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Today in History: Sunday, April 21, 2024

© by Photo courtesy of Universal/Shutterstock

Television and Radio:
The NBC daytime soap opera “Days of Our Lives” expanded to one hour in 1975…”Blankety Blanks,” the game show hosted by Bill Cullen, debuted on ABC daytime in 1975. It aired for just two months…Comedian-parody singer “Weird Al” Yankovic made his first television appearance on NBC’s “The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder” in 1981…The final episode of CBS sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati” concluded in 1982 after four seasons. A new syndicated version of “WKRP” (“The New WKRP in Cincinnati”) surfaced on September 1991 and ran for two seasons…ABC’s “Nightline” went from one hour to 30-minutes in length in 1984…Reporter Geraldo Rivera‘s investigation famously comes up empty in 1986 in the live syndicated two-hour special “Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults“…In 1990, animated drug prevention special “Cartoon All Stars to Rescue” aired on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox…Also in 1990, George Clooney was part of an undercover Los Angeles police unit in the debut of the short-lived ABC crime drama “Sunset Beat“. Six episodes were produced, but only two aired…Two Fox network sitcoms concluded their runs in 1994: “Herman’s Head” after three seasons, and “The Sinbad Show” after one season…Horror drama “Poltergeist: The Legacy“, based on the hit 1982 feature film “Poltergeist”, debuted on Showtime in 1986. It ran for four seasons, with its final season having moved to Sci-Fi Channel…Kid sitcom “100 Deeds of Eddie McDowd” starring Jason Dohring concluded its three-season run on Nickelodeon in 2002. Its first season featured the voice of Seth Green as the canine version of McDowd; Jason Hervey stepped in as the dog’s voice for its second and third seasons… Four short-lived series concluded: CBS police procedural 1) “Robbery Homicide Division” in 2003; 2) CBS sitcom “Accidentally on Purpose” in 2010 starring Jenna Elfman; 3) NBC comedy “The Paul Reiser Show” in 2011; 4) “The States“, the ten-episode documentary series about each of the fifty United States, debuted on History in 2007. It was hosted by Edward Herrmann…Supply chain professional Julia Collins first appeared as a contestant on syndicated game show “Jeopardy!” in 2014. She began her run of 20 consecutive games won which is, to date, the game show’s third longest winning streak in its history and longest ever for a female. She earned $428,100 from those twenty victories…The final edition of news talk show “The O’Reilly Factor” aired on Fox News Channel in 2017. Despite a 20-year run and becoming the network’s most-watched program, it concluded following the dismissal of host Bill O’Reilly just two days prior. Earlier that month, the New York Times had published a story about the five sexual harassment lawsuits settled by Fox News on O’Reilly’s behalf which led to an exodus of more than half of the show’s advertisers. FNC’s Greg Gutfeld was the substitute host on the final episode…Also in 2017, “Bill Nye Saves the World” debuted on Netflix. The series focused on Nye and guest celebrities discussing various global topics through a scientific point of view. 25 episodes across three condensed seasons were produced.

Kevin Costner‘s baseball drama “Field of Dreams” opened in theaters in 1989. It was nominated for three Academy Awards (including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score)…Sandra Bullock cemented her status as America’s sweetheart in the hit romantic comedy “While You Were Sleeping,” which opened in theaters in 1995. It also starred Bill Pullman and Peter Gallagher.

Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” by Tony Orlando and Dawn (which featured Telma Hopkins, who’d later star in sitcoms “Gimme a Break!” and “Family Matters“) reached No. 1 on the Billboard Music charts in the U.S. in 1973…the theme to the film “Against All Odds” hit No. 1 in the U.S. Billboard charts in 1984. The song, by Phil Collins and subtitled “Take a Look at Me Now,” would later become nominated for an Academy Award…In 1990, the song “Nothing Compares 2 U“, written by Prince and performed by Sinead O’Connor hit No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Exactly 26 years later to the day (in 2016), Prince passed away at the age of 57…In 2020, CBS first aired “Let’s Go Crazy; The Grammy Salute to Prince” hosted by SNL’s Maya Rudolph and featured guest performers John Legend, H.E.R., Foo Fighters, Earth Wind & Fire, Beck, Usher and frequent Prince collaborators Sheila E. and The Revolution. …”Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration” premiered on CBS in 2019. The special celebrating the 60th anniversary of Motown Records was hosted by Smokey Robinson and Cedric the Entertainer and featured performances by Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, John Legend, Meghan Trainor, and Ciara.

Nintendo introduced the Game Boy handheld entertainment system in 1989.

Celebrity Birthdays:
Actress Elaine May is 92; punk rock singer Iggy Pop is 77; actress and Broadway star Patti LuPone is 75; Tony Danza is 73; Andie MacDowell (“Cedar Cove”) is 66; comedian Rob Riggle (“The Daily Show”, “SNL”) is 54; comedienne Nicole Sullivan (“King of Queens”, “madTV”) is 54; CBS NFL game analyst and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is 44.

Did You Know?
“Accidentally on Purpose” was one of four failed sitcoms Jenna Elfman starred in after “Dharma & Greg.” The other three are “Courting Alex” on CBS in 2016, “1600 Penn” on NBC in 2014, and “Imaginary Mary” on ABC in 2017. In 2018, Elfman switched to drama with a three season role as June on AMC’s “Fear The Walking Dead.