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Today in History: Wednesday, January 24, 2024

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Norman Lear sitcom “Hot L Baltimore,” which featured “Two and a Half Men’s” Conchata Ferrell and “The Facts of Life” star Charlotte Rae, debuted on ABC in 1975. Due to its controversial subject matter (which included two prostitutes living at the hotel), this was the first ABC television series to have a warning at its opening, cautioning viewers about the mature themes. Despite the brouhaha, “Hot L Baltimore” could not find enough of an audience to stay on the air past 13-episodes…On NBC’s “Hill Street Blues” in 1981, the police officers believed they were under siege by two warring gangs when the precinct loses electric power…On NBC’s “Family Ties” in 1985, it’s Pledge Week at the TV station where Steven (Michael Gross) works. He went back home to deal with plumbing issues, and then watched his pregnant wife Elyse (Meredith Baxter) about to perform on-air until she suddenly went into labor.

“The Grapes of Wrath”, the adaptation of John Steinbeck’s classic novel starring Henry Fonda, opened in theaters in 1940. It won two Oscars: John Ford for Best Director and Jane Darwell for Best Supporting Actress.

Steve Jobs introduced Apple’s revolutionary computer Macintosh in 1984, two days after the groundbreaking commercial “1984” aired before a national TV audience and heralded the product’s impending release.

Celebrity Birthdays
Singer Ray Stevens is 84; singer Neil Diamond is 83; singer Aaron Neville is also 83; actor Michael Ontkean (“Twin Peaks”) is 78; comedian Yakov Smirnoff is 73; actor William Allen Young (“Code Black,” “Moesha”) is 70; actress Nastassja Kinski is 63; comedian Phil LaMarr (“Mad TV”) is 57; Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton is 56; actor Matthew Lillard (“Scooby-Doo,” ″She’s All That”) is 54; “The Office” star Ed Helms is 50; “The Last Man on Earth” star Kristen Schaal is 46; actress Tatyana Ali (“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”) is 45; actress Carrie Coon (“Leftovers”) is 43; actor Daveed Diggs (“black-ish”) is 42; actor Justin Baldoni (“Jane The Virgin”) is 40; actress Mischa Barton (“The O.C.”) is 38.

 Did You Know?
”Hot L Baltimore” was the first failed sitcom for producer Norman Lear following a string of hits, beginning with “All in the Family” in 1971 and continuing with “Sanford and Son” (1972), “Maude” (1972), “Good Times” (1974) and “The Jeffersons” (1975). Next for Lear after “Hot L Baltimore” was “One Day at a Time, which launched on Dec. 16, 1975 and aired for nine seasons.