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This Day in Pop Culture for November 19

Ford Edsel

1959: Ford Discontinues the Edsel

Beginning in 1958, Ford began production of the Edsel in hopes of making a huge dent in sales against GM and Chrysler. It was not to be. On this day in 1959, Ford announced that they would discontinue production of the car with the name that became synonymous with the word, “failure.” The next day, UPI wire service reported that book values for the car had declined by as much as $400 immediately following the press release. In turn, Ford offered rebates of up to $400 worth of new Ford products to leery buyers. In the end, only 118,287 Edsels were built and total sales of the car were about 116,000 which was less than the projected break-even point! (Image: Wikimedia)

Rocky and Friends

1959: ‘Rocky and His Friends’ Debuts

While many remember The Bullwinkle Show the cartoon series was first called Rocky and His Friends  when it debuted for the first time on this day in 1959 on ABC. The show featured Bullwinkle the Moose (voiced by Bill Scott) and Rocky the Flying Squirrel (voiced by June Foray) and their adventures doing battle against Boris and Natasha. The show also featured other segments including Fractured Fairy Tales, Peabody’s Improbable History, Dudley to-Right of the Mounties, Aesop and Son, Bullwinkle’s Corner and Mr. Know It All. The show aired after American Bandstand on Tuesdays and Thursdays and was the highest-rated daytime network program at the time. In 1961, the show moved to NBC, aired at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday nights (just before Walt Disney’s World of Color) and was also broadcast in color. However, the show’s ratings took a beating going up against Lassie. It was later cancelled in 1964, but reruns of the series continued to air for many years.

Birthdays

  • 1862: Billy Sunday (evangelist)
  • 1905: Tommy Dorsey (bandleader)
  • 1933: Larry King (TV host)
  • 1936: Dick Cavett (TV host)
  • 1938: Ted Turner (founder of Turner Broadcasting)
  • 1941: Dan Haggerty (actor)
  • 1942: Calvin Klein (fashion designer)
  • 1954: Kathleen Quinlan (actress)
  • 1956: Ann Curry (jounalist)
  • 1958: Charlie Kaufman (film director)
  • 1959: Allison Janney (actress)
  • 1961: Meg Ryan (actress)
  • 1962: Jodie Foster (actress)
  • 1966: Rocco DiSpirito (TV chef)
  • 1976: Jack Dorsey (co-founder of Twitter)
  • 1983: Adam Driver (actor)

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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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