1989 Trivia, Fun Facts and History


1989 Trivia, Fun Facts and  History

Quick Facts from 1989:

  • World Changing Events: The Berlin Wall between East and West Germany fell, representing the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union on November 9th.
    China’s Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 included the death of hundreds, possibly thousands of pro-democracy students by the Chinese government.
  • The Top Song was Another Day In Paradise by Phil Collins
  • The Movies to Watch include Driving Miss Daisy, Field of Dreams, The Little Mermaid, Parenthood, Steel Magnolias, and When Harry Met Sally.
  • The Most Famous Fictional Person in America was probably Batman.
  • Notable books include The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, and V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd.
  • Price of Pepsi 12 pack/12 oz cans in 1989: $2.99
    Sony Walkman: $79.00
  • The Funny Late Night Host: Johnny Carson
    The Funny Lady: Roseanne Barr
  • The Man-Made Disaster: Oil tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling 750,000 barrels of crude oil.

A Look At 1989’s Top News Stories

  1. The Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing on June 4, 1989, which saw the Chinese government use military force to crush pro-democracy protests, was one of the year’s biggest news events.
  2. The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, marked the end of the Cold War and the beginning of a new era of European history.
  3. The Loma Prieta earthquake in California on October 17, 1989, which killed 63 people and caused widespread damage, was one of the biggest natural disasters of the year.
  4. The Romanian Revolution of 1989, which saw the overthrow of dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, was one of the most significant events of the year in Eastern Europe.
  5. The Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, which saw the peaceful overthrow of the communist government and the establishment of a democratic government, was another major event in Eastern Europe.
  6. The United States invasion of Panama on December 20, 1989, was a military action authorized by US President George H.W. Bush, in which U.S. troops were used to overthrow the government of Manuel Noriega.
  7. The Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska on March 24, 1989, one of the worst oil spills in American history, caused significant environmental damage.
  8. The collapse of the Soviet-backed government in Afghanistan marked the end of the Soviet-Afghan War and the beginning of a period of civil war and instability in the country. The withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan on February 15, 1989, marked the end of the Soviet-Afghan War and the beginning of a new era in the country’s history. It also marked the end of the Cold War, the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Eastern Europe, the collapse of communist governments, and the reunification of Germany.

The Year of the Snake

The year of the snake is one of the 12 years in the Chinese zodiac cycle. The snake is the sixth animal in the cycle.
The years of the snake include: 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025, 2037, 2049, and 2061,The year of the snake is associated with wisdom, intelligence, and grace. People born in the year of the snake are considered wise, deep thinkers, and have a good sense of humor. They are also said to be discreet, elegant, and good at keeping secrets. They are also good at managing money and are often successful in business. They can be quite mysterious, and people often have trouble figuring out their thoughts. They are also known to be independent and quite stubborn when they want to be. They are also known to be quite charming and can be quite persuasive when they want to be.

Top Ten Baby Names of 1989:

Jessica, Ashley, Brittany, Amanda, Sarah, Michael, Chris, Topher, Matthew, Joshua, David

Fashion Icons and Sex Symbols:

Elle Macpherson

Leading Men and Hollywood Hunks:

Johnny Depp, John Travolta

“The Quotes”

“If you build it, he will come.”
Ray Liotta (voice of Shoeless Joe Jackson) in Field of Dreams

“It keeps going, and going, and going…”
– Energizer Batteries

“This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?”
– Partnership for a Drug-Free America

– Volkswagen

“Cotton. The fabric of our lives.”
– Cotton Incorporated

“I’m Batman”
– Michael Keaton, in Batman

“Eat My Shorts”
– Bart Simpson, The Simpsons

“I’ll have what she’s having.”
– Estelle Reiner, in When Harry Met Sally…

“Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”
– Robin Williams, in Dead Poets Society

Time Magazine’s Man of the Year:

Mikhail Gorbachev

Miss America:

Gretchen Carlson (Anoka, MN)

Miss USA:

Gretchen Polhemus (Texas)

The Scandals & Mysteries:

Allegations that Major League Baseball star Pete Rose gambled on the Game became public.

