(Los Angeles) The moon landing, the Beatles’ first appearance on American television and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech are among the 75 most memorable television moments according to a ranking compiled by the Academy of television ahead of the 75th Annual Emmy Awards on Monday.
Academy members collaborated with academics to bring together eight decades of television history and vote on the list revealed Friday. At the top, they placed the first Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969 and Neil Armstrong’s declaration that it was “a giant leap for humanity.” In second place, they chose coverage of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, and third, the Beatles’ 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Reverend King’s I Have a Dream speech, delivered during the March on Washington in 1963, is ranked sixth. This year’s Emmy awards ceremony, delayed by four months due to strikes by Hollywood actors and writers, will take place on Martin Luther King Day, a public holiday in the United States.
Although the top of the list is dominated by current events, many fictional moments from classic television series, comedies, and specials appear. We find in particular the scene where the character of Eagle Eye bids farewell to his best friend B. J. and to Korea, in the last episode of 1983 of the series MASH (number 8), as well as Linus reciting the Nativity story in A Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965 (issue 14). The very controversial last scene of the series The Sopranos also appears in 36th position.
The ranking includes a scene from a nominated series this year: Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett’s final moments in HBO’s The Last of Us (in 65th place). Nick Offerman already won an Emmy for this episode last week and The Last of Us is among the shows with the most nominations, along with Succession, The White Lotus and Ted Lasso, heading into Monday’s ceremony.
Also making the list: the episode of Ellen in which Ellen DeGeneres reveals that she is gay (13th place), the infamous Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld (27th place), the first music video for Michael Jackson’s Thriller (48th place place), Whitney Houston’s Super Bowl performance (65th place), as well as several moments from Sesame Street and Mister Roger’s Neighborhood.
The Emmys will be broadcast live from Los Angeles on Monday starting at 8 p.m. on Fox.