The camp Caped Crusader and Happy Days of Fonzarelli and Cunningham

Two very different, but iconic TV shows aired for the first time this week in history.

Saturday, 14th January 2017, 12:01 am
Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin.

First on screen in the US on January 12, 1966 was Batman The TV Show, starring Adam West and Burt Ward – pictured – as the campest of all caped crusaders and Robins.

And on January 15, 1974 Happy Days debuted on ABC. It was a spin-off of a show called Love and the Happy Day (1972) starring Ron Howard and Anson Williams. Both would be eclipsed by Henry Winkler’s The Fonz, though Oscar-winning director Howard (who played Ritchie Cunningham) isn’t complaining.

Anniversaries on this side of the Atlantic contrasted the accuracy of the predictions of two PMs. In London, on January 10, 1979 Jim Callaghan was trying to tell the world that all was well even though Britain was on the brink, due to a series of national strikes. A decade earlier, on January 9, 1969 Ulster Prime minister Terence O’Neill had warned Callaghan (then Home Secretary) that Northern Ireland was on the verge of civil war.

O’Neill was proved right, but lost his job, while Callaghan was forced to resign during what became known as the Winter of Discontent.

Ulsterman, Van Morrison (inset), became the first Rock and Roll of Hame inductee to fail to attend the inauguration dinner, on January 12, 1993.

Anniversaries this week:

BIRTHDAYS: January 11, 1945: Rod Stewart, singer (Maggie Mae, Do You Think I’m Sexy), born in London.

January 13, 1961: Suggs (Graham McPherson), singer-songwriter with Madness; 1969 – Stephen Hendry, Edinburgh, seven times world snooker champion.

January 14, 1967: Emily Watson, actress (Breaking the Waves, Boxer); 1988 – Jack P Shepherd, Coronation Street actor.

January 15: 1909 Jean Bugatti, German-born car designer (d. 1939); 1972 – Claudia Winkleman, TV presenter; 1965 – James Nesbitt, Ulster actor – pictured – 52.

DEATHS: January 9, 2002, Ulster singer, songwriter David McWilliams – pictured – (The Days of Pearly Spencer) died of a heart attack, at 56; 1995 – Peter Cook, aged 58, actor, comedian. He was founder of contemporary satire.

January 12, 1976: Dame Agatha Christie, aged 85, mystery author, creator of Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple.

January 13, 2009: Patrick McGoohan aged 80, Emmy-winning actor (The Prisoner).

January 14, 1977: Peter Finch, 60, Oscar-winning actor (Sunday, Bloody Sunday).