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Today in History: Thursday, April 15, 2021

© by Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Television and Radio:
Western “The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, starring Guy Madison, debuted in first-run syndication in 1951. It moved to CBS in 1955… Adventure/espionage drama “I Spy,” starring Bill Cosby and Robert Culp, concluded on NBC in 1968. It aired for three seasons… Law school drama “The Paper Chase” starring James Stephens and John Houseman made its Showtime cable network debut in 1983. It had aired for one season on CBS for 1978-79. 37 original episodes across three condensed seasons aired on Showtime….Fox sketch comedy “In Living Color” launched in 1990 and initially featured KeenenDamon and Kim WayonsKelly CoffieldKim ColesTommy DavidsonDavid Alan Grier and Jim Carrey. The show introduced Jennifer Lopez and Carrie Ann Inaba (“Dancing With the Stars”, “The Talk”) as members of “In Living Color’s” dance troupe The Fly Girls, with actress Rosie Perez serving as choreographer…A planned revival on Fox did not move forward…Remember “The Queen of Mean,” aka Leona Helmsly? She was sent to jail for tax evasion in 1992…Jay Leno’s final appearance as permanent guest host of “The Tonight Show” was in 1992…Animated talk show “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” opened on Adult Swim in 1994…ABC sitcom “Soul Man, from the creators of “Home Improvement” and starring Dan Aykroyd, launched in 1997. It aired for two half-seasons…ABC drama “Once and Again” concluded its three season run in 2002.  It starred Sela Ward, Billy Campbell and Evan Rachel Wood…Eleven short-lived series launched: 1) ABC detective drama “Lady Blue” in 1985; 2) GSN game show “Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck” in 2002; 3) VH1 reality competition “Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School” in 2007; 4) TV Land docuseries “The Cougar”, hosted by Vivica A. Fox, in 2009; 5) Discovery docuseries “PitchMen” in 2009; 6 and 7) Comedy Central comedies “The Sarah Silverman Program” and “Important Things with Demetri Martin” both in 2010; 8) CBS police procedural “NYC 2-2” in 2012; 9) Syfy drama “Defiance” in 2013; 10) Bravo docuseries “Southern Charm New Orleans” in 2018; and Netflix comedy-drama “No Good Nick” in 2019…Several short-lived series concluded: 1) The WB romantic comedy “Jack & Jill” in 2001; 2) Sci-Fi supernatural fantasy “The Dresden Files” in 2007; 3) MTV docuseries “Rob & Big” in 2008; and HBO dark comedy “Here and Now” in 2018…The sitcom “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter” with John Ritter, Katey Sagal and Kaley Cuoco (pre-“The Big Bang Theory”) ended on ABC in 2005 after three seasons. Ritter’s ultimately passing on Sept. 11, 2003 was addressed in episodes four and five of season two, when the family learns that Ritter as Paul Hennessy collapsed and died in the grocery store. The sitcom brought in James Garner and David Spade to try to fill the void…“Girls”, the comedy-drama created by and starred Lena Dunham about the lives of four young women in New York City, debuted on HBO in 2012. It also starred Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet, Adam Driver and Andrew Rannells. It ran for 62 episodes across six condensed seasons…“Fargo”, Noah Hawley’s award-winning dark comedic crime anthology series inspired by the 1996 feature film of the same name, debuted on FX in 2014. Its inaugural season starred Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks and Martin Freeman. The most recent season — its fourth — was released in fall 2020 and starred Chris Rock…Digital comedy subchannel Laff was launched in 2015…Adult Swim comedy “Children’s Hospital” concluded its seven-season run in 2016. It starred Rob Corddry, Malin Akerman, Lake Bell and Erinn Hayes…In 2017, NBC televised “Saturday Night Live” across all four time zones — Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific — simultaneously live for the first time. On that night, its host was Jimmy Fallon with musical guest Harry Styles…Mystery teen drama “Outer Banks” debuted on Netflix in 2020. Shortly after its release, it was renewed for a second season…Historical ministries “Mrs. America” debuted on FX on Hulu in 2020. It starred Cate Blanchett as conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly who lobbied to stop the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. The miniseries also featured a large ensemble cast that included Rose Byrne, Uzo Aduba, Elizabeth Banks, Margo Martindale, John Slattery, Tracey Ullman, and Sarah Paulson.

Musical “Flash Dance,” starring Jennifer Beals and Michael Nouri, opened in theaters in 1983. It was the first collaboration of producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson, and the presentation of some sequences in the style of music videos was an influence on other 1980s films including “Purple Rain” and “Top Gun”, Bruckheimer and Simpson’s most famous production.

Magic Johnson set an NBA record for career assists with 9,898 in 1991.

Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald’s franchise restaurant under his partnership with the McDonald brothers in Des Plaines, Illinois in 1955.

Major League Baseball’s nationally televised showcase “Sunday Night Baseball” debuted on ESPN in 1990. Its first featured game was New York Mets at Montreal Expos. Its announcing team was Jon Miller and Joe Morgan.

Celebrity Birthdays:
Seth Rogen (“Knocked Up”) is 39; actress Emma Watson (“Harry Potter”) is 32.

Did You Know?:
Kevin Costner, then 28, auditioned for the part of Nick Hurley on “Flashdance, but lost out to Michael Nouri. Prior to Nouri, Al Pacino turned it down…One of the stars of “Once and Again” was “Westworld” star Evan Rachel Wood, who was 12-years of age when the drama began.