Building its brand name on an appeal to young audiences, the fledgling Fox network premiered Aaron Spelling’s teen soap Beverly Hills, 90201 on this date. The drama and romance roiling at fictional West Beverly High made the show a breakout hit and rocketed its Seventeen-cover-ready cast (including Jason Priestley, Shannon Doherty, and Luke Perry) to stardom. Though it spanned the entire decade, 90210‘s relevance faded midway into its 10-season run; it survives as an indelible document of the culture, fashion, and social topics of the early ’90s.
90210 in many ways set the template for next 20 years of teen shows—including a reboot of itself on The CW in 2008, which everyone agreed was kind of the teen drama equivalent of that off-putting guy in his late 30s who keeps coming to the football games every Friday, which everyone also agreed is probably who Steve Sanders grew up to be, so it all made a weird kind of sense. -A.D.
Also on October 4
1957: Leave It to Beaver debuts as a series on CBS, after airing its pilot the previous spring as an installment of Dumont Network’s anthology series Studio 57. The family sitcom centered on Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver and his big brother Wally (and Wally’s trouble-making cohort Eddie Haskell) ran for six seasons and became a byword in later years for a certain notion of 1950s suburban Americana.
Today’s Birthdays: Meg Bennett, daytime writer-performer (64); Abraham Benrubi, bully (43); Rachel Leigh Cook, perceiver (33); Clifton Davis, reverend (67); Bill Fagerbakke, assistant coach (55); Jan Murray, comic (d. 2006).