The First 40 Years…

Among my friends, I am known as the keeper of useless information.  I seem to always know where sayings come from, where to use commas, and where other people’s keys are (though I can rarely find my own).  So, in celebration of Half Price Books’ 40th anniversary, here are a few useless (and very random) facts about the last 40 years.

The 70s:

  • 1972 – Half Price Books opened its first store in a converted Laundromat in Dallas, Texas.
  • 1972 – Atari releases PONG, the first video game to achieve commercial success.
  • 1972 – In January, G. Gordon Liddy, general counsel to the Committee for the Re-Election of the President, proposed burglarizing and wiretapping the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters at the Watergate Complex. That June, five men were arrested inside the Democratic National Headquarters office after a security guard at the Watergate complex called the police. That July, “Deep Throat” reveals the link to the Committee to Re-Elect the President, and that November, Nixon gets re-elected.  (Where the heck was CNN?)
  • 1975 – Wheel of Fortune, the longest running syndicated game show in television history, premiered on NBC, hosted by Chuck Woolery. Wheel of Fortune was originally called “Shopper’s Bazaar” and included a bigger wheel and carnival sound effects.

The 80s:

  • 1980 – CNN debuted. (eight years too late, fellas)
  • 1984 – Half Price Books opened its first store in Washington state.
  • 1984 – Apple announces the Macintosh.
  • 1984 – The science fiction novel Neuromancer, by William Gibson was published, introducing the world a new word: cyberspace. This novel was the inspiration for the movies Hackers (1995) and The Matrix (1999).

The 90s:

  • 1991 – The release of Nirvana’s Nevermind (1991) and Pearl Jam’s Ten (1992) brought grunge-rock into the mainstream and made grunge the most popular form of hard rock music.
  • 1994 – The NBC comedy “Friends” premiered.
  • 1994 – Half Price Books conducted its first “Bedtime Storybook Contest” and published the first edition of Say Good Night to Illiteracy, which included the top 20 stories submitted by customers and chosen by librarians, teachers and writers. The final edition of Say Good Night to Illiteracy was published in 2007.
  • 1994 – President Richard M. Nixon died at 81 after suffering a stroke. (CNN reported it.)

In the 2000s:

  • 2005 – British actor Daniel Craig was named the new James Bond. (Did you know that the Home Office has granted a real passport to Craig under the name of his 007 character. “Bond. James Bond.”)
  • 2005 – Mark Felt revealed himself to be the Watergate scandal whistleblower “Deep Throat.”  (Although his identity was revealed to Vanity Fair, CNN did run the story.)
  • 2007 – The iPhone was first released.
  • 2012 – Half Price Books turns 40!

And the story continues. For more fun facts from the last forty years (try saying that five times fast), check out this.

And, if you have any useless information about the last forty years stored up in your noggin, let me know in the comments.

— Julie

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