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Dateline: Events/Week of December 15, 1996 In News, Pop Culture, Tech, Celebrity, Entertainment & Fascinating Facts


In The News

A freighter, after losing power, crashes into the famed Riverwalk in New Orleans, injuring as many as 140 as panicked holiday shoppers tried to flee.   

The Boeing Co announces that it will acquire rival McDonnell Douglas in a $13.3 merger. Look for a lot of layoffs to be sure.

 In Lima - Guerrillas holding as many as 90 hostages in the Japanese ambassador’s residence, threaten to kill their captives, unless Peru releases hundreds of their imprisoned comrades. The hostages include Peruvian Cabinet ministers and diplomats. 

O.J. Simpson is awarded full custody of his two children from his marriage to Nicole Brown Simpson.

Crude oil prices soar past $26 a barrel, to their highest level since the Gulf War. Refinery problems, Europe stockpiling and a harsh Midwest winter are being blamed.

Two large chunks of the space shuttle Challenger’s left wing wash ashore, onto Cocoa Beach. NASA officials say they are surprised at the size and the good condition of the pieces. Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff on January 28, 1986 killing schoolteacher Sharon Christa McAuliff and six crewmates.

Advertising/Business news – December 15, 1996

Hottest toy this Christmas season – “Tickle Me Elmo” doll. 

Going after “Mountain Dew” – Coke says it is introducing “Surg” – a green, high-in-calories, loaded-with-caffeine drink. Says a spokesman for Pepsi – “Mountain Dew has had a lot of people trying to compete with it. The wide array of wannabes have all failed to put a dent in Dew.”

Auto news – GM says it’s dropping the Geo name to attract import buyers. Metros, Prizms and Trackers will become Chevys next fall. 


Some bestselling books – December 15, 1996

Airframe – Michael Crichton

The Fallen Men – Tony Hillerman

Tailor of Panama – John le Carre

M is for Malice – Sue Grafton

Everyone is Entitled To My Opinion – David Brinkley

Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt

My Life As Pornographer – Larry Flynt

My Dark Places – Jamie Ellroy


Technology news – December 15, 1996

Apple announces it will re-hire Steve Jobs, its co-founder who was abruptly ousted from the company 11 years ago. Apple will also pay $400 million to acquire Next Inc., the company Jobs founded after he left Apple.  


Entertainment news – December 15, 1996

Passing – Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni, best known for the movie “La Dolce Vita.” He was 72.


Television news – December 15, 1996

The television industry unveils an historic TV ratings system. For the first time, parents will be provided label designations before the show, so they can decide if it’s good for the kids. Ratings include Y, Y7, TV-G, TV-PG, TV-14 and lastly, TV-M for adult audiences only.

 MTV sensation/ex Playboy centerfold Jenny McCarthy signs a deal with NBC for a new half-hour comedy series. She just left MTV’s “Singled Out” to pursue this opportunity.

Oprah has her second highest ratings (so far) after doing a show with Madonna. 

After five years, Pamela Lee Anderson who portrays C.J. Parker is leaving “Baywatch’ to pursue other projects. She says that after the birth of her son last June, she wants to do other things.

 It’s confirmed – Elmo will not be on “Live Regis and Kathy Lee” because of an earlier remark made by Regis, who said the message of Christmas was “being perverted by this Tickle Me Elmo mania.”

UPN launches its website with a live chat with Moesha. Go to www.upn.com

“The Simpsons” will get a new record album “Songs in the Key of Springfield” original songs from the cartoon series. Set to be released in March, some of the selections are: “Bagged Me A Homer” & the “Itchy and Scratchy Theme.”

Michael Jackson will perform a new song written for Elizabeth Taylor. Catch it on an ABC-TV special featuring Ms. Taylor and her 65th birthday in February. 

Rosie O’Donnell is on “Saturday Night Live” this week.

Courtney Thorne-Smith will make her debut on “Spin City” January 14th. She plays someone who’s dating Michael J. Fox’s character.


Top TV Shows/Ratings – December 15, 1996

ER – 22.6

Seinfeld – 18/7

Suddenly Susan

Friends – 16.1

Single Guy – 14.9

Monday Night Football – 13.8

NYPD Blue – 130.0

20/20 – 12.6

Home Improvement – 12.6

Movie-Lying Eyes – 11.9

Frasier – 11.8

Touched by an Angel – 11.8

3rd Rock From The Sun- 11.7

60 Minutes – 11.6

Movie-Christmas In My Hometown – 11.3

Spin City – 10.9


Thursday night television listings/TV guide – week of December 15, 1996

 CBS – A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Garfield Christmas Special, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, 48 Hours, Late Show

NBC – Friends, NewsRadio, Seinfeld, Suddenly Susan, ER, Tonight Show

ABC – High Incident, High Incident, Peter Jennings Reporting, Nightline

PBS – Great Railway Centers, Mystery! Mystery!

