Monday, October 20, 2014

This Week in Television History: October 2014 PART III

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.

October 23, 1984
NBC Nightly News aired footage of the severe drought in Ethiopia. 

October 25, 1924
Billy Barty was born William John Bertanzetti. 
Barty was one of the most famous 20th century people with dwarfism. Barty, an Italian American, was born in Millsboro, Pennsylvania. He was a member of the gang in the Mickey McGuire serial of silent shorts (a children's comedy series of the 1920s, similar in tone to the "Our Gang"/"Little Rascals" comedies, starring a very young Mickey Rooney in the title role). In The Gold Diggers of 1933, a nine-year-old Barty appeared as a baby who escapes from his stroller. Because of his stature, much of his work consisted of bit parts and gag roles, although he was featured prominently in W.C. Fields and Me (1976), Foul Play and The Lord of the Rings (both 1978), Under the Rainbow (1981), Night Patrol (1984), Legend (1985), Masters of the Universe (1987), Willow (1988), UHF (1989), Life Stinks and Radioland Murders (1994). 

Barty was known for his boundless energy and enthusiasm for any productions in which he appeared. He also performed a remarkable impression of pianist Liberace. He performed with the Spike Jones musical comedy show on stage and television. He was also the evil side kick on the 1970s Saturday morning TV series Dr. Shrinker.

October 26, 1914
John Leslie "Jackie" Coogan born in Los Angeles, California. 

Coogan began his movie career as a child actor in silent films. Many years later, he became known as Uncle Fester on The Addams Family (TV show, 1964-1966). In the interim, he shocked the United States by suing his mother and stepfather over his squandered film earnings and provoked California to enact the first known legal protection for the earnings of child performers.

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa
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