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This Day in Pop Culture for December 18

The Pink Panther

1963: Pink Panther’s First Animated Short

Although the Pink Panther was first brought to people’s minds during the opening and closing credits of the comedy film The Pink Panther in 1963, it was on this day in 1964 that the cat first appeared in his own animated short. The Pink Phink featured the panther and “little man” (aka “big nose”) working as painters and arguing if a house should be painted pink or blue. Directed by Friz Freleng and produced by David H. DePatie (aka DePatie-Freleng Enterprises) the short featured the classic music from Henry Mancini. It won the Academy Award for Animated Short in 1964 and was the first of many other “pink” cartoons. A laugh track was added to the shorts when they were brought to television, but was later dropped many years later.

1946: Steven Spielberg is Born

Steven Allan Spielberg was born on this day in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1946. He started his directing career making 8mm adventure films with his childhood friends and charging them a quarter to view the films. At age 13, he won a prize for a 40-minute war film he created Escape to Nowhere which was based on a battle in east Africa. Three years later, he wrote and directed his first independent film, Fireflight which served for inspiration for the later Close Encounters of the Third Kind. His first “big” film was the made-for-TV flick, Duel that starred Dennis Weaver being chased by a mysterious Peterbilt tanker truck. His first big screen film was The Sugarland Express in 1974. Even though it didn’t do well in the theaters, he was still offered the job to direct Jaws in 1975.

2017: ‘Ellen’s Game of Games’ Debuts

Featuring games shown on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show, Ellen’s Game of Games premiered on NBC on this day in 2017. The show starred DeGeneres of course along with Stephen “tWitch” Boss who served as a sidekick announcer. The primetime show ran for four seasons with one of TV’s loudest audiences ever. Games that were featured on the show included “Aw Snap” where two contestants were strapped with a bungee cord attached to each other’s backs; “Blindfolded Musical Chairs” and “Buckin’ Blasters” where contestants would mount giant cannons and shoot portraits of their opponents to win.


  • 1916: Betty Grable (actress)
  • 1950: Leonard Maltin (movie critic)
  • 1954: Ray Liotta (actor)
  • 1963: Brad Pitt (actor)
  • 1964: Steve Austin (wrestler)
  • 1968: Rachel Griffiths (actress)
  • 1975: Sia Furler (singer)
  • 1978: Katie Holmes (actress)
  • 2001: Billie Eilish (singer)

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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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