1994: ‘The Lion King’ Roars Into Theaters
Walt Disney Picture’s 32nd animated feature, The Lion King premiered on this day in 1994. Though an original story, The Lion King was heavily influenced by William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Music for the film was written by Elton John with lyrics by Tim Rice and Hans Zimmer wrote the film’s score. The story of young Simba who “can’t wait to be king” is given the privilege earlier than expected when his father, Mufasa dies at the hand of his bitter brother, Scar. Though a mature storyline and somewhat darker than Disney’s usual fare, the film was a huge hit becoming the highest-grossing release of 1994. The film won two Academy Awards and one Golden Globe. Since its release, two direct-to-video sequels were created, a Broadway adaptation of the film was produced and a two TV shows (Timon and Pumbaa and The Lion Guard) have been made for children. (Image: Disney)
2008: Wipeout Debuts
When it comes to this genre of TV shows, Wipeout has done particularly well for itself. Having premiered on this day in 2008, it boasted of having the world’s largest obstacle course, and really, who’s gonna check? The show was hosted by John Henson and John Anderson with Jill Wagner serving as the on-the-ground reporter. (Vanessa Lachey took over for Wagner for one season as well.) The show consisted on outrageous stunts that were mostly impossible to achieve and many involved the use of water. The show proved so popular in its first year that international versions of the show began popping up in the United Kingdom, Australia, Argentina and others. The American version ran until 2014. Wipeout was rebooted for TBS in 2021 with new hosts John Cena, Nicole Byer and Camille Kostek. That version is still airing.
- 1893: Roy O. Disney (co-founder of The Walt Disney Company)
- 1904: Phil Harris (actor)
- 1942: Mick Fleetwood (drummer)
- 1950: Nancy Allen (actress)
- 1979: Mindy Kaling (actress)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.