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Today in History: Wednesday, July 5, 2023

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The first episode of “Seinfeld” (then called “The Seinfeld Chronicles“) aired on NBC in 1989. The sitcom aired for eight seasons (and 180 episodes)…The short-lived “The 1/2 Hour Comedy Hour” debuted on ABC in 1983. It was hosted by Arsenio Hall and Thom Sharp. Guest appearing on the show’s first episode were Joan Collins, Burt Reynolds and Henry Youngman…Daytime drama “Passions” debuted on NBC in 1999. Its cast featured Jesse Metcalfe, Justin Hartley and Natalie Zea — all who would, years later, star on prominent shows in prime time. After eight years on NBC, “Passions” ran for one year (in 2007-08) on DirecTV’s now-defunct 101 Network…CBS debuted the American version of the Dutch reality/competition show “Big Brother” in 2000. Initially airing five times per week and eliminations based on the public vote, “Big Brother” was pared down to three nights by season two with the weekly Head of Household (HOH) competition added. Emulating “Survivor”, evictions on “Big Brother” were determined by a weekly house vote. Season three in 2002 marked the addition of the weekly Power of Veto (POV).

In 1965, Greek-American soprano Maria Callas made her final opera stage appearance in the title role of  Giacomo Puccini’s “Tosca” at Convent Garden, London, England…At Knebworth Festival in England, Pink Floyd debuted their album “Wish You Were Here” with pyrotechnics and an exploding plane which flies into the stage in 1975.,,Icelandic musician Björk released her first solo album, “Debut”, in 1993.

In Paris, France in 1946, Louis Reard introduced the minimalist two-piece swimsuit called the “bikini“, named after the Bikini Atoll where the test of a nuclear bomb had taken place four days earlier… Nancy Reagan cut a red, white and blue ribbon to reopen Statue of Liberty after refurbishment in 1986…In 1996, Dolly the sheep became the first mammal to be successfully cloned from an adult cell.

Larry Doby became the first Black player in MLB’s American League in 1947 when he debuted with the Cleveland Indians…Arthur Ashe defeated Jimmy Connors in four sets of tennis at the 89th Wimbledon Championships in 1975… in 1991, Major League Baseball owners approved the Colorado Rockies and the Florida Marlins as two new National League franchises… in 1993, Oakland A’s outfielder Rickey Henderson became the first MLB player in 80 years to lead off each game of a doubleheader with a home run….Swiss tennis player Roger Federer won a record-setting 15th Grand Slam singles title as he defeated Andy Roddick at the Wimbledon Championships in 2009.

Classic comedy “Weekend at Bernie’s” starring Andrew McCarthy, Jonathan Silverman and as “Bernie”, Terry Kiser, opened in 1989.

Billy Ocean‘s ballad “There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1986.

Celebrity Birthdays
Musician Robbie Robertson is 80; Rock singer Huey Lewis is 73; Hall of Fame relief pitcher Rich “Goose” Gossage is 72; former NFL wide receiver James Lofton is 67; singer Marc Cohn is 64; actor Dorien Wilson (“The Parkers”) is 61; “The Sopranos” star Edie Falco is 60; actress Kathryn Erbe (“Law & Order: Criminal Intent”) is 58; rapper RZA (Wu-Tang Clan) is 54; “Jersey Shore’s” Paul Michael DelVecchio Jr. (aka “DJ Pauly D”) is 43; Lifehouse lead singer Jason Wade is 43; U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe is 387; MLB MVP pitcher-slugger Shohei Ohtani is 29.

Did You Know?
Early in her career, Edie Falco had the recurring role of Nurse Becker on daytime drama “Loving” from 1993 to 1995. Following “The Sopranos”, of course, she headlined Showtime dramedy “Nurse Jackie” from 2009 to 2015.