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1998 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

<< - 1997

1998 History Snapshot

  • The Internet: One of the first recognized instances of internet democracy was seen when Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf, a regular on Howard Stern, was voted #1 as a write in for People's "50 Most Beautiful People." He beat out Leonardo Dicaprio by over 215,000 votes.
  • The Top Song was Iris by Goo Goo Dolls
  • The Big Movies included Saving Private Ryan, Armageddon and There's Something About Mary
  • Price of Coca-Cola, 2 liter bottle in 1998: 89 cents
    GE Air conditioner 8,000 BTU: $319.00
  • The World Population was ~ 5,912,000,000
  • US Life Expectancy: Males: 73.8 years, Females: 79.5 years
  • Sports: Serena and Venus Williams said they could beat any man ranked 200 or higher in a game of tennis. Karsten Braasch, ranked 203, accepted the challenge and easily beat them, 6-1, 6-2.
  • The Research Paper: In 1996 and 1997, Emily Rosa, 9, tested 21 therapeutic touch practitioners whether their claims to detect "human energy fields" were true. Finding they were right only 44% of the time, she published the results on 1998, becoming the youngest person ever to have a research paper published.
  • And... Ricky Gutierrez set the Major League Baseball record for seeing the most pitches in a single at-bat (20) in 1998 against pitcher Bartolo Colon.

World Series Champions

New York Yankees

MLB Highlight

Mark McGuire hit 70 Home Runs

Superbowl XXXII Champions

Denver Broncos

National Basketball Association Champions

Chicago Bulls

NHL Stanley Cup Champions

Detroit Red Wings

US Open Golf

Lee Janzen

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Patrick Rafter/Lindsay Davenport

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Pete Sampras/Jana Novotna

FIFA World Cup Soccer


NCAA Football Champions


NCAA Basketball Champions


Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 2, 1998 - Nebraska over Tennessee
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1998 - Michigan over Washington State
Sugar Bowl : January 1, 1998 - Florida State over Ohio State

Kentucky Derby

Real Quiet

Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Fairewood Frolic

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

Bill Clinton
Kenneth Starr

Miss America

Kate Shindle (Evanston, IL)

Miss USA

Shawnae Jebbia (Massachusetts)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Gillian Anderson, Pamela Anderson, Sophie Anderton, Jennifer Aniston, Tyra Banks, Zoe Ball, Drew Barrymore, Victoria Beckham, Traci Bingham, Yasmine Bleeth, Caprice Bourret, Kelly Brook, Sandra Bullock, Emma Bunton, Neve Campbell, Mariah Carey, Courteney Cox, Cindy Crawford, Donna D'Errico, Claire Danes, Cat Deeley, Cameron Diaz, Carmen Electra, Isla Fisher, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Melissa George, Jo Guest, Geri Halliwell, Salma Hayek, Natasha Henstridge, Eva Herzigova, Lauryn Hill, Elizabeth Hurley, Nicole Kidman, Heidi Klum, Anna Kournikova, Lisa Kudrow, Lucy Lawless, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Elle Macpherson, Melinda Messenger, Kylie Minogue, Demi Moore, Gena Lee Nolin, Gwyneth Paltrow, Katie Price (Jordan), Niki Taylor, Victoria Silvstedt, Heidi Klum, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jenny McCarthy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rebecca Romijn, Winona Ryder, Claudia Schiffer, Elisabeth Shue, Alicia Silverstone, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Uma Thurman, Shania Twain, Liv Tyler, Kate Winslet, Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones

"The Quotes"

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman"
"It depends on what the emaning of the word 'is' is"
- President Bill Clinton

"Think different"
-Apple Computer

"Think outside the bun"
- Taco Bell

Roger Ebert's review of the movie Enemy of the State said: "I don't believe ... the feds have computers at Fort Meade monitoring our phone calls; I read that as a screenwriter's invention."

1998 Pop Culture History

Marvel offered the cinematic rights of almost all of it's characters to Sony for $25 million. Sony rejected the offer, and only purchased the rights to Spiderman for $10 million believing that movie audiences would only care about him.

Oprah Winfrey hired the company Courtroom Sciences, Inc. to help her analyze and read the jury during her Texas cattlemen lawsuit in 1995. She was so impressed by the head of the company, Phil McGraw, that she eventually had him appear weekly on her show in 1998, before his own show was launched.

MP3s were created for the first time.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin misspelled 'googol' when they started their little search engine experiment. A googol is a big number - a 1 followed by 100 zeros. A googolplex is 10 raised to the power of one googol. You should memorize that, because you never can tell when you might be called to name the biggest number you can. If somebody calls it before you, say the same thing 'plus one.'

A 'zillion' is an indefinite large number. A 'gazillion' is bigger than that.

On April Fools Day 1998, Burger King took out a full-page ad in USA Today introducing a Whopper designed especially for lefties. The new burger would contain the same ingredients as the original, but rotated 180°. Thousands of customers swarmed BK restaurants requesting the "lefty" Whopper.

