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This Month In YesterYear History - June

Before we get to this month's pop culture history lesson, if you haven't already, please sign up for weekly notifications of new articles here at Yesteryear, brought to you by the kindness of one of my readers, Nick!  His company,, provides an awesome newsletter service that sends an email to your inbox every Monday morning with a list of any new articles posted during the last week, including the occasional Friday post.  Just click the link in the email (the article headline), and it'll take you right here!  Pretty sweet, right?  

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Let's dive right into our 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.  


2004:  On June 2nd, Ken Jennings begins his 74-game winning streak on Jeopardy.  On the 5th, "Bird Stone" wins the Belmont Stakes race of the Triple Crown.  Tim McGraw released his single "Live Like You Were Dying" on the 7th, and it went on to win a Grammy for Best Country Song and Billboard Song of the Year.  Also, on June 7th, the Tampa Bay Lightning won their first Stanley Cup.  On June 11th, we saw live 24/7 coverage of President Ronald Reagan's funeral.  On the 15th, the Detroit Pistons defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals to complete what many basketball fans consider the greatest upset in history.  Burt Rutan's "SpaceShipOne" becomes the first privately funded spacecraft to launch into space on June 21st.  It was funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.  On the 24th, New York State declares capital punishment unconstitutional.  NBA star Dwight Howard is drafted first by the Orlando Magic in the 2004 NBA Draft on June 24th.  On the 28th, the United States handed over "sovereign power" to the interim government set up in Iraq.  On the 30th, Spiderman 2, starring Toby Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, hits theaters.

1999:  On June 1st, Dido's debut album "No Angel" was launched in the United States.  It included her hit "Thank You," which appeared in the 1998 film "Sliding Doors."  Lemon Drop Kid wins the Belmont Stakes portion of the Triple Crown.  Andre Agassi wins his only French title at The French Open on June 6th.  That same day, the largest jailbreak in Brazil occurred, where 247 prisoners escaped from the Putim Maximum Security prison.  Two fugitives are killed, and dozens of innocent bystanders are accidentally jailed during the sloppy cleanup.  On the 10th, NATO suspends its air strikes after Slobodan Milošević agrees to withdraw Serbian forces from Kosovo.  On the 19th, author Steven King is hit by a car while walking on the side of the road, suffering multiple broken bones, a collapsed lung, and a brain injury.  On June 19th, the Dallas Stars won the Stanley Cup over the Buffalo Sabres when, in triple overtime, Brett Hull scored the game-winning goal.  It's still one of the most controversial goals in hockey history, as his skate was in the crease (not allowed) before and when he shot the puck past legendary goalie Dominick Hasek.  Payne Stewart wins his second US Open in Men's Golf on June 20th.  On the 25th, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the New York Knicks for the team's first NBA championship.  

1994:  The cable network FX Channel debuts on the airwaves on the 1st.  Earlier that same day, General Norman Schwarzkopf was released from hospital after prostate surgery.  On the 2nd, Indonesia bans Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List."  Also, on the 2nd, Sharon Stone filed a $12 million lawsuit against her jeweler when she was loaned a $400,000 Harry Winston necklace to wear while promoting her movie "Sliver."  She refused to return it when asked, claiming it was a gift and not a loan.  She sued for breach of contract, which was settled out of court.  On the 3rd, a 5.9 level earthquake hits Java, Indonesia.  On the 6th, Alan Jackson and Ray Stevens won top honors at the Music City News Country Music Awards.  That same day, 1,000 people are killed in Colombia when a 6.0 scale earthquake hits, causing an avalanche.  Oakland A's Ricky Henderson stole his 1,100th career base on June 7th.  Joel Rifkin is sentenced to 27 years in prison on the 8th.  The earthquakes continue, as a 7.8 hit Northern Bolivia and a 5.6 strikes in Mexico on the 9th.  The B-52's (temporarily called the "B.C.-52's") version of "Meet the Flintstones" from the live-action movie peaks at number 33 on the charts on the 11th.  On the 12th, "Tabasco Cat" wins the Belmont Stakes.  On the 13th, a jury in Anchorage, Alaska, blames recklessness by Exxon and Captain Joseph Hazelwood for the Exxon Valdez disaster, allowing victims of the oil spill to seek $15 billion in damages.  In baseball, on the 13th, Chicago Cub 2nd baseman Ryne Sandberg retires due to poor play, forfeiting $15.7 million of his $25 million contract.  Sandberg would return with the Cubs for the 1996 and 1997 before retiring again.  Also, the Yankees' Don Mattingly plays his 1,469th game at first base, becoming the 2nd highest player in games played in that position.  On June 14th, the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1940 by defeating the Vancouver Canucks.  I'll never forget that night.  The next day, a little movie called The Lion King opens in theaters.  Also, on the 15th, the New York Giants let star quarterback Phil Simms go after 15 years with the team.  On the 17th, the Juice was loose when police chased OJ Simpson in his Ford Bronco for nearly two hours on live TV, wanted in the murder of his ex-wife.  On the 20th, Howard Stern begins his 30-minute E!  television program.  Years later, my brother and I would stay up late to watch the show on Fridays or during the summer.  It was the only time I ever really enjoyed Stern's show.  I preferred Opie and Anthony.  On the 21st, Steffi Graf becomes the first defending champion to lose in the first round of a major tournament (Wimbledon, in this case.)  The Houston Rockets defeated the New York Knicks in the NBA finals on the 22nd.  My all-time favorite pitcher, Mets reliever John Franco, sets a record for most saves by a left-handed pitcher at 253 on June 23rd.  On June 25th, a heatwave sets a record with 111 degrees in El Paso, Texas.  The next day, the heat wave reached 122 and 126 in Laughlin, Nevada, and Death Valley, California, respectively.  On June 27th, Aerosmith became the first band to allow fans to download a whole track off the internet.  How long must that have taken in 1994, given slow dial-up speeds?!  On the 28th, New York Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden was suspended for 60 days for drug charges.  The heatwave hadn't let up, and on the 29th, Lake Havasu, Arizona, hit 129 degrees.  Yikes.  


