1982: E.T. Takes Flight
It is said that Steven Spielberg drew from his own childhood as a lonely child of divorce when creating E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial which was released on this day in 1982. This was Spielberg’s second film about aliens and a decidedly friendlier version than in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. During that year, TIME magazine included the character in its list of nominees for Man-of-the-Year. The film was nominated for nine Oscars at the 1983 Academy Awards and won four. After an initial re-release in theaters in 1985, ET was re-released again in 2002, but with some changes. The new cut featured scenes that were not included in the original film and included some new improved special effects. The most notable change was the removal of guns held by federal agents. They were replaced with walkie talkies.
2002: ‘American Idol’ Airs for the First Time
The reality TV music competition show, American Idol began its 15-year run on this day on FOX on this day in 2002. Based on the British series, Pop Idol. American Idol was an instant hit and a ratings giant for FOX. Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman hosted the first season of the show, but Dunkleman never appeared again until the show’s finale on April 7, 2016. The original judges for the show consisted on Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul. Throughout the years, different judges would come and go including Ellen DeGeneres, Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick, Jr., Kara DioGuardi, Steven Tyler, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey. The show’s winners list includes: Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreery, Phillip Phillips, Candice Glover, Caleb Johnson, Nick Fradiani, and Trent Harmon. The show wasn’t off the air very long before ABC picked it up and aired the first of the new run in early 2018 and for now, American Idol lives on.
2020: ‘Don’t’ Premieres
Don’t was a cleverly named game show airing on ABC from this day in 2020 to August 13, 2020. In each episode, a team of four people, usually a family, would compete through a series of tasks with names like “Don’t Blink”, “Don’t Be Shocked” and “Don’t Beat Yourself Up”. It was hosted by Adam Scott with commentary by Ryan Reynolds who also served as an executive producer. Each team could have won up to $100,000 but often won a lot less since playing a perfect game was nearly impossible.
- 1933: Gene Wilder (actor)
- 1937: Chad Everett (actor)
- 1945: Adrienne Barbeau (actress)
- 1956: Joe Montana (football player)
- 1959: Hugh Laurie (actor)
- 1960: Mehmet Oz (TV host and doctor)
- 1986: Shia LaBeouf (actor)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.