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This Day in Pop Culture for January 10


1983: A Furry International Sensation is Born

Fraggle Rock was a co-production of the British Television South, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, American HBO and Henson Associates. After the success and international appeal of Sesame Street, Jim Henson (the founders of The Muppets) was inspired to create a children’s TV series that was intended to air in various markets internationally. Originally, the show was planned to be called The Woozles, but Henson and company thought better of it since “Woozles” appear in the world of Winnie-the-Pooh.

He is known for describing the show as a “high-energy, raucous musical romp”, but the show also featured a lot of deeper subject matter including stories about prejudice and social conflict. Although the main part of the show was the same in all markets, four different “human” segments were created using the inventor Doc and his dog Sprocket for North America and Germany, a lighthouse keeper who also had a dog named Sprocket for the British version and a baker and his dog Croquette for the French version.

According to Karen Falk, Achieves Director at The Jim Henson Company, Fraggle Rock was the first American TV series to appear in the Soviet Union. In 1989, the Fraggles began bouncing around within the TV series Budilnik (Alarm Clock).

The initial airing of 5 seasons ran from this day in 1983 to March 30, 1987. It was followed by an animated version of the show for NBC in 1987. Apple TV+ began airing Fraggle material in 2020 with a variety of TV shorts called Fraggle Rock: Rock On! and a recreation of the series in 2022.

1953: ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ Comes to Theaters

Cecil B. DeMille’s film about the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus, The Greatest Show on Earth, debuted in theaters all across the country on this day in 1953. The filmed starred Charlton Heston played the circus manager and Jimmy Stewart who played a clown who never took off his makeup. The movie also featured about 1,400 real circus performers from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey 1951 tour. It was nominated for five Oscars and won two for Best Picture and Best Story. The movie also won the Golden Globe for Best Cinematography, Best Director, and Best Motion Picture – Drama. Still, many movie critics have voiced their opinions that they didn’t think that the film deserved those awards. Years later on December 20, 2017, 20th Century Fox released The Greatest Showman starring Hugh Jackman. The musical presented an uplifting, yet loose interpretation on the life of P. T. Barnum.

1927: First Science Fiction Movie is Released in Theaters

If you were alive in 1927, you might have enjoyed watching Metropolis, the first feature-length science fiction movie. That is, if you lived in Germany. Metropolis was directed by Fritz Lang who also wrote the script with his wife, Theavon Harbou. The silent film featured Freder, the rich young son of the city’s leader and his love interest, Maria, who together try to overcome the separation of the classes in their city. At a cost of five million Reichsmarks, it was the most expensive movie ever made up to that point. The original version of the film was quite long and contained some footage that some found inappropriate, so large portions of the story were taken out after the German premiere and then were considered lost for decades. In 2008, a copy of Lang’s original cut of the movie was found in a museum in Argentina. The 95% restored version of that film was shown again in Berlin and Frankfurt on February 12, 2010.

Movies Released

  • 25th Hour (2005)
  • Antwone Fisher (2003)
  • Far from Heaven (2003)
  • Just Married (2003)
  • The Greatest Show on Earth (1953)
  • The Legend of Hercules (2014)
  • Metropolis (1927)
  • Underwater (2020)

TV Series Debuts

  • Fraggle Rock (1983)
  • Grounded for Life (2001)
  • Helix (2014)
  • Medical Police (2020)
  • Temptation Island (2001)
  • The Sopranos (1999)

Famous Birthdays

  • 1935: Bob “Gilligan” Denver (actor)
  • 1935: Dick Enberg (sportscaster)
  • 1951: Crystal Gayle (country singer)
  • 1955: H.K. Simmons (actor)
  • 1956: Imelda Staunton (actress)
  • 1967: Dave Matthews (singer)
  • 1973: Sean Paul (rapper)

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Jeffrey Totey View All

I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.

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