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Today in History: Tuesday, November 21, 2023

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One of the most controversial episodes of any sitcom historically was Maude Findlay’s (Bea Arthur) decision to have an abortion on Norman Lear’s “Maude,which aired in 1972. Approximately 30 stations across the country refused to air the episode…After months of speculation, Kristin (Mary Crosby) was revealed as the person who shot J.R. (Larry Hagman) on CBS’ “Dallas” in 1980. An estimated 83 million people tuned in, which was more than the number of voters in that year’s presidential election…On NBC’s “Friends” in 1996, the gang of six played football in the park on the Thanksgiving holiday as Monica (Courteney Cox) and Ross (David Schwimmer) revived their sibling rivalry to compete to earn the “Geller Cup”…In 2002, also on “Friends”, Amy Green (guest star Christina Applegate) visited her older sister Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and her friends for Thanksgiving. Amy made things uncomfortable with her uncensored observations about everyone. It was this episode that earned Applegate an Emmy award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.

Horror film “Frankenstein”, based on a stage adaptation of Mary Willstonecraft Shelley’s 1818 novel and starring Boris Karloff, opened in the United States in 1931.  It spawned a number of sequels and spin-offs, and has had a significant impact on popular culture…Theatrical “Rocky” opened in theaters in 1976. It won three Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director (John G. Alildsen) and Best Film Editing. The film, made on a budget of just over $1.1 million, earned $225 million in global box office receipts, becoming the highest grossing films of the year. And it spawned eight films: “Rocky II” (1979), “Rocky III” (1982), “Rocky IV” (1985), “Rocky V” (1990), “Rocky Balboa” (2006), “Creed” (2015), “Creed II” (2018) and “Creed III” (2023).

The Supremes and The Temptations released single “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” in 1968…Rocky”, directed by John G. Avildsen and starring Sylvester Stallone opened in New York in 1976. It won three Oscars: Best Picture, Director and Film Editing…Olivia Newton-John single “Physical” rose to No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1981 and stayed there for 10 weeks…“Kingdom Come”, the ninth studio album by Jay-Z was released in 2006…Pharrell Williams single “Happy” was released in 2013. It was named the Billboard Song of the Year and the Grammy Award for Best Pop Solo Performance.

Celebrity Birthdays
Actor Laurence Luckinbill is 89; Marlo Thomas (“That’s Girl”) is 86; Oscar winner Goldie Hawn is 78; actress Nicollette Sheridan (“Dynasty”; “Knots Lading”) is 59; pop singer Bjork is 57; Michael Strahan is 51.

Did You Know?
Maude Findlay was not the first TV character to have an abortion. In 1964, a woman on NBC daytime drama “Another World” had what was referred to as an illegal operation.