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Outrageous Firsts in Television History

FirstKissWeb.jpg

Welcome to Howard Stern's last week on terrestrial radio. According to Howard, his show has been sub-par since his first FCC fine in '87. (a guest played piano without his hands...wink), and the time to move to satellite radio is now. If you ask Howard, he's making the move to regain his creative edge. If you ask his critics, he's being pushed. Funny thing is, it's basically one group doing the pushing...but that's nothing new.

It's a centuries-old battle. Entertainers have pushed the boundaries of what's considered acceptable, and critics have labeled their offenses the end of civilized culture. The offenses may have gotten more outrageous, and the critics may have gotten...well...more annoying, but the battle remains the same.

When you take a look back, it's funny to see what used to be considered outrageous. Take November 22, 1968, for instance, when television's first interracial kiss caused quite the ruckus. Kirk and Uhura's locked lips led to massive protests in the Southern states (go figure) but fortunately, the bulk of the feedback received by the network was positive...and Heidi Klum and Seal have been going at it ever since.

But that's just the tip of the indecent iceberg. Let's take a look at some outrageous firsts in U.S. network televison history. And no snickering, please...we're all adults here.

1947: First Couple to Share a Bed: Mary Kay and Johnny, on...Mary Kay and Johnny (makes sense) Story


1957: First Toilet on Television.
FirstToiletWeb.jpg
Seems silly now, but before the 70's the bathroom was as taboo as it got. (On January 12, 1971, Archie Bunker was responsible for the flush heard round the world) It was Leave it to Beaver that managed to cut a ground-breaking deal with the FCC, showing the first toilet on October 4, 1957. The episode had been shelved for a week because of the controversy, but the toilet scene was vital to the plot (something about Wally and Beav hiding a baby alligator) and a compromise was reached...only the toilet tank was kept in scene. Story.


1957: First Exposed Rack on Television.
FirstBoobsWeb.jpg
This honor goes to Jayne Mansfield, who exhaled at the 1957 Academy Awards and accidentally let it all hang out. But if you're looking for intended nudity, that honor goes to Valerie Perrine playing an angel in a heavenly locker room in the PBS teleplay Steambath.


1967: First Time the Word Hell was Used on Television.
FirstHellWeb.jpg
Star Trek was a groundbreaking little tv series, wasn't it? We already know their position on the interracial thing, but they didn't stop there. Use of the word "hell" was a television no-no until the 60's. And it wasn't until April 6, 1967, in the episode City on the Edge of Forever (the one with Joan Collins) that H-E-double hockey sticks sqeaked out. At the end of the episode, a disgusted Kirk says "Let's get the hell out of here", and another first was born.


1971: First time the phrase God Damn It was used on Television. (then repeated many, many times)
FirstGodDamnWeb.jpg
But Archie didn't stop there. One of the greatest things about All in the Family, was the way it brought issues out in the open, in a very in-your-face style. The lovable bigot was the first to use a number of epithets openly in an attempt to bring racism to the forefront. Words like fag and fairy flowed freely off Archie's tongue, as well. Actually, Norman Lear was responsible for the first gay character on prime time. A closeted football-playng friend of Mike's came out on the show. All in the family was some ground-breaking shit. Story


1972: First Abortion on Television.
FirstAbortionWeb.jpg
Sorry for the visual of Bea Arthur having sex, but it was a 1972 two-part episode titled Maude's Dilemma that first addressed this topic. In it, the 45-year-old character, Maude Findlay found herself pregnant and opted for an abortion. Two CBS affiliates canceled the episodes and CBS received 7,000 letters. (The Roe vs. Wade decision was still one year away) In daytime tv, the first (then illegal) abortion operation aired in 1964 on the NBC soap opera Another World .


