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Today in History: Wednesday, May 13, 2021

© by Photo courtesy of Gale Adler/Paramount

Twelve series of note concluded: 1) “The Bionic Woman” starring Lindsay Wagner and 2) NBC’s “Columbo,” starring Peter Falk, in 1978; 3) “The New Mike Hammer” starring Stacy Keach on CBS in 1987; 4) NBC’s “Night Court” in 1992; 5) CBS’ “Knots Landing” in 1993; 6) NBC’s “The Pretender” in 2000; 7) NBC’s “Cheers” spin-off “Frasier” in 2004; 8) UPN’s “Star Trek: Enterprise” in 2005; 9) The CW’s “7th Heaven” in 2007; 10) “Smallville” on The CW in 2011; 11) ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” in 2012 and 12) The CW reboot of “90210” in 2013. “The Bionic Woman” began on ABC and ended on NBC; while “Smallville” and “7th Heaven” both originally aired on The WB. “Frasier,” meanwhile, is the longest running sitcom spin-off in the history of television. Plans for the upcoming reboot of “Frasier” are underway…Several other series concluded: 1) ABC action drama “A Man Called Hawk” in 1989; 2) ABC video showcase “America’s Funniest People” in 1990; 3) CBS sitcom “The Royal Family” in 1992; 4) UPN sitcom “Homeboys in Outer Space” in 1997; 5) CBS action comedy “Martial Law” in 2000; 6) ABC mystery drama “Women’s Murder Club” in 2008; 7) ABC comedy “Trophy Wife” in 2014; and 8 and 9) ABC comedies “Single Parents” and “The Goldbergs” spinoff “Schooled” — both in 2020…In the 11th season finale of the CBS prime time soap “Dallas” in 1988, J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) pushed Nicholas Pierce (Jack Scalia) over the railing of his high-rise office building, and an enraged Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) fired three shots at J.R…“America’s Funniest People” debuted as a special on ABC in 1990. It returned as a companion show to parent “America’s Funniest Home Videos” the following fall, and aired for four seasons…Delta Burke made her final appearance on CBS’ “Designing Women” in the fifth season finale in 1991…Johnny Carson did his last TV appearance in 1994 on “The Late Show With David Letterman. He died on January 23, 2005…Jane Pauley exited NBC’s “Dateline” as co-anchor in 2003…Reality comparison “Beauty and the Geek”, hosted by Brian McFayden (and then Mike Richards starting with the show’s second cycle) and produced by Ashton Kutcher, concluded in 2008 after five cycles over three years. Currently, Richards is the executive producer of “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune”…The last time CBS aired the live “Survivor” season finale in New York was in 2012. Kim Spradlin was named the sole survivor…MTV game show “Silent Library” concluded its two-year run in 2011. Contestants were tasked to perform crazy stunts while attempting to avoid being noisy. Special editions included the “Jersey Shore” cast as well as Justin Bieber and late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon with his band The Roots…Michael Strahan hosted his final edition of  “Live with Kelly and Michael” in 2016. He had co-hosted the popular syndicated morning talk show with Kelly Ripa for four years. Behind-the-scenes rifts between the two hosts combined with Strahan’s bigger contract offer by ABC to expand his work on “Good Morning America” ultimately led to Strahan’s departure….E!’s foray into scripted fare effectively ended in 2018 with the conclusions of their two dramas “The Royals” and “The Arrangement”…Actress Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty for her part in the U.S. college admissions scandal in 2019. She served 11 days in jail in October…“L.A.’s Finest”, the police drama spinoff of the “Bad Boys” film franchise, began its two-season run on Spectrum Originals in 2019. The series starred Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba. Fox aired its first season in the fall of 2020.

“Our Gang” theatrical short “Three Smart Boys” was released in 1937. Ironically, the plot involved Spanky (Spanky McFarland) and Alfalfa (Carl Switzer) staging a phony epidemic to get out of school. For a look, click here…The Beatles British documentary “Let It Be” opened in 1970. The film documents the group rehearsing and recording songs for their twelfth studio album, “Let It Be”, in January 1969. It originally planned as a television documentary which would accompany a concert broadcast. When plans for a broadcast were dropped, the project became a feature film. Following the film’s release, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr collectively won an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score.

The New York Nets defeated the Denver Nuggets four games to two to win the ABA Championship in 1976. Julius “Dr. J” Erving was ABA Finals MVP of the series. It was the final year of the ABA league in existence. Three years later, the NBA acquired four former ABA squads — the Nets, Nuggets, San Antonio Spurs, and Indiana Pacers — as well as the ABA-featured 3-point s

Celebrity Birthdays:
Actor Buck Taylor (“Gunsmoke,” ″Gods and Generals”) is 83; actor Harvey Keitel (“Pulp Fiction”) is 82; actor Zoe Wanamaker (“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”) is 73; actor Franklyn Ajaye (“Car Wash,” TV’s “Deadwood”) is 72; singer Stevie Wonder is 71; “The Waltons” star Leslie Winston is 65; NBA great Dennis Rodman is 60; talk show host Stephen Colbert is 57; actor Tom Verica (“American Dreams”) is also 57; Hootie & the Blowfish’s Darius Rucker is 55; actress Susan Floyd (“All My Children”) is 53; actor Brian Geraghty (“The Alienist,” ″Boardwalk Empire”) is 46; “Girls” star Lena Dunham is 35; actress Candice Accola King (“The Vampire Diaries”) is 34. Actor Hunter Parrish (“Weeds”) is 34. Actress Debby Ryan (“Jessie”) is 28.

-Did You Know?:
The “Our Gang” short “Three Smart Boys” marked the eighth and final appearance of Rosina Lawrence as teacher “Miss Jones”…Although “Knots Landing” was a spin-off from the original “Dallas, the idea for the series (which did not include any characters named Ewing) actually came first. When “Dallas” clicked, CBS decided to ship black sheep son Gary (played by David Ackroyd initially on “Dallas,” and Ted Shackelford on “Knots Landing”) and his bride for the second time, Valene (Joan Van Ark), to the fictional town of Knots Landing, California. “Knots Landing” returned for a two-night (and four hour) miniseries in 1997 called “Knots Landing: Return to the Cul-de-Sac”Delta Burke, of course, did not leave “Designing Women” on a positive note. But, despite the brouhaha with series creator Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, the two teamed up for failed spin-off “Women in the House” in early 1995. It co-starred Patricia Heaton.