Monday, October 02, 2017

This Week in Television History: October 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.


October 3, 1947
WMAL-TV became the first VHF high band station.

The District of Columbia's third television station began broadcasting on October 3, 1947 as WTVW, owned by the Washington Star, along with WMAL radio (630 AM and 107.3 FM, now WRQX). It was the first Band III VHF television station (channels 7-13) in the United States. A few months later, the station changed its call letters to WMAL-TV after its radio sisters. WMAL radio had been an affiliate of the NBC Blue Network since 1933, and remained with the network after it was spun off by NBC and evolved into ABC. However, channel 7 started as a CBS station since ABC had not yet established its television network. When ABC launched on television in 1948, WMAL-TV became ABC's third primary affiliate; the station continued to carry some CBS programming until WOIC (channel 9, now WUSA) signed on in 1949. During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.[2] (Note: The WTVW call letters were later picked up by what is now WISN-TV, the ABC affiliate in MilwaukeeWisconsin, when it signed on in 1954. Now the callsign is residing in EvansvilleIndiana on a CW-affiliated station that is also on channel 7.)

October 3, 1957
The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom premiered on ABC-TV.
The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom is a half-hour variety show that aired on ABC-TV from October 3, 1957 to June 23, 1960, starring the young singer Pat Boone and a host of top-name guest stars sponsored by Chevrolet. Boone, a descendant of Kentucky frontiersman Daniel Boone, was, at 23, still attending Columbia University in New York City when the program began production. Upon his graduation from Columbia in 1958, TV Guidemagazine pictured him in his cap and gown on its cover. 

Boone, the No. 10 all-time vocalist in sales, was at the time the youngest person to host his own network variety program until ABC's The Donny & Marie Show, with two hosts, broke the record in 1976.

October 3, 1977
CBS-TV broadcasted Elvis In Concert. It was a special that was filmed during his last tour. 
Elvis In Concert is a posthumous 1977 TV special starring Elvis Presley. It was Elvis' third and final TV special, following Elvis (a.k.a. The '68 Comeback Special) and Aloha From Hawaii. It was filmed during Presley's final tour in the cities of Omaha, Nebraska, on June 19, 1977, and Rapid City, South Dakota, on June 21, 1977. It was broadcast on CBS on October 3, 1977, two months after Presley's death. It is one of only few of Elvis' programs which remains unlikely to ever be commercially released on home video and is only available in bootleg form. However, parts of the special were used in the video documentary Elvis: The Great Performances and the theatrical documentary This is Elvis, both of which were released on home video.

October 3, 1992
Sinead O'Connor tore a picture of the pope during her appearance on Saturday Night Live.

On 3 October 1992, O'Connor appeared on Saturday Night Live as a musical guest. She sang an a cappella version of Bob Marley’s "War", intended as a protest against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church—O'Connor referred to child abuse rather than racism. She then presented a photo of Pope John Paul II to the camera while singing the word "evil", after which she tore the photo into pieces, said "Fight the real enemy", and threw the pieces towards the camera.
Saturday Night Live had no foreknowledge of O'Connor's plan; during the dress rehearsal, she held up a photo of a refugee child. NBC Vice-President of Late Night Rick Ludwin recalled that when he saw O'Connor's action, he "literally jumped out of [his] chair." SNL writer Paula Pell recalled personnel in the control booth discussing the cameras cutting away from the singer.The audience was completely silent, with no booing or applause; executive producer Lorne Michaels recalled that "the air went out the studio". Michaels ordered that the applause sign not be used.
A nationwide audience saw O'Connor’s live performance, which the New York Daily News's cover called a "Holy Terror". NBC received more than 500 calls on Sunday and 400 more on Monday, with all but seven criticising O'Connor; the network received 4,400 calls in total. Contrary to rumour, NBC was not fined by the Federal Communications Commission for O'Connor’s act; the FCC has no regulatory power over such behaviour. NBC did not edit the performance out of the West coast tape-delayed broadcast that night, but reruns of the episode use footage from the dress rehearsal.

As part of SNL's apology to the audience, during his opening monologue the following week, host Joe Pesci held up the photo, explaining that he had taped it back together—to huge applause. Pesci also said that if it had been his show, "I would have gave her such a smack."

In a 2002 interview with Salon, when asked if she would change anything about the SNL appearance, O'Connor replied, "Hell, no!" On 24 April 2010, MSNBC aired the live version during an interview with O'Connor on The Rachel Maddow Show.

October 4, 1957
Leave It to Beaver debuts. 
The typical 1950s "wholesome family" comedy presented the life of the Cleaver family from the perspective of seven-year-old Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver. The Cleaver clan included parents June and Ward, and older brother Wally. The show, which ran until 1963, enjoyed much popularity in reruns as well as a revival in the 1980s as The New Leave It to Beaver.

October 5, 1947
U.S. President Harry S. Truman held the first televised presidential address from the White House. The subject was the current international food crisis. 
On this day in 1947, President Harry Truman (1884-1972) makes the first-ever televised presidential address from the White House, asking Americans to cut back on their use of grain in order to help starving Europeans. At the time of Truman’s food-conservation speech, Europe was still recovering from World War II and suffering from famine. Truman, the 33rd commander in chief, worried that if the U.S. didn’t provide food aid, his administration’s Marshall Plan for European economic recovery would fall apart. He asked farmers and distillers to reduce grain use and requested that the public voluntarily forgo meat on Tuesdays, eggs and poultry on Thursdays and save a slice of bread each day. The food program was short-lived, as ultimately the Marshall Plan succeeded in helping to spur economic revitalization and growth in Europe. In 1947,television was still in its infancy and the number of TV sets in U.S. homes only numbered in the thousands (by the early 1950s, millions of Americans owned TVs); most people listened to the radio for news and entertainment. However, although the majority of Americans missed Truman’s TV debut, his speech signaled the start of a powerful and complex relationship between the White House and a medium that would have an enormous impact on the American presidency, from how candidates campaigned for the office to how presidents communicated with their constituents. Each of Truman’s subsequent White House speeches, including his 1949 inauguration address, was televised. In 1948, Truman was the first presidential candidate to broadcast a paid political ad. Truman pioneered the White House telecast, but it was President Franklin Roosevelt who was the first president to appear on TV–from the World’s Fair in New York City on April 30, 1939. FDR’s speech had an extremely limited TV audience, though, airing only on receivers at the fairgrounds and at Radio City in Manhattan.

October 5, 1957
Bernard Jeffrey McCullough better known by his stage name Bernie Mac, was born on the South Side of Chicago. 

Mac gained popularity as a stand-up comedian. He joined comedians Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, and D.L. Hughley as The Original Kings of Comedy.
After briefly hosting the HBO show Midnight Mac, Mac appeared in several films in smaller roles. His most noted film role was as Frank Catton in the remake Ocean's Eleven and the titular character of Mr. 3000. He was the star of The Bernie Mac Show, which ran from 2001-2006, earning him two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. His other films included starring roles in Friday,The Players Club, Head of State, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Bad Santa, Guess Who, Pride, Soul Men, and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.
Mac suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the solid organs, but had said the condition was in remission in 2005. Despite having the disease, his death on August 9, 2008 was caused by complications from pneumonia.

October 6, 1992
Ross Perot appeared in his first paid broadcast on CBS-TV after entering the U.S. presidential race. 

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


Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa
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