1997 Annual History Facts

1997 Annual History Facts

  • Princess Diana was killed in Paris, France, in a car crash while followed by paparazzi.
  • The Top Song was Candle in the Wind 1997/
    Something About The Way You Look Tonight by Elton John
  • The Big Movies included Titanic, Men in Black, and The Lost World: Jurassic Park
  • Minimum Wage in 1997: $5.15 per hour
    Price of New Balance, 6000 cross trainer running shoes: $54.99
  • The World Population was ~ 5,825,000,000
  • 802.11 WiFi was introduced in 1997.
  • One ounce of gold value: $287.05
  • And… North Korean Communist Party “dear leader” Kim Jong Il, 55, was promoted to “great leader.”

World Series Champions

Florida Marlins

Superbowl XXXI Champions

Green Bay Packers

National Basketball Association Champions

Chicago Bulls

NHL Stanley Cup Champions

Detroit Red Wings

US Open Golf

Ernie Ells

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Patrick Rafter/Martina Hingis

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Pete Sampras/Martinga Hingis

NCAA Football Champions

Michigan & Nebraska

NCAA Basketball Champions


Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: December 31, 1996 – Nebraska over Virginia Tech
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1997 – Ohio State over Arizona State
Sugar Bowl: January 2, 1997 – Florida over Florida State

Kentucky Derby

Silver Charm

Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Parifal Di Casa Netzer

Time Magazine’s Man of the Year

Andy Grove

Miss America

Tara Holland (Overland Park, KS)

Miss USA

Brook Mahealani Lee (Hawaii)/ Brandi Sherwood (Idaho)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Gillian Anderson, Pamela Anderson, Sophie Anderton, Jennifer Aniston, Zoe Ball, Tyra Banks, Drew Barrymore, Victoria Beckham, Traci Bingham, Yasmine Bleeth, Caprice Bourret, Sandra Bullock, Emma Bunton, Neve Campbell, Melanie Chisholm, Courteney Cox, Cindy Crawford, Sheryl Crow, Donna D’Errico, Claire Danes, Cameron Diaz, Carmen Electra, Angie Everhart, Isla Fisher, Anna Friel, Jennie Garth, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Geri Halliwell, Teri Hatcher, Salma Hayek, Natasha Henstridge, Eva Herzigova, Elizabeth Hurley, Patsy Kensit, Nicole Kidman, Heidi Klum, Lisa Kudrow, Lucy Lawless, Tea Leoni, Heather Locklear, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Elle Macpherson, Jenny McCarthy, Melinda Messenger, Dannii Minogue, Kylie Minogue, Demi Moore, Gena Lee Nolin, Gwyneth Paltrow, Princess Diana, Rebecca Romijn, Rene Russo, Meg Ryan, Winona Ryder, Claudia Schiffer, Elisabeth Shue, Alicia Silverstone, Victoria Silvstedt, Gwen Stefani, Sharon Stone, Niki Taylor, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Lea Thompson, Uma Thurman, Shania Twain, Liv Tyler, Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones

“The Quotes”

“Oh my G*d! They killed Kenny!”
– South Park

“There are some things that money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.”

“I’m king of the world!”
– Leonardo DiCaprio, in Titanic

When Nelson Mandela met the Spice Girls in 1997, he described the moment as “One of the greatest moments of my life.”
Jeanne Louise Calment, the person with the longest confirmed human lifespan, who died in 1997, saw Vincent van Gogh in her uncle’s shop as a 13-year-old and described him as “blighted by alcohol.”

1997 Pop Culture History

Jean-Michel Jarre played the largest music concert in history in Moscow, attended by 3,500,000 people. The number matched Rod Stewart at Copacabana Beach in Rio in 1994.

As written, the 60’s TV show Lost in Space took place in 1997.

Julia “Butterfly” Hill, on December 10, 1997, ascended 180 feet up the redwood tree Luna to stave off Pacific Lumber Co. loggers who were clear-cutting. Hill lived on two 6-by-6-foot platforms for 738 days until a resolution was reached with the logging company.

Reverend Robert Shields had a diary so long that it filled 94 boxes, and contained 37.5 million words. He chronicled every 5 minutes of his life between 1972 and 1997.

Robert Metcalfe predicted in 1995 that the internet would collapse in 1996, and “eat his words” if it did not. 1997 he blended a printed copy of that speech with liquid and drank the mixture.

The Great Comic Strip Switcheroo of ’97: several large comic strips switched creators for a day.

Pepsi held a contest to win a life-size replica of the Simpsons house for $75,000. The contest winner chose the cash. The house, which cost $120,000 to build, was renovated to look like a normal home and re-sold.

Lottie Williams is the only person hit by re-entering space debris. She was walking through a park in Tulsa, Oklahoma at 3:30 am and felt a tapping on her shoulder. It was a piece of the fuel tank of a Delta II rocket launched in 1996. She was unhurt.

