A noted singer-songwriter, cartoonist and the director of the Waldorf-Astoria orchestra for sixteen years, Xavier Cugat was a consummate showman and a key figure in the rising popularity of Latin music with American audiences in the 1950s. One of his many projects was a variety show on NBC, where he sang and performed Latin music with his then-wife Abee Lane (the first appearance on TV by the latter, who would later be crowned “the swingingest sexpot in show business”). While only a small part of Cugat’s body of work, The Xavier Cugat Show does hold the honor of being the first prime-time network television show beginning with the letter “X,” and would be the only show to hold that distinction in nomenclature for almost 40 years until the premiere of The X-Files in 1993. No word on whether Chris Carter’s proposed episode featuring possessed bongo drums was an intentional tribute. – L.C.
Today’s Birthdays: Barbara Babcock, Old West editor (76); Adam Baldwin, space merc (51); Noah Emmerich, fed (48); Howard Hesseman, DJ (73); Donal Logue, PI (47); Grant Show, Melrose Placer (51); Van Williams, detective (79).