1974: First Rape Scene on Television
FirstRapeWeb.jpg
The controversial TV movie Born Innocent, starring Linda Blair, first ran on the NBC network on September 10, 1974. The film, which involved a fourteen-year-old being sent to a reform school, drew heavy criticism due to an all-female rape scene involving a toilet plunger handle (holy shit), the first ever seen on American television (yeah, no kidding). The scene was deleted in subsequent re-airings after a group of girls assaulted an eight-year-old with a pop bottle, influenced by the scene in the film. (side note...this incident led to the creation of the Family Viewing Hour) Story


1974: First Time the word Bastard was used on Television: Meg calls her son Ben a "bastard" on the soap opera Love of Life. (about three years after my mom started)


And now, a short break for a famous outrageous moment in television history
FirstAssWeb.jpg
Bob: Here's the last of our five-point questions. Girls, tell me where, specifically, is the weeeeeiirdest place that you personally, girls, have ever gotten the urge the make whoopee. The weirdest place. Olga?
Olga: Uh . . .
Henry: Go ahead.
Bob: Yes, Olga.
Olga: I'm trying to think. Umm . . . [Turns to husband.] Gee Henry, what did you say?
Bob: Hey, don't ask him. He can't help you out at all.
Olga: Is it in the ass? [Last three words bleeped]


JellioBanner.gif


1977: First Recurring Gay Character on Television.
FirstGayCharacterWeb.jpg
Soap is commonly mistaken for the first series to include a sustained gay character, but at least one other series, 1972's The Corner Bar, preceded it. But let's face it, Soap gets all the credit. The character, Jodie Dallas, was played by Billy Crystal, and many stations refused to air the series because of it. (Side note: first gay couple on bed: ThirtySomething)


1980: First Douchebag on Television.
FirstDouchebagWeb.jpg
Robert Novak joined CNN in...just kidding.

This is my favorite. I've got no real proof that the SNL Lord Douchebag sketch that aired on may 24, 1980 was the first time the word was used on network television (you have proof of the others?) but it's not really the kind of thing that's easy to look up. Let's just assume it is, and read the script here, because it's really funny.


1981: First Time the word FiretrUCK was used on Television.
FirstFuckWeb.jpg
The show: Saturday Night Live, The guest host: Charlene Tilton. In a Dallas sketch, Charles Rocket, playing JR, was asked how he felt. His response..."I just want to know who the fuck shot me!" They say it was the fuck heard 'round the world. Rocket was summarily fired, went on to a life of relative obscurity and as many of you know, recently commited suicide...harsh.


First Time the word Condom is Spoken: The Hogan Family
First Time an Actual Condom is used in a Scene: Cagney and Lacey


1983: First Package on Television.
FirstPackage.jpg
Does it count if it's not noticed until 17 years later? In 1983, Three's Company ran an episode called The Charming Stranger, but it wasn't until years later that a viewer watching the episode on Nickelodeon noticed the extra special view John Ritter was accidentally giving the audience. My favorite part of the whole thing is that a representative for Nickelodeon was quoted as confirming "Yes, his scrotum falls out of his shorts". Story


1989: First Time the word Pussy was used in a Non-Feline Capacity.(referring back to an earlier alleged use)
FirstPussyWeb.jpg
Fonda: I gotta ask you something.
Carson: Sure.
Fonda: Last night, my son . . . you know, you were talking about Zsa Zsa Gabor earlier . . .
Carson: Yeah, I think everyone's talking about her.
Fonda: My son said . . . "You know, she was on the Johnny Carson Show one time. She came there with a cat on her lap, and she said to you, 'Do you want to pet my pussy?'" And my son said that you said, uh, "I'd love to if you'd remove that damn cat!" Is it true?
Carson: [Shaking head] I . . . I tell you, I . . .
Fonda: Is it true?
Carson: No, I think I would recall that.

So, Zsa Zsa...probably not, but Jane Fonda...apparently so. Story.
PS: That's awesome.