WB – Movie

Fox – Martin, Living Single, New York Undercover


On Seinfeld – Jerry Learns Newman is hiding mail.

Peter Jennings Special – The history and people of Jerusalem.

On  David Letterman – Neve Campbell, Dave Matthews Band

On the Tonight Show – George Clooney, Melissa Etheridge


Music news – December 15, 1996

Whitney Houston suffers her second miscarriage in 2 ½ years. Baby was due in July. Ms. Houston and hubby Bobby Brown have one daughter, born in 1993.

Courtney Love now an actress – Look for her in “The People Vs. Larry Flynt” later this month. She portrays stripper-turned junkie Althea Flynt, opposite Woody Harrelson.

Chicago talker Mancow Miller has a new album – “Fat Boy Pizza Breasts.” He’s heard over WRCX.


Top music albums – December 15, 1996

Razorblade Suitcase – Bush

Tragic Kingdom – No Doubt

Tha Doggfather – Snoop Doggy Dogg

Falling Into you – Celine Dion

The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory – Makaveli

Dr. Dre Presents… The Aftermath – Various Artists

Space Jam – Soundtrack

 The Moment – Kenny G

Romeo & Juliet – Soundtrack

Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette

Secrets – Toni Braxton

The Preacher’s Wife – Soundtrack

Ill No Na – Foxy Brown

Blue – Leann Rimes

Set It Off – Soundtrack

Did I Shave My Legs for This? – Deana Carter

Keith Seat – Keith Seat

Best of Volume 1 – Van Halen

If We Fall In Love Tonight – Rod Stewart

Family Scriptures – Mo Thugs Family

Anthology 3 – The Beatles


Top Pop Hit Singles(top-40) – December 15, 1996

Un Break My Heart – Toni Braxton

No Diggity – Blackstreet/Dr. Dre

Don’t Let Go (Love) – En Vogue

Nobody – Keith Sweat/Athena Cage

Pony – Ginuwine

It’s All Coming Back to Me now – Celine Dion

Mouth Merril Banbridge

Where Do You Go – No Mercy

I’m Still In Love With You – New Edition

When You Love A Woman – Journey

If It Makes You Happy – Sheryl Crow

I Love You Always Forever – Donna Lewis

Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)- Los Del Rio

Falling – Montell Jordan

Last Night – AZ Yet

This Is For The Lover In You – Babyface/LL Cool J, H. Hewitt, J. Watley & J. Daniels


Top Country Music Pop Hits – December 15, 1996

Little Bitty – Alan Jackson

Every Light In The House – Trace Adkins

The Fear of Being Alone – Reba Mcentire

That Ol’ Wind – Garth Brooks

Goodnight Sweetheart – David Kersh

Strawberry Wine – Deana Carter

Big Love – Tracy Byrd

Live Is Stronger Than Pride – Ricochet

Nobody Knows – Kevin Sharp

Friends – John Michael Montgomery


Top Modern Rock Music Tracks – December 15, 1996

Don’t Speak – No Doubt

Swallowed – Bush

What I Got – Sublime

The Distance – Cake

#1 Crush – Garbage

Lady Picture Show – Stone Temple Pilots

Bound For The Floor – Local H

All Mixed Up – 311

Tattva – Kula Shaker

Bittersweet Me – R.E.M.

Mach 5 – Presidents of the United States of America

Blow Up The Outside World - Soundgarden


Top Popular Hits In Britain – December 15, 1996

Cosmic Girl – Jamiroquai

Breathe – Prodigy

Un-Break My Heart – Toni Braxton

One and One – Robert Miles/Maria Nayler

No Woman No Cry – Fugees

I Feel You – Peter Andre

What’s Love Got To Do With It – Warren G

Widen Open Space – Mansun

Mama Said – Metallica

Hillbilly Rock, Hillbilly Roll - Woolpackers


Top Movie Video Rentals – December 15, 1996


Mission: Impossible

Nutty Professor

Toy Story

Primal Fear

Independence Day


The Birdcage

The Arrival



Top movies – December 15, 1996

Jerry Maguire

Mars Attacks

101 Dalmatians

The Preacher’s Wife


Jingle All The Way

Star Trek: First Contact


Space Jam

English Patient

The Mirror Has Two Faces

Romeo & Juliet

Set It Off




That Thing You Do!

First Kid

Secrets & Lies

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