July 31st in nerd history: Elvis, vampire movies, and Mojo Nixon

Happy Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day! If you aren’t very aware of instruments that are uncommon, today is your day. Obviously, we’re celebrating by getting down on some ocarina.

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July 31st in Nerd History

Here are 5 things that happened on July 31st at the intersection of nerd and pop culture.


Birthdays of honor: Wesley Snipes (1962), Dean Cain (1966), B.J. Novak (1979), Fatboy Slim (1963).


On this day in 1969, Elvis Presley began his run in Las Vegas. After not performing since 1961, Vegas brought his career back and is now forever tied to the iconic performer.

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In 1987 one of the great vampire movies ever made was released with The Lost Boys. Not only were the Coreys in it, but Kiefer Sutherland is in fine form — and even the future Bill S. Preston, Esq. (Alex Winter) gets his Nosferatu on. Also, there’s Tim Cappello, the dude who plays the hell out of the sax.

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In 1992 the way-too-weird-for-me-but-now-I-really-apperciate-it Death Becomes Her hit theaters. Like me, critics weren’t really sure what to think of it, but it was a surprise box-office hit. It also pushed visual effects forward with stuff like broken necks, shotgun wounds, and bodies shattering to pieces — all in the name of dark comedy. And who else would have directed such a strange yet successful movie, besides none other than the severely underappreciated Robert Zemeckis?

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Hot Shots! deserves a mention here, coming out in 1991, only because I miss the days of the absurd satires that you could expect whenever a movie did really well. Like, where’s the Avatar parody movie??

That said, today in 1998 the future owners of Casa Bonita, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, capitalized on the success of South Park with the release of BASEketball. It was the only work (of any kind) the duo has starred in that they didn’t write, direct, or produce — and I say screw the 41% Rotten Tomatoes score and poor box office returns, this movie is damn funny.

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In 1992 Mojo Nixon was minding his own business, playing a show in Austin (and if you don’t know Mojo Nixon, your music catalog could use some fixin’). The underground psychobilly singer was performing a song called “Don Henley Must Die” — which essentially eviscerates The Eagles member for not really being that good and having a big ego.

To Mojo’s surprise, a fan jumped on stage to sing the song with him — it was Don Henley himself.



Today in Nolan Ryan history, in 1990 the iconic pitcher won his 300th game — just the 20th pitcher in MLB history to do so at the time.

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