This Was Television On January 22

1984: Apple introduces the Macintosh

One of the most famous TV commercials in the medium’s history was also one of the least aired. Apple’s “1984” ad, promoting the launch of the Macintosh personal computer, aired on national television just once, during Super Bowl XVIII on CBS. The 60-second spot depicted a futuristic dystopia meant to recall George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The drudgery is shattered by a women, dressed as a track and field runner, who speeds into the scene and hurls a hammer at the Big Brother-esque screen presiding over rows of lifeless workers. Designed by advertising firm Chiat/Day and championed by Apple head Steve Jobs, the commercial had a budget of $900,000—an astronomical sum for the time—and remains one of the few TV advertisements broadly regarded as a significant cultural marker. -A.D.

Today’s Birthdays: Bill Bixby, mild-mannered scientist (d. 1993); Olivia d’Abo, elder sister (44); Balthazar Getty, brother (38); Piper Laurie, Peaksian (81); Gabriel Macht, suit (41); Christopher Masterson, eldest brother (33); Beverley Mitchell, preacher’s daughter (32); John Wesley Shipp, departed dad (58); Ann Sothern, private secretary (d. 2001); Jeffery “DJ Jazzy Jeff” Townes, mansion ejectee (48).

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