Helmed by brothers Tom and Dick Smothers, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour made an impact that belies its brief three-season run. While outwardly a typical variety show of the era, featuring comedy skits and pop music, the material often took satiric aim at contemporary social issues, including racism and the Vietnam War. CBS decided the program’s penchant for controversy made it more trouble that it was worth, pulling the plug in 1969. Its legacy lived on in large part through the young writers and performers it helped introduce, a stable that included Steve Martin, Rob Reiner, Jim Stafford, Don Novello, Bob Einstein, and Albert Brooks. -A.D.
Today’s Birthdays: Stephen J. Cannell, writer-producer (d. 2010); Don Cherry, hockey commentator (79); Darren Criss, Gleek (26); Christopher Guest, SNLer (65); Barbara Hershey, doctor (65); Laura Linney, cancer patient (49); Michael Mann, producer (70); Chris Parnell, quack (46); David Selby, vintner (72).