1988 Fun Facts, Trivia and History


 1988 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

Quick Facts from 1988:

  • World Changing Event: The Morris worm was among the first computer worms distributed via the Internet on November 2, 1988.
  • The Top Song was Roll With It by Steve Winwood
  • Influential Songs include It Takes Two by Rob Base & E-Z Rock, Push It by Salt N Pepa, Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley, and Welcome To The Jungle by Guns N Roses.
  • The Movies to Watch include Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Rain Man, Coming to America, Big, Die Hard, Beaches, Beetlejuice, Cocktail, and A Fish Called Wanda.
  • People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive: John F. Kennedy, Jr.
  • The Most Famous Person in America was probably Roseanne Barr
  • Notable books include: A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking and The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice, and Matilda by Roald Dahl
  • Price of a Little Tykes Turtle Sandbox in 1988: $34.99
    Price of a movie ticket: $4.00
  • The animated film The Land Before Time was executive produced by the legendary Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.
  • The Funny Guy was Dennis Miller
    The Funny Lady: Roseanne Barr
  • The Unexpected Celebrity Crossover: Michael Jackson’s 1988 autobiography Moonwalk was edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Year of the Dragon

The year of the dragon is one of the 12 years in the Chinese zodiac cycle. The dragon is the fifth animal in the cycle.
The years of the dragon include 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024, 2036, 2048, and 2060
The year of the dragon is associated with strength, power, and good fortune. People born in the year of the dragon are said to be ambitious, charismatic, and confident. They are also considered independent, intelligent, and have a strong sense of purpose. They are often leaders and respected by others. They are also said to be lucky in their careers and wealth. They are also known to be very passionate and can be intense. They are also known to be a bit impulsive and can sometimes be stubborn.

Top Ten Baby Names of 1988:

Jessica, Ashley, Amanda, Sarah, Jennifer, Michael, Chris, Topher, Matthew, Joshua, Andrew

Fashion Icons and Sex Symbols:

Elle Macpherson, Jessica Rabbit

Hollywood Hunks and Leading Men:

Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise, Richard Gere, Morrissey

“The Quotes”

“Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy.”
– Lloyd Bentson to Dan Quayle

“Read my lips: no new taxes”
– Presidential Candidate George Bush

“Just do it”

“It’s everywhere you want to be.”
– Visa

“I’m not bad- I’m just drawn that way.”
– Jessica Rabbit

Time Magazine’s Planet of the Year:

‘The Endangered’ Earth

Miss America:

Kaye Lani Rae Rafko (Monroe, MI)

Miss USA:

Courtney Gibbs (Texas)

The Scandals:

Television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart was photographed in a series of hook-ups with prostitutes.

Barbara Hershey had collagen injected into her lips, a new scandalous thing then. There was a false rumor that her lips swelled and blew up while flying in an airplane. We were so naive back then.

The Morris Worm, the first internet-distributed computer worm to gain significant mainstream media attention, was launched from MIT.

Rob and Fab, Milli Vanilli’s frontmen, didn’t sing, although they were considered good-looking guys who could lip-sync rather well. They were also smooth stage dancers.

The Lockerbie, Scotland airplane bombing, ordered by Libya, killed 270 people. The Four Tops, as well as Sex Pistol’s lead singer Johnny Rotten, were all scheduled to be on the Pan Am Flight 103.

The Shroud of Turin had radiocarbon tests indicating that it was from the 13th or 14th century. It should be noted that it had been repaired, even though there had been a fire over the past 2000 (or 600) years.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the sale of Lawn Darts in 1988 after the deaths of 3 children.

The U.S.S. Vincennes accidentally shot down an Iranian civilian airliner, killing 290 people.

1988 Pop Culture Facts & History:

In 1988, Israel Kamakawiwoʻole called a studio at 3 am and asked if he could record because he had a good idea. The studio owner said yes even though he already closed the studio. 15 minutes later, he recorded Israel playing his ukulele and recorded What A Wonderful World/ Over the Rainbow in one take.

In 1988, the Australian Parliament “borrowed” the original copy of the Australian Constitution from Britain (it was originally a British Act of Parliament) and has not given it back.

Christian Andreas Doppler invented the Doppler radar.

During Robert Bork’s (failed) Supreme Court nomination in 1987, his movie rental history was leaked to the press. This led to the 1988 Video Privacy Protection Act. A $2500 fine can be given to a video rental service for disclosing your rental.

Quentin Tarantino appeared as an Elvis impersonator in a 1988 episode of The Golden Girls.

George Lucas gave a speech in 1988 to Congress about the need to protect films from being altered. “People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians.” #hanshotfirst #starwars

In 1988, Harvard Medical School partnered with film and TV studios to insert the “Designated Driver” concept into Pop Culture. The project was a huge success.

DC ran a phone poll asking viewers to vote on whether Batman’s sidekick, Robin, should live or die in a storyline, Death In The Family. 10,614 votes were tallied: 5,343 in favor of Robin’s death and 5,271 for his survival- a margin of 72 votes.

