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1991 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

<< - 1990

1991 History Snapshot

  • Politics: The USSR dissolved, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned, and Boris Yeltsin took leadership in Russia.
  • The Top Song was (Everything I Do) I Do It For You - Bryan Adams
  • The Big Movies included Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Beauty and the Beast
  • The Silence of the Lambs won all of the Big Five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Writing (Original or Adapted).
  • Minimum Wage in 1991: $4.25 per hour
    Price of a Nissan Maxima GXE: $16,999.00
    Barbie Beach Buggy (battery powered): $229.99
  • The World Population was ~ 5,304,000,000
  • US Life Expectancy: Males: 72.0 years, Females: 78.9 years
  • And... A mysterious hum started being heard by many (but not all) residents in Tao, New Mexico. Tinnitus has been ruled out.

World Series Champions

Minnesota Twins

Superbowl XXV Champions

New York Giants

National Basketball Association Champions

Chicago Bulls

NHL Stanley Cup Champions

Pittsburgh Penguins

US Open Golf

Payne Stewart

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Stefan Edberg/Monica Seles

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Michael Stitch/Steffi Graf

NCAA Football Champions

Miami & Washington

NCAA Basketball Champions


Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 1, 1991 - Colorado over Notre Dame
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1991 - Washington over Iowa
Sugar Bowl : January 1, 1991 - Tennessee over Virginia

Kentucky Derby

Strike The Gold

Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Whisperwind On a Carousel

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

Ted Turner

Miss America

Marjorie Vincent (Oak Park, IL)

Miss USA

Kelli McCarty (Kansas)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Christina Applegate, Candice Bergen, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Cindy Crawford, Rebecca DeMornay, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Elvira, Linda Evangelista, , Angie Everhart, Jodie Foster, Robin Givens, Rachel Hunter, Kathy Ireland, Tawny Kitaen, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Elle Macpherson, Madonna, Kate Moss, Tatjana Patitz, Paulina Porizkova, Markie Post, Priscilla Presley, Princess Diana, Ashley Richardson, Tanya Roberts, Katey Sagal, Claudia Schiffer, Stephanie Seymour, Brinke Stevens, Sharon Stone, Julie Strain, Niki Taylor, Heather Thomas, Christy Turlington, Vanessa Williams

"The Quotes"

"Hello Clarice"
"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti."
- Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs

"I crap bigger than you"
- Jack Palance in City Slickers

"The few, the proud, the Marines"
- United States Marines ad

"The quicker picker-upper"
-Bounty paper towels

"Hasta La Vista Baby"
- Arnold Schwarzenegger, in Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Diff'rent Strokes star Dana Plato was arrested for robbing a video store in 1991. The store clerk recognized her and told the 911 operator "I've just been robbed by the girl who played Kimberly on Diff'rent Strokes."

The saying in the stained glass at the beginning of the Beauty and the Beast, "vincit qui se vincit" translates to "he conquers who conquers himself".

1991 Pop Culture History

In 1991, Bill Gates borrowed a business book, Business Adventures by John Brooks, from Warren Buffett. He never returned it.

In 1990, the high school dropout rate in Sevierville, Dolly Parton’s hometown in Sevier County, TN, was over 30%. In 1991, she launched The Buddy Program, offering 7th and 8th graders $500 if they graduated. The dropout rate for those classes dropped to 6%, and has generally retained that average to this day.

A high profile court case forced the British Government to clearly define the difference between a cake a biscuit. In the end the Government published an official ruling that a cake is defined by its propensity to harden over time, whereas a biscuit has a propensity to soften.

It was Freddie Mercury's dying wish for Bohemian Rhapsody to be reissued in order to raise money for AIDS charities. When the song was rereleased in late 1991, it topped the charts, staying at #1 for five weeks for the first time since its debut in 1975.

"Teen Spirit" was a real deodorant - one of Kurt Cobain's friends spray painted "Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit" on his wall because Kurt's then-girlfriend wore Teen Spirit, which led to the title of the 1991 Nirvana hit song. Rolling Stone Magazine originally gave Nirvana's Nevermind a 3-star rating. They now give it 5 stars and rank it as the 17th greatest album of all time.

It was Super Bowl XXV (1991) with New Kids On The Block that the halftime show switched from marching bands to pop/rock music performances.

When Whitney Houston's version of the Star Apangled Banner became a hit in 1991, she donated all of the proceeds to the Red Cross Gulf Crisis Fund. When it charted again after 9/11, the proceeds were donated to the New York Firefighters 9/11 Disaster Relief Fund and the New York Fraternal Order of Police

20 paintings were stolen from the Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum and were then recovered 35 minutes later because the robbers got a flat tire.

Marshall Ledbetter blockaded himself in the Florida State Capitol building and demanded, among other things, a large Gumby's pizza, weed, 666 donuts, $100 worth of chinese food, and a phone call with Ice Cube. He was caught with none of his demands met.

