December 6 in nerd history: Everybody was Kung Fu fighting

Happy National Microwave Oven Day! The first consumer microwaves became available in the 1950s, and we’ve been grateful to those little guys ever since. As long as you’re not one of those people who intentionally blows up hot dogs in your microwave, instead of watching videos of people doing that online like a normal person.

Salad Dressing Cooking GIF by Rooster Teeth

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

December 6 in Nerd History

Here are five things that happened on December 6th for those of us who mourn Optimus Prime every damn day.


Birthdays of honor: Steven Wright (1955), Randy Rhoads (1956), Judd Apatow (1967), Ira Gershwin (1896).


Here’s a little tip for all you event promoters out there — maybe don’t hire the Hells Angels for your security. Bonus tip: Paying them in free beer == even worse.

Sending out the ’60s with a free concert featuring Santana, Jefferson Airplane, the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Grateful Dead, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY), and the Rolling Stones sure sounds like a fantastic idea. But today in 1969 it kind of turned into a hellscape with the Altamont Speedway Free Festival.

It all began because the Rolling Stones were hoping to end their U.S. tour with a free concert in San Francisco. With input from Jefferson Airplane, it soon began to take shape as a “Woodstock of the West.”

But, dear reader, the only similarity to Woodstock was chaos. The festival had to be moved multiple times, with the Altamont Speedway as a last-minute/last-chance option. This meant basic festival needs, like medical tents and portable toilets, weren’t available.

And thanks to tension between hippies and the police, local authorities had zero interest in helping out. Thus, organizers turned to the local chapter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club — who, in fairness, had successfully worked security for previous shows (including the Grateful Dead) without incident.

The terms might have been a bit loose, but there was a handshake agreement that they’d essentially make sure no one was getting murdered in exchange for $500 worth of free beer. They spent most of the day sitting on the stage drinking beer, and as the day went on and they became more drunk, things began to spiral out of control — with about 300,000 fans in attendance. It was so bad, the Dead simply skipped their set.

By the time the Stones took the stage, it was a mix of drugs, alcohol, and rock and roll that sent things right into anarchy. Mick Jagger got punched in the head, multiple fights broke out, and a crazed fan tried to take the stage. The fan ultimately pulled a gun but was stabbed and killed by one of the Hells Angels.

And that, my friends, was the exact moment the dream of the ’60s died. Or at least just a really crazy concert.


Today in 1964, a holiday classic was born when the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV special aired for the first time. Based on the 1949 song, which was based on a poem from the ’30s, the stop-motion special has become an annual tradition and is among the elite of the holiday-viewing pantheon.

Although it’s definitely a bit of a loose interpretation, considering in this version Rudolph isn’t just another reindeer, but the child of Donner and his wife. So yeah, in this universe the reindeer get married and have kids.

You do have to like those Misfit Toys though.

Also released on this day:

  • That terrifying live-action Popeye with Robin Williams in 1980.
  • The John Landis spy comedy Spies Like Us in 1985.
  • Jack Nicholson’s resurgence was in full display with As Good as it Gets in 1997.
  • The cinema powerhouse Dumb and Dumber in 1994.


27 years ago, video games took an incredible technological leap when PaRappa the Rapper came out in 1996 — that’s right, a video game where you get to be a rapping dog.

Parappa The Rapper1 Parappa GIF - Parappa The Rapper1 Parappa Chop Chop Master Onion GIFs

It was essentially a rhythm game where, in theory, you could make a cool rap by hitting the buttons at the right time. While the story was fun and the idea was awesome, actually playing this game could be incredibly infuriating. If you listen to the music and press the buttons when it seems like you should, you will 100% fail. Instead, you have to very carefully watch the screen and tap the buttons in a way that makes PaRappa sound like he’s having a stroke. It was also way too short.

But it led the way for future music games, and without it who knows if we’d ever have Guitar Hero, so for that, we honor those who laid the groundwork.


In 1974 the top song in the country was “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas.