35 Things Turning 35 in 2017


If you were born in 1982, you're in good company! Here's our annual list celebrating 35 things (people, companies, movies, books, etc.) turning 35 this year.


Each year, TIME Magazine names one person who has been most influential in the news. For 1982, TIME picked the personal computer. It was the first time the magazine chose a non-human subject for the award, and it was a prescient pick. At the time, "personal computers" included a broad array of machines from the Commodore 64 (released in 1982) through the IBM PC to the Apple II. TIME wrote (emphasis added):

"It is easy enough to look at the world around us and conclude that the computer has not changed things all that drastically. But one can conclude from similar observations that the earth is flat, and that the sun circles it every 24 hours. Although everything seems much the same from one day to the next, changes under the surface of life's routines are actually occurring at almost unimaginable speed."

Thirty-five years later, it's clear that TIME's pick was spot on.


Thriller defined pop music in the 1980s, and is the best-selling studio album in U.S. history. It came at a crucial time for pop music, spawning seven Hot 100 top 10 hits—and the album only contained nine tracks in total. The one to rule them all was the eponymous "Thriller," and its video (above) debuted late in 1983.

In 1982, it was not at all clear that a black artist could become the King of Pop. As Billboard reported:

"A seemingly impenetrable wall had been erected between the black listening audience and its white counterpart; for the most part, neither black kids nor white kids had any idea what the other was listening to. And just as it seemed things couldn't get more difficult for a black artist hoping for across the board appeal, something new and scary appeared on the scene: MTV."

Michael Jackson's Thriller is the record that bridged the divide. Released on November 30, it debuted at number 11 on the Billboard chart released on December 25, and over the following year slowly rose until it dominated the world. MTV initially refused to air videos from Thriller, but as the single "Billie Jean" gained radio popularity, MTV gave in and showed the video (and then "Beat It" and then "Thriller"). The rest is music history.

For more, check out 21 Thrilling Facts About Michael Jackson's Thriller.


On July 2, truck driver Larry Walters tied 42 helium-filled weather balloons to a Sears lawn chair, plopped his butt down in it, and took to the skies of California. He was armed with a pellet gun, an altimeter, and some snacks. He also brought a CB radio, but his glasses slipped off his face as he ascended in the chair dubbed Inspiration I.

Walters had wanted to be a pilot, but poor eyesight prevented him from achieving that pursuit. That didn't stop him from taking flight on his own. When his chair ascended, it went farther than he expected, soaring to 16,000 feet and freaking out two passing airplane pilots, one of whom thought he was holding a real gun.

Walters was packing heat in order to descend. He popped the balloons using the pellet gun, and the falling debris tangled with power lines, disrupting power to a neighborhood in Long Beach. He was arrested by the LAPD upon landing, fined $1500 by the FAA, and appeared on both The Tonight Show and Late Night With David Letterman, which also premiered in 1982.

"Lawnchair Larry" Walters flew from San Pedro, California, all the way to Long Beach. He told the Los Angeles Times: "I had this dream for 20 years, and if I hadn't done it, I would have ended up in the funny farm."


On May 6, 1983, a little musical debuted off-off-Broadway at the WPA Theater. It was called Little Shop of Horrors. By July the show moved to Orpheum Theater (off-Broadway), where it played 2209 times.

The show was quickly adapted in a 1986 feature film, which was a hit in its own right. The duo behind the songs—Alan Menken and Howard Ashman—went on to write songs for Disney's The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin.

Lest we forget how far back this goes, the stage production was itself loosely based on Roger Corman's 1960 film The Little Shop of Horrors, which is delightfully available for free viewing on Wikipedia.


Actor Paul Newman had a recipe for salad dressing that spawned a philanthropic food empire. Newman and his writer friend A.E. Hotchner started by filling empty wine bottles with the salad dressing in 1980. The homemade dressing was so popular among friends that it was launched as a retail product in 1982.

Presented with a $300,000 profit in his first year, Newman decided to give all proceeds to charity, and the Newman's Own brand has continued to do that ever since. In 1983, they launched their first pasta sauce, and eventually moved on to make popcorn, salsa, and lemonade in the early years. Within its first decade of sales, Newman's Own had given more than $50 million to charity.

For more on the history of Newman's Own, check out Eddie Deezen's write-up at Neatorama.


Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was released on June 11, and promptly smashed the box office record set by Star Wars, making it the highest-grossing film of all time (until Jurassic Park came along, anyway). It is the ultimate film about childhood alienation, and was inspired in part by Spielberg's feelings after his parents' divorce.

Another important E.T. development in 1982 was the Atari game, released just before Christmas. Its development was rushed in order to meet the holiday deadline, and the resulting game was a disappointment to many fans. Surplus E.T. cartridges (along with other Atari games) were infamously dumped in a New Mexico landfill and later partially excavated. If digging a copy out of the trash isn't your idea of fun, you can play the game online.

For more on the movie, check out 20 Things You Might Not Know About E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. For the game, we've got both The Legend of the Lost Atari E.T. Games and The Story Behind Atari's Infamous E.T. Video Game.


David Letterman made his late-night debut on Monday, February 1. NBC's Late Night With David Letterman was his first evening show, and his first guest was Bill Murray. While Letterman famously moved around among the big networks, his 33-year career included a reported 6028 total late-night broadcasts.

