This was Television on March 15

1977: Three’s Company debuts

Often used as a by-word for hacky sitcom shenanigans, Three’s Company was nevertheless one of the most successful sitcoms of its era and a perennial favorite in syndication. Based on the British sitcom Man of the House, it ran for eight seasons and 172 episodes, and yielded a spinoff in The Ropers. John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, and Suzanne Somers played roommates attempting to disguise their mixed-gender living arrangement from their landlords (originally Norman Fell and Audra Lindley’s Ropers, later Don Knotts’s Mr. Furley). The show became known for its unashamedly libidinous humor and heavy use of wacky misunderstandings. -A.D.

Today’s Birthdays: Judd Hirsch, cabbie (78); Eva Longoria, housewife (38); Park Overall, nurse (56); Madelyn Pugh, sitcom scribe (d. 2011); Kim Raver, doctor (44); Joe E. Ross, comic (d. 1982); Jimmy Swaggart, televangelist (78).

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