October 6th in nerd history: The price of gas 50 years ago

October 6th in nerd history: The price of gas 50 years ago
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Happy National Mad Hatter Day! Today is a great day to put on that weird hat you bought but always feel too embarrassed to wear in public. We're talking those Goofy and Donald hats, top hats, hats with stupidly long bills, Stormtrooper helmets, ornate 17th-century admiral-in-the-navy hats, chef hats, and whatever else you feel like putting on.

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

October 6 in Nerd History

Here are five things that happened on October 6th at the intersection of nerd and pop culture.

I.

Birthdays of honor: Elisabeth Shue (1963), Amy Jo Johnson (1970), Matthew Sweet (1964).

II.

Today in 1927 the first movie with a synchronized soundtrack was released, and it blew everybody's f***ing minds.

The Jazz Singer marked a revolutionary moment in cinema, effectively killing the silent film era. But it wasn't like people were just chattering away in this movie; the synced-up scenes were isolated with six songs performed by Al Jolson and several sequences of speech.

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Obviously, there are some things in The Jazz Singer that are a bit problematic today, but that doesn't take away from the technological achievement and milestone it represented for all of film.

III.

What I can only imagine as one of the wildest pop culture gatherings in history happened today in 1991, when Michael Jackson hosted Elizabeth Taylor's wedding to her 8th husband, Larry Fortensky. Fortensky, a construction worker, met Taylor in rehab.

Held at Jackson's sprawling Neverland Ranch, the guest list included Merv Griffin, Nancy Reagan, Macaulay Culkin, Arsenio Hall, Gregory Peck, Diane von Furstenberg, and Eddie Murphy, among others.

As many as a dozen helicopters hovered over the entire ceremony, presumably with paparazzi and reporters inside. At one point, a man parasailed onto the grounds, nearly getting clipped by a chopper in the process.

Despite Fortensky's incredible hair, the pair would divorce five years later — but he'll always be known as Elizabeth Taylor's last husband.

IV.

30 years ago today, in 1993, Michael Jordan shocked the sports world when he announced he would be retiring from the NBA after 9 seasons and 3 championships with the Chicago Bulls — and the team having just completed an unprecedented three-peat.

At the time, it was baffling for pretty much everyone in the world. He was in his prime, three consecutive championships, one of the biggest figures on the planet, and all the other things. Later, Jordan would say the murder of his father a few months earlier played a key role, but at the time it felt like a real head-scratcher.

He then messed with everyone's minds even more when he signed a minor-league contract with the Chicago White Sox. Turns out that, too, had to do with his late father, who had always dreamed of seeing his son play as a professional baseball player. Playing for the Birmingham Barons and a little for the Scottsdale Scorpions, Jordan was pretty good at stealing bases but not much else.

He would, of course, return to basketball and his championship ways, and retire from the NBA two more times.

V.

Today in 1973, 50 years ago, you could fill up that gigantic gas tank in your ridiculous boat of a car for just 39 cents per gallon — just before rampant inflation would hit and gas prices would skyrocket by more than 200% in the next several years.