2004: "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"   

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is based on J.K. Rowling's 1999 novel of the same name.  It is the third installment in the Harry Potter film series.  Daniel Radcliffe stars as Harry Potter, alongside Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Harry's best friends, Ron and Hermione.  The story covers Harry's third year at Hogwarts and his quest to uncover the truth about his past, including the connection to recently escaped Azkaban prisoner Sirius Black.   

This film switched the Harry Potter series to a longer eighteen-month production cycle.  It was also the first appearance of Michael Gambon as Professor Dumbledore due to Richard Harris's death in 2002.  It was also the first in the series to extensively use real-life locations, with sets built in Scotland and scenes shot in London.  It was also the first Harry Potter film to use IMAX technology and be released in IMAX theaters.  

The movie was released on May 31st in the United Kingdom and June 4th in North America.  Prisoner of Azkaban grossed $798 million worldwide, making it the second-highest-grossing film of 2004, behind Shrek 2.  It is also credited by fans (of which I am not) for marking a notable shift in the franchise's tone and style.  It is often voted the best Harry Potter film.  It was followed by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in 2005.

1999: "Austin Powers:  The Spy Who Shagged Me" 

The second installment in the Austin Powers film series, this comedy stars the franchise producer, writer, and creator Mike Myers as Austin Powers, Dr. Evil, and, for the first time, Fat Bastard.  The film also stars Heather Graham, Michael York, Robert Wagner, Seth Green, Rob Lowe, Mindy Sterling, and Elizabeth Hurley. 

The film's title is a play on the 1977 James Bond film "The Spy Who Loved Me." The film centers on Dr. Evil returning from cryostasis to strike at Powers from the past, using a time machine to remove Powers's "mojo" and deprive him of whatever qualities made him an effective secret agent.

The most commercially successful movie in the Austin Powers series, the film grossed around $312 million in worldwide ticket sales, taking more money during its opening weekend than the entire box office proceeds of the first Austin Powers film (the first sequel to ever achieve this feat).  I think my brother accounted for at least 5 tickets that opening weekend, plus a handful more later.  

You can read a little about my memories surrounding this movie here, particularly in numbers 2 and 3 on the list.  

The movie's soundtrack contains several hit songs, including the 1999 hit "Beautiful Stranger" by Madonna, which you can also read about at the link above.  Dr. Evil also sings a parody of Will Smith's 1997 cover of the Grover Washington, Jr.  "Just the Two of Us."  Another single, "American Woman" by Lenny Kravitz, was featured in the film and was released as a single.  Kravitz's version replaced the political themes of the song with sex appeal, using Austin Power's actress Heather Graham for the music video.  Former pro-wrestler turned Monster Jam truck driver Madusa used this song as her theme song for years.  

I'd also be remiss not to mention this film is the introduction of the oft-quoted Fat Bastard, which is an extremely obese, villainous copy of Myer's portrayal of the father in "So I Married an Ax Murderer."  

1994: "The Lion King" 

The Lion King was released in 1994 and is often considered one of the last of the "Disney Renaissance" animated movies, at least before computer-generated films such as Toy Story dominated the market.  The story itself is inspired by William Shakespeare's Hamlet, along with elements from the Bible, such as the stories of Joseph and Moses.  

The film was directed by Roger Allers and features an ensemble voice cast of Hollywood icons, including Matthew Broderick, Moira Kelly, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, Rowan Atkinson, and Robert Guillaume.  For kids of my generation, the songs are almost as essential as the story in The Lion King, with original songs written by Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice and scored by Hans Zimmer.  

