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This Day in Pop Culture for January 3

Fruitcake

1996: National Fruitcake Toss Day

Fruitcake is one of those holiday items that many people abhor even though they have never tried it. However, the same can be said for the many people who have. To celebrate the end of the holiday season and to clean out the kitchen of old uneaten Christmas treats, the first Great Fruitcake Toss was held on this day in 1996 in Manitou Springs, Colorado. There’s not much to the event. Entrants compete to see who can throw their mound of fruitcake the farthest. (Image: Wikimedia)

1952: Just the Facts

Like many radio dramas of the day, NBC’s Dragnet made the move from radio to TV with Sergeant Joe Friday who was always asking for “just the facts.” Debuting on January 3, 1952, the show was the first to be filmed in Hollywood instead of New York and was brought to life by Jack Webb who played Friday as well as the roles of producer and director. The show was unique in other ways including that the stories were based on actual LAPD cases. It goes without saying that the show was a hit earning a spot in the Top 10 through 1956 where it was reported that the show was seen by more than half of all American households. A film version of the show was created in 1954 and the series continued until 1959. Then it was revived in 1967 for three more years. Most will remember the 1987 film of the same name and characters but with a decidedly sillier plot and played as a comedy starring Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks. In 2003, a remake of the TV show was created for ABC that starred Ed O’Neill as Sergeant Friday. It lasted just shy over a year. Some things should just be left alone.

Jack Webb Dragnet
(Wikimedia)

2000: The Final Daily Peanuts Comics Strip

It was on this day in 2000 that newspaper across the country printed that final, original, Peanuts comics strip. Not much of a comic, it was really a “thank you” from Charles M. Schulz featuring Snoopy typing his thoughts on his typewriter which read, “Dear Friends, I have been fortunate to draw Charlie Brown and his friends for almost fifty years. It has been the fulfillment of my childhood ambition. Unfortunately, I am no longer able to maintain the schedule demanded by a daily comic strip. My family does not wish “Peanuts” to be continued by anyone else, therefore I am announcing my retirement. I have been grateful over the years for the loyalty of our editors and the wonderful support and love expressed to me by fans of the comic strip. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy … how can I ever forget them …”

1959: Alaska is admitted as the 49th U.S. State

Birthdays:

  • 1892: J.R.R. Tolkien (author)
  • 1932: Dabney Coleman (actor)
  • 1950: Victoria Principal (actress)
  • 1956: Mel Gibson (actor)
  • 1975: Danica McKellar (actress)
  • 1981: Eli Manning (football player)

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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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