December 7 in nerd history

December 7 in nerd history

Happy National Cotton Candy Day! Cotton candy as we know it today has its origins in expensive spun sugar, but in 1897 dentist William Morrison and confectioner John C. Wharton developed a machine that could create it on the cheap. It premiered at the 1904 World’s Fair and you could get a whole box for just 25 cents. And yes, we recognize the irony that a dentist helped to invent it.

Video gif. Toddler girl clasps a fistful of blue cotton candy that's also smeared around her mouth. She smiles maniacally through gritted teeth, her eyes growing big, as she stands on a woman's lap in a stadium full of people.

And just a quick note — it’s not “nerdy,” but today marks the 82nd anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Attack. We just want to acknowledge this date and extend a thank you to all current and former members of the military. This is one of those days that reminds us to say thanks. So, thanks!

This is The Reset Button from Classic Nerd, resetting your day.

December 7 in Nerd History

Here are five things that happened on December 7th at the intersection of nerd and pop culture.


Birthdays of honor: Larry Bird (1956), Tom Waits (1949), C. Thomas Howell (1966), “Ravishing” Rick Rude (1958), Louis Prima (1910).


Today in 1990, a holiday masterpiece which some argue is maybe not a holiday movie but actually is hit theaters — Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands.

Why is a story about an artificial being that literally has scissors for hands so compelling? I’m not totally sure, but I wasn’t alone in loving it, as it grossed over $86 million at the box office.

Following the success of Batman, Burton could basically do whatever the hell he wanted. I’m glad he chose this.


Ol’ Eddie wasn’t the only holiday classic to be released today. Back in 1969, the Frosty the Snowman TV special aired for the first time on CBS, right after the fifth airing ever of A Charlie Brown Christmas.

It immediately ranked as the top TV program for the week, leading to multiple sequels which we shall not speak of. Just watch the original this year and call it good, k?


While you watch 50 replays of a single football play from infinite different angles this weekend, remember that it all started today 60 years ago.

nfl network GIF

For the first time ever, instant replay was used today in 1963 during the Army vs. Navy game. Army’s quarterback faked a handoff and ran it in for a score. Disoriented viewers then watched it happen again, with the game’s announcer proclaiming, “Ladies and gentlemen, Army did not score again!”

The production team had intended to reveal the trick earlier, but they were having problems with the 1,200 pound piece of equipment full of vacuum tubes that was needed to pull it off.

We have TV director Anthony Verna to thank, who was looking for something to make football games less boring. You did it, Tony. You did it.


40 years ago today, Nintendo decided it was time to up their game for the NES, releasing Baseball in 1983.

Yep, they were so confident they just called it Baseball. And it worked — the universal appeal of the game has been credited with helping the NES get off the ground in test markets, and it went on to sell over 3.2 million copies.

But is it worth playing today? I mean, not really, or maybe for like a few minutes. But still, good for Nintendo.