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This Month in YesterYear History - July

Welcome to July!  A new month brings a new edition of "This Month in YesterYear History!"   

Please CLICK HERE to read last month's feature if you missed it!  

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 40 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 July were:

2002:  On July 2nd, Steve Fosset is the first person to circle the globe in a hot air balloon.  On July 9th, the 73rd annual baseball All-Star game ends in a 7 to 7 tie when both teams run out of available pitchers.  On July 28, nine coal miners in Pennsylvania were rescued live on TV after being trapped underground for over 77 hours.  That same day, Lance Armstrong is disqualified and stripped of his Tour de France win.  On July 30, Bruce Springsteen released his newest album, "The Rising," his first with the E Street band since 1985.

1997:  Mike Tyson is suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission for biting Evander Holyfield's ear on July 1st.  That same day, Great Britain returned Hong Kong to China.  Big deal-turned-flop Hideki Irabu debuts for the New York Yankees.  On July 10, Joe Camel was removed from all ads fearing he lured children to smoke cigarettes.  The first human stem cells were cultured in a lab on July 25th.  On July 28, Mark Messier leaves New York by signing a 3-year $20 million contract with the Vancouver Canucks.  

1992:  On July 2, Braniff Airlines went out of business.  On July 5, Andre Agassi won his first (of 8) Grand Slam singles titles in Wimbledon.  Ross Perot calls members of the NAACP "you people" on July 11.  Drug kingpin Pablo Escobar escaped prison on July 22.  


2002:  "Men in Black II" - This science-fiction comedy directed by Barry Sonnenfeld is the second film of the trilogy, which in itself is loosely based on the Marvel Comics series "The Men in Black."  Starring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, both reprising their roles from the first film, along side Lara Flynn Boyle, Johnny Knoxville, Rosario Dawson, Tony Shaloub, and Rip Torn.  Michael Jackson also makes a cameo appearance as an alien.  The film centers on Agent J (Will Smith) trying to get Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) to return to the organization because only K would have the knowledge to deal with the latest threat to Earth's security.  Restoring the knowledge to K requires restoring the memories J previously wiped from K's mind at the end of the original film.  

Men in Black II was released worldwide on July 3, 2002, and grossed $441.8 million against a budget of $140 million.  This was followed by Men in Black 3 ten years later in 2012. 

1997:  "Men in Black" - Is a sci-fi action/comedy directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith as secret agents of a top secret government organization called the "Men in Black."  The Men in Black supervise extraterrestrial lifeforms who live on EArth and hide their existence from ordinary human beings.  Released on July 2, 1997, the film grossed over $589.3 million on a $90 million budget, becoming the year's third best preforming film.  It was immediately well received by critics and audiences and received three Academy Award nominations, for Best Art Direction, Best Original Score, and Best Makeup.  It won Best Makeup.  The movie was so successful it spawned the Men in Black franchise, including two sequels, Men in Black II (2002) and Men in Black 3 (2012).  A spin-off film, Men in Black:  International (2019) and an animated series running from 1997 to 2001 were created as well. 

1992:  "A League of Their Own" - One of America's all time greatest films, and easily one of my favorites of all time, this sports comedy/drama tells the fictionalized account of the real life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.  Directed by Penny Marshall, the film stars Hollywood mainstaysTom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Lori Petty, Jon Lovitz, Garry Marshall, Bill Pullman, and Rosie O'Donnell.  Immediately, the film was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $132.4 million worldwide ($289 million in 2022, based on inflation) and received immense praise for the acting of everyone involved.  

In 2012, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, and aesthetically" significant.  


2002:  "Hot in Herre" Nelly

1997:  "I'll Be Missing You" by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans 

1992:  "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot


2002:  Topping the chart this month was CSI: Crime Scene Investigation reruns on CBS.  Reality TV has hit its peak as the once "guaranteed rating success" saw ratings decline sharply.  Dancing with the Stars, Hell's Kitchen, and Big Brother were top reality shows of the summer of 2002.

1997:  FOX Broadcasting Company defeated one of  "the big three" for the first time in its six-year history when "Melrose Place" and "Beverly Hills: 90210" beat NBC's offering of Unsolved Mysteries and Cheers reruns.  CBS took top honors with the 1997 MLB All-Star Game.

1992:  The 1992 Summer Olympics from Barcelona, Spain took the top 7 ratings slots in July of 1992.