The first face to appear onscreen in Letterman's Late Night debut (and later Late Show) was Calvert DeForest, who played Larry "Bud" Melman. Letterman debuted his first Top Ten List on September of 1985. An early review by AP TV writer Fred Rothenberg included this very perceptive bit:

"The comic genius of Letterman is finding humor in the mundane and incongruous. On Tuesday night, he brought out Dr. Norman Hoffman for 'Limited Perspective,' a dentist’s view of the movie 'Reds.'

Dr. Hoffman said the actors’ teeth were not convincing as pre-Russian Revolution dentures. 'Pretty much ruined the film for you, huh?' wondered Letterman."

For more on Letterman's late night career, check out Top 10 Facts About The Early Days of Late Night With David Letterman, 11 of Bill Murray's Greatest Letterman Appearances, The David Letterman Show No One Watched, and 23 Things That David Letterman Invented.


The Coca-Cola Company avoided mixing its Coke brand with non-sugar-sweetened drinks for decades. Although Tab and Diet Pepsi were released in the early 1960s, it wasn't until July 9, 1982 that Diet Coke was introduced to test markets. It rolled out nationwide in 1983.

Diet Coke was a complex drink, relying on an entirely new formula sweetened with aspartame. It bore little relationship (chemically, at least) with regular Coke, which was a risk. But it paid off, as Diet Coke became the best-selling low-calorie soft drink in the U.S. by the end of 1983. By 1984, Diet Coke was the third overall soft drink, behind only Coca-Cola and Pepsi. It stayed that way until 2010, when it displaced Pepsi in the #2 spot.

Diet Coke's launch slogan? "Just for the taste of it."


On September 30, NBC welcomed TV viewers into a Boston bar "Where everybody knows your name." That line, of course, came from the show's iconic theme song by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo.

The first season of Cheers was a ratings disaster, with the show ranking 77th out of 100 shows, according to Nielsen. But NBC liked the show and renewed it—which was a smart move, because it became a smash hit in later years. By the end of its 11-season run, it garnered 26 million viewers each week.

Cheers was a major influence for TV writers, helping inspire writers who created everything from Scrubs to Parks and Recreation. It also spawned the successful spin-off Frasier, which meant Kelsey Grammer played Frasier Crane for two decades.

For more Cheers joy, check out 30 Things You Might Not Know About Cheers.

(Another notable TV series that debuted in 1982 was Knight Rider. Unfortunately it doesn't get its own entry on this list!)


On December 2, retired dentist Dr. Barney Clark became the first human to receive a permanent artificial heart. It was called the Jarvik-7 (after lead inventor Dr. Robert Jarvik), and was implanted by Dr. William DeVries. The heart required a 400-pound pneumatic compressor to support it, which meant Clark was hospital-bound for the remaining 112 days of his life.

Clark knew that his lifespan was limited, but the artificial heart was his only option—he wasn't healthy enough to be on the transplant list for a human heart. Prior to the Jarvik-7 surgery, doctors estimated that Clark only had a few weeks to live if no intervention was made. In his life with the artificial heart, he lived to celebrate his 39th anniversary with his wife, Una Loy. He died on March 23, 1983.


On September 29, Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist Scott Fahlman officially proposed the first emoticon. At 11:44 a.m., he posted this message to a bulletin board:

19-Sep-82 11:44 Scott E Fahlman :-)

From: Scott E Fahlman

I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers:


Read it sideways. Actually, it is probably more economical to mark things that are NOT jokes, given current trends. For this, use:


The term "emoticon" came later, based on the words "emotion" and "icon." Fahlman wrote a detailed account of the emoticon, noting:

"Given the nature of the community, a good many of the posts were humorous (or attempted humor). The problem was that if someone made a sarcastic remark, a few readers would fail to get the joke, and each of them would post a lengthy diatribe in response. That would stir up more people with more responses, and soon the original thread of the discussion was buried. In at least one case, a humorous remark was interpreted by someone as a serious safety warning."

Good thing we solved that problem forever. :)


On January 27, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat debuted on Broadway, then ran at the Royale Theatre through September 4, 1983. Featuring music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and book and lyrics by Tim Rice, the production was the culmination of work started by the duo way back in 1967. (Well, to be technical, their work was based on the story of Joseph from the Book of Genesis.)

In 1967, Lloyd Webber and Rice (then aged 23 and 19) wrote a 15-minute version of Dreamcoat for an Easter concert at Lloyd Webber's younger brother's school. Over the years, they just kept adding to it, recording a concept album in 1969, and taking the show on the road for college performances in the early 1970s. By 1982 the show finally reached Broadway.


In December, Chuck Geschke and John Warnock founded Adobe Systems, Incorporated. Their focus was on getting text and images to translate from computer screens to print reliably. By 1983, they debuted their "PostScript" technology, which enabled desktop publishing by codifying a common language for both printers and computer layouts. (Apple bought a 15-percent stake in the company in 1983 and promptly licensed PostScript, solidifying its place in the desktop publishing revolution with its as-yet-unreleased Macintosh.)

In later years, Adobe went on to create Adobe Photoshop, the PDF, Adobe Illustrator, and a pile of other important software applications for creative professionals.


On September 15, USA Today first appeared on newsstands, to howls of protest from the old guard of the newspaper world. From the beginning, USA Today was a national paper, not pegged to a single local market like other newspaper mainstays—and that ended up being its strength.

