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This Week in Television History: January 2019 PART IV

the more that fact and legend become intertwined.
It's hard to say where the truth really lies.
Donna Allen-Figueroa

January 28, 1984
Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer First aired on CBS.
The show follows the adventures of Mike Hammer, the fictitious private detective created by crime novelist Mickey Spillane, as he works to solve cases, often involving murder. A recurring plot line throughout the show focusses on the murder of someone the protagonist was close to, resulting in Hammer seeking out revenge. Keach was familiar with the tough and insensitive novelized version of Hammer and worked to make his version more palatable to a television audience. "We've softened him up a little bit," Keach told The New York Times. "To sustain a series on television, I think you need a certain humor, charm and vulnerability. Toughness is probably the least important factor."
While firmly situated in the 1980s, the tone of the show also incorporated elements of classic film noir detective films, such as The Maltese Falcon. For example, each show featured the protagonist's narrative voice-over and, much like the archetypal hard-boiled detectives of years gone by, Hammer would rarely be seen without his wrinkled suit, fedora and trench coat. While his get-up made a particularly awkward fashion statement for the time, the juxtaposition of old and new was a central theme in the show. Indeed, Keach's Mike Hammer left the viewer with the impression that this detective had been somehow transported from a 1940s film set to 1980s New York City. The show's theme song "Harlem Nocturne" by Earle Hagen, a jazz tune featuring a deeply melancholy saxophone, set a gritty tone for each episode. The song proved to be one of the most popular elements of the program.
In contrast to the charming male leads in other popular detective shows of the day (e.g., Remington Steele, Thomas Magnum), Mike Hammer was unapologetically masculine with little concern for political correctness. A prominent feature of most episodes was the inclusion of a number of female characters (known in casting sessions "Hammer-ettes") who would exchange a double entendre or two with Hammer while wearing very low tops and push-up bras emphasizing their ample cleavage. Hammer would regularly wind up in bed with the highly sexualized female characters in the show, who would never fail to melt once they had fixed their eyes upon the brawny detective. The show's writers latched on to this element of clashing eras and often used it as a comic relief in the show. Examples of this include Hammer's love for cigarettes being at odds with the growing social disdain for smoking and the detective's humorous inability to comprehend the youth trends of the decade. Like its 1950s predecessor, Keach's Mike Hammer never shied away from violence. Whether it was with his fists or his trusty gun, "Betsy," a Colt Model 1911A1 .45 ACP semi-automatic pistol, which was always tucked neatly inside a leather shoulder holster worn under his suit jacket, Hammer would never fail to stop a criminal dead in his tracks. Mickey Spillane insisted that Stacy Keach carry the .45 caliber pistol in the show because that was the weapon Mike Hammer carried in all of Spillane's "Mike Hammer" mystery novels. Unlike most detective shows of the decade, the bad guys on Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer were usually killed by the protagonist by the time the closing credits rolled.

January 29, 1969
The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour debuted on CBS-TV. 

A network television music and comedy variety show hosted by singer Glen Campbell from January 1969 through June 1972 on CBS. He was offered the show after he hosted a 1968 summer replacement for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Campbell used "Gentle on My Mind" as the theme song of the show. The show was one of the few rural-oriented shows to survive CBS's rural purge of 1971.

January 31, 1949
These Are My Children, the first daytime soap opera, debuts on NBC. 

The show, only 15 minutes long, aired weekdays at 5 p.m. in January and February 1949.

January 31, 1984
NBC Newsman Edwin Newman retired after 35 years with the network.

