November 23rd in nerd history: It's bigger on the inside

November 23rd in nerd history: It's bigger on the inside
Copyright by BBC and other relevant production studios and distributors. //

Here are five things that happened on November 23rd at the intersection of nerd and pop culture.


Birthdays of honor: Boris Karloff (1887), Harpo Marx (1888), Miley Cyrus (1992), Dominique Dunne (1959).


It's not often that we highlight something before the 20th century, let alone a couple of thousand years ago, but today we're doing just that, and there's nothing you can do about it.

That's because today in 534 B.C., the first person to ever take the stage and pretend to be a character, instead of themselves, did so when Thespis of Icaria stepped out from the chorus and put a mask on. As told by Aristotle, this was quite a surprise and completely revolutionized theater from that point on.

In reality, it's more likely that Thespis was the first or among the first in the Western world to do so for a written play. Oral histories and other traditions had already featured some type of acting, but the Greeks are who we remember so now we call actors and actresses Thespians.

All of which is to say, we highly encourage you to interrupt the Thanksgiving activities today and recite any monologue of your choice. Bonus points if it's the Valley of Death speech from Pulp Fiction.


60 years ago today, in 1963, An Unearthly Child aired on BBC — which just so happens to be the first episode in the first story for a little show called Doctor Who.

Despite initial mixed success, in part due to the shadow of JFK's assassination a day earlier, the show filled a compelling gap between children's shows and adult dramas. Obviously, the formula proved pretty damn successful.

There are so many episodes of this show that nearly 100 of them were lost to history, as the BBC simply deleted them so they wouldn't have to archive them. In this first serial, we're introduced to the TARDIS and the Time Lord — but the idea of a regenerating Doctor wouldn't come until later, after producers concocted the idea as a way to replace lead actor William Hartnell, whose health was deteriorating.

Guinness World Records recognizes Doctor Who as the longest-running sci-fi TV show of all time.


25 years ago, one of the greatest video games of all time was released when The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time came out for the N64 in 1998.

It was the first Zelda game to feature 3D graphics and introduced elements like a target-lock system and context-sensitive buttons, which have become mainstays of 3D games today. And, as illustrated in the gif above, you could play an instrument to travel through time. How cool is that?!

Selling almost 8 million copies in its lifetime, Ocarina has been ported and re-released roughly a billion times, because, again, it's one of the best games ever made.


If you were heading to the movies today in 1981, you probably had a ticket for Time BanditsThe fantasy adventure movie from Terry Gilliam was enjoying a four-week run at the top of the box office.