The other core strength of USA Today was its "new journalism of hope," a phrase coined by founder Allen Neuharth. On its very first cover, it used the headline "Miracle: 327 survive, 55 die" to describe a horrific airplane crash. Truly a newspaper for the modern (TV-centric) era, it was filled with color, and quickly became a serious contender. As of September 2015, USA Today had the fifth-highest paid print circulation among U.S. newspapers.


On October 1, Sony released the first home CD player in Japan, dubbed the CDP-101. Sony also collaborated with CBS to issue 50 albums on CD, featuring everything from Michael Jackson's Off the Wall to Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra. The first CD released was Billy Joel's 52nd Street.

That first player cost more than $2200 in today's dollars, but it included the signature loading tray that virtually all CD players used afterwards. The whole endeavor was based largely on earlier laserdisc technology (which was still in use at the time to provide LP-sized movies to home cinema enthusiasts), but of course with a radically smaller size and an audio-only experience. Those early CDs cost around $35 in today's dollars.

It took years for CDs to overtake cassette tapes and vinyl LPs. Dire Straits's album Brothers in Arms, released in 1985, was the first album to sell one million copies in CD form.


The history of computing is full of self-replicating programs, making it hard to point to the very first computer virus. It comes down to how you define a virus, really. But for personal computer users, Rich Skrenta's "Elk Cloner" is the first computer virus in the wild. Skrenta was only 15 years old when he created it.

Elk Cloner installed itself on Apple II floppy disks and was originally designed as a prank. While distributing floppies containing games or other programs, Skrenta had previously inserted text messages of his own. When his friends didn't like that (and stopped trading with him), he wrote a clever self-replicating program to quietly spread his messages to floppies he never touched. By infecting the "boot sector" of a disk, Elk Cloner could insert itself into other floppies. It didn't do much, nor was it particularly malicious. As The Sydney Morning Herald reported:

"The prank, though annoying to victims, is relatively harmless compared with the viruses of today. Every 50th time someone booted an infected disk, a poem he wrote would appear, saying in part, 'It will get on all your disks; it will infiltrate your chips.'

Skrenta started circulating the virus in early 1982 among friends at his school and at a local computer club. Years later, he would continue to hear stories of other victims, including a sailor during the first Gulf War nearly a decade later. (Why that sailor was still using an Apple II, Skrenta does not know.)"


Ciabatta bread was invented in July, 1982 by a baker in Adria, Italy (near Venice). Here's the situation: French baguettes had invaded the Italian sandwich industry, and something had to be done. Italian bakers toiled to create a new bread based on regional recipes.

Arnaldo Cavallari finally invented what he called Ciabatta Polesano, and the sandwich world was never the same. Cavallari told The Guardian:

"'I invented the new ciabatta,’ says Cavallari, loud and proud. ‘I used a very soft, wet dough, with a lot of water—very watery. It's the best bread, of course. All my breads are made with natural things, so it tastes good. I am touching the sky I am so happy that it is so good, that it has done so well everywhere. But when I had invented it, I looked at it and I thought, 'What can I call it?' Then I thought that it is similar to a slipper, so I thought 'ciabatta.' For copyright, I registered the name ciabatta along with Polesano, the name of the area where I work. In 1989, I registered the name 'Ciabatta Italian.' It's the best bread.’"


When Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal graced theaters on December 17, it was a minor miracle. Full of creatures—the large ones requiring six people to operate them—the film was dark, weird, and beloved by fans.

Henson recruited longtime collaborator Frank Oz to direct the movie, and worked with illustrator Brian Froud to create the film's unique world. An early test screening revealed audience's complaints about the first cut: In the original edit, the Skeksis language was completely indecipherable, and it was that way on purpose. Henson and company figured that the audience could figure out what was going on by context clues. Forced into a corner by test audiences, the team proceeded to shoehorn new (intelligible) Skeksis dialogue, as well as some explanatory voiceovers to help audiences sort out what was happening. (A similar test screening/voiceover addition occurred with Blade Runner the same year.)

After the studio decided not to spend much promoting the film (in part because of lukewarm test screenings), Henson bet everything on The Dark Crystal. He spent $15 million of his own money to buy the film back from its studio, at the risk of going broke. Fortunately, the film brought in $40 million. Not a bad investment after all.

Also, good news! The Abandoned Dark Crystal Sequel Is Being Turned Into a Comic Book.


On June 25, Ridley Scott's Blade Runner hit theaters and began reverberating through pop culture—despite being a flop at the box office. Based on Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the film features Harrison Ford in a dystopian future version of Los Angeles, hunting for rogue "replicants." It combined film noir with science fiction, and set the tone for later classics like The Matrix. It also had a corny tacked-on voiceover track to help audiences understand it ... which was later removed in the Director's Cut.

Fun fact: the terms "Blade Runner" and "replicant" never appeared in the original novel.


On June 4, audiences learned the signature cry of Captain James T. Kirk: "Khaaaaaaaan!" Bearing the tagline "At the end of the universe lies the beginning of vengeance," Star Trek II was a tale of revenge that actually began on the original Star Trek series in the 1967 episode "Space Seed."

Featuring a standout performance by Ricardo Montalbán and special effects by Industrial Light & Magic, Star Trek II made it clear that Trek could continue as a movie franchise. Just five years later, Star Trek: The Next Generation brought the franchise back to TV.


