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On This Day in the 90s

Celebrating the news and pop culture of the greatest decade. Feel free to comment with your memories!

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February 19, 1999. Office Space is released. The most hilarious film about everyday work life (not to mention the most quotable), Office Space was written and directed by Beavis and Butt-Head creator Mike Judge. It was based on Judge's "Milton" cartoon series, and was shot primarily in Austin, TX. Office Space was one of those films that failed at the box-office, but later became a cult classic thanks to DVD sales. In 2009, a reunion took place at the Paramount Theatre in Austin to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the film, which included the destruction of a printer on the sidewalk. Ron Livingston has stated, "I get a lot of people who say, 'I quit my job because of you.' That's kind of a heavy load to carry." Stephen Root is often approached by fans asking him to sign their Swingline staplers, and even Michael Bolton will sometimes sign DVDs as a "no talent ass-clown." #officespace #mikejudge #ronlivingston #jenniferaniston #stephenroot #michaelbolton #notalentassclown #swinglinestapler #austin #paramounttheatre #tpsreport #90s #february19

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February 19, 1995. Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee marries Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson on a beach in Cancún, Mexico. They had only known each other for 4 days. The wedding took place on a beach, with Anderson in a bikini. Anderson's mother did not know, and learned of the marriage from People magazine. Later on their honeymoon, Lee and Anderson videotaped their sexual activities. The video was stolen and released on the Internet, becoming one of the first celebrity sex tapes to go viral. Lee and Anderson had two sons, Brandon and Dylan, before divorcing in 1998. #tommylee #pamelaanderson #motleycrue #baywatch #peoplemagazine #90s #february19

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February 19, 1994. Soundgarden releases their fourth album, Superunknown. It was their most commercially successful album, producing five singles: "The Day I Tried to Live", "My Wave", "Fell on Black Days", "Spoonman", and "Black Hole Sun". The video for "Black Hole Sun" received heavy airplay on MTV, and helped the band reach mainstream popularity. The songs on the album were more experimental and diverse than the band's previous recordings, with some songs having a Middle-Eastern or Indian flavor. Lyrically, the album was quite dark, with the writings of Sylvia Plath serving as Chris Cornell's inspiration. The song "Spoonman" was notable for featuring a performance by Artis the Spoonman, a street entertainer in Seattle. A 20th-anniversary reissue of Superunknown was released in 2014, three years before Chris Cornell was found dead by an apparent suicide. #soundgarden #superunknown #blackholesun #spoonman #seattle #chriscornell #90s #february19

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February 19, 1993. The Crying Game is released in the US. The Crying Game was written and directed by Neil Jordan, who who went on to direct Interview With the Vampire. It explored themes of race, gender, nationality, and sexuality against the backdrop of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. In the UK, it was a box-office failure upon its initial release in 1992. Neil Jordan believed the film's sympathetic portrayal of an IRA fighter contributed to the negative reaction from British audiences. But this wasn't a problem for American audiences, who were more fascinated with the film's sexual politics. A memorable advertising campaign generated intense public curiosity by asking audiences not to reveal the film's "secret" to their friends. The soundtrack featured Boy George's recording of the 1964 song "The Crying Game", which became a Top 20 hit in the US. #thecryinggame #cryinggame #neiljordan #boygeorge #northernireland #IRA #transgender #90s #february19

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February 18, 1994. Reality Bites is released to theaters. The films Reality Bites and Singles both portrayed the youth of Generation X and the early 90s grunge scene, but Reality Bites performed far better at the box office. The casting process demonstrated Winona Ryder's powerful influence in Hollywood at the time: Ryder was a fan of Ethan Hawke's work, and she stipulated in her contract that she would star in the film only if Hawke starred opposite her. Ryder also came to Janeane Garofalo's defense. Before filming began, Garofalo was fired by director Ben Stiller because he didn't like her attitude during rehearsals. Garofalo was rehired after Ryder stepped in on her behalf. The soundtrack was arguably more memorable than the movie: it introduced us to singer/songwriter Lisa Loeb, whose single "Stay" became a massive hit. The soundtrack also allowed The Knack's 1979 hit "My Sharona" to re-enter the Billboard Hot 100. #realitybites #benstiller #winonaryder #janeanegarofalo #ethanhawke #lisaloeb #theknack #mysharona #90s #february18

