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This Day in Pop Culture for January 16

Donny and Marie

1976: ‘Donny & Marie’ Airs for the First Time

“I’m a little bit country/I’m a little bit rock n’ roll” was sung for the first time on this day in 1976 during the Donny & Marie variety show shown on ABC. Born into the famous Osmond family, Donny and Marie were and still are the most popular of the bunch. The Friday night show was originally created by Sid &  Marty Krofft of H.R. Pufnstuf fame, but was later given over to the Osmonds in November 1977. The popular, but odd show, featured ice skaters, comedy sketches, the famous closing song, “May Tomorrow Be a Perfect Day” and a laugh track. It is said the demise of the show came due to the fact that Donny had become engaged and young women were no longer interested in watching. (He’s still married by the way.)

1964: Well, Hello Dolly

The Broadway musical, Hello Dolly was first produced on Broadway by David Merrick and opened on this day in 1964. Based on Thornton Wilder’s The Merchant of Yonkers, the musical starred Carol Channing. The show ran for 2,844 performances closing on December 27, 1970. Channing also starred in two of the show’s three revivals. Pearl Bailey played Dolly in the one-month revival in 1975 and Bernadette Peters played role for the show’s 4th revival which opened in 2017. Barbara Streisand played Dolly for the 1969 movie which was nominated for seven Oscars and won three. Sadly, Channing passed away 54 years and one day after the Broadway premiere on January 15, 2019. (Image: Wikimedia)

Benny Goodman

1938: Benny Goodman Throws Quite a Party

Benny Goodman’s work ethic was nothing short of amazing. Born in 1909 in Chicago, Illinois, Goodman grew up with eleven siblings, the children born to poor Jewish emigrants from Russia. His father purchased music lessons for him and two of his brothers. When he turned 13, Goodman received his first union card so that he could perform on excursion boats that traveled back and forth on Lake Michigan. His first profession debut came in 1921 performing at Central Park Theater in Chicago and after joining the Ben Pollack Orchestra, he produced his first recordings in 1926. By 1934, he had made a number of Top Ten hit songs. But perhaps his biggest achievement in music history occurred on this day in 1937. He and his band sold out Carnegie Hall in New York City for a jazz concert unlike all others. Columbia Records took a selection of the recordings of that concert creating the LP, The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert. Goodman was also an example of how black and white Americans could live and work together peacefully. In 1939, Goodman hired Teddy Wilson, a Black American artist to be a part of his trio which was unheard of at that time. (Image: Wikipedia)

1973: National Nothing Day

You can be forgiven if you didn’t know that today was National Nothing Day since it hasn’t been a big deal since it was created on this day in 1973. San Francisco Examiner columnist, Harold Pullman Coffin is credited for creating the unofficial holiday requiring that nothing could be celebrated, commemorated, honored or observed. Most people just use it as an excuse to do what they want. (Image: Pixabay)

Birthdays

  • 1908: Ethel Merman (singer)
  • 1947: Laura Schlessinger (talk show host)
  • 1948: John Carpenter (movie director)
  • 1950: Debbie Allen (actress)
  • 1974: Kate Moss (fashion designer)
  • 1980: Lin-Manuel Miranda (actor)

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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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