Toyota introduced its Camry line on March 24. It was designed to be a classy medium-sized car featuring a fuel-efficient FF design (Front-engine Front-drive). The Camry existed to fill out Toyota's lineup of economical cars, including the Tercel and Celica. The name "Camry" was based on the Japanese kanmuri, meaning "crown."

The first Camrys to reach the U.S. came in 1983, and by 1985 it was one of Toyota's main products by volume. Through a series of redesigns, buyers eventually made the Camry the bestselling car in the U.S. for four years in a row. The popularity of certain model years led to them appearing on the "most stolen vehicles" lists over the years; the 1991 Toyota Camry often pops up on such lists, though various Honda models typically beat it.


The Commodore 64 is the best-selling personal computer in history, selling more than 30 million units. It was a serious player in the PC market, bearing a sticker price of just $595—for a computer with 64 kilobytes of RAM! (Their early tagline: "What nobody else can give you at twice the price.")

Part of the reason for the C64's success was Commodore's strategy to sell it without extras at big-box stores like K-mart. The machine was packaged without a floppy drive, cassette drive, display, printer, or anything else a typical user might need. By selling all those items as add-ons, Commodore allowed vendors to sell the main computer on the cheap and mark up the extras. It worked. The C64 and its variants continued to be produced and sold for a decade, making it one of the longest-lived PCs in history.


The enigmatic film Koyaanisqatsi was first screened at the Santa Fe Film Festival on April 28, 1982, though it wasn't widely released until the following year. It's hard to describe the film with any single category; some feel it's a documentary, others prefer just to call it a "nonfiction film," as it contains no narration, no dialogue, no actors, and only the briefest writing at the beginning (defining the term "Koyaanisqatsi," from the Hopi language). This is a film that does a lot of showing and very little telling, and its effect on an audience is often profound.

Koyaanisqatsi was the product of seven years of filming, with extensive work by cinematographer Ron Fricke and director Godfrey Reggio to capture both the natural and manmade environments, often in timelapse or slow-motion. One of its most memorable sequences was the demolition of the Pruitt–Igoe housing projects in St. Louis, filmed all the way back in 1975. It was a long slog to gather the footage, assemble it, and finally get it into the world—this odd art film even required the backing of Francis Ford Coppola to get a wide release.

In the decades since its release, Koyaanisqatsi has become incredibly influential among filmmakers both for its visual style and its signature score by Philip Glass (part of which was later reused in the Watchmen film adaptation).


Alice Walker's book The Color Purple was written as an epistolary novel (a series of letters). It went on to win both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award in 1983, and was quickly adapted into both a musical and a movie.

The plot centers on Celie, a 14-year-old girl who starts writing letters to God. When she writes, she is pregnant with her second child by her father. It's a grim and important tale, spanning decades, dealing with racism, rape, homosexuality, and the legacy of abuse in the American South.


1982 was a big year for musical debuts. Here's a partial list:

Sonic Youth - Sonic Youth - March

Billy Idol - Billy Idol - July 16

R.E.M. - Chronic Town EP - August 24

Janet Jackson - Janet Jackson - September 21

Lionel Richie - Lionel Richie - October 6

Other notable albums released that year included Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska, Duran Duran's Rio, and Prince's 1999.


On November 10, 1982 (Veterans Day), the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. opened to the public. Created by then-20-year-old student Maya Lin, it was immediately nicknamed "The Wall," as it's a long, V-shaped granite wall inscribed with the names of Americans who died in the Vietnam War.

The memorial is viscerally powerful, as visitors consult the 57,661 names listed, looking for friends and loved ones. It's common for mourners to bring a bit of paper and trace a name from the wall.


The Florida Keys connect to the mainland by a single road (U.S. Route 1). On April 18, the U.S. Border Patrol set up a checkpoint on that road and began searching cars that left the Keys, reportedly in a bid to prevent illegal immigration. Key West residents didn't like this one bit, in part because it created incredible traffic jams (reportedly 17 miles long) and discouraged tourism.

In return, Key West mayor Dennis Wardlow presided over a tongue-in-cheek protest of the checkpoint. Wardlow announced that Key West seceded from the Union on April 23. He retitled himself Prime Minister and declared that Key West was now a sovereign nation called the Conch Republic. Finally, he commenced "war" on the United States, a symbolic act that involved whacking a guy dressed in a U.S. Navy uniform with loaves of stale Cuban bread. One minute into the war, Wardlow surrendered, demanding $1 billion in foreign aid "to rebuild our nation after the long Federal siege." The roadblock was soon removed, but the $1 billion never arrived.


On June 21, Princess Diana gave birth to her first son with Prince Charles. William was born in St. Mary's Hospital in London, making him the first heir to the British throne to be born in a hospital. (Previously, royal babies were delivered at the Palace.)

Prince Charles and Princess Diana brought their baby boy out of the hospital, allowing onlookers a glimpse. On June 28, his name was announced as William Arthur Philip Louis. People Magazine reported:

"... Prince Charles was at his young wife’s side throughout the delivery—the only British royal male in modern times to attend the birth of an offspring. (By contrast, Prince Philip played squash during Charles’ birth in 1948.)"


On May 2, The Weather Channel debuted on cable, offering exactly what you'd expect: weather—24 hours of weather, seven days a week. This was a huge innovation in 1982, when viewers were used to waiting for weather reports to arrive at scheduled times throughout other broadcasts. Advertised as "Weather on your schedule," The Weather Channel became a mainstay of cable systems. As The New York Times reported in 1993, "To be sure, the network's best performances come with the worst weather."


