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This Month In YesterYear History - April

It's time once again for your monthly look at pop culture history from 20 (2004), 25 (1999), and 30 (1994) years ago!   

Below, you'll find a little time capsule of what was significant in our lives back then.  Hopefully, as you read these brief synopses of the past, you'll begin to remember the who, when, and where of your memories from those years.  That's why I created this site, after all! 


2004:  On the 1st, Google introduced "G-Mail," but the launch was met with skepticism due to the date (April Fool's!)  On the 6th, Connecticut defeats Tennessee to win the 23rd NCAA Women's Championship.  On April 8th, Condoleezza Rice testifies in front of the 9/11 Commission.  On the 11th, Phil Mickelson claims his first major title by winning the 68th US Masters Tournament.  On April 13th, Barry Bonds hits his 661st career home run, surpassing his own godfather, Willie Mays.  On the 16th, the British cruise ship Queen Mary 2 sets sail across the Atlantic, hoping to bring golden age tradition to the modern world of cruises.  On the 21st, Toby Keith (May He Rest in Peace), along with Shania Twain and Kenny Chesney, won big at the 34 CMA "Flameworthy" Video Music Awards.  That same night, the "Rock for the Rainforest" is held at Carnegie Hall in New York City, featuring Billy Joel, Sting, Elton John, and Bette Middler.  On April 24th, the San Diego Chargers selected Eli Manning as the first pick in the NFL draft.  On the 29th, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush testify behind a closed-door meeting with the 9/11 Commission.  That same day, American tradition continued its slow death as automaker Oldsmobile produced its final vehicle.  Those last two are connected somehow, but I can't quite put my finger... anyway, on the 30th, the iconic teen comedy Mean Girls hits theaters nationwide.  

1999:  On the first, NBA coach Larry Brown (Philadelphia 76'ers) wins his 900th pro game in a win against Miami.  On the 4th, Jack Ma opens the Chinese website Alibaba.  On the 5th, two Libyan suspects of the Pan Am Lockerbie bombing are handed over for trial.  The musical "Mamma Mia!" featuring the hits of ABBA debuts on April 6th in London at the Prince Edward Theater.  Its run was only interrupted by the pandemic in 2020.  The World Trade Organization ruled in favor of the USA over Europe in their dispute about bananas on the 7th.  Jose Maria Olazabal wins his second Masters in Augusta on April 11th, just narrowly defeating Greg Norman and Davis Love III.  On the 12th, Bill Clinton is cited for contempt of court for purposely providing false statements in a sexual harassment suit.  On the 14th, a hailstorm in Australia causes $1.7 billion in damage, Australia's most costly natural disaster to date.  On April 18th, Wayne Gretzky plays his final hockey game in New York, as the Rangers lost to the Penguins 2-1.  I was in 9th grade and remember discussing this with friends over lunch.  Just two days later, the Columbine High School Massacre occurred, killing 13, injuring 24, and forever changing school safety.  