A man found a first printing of the Declaration of Independence, inside the frame of a $4 painting he'd bought at a flea market in Adamstown, PA. It sold at auction for $2.4 million.

A time capsule was buried in Sir Frederick Banting Square, on the scientist's 100th birthday, Nov. 14, 1991. Banting was part of a team that received the 1923 Nobel Prize in Medicine for the isolation of insulin. The time capsule will be opened once a cure for diabetes has been found.

The main villains of Psycho (1960), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), and The Silence of the Lambs (1991) were all loosely based on the same person: Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein. 'Silence Of The Lambs' won the big five Oscars - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Writing.

Only three films that have won all of the Big Five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Writing (Original or Adapted). Those films were: It Happened One Night (1934), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), and The Silence of the Lambs (1991).

Disney's Beauty and the Beast was the first animated movie to be nominated in the best picture category at the Oscars.

In a scene in Hook, there is a couple kissing on a bridge while Tinkerbell is flying over, dropping fairy dust on them and sending them flying. The couple was actually an uncredited cameo by George Lucas, and Carrie Fisher.

Christian Bale's stepmother, Gloria Steinham, was a feminist who protested the 1991 publication of the novel, American Psycho, due to its portrayal of violence toward women. In 2000, Bale went on to star as the title character of the novel's film adaption.

UNSUNG HERO - Tim Berners-Lee came up with the idea of making 'links' on his own compter, then others, creating "The Information Mine" (TIM) later renamed the "World Wide Web." He renounced patent rights because it "would have scuppered the whole thing. It never would have taken off."

Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev launched into space as a Soviet citizen, but returned to earth as a Russian citizen - he was in orbit when the Soviet Union dissolved on December 26, 1991.

The May 5, 1991 Calvin and Hobbes strip criticized the naming of The Big Bang as not evocative of the wonders behind it, and coined "Horrendous Space Kablooie," an alternative that achieved some informal popularity among scientists and was often shortened to "the HSK."

Liz Taylor married hubby # 7, Larry Fortensky, at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. They met in a rehab center.

Jason Alexander threatened to quit Seinfeld in the third season. After the table read of "The Pen", which features only Jerry and Elaine, Alexander pulled Larry David aside and said "if you write me out again, do it permanently." In 9 seasons, that was the only episode he wasn't in.

In 1991 the #55 Mazda 787B is the only car with a non-reciprocating engine to win the 24 hours of Le Mans. Its wankel engine was so good (930 bhp from a 2.6l engine) that after winning the race it was banned.

After the Australian 1 and 2 cent coins were phased out in late 1991, they were melted down and used in the Sydney 2000 Olympics as Bronze Medals. Not all of them, of course.

The record for the most passengers on an airplane was set in 1991 when 1086 Ethiopian jews were evacuated on a Boeing 747 to Jerusalem. The plane landed with 1088 passengers as two babies were born during the flight.

It became a lot easier for many to quit smoking when Nicoderm CQ's nicotine patch was approved by the FDA.

The Calloway Golf Company's 'Big Bertha' club was introduced. The club revolutionized how the game of golf would be played.

Cost of a Superbowl ad in 1991: $800,000

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

On January 8th, 1991 a 16 year old high school student named Jeremy Wade Delle shot himself in front of his english class. The event became the inspiration for the Pearl Jam song Jeremy.

The New York Appellate Court ruled that a person can break their real estate purchase contract if they discover that they have unwittingly bought a haunted house.

Kentucky Fried Chicken officially changed its name to KFC. Conspiracists claimed that it was because they weren't selling actual chickens, but some kind of cloned, headless chicken bodies. The original name was shortened so it would no longer be "false advertising."

Cameron Todd Willingham was charged and executed in 2004 for allegedly setting his house on fire to murder his 3 children in 1991. All the evidence against him was debunked by experts in fire investigations 5 years later.

Comedian Red Foxx suffered a fatal heart attack on the set. No one came to his aid because they all thought he was doing his classic "I'm coming, Elizabeth!" fake heart attack routine from Sanford and Son.

Maurice Krafft, a french Volcanologist, was filmed saying "I am never afraid because I have seen so many eruptions in 23 years that even if I die tomorrow, I don't care". He was killed during an eruption the very next day, June 3 1991, alongside his wife on Mt. Unzen in Japan.

Cannibal serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was captured. He had killed, and sometimes eaten, 17 people.

In Soviet Union , voting "none of above" led to new elections with new candidates in 200 races. Boris Yeltsin later said the "none of the above" option "helped convince the people they had real power even in a rigged election, and [it] played a role in building true democracy."

Airplane Politician Death: Senator John Heinz

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

Sega Game Gear, Sega CD add-on, Super Ninto Entertainment System, Philips' CD-i, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys and action figures, Rollerblade Barbie, Super Soaker water gun, K'Nex, Myst

Video Games: Sonic the Hedgehog, Lemmings

1990's Pogs craze was single handedly started by a 5th grade teacher in Hawaii. She showed the game she used to play as a little girl to her class in 1991. Pogs originated from Hawaii as early as 1927.

