Monday, April 14, 2014

This Week in Television History: Aprily 2014 PART III

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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.

April 16, 1949
Garroway at Large debuts. 
Radio personality Dave Garroway moves to TV, as the host of one of television's earliest musical-variety shows. Garroway at Large was one of the two most important series to be made in Chicago, along with Kukla, Fran & Ollie, during the city's brief period in the late 1940s as an important production center for network programs. Garroway at Large ran until 1951.
Dave Garroway started out as a page at NBC and worked his way up to the position of radio announcer for various NBC programs. From 1944 to 1948, he announced for the NBC radio series The World's Great Novels. The show featured dramatic readings of classic novels and later evolved into NBC University of the Air, which offered accredited radio-assisted degrees in literature. Garroway also hosted his own radio talk show with music, which aired under various names from 1946 to 1955.
Starting in 1952, Garroway became the longtime host of NBC's Today show. He continued some prime-time work, though, and when Garroway at Large ended, he tried another show, called The Dave Garroway Show, in 1953. The second show, however, didn't take off, partly because of stiff competition from the other networks, which were airing popular programs Mama and Ozzie and Harriet.

April 18, 1929
First Our Gang film with sound debuts.

Watch Our Gang Rascals Small Talk Now with Music Score in Entertainment  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Small Talk, the first "Our Gang" picture with sound, debuts on this day in 1929. Producer Hal Roach had started producing the Our Gang short comedies in 1922. The series' mischievous band of kids, later known as the "Little Rascals," quickly caught on with the public, especially after characters Spanky, Alfalfa, and Darla were added in the early 1930s. In 1938, Roach sold the Our Gang rights to MGM, which produced the shorts until 1944. In total, more than 100 Our Gang films were made.
April 18, 1979
Real People premiered. 

Real People had the format of a comedy talk show taped in front of a large studio audience. Each segment featured a news report consisting of visits to people with unique occupations or hobbies, occasionally bringing some of them in-studio to interact with the audience. In its early seasons, Real People was NBC's most popular series, often scoring at the top of the ratings, and was a rare hit for the network at a time when NBC was a distant third in the ratings and struggling with numerous flops. Segments included "funny pictures" and funny newspaper errors sent in by viewers, who were awarded a Real People T-shirt. According to a 2008 interview with producer George Schlatter, who also co-created Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In for NBC, the show had covered serious topics like war heroes.

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


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Tony Figueroa
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