1991: First Lesbian Kiss on Television. (cue the angels singing)
FirstLesboKissWeb.jpg
We come to the first one I actually witnessed live...the LA Law kiss between Amanda Donohoe and Michelle Green first aired on February 7, 1991. It was historic not only because it was the first time lesbians kissed on TV, but because neither character died, killed anyone, or was ostracized afterward. (Prior to this, gay characters were portrayed as killer or sexual predators)

Soon Roseanne was kissing Mariel Hemingway, Calista Flockhart was kissing Lucy Liu, Jennifer Aniston was kissing Winona Ryder and Ellen was kissing everybody....and Howard Stern is a 500 millionaire because of it all. We've come a long way.


And finally..Dennis Franz's naked ass.
FirstnakedButtWeb.jpg

Now click here for the rest of the YesButNo nonsense.

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61 Comments

I've known this story was in the works for a while, and have been looking forward to it, but even so, I have to say, that made my morning. FiretrUCKING great, my friend.

said Scaramouch on December 12, 2005 8:14 AM.

Thanks Scara, I can finally take John Ritter's package off my desktop.

said Jellio on December 12, 2005 9:02 AM.

Yeah this was really entertaining. I have no idea how you pull all this together. I thought I knew a lot about TV trivia but there were a few things on this list that I never knew about.

said Evil Richard on December 12, 2005 9:06 AM.

So nobody called Paul Reiser's character a "fuck" on 'My Two Dads'? I don't know how I dreamed that up, but I've been telling people about it for years. Guess this confirm's I'm full of shit.

said aquaman on December 12, 2005 12:28 PM.

Aquaman, I would just keep telling that story. No one has ever seen that show so it could never been confirmed or denied.

said Evil Richard on December 12, 2005 1:14 PM.

That is an impressive post. Ridiculously informative. Kudos.

said Dan on December 12, 2005 1:19 PM.

Just another attempt to make YesBut the CNN of useless info. (Aquaman...keep telling your version, too)

said Jellio on December 12, 2005 1:32 PM.

PS: Hey everybody, send the link to BoingBoing. Let's crash the server.

said Jellio on December 12, 2005 1:33 PM.

According to a recent NBC show about SNL in the 80's, FiretrUCK was uttered years earlier by the original cast. However, because the original cast was so beloved the censors and viewers let it slide.

said thegrinch on December 12, 2005 3:50 PM.

I think the firetruck bomb was said at the end of a SNL show like the above post states.

said uber on December 12, 2005 7:07 PM.

RE: The "rack"
You said - - - "This honor goes to Jayne Mansfield, who exhaled at the 1957 Academy Awards and accidentally let it all hang out. But if you're looking for intended nudity, that honor goes to Valerie Perrine playing an angel in a heavenly locker room in the PBS teleplay Steambath."

Hate to tell you guys, but I've got the DVD of the teleplay "Steambath," which I first remember seeing back in 1979 on the local PBS station here (Channel 11), and sorry to say there's no real "nippleage," as my good friend Mr. Skin would say. Some back floppies, as viewed from her glistening shoulders, but no ta-tas, no nay-nays, no giggling gazungas.

Valerie showed 'em off pretty good in "Superman" (sure was cold in there) and I think Teri Garr had displayed some formidable pultritude somewhere back there in the stone ages, but Valerie - dear, sweet Valerie - may have been known to drop em here and there, but not in that wonderful teleplay.

Just a minor clarification, but great article nonetheless.

said Johnny Chicago on December 12, 2005 7:59 PM.

I think you missed a good one...

First nekkid male butt on TV was not Dennis Franz, but Gary Burghoff!

In an episode of M*A*S*H*, (Episode 34 - "The Sniper"), the camp is pinned down by a lone sniper in the hills. Henry and Radar are nailed down in the showers. Radar runs out of the door, across the compound and back wearing a towel. As he runs back in the door of the shower his towel falls off, thus affording a split second view of Gary Burghoff's nekkid mancheeks.

Great Article!!!

said Puptentacle on December 13, 2005 1:05 AM.

I remember a really long time ago, Rose Perez was being interviewed on the NBC tonight show (I don't recall if Carson or Leno was hosting) and she somehow brought up how she likes to masturbate. I remember the audience being shocked and I was too. I dunno if this was the first reference to masturbation or not, but I was curious if you knew when this 1st reference was made.

said J on December 13, 2005 1:33 AM.

