1997 Fun Facts, Trivia, and News Events
Quick and Interesting History Facts From 1997
What are some fun facts, trivia, and news events from 1997? For openers, Diana Princess of Wales was killed in a car crash in Paris, Madeleine Albright became the first female Secretary of State, Timothy McVeigh was sentenced to death for the Oklahoma City bombing, and Tiger Woods became the youngest golfer to ever win the Masters History of Golf.
In 1997, Woolworths closed its remaining stores after more than 100 years in business, Microsoft became the world’s most valuable company, and 185,000 UPS Teamsters went on strike for 18 days. Beanie Babies were the toy craze of the year, the TV sitcom Seinfeld was in its last season, and 14-year-old LeAnn Rimes became the youngest person to ever win a Grammy.
Back in 1997, The Spice Girls were the biggest pop group in the world, the cost of a new PC from Compaq dropped below $1,000 for the first time, and DVD players, digital cameras, and flavored vodka first appeared in the marketplace. Microsoft released Internet Explorer 4.0, The Simpsons became the longest-running animated television series, and Lipitor, the cholesterol-lowering drug, was approved for medical use.
In 1997, unemployment was 5.4%, inflation averaged 2.5%, and a new home cost $176,000. Median household income was $37,000, one ounce of gold was $287.05, and the retail price for a gallon of gas averaged $1.22. Heinz Catsup cost 89 cents for a 14-ounce bottle, eggs were $1.05 per dozen, and one pound of ground beef cost 89 cents.
Back in 1997, the average life expectancy in the U.S. was 73.6 years, Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” was Andy Grove, and Tara Holland (Kansas) won the Miss America crown. The Green Bay Packers were the Super Bowl Champs, the Florida Marlins won the World Series, and the Detroit Red Wings clinched the Stanley Cup.
In 1997, Titanic was the most popular film, The Partner was the best-selling book, and Seinfeld (NBC) was the most popular TV show. The English Patient won an Oscar for Best Picture, Geoffrey Rush (Shine) won an Oscar for Best Actor, Frances McDormand (Fargo) won an Oscar for Best Actress, and Frasier (NBC) won an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series.
Back in 1997, Michael and Emily were favorite baby names, platform shoes and ball chain necklaces were all the rage, and a movie ticket cost $4.59. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan wed NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell, Charlie Sheen and Donna Peele parted ways after five months of marriage, and Mother Teresa died in Calcutta.
On the international stage, Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule from UK rule, Tony Blair became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and Luxembourg was the wealthiest country in the world.
Whether you’re a millennial, a 50-something, or a baby boomer, this article teaches you quick facts, trivia, and news from 1997. This events-filled article will give you plenty of ideas for your 1990s-themed trivia game.
Table of Contents
For your convenience, I have divided this article into the following categories:
Grocery Prices in 1997
Major News Events
Interesting Sports Trivia
Miscellaneous Fun Facts and Trivia from 1997
Bestselling Fiction & Non-Fiction Books
Most Popular Movies
1997/1998’s Most Popular Television Shows (according to Nielsen)
Broadway Shows That Opened in 1997
Biggest Pop Artists
Number One Hits for the Year
Famous People Born in 1997
Famous People Who Died in 1997
Popular Foods & Beverages
America’s Biggest Companies
Retailers from 1997 That No Longer Exist
1. Grocery Prices in 1997
Apples - $0.99 per pound
Bananas - $0.49 per pound
Chicken fryers - $1.05 per pound
Coffee - $3.70 per pound
Clementines - $5.99 for five pounds
Coca-Cola - Six cans for $0.99
Eggs - $1.05 per dozen
Grapefruit - Four for $1.00
Ground beef - $0.89 per pound
Ground chuck - $1.82 per pound
Heinz Ketchup - $0.89 for a 14-ounce bottle
Margarine - $0.49 per pound
Milk - $1.90 per gallon
Onions - $0.69 for three pounds
Oranges - Two dozen for $1.99
Peaches - $0.79 per pound
Plums - $0.89 per pound
Pork chops - $2.99 per pound
Sirloin steak - $2.99 per pound
Sliced bacon - $1.29 per pound
Sugar - $0.99 for a five-pound bag
Tomatoes - $1.31 per pound
Tuna - $0.50 per can
Weiners - $1.39 per pound
White bread - $1.17 per loaf
2. Major News Events
- Bill Clinton was President and Al Gore was Vice President.
- Madeleine Albright became the first female Secretary of State.
- The U.S. population was 267,743,595.
- The Dow Jones high for the year was 8,250 and the low was 6,300.
- Federal spending was $1,635.33 billion and the federal debt was $5,498.9 billion.
- Unemployment was 5.4% and inflation was 2.5%.
- The Consumer Price Index was 160.5.
- Median household income was $37,000.
- A new home cost $176,000.
- The average monthly rent was $576.00.
- The average cost of new car was $16,900.
- Gas was $1.22 per gallon.
- A movie ticket cost $4.59.
- An ounce of gold was $287.05.
- Alaska had an “insanely” warm December and saw more ground ice melting than usual.
- 185,000 UPS Teamsters went on strike for 18 days.
- Lottie Williams of Tulsa, Oklahoma was the first person to be struck by re-entering space debris. On January 22, 1997, Williams was walking through a park when she saw what looked like a shooting star. A little while later, she felt a tap on her shoulder that turned out to be a small piece of burned mesh. An further analysis revealed that the mesh was part of a returning Delta II rocket.
- The overall inflation rate between 1997 and 2018 was 2.14%. However, college tuition experienced an average inflation rate of 5.07% per year for the same period. Since the Federal Reserve aims for two percent inflation over time, this was an exceptionally high rate of inflation. In other words, college tuition costing $10,000 in 1997 would cost $28,257.60 in 2018, a difference of $18,257.60.
- Woolworths closed its remaining stores after more than 100 years in retailing.
- Microsoft became the world’s most valuable company.
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 7,000 for the first time.
- After quitting 12 years earlier, Steve Jobs returned to Apple as its CEO.
- Timothy McVeigh was sentenced to death for the Oklahoma bombing.
- Fen-Phen, the weight loss drug, was pulled from the market because of problems relating to heart disease and pulmonary hypertension.
- In the early morning hours of August 31, Diana Princess of Wales was killed in a car crash in Paris while being pursued by paparazzi. Cydney Adams of CBSNews.com tells us that “Diana . . . was traveling through Paris in a limo with boyfriend Dodi Fayed, the son of an Egyptian millionaire. They were being chased by photographers, and crashed in a tunnel under the Place de l’Alma. Fayed and their driver . . . were killed at the scene. The Princess was rushed to a local hospital, and died after two hours of emergency surgery. She was 36.”
- An estimated 2.5 billion people around the world watched Diana's funeral.
- Tony Blair became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
- Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule from UK rule.
- Mother Teresa died in Calcutta at the age of 87.
- Because of torrential rains, many rivers in Europe flooded causing mass destruction to towns and villages. Countries affected were Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic.
- Luxemburg was the wealthiest country in the world with an average per capita income of $41,210. Switzerland and Japan were in second and third place respectively.
- Bird flu appeared in Hong Kong for the first time
- Scientists in Scotland performed the first successful cloning of an adult mammal.
3. Interesting Sports Trivia
- World Series Champions - Florida Marlins
- NFL Champions - Green Bay Packers
- NBA Champions - Chicago Bulls
- Stanley Cup Champs - Detroit Red Wings
- NCAA Basketball Champions - Arizona
- U.S. Open Golf - Ernie Ells
- U.S. Tennis (men/women) - Patrick Rafter/Martina Hingis
- Wimbledon (men/women) - Pete Sampras/Martina Hingis
- Kentucky Derby - Golden Charm
4. Miscellaneous Fun Facts and Trivia from 1997
- At 21 years of age, Tiger Woods became the youngest golfer to ever win the Masters History of Golf.
- Internet Explorer version 4.0 was released.
- Elton John’s rewritten version of his 1973 single "Candle in the Wind" sold over 33 million copies worldwide.
- A public service ad stated: “Nuclear Weapons, May They Rust in Peace."
- TV ads for prescription drugs showed up everywhere.
- Beanie Babies became the latest must-have toys for adults and children, and people snapped up armfuls of the $5.00 bean-bag animals. CNN reported that the demand for Hippity, Hoppity, Floppity, Wrinkles, Radar, and Spooky far exceeded supply. There were more than six dozen different bean-bag animals to collect. The manufacturer, Ty Inc., was based in Oakbrook, Illinois.
- DVD players, digital cameras, and flavored vodka appeared in the marketplace for the first time.
- The new Barbie doll had a larger waistline, smaller breasts, and more modest clothing.
- The cost of a new PC from Compaq and Hewlett-Packard dropped below $1,000 for the first time.
- The final season of Seinfeld started.
- Ellen DeGeneres publicly came out.
- People Magazine named George Clooney the “sexiest man alive” for its November 17, 1997 issue.
- O.J. Simpson was found guilty in a wrongful death suit filed by the Brown and Goldman families.
- Bill Cosby’s son Ennis was murdered and a teenage Russian immigrant was arrested.
