This Day in Pop Culture for February 20

1952: ‘The African Queen’ Arrives in Theaters

Though the film, The African Queen opened at the Fox Wilshire Theatre in Beverly Hills on December 26, 1951 (in order to qualify for the 24th Academy Awards), it did not open nationally until this day in 1952. The British-American adventure film which starred Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn was based on a novel of the same name by John Huston. Originally, Bogart’s character was supposed to have a British cockney accent, but he refused to do the dialect and so the character became Canadian. About half of the film was shot on location in Uganda and the Congo in Africa while the other half was shot within studio water tanks in the United Kingdom as it was deemed too dangerous to do it otherwise. For the rapid scenes, a small model boat was used. The movie was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Director, Best Actor and Best Screenplay. Hepburn won an Oscar for Best Actress. It is also worth noting that the Jungle Cruise boats at Disneyland were inspired by the tugboat used in this movie. (Image: Wikimedia)

1988: Tara Lipinski Becomes Youngest Gold Medal Winner

Tara Lipinski was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1982. She began ice skating in 1988. Ten years later, she became the youngest gold medal winner during the Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan on this day in 1998. Skating to the music from the animated movie Anastasia, Lipinski came in second during the short program. Then, in the long program, she managed seven triples which included a triple loop combination and a triple toe/half loop/triple Salchow sequence which was enough to best Michelle Kwan and win the gold medal. This achievement not only made her the youngest female Olympic figure skater champion, but also the youngest individual gold medalist since 1928.

1971: Emergency Broadcast System is Accidentally Activated

Oops. Despite actions to protect this sort of thing happening, the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) was accidentally activated on this day in 1971 at 9:33 a.m. Apparently, a teletype operator played the wrong tape stressing the TV stations stop their regular programming and broadcast the alert of a national emergency. It took 40 minutes and six incorrect cancellation messages to be sent in order for the activation to be terminated. Ironically, many of the stations never received the alert in the first place and those that did ignored the instructions thinking that it was “just a test.” Needless to say, many changes were implemented to the EBS that week. A similar scare happened on January 13, 2018 when Hawaiians received a ballistic missle threat notice telling them to seek shelter immediately. Hawaii Govenor David Ige claimed that the false alarm was a case of simply pressing the wrong button. It didn’t necessarily make anyone feel better.

Movies Released

  • Madea Goes to Jail (2009)
  • McFarland USA (2015)
  • Still Alice (2015)

TV Series Debuts

  • Columbo (1968)
  • Power Rangers: Mystic Force (2006)
  • Robot Chicken (2005)

Famous Birthdays

  • 1927: Sidney Poitier (actor)
  • 1966: Cindy Crawford (model)
  • 1967: Kurt Cobain (singer)
  • 1978: Chelsea Peretti (comedian)
  • 1984: Trevor Noah (TV show host)
  • 1987: Miles Teller (actor)
  • 1988: Rihanna (singer)
  • 1989: Jack Falahee (actor)
  • 2003: Olivia Rodrigo (singer)

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