On This Day In History: July 16 – 22

It takes all kinds of peoples, places, and events to make the world go ’round, but it takes even more to make up the mind-blowing reality of the genre we call Science Fiction.  Once more, brave travelers, let’s take a look back into the history — the good, the bad, and those involving Keanu Reeves — of Things To Come!

July 16

This day in history is universally credited as serving as the beginning of the Atomic Age because, in 1945, ‘Fat Boy’ – a plutonium-based nuclear weapon – was detonated near Alamogordo, New Mexico. Dozens of sci-fi films depicting giant, man-eating ants soon followed! Auspicious birthdays include prolific sci-fi author Robert Sheckley (1928), and Jerry Doyle (1956), better known to fans as ‘Michael Garibaldi’ on the long-running space opera, “ Babylon 5.”

July 17

In 1975, the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project took place, marking the first time spacecraft from two different nations docked with one another in orbit. In 2009, MOON was released theatrically. Auspicious birthdays include actor Donald Sutherland (1935); actor Alex Winter (1965) who played ‘Bill’ in the BILL & TED franchise; and writer J. Michael Straczynski (1954), the creator of “Babylon 5” and contributor to a whole host of other sci-fi properties.

July 18

“Get away from her, you nasty so-and-so!” (paraphrased)  In 1986, Ripley showed the audiences what she was truly made of as James Cameron’s seminal sci-fi actioner ALIENS exploded on the silver screen. Auspicious birthdays include actor Vin Diesel (1967), presently working on another installment in his RIDDICK franchise; and director Paul Verhoeven (1938) who brought us such memorable flicks as the original TOTAL RECALL, the first ROBOCOP, and STARSHIP TROOPERS.

July 19

In 1965, shooting began on the 2nd “Star Trek” pilot – “Where No Man Has Gone Before” – and TV sci-fi would never be the same again. Auspicious birthdays include Benedict Cumberbatch (1976) of the BBC series “Sherlock Holmes” and the upcoming JJ Abrams’ STAR TREK sequel (he’s been rumored to be Khan or Gary Mitchell); and Courtenay Taylor (1969) who has starred in a host of genre-related video games.

July 20

“It’s one small step for man … one giant leap for mankind …” Broadcast at 10:56 pm EDT, Neil Armstrong spoke those immortal words from the moon. Auspicious birthdays include Roberto Orci (1973), who’s part of the JJ Abrams’ stable of writers, working on the TRANSFORMERS and STAR TREK franchise; and visionary producer Erich Pommer (1889) who helped Fritz Lang bring his legendary METROPOLIS to light back in 1927.

July 21

In 1998, Alan Shepard ventured to his final resting place. Shepard is long remembered for being the first American in space, as well as the fifth person to walk on the moon.  Auspicious birthdays include Lance Guest (1960), who headlined as THE LAST STARFIGHTER himself; and Ike Eisenmann (1962) of STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN and ESCAPE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN fame.

July 22

On this day in 1999, the first version of MSN Messenger was released by Microsoft, thus putting into play the first steps toward our inevitable domination by sentient machines. Auspicious birthdays include Rhys Ifan (1967) of the current Spider-man reboot, and genre-friendly Terence Stamp (1938), no less than General Zod himself from SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE and SUPERMAN II. Kneel before Zod, baby. Kneel!

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