October 17th in nerd history: That's a lot of beer

October 17th in nerd history: That's a lot of beer
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October 17 in Nerd History

Here are five things that happened on October 17th at the intersection of nerd and pop culture.

I.

Birthdays of honor: Norm MacDonald (1963), Rita Hayworth (1918), Evel Knievel (1938), Eminem (1972), Arthur Miller (1915), Margot Kidder (1948), Michael McKean (1947), George Wendt (1948), Mike Judge (1962), The Singing Nun (1933), Jerry Siegel (1914), Robert Jordan (1948).

II.

Today in 1814, an event that sounds kind of awesome but in reality was probably pretty terrifying took place with the London Beer Flood.

Meux & Co's Horse Shoe Brewery primarily brewed porter, a dark beer that was the most popular alcoholic drink in London at the time. Brewing porter can take months or even up to a year, which meant that the Horse Shoe had lots and lots of beer sitting around in wooden vats at any given time.

Etching of brewery working; two drays of horses pull deliveries away from the building.
The Horseshoe Brewery c. 1800 // Public Domain

About an hour before all hell broke loose, an employee had noticed that an iron band around one of the large wooden vats they used had slipped off — which wasn't unusual, so they basically made a note of it to fix later on and that was that. But soon enough the vat burst, dislodging the valve of another vat, and from there it was a domino effect of yeasty terror.

As many as 388,000 gallons of beer poured out of the brewery, breaking through a wall behind the building and flooding a nearby slum, where eight people were killed. It was described as being similar to a fire or an earthquake in sheer panic, although there would be stories later on of those who collected the beer and created scenes of mass revelry.

The incident led to the brewing industry moving away from wooden vats and is yet another reason I prefer IPAs to porters.

III.

The teen horror-slasher renaissance was in full effect in 1997 when I Know What You Did Last Summer hit theaters.

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Starring what can only be described as a damn powerhouse of Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, and Freddie Prinze Jr., the movie was written by the same dude that wrote — you guessed it — Scream.

It hit number one for three weeks, made over $125 million globally, and gave us this gem of a scene:

And in car-chase movie history, today marks the release anniversary of Bullit, hitting theaters in 1968.

Starring the incomparable and extremely awesome-named Steve McQueen, this movie made you feel cool just by watching it, inspiring a generation to wish they had a Ford Mustang.

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IV.

In 1962 the world seemingly changed overnight when The Beatles made their TV debut.

Of course, this wasn't actually the watershed moment you might be imagining — it was a local Manchester program called People And Places. They played their new single, "Love Me Do."

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They squeezed the appearance in between gigs at The Cavern Club, playing a lunchtime show, practicing a few times and playing the program, and then heading back for an evening slot.

V.

40 years ago today, you were probably heading out to see Never Say Never Again, the 1983 James Bond movie starring none other than Sean Connery (not to mention Kim Basinger).

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The movie was in the midst of a four-week run at the top of the box office, despite the fact it wasn't produced by Eon Productions, prompting some to consider it a rogue Bond movie.