Diablo and the iPhone debut, Scott Baio retains authority and Jewel picks up the pieces – Dec 30-Jan 5

It’s the end of 2016, which means we wrap up 1986, 1996 and 2006 with one last look back. Then 1987 kicks off with Charles in Charge, 1997 brings us PC hit Diablo and 2007 begins with the announcement of the iPhone.

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We’re a year old!

The most popular baby names of 1986: Jessica, Ashley and Amanda for girls, Michael Christopher and Matthew for boys – the same as the last two years.

Wisdom – NYE release, Emilio Estevez, Demi Moore

1/3/87- The second season of Charles in Charge debuts. The move from CBS to syndication also necessitated a change in cast as the original family moved out and a new family moved in, including Nicole Eggert! Also joining the cast was Ellen Travolta, who played Charles’ mother

1/5/87 – Remington Steele returns for its final 6 episode season,  most notable because the last-minute pickup meant that star Pierce Brosnan could not accept the role of James Bond.

Rounding out 1986, some noteworthy games hit arcades this year, many of which you may know from their home conversions – 720, Double Dribble, Rygar, Super Sprint etc

Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Best albums list from 2003 lists eight albums from 1986: 81. Paul Simon’s “Graceland”; 120. “Raising Hell” by Run DMC, 167. “Master of Puppets” by Metallica, 187. “So” by Peter Gabriel, 216. “The Queen is Dead” by The Smiths, 217. “License to Ill” by the Beastie Boys, 330. “In the Jungle Groove” by James Brown and 489. “Guitar Town” by Steve Earle.

Out with Antrhrax’s I’m the Man, which debuted in the first week of January 1987. Credited as one of the first rap metal songs and samples other stuff like Master of Puppets and In a Big Country, parodies Beastie Boys which just had their big album a few weeks ago.



Jewel’s “You Were Meant for Me” was released as a single back in November, but is all over the radio right about now. The album Pieces of You was out in 1995, but this album would take off in 1997 and become a huge success.
Kenny G – Six of Hearts, the first EP. Has sold 75 million albums since 1986 debut.
Unbreak my Heart is still #1, been there for weeks and will be there until mid February.

Rolling Stone best 500 albums from 1996: 248. “Reasonable Doubt” by Jay-Z, 305. “Odelay” by Beck, 477. “The Score” by The Fugees.

Top baby names for 1996: Emily, Jessica and Ashley for girls; Michael, Matthew and Jacob for boys.

12/30/96 – Ladies Home Journal: Most Fascinating Women airs, hosted by Jamie Lee Curtis and honoring Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rosie O’Donnell, Dana Reeve, Bette Midler, Gloria Estefan, Oprah Winfrey, Shannon Lucid, Dot Richardson, Lisa Leslie, Christy Martin, and Jacqueline Mitchard

12/31/96 – New Years Rockin Eve airs. The 1996–97 edition was co-hosted by Stacey Dash and Donald Faison of the ABC comedy series Clueless, and included performances by Jann Arden, Kiss, “Weird Al” Yankovic, The Presidents of the United States of America, and The Tony Rich Project.

1/1/97 – America rolls out the television rating system, which assigns various content ratings (TV-G, TV-PG, TV-14 or TV-MA) to TV programs.

1/1/97 – Kung Fu The Legend Continues concludes after 4 seasons and 88 episodes. But don’t worry, star David Carradine hung around for awhile…

1/3/97 – Bryant Gumble anchors his final episode of Today after 15 years. Who replaced him? You’ll have to wait until the next episode to find out!

1/5/97 – El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Homer airs, with Homer going on an acid trip after eating an insanely hot pepper.

NBA Hangtime came to consoles, the team that made NBA Jam, but that was now owned by Acclaim, whereas Hangtime is Midway.

Diablo on PC – Blizzard’s big post-Warcraft hit. Randomly generated dungeons filled with loot, hack and slash your way through multiple floors. Addictive, replayable, game loop is v satisfying. Could play through again and exprience different layouts, maybe even see enemies you didn’t encounter. Blizzard announced for the game’s 20th anniversary, it was adding basically the whole game to Diablo III in a 16-bit style.

Death Rally on PC – Remedy / team that would make Max Payne later on released their first game this year, sometimes attribtued to 12/31 or October, so let’s put it here. Top Down racing game, like a slightly grittier RC Pro-Am, has weapons and upgrades etc.



The Hit List – Unwritten Law best of that doesn’t include 2003 hit Seein’ Red. Active since 1990!
Beyonce’s Irreplaceable still #1

Rocky Balboa, We Are Marshall, Curse of the Golden Flower, The Good Shepard and Night at the Museum release in theaters.

The most popular baby names of 2007: Emily, Emma and Madison for girls, Jacob, Michael and Joshua for boys, the same as the last three years.

