Knight sitcom “Too Close For Comfort” debuted. When ABC canceled it after three seasons, it moved into first-run syndication for three more seasons (and was retitled “The Ted Knight Show” in the final retooled season). The producers expressed interest in a seventh season, but sadly Ted Knight passed away on August 26, 1986.

“Gentlemen’s Agreement,” directed by Elia Kazan and starring Gregory Peck and Dorothy McGuire opened in New York in 1947. It won three Oscars — Best Picture, Best Director and Celeste Holm for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture…Neil Simon’s Prisoner of Second Avenue” opened in New York City in 1971. It starred Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft.

In 1925, Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five begin their first recording session…Kate Smith first sang Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” in 1939…Taylor Swift released her second studio album “Fearless” in 2008. It won the Grammy Album of the Year and Billboard Album of the Year.

“Catch-22” by Joseph Heller was published by Simon and Schuster in New York in 1961.

Celebrity Birthdays:
Actor Stanley Tucci is 63; actress Demi Moore is 60; “Ally McBeal” star Calista Flockhart is 59; TV personality Carson Kressley (“Queer Eye For the Straight Guy”) is 54; actor David DeLuise (“Wizards of Waverly Place”) is 52; actor Tyler Christopher (“General Hospital”) is 51; Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio is 49; former New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz is 37; “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” musical director Jon Batiste is also 37; American figure skater Adam Rippon is 34; actress Christa B. Allen (“Revenge”) is 32.

Did You Know?
“Laverne & Shirley” spun-off an animated series called “Laverne & Shirley in the Army,” which aired on Saturday morning in the 1981-82 season and was loosely based on the 1979 two-part episode “We’re in the Army Now” in which Laverne and Shirley enlisted in the Army. The following season, the series was re-titled “Laverne & Shirley with the “Fonz” and then combined with a half-hour adaptation of “Mork & Mindy” to form the “Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour”…Originally, the focus of “Too Close For Comfort” was on the two daughters of Ted Knight’s Henry Rush: Deborah Van Valkenburgh as Jackie and Lydia Cornell as Sara. But after the response of Jim J Bullock as Sara’s friend Monroe Rush in what was supposed to be a one-episode guest appearance, Bullock remained with the series and became the focal point.