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Today in History: Thursday, April 8, 2021

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Television and Radio:
The final episode of half-hour western “The Rifleman,starring Chuck Connors, aired on ABC in 1963. It ran for five seasons…The series finale of ABC’s “The Addams Family” aired in 1966. “The Addams Family,” like “The Munsters” on CBS, ran for only two seasons. But the norm for any typical series back then was at least 30 original episodes per season. In its two seasons, “The Addams Family” produced 64 episodes…Two short-lived CBS sitcoms began in 1978: “The Ted Knight Show“, born out of a character Knight had portrayed (an owner of an escort service) on “Busting Loose” back in the fall of 1977; and family comedy “Another Day” which starred Joan Hackett and “Rhoda” star David Groh”All in the Family” concluded its eight-and-one-half season run on CBS in 1979. It returned the following fall as “Archie Bunker’s Place,which aired for four seasons…Made-for television movie “The Gambler,starring Kenny Rogers, aired in 1980…Magician David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear in his fifth TV special on CBS in 1983. Also in that special, co-hosted by “Knots Landing’s” Michele Lee, he shrunk comedic actor Eugene Levy…Two CBS workplace sitcoms concluded their single-season runs in 1986: “Foley Square” and the Mary Tyler Moore-starred “Mary“…“Kate & Allie” spin-off sitcom “Roxie” starring Andrea Martin concluded on CBS in 1987, one week following its series premiere…Music showcase “American Bandstand” made its USA Network debut in 1989; it had previously ran on ABC from 1967 to 1987. The USA version, hosted by David Hirsch, ran for only six months before its cancellation…Also in 1989, hotel-set sitcom “It’s A Living” ended its six-season run. It began on ABC in 1980 and ran there for two seasons. Then, it arrived on syndication in 1985 where it lasted an additional four seasons. The series had starred Ann Jillian, Barrie Youngfellow, Crystal Bernard and Sheryl Lee Ralph“Twin Peaks” debuted on ABC in 1990.  It ran through June 10, 1991 and was revived as a limited series on Showtime in 2017…Six short-lived series launched: 1) drama “Profit” on Fox in 1996; 2) Fran Drescher sitcom “Living With Fran” on The WB in 2005; 3) detective drama “The Unusuals” on ABC in 2009; 4) competition “CMT’s Next Superstar” in 2011; 5) Lifetime drama “The Client List” starring Jennifer Love Hewitt in 2012; 6) AMC western drama “The Son” in 2017…On NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” in 2000, in a parody of VH1’s “Behind the Music“, a sketch focused on a fictionalized recording session of Blue Oyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” where cast member Will Ferrell portrayed an overzealous cowbell player and guest host Christopher Walken was music producer “The Bruce Dickinson” who repeatedly urged for the song to have “more cowbell!“…Celebrity talent competition “Secret Talents of the Stars” hosted by John O’Hurley premiered on CBS in 2008. The judges were Debbie Reynolds, Brian McKnight and Gavin Polone; among the competing celebrities were Ric Flair, Joe Frazier, George Takei, Ben Stein and Malcolm Jamal-Warner. Although meant to be a weekly series, low ratings prompted its Swift cancellation after just one episode…Forensic drama (or, unintentional comedy) “CSI: Miami” concluded its ten-season run on CBS in 2012. The first spin-off of the “Crime Scene Investigation” franchise starred David Caruso (as Horatio Caine), Emily Procter, Adam Rodriguez, Eva LaRue, Khandi Alexander and Rex Linn…Emmy award-winning assassin comedy-thriller “Killing Eve“, based on Luke Jennings‘ “Villanelle” novel series, debuted on BBC America in 2018. It stars Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer and Fiona Shaw. Its upcoming fourth season will be its last.. “Modern Family” concluded its 11-season run on ABC in 2020. The series that starred Ed O’Neill, Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet had been the Emmy winner for Outstanding Comedy Series for 2010-15.

“The Godfather” was named Best Picture at the 47th Academy Awards in 1975. Art Carney (“Harry & Tonto”) and Ellen Burstyn (“Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”) were named Outstanding Lead Actor and Actress, respectively.

In baseball, the legendary Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run, breaking Babe Ruth’s record, in 1974…The most-watched first round of The Masters golf tournament occurred in 2010 on ESPN. An average of 4.9 million viewers tuned in to see Tiger Woods compete in his first major tournament since his highly publicized adulterous scandals which first came to light in November 2009.

Clint Eastwood was elected mayor of Carmel, California in 1986…Ryan White, who became the poster child for HIV/AIDS in the U.S. in the late 1980’s, died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1990. Elton JohnMichael Jackson and then-First Lady Barbara Bush were among the celebrities who attended his funeral.

Celebrity Birthdays:
Comedian Shecky Greene is 95; “Dukes of Hazzard” star John Schneider is 61; singer Julian Lennon is 58; actor Dean Norris (“Breaking Bad”, “Under the Dome”) is also 58; rapper Biz Markie (of song “Just a Friend”) is 57; Robin Wright (“House of Cards”) is 55; Academy Award winner Patricia Arquette is 53: actress Katee Sackhoff (“Battlestar Galactica”, “Longmire”) is 41; actor Taylor Kitsch (“Friday Night Lights”) is 40.

Did You Know?
While not as popular as “All in the Family,Archie Bunker’s Place” was strong enough to defeat competing “Mork & Mindy” on ABC in its second season. At the time, ABC decided to shift the breakout Robin Williams hit (which finished third overall in its first season) from Thursday to Sunday. By midseason, “Mork & Mindy” returned to Thursday and was never the same again in the ratings.