Pop Culture Flashback! August 1999

We’re 15 this year, and to celebrate we’re doing monthly flashbacks to pop culture 15 years ago. Strap in for a ride back to August 1999, when a total solar eclipse,  M. Night Shyamalan, and Christina Aguilera captured the world’s attention.

1. I See Twist Endings!

sixth sense

In August 1999, The Sixth Sense was released in theaters, and its twist ending shocked everyone.

2. Goodbye Mystery Science Theater 3000

Mystery Science Theater

Mystery Science Theater 3000 ended its ten year run in August 1999.

3. Goodbye Boris Yeltsin’s Entire Cabinet Again

Boris Yeltsin

Boris Yeltsin fired his entire cabinet for the fourth time in August 1999. Firing his entire cabinet had become Yetlsin’s “thing.”

4. The Golden Shoed Blur

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson captured the 400 M. world record.

5. Pop Domination

Genie in a Bottle

Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle” held down the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 all month long.

6. Reality TV Gets Healthier


The Discovery Health Channel debuted in August 1999.

7. Who Doesn’t Want to Be a Millionaire?


Who Wants to Be a Millionaire debuted on ABC after premiering in the U.S.A. in January. It became a huge hit.

8. Total Eclipse of the Sun

Solar Eclipse

A total solar eclipse occurred. Remember that? Here’s a video that will job your memory.

9. Kids TV Commercials

nick jr

Here are some captured commercials aired on Nick Jr. in August 1999. (I remember some of these.)

10. Sarah Michelle Gellar wins a Teens Choice Award


Here’s a video in which Sarah Michelle Gellar steals a Teen Choice Award from under Jennifer Love Hewitt’s nose. The look on Love Hewitt’s face is priceless.

11. Hilarity


An extremely ridiculous comedy called Bowfinger, starring Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy, hit theaters in August 1999. Admission: I love this movie.

12. Catastrophe Constrained

Hong Kong Plane Crash

Some crazy gusts of wind caused a jetliner to crash at the airport in Hong Kong in August 1999. By the time the plane had stopped rolling, it was on fire, upside down, had a wing ripped off from the fuselage, and yet the entire crew and all but three of the passengers survived.

13. Tori Amos on Letterman


Check out still-popular Tori Amos shredding the piano and vocals on David Letterman in August 1999.

14. Steve Not Famous Yet

Steve Carrell

Steve Carrell was still just an unknown anchor on The Daily Show.

15. Tornado in Downtown Salt Lake City

Tornado En Route

An F-2 hurricane ripped through downtown Salt Lake City in August 1999. See it here. 



Tom Sowders

Tom Sowders

After majoring in creative writing at NC State, I worked in the home remodeling industry. Then, I attended graduate school for a really long time and gained experience as a writer and writing instructor. I live in the Raleigh-Durham area with my wife and baby boy, and you can find me around the Triangle anywhere there's good music and/or NC-style BBQ.