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This Month In YesterYear History - May

 It's time for the May 2023 edition of "This Month in YesterYear History!"  

In this series, we take a brief look back at the "best" or "top" of popular culture from the past 20 (2003), 25 (1998), and 30 (1993) years ago!   

Below, you'll find a little time capsule of what was significant in our lives during those days.  Hopefully, as you read these brief synopses of the past, you'll begin to remember the who, when, and where of your memories from that time.  

That's why I post to this site, after all!  

So, let's get into those time machines, my friends; we're headed back to Twenty, Twenty-Five, and Thirty years ago!


2003:  On May 1st, President George W. Bush gives his infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln.  On the 3rd, New Hampshire's famous "Old Man of the Mountain" collapses.  On the 21st, Toby Keith, Martina McBride, and Kenny Chesney win big at the CMA Awards.  On the 22nd, Annika Sorenstam becomes the first woman to play in the PGA Tour in 58 years.  On the 24th, Paul McCartney performs his first concert in Russia to over 100,000 people in Moscow's Red Square.  Sherpa Lakpa Gelu climbs Mount Everest in a record-setting 10 hours and 56 minutes on the 26th.  On the 28th, NHL goaltender Patrick Roy announces his retirement.  Two days later, on the 30th, Pixar's "Finding Nemo" debuts in theaters.

1998:  The fictional "Battle of Hogwarts" that ended the 2nd Wizarding War was to have happened on May 2nd.  On the 4th, a federal judge sentenced "the Una-bomber," Ted Kaczynski, to four life sentences plus 30 years.  Mercedez Benz purchases Chrysler for $40 billion to form DaimlerChrysler on the 7th.  On May 11th and 13th, India proceeded with multiple tests of underground nuclear explosions and received economic sanctions from numerous countries in response.  New York Yankees pitcher David Wells has a perfect game in a 4-0 win against the Twins on the 17th.  On May 18th, the U.S. government files 20 anti-trust lawsuits against Microsoft.  On the 22nd, a federal judge ruled that Secret Service Agents must testify in the trials surrounding Monica Lewinsky and President Bill Clinton.  On the 26th, Paula Jones' harassment lawsuit against President Clinton begins.  That same day, a federal court decided that the historic immigrant gateway Ellis Island was the property of New Jersey and not New York.  On the 27th, Michael Fortier was fined $200,000 and sentenced to 12 years for not warning the government about his knowledge of plans for the Oklahoma City bombings.  On the 28th, Pakistan responds to India's nuclear testing with 5 atomic tests of its own.  

1993:  On May 1st, Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa was assassinated during a bomb attack that killed 17.  On May 8th, a teenager named Keron Thomas disguised himself as an engineer, taking a New York City Subway train and 2,000 passengers on a 3-hour joyride.  On the same day, Lennox Lewis becomes World Heavyweight boxing champ by beating Tony Tucker in 12 rounds.  Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, and Mary Chapin Carpenter clean up at the CMA Awards on the 11th.  On May 15th, the Alamodome opens in San Antonio, Texas.  Alan Jackson's hit single "Chattahoochee" debuts on May 17th.  The first real-life astronaut, Mae Jemison, appears on Star Trek in the episode "Second Chances."  On May 26th, Carlos Martinez famously hit a home run with a ball that bounced off Jose Canseco's head.  On the 29th, Jose Canseco, an outfielder, takes a turn pitching in the Texas Ranger's 15-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox.  He gave up 3 runs on 2 hits and 3 walks and also injured his arm.


2003: "Matrix Reloaded" -  This sci-fi action film was a direct sequel to 1999's The Matrix.  Starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, and Gloria Foster, who reprise their roles from the previous film.  Jada Pinkett Smith was introduced to the cast in this film.

The movie debuted on May 7th, 2003, with a worldwide release a week later on May 15th.  The film received generally positive reviews from critics, although most felt it inferior to the first.  It grossed $741.8 million worldwide, breaking Terminator 2's record for the highest-grossing R-rated film until Deadpool surpassed it in 2016.  It was also the third-highest-grossing film of 2003, behind Lord of the Rings:  The Return of the King and Disney's Finding Nemo.  

A third sequel, The Matrix Revolutions, was released six months later, on November 5th, 2003.

1998: "Deep Impact" -  This sci-fi disaster film starred Robert Duvall, Téa Leoni, Elijah Wood, Vanessa Redgrave, Maximilian Schell, and Morgan Freeman.  Steven Spielberg served as an executive producer of this film, released by Paramount Pictures on May 8th.  The film depicts the attempts to prepare for and destroy a 7-mile-wide comet headed for Earth that would cause a mass extinction event.

