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Today in History: Thursday, March 25, 2021

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Television and Radio
ABC comedy “9 To 5,” based on the film of the same name, launched in 1982. It initially starred Rita MorenoValerie Curtin and Rachel Dennison (the sister of one of the movie’s stars, Dolly Parton). After three seasons, it moved into first-run syndication for another two seasons with Sally Struthers joining the cast after Rita Moreno exited…Also in 1982: CBS crime solver “Cagney & Lacey” began with Meg Foster as Christine Cagney and Tyne Daly as Mary Beth Lacey. Foster replaced Loretta Swit, who originated the role in the TV movie (and was unavailable due to “M*A*S*H“). After the abbreviated first season, Sharon Gless replaced Meg Foster…CBS Legal drama “The Mississippi, starring Ralph Waite (“The Waltons”) began its two season run in 1983…ABC sitcom “Perfect Strangers, starring Mark Linn-Baker and Bronson Pinchot, debuted in 1986. Jo Marie Payton, who joined the series as elevator operator Harriette Winslow in season two, was spun-off into another long-running ABC hit: “Family Matters”…Three sitcoms concluded: “The Monkees” on NBC in 1968, “Bewitched” on ABC in 1972, and NBC’s “Sanford and Son” in 1977.  “Sanford and Son” morphed briefly into spin-off “The Sanford Arms” in the fall of 1977, and Redd Foxx returned to the role of Fred Sanford (minus Demond Wilson as his son Lamont) in “Sanford” from 1980-81…”The Bachelor“, the long-running reality competition that’s provided romantic mishegoss (translation: craziness, senseless behavior or activity), debuted on ABC in 2002. Alex Michel was the first Bachelor of the franchise; its most recent was the series’ first Black Bachelor, Matt James. To date, there have been 25 cycles of “The Bachelor” as well as 16 editions of its spin-off “The Bachelorette” (the 17th and 18th editions to air later this year) and six seasons of spin-off “Bachelor in Paradise“…Several short-lived series concluded: 1) musical theater competition “Grease: You’re The One That I Want” on NBC in 2007; 2) ancient period drama “Rome” on HBO also in 2007; 3) post-apocalyptic action drama “Jericho” on CBS in 2008 starring Skeet Ulrich and Lennie James; 4) horse racing gambling drama “Luck” on HBO in 2012 starring Dustin Hoffman; 5) superhuman detective drama “Second Chance” on Fox in 2016; 6) docuseries “Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club” on MTV in 2019; and, 7) private eye dramedy “Stumptown” on ABC in 2020 starring Cobie Smullders, Michael Ealy and Jake Johnson… Celebrity ancestry program “Finding Your Roots” hosted by Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. debuted on PBS in 2012. The first celebrities featured on the series were Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis. It’s currently in its seventh season…Two mini-series launched: Getty family drama “Trust” on FX in 2018 starring Donald Sutherland, Hilary Swank and Brendan Fraser; and, an analytical take of biblical times for “Jesus: His Life” on History in 2019…“Barry”, the comedy about a hitman (Bill Hader) who takes up an interest in acting in Los Angeles, debuted on HBO in 2018. The series netted Henry Winkler (best known as “The Fonz” from “Happy Days”) the first Emmy Award of his career when he had won for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in September 2018 for his role as an acting teacher. Sixteen episodes across two seasons have been produced, to date, with a third season to arrive at a to-be-determined date.

In 1985, Sally Field squawked “You like me, you really like me!” in her now infamous acceptance speech for her Oscar win as Best Actress for “Places in the Heart“… “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” starring Carmen Maura and Antonio Banderas opened in theaters in 1988.

Billboard magazine introduced the hillbilly (country) music chart in 1939…Tom Jones single “She’s a Lady” went gold in 1971…Barbra Streisand recorded the album “Butterfly” in 1974.

RCA manufactured the first color TV set in 1954. It measured 12 1/2 inches and sold for $1,000.

In 1972, the UCLA Bruins continued their dominance in men’s college basketball by defeating Florida State 81-76 to win their sixth consecutive national championship. Current Pac-12 Network and ESPN college basketball analyst Bill Walton then led UCLA in the game with 24 points and 20 rebounds.

Celebrity Birthdays:
Former “Today” show critic Gene Shalit is 95; actor Paul Michael Glaser (“Starsky and Hutch”) is 78; singer Reginald Dwight aka Elton John is 74; “Parenthood” star Bonnie Bedelia is 73; “SNL” alum Mary Gross is 68; actor James McDaniel (“NYPD Blue”) is 63; “Desperate Housewives” stars Brenda Strong and Marcia Cross are 61 and 59 years of age, respectively; actress LisaGay Hamilton (“The Practice”) is 57; “Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker is 56; former basketball head coach Avery Johnson is 56; Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz is 54; former WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes is 50; two-time heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko is 45; actor Lee Pace (“Pushing Daisies”) is 42; “SNL” cast member Alex Moffat is 39; professional race car driver Danica Patrick is 39; “Scorpion” star Katharine McPhee is 37; “SNL” cast member Chris Redd is 36.

Did You Know?
“Sanford and Son” also spun-off “Grady, starring Whitman Mayo, which aired for 10 episodes in the 1975-76 season…Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless dominated the Emmy category of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for six consecutive seasons in the 1980s. Daly won four times, and Gless won twice…When the fans protested over the cancellation of “Jericho” after just one season in 2007, CBS ordered an abbreviated seven episode in 2008.