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March 20: From Winky Dink to Tic Tac Dough

Jack Barry (Barasch), who partnered with Dan Enright (Ehrenreich) to create television shows that ranged from the interactive kiddy show, Winky Dink and You, to game shows like Twenty One, Concentration, and Tic Tac Dough, was born in Lindenhurst, New York on this date in 1918. Barry met Enright while working in radio, and when […]

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February 27: The Death of Spock

Leonard Nimoy, who became internationally recognized as Spock, the half-Vulcan ally of humans and other beings on the first incarnation of Star Trek, died at 83 on this date in 2015. Nimoy was so strongly identified with the character in the public mind that his two memoirs were titled  I Am Not Spock (1975) and […]

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December 21: Dreaming the Impossible Dream

Dale Wasserman, who grew up in a Wisconsin state orphanage from age 9, spent his adolescence as “a self-educated hobo, riding the rails and alternately living on top of buildings … in downtown Los Angeles,” and went on to write Man of La Mancha and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, an adaptation of Ken […]

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December 18: Hal Kanter and Diahann Carroll

Hal Kanter, a screenwriter, director, and producer who created “Julia,” the first television sitcom (1968-71) featuring a black professional character (Diahann Carroll), was born in Savannah, Georgia on this date in 1918. Kanter worked on films with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, and Elvis Presley. For many years he was […]

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November 14: Living Together on Television

Sherwood Schwartz, who created Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch television shows (and wrote the theme songs for both), was born in Passaic, New Jersey on this date in 1916. Training as a biologist in the late 1930s, he was brought onto Bob Hope’s joke-writing staff his brother, Al Schwartz, who worked for Hope’s radio […]

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September 23: George Costanza

Actor Jason Alexander (Jay Scott Greenspan), best known for his role as the self-loathing and conniving George Costanza — who appeared in every episode but one of Seinfeld, 1990-1998 — was born in Newark on this date in 1959. Alexander reputedly beat out Danny DeVito, Steve Buscemi and Nathan Lane to play the Constanza character, […]

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September 11: Bonanza’s “Pa”

Lorne Greene (Lyon Himan Green), who became one of television’s most familiar faces by playing Ben Cartwright (“Pa”) on the NBC family Western series Bonanza from 1959 to1973, was born in Ottawa on this date in 1915. During World War II, Green served in the Canadian air force and became a newsreader on the CBC […]

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March 16: Jerry Lewis

Funny man Jerry Lewis (Levitch) was born in Newark, New Jersey on this date in 1926, to a vaudevillian father and a piano-playing mother. After on-stage training on the Borscht Belt (with his parents from the age of 5), he teamed up with Dean Martin in 1946, and within a year they were playing the […]

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February 26: Tony Randall

Actor Tony Randall (Arthur Leonard Rosenberg), best known for his role as the fastidious Felix Unger in the TV series based on Neil Simon’ play The Odd Couple, was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on this date in 1920. Randall studied theater and dance in New York prior to serving with the Signal Corps during World […]

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