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35 Things Turning 35 in 2017

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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.

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Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Big Questions
Why Do Baseball Managers Wear Uniforms?
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Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Basketball and hockey coaches wear business suits on the sidelines. Football coaches wear team-branded shirts and jackets and often ill-fitting pleated khakis. Why are baseball managers the only guys who wear the same outfit as their players?

According to John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball since 2011, it goes back to the earliest days of the game. Back then, the person known as the manager was the business manager: the guy who kept the books in order and the road trips on schedule. Meanwhile, the guy we call the manager today, the one who arranges the roster and decides when to pull a pitcher, was known as the captain. In addition to managing the team on the field, he was usually also on the team as a player. For many years, the “manager” wore a player’s uniform simply because he was a player. There were also a few captains who didn’t play for the team and stuck to making decisions in the dugout, and they usually wore suits.

With the passing of time, it became less common for the captain to play, and on most teams they took on strictly managerial roles. Instead of suits proliferating throughout America’s dugouts, though, non-playing captains largely hung on to the tradition of wearing a player's uniform. By the early to mid 20th century, wearing the uniform was the norm for managers, with a few notable exceptions. The Philadelphia Athletics’s Connie Mack and the Brooklyn Dodgers’s Burt Shotton continued to wear suits and ties to games long after it fell out of favor (though Shotton sometimes liked to layer a team jacket on top of his street clothes). Once those two retired, it’s been uniforms as far as the eye can see.

The adherence to the uniform among managers in the second half of the 20th century leads some people to think that MLB mandates it, but a look through the official major league rules [PDF] doesn’t turn up much on a manager’s dress. Rule 1.11(a) (1) says that “All players on a team shall wear uniforms identical in color, trim and style, and all players’ uniforms shall include minimal six-inch numbers on their backs" and rule 2.00 states that a coach is a "team member in uniform appointed by the manager to perform such duties as the manager may designate, such as but not limited to acting as base coach."

While Rule 2.00 gives a rundown of the manager’s role and some rules that apply to them, it doesn’t specify that they’re uniformed. Further down, Rule 3.15 says that "No person shall be allowed on the playing field during a game except players and coaches in uniform, managers, news photographers authorized by the home team, umpires, officers of the law in uniform and watchmen or other employees of the home club." Again, nothing about the managers being uniformed.

All that said, Rule 2.00 defines the bench or dugout as “the seating facilities reserved for players, substitutes and other team members in uniform when they are not actively engaged on the playing field," and makes no exceptions for managers or anyone else. While the managers’ duds are never addressed anywhere else, this definition does seem to necessitate, in a roundabout way, that managers wear a uniform—at least if they want to have access to the dugout. And, really, where else would they sit?

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at

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The Charming English Fishing Village That Inspired Dracula
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Whitby as seen from the top of the 199 Steps

The train departed King's Cross at 10:25 a.m. on July 29, 1890. Bram Stoker settled wearily into the carriage for the six-hour journey to Whitby, the fashionable and remote seaside village in North Yorkshire. The sooty sprawl of London gave way to green grids of farmland and pasture, and then windswept moors blanketed in heather and wild roses.

Stoker needed this holiday. The 42-year-old manager of London's Lyceum Theatre had just finished an exhausting national tour with his employer, the celebrated but demanding actor Henry Irving. The unrelenting task of running the business side of Irving's many theatrical enterprises for the past decade had left Stoker with little time for himself. When the curtains fell at the end of each night's performance, he may have felt that the energy had been sucked out of him.

Now he looked forward to a three-week getaway where he would have time to think about his next novel, a supernatural tale that harnessed the sources of Victorian anxiety: immigration and technology, gender roles and religion. In ways he didn't foresee, the small fishing port of Whitby would plant the seeds for a vampire novel that would terrify the world. Stoker started out on an innocent and much-deserved vacation, but ended up creating Dracula.

A photo of Bram Stoker
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

As Stoker emerged from the train station in Whitby, the sounds and smell of the sea would have restored him after the long trip. He loaded his trunk into a horse-drawn cab for the journey up the West Cliff, where new vacation apartments and hotels served the crowds of holidaymakers. He checked into a flat at 6 Royal Crescent, a half-circle of elegant Georgian-style townhomes that faced the ocean.

He often felt invigorated by the seashore: "He's finally on a holiday, away from the hustle and bustle of London, the Lyceum Theatre, and Henry Irving's dominance over him," Dacre Stoker, a novelist and the author's great-grandnephew, tells Mental Floss. "The ocean and the seaside play into Bram's life, and, I believe, in stimulating his imagination."

Stoker's wife Florence and their 10-year-old son Noel would join him the following week. Now was his chance to explore Whitby on his own.

The East Cliff with Tate Hill Pier in the foreground

"A curious blend of old and new it is," wrote a travel correspondent for the Leeds Mercury. The River Esk divided the town into two steep halves known as the West and East Cliffs. Down a tangle of paths from the brow of the West Cliff, Stoker found himself on the town's famed beach, where people gathered to watch the many vessels at sea or walked along the gentle surf. At the end of the beach was the Saloon, the nucleus of Whitby's social whirl.