Saddam Hussein is executed, age 69; footage leaks almost immediately.

The EU expands to include Bulgaria and Romania.

Nancy Pelosi becomes the first woman Speaker of the House.

Steve Jobs announces the iPhone at Macworld.

Momofuku Ando, inventor of instant noodles, dies age 96.

Code Name: The Cleaner, Freedom Writers, Happily N’Ever After release in theaters.

12/31/06 – Ryan Seacrest takes over as host of New Years Rockin Eve. Dick Clarks final NYRE as host was 04, and Regis Philbin hosted in 05.

1/1/07- Engaged and Underage debuts on MTV. It would air for two seasons until 2009 where 16 and Pregnant would pick up where it left off.

1/2/07 – Dirt premieres on FX, a show co-produced by Courtney Cox and David Arquette about tabloid journalists

1/3/07 – Two ABC sitcoms premiere; In Case of Emergency (starring Lori Loughlin, Jonathan Silverman, and David Arquette) and Knights of Prosperity a Donal Louge-led show about a group of thieves trying to rob Mick Jagger’s house (it was originally supposed to be called Let’s Rob Mick Jagger’s House)

12/18/2006 – Identity premieres on NBC, a game show where contestants must match a group of 12 people on stage with correct information about each one, winning 500K if every person on stage is matched correctly.








10 thoughts on “Diablo and the iPhone debut, Scott Baio retains authority and Jewel picks up the pieces – Dec 30-Jan 5

  1. Congratulations on hitting one year! I’ve really enjoyed this podcast through 2016 (which we could all agree, sucked). I’m listened to ever episode of Laser Time and every episode of Thirty Twenty Ten.

    Looking forward to what you discuss in 2017.

  2. Sadly, for some reason I’ve seen Happily N’ever After. I don’t remember anything other than George Carlin playing the wizard. The wizard promptly leaves the story to “go play golf “, which Carlin hates.

    With how dumb this movie must have been, I doubt they wrote that as a reference.

  3. Being someone born in 1996 and year’s popular baby names (JAKE, MATTHEW, and MICHAEL), seems about right. Of people my age throughout school, I have known 6 Jakes, 3 Matthews, and 3 Michaels. The Jakes either got called by last names or in some cases the Jake/ Jacob dynamic came into play. Two of the Matthews were just “Matt,” while the third ended up going by “CJ” because of his hyphenated last name’s initials. Two of the Michaels just stuck with that, while the third went by “Mike.” I have to wonder if some form of Zach and/or John makes the top baby names of 1996 list since I’ve known four Zachs and three Johns of my age.

    As for Pierce Brosnan, while I knew the story of him almost being Bond for the 1987 film (huge Bond fan), I didn’t know they screwed him out of the deal for SIX episodes. That’s just a slap in the face.
    That being said, I prefer Dalton’s Bond and his two movies to Brosnan and his four, so I think it’s better that we got both of them. Besides, if Brosnan had got the role in the 1980s, I think he wouldn’t have lasted much longer than Dalton did. Dalton was supposed to do GoldenEye as the follow up to 1989’s Licence to Kill (with Anthony Hopkins in talks to be a villain at one point), but various legal problems and script rewrites stalled production well into ’94 and Dalton ended up leaving the role. Perhaps Brosnan would have opted to stay on during the process, but those wasted years probably would have had some effect on his career as 007,

  4. “Christmas Every Day” isn’t really that comparable to Groundhog Day, for a couple of reasons. First, it’s adapting a short story from the 1890s (which had previously been done as a 30-minute animated special which didn’t update the setting at all), so it predates Harold Ramis’ best movie by a long time. Second, it’s not about “fixing” a time loop so much as it’s a classic “too much of a good thing is a bad thing” children’s morality story. Everyone is totally aware that Christmas shouldn’t normally come 365 days in a row, and by the end of that year everything’s gone to hell because nobody has any money because they’ve been forced to buy presents and feast every day. I’ve never actually seen the 96 live-action movie, but the cartoon is on Youtube at https://youtu.be/IpkAtfIkgic

  5. Speaking of baby names… Diana was actually the first Laser Time staff member I ever discovered, thanks to her Big Bad Baby Names blog that I found, what, at least ten years ago? Maybe more? I fucking hate bad baby names – but I don’t know what’s worse: a weird, trendy name like Jaden, or a “normal” name with a funky spelling. IE: Jaysyn, Ehron, Kymberleigh, Rion, etc.

