This Was Television On September 24

196860 Minutes starts the clock

The CBS institution, one of the longest-running programs in American history as it enters its 45th year, debuted on this date. Hosted by Mike Wallace (who rmained with the program for four decades) and Harry Reasoner, 60 Minutes pioneered the primetime news magazine format. The first episode went behind the scenes of the presidential campaigns of Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey.

One of 60 Minutes‘s most famous commentators, Andy Rooney, also made his first appearance in this debut episode—though, as the clip linked above shows, he appeared only in silhouette, in a segment which would later be appropriated to equally informative ends by The Electric Company.  -A.D.

Also on September 24:

1960: The Howdy Doody Show winds up a 13-year run on NBC. The iconic puppet and his creator/operator Buffalo Bob Smith were among television’s earliest and most popular children’s programming stars.

1964: America meets The Munsters. The spooky sitcom starring Fred Gwynne, Yvonne DeCarlo, and Al Lewis melded contemporary family comedy sensibilities with the aesthetic of 1930s-era Universal monster movies for two seasons on CBS.

1966: “Last Train To Clarksville” cracks into the Billboard top 40, making The Monkees a hit pop act in real life as well as in TVLand. 

1970: Adapted from the Neil Simon play and smash film version, The Odd Couple premieres on ABC. Tony Randall and Jack Klugman portrayed the mismatched pair on the sitcom for five seasons.

1977: The first season of The Love Boat sets sail on ABC, following a pilot movie the previous spring. The cruise ship helmed by Gavin MacLeod’s Capt. Stubing hosted romance and B-list guest stars for nine seasons.

1984Happy Days concludes after 11 seasons. The ABC sitcom, which spawned three spinoffs, lasted on the air six full years after its notorious “jump the shark” moment.

1992: Sci-Fi Channel, later to become Syfy, launches.

2007: One of the highest-rated comedies on the air, The Big Bang Theory, premieres. The Emmy-winning CBS sitcom is entering its sixth season.

Today’s Birthdays: Gordon Clapp, detective (64); Stacy Galina, Knots lander (46); Phil Hartman, SNL MVP (d. 1998); Jim Henson, Muppet maestro (d. 1990); Sean McCann, Canadian cop (77); Kevin Sorbo, mythic strongman (54); Megan Ward, Port Charlesian (43).

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