1994:  North Carolina defeats Louisiana Tech on the 3rd to win the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship.  Actor Tony Curtis has heart bypass surgery on April 4th.  Los Angeles Dodger's Darryl Strawberry begins rehab for substance abuse on the 4th.  On the 5th, "Jackie Mason's Politically Incorrect" opens at the Golden Theater in New York City and runs for 347 performances.  On April 6th, Marla Maples' stalker Chuck Jones was found guilty of breaking into her home.  On the 6th, Liberal Justice (and author of Roe v Wade) Harry Blackmun resigns.  On April 6th, a plane carrying the Rwandan President was shot down, abruptly ending peace talks and sparking the Rwandan Genocide.  Singer Percy Sledge pleads guilty to tax evasion on the 7th, spending 6 months in a halfway house, and is forced to pay back $96,000 in back taxes.  On the 8th, Atlanta Braves pitcher Kent Mercker pitches a no-hitter against Los Angeles.  On the same day, smoking is banned at The Pentagon and all U.S. Military bases.  Golfer Jose Maria Olazabal wins his first Masters in Augusta.  On the 13th, an asteroid is discovered and named after Star Trek actor George Takei.  On the 14th, Turner Classic Movies debuts with grand fanfare in New York with Ted Turner at precisely 6PM, marking the exact 100th anniversary of the first showing of a movie in New York City.  On April 15th, Tony Bennet performs for MTV's UnPlugged.  On April 18th, Disney's Beauty and the Beast debuts at the Palace Theater on Broadway, running for 5,461 performances.  That same day, Arsenio Hall announced he ended his late-night talk show in May 1994.  Also that day, former President Richard Nixon suffered a stroke and passed away four days later.  The next day, the 19th, Rodney King is awarded $3.8 million in compensation from Los Angeles County for his police beating.  On the 22nd, skater Tonya Harding sues her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly for $42,000.  That evening, Michael Moorer defeats Evander Holyfield in 12 rounds.  On the 23rd, the Libertarian Party of New York nominated Howard Stern for Governor.  On the 25th, Southern California receives a record 14" of snow.  On the 27th, the 7th longest game (at that time) in the NHL occurred when the Buffalo Sabres defeated the New Jersey Devils 1-0 in 125 minutes and 43 seconds.  The Minnesota Twins pitcher Scott Erickson pitches a no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 27th.  On the 29th, Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) signed a temporary economic agreement.


2004: "Kill Bill Volume 2"   

Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill: Volume 2 is a 2004 sequel to Kill Bill:  Volume 1.  It stars Uma Thurman as the Bride, as she continues her campaign of revenge against the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (Lucy Liu, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, and Vivica A. Fox), along with their leader Bill (David Carradine), who had tried to kill her and her unborn child.  

Produced simultaneously, Volume 1 was released six months earlier.  They were initially set for a single release, but Tarantino divided the film, with a runtime of over four hours, after the suggestion by Executive Producer Harvey Weinstein.  Tarantino originally created Kill Bill as an homage to the grindhouse cinema films he enjoyed growing up.

Like the first film, Volume 2 received positive reviews.  It grossed $152.2 million worldwide on a production budget of only $30 million.  The film ranked first at the international box office, ending an eight-week streak held by The Passion of the Christ.  

1999: "The Matrix" 

The Matrix is a classic science fiction action film written and directed by the Wachowski Brothers.  It is the first installment in the Matrix series, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Joe Pantoliano.  

It depicts a dystopian future in which humanity is unknowingly trapped inside The Matrix, a simulated reality that intelligent machines have created to distract humans while using their bodies as an energy source.  When computer programmer Thomas Anderson (Reeves), under the hacker alias "Neo," uncovers the truth, he joins a rebellion against the machines with other people freed from the Matrix.

The film popularized terms such as "red pill" and introduced a visual effect known as "bullet time."  In this effect, the heightened perception of certain characters is represented by allowing the action within a shot to progress in slow motion while the camera appears to move through the scene at normal speed, allowing the sped-up movements of certain characters to be perceived normally.

The Matrix opened in theaters in the United States on March 31st, 1999, to widespread praise from critics, who enjoyed its innovative visual effects, action sequences, and cinematography.  It grossed over $460 million on a $63 million budget, becoming the highest-grossing Warner Bros. film of 1999 and the fourth highest of 1999.  The Matrix won all four categories it received nominations for at the Academy Awards, including Best Visual Effects, Film Editing, Sound, and Sound Editing.  The Matrix is considered among the greatest science fiction films of all time and was selected in 2012 for preservation at the United States National Film Registry for its "culturally, historically, and aesthetic significance."  

The Matrix's success led to two sequels, released in 2003, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.  The franchise was further expanded through comic books, video games, and animated films.  A fourth film, The Matrix Resurrections, was released in 2021. 