The website hampsterdance.com was created in 1998 as a result of a competition between Canadian students to see who could generate the most traffic and is one of the earliest examples of an internet meme. The song, produced by the Boomtown Boys, came out in 2000.

One satellite failed and it caused about 80% of the world's pagers to stop working.

Little Tikes' red and yellow Cozy Coupe toy car reached 6 million units in sales by its 25th anniversary in 2004, and was called the "world's best-selling car for much of this decade" by The New York Times in 1998, outselling the Honda Accord and Ford Taurus.

"Blackie," a cat from the UK, inherited $12.5M when his owner died. Blackie holds the Guiness World Record for being the wealthiest cat ever.

David Bowie launched a dial-up Internet Service Provider known as "BowieNet", which came with its own email and exclusive content. The service lasted till 2006.

IMDB has been owned by Amazon.com since 1998.

When the final episode of Seinfeld aired on May 14, 1998, the TV Land network honored the occasion by airing no programming in the show's timeslot. Instead the network just showed a still photo of a closed office door.

Workmen restoring the only surviving home of Ben Franklin dug up the remains of six children and four adults hidden below the home.

On April Fool's Day 1998, Burger King published an advertisement for "Left-Handed Whopper". The condiments of this whopper were supposed to be rotated 180 degrees, as to avoid spilling out toppings from the right side of the burger. It was said to be the "ultimate 'Have-it-your-way' for lefties"

The main narrative/story timeline of Harry Potter takes place from 1991-1998, while the books were published from 1997-2007.

Jesse Ventura was elected Governer of Minnesota.

The first known instance of the word "derp" comes from the 1998 comedy film Baseketball by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

Leonard Nimoy hosted a Y2k Family Survival Guide, in which various interviewees, including congressmen, medical professionals, and computer technicians discuss the implications of Y2K and how various computer systems could fail catastrophically.

Smartwater, vapor-distilled water was introduced. The next year, Fruitwater was available too.

The US National institute of health redefined the BMI for overweight from 27.8 to 25, making 25 million Americans previously thought of as healthy, officially overweight.

The first W Hotel opened in New York on Lexington Ave and 49th Street.

Nobel laureate Toni Morrison called Bill Clinton "the first Black president", saying, "Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald's-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas"

Watch maker Swatch tried to introduce a metric system of time measurement they called beets where they took the day and divided it up into a 1000 beets. It never caught on.

Michael Cameron, a student of Greenbrier High School, was suspended for wearing a Pepsi shirt on Coke Day.

A Florida resident petitioned successfully to have the telephone area code "3-2-1" assigned to the Kenedy Space Center and surrounding area, the pronunciation resembles the countdown before liftoff

Adam Sandler has only made one(!) comedy film that was positively rated as "fresh" on RottenTomatoes.com, 1998's The Wedding Singer.

Gillette introduced the Mach3 razor, the first triple-blade shaving tool.

There is no "Unknown Soldier" from The Vietnam War at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington Cemetery. The man who was interred there from 1974 to 1998 was identified as Lt. Michael Blassie with DNA testing. He was removed, and now the crypt is empty.

When AOL 4.0 launched in 1998, they used ALL of the world's CD production capacity for several weeks.

After a tornado in 1998, 1000+ trees were toppled at The Hermitage, a plantation built by President Andrew Jackson. Using wood from the fallen trees, the Gibson Guitar Corporation produced 200 limited edition "Old Hickory" guitars.

Saving Private Ryan (1998) was the last film edited on a non-digital editing system to win an Academy Award for editing.

Roy Berger did 3,416 push-ups in Ottawa, Canada on August 30.

Serena and Venus Williams said they could beat any man ranked 200 or worse in a game of tennis. Karsten Braasch, ranked 203, accepted the challenge and easily beat them, 6-1, 6-2.

Cost of a Superbowl ad in 1998: $1,300,000

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

A bolt of lightning killed an entire 11-man team with the opposing team remaining completely unharmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it was reported. Reported, but never quite verified. The reported score at the time was 1-1, if you really need to know. Communication was bad in that country - there was a war in Congo from 1998 to 2003 that claimed the life of 5.7 million people, the deadliest since WW2.

George Michael was arrested in 1998 for "engaging in a lewd act" in a public restroom in a Beverly Hills, CA park.

The current whereabouts of serial killer Pedro López, one of the most prolific killers of the 20th century, are unknown, after being released for good behaviour in 1998.

Sony produced Handycan Night Vision camcorders which unknowingly had the ability to see through people's clothes. They were immediately recalled.

The Mars Climate Orbiter crashed into Mars and ended a $200 million dollar mission because one instrument by Lockheed measured in (US) pound-seconds and not newton-seconds.

One of the first recognized instances of internet democracy was seen in 1998 when Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf, a regular on Howard Stern, was voted #1 as a write in for People's (online) "50 Most Beautiful People," followed by wrestler Rick Flair in second. Third place winner Leonardo DiCaprio was still featured on the cover. Hank beat out Leondardo Dicaprio by over 215K votes.

