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Television Trivia

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Hooterville was the town in the Ozarks which was home to the Clampett clan on TV's The Beverly Hillbillies.

In 1949, Crusader Rabbit debuted as the first made-for-TV animated cartoon.

In 1954, the first nationally televised Miss America Pageant was broadcast live to an audience of 27 million TV viewers.

In 1957, there was an incredibly lengthy Emmy category: "Continuing Performance in a Series by a Comedian, Singer, Host, Dancer, MC, Announcer, Narrator, Panelist, or Any Person Who Essentially Plays Himself/Herself." Jack Benny, for The Jack Benny Show and Dinah Shore, for The Dinah Shore Chevy Show, were the winners. The category name was retooled (and shortened) for subsequent Emmy presentations.

In 1959, Larry Linville, who played Maj. Frank Burns on TV's M*A*S*H, competed for and received a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.

In 1972, Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared on TV's The Dating Game.

In 1978, a poll showed that one French television program broadcast on August 14 was watched by no viewers at all. The show was an in-depth interview with an Armenian woman on her fortieth birthday. It covered how she met her husband, her illnesses, and her joy of living. According to the TV survey, 67 percent of viewers had watched a Napoleonic costume drama and 33 percent had tuned in to another show. The no-viewer program was telecast at peak-viewing time.

In 1982, its inaugural year, The Weather Channel lost $10.6 million, and came dangerously close to being shut down. In fact, the network didn't make any money until 1985. Since then, The Weather Channel has steadily grown to where it is now seen in more than 67 million homes, or 98 percent of homes with cable television.

In 1990, The Simpsons debuted as FOX network's highest-rated program, earning high praise from critics. First introduced in 1986 in brief cartoon vignettes on The Tracey Ullman Show, the Simpsons were named after, but not based on, creator Matt Groening's own relatives: Groening's father and son are named Homer, another son is named Abraham, his mother is Marge, and he has two sisters, Lisa and Maggie. Bart's name, according to Groening, is an anagram of "brat."

In 1993, Ted Danson earned a reported $450,000 per episode as Sam Malone during the final season of Cheers, an industry record at the time. While Roseanne received more that year for an episode of Roseanne, she also did more. In addition to acting, she was the show's executive producer and a contributing writer.

Original Hollywood Squares game show host, Peter Marshal, began his career in a stage version of “Bye Bye Birdie.” After roles in films like “Ensign Pulver,” and “Swingin' Along,” he was contracted to host the game show in 1966. For the next 15 years, he presided over the game, winning 5 Emmy Awards.

Oscar the Grouch's pet worm on TV's Sesame Street is named Slimey.

Paul Reiser himself plays the piano in the Mad About You opening theme.

Per a 2000 poll, Monty Python's Flying Circus was determined to be the funniest sketch/comedy TV show, roping in 41 percent of the votes, followed by Saturday Night Live at about 23 percent.

Prior to the police squad room sitcom Barney Miller beginning production, star Hal Linden wanted to get a better feel for his role by spending a week with plainclothes cops in New York City. According to John Javna's book Cult TV, Linden accompanied the squad on a drug bust. He was standing in a doorway when one of the dealers tried to sneak out. Linden stopped him – not with a gun, but as his character Barney Miller likely would. Reportedly, he told the druggie, "You can't leave – you forgot to say 'May I.'" Surprisingly, his congenial approach worked – the man stayed.

Queen Elizabeth's Christmas message to the nation was televised for the first time on December 25, 1957. For the next 40 years, the BBC aired the event.

Quincy Jones composed the musical score for the TV miniseries Roots.

Rosie O'Donnell's mother died when she was 10, and the girl used fantasy and her dream of breaking into show business to cope with her tremendous loss. When O'Donnell became a success in stand-up comedy, then films, then her TV talk show, she often thought about her mother, who had been her biggest supporter and best friend. But she didn't fool herself about her acting ability. "I never expected to be Meryl Streep," O'Donnell once said in an interview. "I don't have the talent to inhabit other characters and do accents. I'm sort of myself in every movie."

Sherwood Schwartz, who wrote both The Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island TV themes, reported that he earns about $60,000 each year from those two theme songs alone.

Sid and Marty Krofft Pictures, the puppeteering company that created campy '70s kids' shows as H.R. Pufnstuf, The Bugaloos, and Land of the Lost, filed a lawsuit in November 2000 against 'N Sync, claiming 25-foot puppets of the Pufnstuf characters, custom-made for the group, were illegally copied and photographed to sell souvenirs for a performance in January 2000 at the American Music Awards. As owner and copyright holder of the puppets, Krofft claimed it only gave permission for 'N Sync to use the giant marionettes during the awards show.

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