On This Day: Say Hello to Married... With Children
What has become the unstoppable juggernaut of primetime network programming got its start 23 years ago today with a pair of shows you may remember. Read on and reflect back to Fox's humble bow -- along with the debuts of a few other influential pop-culture titans -- in Movieline's "On This Day."
· 1908: Bette Davis was born Ruth Elizabeth Davis in Lowell, Mass., to an attorney father and a photographer mother who separated in Bette's early teens. Davis would move to Hollywood on a studio contract in 1930 and pull in $1,000 per week by 1932 (roughly 10 times what her husband made); she would win two Academy Awards (for Dangerous and Jezebel) by the time she turned 30.
· 1926: Legendary B-movie producer/director (and eventual honorary Oscar-winner) Roger Corman was born n Detroit, Mich. His career track started with a slightly more conventionally noble calling -- he graduated from Stanford with a degree in industrial engineering -- before moving into filmmaking in 1953. Corman's next half-century of output would help launch some of Hollywood's best-known directors and stars (including Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Francis Ford Coppola and Jack Nicholson) and come to define low-budget American cinema of its time, for better (his Edgar Allan Poe adaptations) or worse (Battle Beyond the Stars).
· 1987: The Fox Broadcasting Network flipped the switch on primetime programming getting underway with the tandem of Married... With Children and The Tracey Ullman Show. The next three weeks saw the additions of 21 Jump Street, Mr. President and Duet to round out its Sunday line-up, with Saturday programming following three months later. But Married... would remain the Fox flagship for years, clearing a path for the network's ribald takes on dysfunctional family while Ullman introduced the networks other historic clan, The Simpsons, in a short animated segment two weeks later. A generation later we still have Homer, Marge and their brood, while Simon, Randy, Kara, Ellen and Ryan Seacrest fill the freak-show void left by the Bundys in 1997.
· 2008: Actor and National Rifle Association mascot Charlton Heston passed away at his home in Beverly Hills, prompting a full afternoon of, "You can have Charlton Heston's rifle now."