Welcome back to yet another edition of Top 10 Events This Day in Movie and Television History! This time around, we take a look at all that went down on January 3 over the years. And if you thought the beginning of the year may not have had too many stories to tell, you’re in for a surprise! This list we’ve brought for you sure has a lot going on!
January 3, 1892: J. R. R. Tolkien is Born
Master storytellers are the essence of any creative industry. Whether it is movies or television, books or paintings, or even sculptures and artifacts, without a good story backing it up, no creative work truly makes an impact. And this is just one of the reasons why we are thankful for January 3, 1892, the day J. R. R. Tolkien was born! The author of the famed works, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbitt, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was also a poet, academic, and philologist. Tagged the Father of Modern Fantasy Literature, Tolkien’s works have inspired the highly acclaimed and award-winning Lord of the Rings series of movies, giving the world a masterpiece they can watch time and again. Apart from his works that will continue to entertain us through movies, Tolkien has also inspired several other events such as Tolkien Reading Day, an annual lecture at the Pembroke College, Oxford University in his honor, as well as several blue plaques strewn across important locations that have been associated with his life. Oh, and if Tolkien’s parish church’s prayers are answered, the inspiring English gentleman will be canonized too!
January 3, 1956: Mel Gibson is Born
Actor, director, screenwriter, and producer, Mel Gibson dons many hats in the movie industry and despite his penchant for trouble and controversies remains one of the most celebrated creative minds of our generation. After all, when you have works like Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ, Apocalypto, and Hacksaw Ridge to your name, there’s no way fans and industry stalwarts can write you off! Apart from a string of highly successful movies that Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson has starred in, he has also been applauded for his foresight and conviction in handling entire movie projects and handling them so well that almost all of them have turned out to be winners. From Academy Award nominations and wins and Australian Film Institute accolades to People’s Choice Awards and AACTA recognition for his works, and more, Mel Gibson is quite the celebrated movie genius. Fighting against alcohol abuse and even manic depression, Mel may have been making headlines for all the wrong reasons between his meteoric projects, but that doesn’t take anything away from the dedicated and determined movie icon he is. Well, it was on January 3, 1956, that this genius first made an appearance on the planet!
January 3, 1964: The Jack Paar Program Showcases She Loves You by the Beatles
The Beatles are easily one of the most popular bands the music world has seen and when you come to think of it, it is hardly a surprise when even the generations of today find themselves fans of their songs. Of course, the 60s were even crazier times for a Beatles fan, considering how anything the band members were doing made headlines back then. But it was during a time right before the Beatles fever had settled into the subconscious of entire generations that the inimitable Jack Paar, host of the Jack Paar Program and The Tonight Show Starring Jack Paar, later known as The Jack Paar Show, aired the hit song She Loves You. The man who is considered responsible for showing the world how talk shows were to be conducted, so much so that the talk show eras are even tagged as before and after Jack Paar, it was quite natural for Jack to milk the latest in entertainment and present it to his audience. As for She Loves You, it has for long been recognized as the defining song for the band, the one that gave John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, the fame and success they deserved.
January 3, 1992: Bloodfist III: Forced to Fight Released
Starring Don “The Dragon” Wilson in the lead, Bloodfist III: Forced to Fight was the last in the series to be released across theatres in the US. A professional kickboxer, martial artist, and actor, Donald Glen Wilson was a world champion an impressive 11 times and often labeled the greatest kickboxer in American history. The other sequels of the series, five of them, did not enjoy theatrical releases and went straight to video. Directed by Oley Sassone, the action film follows the journey of the main protagonist in prison, fighting his way through gangs that want to see him dead. Released on January 3, 1992, the movie received another lease of life in 2000 when Concorde Films released the film on DVD along with the other titles in the series – Bloodfist, Bloodfist II, and Bloodfist IV: Die Trying.
January 3, 1996: Florence Pugh is Born in Oxford, England
Florence Pugh may have come into the world way across the pond on January 3, 1996, but she is quite an integral part of the American movie industry now and after Black Widow, is even more of a Hollywood diva. Making her acting debut only 7 years ago in The Falling, Florence took only two more years to win a British Independent Film Award for her brilliant portrayal in Lady Macbeth. A series of equally impressive performances in King Lear, Outlaw King, and The Little Drummer Girl, Florence caught everyone’s attention at the BAFTAs with a nomination for the Rising Star Award. It was now time to take on the world stage and that’s exactly what Florence did with some riveting performances in Fighting With My Family, Midsommar, and Little Women, performances that got her an Academy Award nomination and a BAFTA win. Her entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, however, has been the move that’s been making the most headlines, and while only time will tell how much further this star goes on her journey, we are just happy she is here to entertain us with her impactful performances!