- A 15-year-old Ivanka Trump graced the cover of Seventeen Magazine.
- The Spice Girls were the biggest pop group in the world.
- 14-year-old LeAnn Rimes became the youngest person to ever win a Grammy.
- Madonna won a Golden Globe for her performance in Evita.
- Time Magazine’s Man of the Year was Andrew Stephen “Andy” Grove, a Hungarian-born American who was a pioneer in the semiconductor industry.
- Miss America was Tara Holland of Overland Park, KS.
- The Miss USA title was shared between Brook Mahealani Lee of Hawaii and Brandi Sherwood of Idaho.
- Popular Christmas gifts included Nintendo 64, Tamagotchi, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, "Spiceworld" by Spice Girls, Spider-Man Web Blaster, Ride-On Batmobile, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Sony PlayStation, Ella Enchanted, and Disney's Hercules.
- Popular baby names in 1997 included Michael, Emily, Jacob, Jessica, Matthew, Ashley, Christopher, Sarah, Joshua, Hannah, Nicholas, and Samantha.
- The Simpsons became the longest-running animated television series.
- 1997 fashion trends included baggy overalls, track attire, flower hair clips, platform shoes, butterfly clips, mood rings, baggy pants, ball chain necklaces, and short sleeves over long sleeves.
- An estimated 3,500,000 people attended a Jean-Michel concert in Moscow. The number matched the attendance at a Rod Stewart concert in Rio de Janeiro in 1994.
- Purell became a consumer product. Since 1988, it had only been used by health-care workers.
James Cameron’s “Titanic,” released on December 19, 1997, was the second-highest-grossing film of all time. It won 11 Oscars.
- A Super Bowl ad cost $1,200,000.
- Lipitor was launched.
- 10.7% of a family’s income went to food.
- ToyFare Magazine, AllRecipes.com, and Maxim all began publishing.
- WebMD went online.
- Absolut Vodka was launched.
5. Computer History
1. In 1997, the web browsers of choice were Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc. weren’t around yet.
2. There were only about 100,000 websites.
3. Most people used dial-up Internet connections. More sophisticated 56k modems didn’t arrive until 1997.
4. You had to disconnect from the Internet so that your mom, dad, cat, mother-in-law, or Uncle Fred could make a phone call.
5. Search engines back then included Yahoo!, WebCrawler, AltaVista, Lycos, Excite, Infoseek, Inktomi, and Ask Jeeves. (No, the venerable Google wasn’t around yet.)
6. People began switching to 800×600 screen resolutions.
7. In 1997, the Ultimate Band List was a popular music database that provided information about artists, record labels, concerts, etc.
8. Go Daddy was founded.
9. According to ComputerHope.com:
The domain Facebook.com came online on March 28, 1997.
The domain Craigslist.com came online on September 24, 1997.
The domain Netflix.com came online on November 10, 1997.
10. Yahoo Mail was introduced.
11. The video game Constructor was released.
12. Microsoft released Office 97.
13. Adobe Dreamweaver, a web development tool, was introduced.
14. Microsoft released Internet Explorer version 4.0 in September 1997.
15. The “dancing baby” became one of the Internet’s first fads.
16. The Slashdot website was launched.
17. Microsoft acquired Hotmail, a free email provider.
6. Bestselling Fiction & Non-Fiction Books
This book trivia has been made available courtesy of PublishersWeekly.com.
