This Day in Pop Culture for January 12
1966: Holy TV Series Batman
It was on this day in 1966 that the iconic Batman TV series aired for the first time on ABC. Based on the DC comic book character of the same name, the first show began with the episode “Hey Diddle Riddle” and starred Adam West as the man in the cowl, Burt Ward as Dick Grayson/Robin and Frank Gorshin as the guest villain, The Riddler. The pop-art styled series ran for two nights in a row each week with the first half-hour episode ending with a cliff hanger and the immortal words, “Tune in tomorrow, same bat-time, same bat-channel. The following the night would feature part two with the caped crusaders getting their man or woman. The show was a comedy, but it was played straight and was one of the few sitcoms of the day that didn’t feature a laugh track. The show ran for three seasons ending on March 14, 1968.
1967: First Person to be Cryonically Preserved
Despite the rumor, Walt Disney did not allow his body to be cryonically preseved with intent of future resuscitation. However, in 1965, Ev Cooper’s Life Extension Society (LES) ran sort of a contest offering to preserve one person free of charge saying “LES offers to freeze free of charge the first person desirous and in need of cryogenic suspension.” While Dr. James Bedford took them up on their offer, he actually paid for the services. Suffering from kidney cancer, Bedford left $100,000 to cryonics research in his will. His body was frozen on this day; a few hours after his death due to natural causes related to the cancer.
1926: The Birth of Amos ‘n’ Andy
Amos ‘n’ Andy has a colorful history. The famous radio show aired for the first time in Chicago’s WGN radio station on this day in 1926 as Sam ‘n’ Henry. Freeman Gosen and Charles Carrell, creators and stars of the show, were white but played two black men carrying on the tradition of “blackface” vaudeville shows. In 1928, the pair took their show to a new station, WMAQ, however it became clear that the former station owned the rights to the name Sam ‘n’ Henry, the actors changed the name of the show to Amos ‘n’ Andy and began to syndicate the program. The show went on for 22 years with more than 40 million listeners. In 1951, the show came to TV but with the actors replaced with Alvin Childress and Spencer Williams making the television show the first to feature an all-black cast. It was cancelled in 1953 due to protests that the show promoted racial stereotypes. Ironically, the radio show, with its original white actors, continued until 1960!
- 1876: Jack London (author)
- 1951: Kirstie Alley (actress)
- 1951: Rush Limbaugh (talk show host)
- 1954: Howard Stern (shock jock radio host)
- 1957: John Lasseter (animator)
- 1960: Oliver Platt (actor)
- 1964: Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon)
- 1965: Rob Zombie (film director)
- 1978: Jeremy Camp (singer)
- 1932: Hattie Caraway became the first woman elected to the United States Senate.