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This Day in Pop Culture for July 31

Harry Potter

1980: Harry Potter is Born

Though he is a fictional character, the star of the Harry Potter book series was born on this day in 1980 and first appeared in J.K. Rowling’s book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone which was published in 1997. The book didn’t arrive in the United States until 1998. Hugely popular, the book spawned six sequel ending with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows which was published in 2007. Though there are only seven books in the series, Warner Bros. produced eight Harry Potter movies from 2001 to 2011. Two more books were released in October of 2017 to coincide with the British Library’s Harry Potter exhibition celebrating the 20th anniversary of the book series. Incidentally, Daniel Radcliffe who portrays Harry in the movies, was born on July 23, 1989. (Image: Wikimedia)

1930: ‘The Shadow’ makes His First Appearance on Radio

Hailing from Seattle, Washington, it was Frank Marvin Readrick Jr. who first uttered the famous lines “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!” followed by super creepy laughter for The Shadow radio program. (He’s the same guy who played the reporter for the 1938 radio production of The War of the Worlds.) The Shadow was a collection of serialized dramas originally published as pulp novels. On this day in 1930, the Shadow aired his first radio show which was followed by a magazine series, comic books, comic strips, television, serials, video games, and at least five motion pictures, the most recent being 1994’s starring Alec Baldwin.



  • 1886: Fred Quimby (animation producer)
  • 1932: Ted Cassidy (actor)
  • 1958: Mark Cuban (TV personality)
  • 1962: Wesley Snipes (actor)
  • 1963: Fatboy Slim (singer)
  • 1965: J.K. Rowling (author)
  • 1966: Dean Cain (actor)
  • 1978: Zac Brown (singer)
  • 1979: B.J. Novak (actor)

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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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