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1996 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

<< - 1995

1996 History Snapshot

  • The weather: A cyclone formed over Lake Huron with tropical characteristics, nicknamed 'Hurricane Huron'. The storm had a maximum speed of 73 mph.
  • The Top Song was Don't Speak by No Doubt
  • The Big Movies included Independence Day, Twister and Mission Impossible
  • Price of Keebler Chips Deluxe cookies, 16 oz: $1.59
    Duncan Hines cake mix, 18.25 oz: 96 cents
    Plymouth Voyager: $15,999.00
  • The World Population was ~ 5,738,000,000
  • US Life Expectancy: Males: 73.1 years, Females: 79.1 years
  • Tickle Me Elmo was introduced.
  • Homestar Runner is an animated Internet cartoon by Mike Chapman and Craig Zobel, created in 1996 and hit peak popularity in 2000.
  • And... Tom Cruise was sailing in his yacht off the island of Capri and saw a sinking sailboat in flames. He immediately set sail toward the accident and pulled the five victims to safety.

World Series Champions

New York Yankees

Superbowl XXX Champions

Dallas Cowboys

National Basketball Association Champions

Chicago Bulls

NHL Stanley Cup Champions

Colorado Avalanche

US Open Golf

Steve Jones

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Pete Sampras/Steffi Graf

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Richard Krajiceck/Steffi Graf

Sports Highlight

Cal Ripkin broke Lou Gehrig's consective MLB game record when he played game number 2,131

NCAA Football Champions


NCAA Basketball Champions


Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 1, 1996 - Florida State over Notre Dame
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1996 - USC over Northwestern
Sugar Bowl : December 31, 1995 - Virginia Tech over Texas

Kentucky Derby


Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Clussexx County Sunrise

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

David Ho

Miss America

Shawntel Smith (Muldrow, OK)

Miss USA

Ali Landry (Louisiana)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Gillian Anderson, Pamela Anderson, Jennifer Aniston, Gabrielle Anwar, Tyra Banks, Drew Barrymore, Elizabeth Berkley, Halle Berry, Yasmine Bleeth, Amy Brenneman, Sandra Bullock, Naomi Campbell, Mariah Carey, Courteney Cox, Cindy Crawford, Cameron Diaz, Erika Eleniak, Linda Evangelista, Sherilyn Fenn, Linda Fiorentino, Anna Friel, Jo Guest, Teri Hatcher, Salma Hayek, Natasha Henstridge, Eva Herzigova, Martina Hingis, Elizabeth Hurley, Kathy Ireland, Janet Jackson, Famke Janssen, Ashley Judd, Patsy Kensit, Nicole Kidman, Lisa Kudrow, Heather Locklear, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Elle Macpherson, Valeria Mazza, Jenny McCarthy, Dannii Minogue, Kylie Minogue, Demi Moore, Kate Moss, Gena Lee Nolin, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michelle Pfeiffer, Princess Diana, Gabrielle Reece, Rebecca Romijn, Winona Ryder, Claudia Schiffer, Stephanie Seymour, Elisabeth Shue, Alicia Silverstone, Victoria Silvstedt, Mira Sorvino, Sharon Stone, Niki Taylor, Uma Thurman, Liv Tyler, Kate Winslet, Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones

"The Quotes"

"You had me at 'hello'"
- Renée Zellweger, Jerry Maguire

"Show me the Money!"
- Cuba Gooding, Jr., in Jerry Maguire

During 1996 democratic convention Al Gore said, "I would like to demonstrate for you the Al Gore version of the Macarena", then remained motionless for a few seconds, and eventually asked, "Would you like to see it again?"

Tom Cruise sent letters and gifts to the boy who originally played the little boy in Jerry Maguire but was replaced by Jonathan Lipnicki, because he "just didn't want that first actor to go to the movies, look at the screen and think he'd failed. I wanted him to love movies his entire life."

1996 Pop Culture History

The day before the 1996 US presidential election, the NYT Crossword contained the clue "Lead story in tomorrow's newspaper" -- the puzzle was built so that both electoral outcomes were correct answers, requiring 7 other clues to have dual responses.

