This Day in Pop Culture for August 21

Total Eclipse

2017: The Total Eclipse of the Sun

It was on this day in 2017 that many parts of the world experienced a partial solar eclipse while others got a chance to see a total eclipse, a truly once-in-lifetime event. A solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Earth and Sun, blocking out the Sun for a period of time. It’s been 38 years since the last total eclipse was visible from the mainline United States. Today, 14 states were able to view the total eclipse while the rest were able to see a partial eclipse. The path began on the Oregon coast at 9:06 a.m. (PDT) and will finish up over South Carolina. The eclipse lasted for about two minutes and 40 seconds. Bonnie Tyler, known for singing the song, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” sang the famed song during the actual eclipse aboard the Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas. The next total eclipse is said to take place on April 8, 2024 that will come up from Mexico through Texas and on to New York and Maine.

1961: Motown Releases First #1 Hit Song

The quintet who called themselves The Marvels, were encouraged by their teacher to enter a talent show where the top three acts would be offered a trip to audition for the Motown record label. The Marvels came in fourth place. However, the school fought for the foursome to be able to audition as well. They were advised to come back with their own composition. Georgia Dobbins contacted William Garrett, a local musician, for permission to use his song Mr. Postman. He agreed as long as he would receive songwriting credit. He then turned his blues tune into a teenager-approved dop-wop sound. “Please Mr. Postman” was not only the debut single by the Marvels (who by now where going by the title of The Marvelettes) but it also became Motown’s first #1 single record on this day in 1961. The Beatles did their own version of the song in 1963 and the song became another #1 hit when The Carpenters covered the song. Billboard named the song #22 on their list of 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time.


1959: Hawaii Becomes a State

Though statehood bills for Hawaii were introduced to the U.S. Congress as early as 1919, it wasn’t until this day in 1959 that Congress approved the Hawaii Admission Act. Residents voted 94% in support of the bill and President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation making Hawaii the 50th state. It was then that the new state modernized quite quickly and their tourism economy began to grow as well. In 1960, the population of Hawaii was about 632,772 people. Today, it is about twice that amount.

Movies Released

  • Bambi (1942)
  • Blade (1998)
  • Chemical Hearts (2020)
  • Dirty Dancing (1987)
  • God’s Not Dead (2014)
  • Inglorious Basterds (2009)
  • One Hour Photo (2002)
  • The Giver (2014)
  • The One and Only Ivan (2020)

TV Series Debuts

  • Hoops (2020)
  • House of the Dragon (2022)

Famous Birthdays

  • 1906: Friz Freleng (animator)
  • 1936: Wilt Chamberlain (basketball player)
  • 1938: Kenny Rogers (singer)
  • 1943: Hugh Wilson (actor)
  • 1956: Kim Cattrall (actress)

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