20 Pop Culture Things You Won’t Believe Happened 20 Years Ago

Yesterday, June 15, 2014, was the 20 year anniversary of The Lion King. I don’t think I need to tell you that writing that sentence makes me feel incredibly old. I still remember going to see The Lion King in theaters with my cousins, and crying my little eyes out when Mufasa died. It was a pivotal traumatizing moment in my life.

It’s crazy that this movie is officially 20 years old, but it’s even crazier that the other 19 things on this list also happened so long ago. These past 20 years really have flown by, huh? We still write about most of these TV shows and movies that started and/or ended in 1994 like they’re still around! I don’t want to be the only one reminiscing today, so let’s all do it. Here are 20 pop culture things you won’t believe happened 20 years ago, in 1994.


1. The Lion King came out

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The Lion King was released in theaters on June 15, 1994… and it was an instant Disney classic.


2. Forrest Gump was also released

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In 1994, Forrest Gump was the movie of the year, winning tons of awards and making audiences everywhere cry. This is another movie that became an instant classic.


3. Sony PlayStation was launched


Imagine a world without Sony PlayStation… or, don’t. This little video game console has come a longggg way since 1994.


4. Kurt Cobain committed suicide

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The world was devastated when we tragically lost musician Kurt Cobain. After struggling through years of addiction and depression, Kurt was found dead on April 5, 1994. RIP ūüôĀ


5. Friends started

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Arguably one of the best sitcoms of all time, Friends, began in 1994. Who knew it would become as huge as it was? Other TV shows still try to be the next Friends, but let’s be real: it will never happen.


6. Harry Styles and Justin Bieber were born a few months apart 



Two of today’s biggest teen heartthrobs are actually the same age. Look at those smiles! Now maybe it would be nice if Justin finally started actually acting 20-years-old.


7. Clarissa Explains It All ended

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In my opinion, this show ended way too early. Who else misses Clarissa Darling?!


8. “The Sign” by Ace of Base was the number one song of the year, according to Billboard

I saw the sign, and it opened up my eyes, I saw the sign…


9. Jackie O died

jackie o jfk

Jackie O, short for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, passed away on May 19, 1994. As the First Lady to John F. Kennedy Jr., Jackie O was truly an American icon.


10. Doug ended

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1994 was the year one of Nickelodeon’s best cartoon shows ever, Doug, aired it’s final season. JK, not really. Disney picked it up after it ended on Nickelodeon, and it continued to air until 1999… but it was never as good as it was on Nick.


11. Dumb and Dumber was released

dumb and dumber

In November, Dumb and Dumber To will be released 20 years after the first movie was released. Will be it just as ridiculous and funny? I wouldn’t know, because my parents never let me watch it when I was a kid… and now I just always forget.


12. Nancy Kerrigan was attacked during Olympics practice 


In 1994, Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding became the center of probably the biggest figure skating scandal of all time when Nancy was clubbed in the right knee while practicing for the Olympics. The attack was planned by her rival Tonya’s, ex-husband. It has a sort of happy ending though: she eventually covered, and her fame from the incident granted her a lot of opportunities.


13. The Wonderbra became a thing


The Wonderbra was around for a while, but didn’t become a huge thing in the United States until 1994. From then on, it wasn’t just a push-up bra… it was a full lingerie line, and it represented something much bigger than just bras.


14. Pocahontas came out

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The historically inaccurate Disney cartoon, Pocahontas, was released in 1994, but it didn’t start really making people angry until the last few years, when we finally started discussing the real issues at hand.


15. O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife was found murdered


On June 13, 1994 (almost exactly 20 years ago today), O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and a waiter, Ronald Goldman, were found murdered. In November of 1994, the trial against O.J. began. It’s now the most highly publicized criminal trial in American history.


16. Some of our favorite Nickelodeon shows began…¬†All That

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Aaahh!! Real Monsters 


And The Secret World of Alex Mack

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Where would we be without them?


17. It was a big year for teen drama shows as well – Party Of Five started…¬†


And  My So-Called Life

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And so did Sister, Sister 

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18. The second top song of the year was “I Swear” by All 4 One

Ah. What a song.


19. 2Pac was shot in a recording studio, starting the biggest rap feud of all time

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In November 1994, 2Pac was shot when entering a recording studio in New York. The shooting would lead to probably the biggest rap feud in history, which would eventually lead to the deaths of both 2Pac and Biggie Smalls.


20. Pulp Fiction was released 

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I was never a fan of this movie, but many other people were. It’s now 20 years old!


Which of these things are you most surprised by? Which of these is your favorite? What did I forget? Tell me in the comments!


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  • Andrea Montanez

    Yeah but who remembers the fashion from 1994?