‘Today’ at 60: Celebrating TV’s Longest-Running Morning Show

The legends of "Today" shows past came out to celebrate at a party in New York this week: Top: Willard Scott and Bryant Gumbel. Bottom: Katie Couric and Jane Pauley (Photos: NBC)

The actual birthday is tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 14, but NBC’s venerable “Today” show has been throwing itself a 60th birthday party all week long.

Sixty years is not a bad run for anyone — a marriage, a big company or a TV show. For the record, the 60-year-old, top-rated “Today” is not the oldest continuously running show still on the air. Wikipedia’s list — here — places “Today” at No. 5. No. 1 is also on NBC: “Meet the Press,” 64 years-old.

But of the list’s Top 5, “Today,” born in 1952 (you can even watch the very first show below), surely ranks No. 1 by far as the most-watched of these longest-running TV institutions.

And so, the show deservedly marked its own birthday with a big, star-studded party Thursday night in New York that drew just about every living alumnus and alumna from the show’s illustrious history. And, of course, the show itself aired a slew of special segments all week long. Among them: A look back at the world in 1952, the year the “Today” show first made its appearance. It’s the perfect lead-in to the actual first show, which follows it below.

Watch “How TODAY Began: Life in 1952” right here:
[iframe http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/tv/Today/96422/2184988179/How-TODAY-Began%3A-Life-in-1952/embed 580 476]

Host Dave Garroway introduced the first show on Jan. 14, 1952, with these words, after he himself was introduced by announcer Jack Lescoulie: “Well, here we are and good morning to you — the very first good morning of what I hope and suspect will be a great many good mornings.” He was right, of course.

Watch the historic first “Today” show right here:
[iframe http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/tv/Today/96422/619053397/The-First-Today-Show%3A-January-14%2C-1952/embed 580 476]

The show’s 60th birthday — mentioned all week-long — kicked into high gear on Friday with a special show titled “Today at 60.”

Here’s how Matt Lauer and Ann Curry introduced the celebratory special broadcast:
[iframe http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/tv/Today/96422/2186547189/TODAY-Kicks-Off-60th-Anniversary-Celebration!/embed 580 476]

The “Today” show anniversary was so important that at least two prominent politicians came out to mark the occasion with greetings and salutations.

First up was President Obama and wife Michelle, who offered their congratulations here:
[iframe http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/tv/Today/96422/2186553805/Obamas-Wish-TODAY-a-Happy-60th/embed 580 476]

Then there was New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who declared Friday, Jan. 13 (yes, Friday the 13th!), “Today Show Day in New York” in honor of the Manhattan-based TV show.

Watch Hizzoner honor “Today” right here:
[iframe http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/tv/Today/96422/2186553823/NYC-Mayor-Names-Jan.-13-TODAY-Show-Day/embed 580 476]

And if we may: Let’s just go ahead and declare today to be “Today Show Day Here on This Web Site” too. Happy birthday, “Today”!

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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