February 1, 1954
CBS-TV aired The Secret Storm for the first time. 
The story follows the Ames family, a prominent clan in the fictional Northeastern town of Woodbridge (eventually identified as being located in New York). The Ames family initially consisted of Peter, his wife Ellen, and their three children: Susan, Jerry, and Amy. However, Ellen was killed in the first episode and subsequent stories focused on Peter raising his three children. Lending a hand, however dubiously, was Peter's sister-in-law, as well as his former fiancée Pauline Rysdale (Haila Stoddard).
Despite Susan's and Pauline's efforts to derail any new romances in Peter's life, he eventually remarried two more times. His first remarriage was to Myra Lake (June Graham), one of Amy's teachers, but that ended in divorce. His second and more successful remarriage was to divorcee Valerie Hill (Lori March), to whom he was married until his death.
Later, the villainous Belle Clemens (Marla Adams) was the main source of trouble for Woodbridge, taking over from Aunt Pauline, the show's original villain. Originally due to die of kidney disease, the writers had Belle's daughter Robin drown in an accident. Belle blamed Amy for the death.

February 1, 1954
Charles William "Bill" Mumy, Jr. is born. 
Actor, musician, pitchman, instrumentalist, voice-over artist and a figure in the science-fictioncommunity. He is known primarily for his roles in moviesand television, character-type roles, and who also works in television production.
The red-headed Mumy came to prominence in the 1960s as a child actor, most notably as Will Robinson, the youngest of the three children of Prof. John and Dr. Maureen Robinson (played Guy Williamsand June Lockhartrespectively) and friend of the nefarious and pompous Dr. Zachary Smith (played by Jonathan Harris), in the cult 1960s CBS sci-fi television series Lost in Space.

He later appeared as a lonely teenager, Sterling North, in the 1969 Disney movie, Rascal, and as Teft in the 1971 film Bless the Beasts and Children. In the 1990s, he had the role of Lennier in the syndicated sci-fi TV series Babylon 5, and he also served as narrator of A&E Network's Emmy Award-winning series, Biography. He is also notable for his musical career, as a solo artist and as half of the duo Barnes & Barnes.

February 1, 2004
Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy.

Super Bowl XXXVIII, which was broadcast live on from Houston, Texas on the CBS television network in the United States, was noted for a controversial halftime show in which Janet Jackson's breast, adorned with a nipple shield, was exposed by Justin Timberlake for about half a second, in what was later referred to as a "wardrobe malfunction". The incident, sometimes referred to as Nipplegate, was widely discussed. Along with the rest of the halftime show, it led to an immediate crackdown and widespread debate on perceived indecency in broadcasting. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fined CBS a record $550,000 which was fought in Supreme Court, but that fine was appealed and ultimately voided by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2011 ruling, and a case to reinstate the fine was refused in 2012. 

February 2, 2014
The End of NBC Burbank
In October 2007, the network announced that it planned to move most of its operations from Burbank to a new complex across the street from Universal Studios in Universal City. It would retain offices at the Burbank site until May 2013, though the studio complex was sold to Catalina/Worthe Real Estate Group in 2008 with NBCUniversal leasing space until 2013. The former Technicolor building on the Universal lot serves as the new home to NBC's West Coast Operations. KNBC 4 and NBC News, along with KVEA Telemundo 52, began broadcasting from Universal Studios on February 2, 2014.
In preparation for the move, The Ellen DeGeneres Show moved to the nearby Warner Bros. Studios in 2008, and when Conan O'Brien assumed hosting duties, The Tonight Show moved to an all-digital studio on the Universal lot in 2009. The Jay Leno Show continued to broadcast from the NBC Burbank studios as Leno's Tonight Show had, though from Studio 11. From March 1, 2010 to February 6, 2014, Leno's second run as host of The Tonight Show taped at Studio 11.
The Tonight Show moved back to New York City in 2014 when Jimmy Fallon replaced Leno as host, marking the end of the 42-year era in which the show had taped from Southern California.
The Burbank facility was one of the few television-specific studio facilities in Hollywood that offered tours to the general public until they ceased July 6, 2012.
On March 13, 2014, Lawrence O'Donnell announced that his MSNBC broadcast that night would be the last nationally televised network show to be broadcast live from NBC's Burbank studio, with the move of the NBC News Los Angeles bureau to Universal City.

To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

This post first appeared on CHILD OF TELEVISION, please read the originial post: here

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This Week in Television History: January 2019 PART IV


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