Elton John charted a Top 40 single every single year from 1970 to 1997.

Charlie Sheen paid $6,537.50 to buy 2,615 tickets to a Major League Baseball game at Anaheim Stadium, hoping to catch a home run ball. Sheen and three of his friends sat alone, 20 rows up, but no home runs were hit that day.

Jim Carrey was the first actor to make $20,000,000 to star in a single film, The Cable Guy.

Philip Boit was the first Kenyan to participate in the Winter Olympics. Competing in the 10 KM classic cross-country race he came in last. The winner, Bjørn Dæhlie, waited for Boit to reach the finish line in order to hug him. The moment affected him so much Boit named his son after Dæhlie

The BBC applied to register the TARDIS as a trademark and were challenged by the Metropolitan Police. The courts found no evidence that any police force had ever registered the image as a trademark. The courts ruled in BBCs favor.

When the movie The Rock premiered on Alcatraz in 1996 a man windsurfed to the island wearing a wing-collar tuxedo shirt and bow tie, and then snuck into the celebrity party.

Mary Tyler Moore offered a restaurant $1,000 to sell her a 65 year-old lobster so she could return it to the wild. Rush Limbaugh then offered $2,000 to eat the lobster. The restaurant denied both offers and kept the lobster as a mascot.

A painting was stolen from the Museum of Bad Art. The museum offered a reward of six dollars and fifty cents for its return, and the purported thief demanded a $5,000 ransom. It was later returned with no ransom paid.

After the release of the 1996 film Scream, which involved an anonymous killer calling and murdering his victims, Caller ID usage tripled in the United States.

Binti Jua - a Gorilla who, in 1996, who tended to a three-year-old boy who had fallen into her enclosure and was knocked unconscious and bleeding. After she heard the keepers coming in, she gave up the child freely.

A man was flying a remote-controlled model plane in Dublin when the receiver died. The plane continued with no guidance for 5 miles, then ran out of fuel and glided to a stop on the runway of Dublin Airport.

During a blizzard in Allentown PA, the Orlando Magic, Marilyn Manson, and the cast of Sesame Street Live were all stranded in a hotel together

Muhammad Ali threw his 1960 Olympic Gold Medal into the Ohio River, following being refused service at a "whites-only" restaurant. He would be awarded with an honorary medal in 1996.

The Dana Carvey Show, which aired just 7 episodes, had a writing team that included Louis C.K., Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Bob Odenkirk, Charlie Kaufman, Robert Smigel, Dino Stamatopoulous and others.

Oprah started her famous book club.

Febreze fabric refesher began test-marketing in 1996. By 1998, it was sold nation-wide.

The copy of the Space Jam website is still up, and hasn't been updated since 1996.

Top Gun was the lowest priced VHS ever for a major movie when it was released ($27 when others were $30 to $100) because it had a Diet Pepsi commercial before the movie.

In 1996, Travelocity opened online. Early on, it was primarily travel agents who booked flights on American Airlines.

Animal Hero: Binti, a gorilla at the Brookfield Illinois Zoo, grabbed a 3 year-old who had fallen in the cage, protected him from the other apes, and delivered him to zoo personel at the gate.

Human Hero: 18 year old Keshia Thomas, while marching to protest a KKK rally in Michigan, protected a white man, who had an "SS" tattoo and and a confederate flag shirt, from the attacks of a crowd. She threw herself on him to deflect the mob's strikes, due to her belief that "nobody deserves to be hurt."

Human Hero: Wladimir Klitschko auctioned off his 1996 Olympic gold medal in March 2012 for charity. The buyer payed $1 million but immediatly returned it because he wanted it to stay in the family.

Actor Hero: Mark Harmon rescued two teenage boys from a car accident that occurred outside his home. He used a sledgehammer from his garage to break a window and pull the two out of the burning car.

