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This Day in Pop Culture for July 11

Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky

1972: Bobby and Boris Play a Game of Chess

The World Championship of 1972 began on this day. The match was between Bobby Fischer of the U.S. and the defending champion Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union. Taking place in the Laugardalsholl arena in Reykjavik, Iceland, it has be been dubbed the “match of the century.” The match continued until August 31, 1972 with Fischer winning and ending a 24-year streak of winning of the Soviet Union. Spassky resigned the next day.

To Kill a Mockingbird
(Wikimedia)

1960: ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is Published

Some novels take quite a bit of time before they become popular. That was not the case of To Kill a Mockingbird published on this day in 1960. Written by Harper Lee, it was hugely successful, won the Pulitzer Prize and is considered by many to be a classic of modern American literature. Lee drew inspiration for the characters from her own family and neighbor during an event that had happened in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama when she was just ten years old. It is a young girl, Jean Louise Finch (aka Scout) who narrates the story about her father, Atticus Finch, who fought racial injustice in the court system. In 1962, the story was adapted to become an Oscar-winning movie and a play based on the novel has performed annually in Harper’s hometown since 1990. This was Harper’s only published work until July 14, 2015 when an earlier draft of the story called Got Set a Watchman was printed. She died in February 2016.

1987: Good Morning Miss Bliss

Some will be surprised to learn that the NBC show Saved by the Bell was originally called Good Morning Miss Bliss. It starred Disney legend Hayley Mills as a teacher at John F. Kennedy Junior High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was meant to be a new prime time TV series, but the network decided against it. However, Disney agreed to air 13 episodes on Disney Channel. If it did well, Disney agreed to purchase 77 more episodes. Among Miss Bliss’ students were Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies), Samuel “Screech” Powers (Dustin Diamond), Mikey Gonzalez (Max Battimo) and Nikki Coleman (Heather Hopper). Haskins played the school principal, Mr. Belding.

Miss Bliss received poor ratings, so Disney dropped it, but NBC reclaimed the rights to the show giving it a new name, a new location (Bayside High School in Bayside, California), adding new characters A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez), Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani-Amber Thiessen) and Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley) while dropping the other characters (Mikey and Nikki).

Saved by the Bell ran for three seasons ending with a graduation episode on December 21, 1991. But almost as soon as the credits rolled up the screen, the show was picked up for a fourth year. The problem was that Thiessen and Berkley had already moved on to other projects, so the producers added new character, Tori Scott (Creel) to the mix. The show officially ended on May 22, 1993. But that wasn’t really the end.

In 1992, NBC created the made-for-TV movie, Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style which took the teens to the wedding of Kelly’s grandfather, Harry Bannister (Dean Jones) in Hawaii. Then in 1993, the spinoff series Saved by the Bell: The College Years debuted on prime time. Initially, the show was to feature Zach, Slater and Screech but Kelly was later added to the dorms. The show lasted only one season, but ended on a cliffhanger, so NBC created another made-for-TV movie, Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas which brought the whole six original character together again for the wedding for Zach and Kelly.

Birthdays

  • 1767: John Quincy Adams (6th President of the U.S.)
  • 1920: Yul Brynner (actor)
  • 1943: Tom Holland (screenwriter)
  • 1947: Jeff Hanna (singer)
  • 1956: Sela Ward (actress)
  • 1959: Suzanne Vega (singer)
  • 1963: Lisa Rinna (actress)
  • 1975: Lil Kim (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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