Posted in:

Today in History: Sunday, December 17, 2023

Television and Radio
Musical-variety themed “The Nat King Cole Show”, which was then one of the first television series hosted by an African American individual, concluded its two season run on this day in 1957. The reason for the cancellation was a loss of a sponsorship…The ABC daytime serial “One Life to Live, which debuted on July 15, 1968, aired its 6.000th telecast in 1991. It concluded on January 13, 2012 and was briefly revived digitally in 2013…Cop drama “The Blue Knight” starring George Kennedy premiered as a weekly series on CBS in 1975. It aired for 17 episodes across two seasons…On the NBC sitcom “Sanford and Son” in 1976, Fred (Redd Foxx), Lamont (Demond Wilson) and Bubba (Don Bexley) appeared on “The Gong Show”…Also in 1976, Atlanta “SuperStation” WTCG began broadcasting nationwide via satellite. Three years later, it changed its call letters to WTBS — the network that is known as TBS, as of today…Medical-themed sitcom “House Calls” starring Lynn Redgrave and Wayne Rogers debuted on CBS in 1979. When a dispute with production following the birth of her child led to the exit of Redgrave after season two. Sharon Gless, pre-“Cagney & Lacey”, stepped in for the final third season…Animated “The Simpsons”, which was introduced on variety half-hour “The Tracey Ullman Show”, debuted as a standalone series in 1989…On an episode of ABC sitcom “Home Improvement” in 1991, Tim Taylor (Tim Allen) introduced his new invention — a rotating Christmas tree — on his do-it-yourself studio show “Tool Time.”

“Goldfinger”, starring Sean Connery and Honor Blackman premiered in London in 1964. It was the third installment of the “James Bond” series…Other notable releases: “Diamonds Are Forever” also starring Connery in 1971; The revival of “King Kong” starring Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange in 1976; “Tootsie” starring Dustin HoffmanBill Murray and Jessica Lange in 1982; “The Pelican Brief” with Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington in 1993; “Stuart Little” with Geena DavisHugh Laurie and the voice of Michael J. Fox in 1999; and “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” in 2003.

Reaching No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart: “Here Comes the Hotstepper” by Ini Kamoze in 1994.

In 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first controlled powered, heavier-than-air flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. A small gasoline engine worked the plane’s propellers. Its first flight lasted twelve seconds for a total distance of 37 meters (120 feet).

In 1991, the most lopsided game in NBA history occurred in Cleveland, Ohio when the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Miami Heat 148-80 — a margin of victory of 68 points.

Celebrity Birthdays:
Religious figure Jorge Mario Bergoglio aka Pope Francis is 87; actor Ernie Hudson (“Ghostbusters”) is 78; former MSNBC host Chris Matthews is also 78; actor-comedian Eugene Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”) is77; actor Bill Pullman (“The Sinner”) is 70; actor Barry Livingston (“My Three Sons”) is also 70; “Sunday Night Football” sideline reporter Michele Tafoya is 59; former Ultimate Fighting champion Chuck Liddell is 54; actress Claire Forlani (“Meet Joe Black”) is 52; actress Laurie Holden (“The Walking Dead”) is 51; actor Giovonni Ribisi (“Sneaky Pete”) is 49; actress Sarah Paulson (“Nurse Ratched”) is also 49; actress-model Milla Jovovich (“The Fifth Element”) is 48; boxing champion Manny Pacquiao is 45.

Did You Know?
“Sanford and Son” spun-off three NBC sitcoms, and they were all short-lived. “Grady, starring Whitman Mayo, aired in the 1975-76 season. “The Sanford Arms” was a continuation of “Sanford and Son” (without Redd Foxx and Demond Wilson). It ran in the fall of 1977. And “Sanford” marked Redd Foxx’s return (without Demond Wilson). It ran for two half seasons from 1980-81.