History has always been rare on TV, even in the days before Chuck Grassley could lament the dumbing-down of a cable channel with that subject in its name. But with the 200th birth of the U.S. of A. on the horizon, CBS began offering up minute-long episodes relating nuggets from the nation’s past. The events were narrated by celebrities, such as Charlton Heston, who kicked off the series with a tale of George Washington’s reaction to the closing of Boston Harbor by the British in the wake of the Boston Tea Party. The series capped off its 732-episode run on July 4, 1976, with then-First Lady Betty Ford doing the narration honors.
Although the Minutes were well-intentioned, you do have to wonder how much of an audience there is for glib accounts of what random event happened to occur on each given date in history. Really, it’s a pretty lazy conceit. -A.D.
Today’s Birthdays: Becki Newton, Ugly Betty nemesis (34); Geraldo Rivera, vault raider (69); Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, only making this list because it is a slow damn day for TV celebrity births (30).