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On This Day in Sitcom History — April 15th
1971: Marcia Wallace’s First Credited Role on Bewitched
The Bewitched episode, “Laugh, Clown, Laugh,” aired on April 15th, 1971. It featured a young Marcia Wallace (of The Bob Newhart Show and The Simpsons fame) in her first credited acting role (and second role ever) as Betty, Darrin’s (Dick Sargent) secretary.
1981: Ralph’s Name Changes on The Greatest American Hero
The Greatest American Hero episode, “Reseda Rose,” aired on April 15th, 1981. In this episode, Ralph Hinkley (William Katt) is referred to as “Ralph Hanley.” On March 30th, John Hinkley, Jr. attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan, prompting the show to overdub any mentions of “Hinkley” with “Hanley.” However, beginning in season two, his name became Hinkley once again and remained Hinkley for the rest of the show’s run.
1982: No Soap, Radio Series Premier
The extremely short-lived wacky sitcom, No Soap, Radio, premiered on April 15th, 1982. It starred Steve Guttenberg (of Police Academy fame) as the owner of a seedy hotel in Atlantic City. The show clearly took inspiration from avant-garde British comedies of the time, like The Young Ones, incorporating surreal elements and random sketches into the sitcom setting. Unfortunately, it seems American audiences didn’t get it, and only five episodes were ever aired.