From Dolly the Sheep to the Dream Team III, explore the year with these fun facts about 1996. History has never been more enjoyable!
Basic Facts About 1996
Bill Clinton won reelection, defeating Republican candidate Bob Dole.
The stock market was at a new high; the Dow reached over 6000 for the first time.
Taiwan held its first presidential elections.
In January of 1996, there were only 100,000 websites on the internet.
Now that you know some basic facts about 1996, let’s explore the year with fun facts!
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10 Fun Facts About 1996
1996 was a memorable year in sports, media, and culture. Travel back in time with these fun facts about 1996.
A Gallon of Gas Cost $1.22
In 1996, the minimum wage was $4.75. That could buy you more in 1996 than it could today!
A movie ticket cost $4.42.
Postage stamps were 32 cents.
Coca-Cola was 99 cents for a six-pack of cans.
Bacon was $1.24 per pound.
Blue M&Ms Beat Out the Competition to Be the New Color
Mars Inc., the maker of M&Ms, decided to eliminate tan M&Ms and replace them with something brighter.
They rolled out a national campaign where consumers could vote for the new color: pink, purple, or blue.
Ten million people cast their votes by calling 1-800-FUN-COLOR.
Blue was victorious!
Everyone Was Doing the Macarena
Spanish duo group Los del Rion had a one-hit wonder with “Macarena.”
In 1992, they watched a flamenco dancer perform.
Her movements and the rhythm of the music inspired them to write the flamenco song in about 5 minutes.
The song was an immediate success in Spain.
The song’s remix by Miami group Bayside Boys skyrocketed to number 1 in the US in 1996.
Their version had English lyrics to appeal to an American audience.
Another attribute: the music video. It featured beautiful dancers from around the world performing the steps.
‘Independence Day’ Smashes the Box Office
Will Smith saved the planet from alien invasion in the smash hit Independence Day. It was the highest-grossing movie to date.
It beat out other adrenaline movies that claimed the second and third spot: Twister and Mission: Impossible.
Comedy hits were also popular that year. They included The Birdcage, The Nutty Professor, and 101 Dalmatians.
Dream Team III Takes Gold in Atlanta
The US Dream Team clinched its second gold men’s basketball medal in 1996.
Dubbed the Dream Team III (“Dream Team II” was already taken), the team featured some of the original Dream Team players.
The returning players were Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, John Stockton, and David Robinson.
Reggie Miller, Afernee “Penny” Hardaway, Grant Hill, Shaquille O’Neill, Hakeem Olajuwon, Mitch Richmond, and Gary Payton rounded out the team.
Emily and Michael Are the Top Baby Names
The top baby names for boys in 1996 were Michael, Jacob, Matthew, Joshua, and Christopher.
The most popular girls’ names were Emily, Jessica, Ashley, Sarah, and Samantha.
NBC Has the Top 6 Shows, and Mr. Darcy Makes America Swoon
NBC was the reigning American network in 1996.
They produced the top 6 shows of the year: the romantic drama ER had the number one spot.
Five NBC comedies followed: Seinfeld, Suddenly Susan, Friends, The Naked Truth, and Fired Up.
A&E premiered the miniseries Pride and Prejudice, and Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy became an international heartthrob.
Taco Bell Plays a Joke on April Fool’s Day
On April 1, Taco Bell ran full-page ads in America’s top seven papers.
The ads declared that Taco Bell had purchased the Liberty Bell in Philadephia to “decrease the nation’s debt.”
They were renaming it the “Taco Liberty Bell.”
Thousands of people called the company and the National Park Service to complain until it was revealed at noon that the whole thing was a hoax.
The April Fool’s Day prank was an advertising success!
Everyone Wanted Nintendo 64 and Beanie Babies for Christmas
When Nintendo released its new gaming console, Nintendo 64, consumers hankered for the enhanced graphics and the 64-bit processor.
The games were limited: Super Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64.
The console would host iconic games like Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Mario Kart 64, and GoldenEye 007.
Dolly, the Cloned Sheep, Was Born
Scientists at the Roslin Institute successfully cloned a sheep using somatic cell nuclear transfer.
Dolly the sheep was born on July 5, 1996.
She had three mothers: one provided the egg, another the DNA, and another carried the embryo to term.
Dolly was the first clone taken from an adult mammal.
She lived for six years before contracting lung disease. Her preserved body is on display at the National Museum of Scotland.
1996 Fun Facts
1996 was a year of technological leaps, celebrated victories in sports, and box office records.
Jump back in time with these fun facts about 1996.