December 25 - Will Smith stars as "Ali" hits the theaters

On this day 11 years ago, Michael Mann's film "Ali" premiered in theaters. The movie was a biographical film based on boxing and sports icon Muhammad Ali. Will Smith landed the coveted role of the legendary Ali and did an exceptional job, as the role earned him nominations at both the Academy Awards and Golden Globes for "Best Actor". Smith had to gain significant weight for the role and has gone on record to say this movie was his best work to date.

The movie grossed over $87 million worldwide, and featured supporting roles by Jamie Foxx, Jon Voight, and James Toney. The movie did an outstanding job of revealing what Ali's life was like during the prime of his boxing career, and many thought it was a fitting homage to one of the most iconic names in the history of professional sports.




December 17 - The Simpsons Premieres on Fox

On this day in 1989, the most successful animated television series of all time premiered in front of a National audience. "The Simpsons", which is now in its 22nd season, debuted with a Christmas special entitled "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire". The episode was a huge success, as the original viewing was watched by more than 13 million people and was nominated for two Emmy Awards in 1990.

Since then, TV's favourite family has come a long way. In 1999, Time Magazine named the animated series "The Best Television Show of the 20th Century" and The Simpsons family earned their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2010, Entertainment Weekly dubbed Homer Simpson as "The Greatest Character of the last 20 years", while Bart Simpson was listed on Time Magazines "100 Most Influential People of the Century".

The show has broadcasted 473 episodes (a Guinness world record for longest running sitcom) and spawned a feature-length film, "The Simpsons Movie", which grossed $527 million worldwide.




December 12 - Happy Birthday Frank Sinatra!

Happy 97th birthday to the late Frank Sinatra! Sinatra was an extremely successful musician and actor during his illustrious 60 year career. As a musician, he released 59 studio albums and 297 singles. His first album came in 1946 when he released "The Voice of Frank Sinatra" which featured several singles, including "You go to my head" and "I don't know why". He won 11 Grammy Awards and was nominated on 30 different occasions. He achieved the Grammy Awards highest recognition by winning both their Lifetime and Legend awards.

As an actor, Sinatra was also a huge success. In 1953, he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in "From here to Eternity" and was nominated for Best Actor for "The Man with the Golden Arm". "The Voice" has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to motion picture, recording, and television.

Sinatra, along with Dean Martin, Humphrey Bogart, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop were all members of the legendary "Rat Pack".




November 26 - Toy Story 2 is the #1 movie in North America

On this day in 1999, Toy Story 2 finished its opening weekend in the theaters as the number 1 movie in the continent as it grossed $57,388,839 over the three day period. The movie would go on to become the third highest grossing film of 1999, and at the time became the second highest grossing animated film in history (Lion King).

The movie kept many of the same characters from the original Toy Story, while adding John Cusack and Kelsey Grammer who voiced the roles of Jessie and Stinky Pete, respectively. The movie was met with huge critical acclaim and is considered one of the best Disney-Pixar films of all time.

After it's run in theaters, Toy Story 2 would go on to make over $485 million worldwide, far surpassing the original movie.




November 20 - Issac Hayes hits #1 with "Theme from Shaft"

Who is the man that would risk his neck
For his brother man?
SHAFT!
Can you dig it?

You better dig it! As on this day 39 years ago, Issac Hayes hit the top of the US Charts with his iconic theme song for the hit movie "Shaft". Much like the movie, the song was a huge success as it also peaked at #4 in the UK and won a Grammy Award for "Best Original Film Score".

The song was used again for the 2000 remake of Shaft which starred actor Samuel L. Jackson. Aside from the Shaft series, the theme song has been used in "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air", "The Simpsons", "Sesame Street", and many other hit TV shows.

Perhaps the songs greatest accomplishment is that many people believe that the song is more iconic than the movie itself. We find it tough to argue that!

Shaft? You damn right.




November 10 - Sesame Street Debuts on PBS

Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Sesame Street?

Chances are if you grew up anywhere near a TV over the last 41 years, you can tell me exactly how to get to Sesame Street. The iconic children's program has produced over 4200 episodes and has introduced us to classic characters such as "Oscar the Grouch", "Cookie Monster", and "Elmo" just to name a few. The show has won eight Grammy Awards and 118 Emmy Awards--the most ever for a children's show.

American puppeteer, Caroll Spinney, has been with Sesame Street since 1969, as he plays both Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird.

In 2008, it was reported that approx. 77 million Americans had watched the show as a child, and 95% of all American preschoolers had watched the show before they were three years old.





October 30 - Orson Welles scares the American public with "War of the Worlds"

On this day, 74 years ago, arguably the most historic broadcast in the history of radio took place. Orson Welles' radio adaptation of H.G. Wells' novel "War of the Worlds" will always be remembered as the radio broadcast that sent the American public into mass hysteria.

The novel is about an alien invasion , which the public thought was actually occurring in America as they were listening to the broadcast. "The War of the Worlds" broadcast took the form of a news-bulletin format, which lead people to believe that what they were hearing was indeed true. Also, given that many listeners tuned in late to the broadcast, they missed the disclaimer which stated that broadcast was based off a fictional novel.

