I represent the first generation who, when we were born, the television was now a permanent fixture in our homes. When I was born people had breakfast with Barbara Walters, dinner with Walter Cronkite, and slept with Johnny Carson.
Read the full "Pre-ramble"
In a career that spans seven decades, Hugh Downs has left his mark on three of the most iconic shows in television history — The Tonight Show and The Today Show, and ABC’s 20/20 — as well as hosted Over Easy and Live from Lincoln Center for PBS, the syndicated talk show Not for Women Only (with Barbara Walters), and the long-running NBC game show Concentration. Certified by The Guinness Books of World Records for logging more hours on network commercial television than anyone else, Hugh has also hosted numerous other television broadcasts from both poles and just about every continent.
In a encore presentation of a 90-minute conversation that originally aired in September 2013, we’ll not only ask Hugh about his long and distinguished career, but discuss a few of his other interests that are not widely known. Plus: Phil Gries will play audio highlights from some of Hugh’s early work in television, including his time as co-host of The Jack Paar Tonight Show. All this and more, beginning in our first hour.
Plus: Tony Figueroa and Donna Allen with a new edition of This Week in TV History, and Greg Ehrbar with a brand new DVD report.
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 27, 1980
Galactica 1980 first aired.
A spin-off from the original Battlestar
Galactica television series.
It was first broadcast on the ABC
network in the United States from
January 27 to May 4, 1980, lasting for 10 episodes. Set during the year 1980,
and a generation after the original series, the Galactica and
its fleet of 220 civilian ships have finally discovered Earth, only to find that its
people are not as scientifically advanced and that the planet can neither
defend itself against the Cylons nor
help the Galactica as originally hoped. Therefore, teams of
Colonial warriors arecovertly sent to the planet to work incognito
with various members of the scientific community, hoping to advance Earth's
Commander Adama and Colonel Boomer —
now second-in-command — on the advice of Doctor Zee, a teenage prodigy
serving as Adama's counsellor, sends Captain Troy,
who is the adopted son of Adama's own son Apollo, and
Lieutenant Dillon to North America,
where they become entangled with TV journalist Jamie Hamilton. After an
initial, epictime travel adventure to Nazi Germany in
the 1940s (to stop rebel Galactican Commander Xavier, trying to change the future to improve Earth's technology level), the
three friends devise ways to help Earth's scientists and outwit the Cylons in
the present day. Meanwhile, Adama sends a group of children from the Galactica fleet
(the Super Scouts) to Earth in order to begin the process of
integrating with the population. However, due to differences in gravity and
physiology, the children must deal with the fact they have nearly super-human
powers on Earth.
fates of several characters from the original series are explained during the
course of the series. Apollo is apparently dead, the cause of his seeming death
not addressed. Starbuck was marooned on a desert planet, although the script
for the episode "The Wheel of Fire" (unfilmed at the time of
cancellation) indicated that Starbuck was eventually rescued from the planet by
the inhabitants of the Ships of Light and became one of their inhabitants. Captain Troy is revealed to be Boxey, and Lt. Boomer has
risen to the rank of Colonel and has become Adama's second in command. Baltar
was apparently rescued from the planet he was marooned on in "Hand of
God", and is now Commandant Baltar of the Cylon fleet pursuing the
Galacticans. The fates of several other characters, including Adama's
daughter Athena, Colonel Tigh,
Starbuck's girlfriend Cassiopeia, and Muffit the robot dog are not revealed. These
characters are absent from the second series.
January 27, 1980
Tenspeed and Brown Shoe preimered
on the ABC network.
The series was created and executive
produced by Stephen J. Cannell. The one-hour program revolved around two detectives who
had their own detective agency in Los Angeles. E. L. ("Early Leroy") "Tenspeed"
Turner (Ben Vereen) was a hustler who worked as a detective to satisfy
his parole requirements. His partner Lionel "Brownshoe" Whitney (Jeff Goldblum)
was an archetypal accountant, complete with button-down collars and a nagging
fiancee (at least for the pilot episode), who had always wanted to be a
1940s-style Bogart P.I. A running joke was his penchant for reading
a series of hard-boiled crime novels, sub-titled, "A Mark Savage
Mystery", written by Stephen J. Cannell (though he never wrote such a
series of novels), with Goldblum reading particularly purple passages in
voice-over. He was sharper than he seemed, although a little naïve and more
reasonable than his career path demanded, and had picked up karate to Black Belt
was the first series to come from Stephen J. Cannell Productions as an
independent company (it was distributed throughParamount
Television, one of only two such
collaborations - the other was Riptide) and is also the only one not to carry the famed
Cannell logo on any episodes, having "A Stephen J. Cannell
Production" appearing in-credit (the logo was introduced in 1981 whenThe Greatest
American Hero began airing).
It was heavily promoted by ABC at the time it premiered in late January 1980.
The series attracted a substantial audience for its first few episodes (indeed,
the series was the 29th most-watched program of the 1979–80 U.S. television
season, according to Nielsen ratings),
but viewership dropped off substantially after that and the series was not
renewed for the 1980–81 season.
January 28, 1985
American recording artists gather to
record We Are the World.
Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
project in the UK, an idea for the creation of an American benefit single for
African famine relief came from activist Harry
Belafonte, who, along with fundraiser Ken Kragen,
was instrumental in bringing the vision to reality. Several musicians were
contacted by the pair, before Jackson and Richie were assigned the task of
writing the song. The duo completed the writing of "We Are the World"
seven weeks after the release of "Do They Know Its Christmas", and
one night before the song's first recording session, on January 21, 1985. (The
last recording session for the song was held on January 28, 1985.) The historic
event brought together some of the most famous artists in the music industry at
song was released on March 7, 1985, as the only single from the album. A
worldwide commercial success, it topped music charts throughout the world and
became the fastest-selling American pop single in history. The first ever single
to be certified multi-platinum,
"We Are the World" received a Quadruple Platinum certification by the Recording Industry
Association of America. However, the song garnered mixed reviews from
journalists, music critics, and the public. Fans enjoyed hearing racially and
musically diverse recording artists singing together on one track, and felt
satisfied in buying "We Are the World", knowing that the money was
going to charity. Other individuals, including many commentators in the rock
press, were disappointed that the song did not challenge listeners as to why
famines occur in the first place, and felt that the lyrics were
numerous honors—including three Grammy
Awards, one American Music Award, and a People's Choice Award—the song was promoted
with a critically received music video, a home video, a special edition
magazine, a simulcast, and several books, posters, and shirts. The
promotion and merchandise aided the success of "We Are the World" and
raised over $63 million for humanitarian aid in Africa and the US.
the devastation caused by the magnitude 7.0 Mwearthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010,
a remake of the song by another all-star cast of singers was recorded on
February 1, 2010. Entitled "We Are the World 25 for Haiti",
it was released as a single on February 12, 2010, and proceeds from the record
aided survivors in the impoverished country.
To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".