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This Day in Pop Culture for March 31

1997: Invasion of the Teletubbies

Popular as it was controversial, the British pre-school TV series, Teletubbies aired for the first time on this day in 1997 and continued to air in the U.K. until 2001. The show was created by Ragdoll Productions and was praised for its high production values, but was criticized for being a show to get toddlers hooked on TV with little educational value. In the U.S., controversy arose about the show in 1999 when the Rev. Jerry Falwell accused the Tinky Winky character of being a gay role model because he was purple, he had an antenna that was shaped like a triangle and carried a purse. Distributors of the show made it clear that the character was not gay and the “purse” was actually a “magic bag.” 60 more episodes of the series were created in 2015 for some reason. (Image: PBS)

1940: ‘Oklahoma!’ Was First a Broadway Flop

Much like the bad press that the Broadway show, Spiderman: Turn off the Dark received, another show in the 1940’s, Away We Go also received bad press before it even opened and was considered a “flop in the making.” However, unlike Spiderman which closed January 4, 2014, Away We Go changed a few tweaks, including the title to Oklahoma!. It ran for 2,212 performances over 15 years. Oklahoma! opened on this day in 1943. It was the first project with Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein working together. Since then, the show has been revived on and off Broadway numerous times. So much for this flop.


  • 1934: Richard Chamberlain (actor)
  • 1934: Shirley Jones (actress)
  • 1935: Herb Albert (musician)
  • 1943: Christopher Walken (actor)
  • 1945: Gabe Kaplan (actor)
  • 1948: Rhea Perlman (actress)
  • 1966: Nick Firestone (race car driver)
  • 1971: Craig McCracken (animator)
  • 1971: Ewan McGregor (actor)
  • 1972: Even Williams (co-founder of Twitter)
  • 1975: Ryan Rupe (baseball 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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