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Today in History – Thursday, April 1, 2021

Television and Radio
The final episode of “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour,” which featured guest stars Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams, aired on CBS in 1960…Two daytime dramas, ABC’s “General Hospital” and NBC’s “The Doctors,” debuted in 1963. “The Doctors” aired through Dec. 31, 1982…”The Andy Griffith Show” concluded its eight season run on CBS in 1968. It ranked first overall in all of primetime for that final season, and featured many of the characters continuing in spin-off “Mayberry RFD””The Bob Newhart Show” ended its six season run on CBS in 1978…”Helter Skelter, a two-night miniseries based on the book by prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry, debuted on CBS in 1976. The event, with Steve Railsback as Charles Manson, followed the murders committed by the Charles Manson Family. It concluded on April 2…Children’s cable network Nickelodeon launched in 1979. Other cable networks that began operations: Viacom-owned humor network “Ha!” in 1990 (merged with HBO’s The Comedy Channel to become Comedy Central in June 1991), movie network Encore (now known as Starz Encore) in 1991, and Cartoon Network’s spin-off channel Boomerang in 2000… CBS began its “Crimetime After Prime Time” late-night strip in 1991. Its umbrella of shows were mostly Canadian-produced action-adventure series like “Sweating Bullets” (aka “Tropical Heat“), “Fly By Night” and Stephen J. Cannell-produced “Scene of the Crime“. The showcase concluded in August 1993 to make way for “The Late Show with David Letterman“…To commemorate April Fools’ Day, three show hosting swaps occurred: in 1997, Alex Trebek hosted syndicated game show “Wheel of Fortune” (Pat Sajak and Vanna White were contestants playing for charity; Sajak’s wife Lesly was in charge of the puzzle board) and Sajak hosted “Jeopardy!“; in 2014, Drew Carey hosted “The Late Late Show” on CBS in late night while his former “The Drew Carey Show” co-star Craig Ferguson hosted “The Price Is Right” earlier in the day; and in 2015, Bob Barker returned to “The Price Is Right” to host its first segment with Drew Carey hosting the remainder of the episode…Ten short-lived series debuted: detective drama “Nashville 99” with Claude Akins and Jerry Reed on CBS in 1977;  ABC sitcom “Baby Makes Five” starring Peter Scolari in 1983; and CBS sitcoms “Roxie” (with Andrea Martin) and “Take Five” (with George Segal) — both in 1987; drama “Amazing Grace” on NBC in 1995 starring Patty Duke; cooking competition “MasterChef USA” on PBS in 2000 (revived by Fox to better success in 2010); animated “The Oblongs” on The WB in 2001 featuring the voices of Will Ferrell, Jean Smart and Pamela Adlon; spy dramedy “CHAOS” on CBS in 2011; medieval drama “Camelot” on Starz in 2011; the Jordan Peele-produced reboot of anthology series “The Twilight Zone” on CBS All Access (now known as Paramount Plus) in 2019… TV movie “Pedro“, a biopic about Pedro Zamora, the first-ever openly gay, HIV-positive main character on TV as he was part of 1994’s “The Real World: San Francisco“, premiered on MTV in 2009. It was written by Academy Award-winner Dustin Lance Black (“Milk”) andstarred Alex Loynaz and Justina Machado… Several shows began their runs: 1) family sitcom “Sister, Sister” on ABC in 1994 starring Tia Mowry and Tamera Mowry (which later moved to The WB); 2) daytime talker “Home & Family” on The Family Channel in 1996 (later revived in 2012 by Hallmark Channel); 3) the U.S. premiere of high school drama “Degrassi: The Next Generation” on Nickelodeon’s offshoot outlet Noggin in 2002; 4) King Henry the VIII saga “The Tudors” on Showtime in 2007 starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers; 5) fishermen docuseries “Wicked Tuna” on National Geographic in 2012; 6 and 7) prankster hidden-camera comedies “The Carbonaro Effect” on truTV in 2014 and “The Substitute” on Nickelodeon in 2019; 8) sitcom “The Ranch” on Netflix in 2016 starring Ashton Kutcher, Sam Elliott and Debra Winger; and 9) supernatural drama “Wynonna Earp” on Syfy in 2016. “Home & Family” is concluding this August.. Several short-lived series concluded: 1) buddy sitcom “Partners” on Fox in 1996 starring Jon Cryer and Tate Donovan; 2) children’s series “Crashbox” on HBO Family in 2000; 3) reality TV clips show “Kathy’s So-Called Reality” on MTV in 2001 hosted by Kathy Griffin; 4) game shows “Friend or Foe” and “WinTuition“, both on Game Show Network in 2003; 5) the U.S. adaptation of time-traveling police drama “Life on Mars” on ABC in 2009; 6) sitcom “Working Class” on CMT in 2011; and 7) teen drama “Twisted” on ABC Family in 2014… Peter Jennings anchored his final full newscast of “World News Tonight” on ABC in 2005. In a taped message four days later, Jennings revealed he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Four months later, Jennings passed away… “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” was first broadcast live on NBC on Easter Sunday in 2018. Based on the 70’s Andrew Lloyd WebberTim Rice rock opera, the Emmy-winning special starred John Legend, Sara Bareilles, Brandon Victor Dixon and Alice Cooper… science fiction fantasy “The Magicians” concluded its five-season run on Syfy in 2020.

