Happy National Chocolate Cupcake Day! At least for today, all other cupcakes are pure trash.
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October 18 in Nerd History
Here are five things that happened on October 18th at the intersection of nerd and pop culture.
Birthdays of honor: Jean-Claude Van Damme (1960), Chuck Berry (1926), Zac Efron (1987), Dawn Wells (1938), Peter Boyle (1935), Martina Navratilova (1956), Mike Ditka (1939), Chuck Lorre (1952).
Sometimes in the wake of ashes, a phoenix rises.
Today in 1985, following the video game crash of the early '80s, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) hit North American shelves for the first time.
Under the guidance of Hiroshi Yamauchi, who led Nintendo for over 50 years, the company was transformed from producing playing cards to becoming a multibillion-dollar home entertainment behemoth. And it was the NES that led that charge, not only transforming the company, but the gaming industry as a whole.
Having already seen success in Japan with the Family Computer (aka, the Famicom), Nintendo redesigned the system for an American and global audience, and boy did it work. By 1990, it was estimated that 30% of homes in America had an NES inside them.
The success of the NES reinvigorated the home video game industry and proved that the market would endure. Without it, we might not have the gaming market of today.
In 1967, the final film produced by Walt Disney was released with the all-time classic animated musical, The Jungle Book.
Originally following Rudyard Kipling's book more closely, early versions of the script were pretty dark. But Disney would have none of it, and the family-friendly version of the tale of a boy raised in the jungle would go on to incredible success, despite the fact that Walt passed away while it was still in production.
Its initial theater run grossed nearly $24 million, which at the time was good enough to make it the most successful animated feature ever.
And now you have "The Bare Necessities" stuck in your head for the rest of the day. You're welcome.
In 1988, America was ready for a sitcom that was just about a regular, working-class family, and they got it when Roseanne premiered on ABC.
While more recently things got, er, problematic for the Conners, the initial run was incredibly successful. The show hit no. 1 in Nielsen ratings in its second season and ranked in the top four for six out of nine seasons.
Today you can still catch The Conners as a direct continuation of the show — sans a few plot elements from the original run that staff decided were just too annoying to deal with, such as erasing the birth of the fourth child, Jerry.
I hope you didn't watch that tape.
In 2002, probably the last year the premise would even make sense to audiences, The Ring debuted and instantly became one of the biggest horror movies in history.
A remake of a Japanese movie (which itself was based on a novel), the film grossed nearly $250 million worldwide and has become a cultural reference point — which you're probably seeing play out in your neighbor's Halloween decorations right now.
The essential premise centers around a cursed videotape wherein the viewer dies seven days after watching it. We follow journalist Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) as she tries to unravel the mystery behind the tape and related deaths — and find out if there's a way to avoid said fate. Also, there's a creepy kid.
Lucky for you, this email is definitely not cursed... probably.
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