Roald Dahl's book The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) arrived in 1982. It's the story of the orphan Sophie, who lives in an orphanage and encounters the BFG, who takes her to Giant Country.

The book celebrates wordplay, including the quote, "Don't gobblefunk around with words." It coins piles of whimsical words, including snozzcumber, frobscottle, whizpopping, and phizz-whizzing. Eventually Dahl's imaginative language (appearing in many of his books) was collected in a dictionary.


On January 10, 1982, Dwight Clark made football history with Joe Montana. With 58 seconds remaining in the NFC Championship Game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys, Clark jumped to catch a pass from Montana, earning the 49ers the win. That win launched the team to Super Bowl XVI against the Cincinnati Bengals, which the 49ers proceeded to win. Clark's fingertip grab became known as "The Catch."

The San Francisco Chronicle reported:

"The six most important yards in 49er history were gained in a way that was awfully close to poetic. Even a cynic would have to admit that much.

To the untrained eye, it appeared Montana was wandering right, hoping more than devising, maybe even looking for a way out. But by that time, with Montana and the 49ers proceeding deep into their first—and most improbable—Super Bowl run, everybody had learned to admire and not question."

Watch this NFL video to relive "The Catch."


Alan Moore's comic V for Vendetta was first published starting in March 1982, as part of the British anthology book Warrior. It starts on Guy Fawkes Night in an imagined totalitarian 1997 London, when a masked anarchist known as V blows up the Houses of Parliament.

V for Vendetta was one of many comics in the book and was printed in black and white. But when Warrior ceased publication in 1985, Moore and illustrator David Lloyd still had several issues worth of unpublished material. In 1988, DC Comics published a 10-issue run with the original comic (now in color), plus the unpublished material, wrapping up the story.

The whole bundle was eventually printed as a trade paperback, featuring some additional material and the essay Behind the Painted Smile by Moore. The 2005 film adaptation was hugely influential, leading to an uptick in Guy Fawkes mask purchases. "Remember, remember the fifth of November ..."


In 1980, after Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back debuted in theaters, George Lucas hired audio engineers to design a new theater at Lucas's Skywalker Ranch. The theater would be designed to mix sound, and it was to be the best of its kind. To make the system work, the room itself had to be designed properly, and the loudspeakers in the room had to be properly installed and tuned.

Over the following years, visitors to Skywalker Ranch commented on the great sound in its theaters, and asked whether this approach could be replicated in commercial movie theaters. That's where THX comes in. Lucas and his team developed the THX Cinema Certification specifications, which are effectively a series of technical requirements for theaters. In late 1982, Dr. James A. Moorer developed "Deep Note," also known as "the THX sound" (see video above), which would play in THX-certified theaters before approved presentations.

The first film to use the THX system was Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, released in 1983. But Deep Note and the technology behind THX came out in 1982, giving theaters a bit of time to retrofit before the next Star Wars film.

Incidentally, the name THX is a reference to Lucas's film THX 1138.


1982 is the birth year of all sorts of actors, entertainers, and sports stars. Here's a partial list:

Eddie Redmayne - January 6

Kate Middleton - January 9

Dwyane Wade - January 17

Adam Lambert - January 29

Jessica Biel - March 3

Landon Donovan - March 4

Seth Rogen - April 15

Kelly Clarkson - April 24

Kirsten Dunst - April 30

Lizzy Caplan - June 30

Priyanka Chopra - July 18

Elisabeth Moss - July 24

Anna Paquin - July 24

Misty Copeland - September 10

LeAnn Rimes - August 28

Lil Wayne (Dwayne Michael Carter Jr.) - September 27

Dan Stevens - October 10

Anne Hathaway - November 12

Nicki Minaj - December 8


On October 1, 1982, Epcot Center opened in Walt Disney World. EPCOT originally stood for Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow, and it was envisioned as a planned city, rather than a theme park; as a theme park, its acronym name was simply replaced with the word "Epcot." Regardless, when it opened, Epcot was the most expensive private construction project in the world. Opening festivities included a dedication ceremony for Spaceship Earth (the big bumpy sphere).

The original EPCOT concept was utopian, but Disney didn't live to see it realized. Instead, we got a pretty sweet theme park where "you can drink in 11 countries without ever leaving Florida," as our own Stacy Conradt wrote.

See also: Watch Walt Disney's Original EPCOT Vision (1966) and 32 Things You Should Know About EPCOT.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
40 Years Later: Watch The Johnny Cash Christmas Show
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Over the course of his career, Johnny Cash made a series of Christmas TV specials and recorded a string of Christmas records. In this 1977 TV performance, Cash is in great form. He brings special guests Roy Clark, June Carter Cash, The Carter Family, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison ("Pretty Woman" starts around 23:50), Carl Perkins, and the Statler Brothers. Tune in for Christmas as we celebrated it 40 years ago—with gigantic shirt collars, wavy hair, and bow ties. So many bow ties.

30 Cities Around the World That No Longer Exist

An old Norwegian legend tells of a village that was left utterly depopulated by the Black Death, forgotten, and soon overgrown by moss and trees. Years later, a hunter missed a shot and his arrow hit the bell of what is now known as Hedal Stave Church, rediscovering this abandoned village.

