Previous: 25 Holiday Film facts - mental_floss List Show Ep. 342
Next: Why does sudden exposure to the sun cause sneezing? - Big Questions - (Ep. 216)



View count:304,483
Last sync:2024-07-18 22:45
A weekly show where knowledge junkies get their fix of trivia-tastic information. This week, John shares 21 things that turned 21 in 2015!

Subscribe for new episodes of mental_floss every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!


Mental Floss Video on Twitter:

Select Images and Footage provided by Shutterstock:

Store: (enter promo code: "YoutubeFlossers" for 15% off!)
Hi, I'm John Green, welcome to my salon. This is Mental Floss video, and did you know that Forrest Gump was released in the US on July 6th, 1994?
It's now, of course, considered an unadulterated classic, but critics at the time weren't so sure. Roger Ebert loved it and gave it 4 stars, but Entertainment Weekly gave it a C. They said the movie "Reduces the tumult of the last few decades to a virtual-reality theme park: a baby-boomer version of Disney's America." Not to brag, but I've never gotten less than a B from Entertainment Weekly. 
Anyway, Forrest Gump is the first of many things I'm going to talk about on this video today that turned 21 in 2015. Happy birthday! You can drink now! Huzzah! Woah!

*Festive Mental Floss Intro Music*

Let's continue with a few more movies that were released in 1994, like Pulp Fiction, which came out that October. After the success of Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino got a deal with Miramax to make Pulp Fiction and he ended up going to Amsterdam to write it. There he bought a notebook and declared, 'This is the notebook in which I am going to write Pulp Fiction.' Which he did, in that and a few more notebooks. It was a very long screenplay.

Another classic 1994 film that stands the test of time? The Santa Clause starring Tim Allen as Santa. That means that in November of that year, Allen was starring in the #1 film in the country, in addition to the top rated TV show, Home Improvement. And he had the #1 New York Times Bestseller, the book Don't Stand Too Close to a Naked Man, which is good advice.

You know what other movie came out that year? The Lion King. Fun fact, Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella came in to audition for hyenas and asked if they could audition together. The directors liked them so much they decided they'd be a perfect duo to play Timon and Pumbaa.

Moving on to TV shows, E.R. premiered in 1994 starring minor Roseanne character George Clooney. According to writer/producer John Wells, Clooney's charm had a lot to do with why he got cast.
Wells has said 'He came after me for it... He was always smart about knowing all of the assistants on the lot, so he knew what the material was. He'd give them flowers and candy and come around and flirt with them. Our second day in the office, George showed up and wouldn't leave until I'd let him audition.' 
It's okay if you want to do that in our office George, we won't mind. You are welcome to host the mental_floss List Show any time you want.

Friends also premiered that year. At the time the six main cast members earned $22,000 an episode, a huge difference from the $1 million an episode they earned in the last season.

But of course 1994 was also a tragic year, we had to say goodbye to Clarissa Explains It All starring Melissa Joan Hart. A year later the show's creator pitched a spin-off to CBS in which Clarissa would've been an intern at a newspaper in New York City, but after a few pilot drafts CBS lost interest.

A couple heart-throbs were born in 1994, including Justin Bieber and my friend Nat Wolff. The Biebs got his first record deal when he was just 13 years old and Nat had his big break when he was just 9, when filming started on the Nickelodeon movie The Naked Brothers Band. That later became a TV show and then he got a few other acting roles.

And sadly we lost some of the greats in 1994, including Jackie Kennedy Onassis and John Candy. And it was also the year that Kurt Cobain committed suicide, and his suicide is still a huge topic of conversation 21 years later. Like the 2015 docu-drama Soaked in Bleach was all about the private investigator Courtney Love hired after Cobain's death, for instance.

In Japan, the PlayStation was released on December 3rd, 1994. It didn't get to North America or Europe until the next year, I remember being very jealous, at the time there were only 8 games, including a couple versions of Mahjong and a train simulator. But I'll tell you what, it was a hell of a train simulator.