Jellio - Is it true that you'll be presenting this compilation at the Museum of Television & Radio in January?

said aquaman on December 13, 2005 9:25 AM.

Is it a paying gig?

said Jellio on December 13, 2005 10:04 AM.

Hm, I guess the quantity and 'quality' of trash displayed on television can increase into infinity and have no ill effect on society?

said Bleeble on December 14, 2005 12:12 AM.

I don't know why Howard Stern is the focal point of this article, he isn't the first "shock jock" on satilite radio, Opie and Anthony have been on XM radio since Aug/Sept of 2004. Check you facts buddy.

said Dan on December 14, 2005 12:28 PM.

What's your basis for saying that the interracial kiss on Star Trek led to massive protests in the South, as if it's some obvious truth that should go unchecked and unchallenged? I've never heard that before in relation to that event. What were these people protesting and who were they protesting against?

I find it more believable that more "protests" came from crusty old whites who live in the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

said mitch on December 14, 2005 1:58 PM.

I think Are You Being Served had a openly gay character and it started playing in 1972. John Inman's character,made lots of inuendos and was pretty openly gay.
http://www.phill.co.uk/comedy/aybs/

http://www.tvheaven.ca/aybs.htm

said anon on December 14, 2005 3:07 PM.

Dan: Where exactly do I say Howard is the first shock jock on satellite?
Mitch: I found about ten diff. websites that say several Southern stations refused to air the episode. (Check Wikipedia under "Star Trek") PS: The southern cross never flew over the Upper West Side

new rule: no more morons reading my posts.

said Jellio on December 14, 2005 3:21 PM.

I doubt if the video was saved but maybe someone else remembers. Accidental full frontal nude of Buddy Hackett. It was a Jack Parr home movie of a Japanese bathhouse on the Tonight Show. Early 60's

said Idi Amin on December 14, 2005 7:30 PM.

The first time a woman was beaten to death with a penis of 9 or more inches?

Whenever I get on TV

http://captainfoamy.com

said Captain Foamy on December 14, 2005 10:17 PM.

Maude was not the first abortion on TV - - - well you know what I mean - - - The first abotion goes to the Ben Casey show. Jack Warden is suspected of being an abortionist - - - turns out to be a deranged nurse. The topic is dealt with in an in depth manner, with the conclusion that abortion is wrong under any circumstance.

said Jack on December 15, 2005 8:42 AM.

In regards to the words ' douchebag' first being heard on tv. I clearly remember a sketch on SNL way before the mentioned one. Buck Henry was guest host that night.Garrett Morris was at the door introducing the guests at a 'royal party' set back in the days of the powdered faces & big white hair wigs. Among the arriving guests, Morris introduced the Earl of Sandwich & wife. Henry & his wife were intoduced as Mr. & Mrs Douchebag. Bill Murray, in character, came over and greeted him ' Hey Douchebag'. Henry spoke a few words & Murray replied ' Spoken like a true douchebag'. When the waiter came over & asked what they would like 2 eat, Henry ordered a salad, of course , with vinegar & water.

said Rich on December 15, 2005 12:37 PM.

In regards to the words ' douchebag' first being heard on tv. I clearly remember a sketch on SNL way before the mentioned one. Buck Henry was guest host that night.Garrett Morris was at the door introducing the guests at a 'royal party' set back in the days of the powdered faces & big white hair wigs. Among the arriving guests, Morris introduced the Earl of Sandwich & wife. Henry & his wife were intoduced as Mr. & Mrs Douchebag. Bill Murray, in character, came over and greeted him ' Hey Douchebag'. Henry spoke a few words & Murray replied ' Spoken like a true douchebag'. When the waiter came over & asked what they would like 2 eat, Henry ordered a salad, of course , with vinegar & water.

said Rich on December 15, 2005 12:38 PM.

stern is considered a pioneer in satellite radio because he is leaving commercial radio willing. opie was unemployed and unemployable when then signed with xm so they'll never get credit for it


(and no i am not a stern fan)

said marcos on December 15, 2005 12:46 PM.

