ABC News
ABC News

15 of Barbara Walters' Most Fascinating People You May Have Forgotten

ABC News
ABC News

A lot of people make news over the span of one year, but only ten of them are deemed worthy to appear on Barbara Walters' 10 Most Fascinating People. For one night almost every December since 1993, Walters profiles and interviews ten individuals who have made an impact over the past 12 months. As the years go by and our brains need room for new names and faces, some of these fascinating people have slipped from all our minds. Here are a select few.

1. JAMES FREED

Along with the likes of Maya Angelou and Hillary Rodham Clinton, Freed was featured in the inaugural edition of the special (when, for the only time, 12 people were featured on the special instead of 10). An award-winning architect who formed the architectural firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners with I.M. Pei, Freed designed many buildings, including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which opened on April 22, 1993.

2. STAN WINSTON

Winston was known for his special effects magic. After winning Oscars for his work on James Cameron and Tim Burton movies, he was fascinating enough for Walters in 1993 thanks to his visual effects work on Jurassic Park, the highest grossing film of all-time until Titanic four years later.

3. LESLIE ABRAMSON

Abramson is a defense attorney who gained nationwide notoriety for exuberantly defending Erik Menendez, the younger of the two Mendendez Brothers who would ultimately both be found guilty of murdering their parents. She appeared in the 1994 edition of the special.

4. OKSANA BAIUL

The Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan story is what most Americans remember about the 1994 Winter Olympics, but a 16-year-old Ukrainian named Oksana Baiul came away with the figure skating gold medal for ladies singles. Baiul overcame meager living conditions, a deceased mother and grandparents, her father's abandonment, and an injury suffered during her final practice to win it all.

5. DR. RICK NELSON

A Muskogee, Oklahoma thoracic surgeon, Nelson was the unlikely hero in the rescue of Brandy Ligons, a 15-year-old trapped under concrete rubble after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

6. OSEOLA MCCARTY

87-year-old Oseola McCarty managed to save $250,000 throughout her life working as a washerwoman in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, but it's what she did with it that caught Walters' attention. McCarty pledged most of her savings to provide scholarships for financially strapped students at the University of Southern Mississippi.

7. SHANNON LUCID

Lucid spent 188 days in space in 1996, breaking the record for most hours in space by a non-Russian and by a woman. She was the only American woman to ever board the Russian space station Mir, which is where she spent 179 of those days. Lucid was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame earlier this year.

8. SIR IAN WILMUT

The embryologist was the head of the research group responsible for Dolly, the world's first cloned sheep, in 1997. Wilmut received an OBE in 1999 for his efforts and was knighted in 2007.

9. JOHNATHAN LEE IVERSON

In 1999, Iverson became the first African-American ringmaster in the 92-year history of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. He was 22 at the time, also making him the youngest master of circus ceremonies ever.

10. SARAH HUGHES

Hughes was another unlikely figure skating champion, winning the 2002 gold for ladies singles in the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Hughes became the only American woman to win a gold medal without winning a World or U.S. senior national title first.

11. CHIEF MOOSE

Charles Moose was chief of the Montgomery County police department in Maryland and the main law enforcement officer in charge of apprehending the Beltway Snipers. The two men who carried out the attacks were caught after almost three tense weeks in October 2002.

12. SHERRON WATKINS

Watkins appeared in 2002 as the former Vice President of Corporate Development at Enron. Earlier that year, she testified to Congress about Enron's accounting irregularities, and was acknowledged as an important whistle-blower.

13. TED ALLEN, KYAN DOUGLAS, THOM FILICIA, CARSON KRESSLEY, AND JAI RODRIGUEZ

These five men were the hosts of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, a reality show where they would perform makeovers for style-averse Average Joes. It premiered in 2003 and quickly became the most watched show in Bravo Network history.

14. TOM ANDERSON AND CHRIS DEWOLFE

Three years after Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page made Barbara Walters' fascination cut, Anderson and DeWolfe, creators of MySpace, appeared on the 2007 installment. "MySpace Tom" and DeWolfe had sold their website to News Corp. two years earlier and left the company two years after the broadcast.

15. THOMAS BEATIE

Beatie became famous for giving birth to three children through artificial insemination, years after undergoing sex reassignment surgery. Before being featured on Fascinating People, Beatie talked to Walters in an ABC News special devoted exclusively to him, titled Journey of a Pregnant Man.

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Zach Hyman, HBO
10 Bizarre Sesame Street Fan Theories
Zach Hyman, HBO
Zach Hyman, HBO

Sesame Street has been on the air for almost 50 years, but there’s still so much we don’t know about this beloved children’s show. What kind of bird is Big Bird? What’s the deal with Mr. Noodle? And how do you actually get to Sesame Street? Fans have filled in these gaps with frequently amusing—and sometimes bizarre—theories about how the cheerful neighborhood ticks. Read them at your own risk, because they’ll probably ruin the Count for you.

1. THE THEME SONG CONTAINS SECRET INSTRUCTIONS.

According to a Reddit theory, the Sesame Street theme song isn’t just catchy—it’s code. The lyrics spell out how to get to Sesame Street quite literally, giving listeners clues on how to access this fantasy land. It must be a sunny day (as the repeated line goes), you must bring a broom (“sweeping the clouds away”), and you have to give Oscar the Grouch the password (“everything’s a-ok”) to gain entrance. Make sure to memorize all the steps before you attempt.