The Exxon Valdez oil spill in which the tanker hit Prince William Sound’s Bligh Reef and spilled an estimated 11 to 30 million gallons of oil on March 24. The captain, Joseph Hazelwood, was drinking at the time.

Billy Ripken’s 1989 Fleer baseball card has the words “F*ckFace” written on the bat due to a prank from teammates.

Salmon Rushdie published The Satanic Verses – with heresy in the book, Ayatollah Khomeini ordered a ‘fatwa’ on him – a command ordering followers of the Muslim faith to kill him. The fatwah was lifted in 1998.

The Exxon Valdez vessel, which caused the worst oil spill (at that time) in U.S. history in 1989, continued to operate under various names before eventually being dismantled in India in 2012, 23 years after the disaster in Alaska.

Russian psychic E. Frenkel was run over by a train while attempting to stop it with his psychic-biological power after successfully stopping a car and streetcar.

No one knows what happened to “Tank Man,” who stood in front of government tanks at Tiananmen Square in China.

In an episode of Ducktales (Yuppy Ducks), there is a scene where Donald Duck is in a doctor’s office where an eye chart in the background reads “Ask about Illuminati”.

Celebrity Murders:

Rebecca Schaeffer, star of TV’s My Sister Sam, was killed by a stalker who got her address from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Private information is no longer available from them.

Joy Adamson, the author of Born Free, was murdered in 1980 by a former employee and is buried next to Elsa the Lioness in Meru National Park in Kenya. Her husband was murdered by poachers in 1989.

US Politics:

January 20, 1989 (Friday) Inauguration of George H. W. Bush

Boris Yeltsin Visited An American Supermarket

On September 16th, 1989, Boris Yeltsin, then newly elected to the new Soviet parliament and the Supreme Soviet, had just visited Johnson Space Center in Clear Lake, Texas, and invited himself to visit a regular American Supermarket. The store manager, Paul Yirga, only had 15 15-minute warnings and no pre-planned security. As he roamed the aisles of Randall’s, nodding his head in amazement, Yeltsin told his fellow Russians in his entourage that if their people, who often must wait in line for most goods, saw the conditions of U.S. supermarkets,” there would be a revolution.”

It’s hard to believe that just 29 years ago, the collapse of communism was spurred by Yeltsin’s visit to an American grocery store. The shelves were stocked with so much food that he was in disbelief. While communist Russia was experiencing shortages and long lines for essential goods, America had abundant everything.

This event perfectly exemplifies the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” The images of Yeltsin in the grocery store were shared across the Soviet Union and caused an outcry. People couldn’t believe they were living in poverty when others had so much. This was one of the factors that led to the collapse of communism.

It’s amazing to think about how a trip to the grocery store can change the course of history. Yeltsin’s visit was a wake-up call for the Soviet Union and led to more freedom and democracy for its people. 

Yeltsin didn’t leave empty-handed, as he was given a small bag of goodies to enjoy on the rest of his trip. About a year after the Russian leader left office, a Yeltsin biographer later wrote that he was sad on the plane ride to Yeltsin’s next destination, Miami. He couldn’t stop thinking about the plentiful food at the grocery store and what his countrymen had to subsist on in Russia. Yeltsin’s visit to America changed his perspective and made him realize communism wasn’t working for the people. It was this realization that eventually led to the collapse of communism in Russia.

World News:

Operation Yellowbird was carried out by various Western intelligence services to help dissidents from the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests escape China through Hong Kong. Over 400 people were reportedly successfully evacuated, including 7 of the 21 major leaders of the protests.

Emperor Hirohito (April 29, 1901January 7, 1989) ), the Emperor of WWII Japan, was the only “Axis Oower” leader not to have died during the war; he died in 1989.

In 1989, Queen Elizabeth II was the wealthiest person in the UK. In 2015, she fell out of the top 300.

3% of Americans had passports in 1989.

Alcohol News:

Beer was banned in Iceland until March 1, 1989, which is now celebrated annually as Beer Day. Iceland outlawed all forms of alcohol in 1915, but within 20 years had unbanned all alcoholic beverages except for beer.