January 3, 1997: Ghosts of Mississippi Released
Led by Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg, and James Woods in leading roles, Ghosts of Mississippi is a powerful courtroom drama that was released on January 3, 1997, in certain box office territories. Otherwise, the movie enjoyed a worldwide release on December 20, 1996. Made on a relatively modest budget of $36 million, the film raked in mixed reactions. However, Whoopi and James’ performances in the movie received loud applause. James Wood was even nominated for his portrayal at the Academy Awards in the Best Supporting Actor category. James also registered several other nominations for his role at the Critics Choice Awards, the Golden Globe Awards, the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, and the Online Film & Television Association Awards. Whoopi was also nominated for the NAACP Image Awards in the Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture category.
January 3, 2003: Jack Nicholson Starrer About Schmidt Released
Jack Nicholson is famed for his impactful and almost overwhelming presence on screen and in About Schmidt too, the brilliant actor did complete justice to the role of a retired actuary with a life insurance company struggling with his new lifestyle and trying to find solace and meaning. The wide range of emotions displayed by Jack throughout the film and the overall brilliance of the movie was not lost on the awards community. About Schmidt won nominations for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress at the 75th Academy Awards and also won a nomination for Best Actor at the 56th British Academy Film Awards. The film fared even better at the 60th Golden Globes, with nominations for Best Motion Picture Drama, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actress categories and wins for Best Screenplay and Best Actor Motion Picture Drama. Later, the movie was also released on DVD and VHS in June of the same year and Blu-ray in February 2015.
January 3, 2004: Casey Kasim Bids Goodbye to American Top 40 After More Than Three Decades
Alright, so we know this is a list of happenings from the movie and television industry but when a radio program is as popular and globally renowned as the American Top 40, it would be an entertainment sin not to add a landmark event associated with it on our list here. So, here we go! On January 3, 2004, Casey Kasem, the voice we had come to associate with the countdown, called it a day and handed over the famed mantle to Ryan Seacrest. As co-creator of the show with Don Bustany, Tom Rounds, and Ron Jacobs, Casey had been associated with the show in all its different forms and even through a hiatus or two for more than 30 years. And while bidding goodbye to Casey was an emotional affair for fans of the show, they were also glad that he entertained them for as long as he did!
January 3, 2005: The Inimitable Craig Ferguson Hosts The Late Late Show on CBS
If you haven’t watched at least a single episode of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, you are missing out on a whole lot of signature fun that only the Scottish-American actor, comedian, TV host, and author can bring to an audience. With his unique accent and humorous personality, Craig Ferguson first made his debut on the show on January 3, 2005, and brought to the audience a unique take on every other aspect of talk shows including the deliberate lack of a human sidekick, the incorrigible but lovable flirt wooed his guests and made them swoon as much as he did his audience. Despite a drop in ratings and an eventual exit, fans of the show and the man will present plenty of reasons why Craig’s version was better than any other.
January 3, 2018: Elliot Page Reveals Marriage to Emma Portner
Elliot Page, earlier known as Ellen Page, may only be in his early thirties but when it comes to ups and downs and just about every journey of self-discovery and acceptance in life, he has lived more than enough lives for at least a dozen people! And what a journey it has been! Well, in this journey was a time when Elliot, as Ellen, came out of the closet as a lesbian and announced that he, then going by the pronoun she, was indeed married to the beautiful Emma Portner. Although the couple divorced in 2021, this remains Elliot’s only marriage yet. Now a spearheading personality for the trans community as well as an inspiration to other marginalized sections of society, Elliot was the first openly trans man to be featured on the cover of Time magazine.
Let’s Call It a Day, Shall We?
With the impressive and unique Elliot Page story, we wrap up this list of Top 10 Events This Day in Movie and Television History! Now that you know all about what went down on January 3, we’re sure you’re eager to know more about January 4. Well, hang on for a bit and we’ll get you there too!
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