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Today in History: Wednesday, March 31, 2021

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Television and Radio
The first TV version of “Cinderella,” starring then 21-year-old Julie Andrews, aired in color on CBS in 1957…And the Oscar went to “Ordinary People” as Best Picture in 1981. Robert DeNiro (“Raging Bull) and Sissy Spacek (“Coal Miners Daughter”) were named Best Actor and Actress, respectively…On “Cheers” in 1982, Sam (Ted Danson) and Diane (Shelley Long) shared their first kiss…“Wrestlemania” had its first outing in 1985. It took place in Madison Square Garden in New York City and featured Hulk HoganCyndi Lauper and Mr. T…ABC’s bizarre “Max Headroom, starring Matt Frewer, opened in 1987. It aired for two half seasons (and 14 episodes)..Also in 1987, Dave (Bruce Willis) and Maddie (Cybill Shepherd) consummated their relationship on “Moonlighting, and series spiraled downward there after…In 1990, Carol Burnett attempted a comeback in the NBC comedy anthology “Carol & Company, which featured a different story every week and a repertory company that included Jeremy Piven and Peter Krause. It aired for two seasons…NBC’s “Dateline,” initially hosted by Stone Phillips and Jane Pauley, debuted in 1992. This was the network’s 18th attempt at a newsmagazine…ABC sitcom “Home Free, featuring Matthew Perry pre-“Friends,” launched in 1993. It lasted 13 episodes…Kids-themed “Teletubbies” debuted on PBS in 1997…“The Matrix, starring Keanu Reeves, opened in theaters in 1999….Also in 1999 was the launch of digital video recorder TiVo…Several short-lived series launched: 1) adventure drama “Call of the Wild” on Animal Planet in 2000; 2) romantic comedy “Cupid” on ABC in 2007 starring Bobby Cannavale and Sarah Paulson; 3) Ford Company-produced reality competition “Escape Routes” on NBC in 2012; 4) comedy “Friends with Better Lives” on CBS in 2014 starring Kevin Connolly, James Van Der Beek, Brooklyn Decker and Zoe Lister Jones; 5) religious mini-series “The Dovekeepers” on CBS starring Cote de Pablo; 30-somethings singles comedy “Weird Loners” on Fox in 2015; buddy cop comedy “Rush Hour” on CBS in 2016; and 6) drama “Mrs. Wilson” on PBS in 2019 starring Ruth Wilson…Four successful series debuted: motorcycle docuseries “American Chopper” on Discovery in 2003; British comedy “Mr. Selfridge” on PBS in 2013; comedy “Younger” on TV Land in 2015 starring Sutton Foster and Hilary Duff; and teen drama “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix in 2017…Four long-running series concluded: sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” on CBS in 2014; Courteney Cox comedy “Cougar Town” on TBS in 2015 (which originally aired on ABC); genre dramas “Grimm” on NBC and “Sleepy Hollow” on Fox, both in 2017…Four short-lived series ended: Animated “Histeria!” on The WB in 2000; law drama “In Justice” on ABC in 2006; action drama “Intelligence” on CBS in 2014 starring Josh Holloway; and comedy “You, Me and the Apocalypse” on NBC in 2016.

“The Hound of Baskervilles” first of 14 films starring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson was released in 1939…“10 Things I Hate About You”, a modernization of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”, starring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger, opened in 1999.
In 1995, Grammy award winning Mexican American singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was shot and murdered in a motel room by the woman who was the president of her fan club.

The Pulitzer prize was awarded to Toni Morrison for her novel “Beloved” in 1988.

Tennis legend Andre Agassi won his 700th career match in 2002.

Celebrity Birthdays:
“St. Elsewhere” star William Daniels is 94; “The Partridge Family” matriarch Shirley Jones is 87; Richard Chamberlain (“The Birds”) is also 87; musician Herb Alpert is 86; Oscar winner Christoper Walken (“The Deer Hunter”) is 78; “Welcome Back, Kotter” star Gabe Kaplan is 77; politician Al Gore is 73; “Cheers” star Rhea Perlman is also 73; actor Ed Marinaro (“Hill Street Blues”) is 71; actor Ewan McGregor (“Moulin Rouge”) is 50.

Did You Know?
William Daniels also found success as Mr. Feeney on 1993 to 2000 ABC sitcom “Boy Meets World.” But his first major television role was in 1967 when he headlined ABC superhero comedy “Captain Nice.” As police chemist Carter Nash in the one season fiasco, his character could transform into the superhero Captain Nice by drinking a super serum…In 1961, Shirley Jones won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in “Elmer Gantry.”