1994: "D2:  The Mighty Ducks" 

One of the favorite films of my childhood, D2: The Mighty Ducks was the second installment of Disney's The Mighty Ducks trilogy.  As a direct sequel to the 1992 film, the movie starred Emilio Estevez, Joshua Jackson, Elden Henson, Shaun Weiss, Brandon Adams, Matt Doherty, Garette Ratliff Henson, Marguerite Moreau, Vincent Larusso, Brock Pierce, Robert Hall, and Bob Miller who all reprise their roles in the film.  Michael Tucker, Jan Rubes, and Kathryn Erbe join the cast for the sequel.  

D2 also features several cameo appearances from stars, including athletes Kristi Yamaguchi, Greg Louganis, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and NHL players Cam Neely, Chris Chelios, Luc Robitaille, and Wayne Gretzky.  NHL television announcers Darren Pang and Mike "Doc" Emrick were also in the film.  

Like its predecessor, the film received negative reviews, with a (current) 20% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  Despite the negative reviews by professional critics, the film gets an "A" by the average viewer on CinemaScore.  Despite the professional negativity, the film grossed $10.3 million on its opening weekend, with a final box office total of $45.6 million.  

Released on VHS in August of 1994 and on DVD in 2002, the film was finally released on Blu-Ray in May of 2017 as a Disney Movie Club exclusive.  


2004:  "Yeah!" by Usher featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris

1999:  "No Scrubs" by TLC

1994:  "The Sign" by Ace of Base


April 2004:

1st:  Nickelodeon celebrates its 25th anniversary.

4th:  The Sesame Street primetime special "The Street We Live On" premiers on PBS.

9th:  The sitcom "Life with Bonnie," starring Bonnie Hunt, was canceled after two seasons and 45 episodes.

12th:  The cartoon Network's late-night adult comedy "Space Ghost Coast to Coast" was canceled after running for nearly ten years since 1994.  It would return in 2006 for another two-year run.

16th:  C-SPAN aired a press conference held in the White House Rose Garden in which President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke about the war in Iraq.  It was watched by far more people than any other C-Span broadcast, receiving what the network called "shockingly high" ratings.

20th: The short-lived sitcom Whoopi Goldberg, starring Whoopi Goldberg, was canceled after just one season.

April 1999:  

7th:  Comedy Central's Strangers with Candy debuts and will run for 3 seasons.

18th: Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky plays his final game, a 2-1 overtime loss between his New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The game was broadcast nationwide on FOX, with Mike "Doc" Emerick (FOX's main NHL announcer) and John Davidson (the usual Rangers color commentator) on the play-by-play call, and Rangers long-time announcer Sam Rosen conducting interviews.  

26th:  NBC's The Tonight Show is broadcast in high-def for the first time.  Jay's guests were Salma Hayek, David Arquette, and Jewel.  

29th: The pilot episode of WWF Smackdown! is broadcast on UPN as a one-off television special.  The show will officially premiere on August 26th.  The main event of this one-off special saw Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock defeat the Corporate Ministry.  

April 1994:  

3rd:  After 15 years, Charles Kuralt hosts CBS News Sunday Morning for the final time.

6th:  On the ESPN2 talk show, L.A. Rams quarterback Jim Everett flips over the table and attacks host Jim Rome in retaliation for Rome repeatedly calling him "Chris" on purpose, using the female tennis player Chris Evert's name as an insinuation.

10th:  Patt Sumerall makes his final on-camera appearance as a broadcaster for CBS Sports.

14th:  Turner Classic Movies debuts on television.

16th:  The pilot episode for kids sketch comedy show "All That" debuts on Nickelodeon.

18th: Arsenio Hall announces that he won't continue his late-night talk show, setting the final episode for May 27th, 1994.

28th:  The Simpsons airs its 100th episode on FOX.


  1. Always love these.

    Also, 9th grade in 1999? I shake my head… because you’re NOT old! Yet. =P