This movie was released during the same time as a very similar film, Armageddon, which fared much better at the box office than Deep Impact.  Astronomers describe Deep Impact as being more scientifically accurate, however.  

Both films were similarly received by critics, with Armageddon scoring 38% and Deep Impact scoring 44% on Rotten Tomatoes.  Deep Impact grossed over $349 million worldwide on an $80 million production budget. 

1993: "Dave" -  This American political comedy was directed by Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters) and starred Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver.  Frank Langella, Kevin Dunn, Laura Linney, Ving Rhames, Charles Grodin, and Ben Kingsley appear in supporting roles.  

In the film, Dave Kovic (Kevin Kline) runs a temporary employment agency and impersonates President Bill Mitchell as a side job.  Secret Service agents recruit him to impersonate Mitchell as a security precaution but, in reality, plan to use him to cover up Mitchell's affair with a staffer.  When the real President Mitchell has a stroke, White House Chief of Staff Bob Alexander asks Dave to continue in his role impersonating the President.  Bob's scheme is to force Vice President Gary Nance, a good man, to resign after setting him up in a savings and loan scandal.  Then, Dave (as President Mitchell) would appoint Bob as Vice President, who would then reveal Mitchell's stroke and incapacity, so Bob could become President.  

Dave debuted at number 2 at the US Box Office, behind "Dragon:  The Bruce Lee Story."  It later jumped to number 1, making $63.3 million in the US and $91.8 million worldwide.


2003:  "Get Busy" by Sean Paul

1998:  "Too Close" by Next

1993:  "That's The Way Love Goes" by Janet Jackson



May 8th - Nancy Christy is the first woman to win $1 million on the syndicated version of "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire."  

May 19th - ABC broadcasts a four-hour 50th anniversary special.  

May 20th - "America's Next Top Model" starring Tyra Banks premiers on UPN.  

The final episode of "Buffy the Vampire" airs on UPN after 2 additional seasons and 44 more episodes after being canceled by The WB years earlier.  

May 21st- Ruben Studdard wins the second season of "American Idol."  His debut song, "Flying Without Wings," reached number two on the Billboard charts in June 2003.  

May 7th - The Seinfeld episode, "The Puerto Rican Day Parade," is broadcast on NBC.  In it, Cosmo Kramer accidentally burns and stomps on a Puerto Rican flag.  NBC was forced to apologize and banned the episode from airing ever again on the network or in the initial syndication package.  At the time, the Puerto Rican Day Parade was a hot-button issue in-and-around New York City due to several recent riots and assaults during the rowdy event.  In 2002, the episode began to appear with the flag-burning scene intact.  

May 14th - 76.3 million people tune in to watch the "Seinfeld" 2-part episode "The Finale" on NBC. 

May 28th - Former Saturday Night Live cast member, actor, and comedian Phil Hartman, then acting on the sitcom NewsRadio, was murdered by his wife (who then kills herself.)  


May 5th- "As the World Turns" cast member Don Hastings hosts a memorial tribute to Douglas Marland, the chief writer on the series since 1985, who died during abdominal surgery.  

May 13th- A cartoon version of Barry White appears for the first time during the fourth-season finale of "The Simpsons."  

Knots Landing airs a two-hour series finale on CBS.

May 14th - Jaimee Foxworth (Judy) and Telma Hopkins (Aunt Rachel) make their final regular appearance on the ABC sitcom "Family Matters" to make room for the insanely popular Steve Urkel.  Hopkins would make several guest appearances later in the series, although Foxworth's character disappears without explanation.

May 19th - The fictional gang of West Beverly High graduates at the end of Season 3 on Beverly Hills, 90210.

May 20th - The fourth season finale of "Seinfeld" airs on NBC in an expanded 60-minute episode, concluding a season-long story involving a pilot show written by Jerry and George.  
May 22nd - "Saved by the Bell" broadcasts its series finale on NBC as the cast graduates high school.  A spin-off, "Saved by the Bell:  The College Years," debuts three months later.

May 23rd - One month after federal agents raid David Koresh's Waco, Texas compound, NBC broadcasts a hastily produced TV movie based on the event, starring Tim Daly as Koresh.  

May 28th - MLB's owners approve a 6-year joint venture with ABC and NBC.  The new "The Baseball Network" displaces CBS as baseball's primary network television package holder.