Whatever the truth (or otherwise) of this legend, history is filled with cities that emerged and then were abandoned or forgotten. Some have been rediscovered, and others are still out there, waiting to be found.


Mount Vesuvius
Paull Young, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

When Vesuvius exploded in 79 CE, its most famous victims were the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, but other towns and villas were buried as well, places such as Boscoreale or Oplontis. The one with the oddest story though is Stabiae. Pliny the Elder recorded that the town had been destroyed by Sulla during the Social War in 89 BCE so completely that only a single farmhouse remained. At some point afterwards, the area was turned into luxury villas—that is, until the eruption of Vesuvius, which destroyed it once again.

In the mid-18th century, archaeologists discovered the ruins of both Pompeii and Stabiae. After some initial excavation work, focus was concentrated on Pompeii, and Stabiae was reburied to protect it. Eventually, the site was forgotten—until the 1950s, when a local high school principal decided to rediscover it. Working with the school’s janitor and a mechanic, they found several archaeological sites, and excavation continues today.


Dead Cities, Syria

The Dead Cities are a group of around 40 villages in northern Syria that date to the 1st through 7th centuries CE. According to UNESCO, "the relict cultural landscape of the villages also constitutes an important illustration of the transition from the ancient pagan world of the Roman Empire to Byzantine Christianity." They were abandoned quickly, either due to shifting trade routes, weather changes, or a pattern of invasion between the Byzantines and the Umayyads.

But people are returning to the Dead Cities. In 2013, an NPR report described modern smokestacks on the landscape, as refugees began moving into the area.


The walls of Chan Chan, Peru.

Chan Chan was the capital of the Chimu Kingdom, and is believed to have been the largest city in the Pre-Columbian Americas. The kingdom lasted from circa 900 to 1470, when it was conquered by the Inca. The city began a rapid decline afterwards, to the point that when the Spanish arrived the city had already been effectively abandoned.


Hashima Island, Japan

Also known as Gunkanjima or Battleship Island, this small island off the coast of Japan is thought to have been the most densely populated place on the planet in the 1950s, with over 5000 people crammed onto a 16-acre island (that works out to a population density of 200,000 people per square mile; Manhattan is around a third of that). Made famous as the location of the villainous lair in the 2012 James Bond movie Skyfall, Hashima Island was operated for years by Mitsubishi as a coal mine. But when the mine closed in 1974, the island was abandoned.


An abandoned home in Bannack, Montana.
Edward Mitchell, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Bannack is generally listed as the first boomtown in Montana: The population rose from a few hundred to thousands of individuals in just a few years after gold was discovered in a nearby creek in 1862. Sadly, by the time it was made Montana’s first territorial capital, the city was already in decline due to crime and other gold deposits being discovered elsewhere in the territory. Less than a year later the territorial capital was moved to Virginia City. In 1954 the state of Montana acquired most of the land, and today it's Bannack State Park.


Eastern coast of Greenland.
Mariusz Kluzniak, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Founded by Norse explorers around 986 CE, it's estimated that at its largest, the Eastern Settlement in Greenland had around 5000 people living in the area. By the late 15th century the community had disappeared, leaving only ruins, with the last record of life there being a 1408 marriage between Thorstein Olafsson and Sigrid Björnsdottir. By the time Hans Egede arrived in the 1720s to convert the long-lost colonists to Lutheranism, the Norse Greenlanders had disappeared.

What happened to the settlement has long been debated, but recent archaeology has indicated that Greenland’s exports had ceased being in demand, and as the community became more and more remote, people began migrating back to more centralized communities in Norway, Iceland, and Denmark.


Consonno, Italy
Spline Splinson, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Consonno was originally a medieval town that survived for centuries with a small population of around 300. But in 1962, an entrepreneur named Mario Bagno arrived to convert the community into a Las Vegas-style resort town. Years of construction and demolition followed, until 1976, when a landslide isolated Consonno and ended Bagno's dream of a "City of Toys." The area remained abandoned until 2016, when it hosted an Italian hide-and-seek championship.


Waterway in the Everglades.
Mike Mahaffie, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

According to South Florida's Sun-Sentinel, deep in the Everglades there was a place called Lost City, and archaeologists have found evidence of human activity, from Seminoles to hiding Confederate soldiers, stretching back hundreds of years. For some reason though, activity spiked in the early 1900s when local legend says that Al Capone had a bootlegging operation there, thanks to the area's high ground and remote location.


Location of Fort Mose.
Waters.Justin, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

In the late 17th and 18th centuries, Florida was an area of Spanish land next to several English colonies. In order to help protect against English encroachment and weaken the nearby colonies, the Spanish in Florida offered a form of asylum to escaped slaves in exchange for converting to Catholicism and serving Spain. This gave rise to Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, otherwise known as Fort Mose, on the outskirts of St. Augustine. While it was largely established to protect St. Augustine from British attack, the site is also the earliest known European-sanctioned free black community in the modern United States. The fort was destroyed in 1740 [PDF] and rebuilt, but lost much of its importance. After the Spanish gave Florida to Britain in 1763, the community moved to Cuba.


The abandoned town of Kolmanskop, Namibia.

In the early 20th century, Kolmanskop played host to European opera companies, an orchestra, and even the southern hemisphere's first X-ray unit. The city was built on an extremely productive diamond field (the BBC estimates that it produced a million carats of diamond in 1912, 12 percent of the world’s production that year). Eventually, World War I and the discovery of larger deposits further south led to the abandonment of the city.


