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This Was Television On January 22

1984: Apple debuts the Macintosh

One of the most renowned TV commercials in the history of the medium was also one of the least broadcast.

Apple’s “1984” ad, designed to promote the launch of the Macintosh personal computer, aired on national television only once, during Super Bowl XVIII on CBS.

The 60-second spot portrayed a futuristic dystopia reminiscent of George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

The monotony is shattered by a woman, dressed as a track and field runner, who rushes into the scene and hurls a hammer at the Big Brother-like screen overseeing rows of lifeless workers.

Created by the advertising firm Chiat/Day and championed by Apple’s leader, Steve Jobs, the commercial had a budget of $900,000—an astronomical sum for the time—and remains one of the few TV advertisements widely recognized as a significant cultural landmark. -A.D.

Today’s Birthdays: Bill Bixby, unassuming scientist (d. 1993); Olivia d’Abo, elder sister (44); Balthazar Getty, brother (38); Piper Laurie, Peaksian (81); Gabriel Macht, suit (41); Christopher Masterson, eldest brother (33); Beverley Mitchell, preacher’s daughter (32); John Wesley Shipp, departed dad (58); Ann Sothern, private secretary (d. 2001); Jeffery “DJ Jazzy Jeff” Townes, mansion ejectee (48).

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