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Most Memorable Moments from the Today Show Dek: We look back on six decades of the venerable NBC morning show

Shaun Harrison
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1 of 12 Fred Hermansky/NBC/NBC NewsWire

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1953: Today struggled to attract viewers in its first year. But it took off in 1953 after the arrival of chimpanzee J. Fred Muggs, shown here with Dave Garroway (seated), news anchor Frank Blair and sidekick Jack Lescoulie.
2 of 12 NBC Newswire

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1962: Popular culture icons passed through Today in the 1960s. Here, legendary actor Marlon Brando sits down with host Hugh Downs.
3 of 12 NBC Newswire

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1974: Barbara Walters was hired as a writer for Today in 1961 and eventually rose to become its first female co-host, alongside Jim Hartz.
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July 29, 1981: Today scored its largest audience ever when Tom Brokaw and Jane Pauley covered the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.
5 of 12 Al Levine/NBC/NBC NewsWire

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Mid-1980s: Road trips to Europe, China, South America and cities throughout the U.S. were a major ratings draw for Today with Bryant Gumbel, Jane Pauley and Willard Scott.
6 of 12 C. Blankenhorn/NBC NewsWire

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June 1994 Today became a New York tourist destination when Katie Couric, Bryant Gumbel & Co. moved to a new street-level studio at Rockefeller Center.
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1999:The popular PBS show Where In the World Is Carmen Sandiego inspired Today to send Matt Lauer on global jaunts that took him to five far-off locations in five days. On the fifth day of his second trip, Lauer popped up at the Great Wall of China.
8 of 12 NBC

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2000: After Katie Couric’s colonoscopy was shown on Today, the number of people who underwent the screening procedure for colon cancer increased by 20 percent.
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Sept. 11, 2001: Near the end of an interview with author Richard Hack about his Howard Hughes biography, Matt Lauer alerted viewers on Today that a plane had struck the World Trade Center. Both he and Couric covered the terrorist attacks live for the next four hours.
10 of 12 Peter Kramer/NBC NewsWire

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2009: Halloween on Rockefeller Plaza became an annual extravaganza on Today as the show’s cast members tried to outdo each others' costumes.
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Today: Matt Lauer, Ann Curry, Natalie Morales and Al Roker lead Today as it heads into its 831st consecutive week — nearly 16 years — as the No. 1-rated morning program.
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It’s been nearly 60 years since Dave Garroway woke up TV viewers for the first time on NBC’s Today, which went on to become the most successful and enduring institution in American broadcasting. TV Guide Magazine’s Stephen Battaglio takes viewers on a tour of the program’s history and personalities who made it great in a new book, From Yesterday to Today: Six Decades of America’s Favorite Morning Show. It goes on sale Nov. 14. (Order your copy now.)