TRIVIA: Lasts and Crashes

The world of IT and consumer electronics is littered with dead and dying technologies. Here are a few “lasts” from the world of home entertainment:

LAST 8-TRACK TAPE: 1988’s Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits was the last 8-track made by a major label, although Cheap Trick offered their 2009 album The Latest in 8-track format on their web store.

LAST VHS MOVIE: David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence was the last VHS film distributed by a major studio, way back in 2005.

LAST LASERDISC: In North America, the last laserdiscs released by a major studio were Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow and the Nicolas Cage stinker Bringing Out the Dead, in 2000.

LAST VIDEODISC: Laserdiscs looked like LP-sized CDs. Videodiscs came in a plastic sleeve and sort of looked like a giant floppy disk. The last major videodisc release was… a documentary about itself called Memories of Videodisc in 1986.

Another last: the USFL was a professional American football league that operated from 1983 to 1987. The last USFL player to retire from the NFL was Philadelphia Stars punter Sean Landeta, who signed with the New York Giants in 1986 and played for various teams until 2006. He officially retired in 2007. Quarterback Doug Flutie, signed by the New Jersey Generals in 1985, was the last non-kicker to retire, in 2005.

Now, two interesting stories about airplane crashes:

– In the 1980 film Nine to Five, three secretaries kidnap their sexist, overbearing boss. Another secretary, Roz (played by Elizabeth Wilson) asks too many questions about his disappearance, so the kidnappers send her to a language school in Colorado with vague promises about a future transfer to France. In the film, Roz is seen walking onto a TWA 747. This is the same aircraft that would crash in 1996 as TWA Flight 800.

– Carowinds is an amusement park here in the Charlotte area. It’s unique in that the park straddles the NC\SC border, so different laws may apply depending on where you are in the park. The park has (had? I’ve never been) a tall observation tower that pilots use (used?) as a landmark to find Douglas Municipal Airport (now Charlotte-Douglas International Airport). On September 11, 1974, the pilots of Eastern Airlines flight 212 became obsessed with finding the tower because they had been goofing off for much of the flight, and the plane crashed short of the runway. Many died, including the father and two older brothers of comedian Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central. Also, this crash was the first time that doctors noticed that passengers wearing artificial fibers (like rayon and polyester) were usually burned much more severely than passengers wearing natural fibers.

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