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Take 5: All about New Year's Eve

An undated champagne photo.

An undated champagne photo. Photo Credit: Getty Images

As we get ready for the ball to drop Saturday night in Times Square, here are five things you need to know about TV's New Year's Eve celebrations:

1. The first New Year's Eve special on TV was broadcast on Dec. 31, 1941 on WNBT (now WNBC), consisting of entertainment from the Rainbow Room, atop the RCA Building in Rockefeller Center.

2. Before Dick Clark became synonymous with New Year's Eve, that honor went to bandleader (and Freeport resident) Guy Lombardo. After many years on radio, he hosted New Year's Eve shows from 1956 to 1976 on CBS, from the Waldorf-Astoria. It was Lombardo and his Royal Canadians who made "Auld Lang Syne" into the New Year's Eve song.

3. In 1972, Clark came up with the idea of counterprogramming the older-skewing Lombardo. He produced (but did not appear on) "Three Dog Night's New Year's Rockin' Eve 1973," on NBC. The special also featured Blood, Sweat & Tears, Helen Reddy and Al Green and was pretaped from the Grand Ballroom of the Queen Mary, docked in Long Beach, Calif.

4. Clark's "New Year's Rockin' Eve" debut on ABC was Dec. 31, 1974. Performers included the Beach Boys, Chicago and Olivia Newton-John. Ryan Seacrest, who has taken over hosting duties for Clark, was exactly one week old.

5. "New Year's Rockin' Eve" was pre-empted in 1999-2000 in favor of ABC's 24-hour coverage of the worldwide celebrations of the new millennium. (Clark's traditional ball-dropping countdown from Times Square was included in that coverage.)

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