Pop Culture Facts & History:

The same Hershey’s Kisses Holiday Commercial has aired every season since 1989.

One of the most expensive wine bottles that were never to have been drunk was a 1787 Margaux from Thomas Jefferson’s Collection. The owner brought it to a restaurant, and a waiter knocked it over. Insurance paid out $225,000 for it in 1989.

The word with the most meanings in English is the verb ‘set’, with 430 meanings listed in the Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, published in 1989. The word commands the longest entry in the dictionary at 60,000 words (326,000 characters).

Lexus was introduced in the US market in 1989.

The Energizer Bunny was introduced to an unsuspecting public, replacing gymnast Mary Lou Retton as the energetic spokesperson.

Jules Verne’s shelved 1863 novel Paris in the Twentieth Century predicted gas-powered cars, fax machines, electric street lighting, maglev trains, the record industry, and the internet. His publisher deemed it pessimistic and lackluster. It was discovered in 1989 and finally published in 1994.

Charging Bull, the famous statue on Wall Street was installed secretly and illegally outside the New York Stock Exchange in 1989 following the 1987 stock market crash. NYPD seized and impounded the sculpture but re-installed it two blocks south of the Exchange after a public outcry.

The most generations alive in a single family  is seven. Augusta Bunge, aged 109 years, followed by her daughter, aged 89; her granddaughter, 70; her great-granddaughter, 52; her great-great-granddaughter, 33; her great-great-great-granddaughter, 15; and her great-great-great-great-grandson born in 1989.

Buddy, the golden retriever that played the original Air Bud, is the same dog that played Comet on Full House. In 1989, his owner originally found him as a stray in the Sierra Nevada. He took Buddy in and trained him to play basketball, baseball, football, soccer, and hockey.

In 1989, only 50% of the US had 911 service.

On September 15, 1989, NASA published a comprehensive report on house plants that are best for cleaning indoor air pollution.

All arcade games imported into North America from 1989 to 2000 had the following FBI slogan included in their attract mode: “Winners Don’t Use Drugs”.

The first Reebok Pump shoes were released on November 24, 1989.

Cost of a Superbowl ad in 1989: $675,000

The Habit:

Game Boy

1st Appearances & 1989’s Most Popular Christmas Gifts, Toys and Presents:

Tetris, Sega Genesis, Polly Pockets, Nintendo Game Boy, Trolls*
*Trolls appeared first in Europe in 1956. The first wave of Trolls was popularized in the United States in 1963.

Popular and Best-selling Books From 1989:

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
California Gold by John Jakes
Caribbean by James A. Michener
Clear and Present Danger by Tom Clancy
Daddy by Danielle Steel
The Dark Half by Stephen King
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Midnight by Dean Koontz
The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned by Anne Rice
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Polar Star by Martin Cruz Smith
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Russia House by John le Carre
The Sands of Time by Sidney Shelton
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
Star by Danielle Steel
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd
While My Pretty One Sleeps by Mary Higgins Clark

East End Shows:

The Woman in Black (Play) Opened on June 7, 1989
Miss Saigon (Musical) Opened on September 20, 1989, and closed on October 30, 1999
Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story (Musical) Opened on October 12, 1989, and closed on March 3, 2002

Broadway Show:

Grand Hotel (Musical) Opened on November 12, 1989, and closed on April 25, 1992

Best Film Oscar Winner:

Rain Man (presented in 1989)

1989 Entries to The National Film Registry:

The Best Years of Our Lives (released in 1946)
Casablanca (released in 1942)
Citizen Kane (released in 1941)
The Crowd (released in 1928)
Dr. Strangelove (released in 1964)
The General (released in 1927)
Gone With the Wind (released in 1939)
The Grapes of Wrath (released in 1940)
High Noon (released in 1952)
Intolerance (released in 1916)
The Learning Tree (released in 1969)
The Maltese Falcon (released in 1941)
Modern Times (released in 1936)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (released in 1939)
Nanook of the North (released in 1922)
On the Waterfront (released in 1954)
The Searchers (released in 1956)
Singin’ in the Rain (released in 1952)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (released in 1937)
Some Like It Hot (released in 1959)
Star Wars (released in 1977)
Sunrise (released in 1927)
Sunset Boulevard (released in 1950)
Vertigo (released in 1958)
The Wizard of Oz (released in 1939)

