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Thursday, October 05, 2017

October 5, 1970

This has certainly been a sad week in the world this week.  October 2017 hasn't been the most positive month so far with the mass shooting in Las Vegas and the death of Tom Petty (which I will be doing a special blog on once I get the time to do so).  I think that for this week's Throwback Thursday post, I wanted to feature a positive post.  I think we can all agree that there has been too much sadness this week.

Before we get to the topic that I have chosen for this week, let's see what other events took place on October 5.

1582 - As a direct result of the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, October 5 actually doesn't exist in Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain

1789 - Women of Paris march to Versailles to confront Louis XVI of France about his refusal to promulgate the decrees on the abolition of feudalism

1813 - Shawnee leader Tecumseh is killed during the Battle of the Thames in Canada

1857 - Anaheim, California is founded

1864 - A cyclone nearly destroys the city of Calcutta, killing over 60,000

1869 - The Bay of Fundy region in Maritime Canada is devastated by the Saxby Gale

1902 - McDonald's founder Ray Kroc (d. 1984) is born in Oak Park, Illinois

1905 - Wilbur Wright pilots Wright Flyer III in a flight of 24 miles in 39 minutes

1917 - Game show host Allen Ludden (d. 1981) is born in Mineral Point, Wisconsin

1921 - The 1921 World Series becomes the first to be broadcast on radio

1922 - "The Family Circus" cartoonist Bil Keane (d. 2011) is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1943 - Ninety-eight American POW's are executed by Japanese forces on Wake Island

1945 - A riot erupts at the gates of Warner Brothers studios in an event that would come to be known as "Hollywood Black Friday"

1947 - The first televised White House address is given by Harry S. Truman

1950 - Actor Jeff Conaway (d. 2011) is born in New York City

1955 - Disneyland Hotel opens to the public three months after the park officially opens

1957 - Comedian/actor Bernie Mac (d. 2008) is born in Chicago, Illinois

1962 - The first James Bond movie "Dr. No" premieres; also on this date the Beatles release their debut single "Love Me Do"

1968 - Police baton civil rights demonstrators in Derry, Northern Island - the incident that many believe sparked the beginning of The Troubles

1982 - Johnson and Johnson issues a mandatory recall of all Tylenol products after several people die after taking Tylenol laced with cyanide

1983 - Earl Tupper - the founder of Tupperware - dies at the age of 76

1984 - Marc Garneau becomes the first Canadian to go into space

1999 - Thirty-one people are killed in the Ladbroke Grove rail crash in West London

2001 - Barry Bonds breaks a record previously set by Mark McGwire by scoring his 71st and 72nd home runs within a single season

2004 - Comedian/actor Rodney Dangerfield dies at the age of 82

2011 - Apple co-founder Steve Jobs passes away from cancer at the age of 56; also on this date actor Charles Napier dies at the age of 75

And celebrating a birthday on October 5 are the following famous people; Dean Prentice, Roy Book Binder, Stephanie Cole, Steve Miller, Heather MacRae, Brian Johnson, "Fast" Eddie Clarke, Karen Allen, Bob Geldof, Clive Barker, Harold Faltermeyer, Lee Thompson, Kelly Joe PhelpsNeil DeGrasse Tyson,  Daniel Baldwin, David Bryson, Dave Dederer, Mario Lemieux, Patrick Roy, Guy Pearce, Josie Bissett, Grant Hill, Parminder Nagra, Scott Weinger, Kate Winslet, Vinnie Paz, Jesse Palmer, James Valentine, Jesse Eisenberg, Naima Adedapo, Nicola Roberts, and Tim Ream.

All right, so what year will we be going back in time to this week?  I wonder... about October 5, 1970?  That sounds like a great date to flash back to.  Granted, I wasn't around then...but what happened on that date had a definite effect on not only my life, but the lives of millions of people.

When I think back to one lesson in life that I always hold true to my heart, it is the idea of being never too old or too young to learn new things.  I'm always wanting to figure out ways to become a better writer, or to learn about subjects that I may not have known a lot about, or discovering new skills that I never really knew I had.  Life is all about learning new skills, be it at the age of four, forty, or 104.