"The enterprising manager engages the best musical and dramatic talent procurable, whilst on the promenade a selected band of professional musicians gives performances daily," wrote Horne's Guide to Whitby. Holidaymakers could purchase a day pass to the Saloon and enjoy afternoon tea, tennis, and endless people-watching.

Next to the Saloon, the West Pier featured a long promenade parallel to the river and a three-story building containing public baths, a museum with a collection of local fossils, and a subscription library. Shops selling fish and chips, ice cream, and Whitby rock lined the winding streets. Visitors could watch all kinds of fishing vessels discharging their daily catch, and even hop aboard a boat for a night's "herringing" with local fishermen.

Whitby's East Cliff had a more mysterious atmosphere. Across the town's single bridge, tightly packed medieval cottages and jet factories leaned over the narrow cobbled streets, "rising one above another from the water side in the most irregular, drunken sort of arrangement conceivable," the Leeds Mercury reported.

Above the ancient Tate Hill Pier, a stone stairway of 199 steps (which pallbearers used when they carried coffins) led up the cliff to St. Mary's parish church and its graveyard full of weathered headstones. Towering over the whole scene—and visible from nearly any spot in town—were the ruins of Whitby Abbey, a 13th-century pile of Gothic arches that had been built upon the remains of a 7th-century monastery.

"I think [Stoker] was struck by the setting. He's thinking, 'This is perfect. I have the ships coming in, I've got the abbey, a churchyard, a graveyard'," Dacre Stoker says. "Maybe it was by chance, but I think it just became that perfect scene."

Whitby Abbey
Whitby Abbey

In Dracula, chapters six through eight kick the narrative into frightening action. By then, real estate agent Jonathan Harker has traveled to Transylvania to negotiate Dracula's purchase of a London property and become the vampire's prisoner. His fiancée Mina Murray, her friend Lucy Westenra, and Lucy's mother have traveled to Whitby for a relaxing holiday, but Mina remains troubled by the lack of letters from Jonathan. She confides her worries and records the strange scenes she witnesses in her journal.

On the afternoon of his arrival, according to a modern account compiled by historians at the Whitby Museum, Stoker climbed the 199 Steps to St. Mary's churchyard and found a bench in the southwest corner. The view made a deep impression on Stoker, and he took note of the river and harbor, the abbey's "noble ruin," the houses "piled up one over the other anyhow." In his novel, Mina arrives in late July on the same train as Stoker, mounts the 199 Steps, and echoes his thoughts:

"This is to my mind the nicest spot in Whitby, for it lies right over the town, and has a full view of the harbor ... It descends so steeply over the harbor that part of the bank has fallen away, and some of the graves have been destroyed. In one place part of the stonework of the graves stretches out over the sandy pathway far below. There are walks, with seats beside them, through the churchyard; and people go and sit there all day long looking at the beautiful view and enjoying the breeze. I shall come and sit here very often myself and work."

The churchyard gave Stoker a number of literary ideas. The following day, Stoker chatted there with three leathery old Greenland fisherman who likely spoke in a distinct Yorkshire dialect. They told Stoker a bit of mariner's lore: If a ship's crew heard bells at sea, an apparition of a lady would appear in one of the abbey's windows. "Then things is all wore out," one of the sailors warned.

Stoker ambled between the headstones that sprouted from the thick carpet of grass. Though most of the markers' names and dates had been erased by the wind, he copied almost 100 into his notes. Stoker used one of them, Swales, as the name of the fisherman with a face that is "all gnarled and twisted like the bark of an old tree," who begins talking with Mina in the churchyard. Mina asks him about the legend of the lady appearing in the abbey window, but Swales says it's all foolishness—stories of "boh-ghosts an' barguests an' bogles" that are only fit to scare children.

St. Mary's churchyard
St. Mary's churchyard, which Mina calls "the nicest spot in Whitby."

For the first few days in August, Stoker was occupied by the summer's social calendar. He likely enjoyed dinner with friends arriving from London, and went to church on Sunday morning. On the 5th, Stoker's wife and son joined him at 6 Royal Crescent. The next several days may have been spent at the Saloon, promenading on the pier, and making social calls, as it was the custom for newly arrived visitors to visit with acquaintances in town.

But Whitby's infamous weather had the ability to turn a sunny day somber in an instant. August 11 was a "grey day," Stoker noted, "horizon lost in grey mist, all vastness, clouds piled up and a 'brool' over the sea." With Florence and Noel perhaps staying indoors, Stoker set off for the East Cliff again and chatted with a Coast Guard boatman named William Petherick. "Told me of various wrecks," Stoker jotted. During one furious gale, a "ship got into harbor, never knew how, all hands were below praying."

