On This Day: March 29


A fanboy favorite is born... just 340 or so years from now! Plus, the shocking Oscar joke that tripped up Fred Astaire and The Tonight Show's host calls its quits... for the second time.


1951 -- At the 23rd Oscars, Fred Astaire nearly chokes when he finds himself reading a scripted gag that says of 29-year-old actress Jan Sterling, who's on stage to present the Costume Design Award: "She is the sort of girl who makes a man want to go home and saw off his wife's head below the ankles." Another on-the-rise starlet, 24-year-old Marilyn Monroe, who has a small part in Best Picture winner All About Eve, makes what will be her only Oscar appearance when she nervously presents the Sound Award. But neither the young babes make nearly the impact of 49-year-old Marlene Dietrich, who slinks out to present Best Foreign Picture wearing a skirt that's cut so high it causes an audible gasp from the 2800-strong crowd. Hoochie-mama!

1962 -- Jack Paar hosts his last episode of The Tonight Show, ending a five-year run that saw him succeed Steve Allen and turn the program into a TV fixture just ripe for Johnny Carson to make an institution. Thing was, Paar's controversial tenure -- interviewing Fidel Castro; booting a boozed-up Mickey Rooney off the show -- had already ended once in 1960. It was on February 11, in protest at being censored by NBC the previous night for an "off-color" joke (listen to it on the YouTubes -- totally safe for work), that he resigned and walked off the show -- live on air. It was nearly a month before the network could lure him back.

2336 -- Deanna Troi is born on Betazed -- just near Lake El-Nar -- to a Betazoid mother and human daddy. She'll go on to be ship's counselor on the USS Enterprise D where, among other things, she'll hook up with Klingon Lt Worf. Weirdly, actress Marina Sirtis, who'll portray the character in Star Trek: The Next Generation, shares the same birthday.