Monday, November 16, 2015

This Week in Television History: November 2015 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.

November 17, 1925
Roy Harold Scherer-later known as Rock Hudson-is born in Winnetka, Illinois.
As a child, Hudson auditioned for school plays but never landed a role. Later, he worked as a navy mechanic and a truck driver, then pursued an acting career after World War II. After extensive grooming, which included acting, dancing, and fencing lessons, Hudson became a leading actor with Universal. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, he frequently starred in action films and melodramas, including The Desert Hawk (1950) and The Iron Man (1951). Later, he shone in comedies like Pillow Talk (1959), the first of his three pictures with Doris Day. He later worked in television, starring in the series McMillan and Wife from 1971 to 1977 and appearing in Dynasty in 1984 and 1985. Hudson died of AIDS in 1985, at the age of 59. As one of the first major celebrities to admit to having AIDS, Hudson boosted awareness about the epidemic.

November 18, 1985
The adults on Sesame Street finally meet Mr. Snuffleupagus.

Since Mr. Snuffleupagus made his first appearance in the Season 3 premiere, the adults had thought that Mr. Snuffleupagus was just an imaginary friend of Big Bird's. Big Bird would often try to arrange for them to see Mr. Snuffleupagus, face-to-face, but Snuffy would always be gone by the time they finally chose to look at him. After years of not seeing him and many near-misses, the adults finally got to see Mr. Snuffleupagus for the first time in this episode, and finally find out that he is real.

November 20, 1955
Bo Diddley makes his national television debut on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Diddley opened his appearance on Ed Sullivan with the eponymously titled song “Bo Diddley,”. This now-famous number set portions of the children’s rhyme “Mockingbird” to what is now known as “the Bo Diddley beat”—a syncopated rhythm in 4/4 time that is the foundation of such rock-and-roll classics as Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” and the Stangeloves’ “I Want Candy,” among countless others. Five months before Elvis Presley would make his famous Ed Sullivandebut, Diddley’s performance gave many Americans their first exposure to rock and roll, though that term was not yet familiar to mainstream audiences. Neither was the Bo Diddley beat, yet within just a few seconds of the drum-and-maraca opening of “Bo Diddley,” the live Ed Sullivan audience can be heard spontaneously clapping along to the distinctive rhythm in the surviving kinescope recording of the performance.

As Diddley would later tell the story, Ed Sullivan had expected him to perform only a cover version of “Tennessee” Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons” and was furious enough with him for opening with “Bo Diddley” that Sullivan banned him from future appearances on his show. Be that as it may, Diddley’s appearance on this day in 1955 introduced a sound that would influence generations of followers. As blues-rock artist George Thorogood—who performed and recorded many Bo Diddley covers during his own career—once told Rolling Stone: “[Chuck Berry's] ‘Maybellene’ is a country song sped up… ‘Johnny B. Goode’ is blues sped up. But you listen to ‘Bo Diddley,’ and you say, ‘What in the Jesus is that?'”

November 21, 1945
Actress Goldie Hawn is born in Washington, D.C. 

The daughter of a musician and a dance-studio owner, Hawn began training as an entertainer at age three, when she took her first dance lesson. By age 16, she was acting professionally, playing Juliet with a regional theater company. After studying briefly at American University, she went to New York to become an actress. She found dancing jobs-first as a can-can dancer with the World's Fair in 1964 and later as a go-go dancer-while playing small parts in movies and ill-fated TV shows.
In 1967, Hawn's career picked up thanks to the comedy-variety show Laugh-In, in which she played a ditzy blonde. In 1969, she won her first featured movie role, in Cactus Flower, for which she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. She starred in comedies with actor Chevy Chase, including Foul Play (1978) and Seems Like Old Times (1980). She produced the hit comedy Private Benjamin (1980), for which she received an Best Actress Academy Award nomination. Other films include Overboard (1987), Death Becomes Her (1992), The First Wives Club (1996), and The Banger Sisters (2002). Hawn has had a romantic relationship with actor Kurt Russell since 1982. Her daughter, Kate Hudson, is also a well-known actress.

November 22, 1968
Plato's Stepchildren is a third seasonepisode of the original science fictiontelevision series, Star Trek, first broadcast November 22, 1968. It is episode No. 65, production No. 67, written by Meyer Dolinsky, and directed by David Alexander. This episode is notable for depicting an inter-racial kiss between a white man (Kirk) and a black woman (Uhura), which was daring for 1960s US television.

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



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Tony Figueroa
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