Monday, January 27, 2014

This Week in Television History: January 2014 PART IV

Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL:
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.


January 28, 1984
The first season of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer began on CBS. 
Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, with Stacy Keach in the title role, is a television series that originally aired on CBS from January 28, 1984 to January 12, 1985. The series was 24 sixty minute episodes. The show follows the adventures of Mike Hammer, the fictitious private detective created by crime novelist Mickey Spillane, as he hunts down criminals on the mean streets of New York City. While firmly situated in the 1980s, the tone of the show also incorporated elements of classic film noir detective films, such as The Maltese Falcon. For example, each show featured the protagonist's narrative voice-over and, much like the archetypal hard-boiled detectives of years gone by, Hammer would rarely be seen without his wrinkled suit, fedora and trench coat. While his get-up made a particularly awkward fashion statement for the time, the juxtaposition of old and new was a central theme in the show. Indeed, Keach's Mike Hammer left the viewer with the impression that this detective had been somehow transported from a 1940s film set to 1980s New York City. The show's theme song "Harlem Nocturne" by Earle Hagen, a jazz tune featuring a deeply melancholy saxophone, set a gritty tone for each episode. The song proved to be one of the most popular elements of the program. Prior to the show's debut, Keach starred as Mike Hammer in two made-for-TV movies Murder Me, Murder You (April 9, 1983) and More Than Murder (January 26, 1984). Like the syndicated series, these two-hour movies were executed under the guidance of acclaimed Executive Producer Jay Bernstein. Other actors who played prominent roles in Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer include Don Stroud as Captain Pat Chambers, Lindsay Bloom as Hammer's secretary Velda, Kent Williams as Assistant District Attorney Lawrence D. Barrington, Danny Goldman as "Ozzie the Answer", and Donna Denton as "The Face"—a beautiful and mysterious woman who Hammer would see briefly in each episode but would then vanish before he had a chance to meet her.

Production of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer was interrupted near the end of the season when Keach was arrested in England for smuggling 1¼ ounces of cocaine. He was in the country filming Mistral's Daughter, a television miniseries based on a novel by Judith Krantz. Keach found himself sentenced to nine months in Reading Prison, but he was released after six months with time off for good behaviour.


January 31, 1949
These Are My Children, the first daytime soap opera, debuts on NBC. The show, only 15 minutes long, aired weekdays at 5 p.m. in January and February 1949.

February 1, 1954
Charles William "Bill" Mumy, Jr. is born.

Actor, musician, pitchman, instrumentalist, voice-over artist and a figure in the science-fiction community. He is known primarily for his roles in movies and television, character-type roles, and who also works in television production.


The red-headed Mumy came to prominence in the 1960s as a child actor, most notably as Will Robinson, the youngest of the three children of Prof. John and Dr. Maureen Robinson (played Guy Williams and June Lockhart respectively) and friend of the nefarious and pompous Dr. Zachary Smith (played by Jonathan Harris), in the cult 1960s CBS sci-fi television series Lost in Space.
He later appeared as a lonely teenager, Sterling North, in the 1969 Disney movie, Rascal, and as Teft in the 1971 film Bless the Beasts and Children. In the 1990s, he had the role of Lennier in the syndicated sci-fi TV series Babylon 5, and he also served as narrator of A&E Network's Emmy Award-winning series, Biography. He is also notable for his musical career, as a solo artist and as half of the duo Barnes & Barnes.





February 1, 2004
Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy.
 
Super Bowl XXXVIII, which was broadcast live on from Houston, Texas on the CBS television network in the United States, was noted for a controversial halftime show in which Janet Jackson's breast, adorned with a nipple shield, was exposed by Justin Timberlake for about half a second, in what was later referred to as a "wardrobe malfunction". The incident, sometimes referred to as Nipplegate, was widely discussed. Along with the rest of the halftime show, it led to an immediate crackdown and widespread debate on perceived indecency in broadcasting. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fined CBS a record $550,000 which was fought in Supreme Court, but that fine was appealed and ultimately voided by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2011 ruling, and a case to reinstate the fine was refused in 2012.
The incident was ridiculed both abroad and within the United States, with some American commentators seeing the incident as a sign of decreasing morality in the national culture; others considered the incident harmless and felt that it received an undue amount of attention and backlash. The increased regulation of broadcasting raised concerns regarding censorship and free speech in the United States, and the FCC increased the fine per indecency violation from $27,500 to $325,000 shortly after the event.[13] The show was produced by MTV and was themed around the network's Rock the Vote campaign due to the event occurring during an election year. Following the wardrobe incident, the NFL announced that MTV, which also produced the halftime show for Super Bowl XXXV, would never be involved in another halftime show. The exposure was broadcast to an audience of 143.6 million viewers in total.
According to YouTube creator Jawed Karim, Janet's Super Bowl incident led to the creation of YouTube.[16] The launch of Facebook commenced within three days of the incident to capitalize on its controversy through social networking. The incident also made "Janet Jackson" the most searched term, event and image in Internet history, as well as the most searched person and term of the year 2004 and also for the following year. The incident also broke the record for "most searched event over one day". Jackson was later listed in the 2007 edition of Guinness World Records as "Most Searched in Internet History" and the "Most Searched for News Item". It became the most watched, recorded and replayed television moment in TiVo history and "enticed an estimated 35,000 new [TiVo] subscribers to sign up". The incident also coined the phrase "wardrobe malfunction", which was later added to the dictionary.
Following the incident, media conglomerates involved with the broadcast who were fined by the FCC, including Viacom and CBS, and subsidiaries MTV, Clear Channel Communications, and Infinity Broadcasting, enforced a blacklist of Jackson's singles and music videos on many radio formats and music channels worldwide. The blacklisting and denouncement of Jackson was considered to be "one of the saddest things in pop music over the last decade". In January 2014, former FCC chairman Michael Powell stated the controversy, fines, and reaction to the incident were overblown, and also said Jackson did not deserve the harsh treatment and blacklisting she had received in the media. Powell also considered it "unfair" that Timberlake did not receive the same effect and backlash that Jackson had endured.


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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa
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