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Today in History: Thursday, March 21, 2024

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“Stop the Music” with Bert Parks premiered on ABC radio in 1948. It crossed over to ABC television on Thursdays, beginning on May 5, 1949 through April 24, 1952, and again for a half-hour from September 7, 1954, to June 14, 1956…ABC medical drama “Ben Casey,” starring Vince Edwards, ended its five season run in 1966…That ol’ rascal, J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman), was shot in the third season finale of CBS’ “Dallas” in 1980, which set the stage for the greatest cliffhanger in the history of television…Two short-lived CBS sitcoms premiered in 1990: “Normal Life” with Dweezil and Moon Unit Zappa, and “Sydney” with Valerie Bertinelli…In 1991, hard-driving litigator Rosalind Shays (Diana Muldaur) plunged to her death by falling into an open elevator shaft on NBC’s “L.A. Law”…NBC sitcom “NewsRadio” begin its five season run in 1995… David Milch‘s western drama “Deadwood” debuted on HBO in 2004. The series which starred Ian McShane and Timothy Olyphant ran for only 36 episodes across three abbreviated seasons. But its critical acclaim and cult following resulted in a 2019 HBO telefilm…The “Real Housewives” franchise kicked off with the launch of “The Real Housewives of Orange County” on Bravo in 2006. Vicki Gunvalson and Jeana Keough were among its original cast. Subsequent “Real Housewives” installments from Atlanta, Beverly Hills, D.C., Miami, New York, New Jersey, Potomoc and Salt Lake City have also experienced success…Docuseries “Duck Dynasty” debuted on A&E in 2012. It focused on the Robertson family who successfully ran their Duck Commander hunting business, and it reached its peak in its fourth season premiere in the summer of 2013 with an audience of nearly 12 million viewers. By series’ end in the spring of 2017, after eleven abbreviated seasons, it delivered 1.5 million viewers.

“Annie,” directed by John Huston, and starring Aileen Quinn, Albert Finney and Carol Burnett, opened in theaters in 1982. It grossed $57 million on a $35 million budget. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Production Design and Best Song Score and its Adaptation.

Kate Smith recorded the patriotic song “God Bless America” in 1939. It is still sung at some sports events and other celebrations in combination with the national anthem…Part of Central Park in New York City was named Strawberry Fields honoring John Lennon in 1984.

American civil rights activists led by Martin Luther King, Jr. began a protest march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.

Celebrity Birthdays
Timothy Dalton (“License to Kill”) is 78; Supertramp singer-guitarist Rodger Hodgson is 75; actor Gary Oldman (“The Dark Knight”) is 66; actress Sabrina LaBeauf (“The Cosby Show”) is 66; comedian Brad Hall (“Saturday Night Live”) is 66; talk show host Rosie O’Donnell is 62; Broadway star Matthew Broderick is also 62; actress Cynthia Geary (“Northern Exposure”) is 59; Melissa Gorga (“The Real Housewives of New Jersey”) is 45; actress Sonequa Martin-Green (“Star Trek: Discovery”) is 39; actor Scott Eastwood (“The Longest Ride”) is 38.

-Did You Know?:
In Larry Hagman’s final episode of the TNT revival of “Dallas, which aired on March 4, 2013, J.R. was shot again, this time fatally. In the season two finale it was revealed that J.R. asked Steve “Bum” Jones” (Kevin Page) to shoot him so his “masterpiece” could play out, framing Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval) for his murder. Hagman passed away on Nov. 23, 2012 at age 81. The “Dallas” reboot, meanwhile, concluded on Sept. 22, 2014 with no resolution to the cliffhanger ending after Christopher’s (Jesse Metcalfe) car explodes and burns.