1999: The First ‘Found Footage’ Film
In October 1997, Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez and their film crew set up shop in Maryland. With a meager budget set, 20 hours of footage was shot over eight days for the supernatural horror film, The Blair Witch Project. Myrick and Sánchez wrote, directed and edited this “true story” about three student filmmakers who traveled to the Black Hills near Burkittsville, Maryland to film a documentary about the mythical Blair Witch legend. As the story goes, the three showed up with their cameras, but never made it back home, but their film footage was found a year later. It is this “found footage” that is the basis for the film, which format has since been copied many times since. Despite the fact that Blair Witch is a horror film, very little violence or gore was shown on screen. Instead, this crew made a scary film without showing much of anything. The film was released on this day in 1999 and grossed nearly $250 million worldwide becoming one of the most successful independent film of all time. Though the film generated two sequels, neither one was nearly as successful as the original.
1969: Where Did the Money Go?
It was on this day in 1969 that the United States officially withdrew $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills from circulation after an executive order by President Nixon. They were last printed on December 27, 1945 and are still considered legal tender. Larger bills were used by banks and the federal government for large financial transactions, but since the electronic money system was introduced, the use of large bills was no longer necessary. However, $500 bills are still used in the game of Monopoly.
1853: First World’s Fair
President Franklin Pierce opened the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations at the first World’s Fair in New York.
1988: Is Elvis Alive?
The Nashville radio station WYHY offered $1 million to anyone who could provide proof that Elvis Presley was still alive.
1946: Dr. Spock’s Book
Not connected to Star Trek, Dr. Benjamin Spock’s Common Sense Book of Baby & Child Care is published.
- 1894: Dave Fleischer (animator)
- 1910: William Hanna (animator)
- 1912: Woody Guthrie (singer)
- 1913: Gerald Ford (38th president of the U.S.)
- 1918: Ingmar Bergman (film director)
- 1932: Rosey Grier (football player)
- 1952: Franklin Graham (evangelist)
- 1960: Jane Lynch (actress)
- 1966: Mathew Fox (actor)
- 1966: Brian Selznick (illustrator)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.