Given that the 1930's was seen as the "Golden Age" of radio (television had not become a mainstream medium at this point), the radio was the primary source of news for most people. The trust that the public had in radio was a big reason as to why they believed an alien invasion was taking place.




October 19 - Nirvana hits #1 with "From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah"

On this day, 16 years ago, Nirvana released their sixth platinum album of the 1990's, "From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah". The album featured live performances of Nirvana's biggest hits, including "Lithium", "Smells Like Teen Spirit", "Polly", and many more. The album was the second album to be released after the death of lead singer Kurt Cobain.

The album spent 25 weeks on the charts, peaking at #1 for multiple weeks in both the States and in Canada. The album attained success worldwide, as it peaked in the top 10 in 13 different countries. Spin and Rolling Stone Magazines both ranked the album as one of the best of the year, with Rolling Stone naming it the #9 album of 1996.





October 10 - Wayne Gretzky makes his NHL Debut

On October 10, 1979, "The Great One" laced up his skates for his first ever NHL game. Gretzky and his Edmonton Oilers lost to the Chicago Blackhawks, however Gretzky picked up his first ever NHL point, an assist, on Kevin Lowe's goal midway through the first period. Gretzky would end his first year in the league by scoring 137 points, and winning the Hart Trophy as the NHL's Most Valuable Player.

Upon his retirement in 1999, Gretzky held a combined 61 NHL records. The Great One is the only player to eclipse the 200 point mark in a single season, something he accomplished on four different occasions.

Gretzky's latest accomplishment was being named the final torch bearer for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. He was also a special adviser to the Canadian National Men's Hockey Team that took home the gold medal.




October 4 - Another One Bites the Dust hits #1

On this day 32 years ago, Queen's iconic single "Another One Bites the Dust" was the number one song in the United States. The song was Queen's most successful single, as it accumulated over $7 million in sales and went number one in five different countries.

The song has been redone and used in several different capacities since 1980. In 1998, the song was covered by R&B singer Wycleaf Jean, which became a top 5 single in the UK. In 2010, the song received another great honour, as the cast of "Glee" did a remake of the iconic single in the episode "Funk".

Billboard ranked "Another One Bites the Dust" as the 34th greatest song of all time.




October 1 - Disney World Opens in Florida!

On this day 41 years ago, Walt Disney World Resort opened its doors in Florida. Since then, the resort has become the largest and most visited resort on the planet. Disney World covers a 30,080 acre lot which encompasses four themed parks, two water parks, and 23 themed hotels. To put that into perspective, the 30,080 acre lot is nearly the same size as the city of San Francisco!

Given the enormity of Disney World, the resort employs over 66,000 workers, which in turn costs over 1 billion dollars in payroll a year! Needless to say, this isn't your typical "Mickey Mouse Organization".




June 18, 2010

On June 18th, 1928 the now famous aviator Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly as a passenger in an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean. Wilmer Stutz was the pilot and Lou Gordon was the mechanic.









Just can’t get enough Potter? On this day (June 18, 2010) the grand opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is set in Orlando, Florida. This marks the end of a $250 million dollar investment.














January 13 - Michael Jordan Retires from the NBA for the 2nd Time

On January 13th, 1999 arguably the greatest basketball player in the history of the game retried for the 2nd time. After retiring briefly during the mid 90's to make an attempt to play professional baseball, Michael Jordan returned to the NBA where he led the Chicago Bulls to three more championships. After their last championship in 1998 (where Jordan hit the championship winning shot), times were beginning to change in Chicago. Head coach Phil Jackson, the man who coached all six of Jordan's Championship Teams, was leaving the team. Jordan's right hand man Scottie Pippen as well top rebounder Dennis Rodman were also leaving Chicago. At this point, Jordan decided to hang up his shoes and announced that he was retiring from Pro Basketball and that he had played his final game as a member of the Chicago Bulls.

Many thought that MJ was done for good until 2001 when he returned to the NBA as a member of the Washington Wizards. Jordan was a part owner of the Wizards and became inspired when his friend Mario Lemeiux returned to the NHL that year after overcoming Cancer. Jordan returned to the NBA for one final stint with the Wizards, however he never again played a game as a member of the Chicago Bulls.

While Jordan was an effective player with the Wizards, he was not the player he once was when he was with the Bulls. Because of this, many people signal his 2nd retirement in 1999 as the last time fans got to see Michael Jordan at his best.

At least people in Chicago see it that way!




January 9 - Apple introduces iTunes and the first iPod

Where were you when Apple decided to become everyone's favourite company? While you probably can't remember where you were, you can certainly remember the date. January 9th has become a date that Apple fanatics from all over the world can relate to.

On this day in 2001, Apple Computer Inc. introduced its iTunes music management software at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco. Since then, iTunes Store has become the place for people all over the world to legally buy music, movies, TV shows, ebooks, podcasts, and more. On November 16, 2010, iTunes took another step forward as fans of "The Beatles" could download their entire catalog digitally via iTunes. Since 2001, over 10 billion tracks have been downloaded from the iTunes store.

On the same day in 2007, the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone for the first time. The phone that can seemingly do everything has become the toy that every adult can't live without. There are four generations of iPhones, with the newest being the iPhone 4 which was released during the summer of 2010. The iPhone 4 is believed to be the best smartphone on the market and the Wall Street Journal claims that its "the best device of its class".




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