This Day in Pop Culture for January 29
1980: The Magic Cube Becomes Rubik’s Cube
In the mid 1970s, Ernő Rubik, who worked at the Academy of Applied Arts and Crafts in Budapest, created a cube puzzle that was built to be used as a teaching tool for his students to help them understand 3D objects. Apparently, it wasn’t meant to be a puzzle at all. It was just supposed to help solve a structural problem of moving parts individually without having the entire block falling apart. However, after he scrambled it for the first time, he soon discovered how difficult it was to put back together again. He applied for a patent for his “Magic Cube” on January 30, 1975. The first cubes didn’t roll out the assembly line until late 1977. After promoting the puzzle at a toy fair, it was sold to Ideal Toys and was named after its inventor on this day in 1980.
1959: Disney’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Comes to Theaters for the First Time
Sleeping Beauty was Walt Disney’s 16th animated feature which was released on this day in 1959. Based the Brothers Grimm tale, it was the last fairy tale that the studio created before 1989’s The Little Mermaid. Much of the music of the film was taken from Tchaikovsky’s 1890 ballet of the same name. It was the first animated film to be photographed in the Super Technirama 70 widescreen process although it was released to theaters in both 35mm and 70mm prints. Production costs to make the film came to about $6 million, making it Disney’s most expensive money up to this point. (It cost twice as much as the studio’s three previous films, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and Lady and the Tramp.) Despite positive reviews from critics, the movie didn’t bring in enough money to make up for the losses of the rest of that year’s releases resulting in massive layoffs for Disney’s animation department. Walt Disney Pictures later released a live-action version of the story, Maleficent, in 2014 that starred Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning. That film’s sequel, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, opened in theaters in October of 2019.
- 1880: W.C. Fields (actor)
- 1918: John Forsythe (actor)
- 1940: Katharine Ross (actress)
- 1945: Tom Selleck (actor)
- 1950: Ann Jillian (actress)
- 1954: Oprah Winfrey (actress)
- 1960: Greg Louganis (Olympic diver)
- 1975: Sara Gilbert (actress)
- 1982: Adam Lambert (singer)
- 1845: “The Raven” short story written by Edgar Allan Poe, was published in The Evening Mirror.
- 1861: Kansas was admitted as the 34th U.S. state.
- 1886: Karl Benz patented the first gasoline-fueled automobile.
- 1963: The first inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame were announced.
- 1964: Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb premiered.