Today in History: March 21

Vivian Stanshall was born on this date in 1943. I published a tribute two years ago, “Vivian Stanshall: Not an Eccentric.”

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“A House Divided,” the final episode of the third season of the television drama, “Dallas,” aired 36 years years ago tonight on CBS. It ended with the shocking cliffhanger: J.R. Ewing is shot in the final seconds and left for dead. His assailant is not seen. In the long-unfolding plot of the series, the season, and the episode, the number of characters who might have wanted to see the grinningly evil J.R. Ewing shot numbered in double (perhaps triple) digits. For the next eight months, until the first episode of the next season, American media was obsessed with this question: “Who shot J.R.?” When that episode aired, on November 21, 1980, some 75% of all American televisions that were turned on that night were tuned to “Dallas” on CBS. The “shooting” (below the fold):

 
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Johann Sebastian Bach was born on this date in 1685, following the Old Style calendar. To celebrate his birthday, this weekend in New York City musicians performed “Bach in the Subways,” an annual performance tradition for the last six years.

Solomon Burke was born on this date in 1940.

 
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Peter Brook is 91 today. Timothy Dalton is 70 today. Eddie Money is 67 today. Slavoj Žižek is 67 today. Roger Hodgson is 66. Gary Oldman is 58 today. Matthew Broderick is 54 today. Rosie O’Donnell is 54. Ronaldinho is 36.

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