Monday, July 11, 2011

This Week in Television History: July 2011 PART II

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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.

July 12, 1908

Milton Berle the Emmy-winning American comedian and actor is born.

As the manic host of
NBC's Texaco Star Theater (1948–55), he was the first major star of television and as such became known as Uncle Miltie and Mr. Television to millions during TV's golden age.

July 16, 1967

Will Ferrell is born in Irvine, California.

After rising to fame on TV’s Saturday Night Live, Ferrell starred in a string of big-screen comedies, including Old School and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

Ferrell graduated from the University of Southern California in 1990 and went on to join The Groundlings, an improvisational comedy group whose members have included Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz and Lisa Kudrow. In 1995, Ferrell became a cast member of Saturday Night Live (SNL). Over the course of his seven seasons with the show, he became known for his impersonations of such celebrities as President George W. Bush, game show host Alex Trebek and Inside the Actors Studio host James Lipton. Ferrell also became known for the fictional characters he created, including cowbell player Gene Frenkle of Blue Oyster Cult, cheerleader Craig Buchanan and dense nightclubber Steve Butabi.

In 1998, Ferrell reprised the Butabi character for the feature-length movie A Night at the Roxbury, which co-starred his SNL castmates Chris Kattan and Molly Shannon. The following year, Ferrell and Shannon appeared together in another SNL sketch movie spin-off, Superstar, about the nerdy Catholic schoolgirl Mary Katherine Gallagher (played by Shannon). During his years at SNL, Ferrell also had supporting roles in movie comedies like Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1995), Zoolander (2001) and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001).

In 2003, Ferrell starred in the box-office hits Elf, about a human raised by Santa’s elves, and Old School, about three men in their 30s who try to relive their college days by starting their own fraternity. Ferrell, along with his Old School co-stars Luke Wilson and Vince Vaughn, came to be known in the media as members of the so-called “Frat Pack,” a group of male Hollywood actors who appeared together in comedies in the late 1990s and 2000s. Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller were also considered members of the group.

In recent years, Ferrell has starred in several sports-themed comedies, including 2006’s Talladega Nights, about auto racing; 2007’s Blades of Glory, about figure skating; and 2008’s Semi-Pro, about basketball.

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

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