Monday, November 10, 2014

This Week in Television History: November 2014 PART II

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.

November 10, 1924
Russell David Johnson is born. 
Best known as “The Professor” on the CBS television sitcom Gilligan’s Island

November 10, 1969 

The longest running children's program on television. The show is produced by the non-profit organization Sesame Workshop, formerly known as the Children's Television Workshop (CTW), founded by Joan Ganz Cooney and Ralph Rogers.

November 13, 1949
Caryn Johnson, later known as Whoopi Goldberg, is born in New York City.
Goldberg began acting at age eight in children's theater productions. She dropped out of high school during her freshman year, later citing a learning disability that teachers mistook for retardation. She began using drugs but later cleaned up and resumed her interest in acting. She married her substance abuse counselor and had a daughter. She started winning small roles in Broadway shows including Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair. Her marriage ended, and she moved with her daughter to California, where she began performing with improv groups in San Diego and San Francisco while earning money as a bank teller, makeup artist, and other odd jobs.
Goldberg launched a comedy act with comedian Don Victor but was soon performing a hit solo act called "Spook Show." She toured the country with her comedy, eventually ending up on Broadway.

November 15, 1929
Edward Asner is born. 

Film, television, stage, and voice actor and a former president of the Screen Actors Guild. He is primarily known for his Emmy Award-winning role as Lou Grant during the 1970s and early 1980s, on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off series Lou Grant, making him one of the few television actors to portray the same leading character in both a comedy and a drama.

November 15, 1919
Joseph Albert Wapner is born. 
The retired American judge and former television "judge." He is the first star of the ongoing reality courtroom series The People's Court. The court show's first run in syndication, with Wapner presiding as "judge", lasted from 1981 to 1993. This run lasted 12 seasons and 2,484 episodes. Unlike the show's second run which has been presided over by multiple judges, Wapner was the sole judge to preside during the court show's first run.
Wapner's tenure on the program made him the first star of arbitration-based reality court shows, what is now a most popular trend in the judicial genre. Until the summer of 2013, Wapner also held the title of longest reigning arbiter over The People's Court. However, by completion of the court show's 2012-2013 season, Marilyn Milian captured this title from him and became the longest-reigning judge over the series. 

Five years after presiding over the The People's Court, Wapner returned to television as a judge on the nontraditional courtroom series, Judge Wapner's Animal Court, lasting for 2 seasons (1998-1999 and 1999-2000).

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa
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