“See this system here? This is Hi-Fi… high fidelity. What that means is that it’s the highest quality fidelity.”
It was that kind of tongue-in-cheek writing that got “Boogie Nights” an Academy Award nomination for best screenplay. Paul Thomas Anderson’s breakthrough movie that catapulted Mark Wahlberg to the top of the A list came out fifteen years ago today. The exchanges between Wahlberg’s “Dirk Diggler” and John C. Rielly’s “Reed Rothchild” were just as inane and genius as anything in “Dumb and Dumber” and the movie captured the spirit of the late 70’s and early 80’s perfectly.
It was today in 1924 that the Washington Senators won their only World Series title, beating the New York Giants 4 games to 3. The Senators decided not to shelve their best pitcher that season.
Today in 1957, Ayn Rand’s polarizing novel, “Atlas Shrugged” was published. The book was crushed by most critics initially, but that didn’t slow down it’s sales. Rand described the theme of the book as, “the role of man’s mind in existence.” So, apparently it was a little more high brow than “Boogie Nights.” Or was it? Suffice to say Dirk Diggler never read it.
It was today in 1964 that Mickey Mantle had his last great highlight, hitting a walk-off home run in the 9th inning of game three of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. It was the Mick’s 16th World Series home run, breaking a tie with Babe Ruth for most all time.
Journey turned their careers around by hiring Steve Perry to be their new singer on October 10, 1977. Journey’s first three albums had struggled in sales, but hiring Perry proved to be the trick as the band became a radio staple through 1986 with hits like, “Don’t Stop Believing,” “Lovin, Touchin’, Squeezin,” “Any Way You Want It,” “Open Arms,” “Faithfully,” and “Open Arms.”
Another band turned it around on their third album, No Doubt released, “Tragic Kingdom” today in 1995. The SoCal alt/ska band struggled getting heard in the grunge era and even had the program director of the band’s favorite station, KROQ say, “It would take an act of God for this band to get played on the radio.” After two failed attempts, band creator Eric Stefani left the band to go write for The Simpsons and his little sister broke up with bandmate Tony Kanal. Then “Tragic Kingdom” came out and the rest is history. Seven singles were released off the album that sold 16 million copies, including “Just a Girl,” “Spiderwebs,” and “Don’t Speak.”
— Bill Hubbell