This Day in Pop Culture for February 22

Inaugural Daytona 500

1959: The Inaugural Daytona 500

The Inaugural Daytona 500 was held on this day at the Daytona International Speedway in 1959. It is estimated that 41,921 spectators were there to see Lee Petty and Johnny Beauchamp pass the finish line so close together that it took Bill France, Sr., the NASCAR founder, three days to declare that Petty was the winner of the race. Petty is also the father of Richard Petty, another successful stock car racer. (Image: Wikimedia)

1980: The Miracle on Ice

The term, “Miracle on Ice” references when the U.S. hockey team won the gold medal during the 1980 Winter Olympics on this day in Lake Placid, New York. Previously, the Soviet Union had won the gold medal in six of the seven previous Winter Olympic Games. The Soviet Union team consisted of professional players while the American team consisted of only amateur players who were also collectively, the youngest team in the tournament. During the final seconds of the game, Al Michaels (reporting for ABC) uttered the phrases, “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” The event won the praise of Sport Illustrated who in 1999 named the event as the #1 top sports moment of the 20th century. (Image: Feline Groovy/Flickr)

1983: Infamous Play Opens and Closes in One Night

Moose Murders, a play by Arthur Bicknell has the unique distinction of opening and closing on Broadway on the same night, this day in 1983. Moose Murders is also a term used in the industry to describe a really bad play. Originally, Eve Arden was to star in the murder mystery farce, but dropped out after the second preview due to “artistic differences.” New York Post’s Clive Barnes said that it was “so indescribably bad that I do not intend to waste anyone’s time by describing it.” He commended Eve Arden for leaving it before it opened and commented: “Some people have all the luck.”

Movies Released

  • Charlie Bartlett (2008)
  • Dark Skies (2013)
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)
  • John Carter (2012)
  • Queen of the Damned (2002)
  • Run the Race (2019)

TV Series Debuts

  • The Real Housewives of Miami (2011)

Famous Birthdays

  • 1732: George Washington (First president of the U.S.)
  • 1778: Rembrandt Peale (artist)
  • 1907: Robert Young (actor)
  • 1918: Don Pardo (SNL announcer)
  • 1930: Marni Nixon (actress)
  • 1959: Kyle MacLachlan (actor)
  • 1962: Steve Irwin (TV host)
  • 1966: Rachel Dratch (actress)
  • 1968: Jeri Ryan (actress)
  • 1975: Drew Barrymore (actress)

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