Crayola came out with a set of Magic Scent crayons in 1994. This included the scents coconut, chocolate, and peach, but parents were concerned that the kids would eat the non-toxic crayons so coconut became baby powder, peach turned into lumber, and chocolate became dirt. Eventually Crayola stopped making the crayons because, ya know, if your chocolate crayons can pass for dirt crayons, something is terribly wrong.

Moving onto music, a couple famous albums came out in 1994, like Weezer's premiere album Weezer. It only made it to #16 on the Billboard 200, but it has since sold more than 3 million copies in the US.

Meredith says here I should do my impression of "The Sweater Song". I'm gonna give it a try, it's better than my Jimmy Stewart.
(sings marginally) Give me my sweater back. Wasn't in tune, nor in fact did it have any relationship to the melody of the song, which is perfect because now Weezer can't sue us.

Definitely Maybe by Oasis is another popular album from 1994. The band was already fairly well-known in the UK, but that album made them famous in the US and worldwide, where everyone said they are going to be the next Beatles. Which they sort of were in the sense that uh, like the Beatles they also eventually broke up.

But the song from 1994 you're most familiar with is definitely "All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey. This is now Carey's bestselling song by a long shot, but at the time she was resistant to making a Christmas album. By the way, the song was recorded in August, but the team brought in Christmas trees and lights to get everyone in the holiday mood and it clearly worked, judging by the fact that I cannot, cannot, cannot go to Target or the grocery store or any other public place on Earth without hearing it in the month of December.

And now for a completely different music fact, the Beastie Boys actually invented the word mullet. The Oxford English Dictionary gives them credit for the word because it first appears in their 1994 song, "Mullet Head". The term may have existed before that, but they popularized it.

Another interesting 1994 invention? The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game. A group of students at Albright College came up with it, and then sent a letter to Jon Stewart, host of an MTV show at the time, who had them on to explain it. They eventually wrote a book called Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon with a foreword written by Kevin Bacon.

Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley's wedding day was 21 years ago. It was a secret ceremony that lasted only 15 minutes, which was, slightly shorter than their marriage itself. Jackson and Presley had one eyewitness each, and they got divorced 2 years later.

Pizza Hut launched PizzaNet in 1994, which was supposed to let you order pizza online, but it didn't really work out. The internet was still super confusing to people and the restaurant had to call you to confirm the order, so that made it sort of redundant. The LA Times ran an article about it under the headline, "On-Line Pizza Idea Is Clever but Only Half-Baked". It's a great pun LA Times, congratulations. Turns out actually that online pizza had a future. These days of course, the prospect of calling a restaurant and talking to an actual, physical human being in order to order food is one of the worst things that humans have to go through.

Slightly off-topic, but I would rather spend 6 hours ordering pizza online than 2 minutes talking to a person on the phone.

In 1994, Edvard Munch's famous painting The Scream was stolen from the National Gallery in Oslo. The thieves that took it left a note 'Thanks for the poor security'. Actually Meredith, I don't like to fact check you, but I don't think it did say that. I think it said (yelling) 'THANKS FOR THE POOR SECURITY'. It was The ScreamThe Scream, by Edvard Munch. I- I was screaming. Meredith- Meredith says I don't get to write the jokes anymore.

And finally, I return to my salon to tell you about probably the biggest news story of 1994, the OJ Simpson police chase and later murder trial. So many people were at home watching that police chase that Domino's Pizza had record sales. According to a Domino's spokesperson, "It was a record night at the time. It was dinner time on the West Coast and 9 pm on the East. People were fascinated and didn't want to miss it. It was as big as a Super Bowl Sunday up to that point." Oh America, you make me so proud.

Thanks for watching mental_floss video which is made with the help of all of these lovely people. Happy New Year and as we say in my hometown, don't forget to be awesome. We'll see you in 2016, when the year I graduated from high school turns 21. Oh God.