Monday, January 25, 2016

This Week in Television History: January 2016 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.

January 26, 1926

John Logie Baird gave the world's first demonstration of true television before 50 scientists in an attic room in central London. 

In 1927, his television was demonstrated over 438 miles of telephone line between London and Glasgow, and he formed the Baird Television Development Company. (BTDC). In 1928, the BTDC achieved the first transatlantic television transmission between London and New York and the first transmission to a ship in mid-Atlantic. He also gave the first demonstration of both colour and stereoscopic television.

January 27, 1976
The Happy Days spin-off Laverne and Shirley, featuring two Milwaukee women who work on a brewery assembly line preimers. 
The show starred Penny Marshall, sister of producer Garry Marshall, and Cindy Williams. Fierce rivalry erupted between the two stars, and Williams left the show in 1982. The show lasted only one more season before its cancellation in 1983.
January 28, 1936
Alan Alda is born Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo
A six-time Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner, he is best known for his roles as Hawkeye Pierce in the TV series M*A*S*H and Arnold Vinick in The West Wing. He is currently a Visiting Professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook School of Journalism and a member of the advisory board of The Center for Communicating Science.
Family and early life
Alda was born Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo in The Bronx, New York City. His father, Robert Alda (born Alphonso Giuseppe Giovanni Roberto D'Abruzzo), was an actor and singer, and his mother, Joan Browne, was a former showgirl. His father was of Italian descent and his mother was of Irish ancestry. His adopted surname, "Alda," is a portmanteau of ALphonso and D'Abruzzo. When Alda was seven years old, he contracted poliomyelitis. To combat the disease, his parents administered a painful treatment regimen developed by Sister Elizabeth Kenny that consisted of applying hot woollen blankets to his limbs and stretching his muscles. Alda attended Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, New York. In 1956, he received his Bachelor of Science degree in English from Fordham College of Fordham University in the Bronx, where he was a student staff member of its FM radio station, WFUV. Alda's half-brother, Antony Alda, was born the same year and would also become an actor.
During Alda's junior year, he studied in Paris, acted in a play in Rome, and performed with his father on television in Amsterdam. In college, he was a member of the ROTC, and after graduation, he served for a year at Fort Benning, Georgia, then joined the U.S. Army Reserve, and served for six months as a gunnery officer. A year after graduation, he married Arlene Weiss, with whom he has three daughters: Eve, Elizabeth, and Beatrice. Two of his 7 grandchildren are aspiring actors. The Aldas have been longtime residents of Leonia, New Jersey. Alda frequented Sol & Sol Deli on Palisade Avenue in the nearby town of Englewood, New Jersey—a fact mirrored in his character's daydream about eating whitefish from the establishment, in an episode of M*A*S*H in which Hawkeye sustains a head injury.
Career

January 28, 1956
Young country-rock singer Elvis Presley makes his first-ever television appearance on the TV musical-variety program Stage Show on this day in 1956. 

Presley sang "Heartbreak Hotel," which quickly became a hit single. In total, Elvis appeared on six shows. The program was hosted by swing band leaders Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. Elvis went on to appear on Ed Sullivan's immensely popular variety show, Toast of the Town, in the fall of 1956. The appearance made Elvis a household name.

January 28, 1986
Challenger explodes

The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, when the NASA Space Shuttle orbiterChallenger (OV-099) (mission STS-51-L) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members, which included five NASA astronauts and two Payload Specialists. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape CanaveralFlorida, at 11:39 EST (16:39 UTC). Disintegration of the vehicle began after an O-ring seal in its right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed at liftoff. The O-ring failure caused a breach in the SRB joint it sealed, allowing pressurized burning gas from within the solid rocket motor to reach the outside and impinge upon the adjacent SRB aft field joint attachment hardware and external fuel tank. This led to the separation of the right-hand SRB's aft field joint attachment and the structural failure of the external tank.Aerodynamic forces broke up the orbiter.



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

 


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Tony Figueroa
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