I was at a convention where Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) was asked about "The Kiss". As I recall (it has been a few years) her response was that the network recieved only 1 letter of complaint, from a gentleman in the deep south. It was allegedly phrased something like... I'm entirely opposed to the mingling of the races, but when a blue blooded american man like Kirk has a woman like Uhura in his arms, what else is he going to do?

I concur that several stations declined to air that episode.

William Shatner has CLAIMED (I think in his book "Star Trek Memories") that they never actually touched lips and therefore there was no kiss. Fans still claim the honor of "The 1st interacial Kiss" for Star Trek however.

Everyone loves Captain Kirk; William Shatner often recieves a respectful "no comment".

said Longshot on December 15, 2005 12:55 PM.

I like to talk about stool.

said Fecal McStool on December 15, 2005 3:20 PM.

Note to Rich above - I'd quit nibblin' on paint chips if I were you

said Jellio on December 15, 2005 4:37 PM.

I hate to be pedantic (note: this is a lie) but shouldn't this be "Outrageous Frists in *US* Television History"? Remember, there is a civilised world outside the US, and they tend to be much less uptight about this kind of stuff.

said Monkeyman on December 15, 2005 4:53 PM.

First time the word pedantic is used on YesButNoButYes, December 14, 2005.

Absolutely correct...it is U.S. firsts. I say that in the introduction, but maybe I should have put it in the title. My bad.

said Jellio on December 15, 2005 5:06 PM.

Howard Stern is the pioneer of satellite radio.....nobody knows or cares who Opie and Anthony are. That is, except for their 4 gay fans. Jealousy.....a real motherfucker.

Tell 'em Fred.....oh wait, you can't.

said Baba Booey on December 15, 2005 7:36 PM.

David Frost interviewed former President Richard Nixon. During the interview, President Nixon used the phrase "shit, or get off the pot." There was much commentary whether CBS would air that during the 60 Minutes broadcast which was scheduled to run the interview.

The irony is that a week before, Ed Bradley (s I recall was the reporter) was doing a story on health care, and he was following a young man at one point talking about what I inferred was some sort of venerial desease. The comment was "I have to walk around with this shit."

To my knowledge, this was the first time on American Broadcast television that this was allowed to air.

said AMStar on December 18, 2005 10:17 PM.

Didnt Prince(the musical guest)deliver the f-bomb earlier on the same Snl show?

said king chango on December 24, 2005 9:27 PM.

I just watched an episode of the Twilight Zone where the word HELL was used. I dont know which one it was... but... I know for a fact it predates the Star Trek episode.

Makes me wonder what else is wrong on this thing.

said Gus on December 28, 2005 9:26 PM.

Gus, I was relying on information I found on the web when I wrote this. I checked again and several sites do have this reference to Star Trek and the word "hell".

It seemed odd to me when I wrote this, that a word as tame as hell wouldn't be used til '67. If you think about it, there must have been religious shows before then that used the word when referring to the place. Actually, I figured the Star Trek episode was the first time "hell" was used as profanity. (Kirk says "let's get the hell out of here") I'll assume when you heard it on Twilight Zone, "hell" was used to reference the fiery place, rather than swearing. If not, than you're correct...I am full of shit.

said jellio on December 29, 2005 4:15 AM.

Well, Gus being right or wrong and you being full of shit are not necessarily interdependent, I would say :)

said Scaramouch on December 29, 2005 11:11 AM.

Actually, it was an episode of "St. Elsewhere, where the first butt shot happened on network TV. I don't remember the actor's name, but it was an old guy, and in the scene, he said, "I'm going to say this in a way that you can understand--you can go kiss my ass." Surely, I'm not the only one who remembers that.

said Mato1970 on December 31, 2005 2:42 AM.

I'm not sure whether the word 'Pussy' has been used before this, but I'd just like to remind you of James Bond in Goldfinger, when he meets Blackman.

