Monday, March 08, 2010

This week in Television History: March 2010 Part II

Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL with Ed Robertson and Frankie Montiforte Broadcast LIVE every other Monday at 9pm ET, 6pm PT (immediately following STU'S SHOW) on Shokus Internet Radio. The program will then be repeated Tuesday thru Sunday at the same time (9pm ET, 6pm PT)on Shokus Radio for the next two weeks, and then will be posted on line at our archives page at We are also on Share-a-Vision Radio ( Friday at 7pm PT and ET, either before or after the DUSTY RECORDS show, depending on where you live.

As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history, the more that fact and legend become intertwined. It's hard to say where the truth really lies.

March 9, 1959
The International Toy Fair in New York premiered Barbie. That event was followed by 50 years of Barbie comercials during Saturday morning cartoons. This is the first Barbie commercial that aired during the Mickey Mouse Club.

March 9, 1976
ABC premiered Family, a weekly prime-time drama about a Pasadena California suburban family.
The show was created by novelist and screenwriter Jay Presson Allen, directed by film director Mark Rydell, and produced by film director Mike Nichols, as well as television moguls Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg.

The show featured James Broderick and Sada Thompson as Doug and Kate Lawrence. Doug was an independent lawyer, and Kate was a housewife. They had three children: Nancy (portrayed by Elayne Heilveil in the original mini-series and later by Meredith Baxter Birney), Willie (Gary Frank), Letitia, nicknamed "Buddy" (Kristy McNichol) and the family later adopted a girl named Annie Cooper (Quinn Cummings). The show attempted to depict the "average" family, warts and all. Storylines were very topical, and the show was one of the first to feature shows to be termed as "very special episodes."

In the first episode, Nancy, who was pregnant with her second child, walked in on her husband Jeff (John Rubinstein) making love to one of her friends. Other topical storylines included Kate having to deal with the possibility that she had breast cancer. In the later seasons, there were instances in which Buddy had to decide whether or not to have sex (She always chose to wait, most notably in an episode with guest star/teen idol Leif Garrett). One episode featured guest-star Henry Fonda as a visiting elderly relative who was beginning to experience senility.

During its five seasons Family received fourteen Emmy Award nominations, three of them for Outstanding Drama Series. The show won four awards all in acting categories: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Sada Thompson in 1977), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Kristy McNichol in 1976 and 1978) and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Gary Frank in 1976).

March 10, 1965
Neil Simon’s play The Odd Couple debuted on Broadway. Felix Ungar was played by Art Carney and Oscar Madison was played by Walter Matthau (Matthau was later replaced with Jack Klugman). The show, directed by Mike Nichols, ran for 966 performances and won several Tony Awards, including Best Play. The play was followed by a successful film (Jack Lemmon as Felix and Walter Matthau as Oscar) and television series (Tony Randall as Felix and Jack Klugman as Oscar).

March 10, 1989
Fox network primered the reality series COPS.
The show that follows police officers, constables, and sheriff's deputies during patrols and other police activities. The show came out right after the 1988 Writers Guild of America strike and the new network needed material. An unscripted show that did not require writers would be ideal for FOX.

The show covered COPS in 140 different cities in the United States, and also filmed in Hong Kong, London, and the former Soviet Union.
2,044 arrests have been made on COPS.
The oldest person arrested was 90 years old (for battery)
The youngest person arrested was 7 years old (for a bike theft)
Roughly 120 hours of footage goes into one broadcast segment.

To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa
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