On this day in pop culture history: MTV launched
“I want my MTV.”
35 years ago, MTV launched, at 12:01 a.m. ET, with the words “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll,” paired with footage of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Three years later, that opening image inspired the statuette handed out at the first VMAs, the MTV moonman.
MTV has morphed a lot in the past 35 years, from the line-up of music videos popularizing a whole new element of the music industry that “killed the radio star,” to today’s programming of reality shows and teen-aimed scripted series like Teen Wolf and Awkward.
Other notable August 1 happenings in pop culture history:
• 1944: Wilson, about President Woodrow Wilson, premiered in New York. It went on to earn five Oscars.
• 1960: Aretha Franklin recorded her first non-gospel songs, “Today I Sing The Blues,” “Over The Rainbow,” “Love Is The Only Thing,” and “Right Now” at Columbia Recording Studios in New York City.
• 1970: The second-ever San Diego Comic-Con — then called San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Con, opened. The event boasted 25 booths and three speakers: Jack Kirby, Ray Bradbury, and A.E. van Vogt. There were 300 people in attendance.
• 1971: George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh, held at New York’s Madison Square Garden, raised awareness and funds for refugees from East Pakistan.
• 1980: Kirk Douglas-Michael Sheen time travel movie The Final Countdown premiered.
• 1981: Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” hit no. 1 on the U.S. singles chart.
• 1986: The much-maligned Howard the Duck opened in theaters.
• 1992: Imzadi, a novel featuring characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation, was published. Written by longtime Star Trek writer Peter David, the book went on to become a fan favorite.
• 1999: The video game Silent Hill was released in Europe, following North America and Japan releases earlier that year.