Monday, January 23, 2012

This Week in Television History: January 2012 PART IV

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Wednesday 9/7
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Friday 9/9
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Saturday 9/10
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Tuesday 9/13
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As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history, the morethat fact and legend become intertwined. It's hard to say where the truthreally lies.

January23, 1977

Theminiseries Roots debuts on ABC.
The show traced four generations of an African-American family based on thefamily of author Alex Haley. Running for eight consecutive days, the miniseriesbecame the single most watched program in American history, drawing about 100million viewers.

January 28, 1957
Jack Lescoulie takes over theshort lived Tonight! America After Dark.

Rather than continuing with the same format after Allen and Kovacs'departure from Tonight, NBC changed the show's format to a news andfeatures show, similar to that of the network's popular morning program Today. The new show, renamed Tonight!America After Dark, was hosted first by Jack Lescoulie and then by Al"Jazzbo" Collins, with interviews conducted by Hy Gardner, and music provided by the Lou Stein Trio. This new version of theshow was not popular, resulting in a significant number of NBC affiliatesdropping the show.

January 29,1977

Freddie Prinze’s family removed him from life support,and he died at 1:00 pm at the age of 22.

Prinze suffered from depression, and on January 28,1977, shot himself with a small automatic pistol after talking on the telephonewith his estranged wife. His business manager, Marvin "Dusty" Snyder,tried to intervene, but Prinze shot himself in the head, and was rushed to the UCLA Medical Center to be placed on life supportfollowing emergency surgery.

The death, initially ruled a suicide, wasyears later re-ruled accidental. Prinze had a history of playing with guns,faking suicide attempts to frighten his friends for his amusement. He had lefta note stating that the decision to take his life was his alone, but because hepulled the trigger in the presence of a witness —it gave enough weight to theargument that he really was not planning to take his own life that night.

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa
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