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February 14, 1992. Wayne's World is released. Of the 11 movies based on Saturday Night Live sketches, only two can really be called box-office hits: the first is 1980's The Blues Brothers, and the second is Wayne's World. Wayne's World brought us important 90s catchphrases such as "Schwing!", "That's what she said", "Party on!" and "Not!" The use of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" propelled the song to number two on the Billboard chart, 17 years after its first release. The studio originally wanted to use a Guns N' Roses song for the scene, but Mike Myers demanded "Bohemian Rhapsody", even threatening to quit the production unless it was used. Freddie Mercury died before the film's release, but he watched the head-banging scene and approved of it before his death. #waynesworld #mikemyers #danacarvey #saturdaynightlive #snl #schwing #partyon #bluesbrothers #queen #bohemianrhapsody #freddiemercury #90s #february14

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February 14, 1991. If you took your Valentine to the movies in 1991, I hope you brought along some fava beans and a nice Chianti. The Silence of the Lambs was released 27 years ago today. Director Jonathan Demme initially wanted Michelle Pfeiffer and Sean Connery in the roles of Clarice Starling and Dr. Hannibal Lecter, but both actors turned down the roles. The on-screen tension between Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins was genuine: both actors were scared of each other, and avoided speaking between takes. Although they only shared four scenes together, their chemistry is part of what makes the film a modern-day horror classic. It was only the third film to win Academy Awards in all top five categories: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Adapted Screenplay. It is also the first (and so far only) Best Picture winner widely considered to be a horror film. #silenceofthelambs #jonathandemme #jodiefoster #anthonyhopkins #bestpicture #horror #horrorfilms #90s #february14

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February 14, 1991. Boyz II Men release their debut album, Cooleyhighharmony. The members of Boyz II Men first met at Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, where they rehearsed in the school's bathrooms. They got their big break after sneaking backstage at a New Edition concert to sing for Michael Bivins. Bivins, Ricky Bell and Ronnie DeVoe had just announced they were forming a new spinoff trio called Bell Biv DeVoe. Bivins eventually agreed to manage and help produce Boyz II Men. Their new jack swing sound and classic soul-styled harmonies were dubbed "hip hop doo wop." The singles "Motownphilly" and "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" were number 1 R&B hits. #boyzIImen #cooleyhighharmony #philadelphia #philadelphiahighschoolforcreativeandperformingarts #newedition #bellbivdevoe #michaelbivins #motownphilly #newjackswing #90s #february14

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February 13, 1998. The Wedding Singer is released. Set in 1985 and filled with nostalgic 80s references, it featured a famous cameo by Billy Idol and was one of the decade's best-loved romantic comedies. The film re-launched Drew Barrymore’s film career, and was the first of three films she starred in with Adam Sandler. The only cast member to make it on the official soundtrack (aside from Sandler) was Ellen Dow. She played the rapping grandma who takes the stage for a memorable take on “Rappers Delight.” Dow passed away in 2015 at the age of 101. #theweddingsinger #weddingsinger #adamsandler #drewbarrymore #ellendow #80snostalgia #rappersdelight #miamivice #juliagulia #90s #february13

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February 13, 1996. 2Pac releases his fourth and final studio album, All Eyez on Me. It featured the number one singles "How Do U Want It" and "California Love". In October 1995, Suge Knight and Jimmy Iovine paid the $1.4 million bail necessary to get Shakur released from jail on charges of sexual abuse. At the time, Shakur was broke and unable to make bail himself. Knight and Shakur made an agreement that Shakur would make three albums under Death Row Records in return for them paying his bail. This double-album served as the first two albums of his three-album contract. 2Pac would be shot to death by an unknown assailant in Las Vegas in September 1996. #2pac #tupacshakur #alleyezonme #californialove #sugeknight #jimmyiovine #deathrowrecords #rap #90s #february13

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February 12, 1994. On the same day as the opening of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, two men break into the National Gallery in Oslo, stealing its version of The Scream by Edvard Munch, and leaving a note reading "Thanks for the poor security". The painting had been moved down to a second-story gallery as part of the Olympic festivities. Security camera footage showed two men climbing a ladder, smashing a window, and fleeing with the painting. After the gallery refused to pay a ransom demand of $1 million, Norwegian police set up a sting operation with assistance from the British police. The painting was recovered undamaged on May 7. In January 1996, four men were convicted in connection with the theft. They were released on appeal on a legal technicality: the British agents involved in the sting operation had entered Norway under false identities. #thescream #edvardmunch #munch #oslo #oslonationalgallery #lillehammer #arttheft #90s #february12

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February 12, 1993. Groundhog Day is released. The film was shot in Woodstock, IL because Punxsutawney, PA didn't have a town center that looked good on camera, according to director Harold Ramis. Punxsutawney Phil was played by a series of groundhogs collectively known as Scooter. "[The animals] hated my guts from day one," said Bill Murray, who was bitten twice during shooting. Although it received positive reviews upon release, Groundhog Day is one of those films that gained stronger appreciation over time. Now it's often listed among the best comedies ever made. The term "Groundhog Day" came to represent an unpleasant situation that seems to repeat itself over and over. It's estimated that Phil spent a total of 12,395 days—just under 34 years—reliving Groundhog Day. #groundhogday #billmurray #haroldramis #andiemacdowell #woodstockil #punxsutawneyphil #90s #february12