Cost of a Superbowl ad in 1996: $1,085,000

The distinctive sound of the Martians speech in Mars Attacks was made by reversing the sound of a duck's quack. #ackack

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

In 1996 as a hoax, Taco Bell printed in six major American newspapers that it had bought The Liberty Bell and was renaming it The Taco Liberty Bell.

As an April Fool's Day prank, the Taco Bell Corporation took out a full-page ad that appeared in six major newspapers saying that it had bought the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. The National Historic Park in Philadelphia received hundreds of outraged calls.

The United States campaign finance controversy was an alleged effort by the People's Republic of China to influence domestic American politics during the Clinton administration and also involved the fund-raising practices of the administration itself.

Jackie Stern was arrested for wearing a Medal of Honor he did not earn, a judge forced him to write an apology letter to all living Medal of Honor recipients as punishment. There were 171 recipients he wrote letters to.

Richard Jewell, a security guard, became a short-term national hero when he saved hundreds of people by spotting a bomb at the 1996 Olympics. He was later wrongly accused of the crime, enduring an unfair 'trial by media', which took a toll on him personally and professionally.

When Atari was shut down in 1996, the (historically valuable) source code to Asteroids and Centipede notes were thrown out as trash.

Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber was captured. He had killed d injured 23 people in his 17-year spree. He was turned in by his brother, david, who recognized the writing style and te content his brother was talking about.

Billy Bailey became the last man in the United States to be executed by hanging. When asked why he chose the gallows over the standard lethal injection he said "I'm not going to let them put me to sleep."

A Nostradamus prophecy often taken as a prediction of the 9/11 attacks was a hoax. It was written in by Neil Marshall in 1996.

Several of Sublime's most well known songs, What I Got, Santeria, Wrong Way and Doin' Time, were not released until after songwriter Bradley Nowell passed away

The IRA planted a bomb in Manchester City centre and told the authorities they had an hour to evacuate the area. The police successfully managed to evacuate 75,000 people in what has been called the most 'extraordinary policing operations' in UK history. There wasn't a single fatality.

A man broke into a New Zealand radio station, held the manager hostage, and demanded for the station to play Rainbow Connection by Kermit the frog nonstop. Police came before it was played.

A Canadian mining company Bre-X announced a huge discovery of gold and in the process went from a penny stock to $280/share and being valued at $4 billion. In reality it was all a fraud and the lead geologist was shaving off gold from his wedding band to add to drill core samples.

Rage Against the Machine played Saturday Night Live with host Steve Forbes. In protest of billionaires like Forbes, they hung two upside-down flags from their stage, against the wishes of staff. After a confrontation with SNL stagehands, they were kicked out before the second song.

Rap Star Murder: Tupac Shakur killed in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas.

Beauty Pagean Queen Murder: JonBenet ramsey was found killed in her basement, and the killer was never found.

Actress Overdose Death: Margaux Hemingway, age 42, from a deliberate overdose of phenobarbitol

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

Nintendo 64, Tickle Me Elmo, Toy Story toys, anything Pokemon, Pokemon Yellow video game

Beanie Babies catch on (although they had been around since 1993. The McDonalds mini-beanie-babie giveway fueled the madness.

The Habits

Doing the Macarena
Playing with Tickle Me Elmo
Reading Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
Reading The Runaway Jury by John Grisham

1996/97 Biggest Television Shows

(according to Nielsen TV Research)
1. E.R. (NBC)
2. Seinfeld (NBC)
3. Suddenly Susan (NBC)
4. Friends (NBC)
5. The Naked Truth (NBC)
6. Fired Up (NBC)
7. Monday Night Football (ABC)
8. The Single Guy (NBC)
9. Home Improvement (ABC)
10. Touched By An Angel (CBS)

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1996 include
Aaliyah, Alanis Morissette, Blackstreet, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Brandy, Busta Rhymes, Celine Dion, Coolio, Dr. Dre, Dru Hill, Faith Hill, Fugees, Gin Blossoms, Ginuwine, Goo Goo Dolls, Hootie & the Blowfish, Jay-Z, Jewel, Keith Sweat, La Bouche, Lauryn Hill, LeeAnn Rimes, LL Cool J, Los Del Rio, Mariah Carey, Monica, No Doubt, Oasis, 112, R. Kelly, Ricky Martin, The Smashing Pumpkins, Toni Braxton, 2Pac,