  6. FYI, Brett, here are some notable albums for the 2017 “season”

    Anthrax – Among the Living (3/22) – Notable for the track “I am the Law,” a song based on the, then obscure, Judge Dredd comic
    Aerosmith – Permanent Vacation (8/31) – Tons of notable hit songs
    Def Leppard – Hysteria (8/3) – Sold 25 million copies
    Dokken – Back for the Attack (11/27) – Featuring everyone’s favorite Freddy Kruger track “Dream Warriors.” This was their last studio album before breaking up in 1989. They would reform in the 90s, but due to rocky personal relationships (specifically lead singer Don Dokken and guitarist George Lynch), the original line-up didn’t last long.
    Faith No More – Introduce Yourself (4/23) – Their second album, but considered their debut due to the first being very limited
    Lion – Dangerous Attraction (7/21) – Debut album of the band that did The Transformers theme song. Japanese import that is nearly impossible to track down without paying big bucks.
    Manowar – Fighting the World (2/17) – Notable for two things: the track “Defender” features a recording of Orson Welles, and it introduces the cover art style the band would become famous for (over the top, Conan-style fantasy art than ended up appearing very homoerotic).
    Metallica – The $5.98 EP Garage days Re-Revisited (8/21) – Ep of cover songs
    Motley Crue – Girls, Girls, Girls (5/15) – Debuted at #2, sold 4 million copies
    Ozzy Osbourne – Tribute (3/19) – Live album released as a tribute to late Ozzy guitarists Randy Rhoads, Ozzy’s guitarist from 1979-1982, who died in a plane crash
    Savatage – Hall of the Mountain King (9/28) – Their fourth album, but first with producer Paul O’Neill, a creative partnership that resulted in forming the band’s signature style that they would be most well known for, and eventually ending up with the creation of The Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The famous Christmas Eve/Serajevo track actually came from the Savatage album Dead Winter Dead, before ending up on TSO’s debut album.
    Twisted Sister – Love is for Suckers (8/13) – Their final album before disbanded. Though they would later reform for reunion tours, they never recorded any new material.

    Body Count – Violent Demise: The Last Days (3/11) – BC’s third album, dedicated to their late drummer. Over the years, BC featured many band members who died young.
    Devin Townsend – Ocean Machine (7/21) – First solo album by progressive metal super star Devin Townsend, who was also running the band Strapping Young Lad at the same time.
    Dokken – Shadowlife (4/15) – final album with the original line-up. Panned by fans and is considered the band’s worst album, but far.
    Faith No More – Album of the Year (6/3) – the band’s last album until 2015
    Gamma Ray – Somewhere Out in Space (8/25) – German power metal powerhouse’s special breed of “Space Metal” – noted only for the fact that I would love to hear Gamma Ray brought up on an episode of 302010. Best tracks are Beyond the Black Hole and Somewhere Out in Space
    Judas Priest – Jugulator (10/28) – First album with new lead singer Time “Ripper” Owens, a very talented singer who was never completely accepted by fans of the band, though he is not really disliked either. The Mark Wahlberg movie “Rock Star” was loosely based on his story.
    Limp Bizkit – Three Dollar Bill, Y’all (7/1) – presented without comment
    Megadeth – Cryptic Writings (6/17) – Last studio album to feature what many fans considered as the best line up of the band.
    Metallica – Reload (11/18) – A surprise follow-up to Load, released just one year prior. Most fans were somewhat baffled by this era of Metallica, who took on a new sound. No really well received, but Load and Reload eventually grew on fans. Reload featured the hit song “Fuel.”
    Nightwish – Angels Fall First (11/1) – debut album by the Finish band, who would later become titans of the Power Metal genre. Nightwish is most notable for having a female opera singer as their lead vocalist. However, this album is a bit on the dull side. They wouldn’t really hit their stride until their second and third albums.
    Rammstein – Sehnsucht (8/25) – Their second album, but the American debut of the German band, who also appeared on the Mortal Kombat Annihilation soundtrack

  7. I’m super excited for the next year of Thirty Twenty Ten, being an ’87 baby myself (Mar 9).
    Looking forward to hearing about all the TV episodes and important events I don’t remember because I hadn’t even formed object permanence yet!

  8. Have a lot of good memories with Diablo. First I got my hands on a copy from a friend – It came with the ability to install a demo off the main game. Cool thing about the demo is it let you play the first four floors as many times as you wanted, and with a game that randomly generated it’s levels that gave you a lot of replay value. Of course it wasn’t long after spending a few times through the demo you end up purchasing the full game.
    The magic of the game came from the online multiplayer with Battle.net. Aside from grouping up with friends, you could jump into other hosted games and see new areas or weapons you hadn’t before. There was also PVP though so being the dick 13 year old I was I thought it was the greatest thing ever being able to stalk other players in the dungeons as they ran for their lives from hordes of demons. The game let you collect ears of PCs you killed as an item in your inventory so that added a lot of fun to it. Eventually a buddy of mine and I would play at the same computer, start chatting to get other players online to lower their guard. Once the prompt popped up that they were typing back, start attacking with rampant clicks of the mouse.

    Ah, good ol’ Diablo. One of the two games that opened my eyes to the world of online PC gaming.

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