Monday, May 20, 2019

This Week in Television History: May 2019 PART II & III

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.
Donna Allen-Figueroa

May 17, 1974
LAPD raid leaves six SLA members dead

In Los Angeles, California, police surround a home in Compton where the leaders of the terrorist group known as the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) are hiding out. The SLA had kidnapped Patricia Hearst, of the fabulously wealthy Hearst family publishing empire, months earlier, earning headlines across the country. Police found the house in Compton when a local mother reported that her kids had seen a bunch of people playing with an arsenal of automatic weapons in the living room of the home.
The LAPD's 500-man siege on the Compton home was only the latest event in a short, but exceedingly bizarre, episode. The SLA was a small group of violent radicals who quickly made their way to national prominence, far out of proportion to their actual influence. They began by killing Oakland's superintendent of schools in late 1973 but really burst into society's consciousness when they kidnapped Hearst the following February.
Months later, the SLA released a tape on which Hearst said that she was changing her name to Tania and joining the SLA. Shortly thereafter, a surveillance camera in a bank caught Hearst carrying a machine gun during an SLA robbery. In another incident, SLA member General Teko was caught trying to shoplift from a sporting goods store, but escaped when Hearst sprayed the front of the building with machine gun fire.
Although law enforcement officials began talking about the SLA as if they were a well-established paramilitary terrorist organization, the SLA had only a handful of members, most of who were disaffected middle class youths.
On May 17, Los Angeles police shot an estimated 1,200 rounds of ammunition into the tiny Compton home as six SLA members shot back. Teargas containers thrown into the hideout started a fire, but the SLA refused to surrender. Autopsy results showed that they continued to fire back even as smoke and flames were searing their lungs; they clearly chose suicide and martyrdom over jail. Randolph Hearst, Patty's father, remarked that the massive attack had turned "dingbats into martyrs." The raid left six SLA members dead, including leader Donald DeFreeze, also known as Cinque. Patty Hearst was not inside the home at the time. She was not found until September 1975.

Patty Hearst was put on trial for armed robbery and convicted, despite her claim that she had been coerced, through repeated rape, isolation, and brainwashing, into joining the SLA. Prosecutors believed that she actually orchestrated her own kidnapping because of her prior involvement with one of the SLA members. Despite any real proof of this theory, she was convicted and sent to prison. President Carter commuted Hearst's sentence after she had served almost two years. Hearst was pardoned by President Clinton in January 2001.

May 17, 2004
Tony Randall died. 
Best known for his role as Felix Unger in the television adaptation of Neil Simon‘s play, The Odd Couple.
The Odd Couple
Randall with Jack Klugman in a publicity photo of The Odd Couple, 1972
Randall returned to television in 1970 as Felix Unger in The Odd Couple, opposite Jack Klugman, a role lasting for five years. The names of Felix's children on The Odd Couple were Edna and Leonard, named for Randall's sister and Randall himself.
In 1974, Randall and Jack Klugman appeared in television spots endorsing a Yahtzee spinoff, Challenge Yahtzee. They appeared in character as Felix and Oscar, and the TV spots were filmed on the same set as The Odd Couple.
During the series run he had a small role in Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (1972).
In 1973, he was originally hired to play the voice of Templeton the gluttonous rat in Charlotte's Web, but was replaced at the last minute by Paul Lynde, due to his voice sounding too sophisticated and the director waning Templeton to have a nasal voice.
The Tony Randall Show
From 1976–78, he starred in The Tony Randall Show, playing a Philadelphia judge. He had small roles in Kate Bliss and the Ticker Tape Kid (1978), Scavenger Hunt (1979), Foolin' Around (1980).
Love, Sidney
Randal starred in Love, Sidney from 1981–83. In the TV movie that served as the latter show's pilot, Sidney Shorr was written as a gay man, but his character's sexuality was made ambiguous when the series premiered. Randall refused to star in any more television shows, favoring the Broadway stage as his medium.

May 19, 2009
The pilot episode of Glee aired. 

