This Was Television On July 14

1789: The people of France storm the Bastille

In the wake of the crown’s dismissal of populist finance minister Jacques Necker, Parisians stormed the prison/fortress in search of ammunition against a perceived threat of coming violent oppression. At the time an isolated incident, it later became regarded as a milestone on the path to the world-shattering French Revolution. 

You might believe that the fundamental realigning of the polities of 18th and 19th century Europe has little to do with TV history, but you would be wrong. Without the French Revolution, Napoleon never comes to power. France never sells Louisiana to America, which never develops the ethos of Manifest Destiny. The Mexican War is never declared. California never becomes part of the United States. The entertainment industry never establishes a headquarters from which to capture the world’s imagination. And then where would your precious television be, huh? -A.D.

Today’s BirthdaysPolly Bergen, 1950s playhouse player (82); Matthew Fox, tropical doc (46); William Hanna, animation legend (d. 2001); Jane Lynch, a caterer first in our hearts (52); Vincent Pastore, the first wire on HBO (66); Scott Porter, Streets ahead (33); Harry Dean Stanton, bigly loved (86).

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