October 2nd in nerd history: Mighty like a duck

October 2nd in nerd history: Mighty like a duck
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Happy National Name Your Car Day! I get it, maybe you're scared of the commitment. Giving your car a name means you'll become more closely bonded with it. But sometimes that's a risk that you just have to be willing to take. We even have a few ideas for you: Herbie, KITT, Truckster, Bluesmobile, Ecto-1, Cowabunga Carl — or, you could go with something more elegant, like Sir Carrington of Carsburg III.

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

October 2 in Nerd History

Here are five things that happened on October 2nd for those of us who think living in Duckburg is a duck-blur.

I.

Birthdays of honor: Sting (1951), Groucho Marx (1890), Don McLean (1945), Annie Leibovitz (1949), Yokozuna (1966), Avery Brooks (1948), Bud Abbott (1897).

II.

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I miss the days when one of the staples of Saturday Night Live was the recurring characters who would go on to get their own movie. Wayne's World, The Blues Brothers, and Coneheads all successfully made the transition from being an idea in a comedian's head to hitting the big screen and raking in tens of millions of dollars (and sometimes hundreds of millions).

25 years ago Will Ferrel and Chris Kattan's absurd nightclub characters got their shot at the movies when A Night at the Roxbury hit theaters in 1998. Somehow they stretched a three-minute skit with two morons bopping their heads into a full movie — and one that was actually really funny. It certainly didn't hit the same levels of popularity as other SNL movies, but it did just fine for itself, grossing over $30 million.

And you know what? I have a feeling people are ready to revisit the question of "What is love?"

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Today in 1992 we were reminded that there is no better plot for a sports movie than taking a bunch of ragtag kids and turning them into a team that can actually compete when The Mighty Ducks hit theaters.

Apparently, the suits at Disney were surprised by just how well the Flying V ended up doing — the movie grossed over $50 million in theaters against a $14 million budget, plus an additional $54 million in home video rentals. Sequels in multiple forms and a recent TV reboot have proven the Ducks are more than impervious to water. Oh, right, and they even founded an NHL franchise named after the team in the movie.

Other movies released today worth noting:

  • Zombieland in 2009.
  • Glengarry Glen Ross in 1992.
  • Antz in 1998.
  • The extremely bizarre What Dreams May Come in 1998.
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai starring Alec Guinness in 1957.

III.

​Today in 1959 we prepared to enter another dimension — a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. That's right, The Twilight Zone premiered, complete with that iconic intro music that your dad would imitate any time anything remotely mysterious happened.

The creative force behind the show was, of course, Rod Serling, who created the show, narrated it, served as executive producer, and wrote more than half the episodes of the original run. Serling became interested in a sci-fi setting because it allowed him more creative expression, and his rich sense of irony became a linchpin for the series.

With each episode serving as a one-off story, a slew of young actors and actresses were rotated through, making production costs a bit cheaper than a serialized story. But that meant many up-and-comers entered the fifth dimension on their way to stardom, including names such as Charles Bronson, Carol Burnett, Robert Duvall, Peter Falk, Dennis Hopper, Ron Howard, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Redford, William Shatner, George Takei, and Elizabeth Montgomery.

It's kind of a perfect concept for a TV show, which is why it's been revived so many times in so many forms (including a Disney World attraction) — and frankly, this is one of the few franchises I have zero problem with producers rebooting over and over again.

IV.

Today in 1895 what's considered the first true comic strip to appear in newspapers was printed with The Yellow Kid. He looks like a mix between Charlie Brown and Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender.

First published in New York World, it follows the exploits of a bald kid wearing a yellow gown, and was instantly a huge hit, leading to multiple imitators. It was the first to use speech bubbles and panels to tell a story — all culminating in you taking the Sunday funnies before anyone else could get to them.

V.

It's kind of hard to believe it's already been six years since one of the most iconic musicians in modern history, Tom Petty, went into cardiac arrest and passed away on this day in 2017.

He produced hit albums and songs that spanned from the 1970s into the 2010s, somehow always updating his sound without really changing a thing. With over 80 million records sold worldwide, he's easily one of the best-selling artists in music history.

An accidental drug overdose caused his death at the age of 66.