Morgan Freeman offered to cover the cost of prom for a Mississippi school that held two racially segregated proms every year, provided that the one Freeman would be covering would be one racially integrated prom. This offer was refused until 2008.

Alex Trebek and Pat Sajak swapped places on Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune as an April Fool’s Day joke.

Toy manufacturer Mattel sued MCA Records over Aqua’s hit Barbie Girl. After ruling the lawsuit (and MCA’s countersuit) be dismissed due to parody protection under the 1st amendment, the judge concluded his ruling by stating: “The parties are advised to chill.”

14-year-old Nathan Zohner got 43 out of 50 of his classmates to vote to ban “Dihydrogen Monoxide” for his science fair project. His project aimed to prove that using facts can lead the ignorant public to false conclusions. He won first prize. Dihydrogen Monoxide is another description for ‘water.’
LeAnn Rimes was the youngest to win the ‘Best New Artist” Grammy.

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking), was often considered too expensive to realistically pursue until an engineer discovered more efficient methods in 1997. Although Nicholas Steinsberger saved his company and changed the industry, he did not receive a bonus from Mitchell Energy.

Purell was launched as a product for consumers. It has been used by healthcare workers since 1988.

The Weezer song Mykel & Carli, released in 1994, is about sisters Mykel and Carli Allan, who established the band’s fan club and are considered the band’s biggest fans. Mykel and Carli, and younger sister Trisha, died in a car accident in 1997; members of Weezer attended their funeral.

Titanic won 11 Oscars.

In 1997, there was an episode of Goosebumps called “Click.” In it, a kid gets a universal remote and uses it to pause his sister, change the color of his fish, fast forward through time, etc. 9 years later, Adam Sandler starred in a movie of the same name with a similar premise.

Steve Wynn bought a Picasso for $45 Million, and accidentally put his elbow through it, causing over $90,000 in damages. This story added value to the painting, and was sold for $155 Million in 2013.

Sir Patrick Stewart put on and starred in a “photo negative” production of Othello. He starred as a white Othello opposite a black cast. It was the first time this concept was used.

Cost of a Superbowl ad in 19907: $1,200,000

An IBM supercomputer known as Deep Blue beat then-chess world champion Garry Kasparov, who had once bragged he would never lose to a machine. After 15 years, it was discovered that the critical move made by Deep Blue was due to a bug in its software.

In 1929, 23.9% of a family’s income went to food, versus 10.7% in 1997.

World War II News and Information

Operation Tracer: If Nazi’s captured Gibraltar, a British team would be sealed within the rock to spy on shipping from an underground complex, with supplies for several years (and their burials). After decades of rumors and searching, the cave was rediscovered in 1997.

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

Wrestler Bret Hart was unaware he would lose the WWF championship belt during the 1997 Survivor Series. This is referred to as the Montreal Screwjob.

Brad Pitt sued Playgirl after they ran nude paparazzi pics of him and then-girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow on vacation.

A computer aboard the USS Yorktown attempted to divide by zero, and as a result, the ship was “dead in the water” for over two hours.

An episode of Pokemon (“Electric Soldier Porygon”) featured a scene with flashing lights that induced mass seizures in children across Japan. A subsequent news report replayed the offending scene and prompted more seizures.

Mattel released the ‘Share-A-Smile Becky’ Barbie doll, who was disabled and came with a wheelchair; however, the doll created controversy when it was pointed out that the Barbie-Dream-House was not wheelchair accessible and could not accommodate Becky’s needs.

Eddie Murphy was stopped by the police by a transsexual prostitute. He explained that it was all a misunderstanding; he merely gave the young lady/ man a ride.

In August of 1997, UPS employees went on strike for 16 days. The strike cost UPS over $600,000,000 in revenue.

Anthony Lane, a film critic for the New Yorker, once began reviewing Contact and noted it “v. gloomy,” “odd noir look for sci-fi,” “creepy shadows in an outdoor scene,” before realizing he had forgotten to take off his sunglasses.

The Globe tabloid paper revealed an affair between Frank Gifford and Trans World Airlines flight attendant Suzen Johnson. The incident was at first not believed by his wife, Kathie Lee Gifford.

Airplane Celebrity Death: John Denver

Hip Hop Violent Death: Notorious B.I.G. (gunshot)

Princess Motorcade Death: Princess Diana was killed in a speeding motorcade crash in the Pont e l’Alma tunnel in Paris, France; some say it was a planned assassination/murder.

Movie & TV Star Death: Chris Farley (cocaine and heroin overdose)

Rock Star Death: Michael Hutchence (accidental?) autoerotic asphyxiation

Movie Star Death: Jimmy Stewart, actor and WW II hero, age 89.