The Big Movies: (according to boxofficemojo)

1. Batman
2. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
3. Lethal Weapon 2
4. Look Who’s Talking
5. Honey, I Shrunk The Kids
6. Back To The Future Part II
7. Ghostbusters II
8. Driving Miss Daisy
9. Parenthood
10. Dead Poets Society

1989 Most Popular TV Shows:

1. The Cosby Show (NBC)
2. Roseanne (ABC)
3. Cheers (NBC)
4. A Different World (NBC)
5. America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC)
6. The Golden Girls (NBC)
7. 60 Minutes (CBS)
8. The Wonder Years (ABC)
9. Empty Nest (NBC)
10. Monday Night Football (ABC)

1989 Billboard Number One Songs:

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

January 14January 20:
My Prerogative – Bobby Brown

January 21February 3:
Two Hearts – Phil Collins

February 4February 10:
When I’m With You – Sheriff

February 11 – March 3:
Straight Up – Paula Abdul

March 4 – March 24:
Lost In Your Eyes – Debbie Gibson

March 25March 31:
The Living Years – Mike & The Mechanics

April 1April 7:
Eternal Flame – The Bangles

April 8April 14:
The Look – Roxette

April 15April 21:
She Drives Me Crazy – Fine Young Cannibals

April 22May 12:
Like a PrayerMadonna

May 13May 19:
I’ll Be There for You – Bon Jovi

May 20June 2:
Forever Your Girl – Paula Abdul

June 3June 9:
Rock On – Michael Damian

June 10June 16:
Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler

June 17- June 23:
I’ll Be Loving You (Forever) – New Kids On The Block

June 24June 30:
Satisfied – Richard Marx

July 1 – July 7:
Baby Don’t Forget My Number – Milli Vanilli

July 8July 14:
Good Thing – Fine Young Cannibals

July 15July 21:
If You Don’t Know Me By Now – Simply Red

July 22August 4:
Toy Soldiers – Martika

August 5August 11:
Batdance – Prince

August 12 – September 1:
Right Here Waiting – Richard Marx

September 2September 8:
Cold-Hearted – Paula Abdul

September 9 – September 15:
Hangin’ Tough – New Kids On The Block

September 16September 22:
Don’t Wanna Lose You – Gloria Estefan

September 23October 6:
Girl, I’m Gonna Miss You – Milli Vanilli

October 7November 3:
Miss You Much – Janet Jackson

November 4November 10:
Listen to Your Heart – Roxette

November 11 – November 24:
When I See You Smile – Bad English

November 25 – December 9:
Blame It On The Rain – Milli Vanilli

December 9 – December 22:
We Didn’t Start The Fire – Billy Joel

December 23, 1989 – January 13, 1990:
Another Day In Paradise – Phil Collins


World Series Champions: Oakland Athletics
Superbowl XXIII Champions: San Francisco 49ers
NBA Champions: Detroit Pistons
Stanley Cup Champs: Calgary Flames
U.S. Open Golf Curtis Strange
U.S. Tennis: (Men/Ladies) Boris Becker/Steffi Graf
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Boris Becker/Steffi Graf
NCAA Football Champions: Miami
NCAA Basketball Champions: Michigan
Kentucky Derby: Sunday Silence

More 1989 Facts and History Resources:

Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)
Popular and Notable Books (popculture.us)
Broadway Shows that Opened in 1989X
1989 Calendar, courtesy of Time and Date.com
Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
Fact Monster
1980s, Infoplease.com World History
1989 in Movies (according to IMDB)
1989 Top Movies (according to BoxOfficeMojo)
Retrowaste Vintage Culture
The 80s(History.com)
|80s and 90s Classic NES Games (1985-1994)
1980s Slang
1980s Timeline (Security and Exchange Commision)
Wikipedia 1989