Monday, September 04, 2017

This Week in Television History: September 2017 PART I

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.

September 4, 1967
Gilligan's Island
, The classic TV comedy about seven people stranded on a deserted island, airs its last episode.

Although the show ran for only three years, it aired in reruns for decades. The characters were resurrected in three TV movies.

September 4, 2002

Kelly Clarkson wins first American Idol. 

On this day in 2002, Kelly Clarkson, a 20-year-old cocktail waitress from Texas, wins Season One of American Idol in a live television broadcast from Hollywood’s Kodak Theater. Clarkson came out on top in the amateur singing contest over 23-year-old runner-up Justin Guarini after millions of viewers cast their votes for her by phone. She was awarded a recording contract and went on to sell millions of albums and establish a successful music career. (Clarkson and Guarnini also co-starred in the 2003 box-office bomb From Justin to Kelly, which was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for that year’s worst film but lost to the Jennifer Lopez-Ben Affleck vehicle Gigli.) Starting with its first season, American Idol became one of the most popular TV programs in U.S. history and spawned a slew of talent-competition shows.

September 5, 1972
Munich massacre. 

The Games were largely overshadowed by what has come to be known as the Munich massacre. On September 5 a group of eight Palestinian terrorists belonging to the Black September organization broke into the Olympic Village and took nine Israeli athletes, coaches and officials hostage in their apartments. Two of the hostages who resisted were killed in the first moments of the break-in; the subsequent standoff in the Olympic Village lasted for almost 18 hours.
Late in the evening of September 5, the terrorists and their hostages were transferred by helicopter to the military airport of F├╝rstenfeldbruck, ostensibly to board a plane bound for an undetermined Arab country. The German authorities planned to ambush them there, but under-estimated the number of terrorists and were thus undermanned. During a botched rescue attempt, all of the Israeli hostages were killed. Four of them were shot, then incinerated when a Palestinian detonated a grenade inside the helicopter in which the hostages were sitting. The five remaining hostages were then machine-gunned by another terrorist.
All but three of the Palestinians were killed as well. Although arrested and imprisoned pending trial, the three PLO survivors were released by the West German government on October 29, 1972 in exchange for a hijacked Lufthansa jet. Two of those three were supposedly hunted down and assassinated later by the Mossad. Jamal Al-Gashey, who is believed to be the sole survivor, and is still living today in hiding in an unspecified African country with his wife and two children. The Olympic events were suspended several hours after the initial attack, but once the incident was concluded Avery Brundage, the International Olympic Committee president, declared that "the Games must go on". A memorial ceremony was then held in the Olympic stadium, and the competitions resumed after a stoppage of 24 hours. The attack prompted heightened security at subsequent Olympics beginning with the 1976 Winter Olympics.
The massacre led the German federal government to re-examine its anti-terrorism policies, which at the time were dominated by a pacifist approach adopted post-World War II. This led to the creation of the elite counter-terrorist unit GSG 9, similar to the British SAS. It also led Israel to launch an aggressive counterterrorism campaign known as Operation Wrath of God, in which those suspected of involvement were systematically tracked down and assassinated. The events of the Munich massacre were chronicled in the Oscar-winning documentary, One Day in September. An account of the aftermath is dramatized in Steven Spielberg's 2005 film Munich.

September 6, 1947
Jane Therese Curtin actor, comedian and ignorant slut was born. 

First coming to prominence as an original cast member on Saturday Night Live in 1975, she would go on to win back-to-back Emmy Awards for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series on the 1980s sitcom Kate & Allie

Curtin later starred in the hit series 3rd Rock from the Sun. She recreated her SNL character for the film The Coneheads

September 6, 1997
Some 2.5 billion TV viewers watch Princess Diana’s funeral.
Diana, Princess of Wales, who died at the age of 36 in a car crash in Paris the week before. During her 15-year marriage to Prince Charles, the son of Queen Elizabeth II and the heir to the British throne, Diana became one of the most famous, most photographed people on the planet. Her life story was fodder for numerous books, television programs and movies and her image appeared on countless magazine covers, including those of People and Vanity Fair. After her death, she remained an iconic figure and a continual source of fascination to the media and entertainment world.

September 7, 1927
Philo Taylor Farnsworth (August 19, 1906March 11, 1971) best known for inventing the first completely electronic television. 

In particular, he was the first to make a working electronic image pickup device (video camera tube), and the first to demonstrate an all-electronic television system to the public. Largely self-educated, Farnsworth grew up on farms in Utah and Idaho. As a boy he took an interest in electricity and electrons, and it's said he came up with the idea of electronically scanning images for transmission while he was in high school.
On September 7, 1927, Farnsworth's Image dissector camera tube transmitted its first image, a simple straight line, at his laboratory at 202 Green Street in San Francisco. The source of the image was a glass slide, backlit by an arc lamp. This was due to the lack of light sensitivity of the tube design, a problem Farnsworth never managed to resolve independently. On September 1, 1928, Farnsworth had developed the system sufficiently to hold a demonstration for the press—2 years after John Logie Baird had demonstrated his mechanical Television system in London. His backers had demanded to know when they would see dollars from the invention. The first image shown to them was a dollar sign. In 1929, the system was further improved by elimination of a motor-generator; the television system now had no mechanical moving parts. That year, Farnsworth transmitted the first live human images using his television system, including a three and a half-inch image of his wife, Pem—with her eyes closed because of the blinding light required.
Farnsworth spent the next decade arguing over patent rights in legal battles with David Sarnoff and engineer Vladimir Zworykin of RCA. In 1934 the U.S. Patent Office sided with Farnsworth, and in 1939 he sold his various patents to RCA. Although Farnsworth was awarded more than a hundred patents related to television, he did not become famous as "the inventor of television." Now it is generally agreed that the development of television involved many individuals, but it is also the consensus that Farnsworth deserves the lion's share of the credit.

September 8, 1922
Isaac Sidney "Sid" Caesar was born.

The comic actor and writer known best as the star of the 1950s television series Your Show of Shows and Caesar's Hour. Caesar began his television career when he made an appearance on Milton Berle's Texaco Star Theater

In early 1949, Sid and Max met with Pat Weaver, vice president of television at NBC (and father of Sigourney Weaver), which led to Caesar's appearance in his first series The Admiral Broadway Revue with Imogene Coca. The Friday show, simultaneously broadcast on NBC and the DuMont network (in order for the show to be carried on the only TV station then operating in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania- DuMont's WDTV- the sponsor had to agree to a simulcast) was an immediate success, but its sponsor, Admiral, an appliance company, could not keep up with the demand for its new television sets, so the show was cancelled after 26 weeks on account of its runaway success. According to Sid, an Admiral executive later told him the company had the choice of building a new factory, or continuing their sponsorship of the Revue for another season.

September 8, 1997
The television show Ally McBeal debuted on Fox. 
Ally McBeal is an American legal comedy-drama television series, originally aired on Foxfrom September 8, 1997 to May 20, 2002. Created by David E. Kelley, the series stars Calista Flockhart in the title role as a young lawyer working in the fictional Boston law firmCage and Fish, with other young lawyers whose lives and loves were eccentric, humorous and dramatic. The series received critical acclaim in its early seasons, winning the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy in 1997 and 1998, and also winning the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1999.

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

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