Monday, August 18, 2014

This Week in Television History: August 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.

August 20, 1989
Saved by the Bell first aired. A retool of the Disney Channel series Good Morning, Miss Bliss, the show follows a group of friends and their principal. Primarily focusing on lighthearted comedic situations, it occasionally touches on serious social issues, such as drug usedriving under the influencehomelessnessdivorcedeath, and environmental issues.
Saved by the Bell was named one of the "20 Best School Shows of All Time" by AOL TV

The show spawned two spin-off series: Saved by the Bell: The College Years (1993–94), a primetime series that follows several of the characters to college, and Saved by the Bell: The New Class (1993–2000), a Saturday morning series that follows a new group of students at Bayside High School. 

The series also spawned two TV movies, Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style in 1992 and Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas in 1994.
Saved by the Bell aired in Australia on Channel Seven, and from 1990 until 2004 on Nickelodeon. Reruns have aired in local syndication and on TBS,MTV2 and E!.

Special Thanks to Me-TV for wishing a Happy Birthday to Valerie Harper! who turns 75 today. 


This is a very special milestone considering that 
she announced on March 6, 2013 that she has leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare condition in which cancer cells spread into the meninges, the membranes surrounding the brain. She said her doctors had given her as little as three months' life expectancy. Although the disease was reported to be incurable, her doctors said they were treating her with chemotherapy in an effort to slow its progress. 

August 22, 1939
Valerie Kathryn Harper was born.
The actress known for her roles as Rhoda Morgenstern in the 1970s television seriesThe Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off, Rhoda, and later as Valerie Hogan in Valerie.

August 23, 1934
Barbara Eden is born Barbara Jean Morehead in Tucson, Arizona.
Her parents divorced when she was three; she and her mother, Alice, moved to San Francisco, where later her mother married Harrison Connor Huffman, a telephone lineman. Her first public performance was singing in the church choir, where she sang the solos. When she was 14 she sang in local bands for $10 a night in night clubs. At age 16, she became a member of Actor's Equity. She studied singing at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and acting with the Elizabeth Holloway School of Theatre. She graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco in the Spring Class of 1949 and studied theater for one year at City College of San Francisco. She was then elected Miss San Francisco, as Barbara Huffman, in 1951. Barbara also entered the Miss California pageant, but did not win. Eden made featured appearances on television shows such as The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (as "Barbara Morehead" and "Barbara Huffman"), The West Point StoryHighway PatrolPrivate SecretaryI Love LucyThe MillionaireTarget: The Corruptors!CrossroadsPerry Mason,GunsmokeDecember BrideBachelor FatherFather Knows BestAdventures in ParadiseThe Andy Griffith ShowCain's HundredSaints and Sinners,The VirginianSlattery's PeopleThe Rogues, and the series finale of Route 66 playing the role of Margo.
In 1965, Eden signed a contract with Sidney Sheldon to star on his up-and-coming fantasy sitcom I Dream of Jeannie that would air on NBC. After various brunette starlets and beauty queens unsuccessfully tried out for the role she was approached by Sheldon who had seen her in The Brass Bottle and had been recommended by various colleagues. Eden played Jeannie, a beautiful genie set free from her bottle by astronaut and United States Air Force captain (later major) Anthony Nelson, played by Larry Hagman. Hoped to be a blockbuster like its rival-show BewitchedI Dream of Jeannie was only a mild ratings success, topping off its first year at #27, tying withLassie. The series spent its second, third, and fifth seasons out of the top thirty programs. Season four proved to be the sitcom's most successful year, ending at #26.
In the series, Eden wore her trademark "Jeannie Costume", a costume that was designed by Gwen Wakeling with the colors pink and red chosen by Eden. During the second season reporters visiting the set would joke that Eden had no navel as it was almost never visible when in costume. The story picked up momentum and as it did the network censors began to insist that her navel remain hidden. In the fourth season George Schlatter the creator of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In expressed a desire to premiere Eden's navel on his show. As soon as his intentions were revealed the network held a meeting of executives to discuss his idea and it was deemed inappropriate to do so. However, her navel is glimpsed in a few season four and season five episodes, much to the dislike of the censors. After four years of dating, Jeannie and Anthony got married in the show's fifth season, a decision that was forced by the network. 

Eden complained to the network about the two marrying, claiming that this change in the plotline would take away from the show's humor and the sexual tension between Jeannie and Anthony. However, even after the change, the network had grown tired of the series by the end of the 1969-1970 television season and canceled the show after five seasons and 139 episodes. The series became hugely popular during decades of syndication and has had two spin-off reunion movies. The first, I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later a 1985 television movie, starred all the original cast excluding Larry Hagman, who was unavailable due to the shooting schedule of his then-current series, "Dallas". The role of Anthony Nelson was played by Wayne Rogers for this film only. The second television spin-off movie of the series aired in 1991 and was called I Still Dream of Jeannie, in which Hagman was still absent—Anthony Nelson doesn't appear in this film at all. There was talk of a third I Dream of Jeannie movie but, with the death of Larry Hagman, no projects have been cast or even written.
In 1978, she starred in the feature film Harper Valley PTA, based on the popular country song. This led to a namesake television series in 1981; in both the movie and the TV series, she played the show's heroine, Stella Johnson. The show won 11 of its 13 time slots during its first season. It was a comedy version of Peyton Place with Anne Francine playing wealthy villain Flora Simpson Reilly. In one episode Stella dressed in a blue and gold genie costume and in another she played both Stella and her cousin Della Smith (similar to Jeannie's evil twin-sister character). The show Harper Valley PTA began January 16, 1981, and was renamed simply Harper Valley when the show began its second season on October 29, 1981. The show ran until August 14, 1982, producing 29 episodes for NBC and Universal MCA, which were rerun in 2000 by TV Land.
n 1990, Eden had a recurring role of a billionairess seeking revenge against J. R. Ewing in five episodes of the final season of Dallas, playing the captivating character Lee Ann De La Vega, reuniting her with her I Dream of Jeannie costar Hagman. In her final episode, the character admits that her maiden name was "Lee Ann Nelson", which was a production gag, as "Nelson" was the surname of Hagman's character, and Eden's character's married name, in I Dream of Jeannie.

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





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Tony Figueroa
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