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Today in History: Thursday, June 24, 2021

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The western “Hopalong Cassidy,” whose episodes were initially edited versions of William Boyd’s old “B” level feature films (with Boyd adding narration and, at times, a new scene or two), debuted in 1949. Considered to be television’s first western, “Hopalong Cassidy” moved to syndication in the 1952-53 season after a two-year run on NBC with Edgar Buchanan (pre Uncle Joe on “Petticoat Junction”) as Cassidy’s sidekick, Red Connors…The original “Charlie’s Angels” ended its five season run on ABC in 1981…In 1985, Kathie Lee Gifford became co-host of WABC-TV’s “The Morning Show” in New York joining Regis Philbin. Three years later, the program would be nationally syndicated and retitled as “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee“…Adventure drama “Raven,” starring Jeffrey Meek and Lee Majors, premiered on CBS in 1992. It aired for 19 episodes…NBC aired “Universal Studios Summer Blast” in 1994. The prime time special was hosted by Lisa Hartman Black and Jay Thomas from both Universal theme parks in California and Florida. It also featured performances from Celine DionJon Secada and Richard Marx…CBS summer drama “Under the Dome,” based on the book by Stephen King, debuted in 2013. It ran for three seasons. Its initial season was a ratings smash, prompting several other scripted offerings on the broadcast networks in the several summers thereafter…ABC debuted two game shows in 2008: the hit obstacle course series “Wipeout” (which ran for eight seasons and was rebooted by TBS this past spring), and the Tokyo-set reality competition “I Survived A Japanese Game Show!”…Police drama “Rookie Blue” debuted on ABC and Canada’s Global network in 2010. The Canadian production starred Missy Peregrym and ran for six seasons, having aired primarily each summer…Two short-lived series debuted in 2012: Aaron Sorkin’s cable news drama “The Newsroom” on HBO and the Rich Eisen-hosted reality competition “The Great Escape” on TNT…Two cable series debuted in 2014: plastic surgery docuseries “Botched” on E! and the short-lived Middle Eastern political drama “Tyrant” on FX…On the 17th season premiere of “Big Brother” on CBS in 2015, Audrey Middleton was among the 16 people to initially move in to the house, and became the first transgender contestant in the U.S. show’s history. She was the fourth evicted houseguest of that season…Cyber thriller “Mr. Robot” debuted on USA Network in 2015. The critically-acclaimed cult favorite was created by Sam Esmail and starred Rami Malek as a hacker recruited by an anarchist (Christian Slater) to help overthrow a conglomerate. It ran for 45 episodes across four seasons.

Mary Pickford in 1916 became the first female film star to get a million dollar contract…“Catch 22” opened in movie theaters in 1970. It was remade as a limited series on Hulu in 2019…“McCabe and Mrs. Miller, starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie, was released in 1971…“For Your Eyes Only, the 12th James Bond film starring Roger Moore, opened in 1981…Opening in 1983: “Twilight Zone: The Movie” which featured remakes of three episodes of the classic TV series along with one original story. It was directed by John LandisSteven SpielbergJoe Dante and George Miller, and was marred by a stunt helicopter crash that claimed the lives of actor Vic Morrow and two child actors…”Spaceballs“, Mel Brooks‘ parody film of the “Star Wars” franchise, starring Bill PullmanJohn Candy and Rick Moranis was released in 1987…Disney animated classic “The Lion King” opened in wide release in 1994…”Wyatt Earp,” starring Kevin Costner, also opened in 1994.

Reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart: “Satisfied” by Richard Marx in 1989.

in 1992, the Orlando Magic selected LSU center Shaquille O’Neal as the first pick of the NBA Draft. One of the most colorful personalities in sports history, Shaq was a 4-time NBA champion and the league MVP in 2000. He is currently co-host and studio analyst of TNT’s Emmy-winning “Inside the NBA“…The inaugural X Games on the networks of ESPN featuring competitions in extreme sports like skateboarding and dirt biking began in 1995. The Games took place in Newport and Providence, Rhode Island…Also in 1995, the New Jersey Devils completed a 4-game sweep of the Detroit Red Wings to win their first NHL Stanley Cup championship in franchise history. They would go on to win two more in 2000 and 2003.

Celebrity Birthdays
Actress Michele Lee (“Knots Landing”) is 79; guitarist Jeff Beck is 77; drummer Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac is 74; actor Peter Weller (“RoboCop”) is also 74; actress Nancy Allen (“RoboCop”) is 71; actor Joe Penny (“Jake and the Fatman”, “Riptide”) is 65; singer Astro of UB40 is 64; actor Iain Glen (“Game of Thrones”) is 60; bassist Curt Smith of Tears for Fears is also 60; actress Danielle Spencer (“What’s Happening”) is 56; actress Sherry Stringfield (“ER”) is 54; Mindy Kaling (“The Mindy Project”) is 42; actress Minka Kelly (“Friday Night Lights”) is 41; basketball player J.J. Redick is 37; singer Solange Knowles is 35; Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi is 34; actor Max Ehrich (“The Young and the Restless,” ″Under the Dome”) is 30.

Did You Know?
“Charlie’s Angels” finished its first season in 1976-77 as the fifth highest rated program in primetime with a 25.8 household rating. First for that season was “Happy Days” on ABC with a 31.5 rating, followed by spin-off “Laverne & Shirley” (ABC, 30.9), the ABC Monday Night Movie (26.0) and “MASH” (CBS, 25.9). There were seven regularly scheduled movies on the three broadcast networks that season.