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Today in History: Thursday, April 4, 2024

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There were four series-finales on this day: 1) “Petticoat Junction” on CBS in 1970, 2) “Hogan’s Heroes” on CBS in 1971, 3) the original “Knight Rider” with David Hasselhoff on NBC in 1986, and 4) syndicated drama “Renegade” with Lorenzo Lamas in 1997. Of the four, “Petticoat Junction” had the longest run at seven seasons, followed by “Hogan’s Heroes” at six, “Renegade” at five and “Knight Rider” at four. A revival of “Knight Rider” on NBC with Justin Breuning in 2008 lasted for only one season…ABC sitcom “The Marshall Chronicles,” featuring Joshua Rifkind as a gawky teenager, launched in 1990. It aired for only seven episodes.

On this day in 1957: The biblical epic “Ben-Hur” became the first film to win 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Director (William Wyler) and Lead Actor (Charlton Heston).

After serving for only one month in 1841, William Henry Harrison became the first U.S. president to die in office. He was succeeded by Vice President John Tyler…The peace symbol, designed by Gerald Holtom, made its first public appearance in 1958, displayed on signage during a protest staged by the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament…Cheryl Crane, then 14 and the daughter of actress Lana Turner, stabbed to death organized crime figure Johnny Stompanato, her mother’s boyfriend, in self-defense in 1958. The crime was later ruled a “justifiable homicide”…Martin Luther King, Jr. a leader of the American civil rights movement who was in Memphis, Tennessee, to support a strike by the city’s sanitation workers, was assassinated by James Earl Ray in 1968.

Microsoft was founded in 1975 as a partnership between Bill Gates and Paul Allen to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800.

Celebrity Birthdays 
Actor Craig T. Nelson (“Coach”, “Parenthood”) is 80; actress Christine Lahti (“Chicago Hope”) is 74; writer producer David E. Kelley (“Ally McBeal”, “The Practice”) is 68; actress Constance Shulman (“Orange Is the New Black”) is 66; actor Hugo Weaving (“The Matrix,” ″Lord of the Rings”) is 64; talk show host Graham Norton is 62; comedian David Cross (“Arrested Development,” ″Mr. Show”) is 60; Oscar winner Robert Downey Jr. is 59; “The Facts of Life” star Nancy McKeon is 58; country singer Clay Davidson is 53; singer Josh Todd of Buckcherry is 53; singer Jill Scott is 52; bassist Magnus Sveningsson of The Cardigans is 52; magician David Blaine is 51; singer Kelly Price is 51; singer Andre Dalyrimple of Soul for Real is 50; guitarist Josh McSwain of Parmalee is 49; actor James Roday (“A Million Little Things,” “Psych”) is 48; actor Natasha Lyonne (“Poker Face,” “Orange Is The New Black”) is 45; actor-comedian Eric Andre (“The Eric Andre Show”) is 41; actor Amanda Righetti (“The Mentalist”) is 41; actress-singer Jamie Lynn Spears (“Zoey 101″) is 33; actress Daniela Bobadilla (“The Middle,” “Anger Management”) is 31; singer Austin Mahone is 28.

Did You Know?
“Petticoat Junction” was not spun-off from “The Beverly Hillbillies. While both sitcoms (plus “Green Acres, which debuted in 1965 and was also not spun-off from “Petticoat Junction”) came from Paul HenningBea Benaderet played Jethro’s (Max Baer) mother Pearl on “The Beverly Hillbillies” and Kate Bradley on “Petticoat Junction.” Oliver (Eddie Albert) and Lisa Douglas (Eva Gabor), meanwhile, did not appear on “Petticoat Junction” until after “Green Acres” began.

Werner Klemperer, who won two Emmy Awards in the Supporting Actor Comedy category, only agreed to play Col. Wilhelm Klink on “Hogan’s Heroes” on the condition that Klink would be portrayed as a fool who never succeeded.