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This Day in Pop Culture for July 18

Arachnophobia

1990: ‘Arachnophobia’ Crawls Into Theaters

It was on this day in 1990 that the fear of spiders got its own movie. Released by Hollywood Pictures (aka Disney) Arachnophobia is a black comedy/horror film directed by Frank Marshall who had intended the film to be similar in tone to Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. He once said, “People like to be scared but laughing, like a roller coaster. No one wants to be terrified.” The movie starred Jeff Daniels as a young doctor who moved his family to a small town to set up shop. Ironically, at the same time, a deadly spider hitched a ride into town as well and began mating with the local spiders. Soon, all hell breaks loose when it is discovered that the huge spider’s nest hangs in his barn. John Goodman also stars as one tough exterminator. It’s enough to to anyone squirm. It is said that over 300 Avondale spiders from New Zealand received starring roles. In real life, they’re huge, but basically pretty harmless. The movie won two Saturn Awards for Best Horror Film and Best Actor. (Image: Hollywood Pictures)

(Wikimedia)

1992: One of the First Photos on the Web

Michele de Gernnaro was a graphic artist who worked at CERN. Together with her co-workers, she created the parody pop group, Les Horribles Cernettes which means “The Horrible CERN Girls.” In 1992, one of Gernnaro’s co-wokers, Tim Berners-Lee, asked her for a few scanned photos of the band so he could publish them on a new information system he had invented called the “World Wide Web. The odd  picture shown here was one of the first pictures to posted on the web.

1960: Brenda Lee Earns #1 Hit with ‘I’m Sorry’

Brenda Lee was only 10 years old when she started her music career. Five years later, on this day in 1960, she earned a #1 hit with the song “I’m Sorry.” Known as “Little Miss Dynamite,” Lee had her big break at the age of 11 when she met country star Red Foley shortly before a concert and was invited onstage by him to perform Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya.” Four years later she had a #4 hit, “Sweet Nothin’s” followed by “I’m Sorry.” Amazingly, Lee earned 27 more top-40 hits during the ‘60’s. After her voice matured, Lee’s popularity dwindled, but the country star still makes appearances and people celebrate her during the holidays with her hit, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

(Wikimedia)
(Columbia)

1980: Throwing Stones

Billy Joel’s Glass Houses, containing “You May Be Right,” “Don’t Ask Me Why” and “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me ”tops US charts.

(Wikimedia)

1976: A Perfect Ten

Nadia Comăneci becomes the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 score at the Olympic Games.

(Disney)

1950: ‘Treasure Island’ Premieres

Disney’s live action film, Treasure Island, which starred Bobby Driscoll and Robert Newton, premiered on this day.

Birthdays

  • 1913: Red Skelton (comedian)
  • 1921: John Glenn (astronaut)
  • 1929: Dick Button (Olympic skater)
  • 1940: James Brolin (actor)
  • 1954: Ricky Skaggs (singer)
  • 1964: Wendy Williams (talk show host)
  • 1966: Dan O’Brien (Olympic decathlete)
  • 1967: Vin Diesel (actor)
  • 1980: Kristen Bell (actress)

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Jeffrey Totey View All

I write about arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.

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