Galore: "I'm Pussy Galore."
Bond: (giving her the once over) "You sure are."

It's at least implied, and Goldfinger is a bit older than 1989.

said Oz on January 8, 2006 4:44 PM.

In re gay characters on TV. Let us not forget the sublime Marty from Barney Miller. Sometimes accompanied by his partner Daryl Driscoll.

said atticus on January 8, 2006 10:48 PM.

I recall it was Rachel Welch who Johnny asked to move the cat.

said floogle on January 20, 2006 6:31 AM.

yeah, i remember it being raquel welch also. and even as a little kid i remember being amazed he said that on tv.

said tom on March 13, 2006 3:01 PM.

I see you still havent changed your comments about "Protests in the south", even though two people have already clearly refuted your bull. Its people just like you that just love to point fingers, and label everyone in the southern states as racists and bigots. If they are ALL racists, then what does that make YOU? UNBIASED?

said matt on April 13, 2006 11:22 PM.

Thank you and God Bless you.

said Kitti Yanukovitch on June 16, 2006 1:25 PM.

Great site! Good work!


My site is ring.short.be

said Nikolas on June 20, 2006 7:04 PM.

Hey, if I saw Joan Collins, I would have said "Let's get the hell out of here!" too.

said gordon on August 4, 2006 2:25 PM.

Hey, if I saw Joan Collins, I would have said "Let's get the hell out of here!" too.

said gordon on August 4, 2006 2:25 PM.

Actually the first interacial kiss on tv was between Lucy and Desi Arnez on I Love Lucy.

said The Ricker on August 13, 2006 6:24 PM.

That's interesting. Is "Latino" or "Hispanic" technically a race?

said Jellio on August 13, 2006 6:34 PM.

Kirk and Uhura were suppose to be the first interracial kiss on TV. They practiced it in rehersal but at the final shooting producers chickened out. If you watch closely they turn their heads slightly to the side and never actuallt lock lips. I believe the first interracial kiss was when Sammy Davis Junior kissed Archie Bunker in All In The Family.

said loser on November 3, 2006 3:34 AM.

So, when was the first TV fart?

said Syberduke on November 8, 2006 4:10 PM.

Sep 30, 1987, St Elsewhere, episode 118, "A Moon For the Misbegotten"

Donald Westphall's (actor Ed Flanders) exit is famous. Frustrated by the new administration of the hospital, he quit and then mooned boss John Gideon(actor Ronny Cox).

Scaramouch, you're not the only one who remembers that.

said The Mountie on December 14, 2006 3:41 AM.

xjqr aeorkiqv aqphwekr oejr tjpdlw wxuo hsdao

said deqn vdckb on January 12, 2007 1:25 AM.

hfzioubn sxavmz rczixw okqnce irpfuogk rpacmtf vacxrui

said darmlezx qiovl on January 13, 2007 11:09 PM.

As for breasts being shown on TV:

PBS did a show about breast cancer that showed a woman getting a topless woman giving herself a breast exam -- I estimate the time to be before 1972 but after 1968.

said Rob on January 16, 2007 10:30 AM.

I just want to say this is a bloody good website and it's helped me alot with my coursework, so thanx.

said Roxie Merrett on February 8, 2007 11:12 AM.

Guys,

in Australia, we've been saying shit, fuck, pussy and everything else you can think of, as well as showing tits, ass and full frontal on TV for as long as I can remember - which is a long time...

said tundra on March 29, 2007 8:14 PM.

higuys!What yourblog powered by?

said aarst on May 11, 2007 1:46 AM.

higuys!What yourblog powered by?

said aarst on May 13, 2007 11:34 PM.

higuys!What yourblog powered by?

said aarst on May 14, 2007 12:44 AM.

There was an earlier F-bomb on SNL. Paul Shaffer, now David Letterman's bandleader, was in a sketch parodying the Beatles and it slip out.

said Chris on December 4, 2007 6:31 PM.
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