Monday, September 11, 2017

This Week in Television History: September 2017 PART II

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 11, 1942
Comedian Tom Dreesen is born. 
Dreesen grew up in Harvey, Illinois, south of Chicago. His family was one of the few white families in a largely African American community. While working as an insurance salesman in 1968, he met Tim Reid through a local Jaycee chapter, and the two teamed up to form the first biracial stand-up comedy duo in the United States. Though their material is now considered cutting-edge for its time, the pair struggled to make a living together, and split up in the mid-1970s. However, each found individual success: while Reid landed a role on WKRP in Cincinnati, Dreesen became a regular on The Tonight Show and toured with Frank Sinatra as the crooner's opening act. In 1989, Dreesen released a comedy album through Flying Fish Records called That White Boy's Crazy. The album was recorded in front of an all-black audience in Harvey, Illinois.

Dreesen continues to perform today. He is also involved in philanthropic endeavors and hosts an annual celebrity golf tournament called the Tom Dreesen Celebrity Classic. In 2008, Dreesen, Reid, and former Chicago Sun-Times sportswriter Ron Rapoport completed the book Tim and Tom: An American Comedy in Black and White.

September 11, 1967
The Carol Burnett Show premiered on CBS.
The Carol Burnett Show (also Carol Burnett and Friends in syndication) is an American variety/sketch comedy television show starring Carol BurnettHarvey KormanVicki Lawrence, and Lyle Waggoner

In 1975, frequent guest star Tim Conway became a regular after Waggoner left the series. In 1977, Dick Van Dyke replaced Korman for much of its final season (but he left the show by Thanksgiving, on friendly terms). The show originally ran on CBS from September 11, 1967, to March 29, 1978, for 279 episodes, and again with nine episodes in the fall of 1991. 

The series originated in CBS Television City's Studio 33, and won 25 primetime Emmy Awards, was ranked number 16 on TV Guide'50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time in 2002, and in 2007 was listed as one of Time magazine's 100 Best TV Shows of All Time.
In 2013, TV Guide ranked The Carol Burnett Show number 17 on their list of the 60 Greatest Shows of All Time.

September 12, 1972
Maude preimered. 

Maude stars Bea Arthur as Maude Findlay, an outspoken, middle-aged, politically liberal woman living in suburban Tuckahoe, Westchester County, New York with her fourth husband, household appliance store owner Walter Findlay (Bill Macy). Maude embraced the tenets of women's liberation, always voted for Democratic Party candidates, strongly supported legal abortion, and advocated for civil rights and racial and gender equality. However, her overbearing and sometimes domineering personality often got her into trouble when speaking out on these issues.

September 13, 1977
SOAP Priemered on ABC. 

The show was created as a parody of daytime soap operas, presented as a weekly half-hour prime time comedy. Similar to a soap opera, the show's story was presented in a serial format and included melodramatic plot elements such as amnesia, alien abduction, demonic possession, murder and kidnapping. In 2007 it was listed as one of Time magazine's "100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME," and in 2010, the Tates and the Campbells ranked at number 17 in TV Guide's list of "TV's Top Families".

The show was created, written, and produced by Susan Harris. The show aired for four seasons and 85 episodes. The final four episodes of the series aired as one-hour episodes during the original run on ABC. These hour-long episodes were later split in two, yielding 93 half-hour episodes for syndication.

September 14, 1967
The first episode of Ironside aired. 
Ironside is an American television crime drama that aired on NBC over 8 seasons from 1967 to 1975. The show starred Raymond Burr as Robert T. Ironside, a consultant for the San Francisco police (usually addressed by the title Chief Ironside), who was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot while on vacation. The character debuted on March 28, 1967, in a TV movie entitled Ironside. When the series was broadcast in the United Kingdom, in the 1970s, it was broadcast under the title A Man Called Ironside. The show earned Burr six Emmy and two Golden Globe nominations.
Ironside was a production of Burr's Harbour Productions Unlimited in association with Universal Television.

September 14, 1972
The series The Waltons began airing. 
The Waltons is an American television series created by Earl Hamner, Jr., based on his book Spencer's Mountain, and a 1963 film of the same name, about a family in rural Virginia during the Great Depression and World War II.
The series pilot The Homecoming: A Christmas Story was broadcast on December 19, 1971. Beginning in September 1972, the series aired on CBS for nine seasons. After the series was canceled by CBS in 1981, NBC aired three television movie sequels in 1982, with three more in the 1990s on CBS. The Waltons was produced by Lorimar Productionsand distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution in syndication.

September 16, 1927
Peter Falk was born. 

The actor is best known for his role as Lieutenant Columbo in the television series Columbo. He appeared in numerous films and television guest roles, and has been nominated for an Academy Award twice, and won the Emmy Award on five occasions and the Golden Globe award once. The Columbo character was originally played in a 1960 episode of the NBC anthology series The Chevy Mystery Show, where the detective was played by Bert Freed, and in a subsequent Broadway play by Thomas Mitchell. Falk first appeared as Columbo in Prescription: Murder , a 1968 TV movie, but the character was not the subject of a show of its own until 1971. Columbo aired regularly from 1971 to 1978 on NBC, and then more infrequently on ABC as TV movies beginning in 1989. The most recent episode was broadcast in 2003.

 September 16, 1972
The Bob Newhart Show premiered on CBS-TV. 
The Bob Newhart Show is an American sitcom produced by MTM Enterprises that aired on CBS from September 16, 1972, to April 1, 1978, with a total of 142 half-hour episodes spanning over six seasons. Comedian Bob Newhart portrays a psychologist having to deal with his patients and fellow office workers. The show was filmed before a live audience.

September 16, 1987
The first episode of Wiseguy aired on CBS. 
Wiseguy is an American crime drama series that aired on CBS from September 16, 1987 to December 8, 1990, for a total of 75 episodes over four seasons. The series was produced by Stephen J. Cannell and was filmed in VancouverBritish Columbia, to avoid the higher studio costs associated with filming in Los Angeles.
Wiseguy originally starred Ken Wahl as Vinnie Terranova, a Brooklyn native and deep cover operative for the FBI under the supervision of senior agent Frank McPike, played by Jonathan Banks. The primary cast was rounded out by Jim Byrnes, who played an information operative known as Lifeguard (real name Daniel Burroughs) who assisted Vinnie in the field. This cast remained together for three full seasons, after which Wahl left the series. The writers conceived a new lead character Michael Santana, and brought on Steven Bauer to fill the role.
The show placed #74 on Entertainment Weekly's "New TV Classics" list.

September 17, 1972
M*A*S*H first aired
M*A*S*H (the television series) developed by Larry Gelbart, adapted from the 1970 feature film MASH (which was itself based on the 1968 novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors, by Richard Hooker). The series is a medical drama that was produced in association with 20th Century Fox Television for CBS. 

It follows a team of doctors and support staff stationed at the "4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital" in Uijeongbu, South Korea, during the Korean War. M*A*S*H's title sequence featured an instrumental version of the song "Suicide Is Painless", which also appears in the original film. The show was created after an attempt to film the original book's sequel, M*A*S*H Goes to Maine, failed. It is the most well known version of the M*A*S*H works.

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

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