2001: May We Never Forget
Although many years have gone by since this horrible day in world history, it still feels like it happened yesterday. On this day in 2001, America was the target of four coordinated terrorist attacks led by the Islamic group al-Qaeda. Four airplanes bound for California were hijacked at the same time by the terrorists with the goal of crashing them into different U.S. landmarks. Two crashed into the World Trade Center twin towers, and just an hour and a half later, they collapsed. A third plane crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia. The attackers plan for the fourth plane was thwarted when some of the passengers took down the attackers causing the plane to crash into a field instead of Washington D.C. 2,996 people lost their lives that day.
1977: Bing Crosby and David Bowie Record Together
One of the oddest pairings in music history began on this day in 1977. David Bowie agreed to appear on Bing Crosby’s Christmas special. It is not clear if either star knew who the other was. The plan was to have the two chat about their family Christmas celebrations and then sing “The Little Drummer Boy,” but Bowie said that he hated that song and asked if he could sing something else. Ian Fraser, Larry Grossman, and Alan Kohan wrote “Peace on Earth” on the spot as a counterpoint and the pair recorded the song within an hour. Crosby died only weeks later never to know how popular the song had become.
1971: Saturday Morning TV Flips Its Lid
Sid & Marty Krofft’s third children’s show, Lidsville had a storyline that suspiciously similar to a British animated TV series called Hattytown Tales. Both shows featured a town where all of the residents were a bunch of walking, talking hats, but the similarities ended there. The ABC show, which began airing on this day in 1971, starred teenage Butch Patrick (who is better known for playing Eddie in The Munsters) played Mark who fell into a giant magician’s hat and landed in Lidsville.
Charles Nelson Riley played the show’s villain, Horatio J. HooDoo was basically the king of the land and was constantly taxing those poor hat people. With the help of Weenie the Genie (Billie Hayes, aka Witchipoo from H. R. Pufunstuf) Mark helped the hat citizens resist against their enemy and in turn, they would try to help him get back home.
Although he has admitted many years later that Lidsville was actually a “cute show,” Patrick actually hated his time while working on it. It has also been reported that Reilly enjoyed playing the villain, but hated that amount of time it took to get his makeup on and felt like he was suffocating while wearing it. Hayes however, loved her time playing a “good” character instead of the baddie Witchipoo, the character she played in Pufnstuf.
1976: The ‘Krofft Supershow’ Debuts
It was on this day in 1976 when Sid & Marty Krofft unleashed The Krofft Supershow on ABC. The hour-long show actually featured three 15-minute-long segments from three different continuing stories. Believe it or not, Tom Hanks actually auditioned for one of the roles, but he didn’t get it.
The Krofft Supershow was hosted by a made up rock group called Kaptain Kool (Michael Lembeck) and the Kongs (Superchick: Debra Clinger, Turkey: Mickey McMeel, Nashville: Louise DuArt and Flatbush: Bert Sommer) who could actually sing. The “glam rock” band sang songs written by the Osmond brothers, performed short skits and introduced the serials Dr. Shrinker, Electra Woman and Dyna Girl and Wonderbug.
The Krofft Supershow was renewed for a second season but with some changes. First, Kaptain Kool lost one member (Flatbush) and the group was no longer a glam band, but fresh-faced. And their musical performances were actually taped in a studio with actual children in the audience. Wonderbug was the only serialized story to continue on the show and was joined by Magic Mongo and Bigfoot and Wildboy.
1974: Class in Session in Room 222
Set in the racially diverse Walt Whitman High School in Los Angeles, California, many of the stories took place in room 222, an American history classroom taught by Pete Dixon (Lloyd Haynes). His lesson often reflected on tolerance and understanding during the political climate of the times including the Vietnam War, women’s rights, race relations and Watergate. Other characters in the series included guidance counselor Liz McIntyre (Denise Nicholas), principal Seymour Kaufman (Michael Constantine) and student teacher Alice Johnson (Karen Valentine).
Room 222 won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding New Series In 1970 while Constantine and Valentine won for Outstanding Supporting Actor and Actress in a Comedy Series.
1993: ‘Saved by the Bell’ Gets a New Class
When the original Saved by the Bell went off the air, NBC went to work creating two spinoff series: The College Years and The New Class. The latter premiered on this day in 1993. While it had an impressive seven-year run, it let go a couple of actors and brought on a couple more every season. The only character to appear in all seven seasons was Dennis Haskins who played Mr. Belding. Dustin Diamond also reprised his role as Screech from the the second season to the end.
- 1862: O. Henry (writer)
- 1924: Tom Landry (football coach)
- 1953: Tommy Shaw (singer)
- 1961: Virginia Madsen (actress)
- 1962: Kristy McNichol (actress)
- 1965: Moby (singer)
- 1967: Harry Connick Jr. (singer)
- 1970: Taraji P. Henson (actress)
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