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Pop culture anniversaries 2018: ‘Space Odyssey’ turns 50, 'Grease' turns 40, more

In 2018, we’ll be celebrating many significant pop culture anniversaries from “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Grease” to the arrival of “Sex and the City” and departure of “Seinfeld.” Here’s our annual, extremely subjective list of notable anniversaries — designed, as always, to make you shout out loud, “I can’t believe it’s been that long!”

50th anniversary: On these dates in 1968

JAN. 22
Photo Credit: AP

"Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In" premieres

JAN. 22 Fast-paced (for the time) laugh-a-minute hour that revolutionized the sketch-variety show (for the time). Some say presidential candidate Richard Nixon’s September cameo (“Sock it to me?”) helped give him the edge in his neck-and-neck race with Hubert Humphrey. Pictured: Dick Rowan, left, and Dick Martin

Otis Redding's '(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay' hits No. 1

MARCH 16 Otis Redding's
Photo Credit: AP

MARCH 16 This wistful posthumous hit, recorded three days before his death in a December 1967 plane crash, was the soul singer’s legacy.

'2001: A Space Odyssey' hits theaters

Photo Credit: MGM

APRIL 6 Stanley Kubrick’s film would break sci-fi barriers. How sad is it that today when we hear its majestic theme song (“Thus Spake Zarathustra”), we first think of the 1970s Elvis waddling on stage. Pictured: Keir Dullea

'60 Minutes' debuts

SEPT. 24
Photo Credit: Newsday/Bruce Gilbert

SEPT. 24 A half-century later, it’s still ticking. Pictured: Mike Wallace in 2002

40th anniversary: On these dates in 1978

MAY 13
Photo Credit: Capitol / UMe

“Saturday Night Fever” fever

MAY 13 Yvonne Elliman’s rendition of “If I Can’t Have You,” hit No. 1. In doing so, the movie’s soundtrack album became the first soundtrack to score four No. 1 singles — a record that still stands. The others were three BeeGees’ songs: “Night Fever,” “Stayin’ Alive” and “How Deep Is Your Love.”

'Grease' hits theaters

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

JUNE 16 The ’50s-set movie (based on the Broadway musical) that millions are still hopelessly devoted to. Pictured: Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta

'National Lampoon’s Animal House' debuts

Photo Credit: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

JULY 28 Double secret probation . . . “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life.” . . . “Toga! Toga! Toga!” What more can we say?

'Mork & Mindy' premieres

SEPT. 14
Photo Credit: ABC

SEPT. 14 “Happy Days” spinoff unleashes a maniac named Robin Williams on an unsuspecting world. Pictured: Pam Dawber and Williams

30th anniversary: On these dates in 1988

JAN. 31
Photo Credit: ABC

“The Wonder Years" debuts

JAN. 31 Baby-boom nostalgia hits TV courtesy of Neal Marlens’ memories of his Huntington junior high. Pictured: Fred Savage

Public Enemy releases 'It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back'

APRIL 19 Public Enemy's
Photo Credit: Def Jam / Columbia

APRIL 19 One of the greatest hip-hop albums by the greatest hip-hop group from Long Island.

'Die Hard' debuts

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox/Leo Sorel

JULY 15 Bruce Willis goes from TV star to movie star as terrorist-fighting NYPD cop John McClane.

NWA releases 'Straight Outta Compton'

L-R: MC Ren, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, Ice
Photo Credit: Photoshot / Everett Collection

AUG. 8 Gangsta rap gets a voice thanks to Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren and Eazy-E and such cuts as the title track and “[Expletive] Tha Police.”

25th anniversary: On these dates in 1993

JAN. 2 Whitney Houston's
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You" hits No. 1

JAN. 2 Houston’s soaring version of the Dolly Parton song (from “The Bodyguard”) hits No. 1 and will remain atop the charts for nine weeks on its way to becoming an “American Idol” and Karaoke staple.

Billy Joel releases “River of Dreams”

AUG. 10
Photo Credit: Sbme Special Mkts.

AUG. 10 Who knew at the time that this would be Billy Joel’s last original album? (And who could predict it wouldn’t matter 25 years later when he sells out Madison Square Garden once a month?)

'Late Show with David Letterman' debuts

AUG. 30
Photo Credit: AP/Alan Singer

AUG. 30 The late-night talk-show wars begin as Dave debuts on CBS with Bill Murray, left, and Billy Joel as his first guests.

'NYPD Blue' debuts

SEPT. 21
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Fox Broadcasting

SEPT. 21 Groundbreaking cop drama stretched the boundaries of network TV, but, really, did we need to see Dennis Franz’s butt? Pictured: David Caruso, left, Franz, Amy Brenneman, James McDaniel, Sherry Stringfield and Nicholas Turturro

20th anniversary: On these dates in 1998

Photo Credit: AP/Susan Sterner

"Titanic" wins big

MARCH 23 “Titanic” dominates the 70th Academy Awards ceremony. Director James Cameron lets everybody know that he’s “the king of the world!”

'Seinfeld' ends

MAY 14
Photo Credit: NBC/Chris Hastom

MAY 14 The fabled show about “nothing” went out with a one-hour episode in which the four pals end up jailed for violating a small town’s good Samaritan law. Their crime: They did “nothing” to stop a carjacking. Pictured: Michael Richards, left, Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis Dreyfuss, Jason Alexander

'Sex and the City' debuts

Photo Credit: Getty Images

JUNE 6 With “Seinfeld” gone, another quartet of Manhattan friends with dating problems becomes our obsession. Pictured: Cynthia Nixon, left, Kristin Davis, Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker

Britney Spears releases “ . . . Baby One More Time”

SEPT. 30 Britney Spears'
Photo Credit: Jive

SEPT. 30 The former Mouseketeer’s first single would go on to sell 10 million copies. 

10th anniversary: On these dates in 2008

JAN. 20
Photo Credit: AMC

“Breaking Bad" debuts

JAN. 20 Before this powerful drama debuted, we just knew Bryan Cranston as a dorky dentist (“Seinfeld”) and a dorky dad (“Malcolm in the Middle.”) Who knew that his dorky chem teacher would evolve into one of TV’s most memorable characters?

Jay-Z and Beyoncé get married

APRIL 4 Jay-Z and Beyoncé get married. And
Photo Credit: AP

APRIL 4 And they said it would never last.

'The Dark Knight' debuts

Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures/Stephen Vaughan

JULY 18 The darkest of all of the Caped Crusader movies, made more poignant by the Oscar-worthy performance by the late Heath Ledger (he died in January) as The Joker.

Tina Fey's first Sarah Palin appearance on 'Saturday Night Live'

SEPT. 13 Tina Fey does Sarah Palin on
Photo Credit: NBC/Dana Edelson

SEPT. 13 You betcha, this was an impersonation for the ages.


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