“The Blue Angel” starring Marlene Dietrich in her breakthrough role opened in Germany in 1930. Dietrich was brought to Hollywood under contract to Paramount, where they would film and release “Morocco” in 1930 before “The Blue Angel” would appear in American theatres in 1931
Reaching No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart: “Eternal Flame” by The Bangles in 1989; “Temperature” by Sean Paul in 2006.

Herman Melville published “The Confidence-Man” in 1857.

In 1970, President Richard Nixon signed a bill limiting cigarette advertisements effective on January 1, 1971… The 44-year-old legendary R&B singer Marvin Gaye was shot to death by his father in Los Angeles in 1984…In 2019, newsmagazine host Deborah Norville announced she was undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous thyroid nodule which was initially detected by a viewer of “Inside Edition” who noticed a lump on Norville’s neck.

The Villanova Wildcats pulled off one of the biggest upsets in collegiate sports history by defeating the heavily-favored Georgetown Hoyas 66-64 in the NCAA men’s basketball national championship in 1985. Brent Musburger and Billy Packer were announcers for the game on CBS… “WrestleMania VI” took place at SkyDome (aka Rogers Centre) in Toronto, Canada in 1990. It was the first WrestleMania to be hosted outside of the United States. For its main event, The Ultimate Warrior defeated Hulk Hogan for the Intercontinental and World Heavyweight championships… also in 1990, CBS fired sportscaster Brent Musburger one day before his final assignment, the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship. That ended his 22-year stint at the network which included him as host of the weekly pro football pre-game show “The NFL Today” and as the play-by-play announcer of the NBA Finals. Musburger joined ABC Sports later that year.

Celebrity Birthdays:
Actress Jane Powell (“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”) is 9s; actor Don Hastings (“As the World Turns”) is 87; actress Ali MacGraw (“Love Story”, “Dynasty”) is 82; reggae singer Jimmy Cliff is 73; actress Annette O’Toole (“Smallville”) is 69; singer Susan Boyle is 60; rapper-actor Method Man is 50; MSNBC host Rachel Maddow is 48; actor Taran Killam (“SNL”, “Single Parents”) is 39; Lady Antebellum singer Hillary Scott is 35.

Did You Know?
Prior to “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour,” Desi Arnaz proposed a spinoff focused on Fred (William Frawley) and Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance). Frawley agreed to do it, but Vance turned it down. The pair disliked each other and Vance wanted to move on. Frawley was not out of work for very long. Immediately following “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour,” he began a “five season stint as Frances “Bub” O’Casey on then ABC sitcom “My Three Sons“The Andy Griffith Show” is one of three television series historically to finish its final season as the top-rated show in primetime. The other two series, both sitcoms, are “I Love Lucy” and “Seinfeld.