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This Day in Pop Culture for January 17

Popeye the Sailor

1929: Popeye the Sailor Man Makes His First Appearance

King Features’ comic strip, Thimble Theatre by E. C. Segar had been in existence for ten years before Popeye the Sailor Man was featured on this day in 1929. His first line, “’Ja think I’m a cowboy?!” He quickly became one of the strip’s most popular characters. In 1933, Max Fleischer introduced Popeye and friends for Paramount Pictures within a Betty Boop cartoon which was followed by his starring role in I Yam What I Yam. In 1980 Robert Altman directed Robin Williams in the live action movie, Popeye.

1939: ‘Gone with the Wind’ Opens in Theaters

One of America’s most classic films, Gone with the Wind was released on this day in 1939. Directed by Victor Fleming, the story deals with the strong-willed southern belle Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh), her secret crush Ashley (Leslie Howard), good friend Melanie (Olivia de Havilland) and the arrogant Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) during the American Civil War. About 1,400 women auditioned for the role of Scarlett. Filming of the picture was delayed by two years as producer David O. Selznick wanted to secure Gable for the role. At 221 minutes in length, some reviewers felt that the movie was overly long, but that was actually shorter than the original script length. The film received 13 Oscar nomination and won ten including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Hattie McDaniel won for Best Supporting Actress becoming the first African-American to win an Academy Award.

1984: VCR Legal

The Supreme Court approves that private VCR’s could be used to record shows to watch later.

1926: Burns & Allen

Comedians George Burns and Gracie Allen wed. They were married 38 years before her death in 1964.

1976: He Wrote the Songs

Barry Manilow’s song, “I Write the Songs” became the #1 hit.

Movies Released

  • A Fall from Grace (2020)
  • Bad Boys for Life (2020)
  • Beverly Hills Ninja (1997)
  • Devil’s Due (2014)
  • Dolittle (2020)
  • Everyone Says I Love You (1997)
  • Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)
  • Kangaroo Jack (2003)

TV Series Debuts

  • Angie Tribeca (2016)
  • Billions (2016)
  • Diary of a Future President (2020)
  • Gone With the Wind (1939)
  • Harry’s Law (2011)
  • Ride Along (2014)
  • That’s So Raven (2003)
  • The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (2018)
  • The Real Housewives of Potomac (2016)

Famous Birthdays

  • 1504: Pope Pius V
  • 1706: Benjamin Franklin (inventor)
  • 1922: Betty White (actress)
  • 1927: Eartha Kitt (actress)
  • 1931: James Earl Jones (actor)
  • 1933: Shari Lewis (puppeteer)
  • 1939: Maury Povich (talk show host)
  • 1942: Muhammad Ali (boxer)
  • 1949: Andy Kaufman (comedian)
  • 1957: Steve Harvey (game show host)
  • 1962: Jim Carrey (actor)
  • 1964: Michelle Obama (former first lady)
  • 1971: Kid Rock (singer)
  • 1980: Zooey Deschanel (actress)

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Jeffrey Totey View All

I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.

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