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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June 23, 2006

Welcome to another edition of the Tuesday Timeline!  And although the year we are traveling back in time to only happened quite recently, it is an interesting story to tell about one of the most influential figures in television production.

Oh.  Wait.  I have said too much.  Forget I said anything.

So, let's see what happened in the world on June 23, shall we?  According to my sources, June 23 was a big day - historically speaking.

1683 - William Penn signs a treaty of friendship with Lenni Lenape Indians in Pennsylvania

1713 - The French residents of Acadia are given an ultimatum by Britain; pledge allegiance to the nation within the year, or flee Nova Scotia

1810 - John Jacob Astor forms the Pacific Fur Company

1848 - The June Days Uprising in Paris, France begins

1868 - The patent for a new invention known as the "Type-Writer" is granted to Christopher Latham Sholes

1887 - Banff National Park is founded - the first Canadian National Park created following the passing of The Rocky Mountains Park Act

1894 - The International Olympic Committee is founded at the Sorbonne in Paris, France

1926 - The very first SAT exam is issued to American students

1929 - Country singer June Carter Cash (d. 2003) is born in Maces Spring, Virginia

1942 - The first selections for the Auschwitz gas chamber are selected from a train filled with Jews bound for Paris, France

1946 - An earthquake rocks Vancouver Island, killing two people

1960 - The FDA approves the new drug Envoid - the first combined oral contraceptive pill in the world

1972 - Title IX is amended to prohibit sexual discrimination to any educational program supported by government funds

1985 - A terrorist bomb detonates aboard Air India Flight 182, killing all passengers aboard

1995 - Jonas Salk - the man who developed the vaccine for polio - dies at the age of 80

1997 - Betty Shabazz, the widow of civil rights advocate Malcolm X, dies of her injuries sustained in a fire three weeks earlier, aged 63

1998 - Actress Maureen O'Sullivan dies at the age of 87

2009 - Host/announcer Ed McMahon passes away at the age of 86

2011 - Colombo star Peter Falk dies at the age of 83

2012 - At the United States Olympic Trials, Ashton Eaton breaks the decathlon world record

2013 - Nik Wallenda becomes the first person to successfully walk across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope

2014 - The last of Syria's declared chemical weapons are shipped out for destruction

And celebrating a June 23 birthday are the following famous faces; Richard Bach, Roger McDonald, James Levine, Ted Shackelford, Bryan Brown, Myles Goodwyn, Luther Kent, Clarence Thomas, Jim Metzler, Glenn Danzig, Maggie Greenwald, Randy Jackson, Frances McDormand, Steve Shelley, Joss Whedon, Mitch Longley, Chico DeBarge, Fred Ewaniuck, Felix Potvin, Selma Blair, Louis Van Amstel, Joel Edgerton, Jeffrey Carlson, Kevin Dyson, KT Tunstall, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Jason Mraz, Melissa Rauch, Duffy, Marielle Jaffe, and Katie Armiger.

Okay, so are you ready for today's date?

We'll be going back in time nine years ago today to June 23, 2006.  And sadly, this date marked the end of the road for one influential television producer.

Oh, but what a television producer he was.  From the 1970s until the mid 1990s, he served as executive producer for some of the steamiest dramatic series and action-packed crime dramas.  From Captain Stubing and Alexis Carrington to Donna Martin and Amanda Woodward, this man was at the helm of some of television's most watched programs.  And considering that his son and daughter became actors themselves, I suppose the talent did run in the family.

Well, if you consider Tori Spelling talented, that is.

But this blog isn't about Tori Spelling.  Instead, we're going to look at Aaron Spelling, who died nine years ago today at the age of 83.

Now, some of us probably know of Aaron Spelling as Tori's father who lived in a house so huge that it even had a bowling alley and a giant room specifically for the purpose of wrapping presents! 

Seriously, have a look at Aaron Spelling's former manor.  How insane is this place?  I swear, I would need a GPS to get through this monstrosity.  I mean, I'd love a nice house, but none THAT big!

But when you consider that he had his hands on some of the most popular television shows ever created, you have to admire his strength and his attitude to stay relevant in an ever-changing industry.  Not a bad feat for someone who actually lost the use of his legs for one whole year due to the trauma of being bullied by his peers!  I mean, my school years were no picnic, but I never let it get to the point where I couldn't move!  That was hardcore.

He first began his career as an actor, appearing in such television programs as "I Led Three Lives", "Dragnet", and "I Love Lucy".  But it wouldn't be until 1968 that he decided to switch hats and move towards a career in television production.  And over the next thirty years, Spelling produced several hits.

Here are just a few of his success stories.

THE MOD SQUAD (1968-1973)

This series, which starred Peggy Lipton, Michael Cole, and Clarence Williams III featured three young undercover cops in the heart of Los Angeles, and although all three of them were as different from each other as you could possibly imagine, they made a great detective team.  The catch was that all three were considered social outcasts at the time (they were definitely a part of the free love hippie movement of the late 1960s), and their ways of dealing with suspects helped get them into places that regular police could not.  It was definitely groundbreaking television when it debuted, and the show lasted a total of five seasons on the air.

CHARLIE'S ANGELS (1976-1981)

Despite the rotating cast members (Jaclyn Smith was the only "Angel" to last the entire series), this police drama added a new spin on police themed television programs.  The main cast of the show were female - young women who had just graduated from the police academy who took orders and cases from their unseen boss, Charlie.  A total of six women called themselves one of "Charlie's Angels", and their resilience and strength likely inspired women all over the world to pursue careers in law enforcement.

Or, at the very least, it inspired women all over the world to try and replicate Farrah Fawcett's iconic hairstyle.

FANTASY ISLAND (1977-1984)

You know, this show is likely linked to one of my earliest childhood television memories.  My family loved watching this show, and I always liked seeing the late Herve Villechaize pointing up towards the sky shouting "Da plane, da plane!"

But in all seriousness, "Fantasy Island" was pure escapism at its finest.  After all, the show's entire premise was Ricardo Montalban owning his own island and people could vacation there to have their greatest dreams come true.  Who wouldn't want to have a place like that? 

THE LOVE BOAT (1977-1987)

Of course, the only thing that could be better than having an island where you could live out a fantasy is staying on a cruise ship where you could fall in love!  And certainly Captain Stubing, Doc Bricker, Gopher Smith, and Isaac Washington were always on deck, making sure that you had the best time aboard The Love Boat.  And while I don't remember a single episode of this program, I do remember the iconic theme song word for word.

DYNASTY (1981-1989)

I think that if there was one show that gave new meaning to the word "catfight", Dynasty was that show.  After seeing shows like "Dallas" and "Knots Landing" breathe new life into CBS, ABC recruited Spelling to help produce their own version.  Let's just say that I don't think that I would survive being a member of the Carrington family.  Heck, with the amount of bodily harm that Joan Collins and Linda Evans inflicted on each other during the show's eight year run, it's a miracle both are still alive today!

T.J. HOOKER (1982-1986)

I guess other than Tori Spelling, if you had to choose someone who Aaron Spelling saw as a lucky charm, it would be Heather Locklear.  Heather was one of the few people in the television industry who filmed two shows at once.  While she worked on "Dynasty" playing Sammy Jo, she was in this show as well, which also starred William Shatner and Adrian Zmed.  The show was more than just your typical cop fare though.  It also featured a more hands-on approach and detailed a more realistic view of how police stations really operated.

BEVERLY HILLS 90210 (1990-2000)

Yes, this was the show that Aaron Spelling's daughter Tori became a star on.  But interestingly enough, Donna Martin was more or less a supporting character until season three.  The show initially focused on Minnesota Twins Brandon and Brenda Walsh adjusting to live in Beverly Hills, but we also learned through the experiences of Kelly, Steve, Dylan, and David that growing up in one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods wasn't always so easy.

MELROSE PLACE (1992-1999)

Initially, this show failed to attract an audience, but Spelling recruited his lucky penny to appear in a few episodes of this 90210 spinoff.  Heather Locklear stayed the remainder of the series as a "Special Guest Star".  This program, which launched the careers of Courtney Thorne-Smith, Doug Savant, Laura Leighton, Marcia Cross, and Kristin Davis was one scandal after another, and plot lines involved explosions, affairs, and murder.  Oh, and stay away from the pool.  Everyone who ends up in the pool usually gets injured or dies.

7TH HEAVEN (1996-2007)

Probably the final series that Aaron Spelling would have a producer credit associated with, he died one year before the show's cancellation.  And although the show's cast is linked to some not so nice activities (Google Stephen Collins for more information on that one), the show focused on the family of Reverend Eric Camden, his wife, and their five children (hence the reason why it was called 7th Heaven).  It was the WB's longest running television show ever, and also Aaron Spelling's longest running television show that he produced.  I can see why this was the case.  The show did focus on a lot of topics that were relevant to every family. 

So, you see...even though Aaron Spelling has been gone for several years now, his legacy lives on - especially since most of these shows are available on DVD or Blu-Ray!

But, I admit.  I would still get lost in his house!

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