Snapple lemon-flavored iced tea was distributed nationwide.

The terrified expression on Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman)’s face in Die Hard is completely genuine as his stunt team dropped him on the count of 1 instead of the previously promised 3.

Hans Gruber was the main antagonist in the 1988 film Die Hard. Dr. Hans Gruber was a character in the 1985 film Re-Animator.
Corporal Hans Gruber was also a character in the television series Combat! A different Hans Gruber was the antagonist in the 1966 film Our Man Flint.

Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album was on the Billboard charts for 741 consecutive weeks from 1973 to 1988.

Debbie Gibson became the youngest person to write, produce, and sing a number-one single entirely independently when Foolish Beat reached Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1988.

Doves were traditionally released during the opening ceremony of the Olympic games, but the tradition ended after Seoul in 1988. Instead of flying away, several birds settled on the cauldron housing the Olympic flame and were subsequently incinerated in front of the crowd when it was lit.

In 1988, 13% of Americans surveyed thought the Moon was made of cheese. #wut

George Harrison was the first and last Beatle to have a U.S. No.1 with My Sweet Lord in 1970 and Got My Mind Set on You in 1988.

Before becoming a popular children’s character in the 1990 TV series Barney & Friends, Barney the Dinosaur starred in a direct-to-video series titled Barney and the Backyard Gang. 8 episodes were produced between August 1988 and October 1991.

The Soviet Union became freer when Mikhail Gorbachov introduced ‘glasnost’ – allowing political expression and dissent.

Some say that The Brave Little Toaster nearly took home the top award at the 1988 Sundance Film Festival, but the judges feared the festival would lose respect by picking a cartoon. (although it was a great cartoon)

Table Tennis (Ping Pong) became an Olympic Sport.

The Fog Bowl: The NFL game held December 31, 1988, between the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears had a fog rollover so dense that the fans couldn’t see the players. The refs had to call what happened after every play because the players couldn’t even see the sidelines. The Bears won 20 to 12.

Wrigley Field, Chicago, was the last baseball stadium to get floodlights. The Cubs’ first night game was on August 8, 1988.

Duracell had a mascot called the Duracell Bunny that debuted several years before the Energizer Bunny. In 1988, Duracell’s trademark lapsed, and Duracell’s North American rival, Energizer, created the Energizer Bunny.

Tennis Champion Steffi Graf is the first and only Golden Slam winner: four Grand Slams and an Olympic Gold in the same year, 1988

CDs out-sold vinyl records for the first time.

The Never-Ending Tour is the unofficial name for Bob Dylan’s endless touring schedule since June 7, 1988.

The last major album released in 8-track format was Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits in 1988.

Seventh Generation’s nontoxic, environmentally safe household products began to be marketed.

Cosmopolitan magazine ran an erroneous article stating that women had no chance of contracting HIV from sex with a man because HIV could not be transmitted in the missionary position.

Pete Maravich, during an interview in 1974, said, “I don’t want to play ten years (in the NBA) and then die of a heart attack when I’m 40.” He died of a heart attack in 1988, at age 40, after a 10-year career in the NBA.

Silly String is illegal in Marlborough, MA. It was banned in 1988 because so many kids sprayed pedestrians and vehicles during the Labor Day Parade.

Cost of a Superbowl ad in 1988: $645,000


Gary Hart, running for president in 1988, invited the media to follow him around after he was alleged to be a womanizer. He was quoted as saying, “Follow me around. I don’t care. I’m serious.” Members of the media complied, and he was caught having an affair with Donna Rice two weeks later.

Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis tried to improve his image by having a photo op with an M1 Abrams tank. The image completely backfired, and he lost to George H.W. Bush. “Dukakis in the tank” remains shorthand for backfired public relations outings.

Judge Douglas Ginsburg was nominated for the Supreme Court in 1988. He had to withdraw his nomination because it was revealed that he smoked pot when he was in college 18 years earlier.

On Airforce One, limited edition packs of red, white, and blue colored M&M’s are given to guests instead of cigarette boxes. This was due to Nancy Reagan’s request to ban smoking on Air Force One in 1988.

Doomsday Clock:

6 minutes to midnight, according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.
1988: “The United States and Soviet Union sign the historic Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the first agreement to actually ban a whole category of nuclear weapons. The leadership shown by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev makes the treaty a reality, but public opposition to U.S. nuclear weapons in Western Europe inspires it. For years, such intermediate-range missiles had kept Western Europe in the crosshairs of the two superpowers.”

Nobel Prize Winners:

Physics – Leon M. Lederman, Melvin Schwartz, Jack Steinberger
Chemistry – Johann Deisenhofer, Robert Huber, Hartmut Michel
Medicine – Sir James W. Black, Gertrude B. Elion*, George H. Hitchings
Literature – Naguib Mahfouz
Peace – The United Nations Peace-Keeping Forces.
The Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel – Maurice Allais

*Pharmacologist and biochemist Gertrude Belle Elion helped develop drugs for treating leukemia, malaria, herpes, and AIDS. She shared the 1988 Nobel Prize in Medicine despite never completing her Ph.D.