Glee Season 1: Pilot from MikeHornets on Vimeo.
"Pilot" is the pilot episode of the American television series Glee, which premiered on the Fox network on May 19, 2009. An extended director's cut version aired on September 2, 2009. The show focuses on a high school show choir, also known as a glee club, set within the fictional William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio. The pilot episode covers the formation of the club and introduces the main characters. The episode was directed by series creator Ryan Murphy, and written by Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan. Murphy selected the music featured in the episode, with the intention of maintaining a balance between showtunes and chart hits.
The episode achieved 9.619 million viewers on first broadcast, and 4.2 million when the director's cut version aired. Critical response was mixed, with The New York Times's Alessandra Stanley highlighting the episode's unoriginality and stereotyped characters, but praising the showmanship and talent of the cast. The Daily News's David Hinckley opined that the show was imperfect and implausible but "potentially heartwarming," while USA Today's Robert Bianco noted casting and tone problems, but commented positively on the show's humor and musical performances. Mary McNamara for the LA Times wrote that the show had a wide audience appeal, calling it: "the first show in a long time that's just plain full-throttle, no-guilty-pleasure-rationalizations-necessary fun."
Spanish teacher Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) learns that Sandy Ryerson (Stephen Tobolowsky), the head of William McKinley High School's glee club has been fired for inappropriate sexual behavior toward male student Hank Saunders (Ben Bledsoe). The school principal,Figgins (Iqbal Theba), gives Will permission to take over the club, and he plans to revitalize it, naming the group New Directions. The club consists of fame-hungry Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), diva Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley), flamboyant countertenor Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer), paraplegicelectric guitar player Artie Abrams (Kevin McHale) and stuttering goth Tina Cohen-Chang (Jenna Ushkowitz). Will's efforts are derided by Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), head of the school's successful cheerleading team, the Cheerios who soon plans to abolish the Glee club to restore her money funded towards the spoilt Cheerios. His wife Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig) is also unsupportive, suggesting that Will become an accountant to increase their income and give up teaching. Rachel threatens to leave the club if Will cannot find a male vocalist with talent comparable to hers. When the school's football coach Ken Tanaka (Patrick Gallagher) allows Will to try to recruit football team members, in return that he put a good word for Emma for him (because Ken likes her), he discovers that quarterback Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) is secretly a talented singer. He plants marijuana in Finn's locker, and blackmails him into joining New Directions. Finn, determined not to disappoint his widowed mother, complies.

May 20, 1989
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 21, 1999
Soap star Susan Lucci wins first Emmy after 19 nominations. 
“The streak is over…Susan Lucci!” announces Shemar Moore of The Young and the Restless on this night in 1999, right before presenting the Daytime Emmy Award for Best Actress to the tearful star of ABC’s All My Children. The award was Lucci’s first win in 19 straight years of being nominated in the Best Actress category for her portrayal of Erica Kane.
A native of Garden City, New York, Lucci moved to New York City after graduating from college in 1968. She played bit parts in the films Goodbye, Columbus and Me, Natalie (both 1969) before landing the role of the troubled teenager Erica Kane on a new soap opera, All My Children. The show debuted on January 5, 1970, and Lucci would go on to play Erica Kane over the next four decades, as the character married no fewer than 11 times (to eight different men, and several of the marriages were invalid), had several children and grandchildren, was kidnapped, survived an airplane crash and a car accident, battled drug addiction and became the owner of her own cosmetics company (among other notable events). By 1991, Erica Kane was, according to TV Guide, “unequivocally the most famous soap-opera character in the history of TV.”
As reported by the New York Times, Lucci at that time was the highest-paid actor on daytime television, earning more than $1 million per year for her work on All My Children. Her honors included a Best Soap Actress win in a 1985 People magazine poll, and a 1989 Soap Opera Digest Editors Award for an “outstanding contribution to daytime television.” One thing she didn’t have, however, was an Emmy. She received her first nomination in 1978, and before long had received several nominations in a row without a win. After reportedly losing her temper after failing to take home the award in 1982 and 1983, Lucci began accepting her runner-up status with more humor. In the fall of 1990, she appeared as a guest host on an episode of Saturday Night Live, in which all of the show’s cast and crew members carried Emmy statuettes past her during her opening monologue. She also filmed a commercial for a sugar substitute called the Sweet One, in which she lampooned her own hunger for an Emmy.
Lucci was the favorite to win that May night in 1999, and Moore’s announcement brought the audience in the theater at Madison Square Garden to their feet for a standing ovation that lasted several minutes. Lucci’s emotional acceptance speech brought tears to the eyes of many in the crowd, including the talk show host Rosie O’Donnell and Lucci’s All My Children co-stars Kelly Ripa and Marcy Walker. After thanking her husband, Helmut Huber, the All My Children cast and crew and her fans, Lucci closed her speech by announcing “I’m going to go back to that studio Monday and I’m going to play Erica Kane for all she’s worth.”
In addition to her work on All My Children, Lucci guest-starred repeatedly on the prime-time soap opera Dallas during the 1990s and has appeared in a number of TV movies, including Lady Mobster, Mafia Princess and Secret Passions. In 1999, she starred on Broadway in the revival of Annie Get Your Gun. Lucci also competed in the seventh installment of the reality series Dancing With the Stars, which aired in the fall of 2008.