Approximately 10,000 attended the funeral of Hawaiian musician, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. When ‘Izz’ died in 1997, he was the first and only citizen to receive the honor of having the Hawaii state flag flown at half-staff. His coffin was allowed to “lay in state” in the capitol building. Since then, in 2003, a bronze bust of Brother Iz was erected on O’ahu.

April 21, 1997: Timothy Leary, outspoken hallucinogen activist, had the first “space funeral.” His ashes were brought into space.

Melissa Drexler gave birth in her high school bathroom during prom. She discarded the baby in the trash and returned to the prom. She was sentenced to 15 years for manslaughter but was released on parole after 37 months.

Apple Stock hit a 12-year low partially caused by a single sale of 1.5 million shares ($22.5 million) by an anonymous party. This helped Jobs convince the board to oust CEO Gil Amelio and appoint him as the replacement. Jobs was revealed to be the anonymous party

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

Beanie Babies became the must-have toy for Christmas 1997. Teletubby toys, Pokemon, Tamagotchi, Spice Girls Dolls, Repunzel Barbie

Pfizer’s Lipitor has been reducing cholesterol since 1997.

WebMD went online in 1997.

ToyFare Magazine (1997-2011)

Allrecipes began publication

Maxim began publication

The Habits

Watching Titanic at the theater and Sci-Fi classics films Contact, The Fifth Element, Gattaca, Men in Black, and Starship Troopers when Titanic tickets were sold out.

Reading The Partner by John Grisham

Trying to find an original Princess Beanie Bear.

1997/98 Biggest Television Shows

(according to Nielsen TV Research)
1. Seinfeld (NBC)
2. E.R. (NBC)
3. Veronica’s Closet (NBC)
4. Friends (NBC)
5. Monday Night Football (ABC)
6. Touched By An Angel (CBS)
7. 60 Minutes (CBS)
8. Union Square (NBC)
9. CBS Sunday Movie (CBS)
10. Frasier (NBC)

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1997 include
Aaliyah, Erykah Badu, Blackstreet, Boyz II Men, Destiny’s Child, Dru Hill, Elton John, En Vogue, Faith Evans, Foxy Brown, Hanson, Jagged Edge, Jewel, Keith Sweat, LeAnn Rimes, Lil Kim, Lonestar, Mase, Mariah Carey, Martina McBride, Mase, Matchbox Twenty, MC Lite, Missy ‘Misdemeanor’ Elliott, Notorious B.I.G., 112, Puff Daddy, R. Kelly, Savage Garden, Sheryl Crow, Spice Girls, Sugar Ray, 2Pac, Third Eye Blind, The Wallflowers, Will Smith, Whitney Houston, Wyclef Jean

(Data is compiled from charts including Billboard’s Pop, Rock, Airplay, R&B/Dance, and Singles Charts. The Hot 100 is the primary chart used for this list.)

Number One Hits of 1997

December 7, 1996 – February 21, 1997: Toni Braxton – Un-Break My Heart

February 22, 1997 – March 21, 1997: Spice Girls – Wannabe

March 22, 1997 – May 2, 1997: Puff Daddy featuring Mase – Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down

May 3, 1997 – May 23, 1997: The Notorious B.I.G. – Hypnotize

May 24, 1997 – June 13, 1997: Hanson – MMMBop

June 14, 1997 – August 29, 1997: Puff Daddy & Faith Evans featuring 112 – I’ll Be Missing You

August 30, 1997 – September 12, 1997: The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Puff Daddy & Mase – Mo Money Mo Problems

September 13, 1997 – October 3, 1997: Mariah Carey – Honey

October 4, 1997 – October 10, 1997: Boyz II Men – 4 Seasons of Loneliness

October 11, 1997 – January 16, 1998: Elton John – Candle in the Wind ’97

Popular Movies

(according to boxofficemojo)
1. Titanic
2. Men In Black
3. The Lost Word: Jurassic Park
4. Liar Liar
5. Air Force One
6. As Good As It Gets
7. Good Will Hunting
8. Star Wars (Special Edition)
9. My Best Friend’s Wedding
10 Tomorrow Never Dies
11. Face/Off

Air Force One, Alien Resurrection, Anaconda, As Good As It Gets, Batman and Robin, Con Air, Conspiracy Theory, Contact, Cube, Dante’s Peak, The Empire Strikes Back (re-release), Face/Off, The Fifth Element, Flubber, Gattaca, George of the Jungle, Good Will Hunting, Hercules, I Know What You Did Last Summer, In & Out, L.A. Confidential, Liar Liar, Life is Beautiful, LOst HIghway, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Men in Black, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Scream 2, Star Wars (re-release), Starship Troopers, Titanic, Tomorrow Never Dies

Scroll to Top