1st Appearances & 1988’s Most Popular Christmas Gifts, Toys and Presents:


Popular and Best-selling Books From 1988:

Alaska by James A. Michener
The Alchemist (Portuguese: O Alquimista) by Paulo Coelho
Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill
Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland
To Be the Best by Barbara Taylor Bradford
The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tim Wolfe
The Cardinal of the Kremlin by Tom Clancy
The Icarus Agenda by Robert Ludlum
The Magic Locket by Elizabeth Koda-Callan
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Mitla Pass by Leon Uris
One by Richard Bach
Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice
The Sands of Time by Sidney Sheldon
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
Till We Meet Again by Judith Krantz
The Tommyknockers by Stephen King
Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
Wittgenstein’s Mistress by David Markson
Zoya by Danielle Steel

Best Film Oscar Winner:

The Last Emperor (presented in 1988)

The Big Movies: (according to boxofficemojo)

1. Rain Man
2. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
3. Coming To America
4. Big
5. Twins
6. Crocodile Dundee II
7. Die Hard
8. The Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad
9. Cocktail
10. Beetlejuice

Broadway Show:
The Phantom of the Opera (Musical) Opened on January 26, 1988
East End Show:
Blood Brothers (Musical) Opened on July 28, 1988, and closed on November 10, 2012

1988 Most Popular TV Shows:

1. The Cosby Show (NBC)
2. A Different World (NBC)
3. Cheers (NBC)
4. The Golden Girls (NBC)
5. Growing Pains (ABC)
6. Who’s the Boss? (ABC)
7. Night Court (NBC)
8. 60 Minutes (CBS)
9. Murder, She Wrote (CBS)
10. Alf (NBC)

1988 Billboard Number One Songs:

December 12, 1987 – January 8, 1988:
Faith – George Michael

January 9 – January 15:
So Emotional – Whitney Houston

January 16January 22:
Got My Mind Set on You – George Harrison

January 23January 29:
The Way You Make Me Feel – Michael Jackson

January 30February 5:
Need You Tonight – INXS

February 6February 19:
Could’ve Been – Tiffany

February 20February 26:
Seasons Change – Exposé

February 27March 11:
Father Figure – George Michael

March 12March 20:
Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley

March 26April 8:
Man In The Mirror – Michael Jackson

April 9April 22:
Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car – Billy Ocean

April 23May 6:
Where Do Broken Hearts Go – Whitney Houston

May 7May 13:
Wishing Well – Terence Trent D’Arby

May 14May 27:
Anything For You – Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine

May 28July 17:
One More Try – George Michael

June 18July 24:
Together Forever – Rick Astley

June 25 – July 1:
Foolish Beat – Debbie Gibson

July 2July 8:
Dirty Diana – Michael Jackson

July 9July 22:
The Flame – Cheap Trick

July 23July 29:
Hold On to The Nights – Richard Marx

July 30August 26:
Roll With It – Steve Winwood

August 27September 9:
Monkey – George Michael

September 10September 23:
Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N’ Roses

September 24October 7:
Don’t Worry Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin

October 8October 14:
Love Bites – Def Leppard

October 15October 21:
Red Red Wine – UB40

October 22November 4:
Groovy Kind Of Love – Phil Collins

November 5November 11:
Kokomo – The Beach Boys

November 12November 18:
Wild, Wild West – The Escape Club

November 19December 2:
Bad Medicine – Bon Jovi

December 3December 9:
Baby, I Love Your Way – Will To Power

December 10 – December 23:
Look Away – Chicago

December 24, 1988- January 13, 1989:
Every Rose Has Its Thorn – Poison


World Series Champions: Los Angeles Dodgers
Superbowl XXII Champions: Washington Redskins
NBA Champions: Los Angeles Lakers
Stanley Cup Champs: Edmonton Oilers
U.S. Open Golf Curtis Strange
U.S. Tennis: (Men/Ladies) Mats Wilander/Steffi Graf
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Stefan Edberg/Steffi Graf
NCAA Football Champions: Notre Dame
NCAA Basketball Champions: Kansas
Kentucky Derby: Winning Colors

More 1988 Facts and History Resources:

Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)
Popular and Notable Books (popculture.us)
Broadway Shows that Opened in 1988X
1988 Calendar, courtesy of Time and Date.com
Fact Monster
1980s, Infoplease.com World History
Millennial Generation (1981-1996)
1988 in Movies (according to IMDB)
1988 Top Movies (according to BoxOfficeMojo)
Retrowaste Vintage Culture
80s Facts About the 80s(Mental Floss)
80s and 90s Classic NES Games (1985-1994)
1980s Slang
Wikipedia 1988