Friday, March 31, 2017

This Day in Pop Culture for March 31

Teletubbies debuted on March 31, 1997

Invasion of the Teletubbies

Popular and controversial, the British pre-school TV series, Teletubbies aired for the first time on this day in 1997 and continued to air in the U.K. until 2001. The show was created by Ragdoll Productions and was praised for its high production values, but was criticized for being a show to get toddlers hooked on TV with little educational value. In the U.S., controversy arose about the show in 1999 when the Rev. Jerry Falwell accused the Tinky Winky character of being a gay role model because he was purple, he had an antenna that was shaped like a triangle and carried a purse. Distributors of the show made it clear that the character was not gay and the “purse” was actually a “magic bag.” 60 new episodes of the series were created in 2015.


The Broadway Show "Oklahoma!" Debuted on March 31, 1943.

'Oklahoma!' was First a Broadway Flop

Much like the bad press that the recent Broadway show, Spiderman: Turn off the Dark received, another show in the 1940’s, Away We Go, also received bad press before it even opened and was considered a “flop in the making.” However, unlike Spiderman which closed January 4, 2014, Away We Go went through a few tweaks, including changing the title to Oklahoma! and ran for 2,212 performances over 15 years. Oklahoma opened on this day in 1943. It was the first project with Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein working together. The show has been revived on and off Broadway numerous times. So much for this flop.