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Today in History: Sunday, September 10, 2023

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The western “Gunsmoke” began its historical 20-season run on CBS on 1955. A total of 635 episodes were produced, plus five made-for television reunion movies…In 1966, NBC aired the first Miss America pageant televised in color. The ceremony was hosted by Bert Parks.. NBC first aired the controversial made-for-TV movie “Born Innocent” in 1974. It starred Linda Blair as a naive teenager trying to survive being locked up for being an incorrigible runaway…Comedy “It’s Garry Shandling Show” premiered on Showtime in 1986. The series, winner of multiple CableACE Awards throughout its four-season run, featured Shandling and his supporting characters often breaking the fourth wall and talking to the audience. Then-newly launched Fox network also aired the program starting in the spring of 1988…”The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” the sitcom that made rapper Will Smith a household name, debuted on NBC in 1990. The series, which also starred Alfonso Ribeiro who popularized the dance named after his character “The Carlton,” ran for six seasons…Fox launched sci-fi drama “The X-Files” in 1993. It ran for nine initial seasons and was revived in January 2016 for two additional short seasons…The first episode of the daily syndicated version of Jeopardy! with Alex Trebek as host began in 1984.

True Romance“, the romance-crime film starring an ensemble cast: Christian Slater, Patricia ArquetteBrad PittGary OldmanDennis HopperVal KilmerMichael RapaportJames GandolfiniBronson Pinchot and Christopher Walken — opened in theaters in 1993. The film was written by Quentin Tarantino.

Rod Stewart recorded his first single, “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, in 1964…Neil Diamond had his first Billboard chart success with single “Cherry Cherry” in 1966…Rock band Nirvana release their single “Smells like Teen Spirit, often dubbed the anthem of Generation X, in 1991… Reaching No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart: “Maniac” (from the film “Flashdance”) by Michael Sembello in 1983; “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses in 1988.

Swanson & Sons told its first TV dinner in 1953. The branded frozen meal sold 5,000 units when it was first introduced. Just one year later, the company had sold over 10 million TV dinners. By 1956, the Swanson brothers were selling 13 million TV dinners annually.
In 1989, five days after hitting a home run with the New York Yankees, Deion Sanders returned a punt 68 yards for a touchdown for the Atlanta Falcons, the first touchdown of his NFL career. Sanders is the only athlete in sports history to accomplish hitting an MLB home run and scoring a touchdown in the NFL within the same week.

Celebrity Birthdays
Actor Greg Mullavey (“Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman”) is 84; singer Jose Feliciano is 78; TV host Bill O’Reilly is 74; Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry is 73; actress Amy Irving is 70; actor Clark Johnson (“Homicide: Life on the Street”) is 69; Kate Burton (“Scandal”) is 66;  film director Chris Columbus (“Mrs. Doubtfire”) is 65; actor Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”) is 63; film director Guy Ritchie (“Snatch”) is 55; actor Ryan Phillippe (“I Know What You Did Last Summer”) is 49; American ballerina Misty Copeland is 41.

Did You Know?
“Gunsmoke” spun-off a half-hour western called “Dirty Sally” starring Jeanette Nolan in 1974. It ran for 14 episodes. And “The X-Files” also had a failed spinoff: “The Lone Gunmen,” which aired for 13 episodes in 2001…Lucille Ball encouraged producer Merv Griffin to hire Alex Trebek to host “Jeopardy!” as it was readying for a syndicated relaunch in 1983.