This Was Television On August 24

1979The Facts of Life debuts

Edna Garrett ran a private school for girls including Blair, Tootie, Natalie, and Jo for nine seasons and over 200 episodes. The show originally began as a backdoor pilot spinning off from Diff’rent Strokes, where Edna (Charlotte Rae) had served as the Drummonds’ housekeeper. In its first season, beginning on this date, The Facts of Life boasted a much larger cohort of young charges who would soon be written out—including future ’80s teen queen Molly Ringwald.

The Facts of Life is frequently remembered for giving Oscar winner George Clooney one of his earliest roles. Less well known is that the role in question was temporarily replacing Lisa Whelchel as Blair during a contract dispute in 1985.  -A.D.

Today’s Birthdays: Dave Chappelle, Rick James, bitch (39); Grey DeLisle, superhero voicer (39); Steven Fry, very good Jeeves (55); Dana Gould, Springfield scribe (48); Steve Guttenberg, caterers’ muse (54); Jared Harris, Price controller (51); Craig Kilborn, Stewart predecessor (50); David Koechner, office Packer (50); Marlee Matlin, pollster (47); Chad Michael Murray, Hill hoopster (31); Alex O’Laughlin, five-oh (36).

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