Smoke coming up from cracked concrete in Centralia, Pennsylvania.

In 1960, the population of Centralia, Pennsylvania was 1435 people. By 2010 it was 10. Although the city was already on the decline, it was a decades-long coal fire that killed the city. Although there are some dissenters, it's generally agreed that in 1962, some trash was set on fire and the fire spread to a coal seam. The fire continued to burn and, among other scary events, in 1981 a 13-year-old boy narrowly escaped falling into a hole that opened up in the ground. The government bought most of the remaining citizens out, but a few residents fought to be able to live out their lives there.


Aerial view of Antarctica.
Eli Duke, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

There were five Little Americas over the course of several decades. One of them even featured an American post office and had a newspaper documenting the goings-on. In fact, the only odd part was that it was in Antarctica. Robert Byrd set up the first Little America in 1928, expanded it in 1933-'35, and started a new Little America further north in 1940; two more would eventually follow.

As part of the 1933 Little America, Charles Anderson was sent to run a post office (the Smithsonian has his safe, labeled "U.S. Post Office, Little America, South Pole"). The purpose of this post office was entirely so that philatelists could get a cancellation mark from Antarctica. To get it they had to pay three cents for the stamp and 50 cents to the Byrd Antarctic Expedition; it was a success—anywhere from 150,000 to 240,000 [PDF] letters were stamped before the post office was discontinued in 1935.

As for the Little Americas, they've drifted out to sea on icebergs and have disappeared.


Area around Trellech.
Andy Walker, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

According to ancient tax rolls, the second largest town in 13th century Wales was likely Trellech, which comprised about 400 buildings before being destroyed, most likely due to a combination of attacks, fire, and disease.

In early 2017, newspapers around the world reported the discovery of Trellech. The story is that in 2002 archaeology graduate Stuart Wilson, working at a tollbooth, learned of a farmer who found pottery shards kicked up by moles. Years later, the property came up for sale and Wilson bought it, hoping to find Trellech, which he claims that he did. Meanwhile, other researchers have criticized the results saying that they're overblown and archaeological work was being done in the broad area before. As for Wilson, he hopes to start a campsite at the area and continues digging.


Abandoned town of Humberstone, Chile.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, saltpeter was huge business as a fertilizer, and much of it came from the Atacama Desert in South America. One of these mining towns was Humberstone, but the modern UNESCO area contained over 200 saltpeter works and dozens of towns popped up. When synthetic fertilizers began appearing, however, saltpeter lost its importance and the cities faded away.


Excavation of Akrotiri, Greece
Bruno Vanbesien, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Today, Santorini is a picturesque tourist spot, but many visitors don't realize it is located on the remnants of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in human history. Called the Thera or Minoan eruption, it was likely around 4 times the size of Krakatoa. One of the settlements on the island at the time of the eruption nearly 3600 years ago was Akrotiri. Like Pompeii, it was buried by the volcano, but unlike that famed excavation site, there's a noticeable lack of bodies at Akrotiri, indicating that the population had enough warning to escape before the eruption occurred.


Monastery ruins in Taxila, Pakistan.

Taxila is a complex that spans 6th century BCE Achaemenian ruins. The city was conquered by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BCE, and was a major center of Buddhism. In the 5th century CE, the Ephthalites invaded and destroyed much of the city while simultaneously lessening the presence and influence of Buddhism in the region. When the Ephthalites were defeated, the city wasn't restored, and a century later a chronicler noted that the city was still desolate, soon to be abandoned.


A sign for the abandoned town of Pyramiden, Norway.

Svalbard is an archipelago in the far north Arctic Ocean. Before 1920, it existed as an international Wild West, with no nation having ownership. This changed with the Svalbard Treaty that gave the archipelago to Norway on the condition that Norway not unduly interfere with certain rights of other signatories, such as mining activities, based on nationality.

The Norwegians had already attempted to mine coal in the area, but abandoned it, and the Soviet Union stepped in to work the land. According to Bloomberg, as an effectively Western city, Pyramiden had a very high standard of living, recruited the best minds, and served as a display for Communism to the rest of the world. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Pyramiden stopped being economically viable, and after a 1996 plane crash that killed 141 people and destroyed morale in the community, it was abandoned in 1998.


Camels grazing near ruins in Merv, Turkmenistan.
David Stanley, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

It's possible that Merv in modern Turkmenistan was the largest city in the world for a few years in the 12th century, with a population around 200,000 people. Merv's wealth came from a strategic position for trade routes and dams that provided the city with water.

In the 13th century, one of Genghis Khan's sons, Tolui, attacked, destroying the city. Although modern historians think it's exaggerated, the chronicler Ibn al-Athir claimed that 700,000 people were killed. The city never recovered, although other towns would be built in the surrounding area.


Cahokia mounds.
Steve Moses, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Cahokia, located just outside present day St. Louis, was the largest pre-Columbian settlement in the Americas north of modern Mexico. As the main bed of the Mississippian culture, the city grew quickly—some estimates indicate that between 1050 and 1100 CE the city grew from around 2000 people to 15,000 people, which at the time was the same population as London [PDF]. For reasons that are still debated, the population soon declined and Cahokia was abandoned circa 1350. It may not have been all bad though—some historians suspect that the population decline is what helped spread the Mississippian culture across much of North America.


