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This Month In YesterYear History - August

It's already August and 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 a conglomeration of 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:  Barry Bonds hits his 600th home run on August 9th.  On August 10th, actor Nicolas Cage marries the "Princess of Rock and Roll" Lisa Marie Presley in Maui, Hawaii.  They made it a whole 2 years before divorcing in 2004.  August in 2002 was a pretty slow month, to be honest.

1997:  The Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand opens August 3rd to become the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere.  On August 4th, UPS drivers went on strike.  On August 6th, Microsoft invests heavily in Apple.  That same day, new NHL team Nashville Predators name Barry Trotz the first head coach.  Trotz would last 15 seasons with Nashville.  On the 10th, the Atlanta Braves sign Greg Maddux to a (then) record contract of 5 years for $57.5 million.  On the 19th, New York Yankees 3rd baseman Wade Boggs pitches a scoreless inning.  On August 29, Netflix is created as an online DVD rental business.  On August 31, Princess Diana dies in a car accident.

1992:  On August 5, the Rodney King riots begin in Los Angeles when several police officers are acquitted.  On the 7th, Shaquille O'Neal is the number one draft pick for the Orlando Magic.  The next day, the original American "Dream Team" win Olympic gold in basketball.  The team featured such superstars as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley, and Patrick Ewing.  On August 29, the WWF's SummerSlam in Wembley Stadium in London played host to the largest professional wrestling crowd outside of the United States (75,000 people.)  


2002:  "Signs" - This science fiction thriller film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan focuses on a former Episcopal priest named Graham Hess (Mel Gibson), who discovers a series of crop circles in his corn field that leads to the discovery of extraterrestrial life.  Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin, and Abigail Breslin also star.  The film is written to explore the themes of faith and family.

Debuting on August 2, the film grossed $227.9 million in domestic ticket sales.  Earning an additional $180.2 million through international release, the combined $408 million in gross revenue was considered a success based on its $72 million budget.  The film was nominated for multiple awards and was met with positive reviews that praised the cinematography, the score, and the story.  

1997:  "Air Force One" - Air Force One is a political action thriller film starring Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close, Wendy Crewson, Xander Berkeley, William H. Macy, Dean Stockwell, and Paul Guilfoyle.  It follows a group of terrorists who hijack Air Force One and the President's attempt to rescue everyone aboard by retaking his plane.  

The film was a success and received mostly positive reviews.  A large part of the crew took a tour of the real Air Force One before filming began.  Production was then able to base some of the film's scenes on the touring experience.  The character Deputy Press Secretary Melanie Mitchel was based on the real-life tour guide.  For the exterior scenes, producers rented a Boeing 747 from Kalitta Air Cargo and repainted it to replicate the Air Force One livery.  Harrison Ford was offered the role of President James Marshall after Kevin Costner turned down the role due to other commitments.

1992:  "Unforgiven" - This 1992 revisionist film was a western directed, produced, and starring Clint Eastwood.  The film tells the story of William Munny, an aging outlaw, and murderer who takes one more job years after he had turned his life around.  The film co-stars Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, and Richard Harris.  

Compared to its $14 million budget, the movie grossed over $159 million.  The film won four Academy Awards:  Best Picture and Best Director for Clint Eastwood, Best Supporting Actor for Gene Hackman, and Best Film Editing for editor Joel Cox.  Eastwood was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance, but he lost to Al Pacino for Scent of a Woman.  The film was the third Western to win Best Picture, following Cimarron (1931) and Dances with Wolves (1990).  Eastwood dedicated the film to directors and mentors Sergio Leone and Don Siegel.


2002:  "Complicated" by Avril Lavigne

1997:  "Mo Money Mo Problems" by Notorious B.I.G. and Puff Daddy

1992:  "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men


2002:  American Idol launches to instant success with nearly 13 million viewers.  The series launched a whole new generation of reality talent competitions that continue 20 years later.  

1997:  NBC had the ratings locked down in August of 1997 with reruns of Seinfeld (19 million viewers!) 3rd Rock from the Sun, and ER taking the top 3 spots.  60 Minutes (CBS) and Dateline NBC rounded out the top 5.

1992:  The 1992 Summer Olympics from Barcelona, Spain took several of the top rating slots in August 1992.  48 Hours was the only series to defeat the Olympics with its special report on Hurricane Andrew toward the end of August.