This Day in Pop Culture for February 27

1996: Pokémon is Born

On this day in 1996, the Pokémon phenomenon began when two video games, Pocket Monsters: Red and Green, for the Game Boy handheld system were released.  Created by Satoshi Tajiri for Nintendo, the games helped launch the Pokémon Trading Card Game later in October. The Pokémon Adventures manga first appeared on Japanese bookshelves in March of 1997 followed by the Pocket Monsters: Original Series in April. Although some thought that the franchise was “too Japanese” for Americans, Pikachu and friends were marketed in the U.S. by 1998. In 2021, Pokémon celebrated its 25th anniversary with a year-long celebration of events. (Early version of Pikachu by Game Freak sourced from Bulbagarden/Wikipedia)


1979: ‘Cliffhangers’ Debuts

Those of a certain age will remember that on this day in 1979, The “New NBC” had attempted to bring back the old movie serial for the modern age with three shows in one. Cliffhangers was a collection of three mini genre shows shown back in a one-hour time slot with each episode ending with a cliffhanger. The interesting test began with the mystery, Stop Susan Williams, which was inspired by The Perils of Pauline and starred Susan Anton. The middle adventure show, The Secret Empire was inspired by The Phantom Empire and starred Geoffrey Scott. The last was the horror story of The Curse of Dracula which starred Michael Nouri who played a modern count living in San Francisco. Cliffhangers did not fare well against ABC’s Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley. The show was cancelled after 10 airings which only featured the ending of the Dracula story. The others were left the air as … cliffhangers.

1980: The First (and last) Grammy for Best Disco Recording

In a day when new music genres seem to be cropping up every week, it is interesting to note that the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences have issued only one award for the Best Disco Recording and that was given on this day in 1980. By the time the Grammy’s decided to include Disco as a category, the fad music was pretty much dead. “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gainer was the big winner that night. The other nominees were: Earth, Wind & Fire for “Boogie Wonderland;” Michael Jackson for “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough;” Donna Summer for “Bad Girls” and Rod Stewart for “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” In January 2020, Gainer won her second Grammy Award in her career for her roots gospel album Testimony.


Movies Released

  • Focus (2015)
  • Maps to the Stars (2015)
  • The Lazarus Effect (2015)

TV Series Debuts

  • Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (2007)

Famous Birthdays

  • 1897: Marian Anderson (opera singer)
  • 1932: Elizabeth Taylor (actress)
  • 1983: Kate Mara (actress)
  • 1986: Daniel Gibson (basketball player)

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