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Television Trivia

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In 1994, David Schwimmer, Ross on NBC's Friends, made his debut as a TV-series regular on the short-lived comedy "Monty," starring Henry Winkler as a Rush-Limbaugh-type talk show host.

In 1995, the TV comedy Seinfeld was Number 1 among the 18-49 age group and was TV's most expensive show for advertising the producers demanded, and got, an unprecedented $390,000 for a 30-second commercial that year.

In 1999, the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations organized a boycott of the Mafia-themed show The Sopranos, saying it presented a distorted view of the typical Italian-American family, and calling it "a horribly negative stereotype, an embarrassment and a slap in the face to every Italian-American in this country."

In a March 2000 interview, David Duchovny affirmed that he and Gillian Anderson, his co-star on TV's X-Files, did not talk to each other off the set and that both had assistants who made sure that they'd arrive on the set simultaneously

In an industry where award ceremonies are second to oxygen, an award was dreamed up in 1951 to honor animals in the entertainment field. Called Patsy, "P.A.T.S.Y." is an acronym for both "Picture Animal Top Star of the Year" and "Performing Animal Television Star of the Year." Emceeing the first award event was Ronald Reagan. Patsy winners through the years include Francis the talking mule, Lassie, Roy Rogers' horse Trigger, Flipper the dolphin, Arnold the pig (from TV's Green Acres), Bruno the bear (from TV's Gentle Ben), Tramp the dog (from TV's My Three Sons), and 9-Lives catfood TV ad personality Morris the cat.

In an interview, veteran Emmy-winning actress Ann B. Davis reminisced about her days on the set of the 1970s TV sitcom, The Brady Bunch. On her character, Alice the housekeeper, Davis recalled, "I used to insist on having something in the pot when I pretended to cook. In the beginning it was canned stew, but after a while, I became less pure in my acting, and I'd add salt and pepper to boiling water."

In every episode of TV's Seinfeld, there is a Superman somewhere in at least one scene.

In January, 1987, San Francisco station KRON-TV became the first major market TV station in the U.S. to air a condom commercial.

In Japan, a gruesome TV drama series, "Shitsurakuen" (or, "Paradise Lost"), popularized the drinking of red wine. The Japanese demand for red wine exploded when the show's main characters committed suicide by mixing poison with Chateau Margaux. Many Japanese wine drinkers switched from the preferred white to red after the 1997 TV episode aired. Advertising agencies said the macabre show not only pushed red wine sales, but wine glass sales also rose.

In June 1994, the sitcom Roseanne was condemned by the Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog, as the most biased and liberal show on U.S. television.

Since 1996, Timothy Daley (Wings) has provided the voice of Clark Kent and Superman in the Saturday morning animated TV series, The New Adventures of Superman. The second season, the show was retitled The New Adventures of Batman/Superman, and combined the heroics of the two DC Comic superheroes. Emmy and Golden Globe winner Dana Delany (China Beach, Sirens) is the voice for Lois Lane. Other noteworthy actors who've provided voices on the cartoon series are Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. as faithful manservant Alfred, Michael Ansara as Mr. Freeze, Mark Hamill as the Joker, Shelley Fabares and Mike Farrell as Clark's parents Martha and Jonathan Kent, and Joely Fisher as Lana Lang.

Since pop star Britney Spears signed on for its commercials in 2000, "I-Zone" became the number-one-selling camera in the United States.

Some viewers of Gilligan's Island apparently took the television show seriously in the 1960s. The U.S. Coast Guard received several telegrams from concerned citizens asking why they didn't rescue the Minnow's crew.

Starring Bob Keeshan, "Captain Kangaroo" was the first TV network kids' show in the United States. CBS launched it in 1954.

Starting in 1951, the first 50 TV shows George Burns and Gracie Allen did of their sitcom were performed live. It wasn't until the third season of The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show that the program was saved on film, so reruns watched today actually begin in 1953, not 1951.

Still known worldwide for his role as Spock in the 1960s "Star Trek" series, Leonard Nimoy directed the hit film "Three Men and a Baby" (1987), which starred Tom Selleck, Ted Danson, and Steve Guttenberg.

Talk show hosts Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Conan O'Brien made President Bill Clinton the chief target of their jokes 810 times in 1997.

Television comedy queen Lucille Ball appeared on a record 29 covers of TV Guide magazine.

Television horse Mr. Ed was foaled in 1949 in El Monte, California. Mr. Ed's original name was Bamboo Harvester. Raised as a parade and show horse, he was once owned by the president of the California Palomino Society. He died in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, on February 28, 1979, at 30 years old. Tahlequah was also the "home office" for Late Night with David Letterman's "Top Ten List" for several years.

Television's I Love Lucy began as a radio show: My Favorite Husband, in which Lucy played the scheming, middle-class wife of a bank vice president. CBS wanted to move the show to television but almost scrapped the idea because of Lucy's insistence that Desi Arnaz play her husband. Lucy persisted and finally got her way the rest is television history.

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