1. The Partner by John Grisham
2. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
3. The Ghost by Danielle Steel
4. The Ranch by Danielle Steel
5. Special Delivery by Danielle Steel
6. Unnatural Exposure by Patricia Cornwell
7. The Best Laid Plans by Sidney Sheldon
8. Pretend You Don’t See Her by Mary Higgins Clark
9. Cat & Mouse by James Patterson
10. Hornet’s Nest by Patricia Cornwell
11. The Letter by Richard Paul Evans
12. Flood Tides by Clive Cussler
13. Violin by Anne Rice
14. The Matarese Countdown by Robert Ludlum
15. Plum Island by Nelson DeMille
1. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
2. Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach
3. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
4. The Royals by Kitty Kelley
5. Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer
6. Diana: Her True Story by Andrew Morton
7. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
8. Conversations with God, Book 1 by Neale Donald Walsch
9. Men are From Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray
10. Eight Weeks to Optimum Health by Andrew Weil, M.D.
11. Just as I Am by Billy Graham
12. The Man Who Listens to Horses by Monty Roberts
13. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko
14. The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger
15. Kids Are Punny by Rosie O’Donnell
7. Most Popular Movies
These fun facts have been made available courtesy of BoxOfficeMojo.com
Men In Black
The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Air Force One
As Good As It Gets
Good Will Hunting
Star Wars (special edition)
My Best Friend's Wedding
Tomorrow Never Dies
Batman and Robin
George of the Jungle
I Know What You Did Last Summer
The Empire Strikes Back (special edition)
In & Out
8. 1997/1998’s Most Popular Television Shows (according to Nielsen)
- Seinfeld (NBC)
- E.R. (NBC)
- Veronica's Closet (NBC)
- Friends (NBC)
- Monday Night Football (ABC)
- Touched By An Angel (CBS)
- 60 Minutes (CBS)
- Union Square (NBC)
- CBS Sunday Movie (CBS)
- Frasier (NBC)
- Home Improvement (ABC)
- Just Shoot Me (NBC)
- Dateline (NBC)
- NFL Monday Showcase (ABC)
- The Drew Carey Show (ABC)
- Fox NFL Sunday Post-Game Show (Fox)
- 20.20 (ABC)
- NYPD Blue (ABC)
- Primetime Live (ABC)
- The X-Files (Fox)
9. Broadway Shows That Opened in 1997
This information has been made available courtesy of BroadwayWorld.com.
1776, A Doll's House, A View From the Bridge, An American Daughter, Annie, Barrymore, Candide, Dream, Eugene Onegin, Forever Tango, Into the Woods, Ivanov, Jackie, Jekyll & Hyde, King David, London Assurance, Men are from Mars, Women are From Venus, Proposals, Side Show, Stanley, Steel Pier, Street Corner Symphony, The Cherry Orchard, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Gin Game, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, The Life, The Lion King, The Little Foxes, The Old Neighborhood, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Sunshine Boys, The Three Sisters, The Young Man from Atlanta, Titanic, Triumph of Love
10. Biggest Pop Artists
This music trivia has been made available courtesy of Pop-Culture.us.
Aaliyah, Erykah Badu, Blackstreet, Boyz II Men, Destiny's Child, Dru Hill, Elton John, En Vogue, Faith Evans, Foxy Brown, Hanson, Jagged Edge, Jewel, Keith Sweat, LeAnn Rimes, Lil Kim, Lonestar, Mase, Mariah Carey, Martina McBride, Mase, Matchbox Twenty, MC Lite, Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, Notorious B.I.G., Puff Daddy, R. Kelly, Savage Garden, Sheryl Crow, Spice Girls, Sugar Ray, Third Eye Blind, The Wallflowers, Will Smith, Whitney Houston, and Jean Wyclef
11. Number One Hits for the Year
These fun facts have been made available courtesy of Pop-Culture.us.
- December 7, 1996 - February 21, 1997: Toni Braxton - Un-Break My Heart
- February 22, 1997 - March 21, 1997: Spice Girls - Wannabe
- March 22, 1997 - May 2, 1997: Puff Daddy featuring Mase -Can't Nobody Hold Me Down
- May 3, 1997 - May 23, 1997: The Notorious B.I.G. -Hypnotize
- May 24, 1997 - June 13, 1997: Hanson - MMMBop
- June 14, 1997 - August 29, 1997: Puff Daddy & Faith Evans featuring 112 - I'll Be Missing You
- August 30, 1997 - September 12, 1997: The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Puff Daddy & Mase - Mo Money Mo Problems
- September 13, 1997 - October 3, 1997: Mariah Carey -Honey
- October 4, 1997 - October 10, 1997: Boyz II Men - 4 Seasons of Loneliness
- October 11, 1997 - January 16, 1998: Elton John - Candle in the Wind '97
This celebrity trivia has been made available courtesy of IMDB.com.
Casper Van Dien
13. Famous People Born in 1997
Kylie Jenner - reality star
Jake Paul - YouTube star
Nash Grier - YouTube star
Camila Cabello - pop singer
Bella Thorne - TV actress
Jungkook - pop singer
Becky G. - rapper
Colby Brock - Instagram star
Tayler Holder - Instagram star
Simone Biles - gymnast
Chloe Grace Moretz - movie actress
Park Ji-min - pop singer
Jacob Elordi - movie actor
Jacob Whitesides - pop singer
Cody Simpson - pop singer
Kevin Quinn - TV actor
Leo Howard - TV actor
Jake Short - TV actor
14. Famous People Who Died in 1997
- Richard Berry composed Louie Louie, a rhythm and blues song.
- Clyde W. Tombaugh discovered the planet Pluto in 1930.
- Jacques-Yves Cousteau was an ocean explorer, marine biologist, and co-inventor of the aqualung.