Set in a kingdom of lions in Africa, The Lion King tells the life story of a lion cub named Simba (which is Swahili for lion).  His father, Mufasa, is King of the Pride Lands, and Simba is set to take his throne, but Simba's paternal Uncle Scar kills Mufasa (and attempts to kill Simba.)  Scar then seizes the throne when Simba is tricked into believing he is responsible for his father's death and fleeing exile.  After learning to grow up carefree with fellow outcasts Timon and Pumbaa, Simba receives valuable perspective when his childhood friend Nala finds him.  He returns to challenge Scar, ending Scar's tyranny and taking his place as rightful King.  

Initially, the film was supposed to be non-musical, but after the success of The Little Mermaid (89), Beauty and the Beast (91), and Aladdin (92), the plan was changed.  Throughout production, the animators, writers, and the production team visited Kenya to observe wildlife and get inspiration for the settings and character design.  

Released on June 15th, 1994, the film did an initial worldwide gross of $763 million, finishing its theatrical run as the highest-grossing film of 1994 and the second-highest-grossing film of all time, behind Jurassic Park (93).  It also held the title of being the highest-grossing animated film until it was overtaken by Finding Nemo in 2003.  It remains the highest-grossing traditionally animated film of all time and the best-selling film on home video, having sold over 55 million copies worldwide.  


2004:  "Burn" by Usher

1999:  "If You Had My Love" by Jennifer Lopez

1994:  "I Swear" by All-4-One


June 2004:

June 2nd - Ken Jennings begins a historic run as Jeopardy! Champion.  

June 4th - TNA Impact!  debuts on Fox Sports Network.

June 4th - Hollywood Squares officially ends production, having run in some form since 1966.

June 7th - ABC broadcasts its final NHL game for over 17 years.  The network resumed airing NHL games through subsidiary company ESPN during the 2021-2022 season.  This final broadcast was the last before the lockout that canceled the 2004-2005 season.

June 8th - Nickelodeon's "Hey Arnold!" comes to an end, having run since 1996.

June 10th - TBS reintroduces the "Very Funny Television" campaign.

June 14th - Cartoon Network unveils a new logo for the first time in 11 years, with new branding that involves various characters living in a realistic CGI-themed city.  This branding was called "CN City," and replaced the former "Powerhouse" branding.  

June 18th - Rodney Dangerfield made his final appearance as a talk show guest, appearing on CBS' The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn.  He had appeared more than seventy times as a guest on The Tonight Show.  Rodney passed on October 5th.  

June 19th - Comedy Central cancels "The Man Show" after 5 years.

June 1999:  

June 7th - "Where are they Now?" debuts on VH1.

June 11th - The Cartoon Network changes the name of its Friday night block of original programming to "Cartoon Cartoon Friday."  

June 15th - "The Man Show" debuts on Comedy Central.  It would certainly be canceled if it aired today, with one of its creators leading the charge to cancel everyone involved.  

June 17th - The "NHL on FOX" airs for the last time.  And we thought it couldn't get any worse until the NHL on ESPN...

June 1994:  

June 1st- The FX Channel is first available on cable networks.

June 11th - Hulk Hogan gets a ticker-tape parade at Disney's MGM Studios as he signs a deal with World Championship Wrestling on a live broadcast of WCW Saturday Night.

June 17th - All major networks provided live coverage as former NFL player O.J. Simpson, suspected of murdering his former wife and her acquaintance, flees from police in his Ford Bronco.  This iconic low-speed chase lasted for nearly two hours and ended with Simpson surrendering to police at his Brentwood mansion.  NBC, who was broadcasting Game 5 of the NBA Finals between New York and Houston, covered the chase via split-screen.  Man, what a moment in history.

June 17th - DirecTV broadcasts satellite television signals for the first time.

June 19th - On the second annual World Wrestling Federation's King of the Ring event, former National Football League player Art Donovan is welcomed on commentary.  In a "so bad it's now classic" moment, Art repeatedly asked, "How much does this guy weigh?" and had absolutely zero familiarity with the wrestlers, the WWF, or professional wrestling in general.  

June 20th - The Howard Stern Show debuts on E!, providing viewers a 30-minute look into the studio during the week's greatest moments of his live radio broadcast.


  1. Cool! Thanks Nick (and Jeff, since you’re the one writing these articles).

    I normally just come here automatically on Mondays, but reminders would help now since summer just started for me so my normal routine is all out of wack (I’m already starting to lose track of the days… even though school ended just this past Friday for teachers). Plus those sneaky Friday articles you sometimes throw in there.

    Anyway, as always thanks for the monthly reminder of how ancient we are getting. And thanks again for the access to reminders so I don’t have to remember to keep track of the days now.

  2. I signed up for the email alerts as well.

    That O.J. chase...we were staying at the lake where we kept a camper all the time. Somehow we became aware it was going in and our family of four rushed into the camper and turned on the little television we kept for rainy days. It didn't take long until our camper was packed with about another 15 people from around the campground trying to watch the chase. "What a moment is history." is spot on.