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Today in History: Wednesday, January 3, 2024

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Television and Radio
Early dramatic anthology series “Colgate Theatre” began on NBC in 1949. It ran through June 1950 and was revived as a summer option in 1958…The original version of police drama “Dragnet” debuted on NBC in 1952 with Jack Webb as Sgt. Joe Friday…Detective drama “Riptide,” from Stephen J. Cannell Productions, launched in 1984. It aired out of “The A-Team”…”The Arsenio Hall Show” debuted in syndication in 1989. Positioned as a hip alternative to “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson”, the late night talk show was an instant hit. But it only lasted five years after Hall stepped away to focus on being a parent. It had a brief revival in 2013-14…Sitcom “Blossom” starring Mayim Bialik, Joey Lawrence and Ted Wass premiered as a midseason replacement for NBC in 1991. Airing out of hit Monday comedy “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, it ran for five seasons…Bryant Gumbel exited the “Today” show on NBC in 1997 after 15 years. On Nov. 1, 1999, however, he was back in the morning as co-host of competing (and lower-rated) “The Early Show” on CBS…”Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” ended its seven season run in first-run syndication in 1999…Craig Ferguson began his nine year run as host of CBS’ “The Late Late Show” franchise in 2005…Also in 2005, NBC debuted the supernatural procedural drama “Medium” starring Patricia Arquette. It ran for seven seasons, with its final two on CBS…Flop sitcom “Work It” starring Ben Koldyke and Amaury Nolasco premiered on ABC in 2012. LGBT advocacy groups expressed concerns about the series, saying that it trivialized the obstacles faced by transgender people in the workplace. It was pulled after two episodes.

In 1991, Wayne Gretzky became the fastest and youngest player in NHL history to score 700 goals (886 games at age 29 years, 342 days) in LA Kings’ 6-3 win over the NY Islanders at the Nassau Veteran Memorial Coliseum.

Celebrity Birthdays
Actor Dabney Coleman is 92; singer Stephen Stills is 79; bassist John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin is 78; “Dallas” star Victoria Principal is 74; racing great Michael Schumacher is 55; actor Jason Marsden (“Ally McBeal”) is 49; actress Danica McKellar (“The Wonder Years”) is also 49; actor Nicholas Gonzalez (“The O.C.”) is 48; singer and former “American Idol” contestant Kimberley Locke is 46; actor Kate Levering (“Drop Dead Diva”) is 45; football great Eli Manning is 43; actor Nicole Beharie (“Sleepy Hollow”) is 39; actress Florence Pugh (“Little Women”) is 28.

Did You Know?
“Dragnet” began on radio in 1949 and was previewed on television in an episode of “Chesterfield Sound Off Time” in December 1951. The original “Dragnet” series ran on NBC through 1959, with Barney PhillipsHerb Ellis and Ben Alexander serving as Sgt. Joe Friday’s (Jack Webb) sidekick at different times throughout the series run. The first revival, on NBC from 1967 to 1970, featured Harry Morgan as Officer Bill Gannon opposite Webb’s Friday. Dan Aykroyd inherited the role of Sgt. Friday in the 1987 theatrical of the same name. The next reboot was “The New Dragnet” in first-run syndication from 1989-91, with a new cast and airing in tandem with “The New Adam-12. More recently was ABC’s version of “Dragnet” with Ed O’Neill as Friday in February 2003 (which was ultimately re-titled “L.A. Dragnet” in the second – and final – season)