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Today in History: Sunday, March 20, 2021

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News coverage flooded the airwaves in 1976 when Patricia Hearst was convicted of armed robbery…CBS daytime soap opera “Capitol,” which debuted on March 29, 1982, concluded in 1987…Three sitcoms premiered: “13 Queens Blvd, starring Eileen Brennan and Jerry Van Dyke, on ABC in 1979; “All is Forgiven” on NBC in 1982 (from James Burrows, Glen Charles and Les Charles — the creators of “Cheers”), and “The Charmings” on ABC in 1987…ABC aired sketch comedy special “Bizarre!,” hosted by “Family Feud’s” Richard Dawson. The network passed on “Bizarre!” as a series, but the production moved up north to Canada, found a new host (John Byner) and had a six-season run on Canada’s CTV. Showtime aired it in the United States…In part one of the two-part season one finale of CBS’ “Knots Landing” in 1980, Gary (Ted Shackelford) went on an alcoholic rampage to the dismay of his wife Val (Joan Van Ark)…Two made-for television movies competed against each other in 1988: comedy “Hot Paint” with Gregory Harrison and John Larroquette on CBS; and a revival of “Inherit the Wind” on NBC with Jason Robards and Kirk Douglas...Janice Pennington was awarded $1.3 million in 1992 for injuries she sustained after an accident on game show “The Price is Right” on June 8, 1988…Erik and Lyle Menendez were found guilty of killing their parents in 1996.

”My Breakfast with Blassie, a film featuring “Taxi” star Andy Kaufman and professional wrestler and manager Fred Blassie, opened in 1983…Two modern film classics opened in theaters: “Basic Instinct,” starring Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone in 1992, and “Wild Things,” starring Neve Campbell (“Party of Five”), Denise RichardsMatt DillonKevin Bacon and Bill Murray in 1998.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1982…Madonna’s “Vogue” was released as a single in 1990.  

Celebrity Birthdays
“The Dick Van Dyke Show” creator and co-star
Carl Reiner is 98; Hal Linden (“Barney Miller”) is 89; Oscar winner William Hurt (“Kiss of the Spider Woman”) is 70; director Spike Lee is 63; Oscar winner Holly Hunter (“The Piano”) is 62; model Kathy Ireland is 57; Liza Snyder (“Yes, Dear”) is 52; Michael Rapaport (“Boston Public”) is 50; Cedric Yarborough (“Speechless”, “Carol’s Second Act”) is 47; Mikey Day (“Saturday Night Live”) is 40; Ruby Rose (“Batwoman”) is 44.

-Did You Know?:
The original version of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” was called “Man of the House,” with Carl Reiner as Rob Petrie who was employed as a writer for a comedy show modeled after Reiner’s experience working with Sid Caesar. Laura Petrie was played by Barbara Britton, Buddy Sorrell by Morty Gunty, Sally Rogers by Sylvia Miles and Richie Petrie by Gary Morgan. After CBS passed on “Man of the House,” a new re-titled version was to star either Johnny Carson or Dick Van Dyke. Carson was a game show host at the time and Van Dyke was starring in Broadway musical, “Bye Bye Birdie.”