The ship was the Dmitry, a 120-ton schooner that had left the Russian port of Narva with a ballast of silver sand. The ship encountered a fierce storm as it neared Whitby on October 24, 1885, and aimed for the harbor.

"The 'Russian' got in but became a wreck during the night," according to a copy of the Coast Guard's log, which Petherick delivered to Stoker. The crew survived. In a picture taken by local photographer Frank Meadow Sutcliffe just a few days after the storm, the Dmitry is shown beached near Tate Hill Pier with its masts lying in the sand.

'The Wreck of the Dmitry' (1885), by Frank Meadow Sutcliffe
The Wreck of the Dmitry (1885), by Frank Meadow Sutcliffe
Courtesy of the Sutcliffe Gallery

Petherick's account gave Stoker the means for his vampire's arrival in England, the moment when the mysterious East disrupts the order of the West. Mina pastes a local newspaper article describing a sudden and ferocious storm that hurled Dracula's ship, the Demeter from Varna, against Tate Hill Pier. The Coast Guard discovered the crew had vanished and the captain was dead. Just then, "an immense dog sprang up on deck and … making straight for the steep cliff … it disappeared in the darkness, which seemed intensified just beyond the focus of the searchlight," the article in Mina's journal reads. The dog was never seen again, but townsfolk did find a dead mastiff that had been attacked by another large beast.

Mina describes the funeral for the Demeter's captain, which Stoker based on scenes from an annual celebration he watched on August 15 called the Water Fete. In reality, thousands of cheerful spectators lined the quays as a local band and choir performed popular songs and a parade of gaily decorated boats sailed up the river, with banners fluttering merrily in the breeze, according to the Whitby Gazette's report. But through Mina, Stoker transformed the scene into a memorial:

"Every boat in the harbor seemed to be there, and the coffin was carried by captains all the way from Tate Hill Pier up to the churchyard. Lucy came with me, and we went early to our old seat, whilst the cortege of boats went up the river to the Viaduct and came down again. We had a lovely view, and saw the procession nearly all the way."

The final week of Stoker's holiday elicited some of the most important details in Dracula. On August 19, he bought day passes to Whitby's museum library and the subscription library. In the museum's reading room, Stoker wrote down 168 words in the Yorkshire dialect and their English meanings from F.K. Robinson's A Glossary of Words Used in the Neighborhood of Whitby, which later formed the bulk of Mr. Swales's vocabulary in his chats with Mina.

One of the words was "barguest," a term for a "terrifying apparition," which also refers specifically to a "large black dog with flaming eyes as big as saucers" in Yorkshire folklore, whose "vocation appears to have been that of a presage of death," according to an account from 1879.

"I do think Stoker meant for that connection," John Edgar Browning, visiting lecturer at the Georgia Institute of Technology and expert in horror and the gothic, tells Mental Floss. "Moreover, he probably would have meant for the people of Whitby in the novel to make the connection, since it was they who perceived Dracula's form as a large black dog."

Downstairs, Stoker checked out books on Eastern European culture and folklore, clearly with the aim of fleshing out the origins of his vampire: Curious Myths of the Middle Ages, a travelogue titled On the Track of the Crescent, and most importantly, William Wilkinson's An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldovia: with Various Observations Relating to Them.

The library building where Stoker discovered Dracula
The library building where Stoker discovered Dracula
Courtesy of Dacre Stoker

From the latter book, Stoker wrote in his notes, "P. 19. DRACULA in Wallachian language means DEVIL. Wallachians were accustomed to give it as a surname to any person who rendered himself conspicuous by courage, cruel actions, or cunning."

The Wilkinson book gave Stoker not just the geographical origin and nationality for his character, but also his all-important name, redolent of mystery and malice. "The moment Stoker happened upon the name of 'Dracula' in Whitby—a name Stoker scribbled over and over on the same page on which he crossed through [the vampire's original name] 'Count Wampyr,' as if he were savoring the word's three evil syllables—the notes picked up tremendously," Browning says.

By the time Stoker and his family returned to London around August 23, he had developed his idea from a mere outline to a fully fledged villain with a sinister name and unforgettable fictional debut.

"The modernization of the vampire myth that we see in Dracula—and that many contemporary reviewers commented upon—may not have happened, at least to the same degree, without Stoker's visit to Whitby," Browning says. "Whitby was a major catalyst, the contemporary Gothic 'glue', as it were, for what would eventually become the most famous vampire novel ever written."

Bram Stoker visited Whitby only once in his life, but the seaside village made an indelible mark on his imagination. When he finally wrote the scenes as they appear in Dracula, "He placed all of these events in real time, in real places, with real names of people he pulled off gravestones. That's what set the story apart," Dacre Stoker says. "That's why readers were scared to death—because there is that potential, just for a moment, that maybe this story is real."

Additional source: Bram Stoker's Notes for Dracula: A Facsimile Edition, annotated and transcribed by Robert Eighteen-Bisang and Elizabeth Miller


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