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This Day in Pop Culture for May 16

Oscar Statuettes

1929: And the Winner Is…

Back on this day in 1929, the very first Academy Awards presentation was held during a private dinner for 270 guests at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Unlike the award ceremonies today, 15 statuettes were awarded in about 15 minutes. Believe it or not, the media were given the list of winners about three months earlier.


1986: ‘Top Gun’ Arrives in Theaters

Directed by Tony Scott and produced by both Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, Top Gun premiered on this day in 1986. Inspired by the article “Top Guns” which appeared in California magazine in 1983, the movie starred Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards and Tom Skerritt. Though the movie received mixed reviews by critics, the film was hugely successful. The original song, Take My Breath Away from Berlin won an Oscar for Best Original Song. The long-awaited sequel, Top Gun: Maverick is scheduled to be released on December 23, 2020.

1964: Motown Record’s First Hit Song

By 1962, Berry Gordy was already a successful businessman with his record label, Tamla Records but it was this year that he wanted to create a brand new label, Motown Records. He approached Mary Wells to be the company’s first artist. Two years later, she released the label’s first #1 hit, “My Guy” which reached the top of Billboard’s pop chart on this day in 1964. Strangely, three days before, Wells opted out of her contract at age 21. Though she still had a successful career, she never reached the height of stardom that she had in 1964.


1946: Annie Got Her Gun

The Broadway musical, Annie Get Your Gun which starred Ethel Merman, opened at the Imperial Theater in New York City on this day in 1946. Loosely based on the lives of sharpshooters Annie Oakley and Frank E. Butler. Even if you’ve never seen the show or the 1950 movie, you probably are aware of some of the show’s biggest hits, “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and “Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better).”



  • 1905: Henry Fonda (actor)
  • 1919: Liberace (pianist)
  • 1937: Yvonne Craig (actress)
  • 1944: Danny Trejo (actor)
  • 1953: Pierce Brosnan (actor)
  • 1955: Debra Winger (actress)
  • 1963: Rachel Griffith (actress)
  • 1963: David Wilkinson (theologian)
  • 1966: Janet Jackson (singer)
  • 1969: Tucker Carlson (journalist)
  • 1973: Tori Spelling (actress)
  • 1986: Megan Fox (actress)

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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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