This Day in Pop Culture for August 29


1997: Netflix is Founded

In 1991, Reed Hastings became the co-founder of Pure Software which created a debugging tool for Unix/C engineers. Marc Randolph, a co-founder of a mail-order company, MicroWarehouse, served as the marketing director for the company. Together, they created the movie-rental-by-mail company, Netflix which was founded on this day in 1997. There is a story that Hastings likes to tell about how he came up with the idea of Netflix after he was fined $40 from Blockbuster Video for his late return of the movie Apollo 13. However, this was just a story to explain how Netflix worked. Customers could rental a DVD from Netflix and keep it for as long as they liked. When they were finished with it, they would just pop the disc back in the mail and in the next day or so, the next movie on their list would arrive. They opened the online DVD rental store with 30 employees and 925 movie titles, which was just about all of the DVDs created at that time. In 2008, Netflix began its streaming service with a partnership with the cable channel Starz which ultimately became a deathblow to Blockbuster and other video stores. Today Netflix offers about 3,000 different movie titles. However, Netflix still offers its original DVD rental service which in 2017 still had 3.3 million customers. This service should still be around until at least 2022. (Image: Netflix)


1922: First Radio Advertisement Commercial

WNBC signed on for the first time on March 2, 1922, as WEAF and it was the first radio station in New York City. WEAF broadcast what it later claimed to be the first radio advertisement, but that fact appears to be debatable. It was actually a 10-minute long talk, which seems more similar to an infomercial than a regular radio ad. The “talk” in question promoted an apartment development in Jackson Heights near a new elevated train line. WEAF left the air in 1988.

1958: Michael Jackson is Born

It was on this day in 1958 that Michael Joseph, the eighth child in the Jackson family, was born in Gary, Indiana. Michael’s brothers Jackie, Tito and Jermaine had been performing together for some time before Michael and his other brother, Marlon, join them in 1964. They became known as the Jackson 5. A year later, Michael shared lead vocals with Jermaine. The group’s first single, “Big Boy,” was released in 1968.

In 1972, Michael began branching out with his own solo album Got to be There and In 1978, Jackson played the Scarecrow in the movie version of The Wiz with Diana Ross. It is said that Jackson’s 1979 album, Off the Wall helped to propel him from “bubble gum” rock and roll into a more serious singer.

The Jackson 5

In 1982, Jackson released the album Thriller along with 14-minute long music video directed by John Landis. The album is currently the best-selling album of all time. It has been estimated that 65 million copies of the album have been sold worldwide. In 1985, Jackson co-wrote the fundraising song “We are the World” with Lionel Richie. In 1986, Jackson starred in Captain EO, a 3D short movie created for Disneyland theme park. Throughout his lifetime, Jackson won 13 Grammy Awards, 26 American Music Awards and scored 13 #1 singles in the U.S. Despite all of his achievements, Jackson was unable to escape public scrutiny. From his multiple plastic surgeries to child abuse claims to his outlandish spending habits, Jackson was forever being judged for odd behavior. Even so, he has been credited with supporting 39 different charities. On June 25, 2009, Jackson died of acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication after suffering a cardiac arrest which was during the time that he was preparing for his comeback concert series, This Is It. His death was ruled a homicide, and his personal physician, Conrad Murray, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.


  • 1915: Ingrid Bergman (actress)
  • 1917: Isabel Sanford (actress)
  • 1923: Richard Attenborough (actor)
  • 1938: Elliott Gould (actor)
  • 1939: Joel Schumacher (film director)
  • 1941: Robin Leach (TV show host)
  • 1959: Rebecca De Mornay (actress)
  • 1986: Lea Michele (actress)
  • 1993: Liam Payne (singer)

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