2. SESAME STREET IS A REHAB CENTER FOR MONSTERS.

Sesame Street is populated with the stuff of nightmares. There’s a gigantic bird, a mean green guy who hides in the trash, and an actual vampire. These things should be scary, and some fans contend that they used to be. But then the creatures moved to Sesame Street, a rehabilitation area for formerly frightening monsters. In this community, monsters can’t roam outside the perimeters (“neighborhood”) as they recover. They must learn to educate children instead of eating them—and find a more harmless snack to fuel their hunger. Hence Cookie Monster’s fixation with baked goods.

3. BIG BIRD IS AN EXTINCT MOA.

Big Bird is a rare breed. He’s eight feet tall and while he can’t really fly, he can rollerskate. So what kind of bird is he? Big Bird’s species has been a matter of contention since Sesame Street began: Big Bird insists he’s a lark, while Oscar thinks he’s more of a homing pigeon. But there’s convincing evidence that Big Bird is an extinct moa. The moa were 10 species of flightless birds who lived in New Zealand. They had long necks and stout torsos, and reached up to 12 feet in height. Scientists claim they died off hundreds of years ago, but could one be living on Sesame Street? It makes sense, especially considering his best friend looks a lot like a woolly mammoth.

4. OSCAR’S TRASH CAN IS A TARDIS.

Oscar’s home doesn’t seem very big. But as The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland revealed, his trash can holds much more than moldy banana peels. The Grouch has chandeliers and even an interdimensional portal down there! There’s only one logical explanation for this outrageously spacious trash can: It’s a Doctor Who-style TARDIS.

5. IT’S ALL A RIFF ON PLATO.

Dust off your copy of The Republic, because this is about to get philosophical. Plato has a famous allegory about a cave, one that explains enlightenment through actual sunlight. He describes a prisoner who steps out of the cave and into the sun, realizing his entire understanding of the world is wrong. When he returns to the cave to educate his fellow prisoners, they don’t believe him, because the information is too overwhelming and contradictory to what they know. The lesson is that education is a gradual learning process, one where pupils must move through the cave themselves, putting pieces together along the way. And what better guide is there than a merry kids’ show?

According to one Reddit theory, Sesame Street builds on Plato’s teachings by presenting a utopia where all kinds of creatures live together in harmony. There’s no racism or suffocating gender roles, just another sunny (see what they did there?) day in the neighborhood. Sesame Street shows the audience what an enlightened society looks like through simple songs and silly jokes, spoon-feeding Plato’s “cave dwellers” knowledge at an early age.

6. MR. NOODLE IS IN HELL.

Can a grown man really enjoy taking orders from a squeaky red puppet? And why does Mr. Noodle live outside a window in Elmo’s house anyway? According to this hilariously bleak theory, no, Mr. Noodle does not like dancing for Elmo, but he has to, because he’s in hell. Think about it: He’s seemingly trapped in a surreal place where he can’t talk, but he has to do whatever a fuzzy monster named Elmo says. Definitely sounds like hell.

7. ELMO IS ANIMAL’S SON.

Okay, so remember when Animal chases a shrieking woman out of the college auditorium in The Muppets Take Manhattan? (If you don't, see above.) One fan thinks Animal had a fling with this lady, which produced Elmo. While the two might have similar coloring, this theory completely ignores Elmo’s dad Louie, who appears in many Sesame Street episodes. But maybe Animal is a distant cousin.

8. COOKIE MONSTER HAS AN EATING DISORDER.

Cookie Monster loves to cram chocolate chip treats into his mouth. But as eagle-eyed viewers have observed, he doesn’t really eat the cookies so much as chew them into messy crumbs that fly in every direction. This could indicate Cookie Monster has a chewing and spitting eating disorder, meaning he doesn’t actually consume food—he just chews and spits it out. There’s a more detailed (and dark) diagnosis of Cookie Monster’s symptoms here.

9. THE COUNT EATS CHILDREN.

Can a vampire really get his kicks from counting to five? One of the craziest Sesame Street fan theories posits that the Count lures kids to their death with his number games. That’s why the cast of children on Sesame Street changes so frequently—the Count eats them all after teaching them to add. The adult cast, meanwhile, stays pretty much the same, implying the grown-ups are either under a vampiric spell or looking the other way as the Count does his thing.

10. THE COUNT IS ALSO A PIMP.

Alright, this is just a Dave Chappelle joke. But the Count does have a cape.

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HighSpeedInternet.com
The Most Popular Netflix Show in Every Country
HighSpeedInternet.com
HighSpeedInternet.com
most popular Netflix show in each country map
HighSpeedInternet.com
most popular Netflix show in each country map key
HighSpeedInternet.com

If you're bored with everything in your Netflix queue, why not look to the top shows around the world for a recommendation?

HighSpeedInternet.com recently used Google Trends data to create a map of the most popular show streaming on Netflix in every country in 2018. The best-loved show in the world is the dystopian thriller 3%, claiming the number one spot in eight nations. The show is the first Netflix original made in Portuguese, so it's no surprise that Portugal and Brazil are among the eight countries that helped put it at the top of the list.

Coming in second place is South Korea's My Love from the Star, which seven countries deemed their favorite show. The romantic drama revolves around an alien who lands on Earth and falls in love with a mortal. The English-language show with the most clout is 13 Reasons Why, coming in at number three around the world—which might be proof that getting addicted to soapy teen dramas is a universal experience.

Pot comedy Disjointed is Canada's favorite show, which probably isn't all that surprising given the nation's recent ruling to legalize marijuana. Perhaps coming as even less of a shock is the phenomenon of Stranger Things taking the top spot in the U.S. Favorites like Black Mirror, Sherlock, and The Walking Dead also secured the love of at least one country.

Out of the hundreds of shows on the streaming platform, only 47 are a favorite in at least one country in 2018. So no hard feelings, Gypsy.

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