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February 12, 1990. Stanley Kirk Burrell, aka MC Hammer, releases his third album, Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em. Widely considered to be the first "mainstream" rapper, Hammer grew up in Oakland and served as a beat-boxing bat boy for the Oakland A's during his adolescence. In the 80s he formed a Christian rap group and started an independent record label. Thanks to the hit single "U Can't Touch This" (which sampled Rick James' "Super Freak"), Hammer rose to fame almost overnight. His showmanship and elaborate stage choreography gave him a powerful visual appeal - prior to Hammer, MTV didn't air many rap videos. But later in the decade, Hammer was considered a sellout due to overexposure. As rap grew more hardcore, Hammer was seen as too commercial. He did give us "Hammer pants", however, and for that we can all be eternally grateful. #mchammer #pleasehammerdonthurtem #ucanttouchthis #hammerpants #oakland #oaklandathletics #rickjames #superfreak #90s #february12

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February 11, 1990. Nelson Mandela is freed after 27 years of imprisonment in South Africa. The event was broadcast live around the world, with Mandela holding his wife Winnie's hand in front of amassed crowds and the press. The anti-apartheid revolutionary was arrested in 1962 for conspiring to overthrow the state, and sentenced to life imprisonment. By the 1980s, the South African anti-apartheid movement was gaining momentum. Amid growing domestic and international pressure, and with fears of a racial civil war, President F. W. de Klerk released Mandela. Together they negotiated an end to apartheid, and organised the 1994 general election in which Mandela became President. Widely regarded as an icon of democracy and social justice, Mandela received more than 250 honors—including the Nobel Peace Prize. He is held in deep respect within South Africa, where he is often referred to by his Xhosa clan name, "Madiba", and described as the "Father of the Nation." Mandela passed away in 2013 at age 95. #nelsonmandela #southafrica #antiapartheid #madiba #xhosa #winniemandela #90s #february12

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February 10, 1995. The film Billy Madison is released. Adam Sandler was already a breakout star on Saturday Night Live; movies were the next logical step, so the comedian and his ex-roommate — SNL writer Tim Herlihy — came up with the story designed to jumpstart a big-screen career move. Despite terrible reviews from critics, it is still one of Sandler's most popular films. The "immature but well-meaning knucklehead" character became a common theme in Sandler's subsequent films. His co-star, Bradley Whitford, later went on to star in the television series The West Wing. #billymadison #adamsandler #saturdaynightlive #snl #bradleywhitford #90s #february10

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February 10, 1993. Oprah Winfrey interviews Michael Jackson at Neverland Ranch during a television prime time special. An estimated audience of over 90 million people tuned in for one of the most watched interviews in history. It was Jackson's first interview in 14 years, and it took place before any allegations were made about child abuse. Jackson revealed to Oprah that he never had a childhood, and felt he was compensating for this. Jackson also revealed that he had a skin condition known as vitiligo. Several months later, the first allegations of child abuse against him would break to the public. #oprah #oprahwinfrey #michaeljackson #neverlandranch #90s #february10

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February 9, 1991. Jesus Jones' single "Right Here, Right Now" hits number one on Billboard's Modern Rock chart. The British group was one of the leading bands of the early 90s alternative dance scene. "Right Here, Right Now" was inspired by the fall of communism in Europe, and it perfectly captured the optimistic spirit of the time. The band was never able to recreate the success of the song, however, and broke up in the mid-90s. Advertising brought the song back to life during the 2000s - it was used in an advertising jingle for Kmart, and an image campaign for CBS News. Jesus Jones went back on tour in recent years, and they announced plans for an album of new material later in 2018. #jesusjones #righthererightnow #90s #february9

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February 6, 1990. Billy Idol is involved in a serious motorcycle accident in Hollywood. He was hit by a car when he ran a stop sign while riding home from the studio, requiring a steel rod to be placed in his leg. Idol was scheduled to have a major role in Oliver Stone's film The Doors, but due to his injuries, the role was reduced to a bit part. He was also supposed to play the role of the T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but the role was recast entirely as a result of the accident. Since Idol was unable to walk, he was only shot from the waist up in the David Fincher-directed video for "Cradle of Love". #billyidol #cradleoflove #oliverstone #terminator2 #davidfincher #90s #february6

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