1966: First Airing of ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown’
It was on this day in 1966 that It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown TV special aired for the first time on CBS. It has aired every year ever since. It was the third TV special produced and animated by Bill Melendez (A Charlie Brown Christmas was the first) and was nominated for an Emmy Award. It is sort of sad to know that viewers felt bad for Charlie Brown the first time it was shown. Charles Schulz received bags and boxes of candy to give to Charlie Brown who only received rocks in the special, due to his poor costume choice. The TV special has aired on network TV ever since its first outing until 2020 when Apple TV+ won the rights to show the special exclusively.
1955: ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ Opens
Considered a groundbreaking film portraying the moral decay of American youth vs. overly critical parents, Rebel Without a Cause opened in theaters on this day in 1955. The film, starring James Dean, Sal Mineo, Natalie Wood and Dennis Hopper, told the story of emotionally disturbed, suburban and middle-class teens. The title was borrowed from psychiatrist Robert M. Lindner’s book, Rebel Without a Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath but was not based on it. Dean died in car crash a month before the film’s release. In 1990, the movie was added to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry as being deemed “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant”
1954: Disneyland: The TV Show
To help raise funds for his future theme park, Walt Disney began to shop around a new TV series. Both CBS and NBC turned him down, but ABC said yes to the project. The show, Walt Disney’s Disneyland, began airing on this day in 1954. On this day in 1954, 30.8 million viewers tuned in to learn more about Disney’s new project being built in Anaheim, California. The first episode, “The Disneyland Story,” Walt began to share his vision for his new park. Each week thereafter, the series would tease new developments at the park as well as presenting stories based on four of the future park’s “lands”: Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, and Frontierland. Some episodes were documentaries or “making of” presentations of new movies coming to theaters. All of these led up to Disneyland’s opening day on July 17, 1955. The series would continue with various versions of the same concept on all three networks. Today, ABC still presents episodes of The Wonderful World of Disney featuring holiday specials or presentations of Disney movies. The series is the second longest-running prime-time program on U.S. television, behind Hallmark Hall of Fame.
- Assassin’s Creed (2016)
- Drumline: A New Beat (2014)
- Leaving Los Vegas (1995)
- Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
- Romeo + Juliet (1996)
- Suburbicon (2017)
TV Series Debuts
- Drawn Together (2004)
- The Great Indoors (2016)
- Walt Disney’s Disneyland (1954)
- 1858: Theodore Roosevelt (26th President of the U.S.)
- 1922: Ruby Dee (actress)
- 1923: Roy Lichtenstein (artist)
- 1939: John Cleese (actor)
- 1944: J.A. Jance (author)
- 1984: Kelly Osbourne (singer)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.