Therefore it may not seem all that surprising that some of my favourite television shows as a kid were shows that inspired all of us to learn more about the world, and were educational in nature.  I can recall my geography knowledge widening just by watching "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego".  I recall "Square One Television" getting me through math class with ease.  "Ghost Writer" helped me understand the complexities of writing and made me a better writer as a result.  "3-2-1 Contact" broke down the science of things as well as offered brand new perspectives on the world.  And of course if it wasn't for "Sesame Street", many of us probably wouldn't have known how to count to twenty or learned our ABC's.

Well, at least the "Sesame Street" that predated Elmo, that is.

Now, all of these television shows, in addition to being shows that celebrated education and learning, all had one other thing in common. 

Did you know that all of these shows aired on the Public Broadcasting Service?  Or PBS, as most of us know it as.  And it was on this date in 1970 that PBS made its official launch as a television network.  Neat, huh?

Now as most of us know by now, PBS differs quite substantially from other networks on your television dial such as ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and the CW.  Whereas the other networks compensate affiliate stations to carry their programs, PBS provides television content and related services to its member stations.  And nearly all of the programming that is aired on PBS is aired with the support of viewers like you.  Thank you!

Seriously!  Why do you think PBS has like eight different pledge drives every year?  It's not just so you can spend $300 and get a Downton Abbey baseball cap, an EastEnders tote bag, and a sew-on Mister Rogers Neighbourhood patch that you can put on your leather jacket!  All the money and memberships help keep certain programs on the air for you to enjoy without the hassle of commercial breaks.

As mentioned above, PBS was founded by Hartford N. Gunn Jr. in June of 1970, but it would not be until October 5 that the first programs would air on television.

And what an assortment of programs there were to choose from!

Now, I've already shared with you some of the shows that I remember watching on PBS when I was a kid.  And granted, most of these were shows for children.  But the programs that kept me entertained and informed back then were just a smidgen of the children's shows that were on the air.  I missed out on quite a few of the older shows that aired before I was born.  I grew up never watching the original series of "Zoom" or "The Electric Company".  Both shows no longer aired on my PBS affiliate by the time I came around.

(It sort of explains why I was kind of confused in that one episode of the rebooted "One Day at a Time" where Rita Moreno's character screams "Hey, you guys!" - I totally thought she was re-enacting that scene from "The Goonies".  Who knew she did that on "The Electric Company" too?)

And of course the children's programming that aired after I became too old for kids shows.  Shows like "Cyberchase", "Liberty's Kids", and "Clifford the Big Red Dog" were known kid pleasers and also taught kids how to do a lot of things and helped them learn about math and history.

Though not all PBS shows were winners.  I have a hard time trying to figure out the educational value of "Teletubbies" and "Caillou".  And I'm sure I'm not alone in that regard.

But don't think that PBS is just for the children to enjoy.  There's plenty of programming for adults to enjoy.  I mean, let's get this out of the way first.  All of those memes starring Bob Ross and his little trees of happiness wouldn't be possible if PBS didn't air any of his painting shows.  Truth be told, as dry and dull as Bob Ross shows could be, they were strangely captivating and informative at the same time. 

PBS also aired classic and modern British television.  It was the prime network where viewers could watch the hit series "Downton Abbey".  It was the network that first got me hooked on Rowan Atkinson and his delightful comedic talents in both "Mr. Bean" and "Blackadder".  It was the network that introduced me to British sitcoms such as "Keeping Up Appearances" and "Are You Being Served?".

Oh, and my parents wouldn't have anything to watch on Monday nights were it not for "The Antiques Road Show".  PBS has saved them from boredom!

And I have to admit that PBS was the main reason why I got so addicted to the British drama "EastEnders".  They used to air two episodes every Sunday night, and I watched faithfully and continue to do so online.  Of course, my niece and nephews refer to the show as the "angry British people show". 

Anyway, that's my love letter to PBS - a network that started airing 47 years ago today!

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