Wizard Magazine (1991-2011)

Allure began publication

Game Informer began publication

Reminisce began publication

FamilyFun began publication

The Habits

The cool kids were listening to Nirvana's Nevermind album.

Reading Scarlett: The Sequel to Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind" by Alexandra Ripley

1991/92 Biggest Television Shows

(according to Nielsen TV Research)
1. 60 Minutes (CBS)
2. Roseanne (ABC)
3. Murphy Brown (CBS)
4. Cheers (NBC)
5. Home Improvemnt (ABC)
6. Designing Women (CBS)
7. Full House (ABC)
8. Murder, She Wrote (CBS)
9. Major Dad (CBS)
10. Coach (ABC)

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1991 include
Amy Grant, Bryan Adams, BeBe & CeCe Winans, Boyz II Men, Bryan Adams, C&C Music Factory, Cathy Dennis, Color Me Badd, D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, En Vogue, Extreme, Freddie Jackson, Gloria Estefan, Hi-Five, Janet Jackson, Jesus Jones, Jodeci, Karyn White, Keith Sweat, Keith Washington, LL Cool J, Luther Vandross, Mariah Carey, Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch, Michael Bolton, Nelson, Paula Abdul, Peabo Bryson, Phil Perry, Ralph Tresvant, Riff, Roxette, Snoop Dogg, Surface, Tevin Campbell, Tracie Spencer, Whitney Houston, Vanessa Williams

(Data is complied from various charts including: Billboard's Pop, Rock, Airplay, R&B/Dance and Singles Charts. The Hot 100 is the primary chart used for this list.)

Number One Hits of 1991

December 8, 1990 - January 4, 1991: Stevie B - Because I Love You (The Postman Song)

January 5, 1991 - January 18, 1991: Madonna - Justify My Love

January 19, 1991 - January 25, 1991: Janet Jackson - Love Will Never Do (Without You)

January 26, 1991 - February 8, 1991: Surface - The First Time

February 9, 1991 - February 22, 1991: C+C Music Factory featuring Freedom Williams - Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)

February 23, 1991 - March 8, 1991: Whitney Houston - All The Man That I Need

March 9, 1991 - March 22, 1991: Mariah Carey - Someday

March 23, 1991 - March 29, 1991: Timmy T - One More Try

March 30, 1991 - April 12, 1991: Gloria Estefan - Coming Out Of The Dark

April 13, 1991 - April 19, 1991: Londonbeat - I've Been Thinking About You

April 20, 1991 - April 26, 1991: Wilson Phillips - You're In Love

April 27, 1991 - May 10, 1991: Amy Grant - Baby Baby

May 11, 1991 - May 17, 1991: Roxette - Joyride

May 18, 1991 - May 24, 1991: Hi-Five - I Like the Way (The Kissing Game)

May 25, 1991 - June 7, 1991: Mariah Carey - I Don't Wanna Cry

June 8, 1991 - June 14, 1991: Extreme - More Than Words

June 15, 1991 - July 19, 1991: Paula Abdul - Rush Rush

July 20, 1991 - July 26, 1991: EMF - Unbelievable

July 27, 1991 - September 13, 1991: Bryan Adams - (Everything I Do) I Do It For You

September 14, 1991 - September 20, 1991: Paula Abdul - The Promise of a New Day

September 21, 1991 - October 4, 1991: Color Me Badd - I Adore Mi Amor

October 5, 1991 - October 11, 1991: Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch featuring Loleatta Holloway - Good Vibrations

October 12, 1991 - November 1, 1991: Mariah Carey - Emotions

November 2, 1991 - November 8, 1991: Karyn White - Romantic

November 9, 1991 - November 22, 1991: Prince & The New Power Generation - Cream

November 23, 1991 - November 29, 1991: Michael Bolton - When A Man Loves A Woman

November 30, 1991 - December 6, 1991: P.M. Dawn - Set Adrift On Memory Bliss

December 7, 1991 - January 24, 1992: Michael Jackson - Black Or White

Popular Movies

(according to boxofficemojo)
1. Terminator 2: Judgement Day
2. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
3. Beauty and the Beast
4. Silence of the Lambs
5. City Slickers
6. Hook
7. The Addams family
8. Sleeping With The Enemy
9. Father of the Bride
10. The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear

The Addams Family, Backdraft, Beauty and the Beast, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, Cape Fear, City Slickers, Father of the Bride, Fried Green Tomatoes, Highlander 2: The Quickening, Hook, Hot Shots!, JFK, The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear, The Prince of Tides, The Rocketeer, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, The Silence of the Lambs, Sleeping with the Enemy, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Teenage Mutant Turtles II, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Thelma and Louise

More Pop Culture History Resources

Popular Music in 1991
# 1 Hits of 1991
Pop Culture News

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pop, as in 'popular' :(adjective) Pertaining to the common people, or the people as a whole as distinguished from any particular class.
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