Between 1976 and 1988, the best and brightest the Big Three had to offer came together 19 times in the spirit of competition, brotherhood, and embarrassing shorts in the series known as the Battle of the Network Stars. The contests were aired on ABC, with Howard Cosell on announcing duties. Each network’s team comprised some of its most popular contemporary stars, who competed in athletic events including kayaking, bowling, volleyball, and an obstacle course; the final winner was determined by a tug-of-war between the two highest-scoring networks. The inaugural Battle—featuring Gabe Kaplan, Telly Savalas, and Robert Conrad as the captains for ABC, CBS, and NBC, respectively—was won by Mr. Kotter’s crew. -A.D.
Today’s Birthdays: Fancis Conroy, funeral family matriarch (59); Neil Flynn, custodian (52); Whoopi Goldberg, daytime host (57); Jimmy Kimmel, late night emcee (45); Joe Mantegna, mobster (65); Garry Marshall, writer-producer (78); Richard Mulligan, empty nester (d. 2000); Chris Noth, law officer (58); Dack Rambo, Dallasite (d. 1994); Steve Zahan, N’awlins D.J. (45).