Monday, May 16, 2016

This Week in Television History: May 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.

May 20, 1989
Gilda Radner died.
In the fall of 1988, after biopsies and a saline wash of her abdomen showed no signs of cancer, Radner went on a maintenance chemotherapy treatment to prolong her remission, but later that same year, she learned that her cancer returned after a routine blood test showed that levels of the tumor marker CA-125 had increased. She was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on May 17, 1989 for a CAT scan. Despite expressing her fear that she would never wake up, she was given a sedative and passed into a coma during the scan. She did not regain consciousness, and died three days later from ovarian cancer at 6:20 am on May 20, 1989; Wilder was at her side.
Her funeral was held in Connecticut on May 24, 1989. In lieu of flowers, her family requested that donations be sent to The Wellness Community. Her gravestone reads: "Gilda Radner Wilder - Comedienne - Ballerina 1946-1989". She was interred at Long Ridge Union Cemetery in Stamford, Connecticut.
By coincidence, the news of her death broke on early Saturday afternoon (Eastern Daylight Time), while Steve Martin was rehearsing as the guest host for that night's season finale of Saturday Night Live. Saturday Night Live personnel—including Lorne Michaels, Phil Hartman, and Mike Myers (who had, in his own words, "fallen in love" with Radner after playing her son in a BC Hydro commercial on Canadian television and considered her the reason he wanted to be on SNL) had not known she was so close to death. They scrapped Martin's planned opening monologue and instead, Martin, in tears, introduced a video clip of a 1978 sketch in which he and Radner parodied Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in a well-known dance routine from The Band Wagon.

May 20, 1993
The final episode of Cheers Titled One for the Road. 

This episode serves as the 271st episode and the 25th episode of the eleventh season of Cheers. It first aired on NBC in Thursday, May 20, 1993, to an audience of approximately 42.4 million households in a 98 minute version, making it the second-highest-rated series finale of all time behind the series finale of M*A*S*H and the highest-rated episode of the 1992-1993 television season in the United States. The 98 minute version was re-shown on Sunday, May 23, 1993, and an edited 90 minute version aired on Thursday, August 19, 1993.
In the final scene of the last show, Sam straightens a picture of Geronimo on the wall. That photo was one that used to hang in Nicholas Colasanto’s dressing room. It was their way of acknowledging the “Coach” in the final episode.


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

 


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Tony Figueroa
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