Ruins at Nan Madol.
NOAA Photo Library, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Nan Madol, off the shore of Pohnpei, is best known as the only existing ancient city built on top of a coral reef. Comprising 92 artificial islands, the city served as the center of the Saudeleur dynasty who ruled the island. According to the National Park Service, Nan Madol was built around 1200 CE. Four hundred years later, a warrior-hero named Isokelekel helped overthrow the Saudeleur, leading to the abandonment of the site.


Church ruins in the Rybinsk Reservoir.
Ylliab Photo, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

When the Soviets decided to create the Rybinsk Reservoir on the Volga River in the 1930s, there was only one problem: Mologa and over 600 smaller villages, with a population of around 130,000 people. The residents were forced out, although there is evidence that around 300 people refused to leave and were drowned when the city was flooded in 1940. In 2014, the weather caused the reservoir to drop dramatically, re-exposing parts of the city to the world.


The Neversink Reservoir circa 2012.
rabbit57i, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Another set of flooded towns exist in New York, condemned in the 1940s to give New York City more drinking water. Among these towns are Bittersweet and the either ironically or aptly named Neversink, which was relocated.

These cities are not alone. Communities being destroyed by reservoirs are so common there's a genre of fiction called “reservoir noir” that deals with intentionally flooded towns.


Abandoned church in San Juan Parangaricutiro, Mexico.
Matthew Fuentes, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

San Juan Parangaricutiro used to be the principal town in its region of Mexico, a thriving city of 4000 people centered by an 18th century church. But on February 20, 1943, around two kilometers away, a volcano started forming on a farmer's land. After a day it was 150 feet high, and by the end of that year it was over a thousand feet.

Ash began covering nearby villages, and everyone was evacuated. There were only three recorded fatalities, all due to lightning from the eruption. Eventually, the lava reached San Juan Parangaricutiro and the church was partially buried. Today, it's a tourist site.


The remnants of Hallsands, UK.
steve p2008, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

On the night of January 26, 1917, the fishing village of Hallsands in Devon fell into the sea. Amazingly, no one died, but the majority of the town's 128 people were left homeless (only one house survived the storm). And the cause was entirely human.

Twenty years earlier, the British government had decided to expand a nearby naval dockyard, and in 1897 began dredging the area for sand and gravel—the same material that was protecting Hallsands from the rough waters. In 1900, part of the sea wall was destroyed by a storm, and dredging was soon stopped. But in 1917, a combination of gales and high tides destroyed the city. While the government strenuously denied responsibility, recent research has uncovered a report that showed the dredging conclusively caused the collapse.


A burned house and bicycle in South Sudan.
Arsenie Coseac, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Lukangol was a city of 20,000 in South Sudan that was completely destroyed in late 2011 due to ethnic clashes. According to an MSF spokesperson in the area, the town had been reduced to ashes, thought most of the population was able to escape before the attack.


Old war memorial in an abandoned town in Belarus.
Ilya Kuzniatsou, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Much of the discussion of abandoned cities following the Chernobyl disaster is focused on Pripyat in Ukraine, but across the border, 70 percent of the radioactive fallout fell on Belarus, causing an estimated 470 villages and towns to be evacuated. Today, these communities, such as Aravichy and Dronki, exist in the Polessye State Radioecological Reserve, which has turned into a large scale nature preserve.


Sign prohibiting entrance into Plymouth, Montserrat.
Chuck Stanley, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In 1995, the Soufrière Hills volcano began erupting, and in 1997 a pyroclastic flow destroyed the city of Plymouth, once home to 4000 people, and the surrounding area of Montserrat, a British territory in the Caribbean. Today, around 60 percent of the island is an exclusion zone that can only be visited with special permission, including Plymouth. What makes Montserrat odd is that Plymouth is still technically the capital of the island, although in reality the capital is Brades.


A building built to test a nuclear reaction in Survival Town, Nevada.
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Only a nickname, Survival Town is an odd city because no one ever actually lived there. It was built expressly to test the damage resulting from the Apple-2 nuclear test in 1955. According to Archaeology, the town was fitted with utilities, industrial buildings, cars, fully stocked kitchens, and even a propane tank farm alongside dozens of mannequins. Today, a few buildings survive from the site, but according to Colleen Beck of the Desert Research Institute, something more fashionable may also have survived. She told Archaeology in 2014 "There’s a J.C. Penney page—it must be from this test—that shows mannequins before and after…You have this 'before' picture of the dressed mannequin, and afterwards sometimes an arm's gone, or whatever. But the J.C. Penney clothes survive fine."


Map of Akkadian Empire.
Patrick Gray, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

The Akkadian Empire took its name from the capital city, Akkad (or Agade). And apart from that, very little is known of the city. Legend says that Sargon built the city (or possibly restored it) and created an empire in the 24th century BCE. The Akkadian Empire lasted around two centuries before collapsing over reasons that historians still debate. Today, the location of the capital city of the empire remains unknown, as do many of the details of its rise and fall.


The Andes Mountains.
icelight, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Paititi is a legendary lost city somewhere in the Andes said to be rich with gold. Some scholars dispute its existence, saying that it was a metaphor instead of a city, or that it was created to distract invading Spaniards. Other scholars insist that it's real, and in 2008 officials in a Peruvian town announced that they discovered it along a heavily forested section of the mountains. Soon after, experts denounced their find as a natural formation, meaning the real Paititi remains lost.


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