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This Month In YesterYear History - May

Happy May!  A brand new month brings a brand new edition of This Month in YesterYear History!  Here's a fun new topic that I thought I'd try out last month and it seemed like it was well-received so I'll continue it for the foreseeable future!  Please CLICK HERE to read last month's feature in case you missed it!

Once we have a few months of these I'll create a section on the "Collections" page where you can access them all and go back in time at your leisure.

In this series, we'll take a brief look back at the "best" or "top" of pop culture from 20 (2002), 25 (1997), and 30 (1992) years ago!    

Using film website Box Office Mojo, The Billboard Top 100 music list, and a conglomeration of television rating websites, I've pieced together a little time capsule of what was significant in life during those days.   

Hopefully, as you read these brief synopses from the past, you'll remember the who, when, and where of your memories from that time period.  That's what this site is all about, after all!

So, get into those time machines, my friends!  We're headed back to 20, 25, and 30 years ago!

Just for a point of reference, some major news or event headlines during May were:

2002:  On May 6, Elon Musk creates SpaceX.  On May 15, Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine debuts at the Cannes Film Festival.  A day later, Star Wars Episode II - Attack of the Clones hits theaters.  On May 26, the Mars Odyssey rover vehicle finds signs of ice on Mars.  

1997:  On May 1, Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister of The United Kingdom.  Austin Powers is released in theaters on May 2nd.  On May 5th, Married with Children ends its run.  On May 6, the NHL's Hartford Whalers become the Carolina Hurricanes.  On May 15, ABC launches ABCNEWS.COM in an effort to become the news leader on the (then rapidly growing) internet.

1992:  On May 1, the Los Angeles Dodgers are forced to cancel 3 games due to the Rodney King race riots.  The Golden Girls aired their final episode on May 9th.  On May 19th, the "Long Island Lolita" Amy Fisher shoots Mary-Jo Buttafuoco in the face over an affair with her husband, Joey.  On May 22nd, Johnny Carson made his final appearance as host of The Tonight Show.  


2002:  "Spider-Man" - 
The first entry into director Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, "Spider-Man" stars Tobey Maguire as the titular character, alongside A-list actors Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, and James Franco.  This film follows Spider-Man's origin story, when the outcast teenager Peter Parker is bitten by a genetically-altered spider that causes him to develop spider-like superhuman abilities.  Adopting a masked identity, young Peter fights the rising crime wave in New York City, and eventually comes face-to-face with the villainous Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe.)

Live action Spider-Man movies had been in development since the 1980s, with several big name filmmakers attached to various projects.  Licensing and financial issues caused the projects to stall, until Columbia Pictures licensed the film for worldwide release in 1999.  

"Spider-Man" hit theaters on May 3rd to positive reviews from audiences and critics.  It was the first film to reach $100million in a single weekend as well as the most successful film based on a comic book (at the time.)  "Spider-Man" led to two sequels in 2004 and 2007.  Maguire and Dafoe later rerised their roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film "Spider-Man:  No Way Home" in 2021, which dealt with the concept of a multi-verse and officially linking the Sam Raimi trilogy to the MCU.  

1997:  "The Lost World - Jurassic Park" - 

The Lost World: Jurassic Park launched in theaters on May 23, 1997 as the second installment of the Jurassic Park franchise.  Loosely based on Michael Chriton's 1995 novel "The Lost World," and a sequel to the 1993 film "Jurassic Park," "The Lost World" was directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, and Vince Vaughn.  

Set four years after the original film, John Hmamond (Richard Attenborough) sends in a team, led by Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) to Isla Sorna, the second island Hammond's company used to make dinosaurs.  The intent of the team was to study the dinosaurs but this led to conflict with at team led by Hammond's company InGen to bring the dinosaurs back to the United States.    

The Lost World's plot and imagery is substantially darker than Jurassic Park. It makes more extensive use of computer-generated imagery to depict the dinosaurs, instead of the life-sized animatronics used in the first film.

The movie opened to mixed reviews from critics and fans.  The visual and action sequences were praised but the writing and character development was panned.  The second-highest grossing film of 1997, the box office totals eventually hit $618 million.

1992:  "Lethal Weapon 3" - 
The third in the series, "Lethal Weapon 3" is a classic buddy cop action film directed by Richard Donner that stars Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, and Rene Russo.  The movie follows Los Angeles Police Sergeants Martin Riggs (Gibson) and Roger Murtaugh (Glover) pursue former LAPD lieutenant turned ruthless arms dealer, Jack Travis (Stuart Wilson).  

The entirety of the film takes place during the six days prior to Murtaugh's retirement.  The duo are joined in this film by Leo Getz (Pesci) and internal affairs Sergeant Lorna Cole (Russo).  

A box office success at $320 million worldwide, it was the 5th highest grossing film of 1992 and the highest-grossing installment in the series.  A fourth Lethal Weapon followed in 1998 due to its success.  


2002:  "Foolish" by Ashanti

1997:  "MmmBop" by Hanson

1992:  "Jump" by Kriss Kross


2002:  The top show for this month was the season finale for Season 8 of Friends, earning nearly 25 million viewers who tuned in to watch the birth of Rachel and Ross's baby.  CSI, E.R., Everybody Loves Raymond, and Law and Order round out the top 5 highest-rated shows for the month.  

1997:  E.R. took the highest-rated spot this month in 1997 with 34.8 million viewers on their May 9th episode.  Notably, The NBA Finals between the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz dominated the latter half of the month.  The episode "Feminine Mistake" of Home Improvement, where Brad's girlfriend begins doing his laundry and homework, earned 21 million viewers on May 6th.  

1992:  The sitcom Murphy Brown takes the top spot ratings-wise this month thanks to the comments made by then-Vice President Dan Quayle.  Vice President Quayle said that the character Murphy Brown, a single mother on the show, was a bad example for children and families in America.  The episode immediately following those comments had 38 million people watching.