May 23, 1994
"All Good Things..." comprises the 25th and 26th episodes of the seventh season and the series finale of the syndicated Americanscience fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. 
It is the 177th and 178th episodes of the series overall. The title is derived from the expression "All good things must come to an end", a phrase used by the character "Q" during the episode itself. Capt. Jean-Luc Picard inexplicably finds his mind jumping between the present (stardate 47988) and the past just prior to the USSEnterprise-D's first mission six years earlier at Farpoint Station and over twenty-five years into the future, where an aged Picard has retired to the family vineyard in Labarre, France. These jumps occur without warning, and the resulting discontinuity in Picard's behavior frequently leaves him and those around him confused.
In the present, Picard is ordered to take the Enterprise to the edge of the Romulan Neutral Zone to investigate a spatial anomaly.

In the future, he gains passage on the USS Pasteur, which is under the command of his now ex-wife, Dr. Beverly Picard, whom he convinces to find the anomaly.
In the past, despite having the Enterprise's mission to Farpoint Station cancelled by Starfleet to investigate the anomaly, Picard insists on continuing, believing the impending encounter with Q to be more important. After reaching the place where he had first encountered the Q in the form of a net near Farpoint Station and finding nothing there, Picard enters his ready room, only to find himself once again in Q's courtroom. Q reveals that the trial started seven years ago never concluded, and the current situation is humanity's last chance to prove themselves to the Q Continuum, but secretly reveals that he himself is the cause of Picard's time jumping. Q challenges Picard to solve the mystery of the anomaly, cryptically stating that Picard will destroy humanity.
As Jean-Luc Picard arrives at the anomaly in all three time periods, he discovers that the anomaly is much larger in the past, but does not exist at all in the future. As the past and present Enterprises scan the anomaly with tachyon beams, the USS Pasteur is attacked by Klingon ships, but the crew is saved due to the timely arrival of the future Enterpriseunder the command of Admiral William Riker. He fires on several of the attacking Klingon warships, which causes them to flee the neutral zone. It is revealed that Riker and Worf are in a feud over the late Enterprise counselor Deanna Troi, with whom both had a serious relationship and who had died years earlier. Q once again appears to Picard and takes him to billions of years in the past on Earth, where the anomaly, growing larger as it moves backwards in time, has taken over the whole of the Alpha Quadrant and has prevented the formation of life on Earth. When Picard returns to the future, he discovers the anomaly has appeared, created as a result of his orders, and the tachyon pulses from the three eras are sustaining it. Data and Geordi determine that they can stop the anomaly by having all three Enterprises fly into the centre of it and create static warp shells. Picard relays the orders to each Enterprise. Each ship suffers warp core breaches, with Q telling the future Picard that "all good things must come to an end" just before the future Enterpriseexplodes.
Picard finds himself facing Q in the courtroom as before. Q congratulates Picard for being able to think in multiple timelines simultaneously to solve the puzzle, which is proof that humanity can still evolve, much to the surprise of the Q Continuum. Q admits to helping Picard to solve it with the time jumping since he was the one that put them in this situation, and then goes on to explain that the anomaly never actually existed and that his past and present have been restored. He then withdraws from the courtroom and bids farewell to Picard by saying "See you ... out there". Picard then returns to the Enterprise of the present and no longer jumping through time.

As the senior staff plays their regular poker game, they reflect on the future the captain told them, to prevent them from drifting apart. For the first time ever, Picard decides to join the game, expressing regret he had not done so before, saying "...and the sky's the limit," suggesting more adventures lay ahead for the crew.

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

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