1990s Pop Culture Powerhouses

Who’s ready for a dose of nostalgia? Let’s take a look at some of the most iconic moments, trends, and entertainment from the 1990s.

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Brianna LeCompte

I still remember attending my first Trivia night back in 2013. A group of my coworkers were discussing some options for happy hour venues and when we saw that a spot down the street was hosting a Trivia Night, we decided to go for it. I was instantly hooked. When the opportunity arose to join the Last Call team, I was ecstatic. Working with a talented and creative team to spread my love of trivia across the country-what could be better! I currently manage sales and outreach in our west coast areas. Outside of work, I love to travel and am also an avid equestrian and Disney movie lover.

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Must-Have Toys Of The 1990s

In 1993, the era of the Beanie Babies began with the release of nine original toys: Legs the Frog, Squealer the Pig, Spot the Dog, Flash the Orca, Splash the Whale, Chocolate the Moose, Patti the Platypus, Brownie the Bear (later renamed “Cubbie”), and Pinchers the Lobster. While the plushes were originally marketed as toys for children, they quickly evolved into collector’s items. 

 

Each of the Beanie Babies came with a name, “birthday,” and a poem stamped inside its heart-shaped tag. While the value of these toys hasn’t continued its exponential growth as predicted in the 1990s, several models have sold for tens of thousands of dollars, often thanks to typos or misprints on the tag.


While Beanie Babies dominated the early 1990s, another toy fad swept the country in the latter part of the decade. In 1998, Tiger Electronics released the Furby. The Furby was a talking doll that began speaking in “Furbish,” its native language, but would start integrating English into its vocabulary as its owner interacted with it. An English-to-Furbish dictionary listed translations for 121 words. The translated words include diamond (“ay-koo”), monster (“moh-moh”), and – in true 1990s fashion – whassup? (“doo-oo-tye?”).

Soundtrack Of The 1990s

The 1990s saw the rise of several ultra-popular boy bands. One of the biggest boy bands of the decade, NSYNC, was officially formed in Orlando in 1995. Two of the group’s members – Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez – were former members of the Mickey Mouse Club. The Mickey Mouse Club counts a number of other incredibly successful actors and musicians among their alumni, including Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Keri Russell, and Ryan Gosling.

 

NSYNC played their first show on October 22nd, 1995 at Disney World’s Pleasure Island. The band’s fame continued to grow throughout the latter half of the 1990s. They went on to sell over 70 million records worldwide and received a total of eight Grammy nominations prior to disbanding in 2002. In 2018, the band was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


While many notable musicians of the 1990s went on to see lasting success, the decade had its share of “one-hit wonders” as well. One such band, The Rembrandts, is best known for the song “I’ll Be There For You.” This was this theme to the popular sitcom, Friends, which debuted in 1994. The song peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100, but the band has admitted that they had little to do with the song’s success. It was actually co-written by the Friends producers Marta Kauffman and David Cran.

Who Dominated The Decade?

Michael Jordan entered the NBA in 1984, but he truly dominated basketball during the 1990s. Jordan won three consecutive NBA titles (1991-1993) with the Chicago Bulls before announcing his retirement to instead pursue a baseball career. He signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox and was assigned to their affiliate team, the Birmingham Barons. He batted .202 in his first summer before deciding to return to the basketball court. After a disappointing finish in his return season, Jordan and the Chicago Bulls again won three consecutive championships in 1996-1998.

 

While Michael Jordan was in the middle of his second championship winning streak, another power player entered the pop culture realm. In 1997, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (renamed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the U.S.) was released. Since then the Harry Potter series has gone on to sell over 500 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling book series in history.


As the decade was nearing its end, technology was at the forefront of the conversation. Google was launched in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is now the fifth-largest company in the world by market capitalization. Google handles more than 70 percent of worldwide online search requests, putting it at the forefront of most Internet users’ experience.

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