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Today in History: Thursday, September 9, 2021

© by Image Source: NBCUniversal

Television
Sitcom “The Hank McCune Show, which began as a local Los Angeles program in 1949, launched on NBC in 1950. It only lasted three months initially, but is remembered as the first series to incorporate a laugh-track. It was briefly resurrected as a syndicated program in the 1953-54 season, but without a laugh track…Elvis Presley appeared appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” for the first time in 1956…Helen North and Frank Beardsley, who were portrayed by Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda in 1968 family-themed movie “Yours, Mine and Ours”, were married on this date in 1961. She had 8 children and he had 10. Together two more children were born….Action series “The Green Hornet” starring Van Williams debuted on ABC in 1966. Although it only aired for one season, it introduced Hong Kong film star Bruce Lee (who portrayed Green Hornet’s crime fighting partner Kato) and the martial arts genre to American audiences. The characters of Britt Reid (Williams) and Kato were introduced in a two-part story on “Batman” with Roger C. Carmel as villain Colonel Gumm…Sock it to me! Variety hour “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” debuted as a TV special on NBC in 1967. This resulted in the development of a weekly series which launched four months later and quickly became the No. 1 show on television. The series produced 140 episodes across five years and helped launch the careers of Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin…Up your nose with a rubber hose! ABC’s “Welcome Back, Kotter” began its four season run in 1975. John Travolta became a huge star after “Saturday Night Fever” and “Grease, and only appeared sporadically during the final season (as did Gabe Kaplan by then). A proposed spin-off focused on the character of Arnold Horshak (Ron Palillo) never surfaced, nor did a rumored revival in later years featuring Palillo and Robert Hegyes (Epstein)…Weekly athletic competition series “American Gladiators” debuted in syndication in 1989. It ran for seven years, with a brief revival on NBC in 2008…Also in 1989, NBC aired its first “The More You Know” public service announcement…”Maury“, the long-running syndicated daytime talk show hosted by Maury Povich, premiered in 1991. It’s most associated with revelations of paternity test results…”Band of Brothers” premiered on HBO in 2001. The 10-part miniseries about the men who fought in World War II earned Emmy and Golden Globe Awards. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks served as executive producers…”Friends” spin-off “Joey” debuted on NBC in 2004. It aired for two seasons.

Movies:
The Next Karate Kid“, the fourth installment in The Karate Kid film series, opened in theaters in 1994. It starred Pat Morita and Hilary Swank.

Music:
John Lennon released his “Imagine” album in 1971… Reaching No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart: “Boogie Oogie Oogie” by A Taste of Honey in 1978; “Hangin’ Tough” by New Kids on the Block in 1989; “Gangsta’s Paradise” (from the film “Dangerous Minds”) by Coolio featuring L.V. in 1995.

Sports:
Two American tennis legends each won the first Grand Slam titles of their respective years at the U.S. Open: John McEnroe in 1979 and Pete Sampras in 1990.

Celebrity Birthdays
Actor Chaim Topol (“Fiddler on the Roof”) is 86; singer Dione Larue aka Dee Dee Sharp is 76; former NFL quarterback Joe Theismann is 72; “The Dukes of Hazzard” star Tom Wopat is 70; actress Angela Cartwright (“Lost in Space”) is 69; Eurythmics guitarist David Stewart is also 69; actor Hugh Grant is 61; “Switched at Birth” star Constance Marie is 56; actor Charles Esten (“Nashville”) is also 56; actor-comedian Adam Sandler is 55; model Rachel Hunter is 52; “Modern Family” star Eric Stonestreet is 50; actor Henry Thomas (“E.T.”) is also 50; actor Goran Visnjic (“ER”) is 49; singer Michael Buble is 46; actress Michelle Williams (“Dawson’s Creek”, “Fosse/Verdon”) is 41; NBA star J.R. Smith is 36; contemporary Christian singer Lauren Daigle is 30; country singer Hunter Hayes is also 30.

Did You Know?
Following “Welcome Back, Kotter, Ron Palillo voiced characters on such animated series as “Laverne & Shirley in the Army, “Darkwing Duck” and “Rubik, the Amazing Cube.” In 1996, Palillo played himself in three episodes of ABC sitcom “Ellen” as the love interest of Ellen’s friend Audrey (Clea Lewis).