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Today in History: Sunday, January 21, 2024

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The western “Alias Smith and Jones, headlined by Peter Duel and Ben Murphy, debuted on ABC in 1971. Midway through season two, Peter Duel, 31, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and his role of Joshua Smith was recast with Roger Davis (who had provided narration for the series). It lasted one additional season after the casting change…Made-for-TV thriller “Something Evil” starring Sandy DennisDarren McGavin and Ralph Bellamy premiered on CBS in 1972. It was directed by Steven Spielberg…”Code R“, the drama about the police, fire and ocean rescue departments of the California Channel Islands, debuted on CBS in 1977. The series, which starred James HoughtonMartin Kove and Tom Simcox, ran for only 13 episodes…“Brothers and Sisters”, the second comedy derived from theatrical “Animal House”, premiered on NBC following Super Bowl XIII in 1979. It starred Chris LemmonMary Crosby and William Windom… Aaron Spelling medical drama “Nightingales”, starring Suzanne Pleshette, opened on NBC in 1989. The series was developed from a pilot television movie of the same name that aired in June 1988. Only 13 episodes were produced…”Savannah” from Aaron Spelling, starring Jamie LunerRobin Lively and Shannon Sturges, debuted on The WB in 1996. Created by Constance M. Burge, the prime time soap ran for only two seasons. Spelling and Burge followed that up with another series centered on three women which proved much more successful for The WB: the witches’ drama “Charmed“…Two series launched on Fox: police procedural “Lie To Me” in 2009 starring Tim Roth and Kelli Williams, and psychological thriller “The Following” in 2013 starring Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy. Each lasted three seasons apiece…”Walker“, the reboot to the 90’s Western drama “Walker, Texas Ranger“, launched on The CW in 2021. Starring Jared Padalecki, it debuted to 2.4 million viewers on the night, which made it the network’s most-watched telecast since Jan. 30, 2018.

Bee Gees album “Saturday Night Fever” went No. 1 on the Billboard charts for 24 weeks in 1978. It is one of the best-selling albums in history, and remains the second-biggest-selling soundtrack of all time, after “The Bodyguard”, selling 40 million copies worldwide…Reaching No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart: “Owner of a Lonely Heart” by Yes in 1984; “Two Hearts” by Phil Collins in 1989; “Grillz” by Nelly featuring Paul WallAli & Gipp in 2006; “Bad and Boujee” by Migos featuring Lil Uzi Vert in 2017.
Agatha Christie published her first novel “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” in 1921.

L.A. Lakers forward Kobe Bryant became the youngest NBA player to reach 25,000 career points in 2010.

More than two million participants worldwide took part in the Women’s March in 2017, as a response to Donald Trump’s inauguration from the day prior; nearly 500,000 marched in Washington, D.C.

Celebrity Birthdays:
Legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus is 84; opera singer Placido Domingo is 84; actress Jill Eikenberry (“L.A. Law”) is 77; Singer Billy Ocean is 74; former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is 73; Oscar winner Geena Davis is 68; NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon is 61; actress Charlotte Ross (“Days of Our Lives”) is 56; Baby Spice of the Spice Girls aka Emma Bunton is 48; actor Luke Grimes (“Yellowstone”) is 40.

Did You Know?
The biggest failure of the three sitcoms that tried to capitalize on the success of theatrical “Animal House” was “Co-Ed Fever” on CBS. After a special preview on February 4, 1979, it never made it to its regularly scheduled time period. The additional five episodes produced never aired.