- Victor Mills was a chemical engineer who improved Duncan Hines cake mixes.
- Karl August Folkers was a biochemist who was the first to isolate vitamin B12.
- James Stewart - actor
- Robert Mitchum - actor
- Chris Farley - actor
- Brian Keith - actor
- Joanna Moore - actress
- Burgess Meredith - actor
- Marjorie Reynolds - actress
- Toshiro Mifune - actor
- Richard Jaeckel - actor
- Denver Pyle - actor
- Sheldon Leonard - producer
- Red Skelton - writer
15. Popular Foods & Beverages
- Cosmopolitan - A cocktail that combines vodka, triple sec, cranberry, and lime juice. Sarah Jessica Parker and "Sex and the City" made it popular.
- Dinosaur Eggs Oatmeal
- Dippin' Dots
- Ellio’s Pizza
- French Toast Crunch
- Fudge Stripes
- Gummy Hamburgers
- Gushers/Fruit Roll-Ups/Fruit By The Foot
- Jell-O Pudding Bites
- Linden's Cookies
- Molten chocolate cake - Paula Kashtan tells us that “Known for its warm, runny center, this dessert started popping up on restaurant menus all over the country throughout the '90s, but in 1997 it made its first appearance in the all-time classic ‘Joy of Cooking.’”
- Oreo O's
- Ouch! Gum
- Red Bull Energy Drink - A caffeinated soft drink that came to the USA from Europe in 1997.
- Rice Krispies Treats Cereal
- Scooby Doo Fruit Snacks
- Sprinkl'ins Yogurt
- Toaster Strudel
- Wonder Balls
16. America’s Biggest Companies
State Farm Insurance
Procter & Gamble
American International Group
17. Retailers from 1997 That No Longer Exist
- Discovery Channel Store: 1996–2007
- Discovery Zone: 1989–1999
- Gadzooks: 1983–2005
- Imaginarium: ?-1999
- KB Toys: 1922–2009
- Media Play: 1992–2006
- Natural Wonders: 1986–2004
- Noodle Kidoodle: 1931–2001
- Sam Goody: 1951–2006
- Sharper Image: 1977–2008
- Steve & Barry's: 1985–2009
- Waldenbooks: 1933–2011
- Warner Bros. Studio Store: 1991–2001
- Zany Brainy: 1991–2001
- Computer History for 1997
- August 31, 1997: Princess Diana's tragic death stuns the world - CBS News
Princess Diana, relentlessly pursued by the paparazzi and ostracized by the royal family, was killed in a car wreck in Paris along with her boyfriend and the driver
- Food Timeline: 1996 to 2000 - Food History Events
1996 to 2000 Food Timeline - Events in the History of Food & the Culinary Arts: Restaurants, Inventions and Patents, Births and Deaths, Discoveries and Creations, Agricultural Advances
- This Is What The World Was Like In 1997
It was one hell of a crazy year.
- What Happened in 1997 inc. Pop Culture, Prices and Events
1997 Prices including Wages, Houses, Food and Gas, Events include Diana Princess of Wales dies in car crash, Kyoto Protocol Agreed, Heavens Gate Cult Commits Mass Suicides, Tourists Gunned down in Egypts Valley of The Kings ...
- Most popular baby names of 1997 | BabyCenter
Find out the most popular names in 1997 -- among the U.S. population and BabyCenter parents.
- All '90s Babies Will Remember These 25 Nostalgic Foods
Try getting through this without buying Lunchables.
- 17 Stores From Your Childhood That No Longer Exist
I haven't been to find a proper rain stick since Natural Wonders went out of business. RIP.
- 1990s Flashback 1990 - 1999
- 1997 Trivia, History and Fun Facts
- Best Sex Symbols of the 90's - IMDb
Best Sex Symbols of the 90's
Questions & Answers
How much did houses cost 1997?
According to Census.gov, in January 1997, the median price of a home in the United States was $145,000. By April 1997, the price had increased to $150,000. In December, the median price had fallen to $145,900.
The “median price” of a home for the month tells us that half the home prices are above the median and half are below. In January 1997, half the home prices were above $145,000 and half were below.
According to Census.gov, in January 1997, the average price of a home in the United States was $171,900. By April 1997, the price had increased to $179,500. In December, the average price had fallen to $175,800.
The “average price” of a home for the month is calculated by adding up the prices of every home in the U.S. and dividing the sum by the total number of homes. For example, suppose there were 100 homes in the U.S. during January 1997. To calculate the average price, you would add up the prices of all 100 homes and divide the sum by 100.
Please note that the price differences are due in part to seasonal adjustments.Helpful 1
© 2018 Gregory DeVictor