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This Day in Pop Culture for March 16

2000: Christopher Nolan’s First Hit

Known for such blockbusters like Dunkirk, Inception and The Dark Knight trilogy, Christopher Nolan’s first hit, was his very first movie, Following which was released on April 24, 1998. Made with a budget of $6,000, the box office made $48,482 in ticket sales. Among those impressed with the film was Joel Schumacher who thought it was “brilliant.” That was until he saw Nolan’s next film. He was quoted by IFC saying, “I always had him in the back of my mind, thinking, ‘We’re going to hear from this guy, big time.’ Then I saw Memento and the promise was fulfilled very fast.”

Opening on this day in 2000, Memento is considered by many to be Nolan’s breakout film about an odd man who struggles with short-term memory loss while mourning the death of his wife. The movie was actually based on Memento Mori, a story by Nolan’s brother, Jonathan. But what makes this film so unique is how it is told. Mostly, the film is told backwards (in color) while other scenes (in black and white) are shown chronologically and the two come together in the end. Memento starred Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano. It received two Oscar nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing. (Image: Summit Entertainment)

Absent Minded Professor

1961: Disney’s ‘The Absent-Minded Professor’ is Released

Though color films had been around for many years, Walt Disney’s, The Absent-Minded Professor was created in black and white and released on this day 1961. The film that starred Fred MacMurray and Nancy Olsen, was full of costly special effects. It featured Richard and Robert Sherman’s first song for a Disney feature (“Medfield Fight Song”) and used Wally Boag, a Disneyland stage performer, to serve as a stunt double for MacMurray. In 1997, Disney created a remake of the film called Flubber that starred Robin Williams as the absent-minded professor. It however, is not as fondly remembered. (Image: Walt Disney Pictures)


  • 1751: James Madison (4th President of the U.S.)
  • 1906: Henny Youngman (comedian)
  • 1926: Jerry Lewis (actor)
  • 1941: Chuck Woolery (game show host)
  • 1949: Erik Estrada (actor)
  • 1954: Nancy Wilson (singer)
  • 1959: Flavor Flav (rapper)
  • 1991: Wolfgang Van Halen (bassist)

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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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