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This Day in Pop Culture for May 17

Wonderful World of Oz

1900: ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ is Published

It was on this day in 1900 that L. Frank Baum’s children’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published for the first time by the George M. Hill Company (which would close down two years later) in Chicago. The story about Dorothy Gale getting swept up by a twister only to find herself lost in the land of Oz is one best-known stories in American literature. Baum dedicated the book “to my good friend and comrade, my wife.” In 1902, the story became a Broadway musical that was so popular, it helped to encourage Baum to write 13 additional books. But the story hasn’t been loved by everyone. In 1986, seven Fundamentalist Christian families in Tennessee attempted to convince the local public schools to ban the book due to their opposition of depicting benevolent witches.


1977: Of Mice and Pizza

The very first Chuck E. Cheese restaurant opened in San Jose, California.


1939: First Televised Baseball Game

NBC broadcasted the first televised baseball game between Princeton vs. Columbia.


2020: ‘American Idol Winner’

Just Sam became the 18th season winner of American Idol and the only one to win during a pandemic!


  • 1955: Bill Paxton (actor)
  • 1956: Sugar Ray Leonard (boxer)
  • 1956: Bob Saget (actor)
  • 1961: Enya (singer)
  • 1962: Craig Ferguson (actor)
  • 1985: Derek Hough (dancer)

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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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