(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 1996

December 2, 1995 - March 22, 1996: Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men - One Sweet Day

March 23, 1996 - May 3, 1996: CÚline Dion - Because You Loved Me

May 4, 1996 - May 17, 1996: Mariah Carey - Always Be My Baby

May 18, 1996 - July 12, 1996: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony - Tha Crossroads

July 13, 1996 - July 26, 1996: 2Pac featuring K-Ci & JoJo / Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman - How Do U Want It / California Love

July 27, 1996 - August 2, 1996: Toni Braxton - You're Makin' Me High / Let It Flow

August 3, 1996 - November 8, 1996: Los Del Rio - Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)

November 9, 1996 - December 6, 1996: Blackstreet featuring Dr. Dre - No Diggity

December 7, 1996 - February 21, 1997: Toni Braxton - Un-Break My Heart

The Top 40 Songs of 1996*

*according to Billboard Magazine
1. Don't Speak - No Doubt
2. Macarena (bayside boys mix) - Los Del Rio
3. In-Break My Heart - Toni Braxton
4. That Crossroads - Bone thugs-n-harmony
5. Because You Loved Me - Celine Dion
6. No Diggity - BLACKstreet with Dr. Dre
7. Always Be My Baby - Mariah Carey
8. How Do U Want It - 2 Pac with KC & JoJo
9. You're Makin' Me High - Toni Braxton
10. I Love You Always Forever - Donna Lewis
11. It's All Coming Back To Me Now - Celine Dion
12. I Believe I Can Fly - R. Kelly
13. Killing Me Softly - Fugees with Lauryn Hill
14. Nobody Knows - The Tony Rich Project
15. Sittin' Up In My Room - Brandy
16. Not Gon' Cry - Mary J. Blige
17. Twisted - Keith Sweat
18. Missing - Everything But The Girl
19. Head Over Feet - Alanis Morissette
20. Give Me One Reason - Tracy Chapman
21. Nobody - Keith Sweat with Athena
22. C'Mon N' Ride It (The Train) - Quad City DJ's
23. Loungin - LL Cool J
24. Hit Me Off - New Edition
25. Ironic - Alanis Morissette
26. Mouth - Merril Bainbridge
27. Down Low (Nobody Has To Know) - R. Kelly w Ronald & Ernie Isley
28. One of Us - Joan Osborne
29. Where Do You Go - No Mercy
30. Change The World - Eric Clapton
31. 1,2,3,4 (Supin' New) - Coolio
32. Name - Goo Goo Dolls
33. I Can't Sleep Baby (If I) - R. Kelly
34. You're The One - SWV
35. Breakfast At Tiffany's - Deep Blue Something
36. Be My Lover - La Bouche
37. Pony - Ginuwine
38. California Love - 2Pac with Dr. Dre and Roger
39. You Learn - Alanis Morissette
40. This Is For The Lover In You - Babyface with LL Cool J & Jody Watley

Popular Movies

(according to boxofficemojo)
1. Independence Day
2. Twister
3. Mission: Impossible
4. Jerry Maguire
5. Ransom
6. 101 Dalmations
7. The Rock
8. The Nutty Professor
9. The Birdcage
10. A Time To Kill

12 Monkeys, 101 Dalmations, A Time To Kill, Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, The Birdcage, Broken Arrow, The English Patient, Eraser, Fargo, The First Wives Club, Happy Gilmore, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Independence Day, James and the Giant Peach, Jerry Maguire, Michael, Mission: Impossible, The Nutty Professor, Phenomenon, Ransom, The Rock, Scream, Space Jam, Star Trek: First Contact, Trainspotting, Twister

More Pop Culture History Resources

Popular Music in 1996
# 1 Hits of 1996
Pop Culture News

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