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This Day in Pop Culture for September 19

Mary Tyler Moore Show

1970: Mary Richards First Day on the Job

Though Mary Tyler Moore was the name of the show, it was much more of a ensemble comedy when it aired for the first time in 1970 on CBS. Mostly an office comedy, the show focused on the friendships between co-workers at WJM TV studio in Minneapolis. Created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns, the show starred Moore, Ed Asner, Valerie Harper, Gavin MacLeod, Ted Knight, Cloris Leachman, Georgia Engel and Betty White. During the show’s seven-year run, it won numerous Emmy Awards including Outstanding Comedy Series (1975, 1976 and 1977), Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Moore: 1973, 1974 and 1976) and Actress of the Year (1974) as well as three Golden Globes. TV Guide ranked the episode, “Chuckles Bites the Dust” as the #1 Greatest Episode of all Time. Three spin-off series were created from the show: Rhoda (1974-1978), Phyllis (1975-1977) and Lou Grant (1977-1982) which was an hour-long drama series. In 2000, Moore and Harper reunited and reprised their roles for a Made-for-TV movie, Mary and Rhoda.

1995: International Talk Like a Pirate Day

On June 6, 1995, John Baur and Mark Summers from Albany, Oregon were in the middle of a racquetball game when one of the duo’s smooth moves caused an injury and one them uttered “Aaarrr!” in response to the pain of the injury that was inflicted. The two continued to play speaking to each other like pirates and thought what a great idea it would be if everyone in the world talk like pirates, even if just one day a year. The idea caught on and the guys decided that September 19 would make for a better day of the unofficial holiday. (September 19 was Summer’s ex-wife’s birthday and so he thought the date would be easy to remember.) The day was only an inside joke between the two who now call themselves Ol’ Chumbucket and Cap’n Slappy, until the pair sent a letter to humor columnist Dave Barry in 2002. Barry liked the idea and promoted it. Today, Baur and Summers point out that the day isn’t “Act Like a Pirate Day” or “Dress Up Like a Pirate Day” it’s just a day to say “Ahoy, maties” or “Ahoy, me hearties” to one another.

Pirates of the Carribean
(Disneyland Resort)

The Adventures of Superman
(Wikimedia)

1952: Superman Saves TV

Back in July 1951, Robert L. Lippert filmed the black-and-while film, Superman and the Mole Men which starred George Reeves and Phyllis Coates. Released in November, the movie was meant to be used as a pilot for a new TV series, Adventures of Superman which debuted on this day in 1952. Sponsored by Kellogg’s (who also hosted the radio show of the same name) the show was a great success to much of the casts’ surprise. After the first season of the show, Coates left the series and Noel Neill stepped in to play the role of Lois Lane. Jack Larson played fellow news reporter Jimmy Olson and John Hamilton as editor Perry White. The men could also be seen playing the characters promoting Kellogg’s cereal, but Neill was never offered a commercial. The reason being that showing Clark Kent and Lois Lane eating breakfast together would be too suggestive. By the third season of the show, the series was shot in color, but the show wasn’t broadcast in color until 1965 since most people did not own a color TV until then. All of the characters wore the same costumes throughout the entire series. This was done so that scenes could be shot out of order and it saved on budget costs. It is said that the show began falling about with the last 50 episodes of the show. Whitney Ellsworth, a producer of the show said that there was a lackadaisical attitude toward flubbed lines and a deterioration of morale among cast and crew. Adding that to the expense of color filming and salary disputes, and the show just became a mess. The series ended its run on April 28, 1958.

Birthdays

  • 1911: William Golding (novelist)
  • 1928: Adam West (actor)
  • 1941: Cass Elliot (singer)
  • 1948: Jeremy Irons (actor)
  • 1949: Twiggy (singer)
  • 1950: Joan Lunden (journalist)
  • 1955: Rex Smith (actor)
  • 1964: Trisha Yearwood (singer)
  • 1974: Jimmy Fallon (comedian)
  • 1976: Alison Sweeney (actress)

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Jeffrey Totey View All

I write about arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.

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