January 4 in Nerd History

Happy National Trivia Day! I mean, if you’re into that kind of thing. Personally, we HATE it. Getting a little nauseated just thinking about it.

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

January 4 in Nerd History

Here are five things that happened on January 4th at the intersection of nerd and pop culture.


Birthdays of honor: Sir Isaac Newton (1643), Dave Foley (1953), Don Shula (1930), Louis Braille (1809), Michael Stipe (1960).


40 years ago today, in 1984, one of the great sitcoms of the ‘80s hit the airwaves when Night Court debuted on NBC.

Running for nine seasons and 193 episodes, the ensemble cast turned this unlikely comedy (I mean, seriously, a show that’s about court… at night… is that even a real thing?) into a top 10 show in its heyday.

And I think we can all agree it features one of the best theme songs of all time.


Keith Moon is known for a lot of things — being a really good rock drummer, partying a lot, and driving cars into swimming pools to name a few.

Yet, somehow, it’s often forgotten that he literally killed someone.

Today in 1970, Keith Moon and his crew were attending the opening of the Red Lion pub in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. But the working class crowd didn’t appreciate Moon’s blatant display of wealth, including his preference for fancy brandy over beer.

By the end of the night tempers were flaring, and Keith’s party fled to his Bently, where they were surrounded by a crowd of angry patrons. Driver and bodyguard Neil Boland left the vehicle to confront the crowd and try to get them to move. But in a panic, Moon took the wheel (something he rarely did, even sober) and drove away to save his friends.

No one in the car realized that Boland had been run over and dragged underneath the car in the process. He was pronounced dead later that night, and the incident haunted Moon for the rest of his short life.


It’s not getting any more cheery for this one, folks.

In 1903, one of the more controversial movies ever made was filmed when Topsy the elephant was electrocuted at Luna Park, Coney Island, with the whole thing filmed by the Edison Manufacturing movie company.

A year earlier, Topsy had actually killed a spectator as part of the Forepaugh Circus, gaining a reputation as a “bad” elephant. So I guess as revenge (??) Topsy was set to be executed as part of a publicity stunt for the opening of Luna Park. But it wasn’t just currents — they also fed her carrots laced with cyanide.

Because of the Edison Manufacturing’s filming of the event, Thomas Edison is often falsely remembered as providing the currents — in fact, he wasn’t even in attendance.


Alright, let’s lighten things back up, shall we?

Today in 1983, Eurythmics released their second album, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), with, you guessed it, the single of the same name that is still in your head over 40 years later.