50 years ago today, Love, American Style, the anthology comedy series produced by Paramount Television first aired. The show—considered risqué at the time—featured unrelated humorous tales of romance (or break-ups) filmed in different locations with new or returning actors and characters each week. For several seasons, it topped-off a powerhouse ABC lineup on Friday nights with The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Room 222, and The Odd Couple.
Two of the show’s segments served as pilots for successful TV shows. In 1972, Love, American Style aired an episode with a segment entitled Love and the Television Set, about Richie Cunningham, his family, and friends. The premise and characters would later be spun into the television series Happy Days, with that original segment serving as the de facto pilot for the series.
The series, which derived its name from an Oscar-nominated 1961 film called Divorce, Italian Style, received several Emmy nominations, including two in 1970–1971 for Best Comedy Series. WATCH the segment featuring Harrison Ford changing his mind about marriage at 21, by seeing a divorced couple in action… (1969)
More Good News on This Date:
- New York Giants center-fielder Willie Mays made what is widely considered to be the greatest catch ever made in baseball with his back to home plate, running down a ball hit by a Cleveland Indians player in Game 1 of the World Series—Watch below (1954)
- Pope John Paul II became the first pope to set foot on Irish soil with his visit to the Republic of Ireland (1979)
- The space shuttle Discovery blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., marking America’s return to manned space flight, which was grounded after the Challenger disaster (1988)
- Bruce Springsteen, while traveling on his motorbike from Los Angeles, stopped in at Matt’s Saloon in Prescott, Arizona where he jammed with the house band–playing classics like ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ and ‘Route 66’– and also donated $100,000 to a barmaid’s hospital bill (1989)
- The Nintendo 64 gaming console was released in North America, and with its speedy advanced 3D graphics and gameplay, 32 million units were sold for $200 worldwide (1996)
- 62,000 people attended the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, enjoying concert performances by Neil Young, Foo Fighters, and The Black Keys to promote anti-poverty initiatives with the Global Poverty Project—$167.5 million in new commitments were raised (2012)
And, on this day 470 years ago, Miguel de Cervantes, the Spanish author thought to be the father of the modern novel, was born. In prison, he hatched the idea for his masterpiece, Don Quixote, published in 1605.
He conceived it to be a parody of the romance genre that was popular in the day. Cervantes said, “Too much sanity may be madness, and the maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be.” (1547)
And, on this day in 1986, Designing Women premiered on CBS, bringing laughs and Southern hospitality to American TV screens. Created by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated sitcom aired for seven seasons and depicted the lives of four women and one man working together at an interior design firm in Atlanta, Georgia.
The show’s memorable cast of smart, feisty women included Dixie Carter playing the self-confident Julia Sugarbaker, president of the company; Delta Burke as her self-centered beauty-queen sister, Annie Potts as the sarcastic head designer Mary Jo; and Jean Smart as Charlene, the naive and sunny office manager. Meshach Taylor played the ex-con deliveryman who was attending law school to improve his life.