Monica Lewinsky and President Bill Clinton... The news of this extra-marital affair and the resulting investigation eventually led to the impeachment hearing of Bill Clinton in 1998 by the US House of Representatives.

Pedro López, a South American serial killer confirmed to have killed 110 people and confessed to have killed more than 300 between 1969 and 1980, was released in 1998 on good behaviour. His whereabouts are currently unknown.

The Cavalese Cable Car Disaster of 1998: A US Marine airplane cut through a cable car wire at an Italian ski resort, which caused the cable car to plunge 80 meters (260 feet) to the ground, killing all 20 people onboard. One of the crewmen later destroyed incriminating evidence against himself and the rest of the crew. Also, 43 people died in the The Cavalese Cable Car Disaster of 1976.

Quickie Celebrity marriages in 1998
Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman (9 days)
Catherine Oxenberg and Robert Evens (12 days)
Jerry Seinfeld met his wife while she was engaged to another man. She married the other guy in June 1998, went on a three week honeymoon, came back and moved in with Seinfeld, divorced her husband by October, and was engaged to Seinfeld before the year was out, November 1998.

Pop Vocalist Death: Frank Sinatra, age 82

Country Legend Vocalist Death: Tammy Wynette, age 55

Country Movie Legend Vocalist Death: Roy Roger, age 86

Pop Star Turned Congressman Death: Sonny Bono, age 62

Television Star Death: Phil Hartman, age 49

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color, SNK's Neo Geo Pocket & Neo Geo Pocket Color, Furby, Barbie and Ken as the Munsters Giftset, Betty Spaghetti, Pokemon Yellow video game

ESPN The Magazine began publication

JetBlue Airways was founded.

Job seeker website Monster.com was founded.

The Habits

Reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Reading The Street Lawyer by John Grisham

United States 1998 Census


1998/9 Biggest Television Shows

(according to Nielsen TV Research)
1. E.R. (NBC)
2. Friends (NBC)
3. Frasier (NBC)
4. Monday Night Football (ABC)
5. Veronica's Closet (NBC)
6. Jesse (NBC)
7. 60 Minutes (CBS)
8. Touched By An Angel (CBS)
9. CBS Sunday Night Movie (CBS)
10. Home Improvement (ABC)

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1998 include
Aaliyah, Aerosmith, Backstreet Boys, Blackstreet, Brandy, Brian McKnight, Celine Dion, Destiny's Child, Dixie Chicks, Janet Jackson, Goo Goo Dolls, K-Ci & JoJo, Kenny Chesney, Lauryn Hill, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Mase, Master P, Matchbox Twenty, Monica, Montell Jordan, Mya, Natalie Imbruglia, Next, *NSYNC, R. Kelly, Puff Daddy, Redman, Savage Garden, 702, Shania Twain, Silkk the Shocker, Spice Girls, Usher, Will Smith, Wyclef Jean

(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 1998

October 11, 1997 - January 16, 1998: Elton John - Candle in the Wind '97

January 17, 1998 - January 30, 1998: Savage Garden - Truly Madly Deeply

January 31, 1998 - February 13, 1998: Janet Jackson - Together Again

February 14, 1998 - February 27, 1998: Usher - Nice And Slow

February 28, 1998 - March 13, 1998: CÚline Dion - My Heart Will Go On

March 14, 1998 - April 3, 1998: Will Smith - Gettin' Jiggy Wit It

April 4, 1998 - April 24, 1998: K-Ci & JoJo - All My Life

April 25, 1998 - May 22, 1998: Next - Too Close

May 23, 1998 - June 5, 1998: Mariah Carey - My All

June 6, 1998 - September 4, 1998: Brandy & Monica - The Boy Is Mine

September 5, 1998 - October 2, 1998: Aerosmith - I Don't Want To Miss A Thing

October 3, 1998 - October 16, 1998: Monica - The First Night

October 17, 1998 - November 13, 1998: Barenaked Ladies - One Week

November 14, 1998 - November 27, 1998: Lauryn Hill - Doo Wop (That Thing)

November 28, 1998 - December 4, 1998: Divine - Lately

December 5, 1998 - January 15, 1999: R. Kelly & CÚline Dion - I'm Your Angel

Popular Movies

(according to boxofficemojo)
1. Saving Private Ryan
2. Armageddon
3. There's Something About Mary
4. A Bug's Life
5. The Waterboy
6. Doctor Dolittle
7. Rush Hour
8. Deep Impact
9. Godzilla
10. Patch Adams

A Bug's Life, Antz, Akira, Armageddon, The Big Lebowski, Deep Impact, Doctor Dolittle, Enemy of the State, Everest, Godzilla, Lethal Weapon 4, The Mask of Zorro, Mighty Joe Young, Mulan, Patch Adams, Pi, The Prince of Egypt, The Rugrats Movie, Rush Hour, Saving Private Ryan, Shakespeare in Love, There's Something About Mary, Stepmom, The Truman Show, The Waterboy, The Wedding Singer, The X-Files, You've Got Mail

More Pop Culture History Resources

Popular Music in 1998
# 1 Hits of 1998
Pop Culture News

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