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Today in History: Wednesday, February 7, 2024

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Jane Fonda made her television acting debut in NBC movie “A String of Beads” in 1961…Variety hour “This Is Tom Jones” debuted on ABC in 1969. It aired for three seasons…One of the most expensive failures in the history of television, “Supertrain,” debuted in 1979. Developed after the success of “The Love Boat,” this inane NBC anthology set on a mammoth high-speed train expired after nine episodes…“America’s Most Wanted” with John Walsh premiered on seven Fox-owned stations in 1988. It began nationally on Fox on April 10, 1988…Mary Tyler Moore and Valerie Harper reunited in 2000 for made-for television movie “Mary and Rhoda” on ABC, which was considered a pilot for a potential revival sitcom…Original “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson found success once again but this time as producer of “America’s Best Dance Crew”, which premiered on MTV in 2008. Mario Lopez originally hosted the dance reality competition. JC Chasez, Lil Mama and Shane Sparks were its original judges. The series, initially developed for NBC under the working title “World Moves”, ran for seven seasons across four years and was revived for an eighth season in 2015…The New York City-set dramedy “Lipstick Jungle” starring Brooke Shields, Kim Raver and Lindsay Price debuted on NBC in 2008. The series, based on the book of the same name by “Sex and the City” scribe Candace Bushnell, ran for 20 episodes across two condensed seasons….Reality series “Undercover Boss” launched on CBS following Super Bowl XLIV in 2010. The series follows members of major corporations’ upper management as they go undercover in their own companies, to get an idea of what it’s like to work as a lower-level employee. The premiere episode, which featured Waste Management president and chief operating officer Larry O’Donnell, scored 38.6 million viewers — the most on record (since the advent of Nielsen’s People Meters in 1987) for a series launch in the post-Super Bowl slot. For more on “Undercover Boss”, click here

Charlie Chaplin introduced silent film character The Tramp in “Kid Auto Races at Venice” in 1914. Made by Keystone Studios, the movie portrays Chaplin as a spectator at a “baby-cart race” in Venice, Los Angeles…The animated film “Pinocchio” had its world premiere in 1940, and it became one of Walt Disney Production’s most beloved classics. It was the second animated feature film produced by Disney made after “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in 1937…Mel Brooks classic western comedy “Blazing Saddles” opened in theaters in 1974. It was nominated for three Oscars (including Madeline Kahn for Best Actress in a Supporting Role).

Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey recorded orchestra single “Everything Happens to Me” in 1941…Bing Crosby recorded single “Swinging on a Star” in 1941. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song…Madonna’s single “Open Your Heart” role to No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1987…“The Woman in Me”, the second studio album by Shania Twain was released in 1995. It won the Billboard Album of the Year.

The New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31–17 in Super Bowl XLIV in 2010. The championship came a city devastated by Hurricane Katrina five years earlier. In the aftermath, it was revealed the team enacted the “Bountygate” system where defensive players were financially compensated for violent hits of opponents. The scandal led to the suspension of head coach Sean Payton for the 2012 season.

Celebrity Birthdays 
“The Blacklist” star James Spader is 64; comedian Robert Smigel (Triumph the Insult Comic Dog) is also 64; country singer Garth Brooks is 62; comedian Chris Rock is 59; actor Jason Gedrick (“Windfall,” ″Boomtown”) is 57; actor Essence Atkins (“Half and Half,” ″Smart Guy”) is 52; “Two and a Half Man” star Ashton Kutcher is 46; actress Tina Majorino (“Napoleon Dynamite,” ″Veronica Mars”) is 39.

Did You Know?:
“Supertrain” replaced variety hour “Dick Clark’s Live Wednesday” in the 8 p.m. hour. The following season, NBC had better luck in the time period with magazine hour “Real People.