Monday, February 23, 2015

This Week in Television History: February 2015 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.

February 24, 1980
The U.S. Hockey Team won its “Do you believe in miracles?” gold medal during the 1980 Olympic Winter Games beating Finland (4-2) in their final medal round game. 
The Soviet Union took the Silver Medal by beating Sweden in their final game. Sweden took home the Bronze Medal, with Finland finishing fourth.

Two days prior on February 22, 1980 was the "Miracle on Ice". The U.S. men's ice hockey team, led by coach Herb Brooks, defeated the Soviet Union team, 4 - 3. The Soviet Union team, who were considered to be the best international hockey team in the world, they entered the Olympic tournament as heavy favorites, having won every ice hockey gold medal since 1964, and all but one gold medal since 1956. On February 9, the American and Soviet teams met for an exhibition match at Madison Square Garden in order to practice for the upcoming competition. The Soviet Union won (10-3) so the odds were in favor of the Russians.

The day before the match, columnist Dave Anderson wrote in the New York Times, "Unless the ice melts, or unless the United States team or another team performs a miracle, as did the American squad in 1960, the Russians are expected to easily win the Olympic gold medal for the sixth time in the last seven tournaments."

The game ended with Al Michaels delivering the most famous call in Hockey history, "Eleven seconds, you've got ten seconds, the countdown going on right now! Morrow, up to Silk...five seconds left in the game... Do you believe in miracles? YES!!!"

Though the Olympic Games are supposed to be an arena free of politics the Soviet and American teams were long time rivals due to the Cold War.
President Jimmy Carter was considering a U.S. boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics, to bheld in Moscow out of protest to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. President Carter eventually confirmed the boycott on March 21, 1980.

At the same time there was another international drama playing out. Despite President Carter’s initial refusal to admit the Shah of Iran into the United States, on October 22, 1979, he finally granted the Shah entry and temporary asylum for the duration of his cancer treatment. In response to the Shah's entry into the U.S., Iranian militants seized the American embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981.

The "Miracle on Ice" was a shot in the country’s morale during a time of great uncertainty.

February 25, 1950
Comedy program Your Show of Shows, hosted by Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, first airs.

Although the show lasted only four seasons, it became a classic of television's golden era, featuring comedy by future stars Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Woody Allen, and others. The series was one of television's Top 20 hits for three of its four years.

February 27, 1940
Howard Hesseman is born. 

The actor is best known for playing disc jockey Johnny Fever on WKRP in Cincinnati and schoolteacher Charlie Moore on Head of the Class.

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


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Tony Figueroa
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