April 12: This Day in Sci-Fi History

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Apr 12, 2017, 11:32 AM EDT

On this day in 1979, the original Mad Max film premiered, starring Mel Gibson blasting across the Australian desert. It made a record-breaking amount of money and was for a while the top-grossing film of all time. The movie spawned a few sequels, including Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) and Mad Max:  Beyond Thunderdome (1985). A new one was, of course, released in 2015 as a rebooted sort-of-sequel. If you hadn’t considered watching the originals, remember that Thunderdome has Tina Turner, and it might be time to look those up again.  

Today in holidays, it’s Russian Cosmonaut Day. On this day in 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to orbit the earth on the Vostok 1 spacecraft. Since then, April 12 has been celebrated in Russia and Poland. Today is also Shannen Doherty’s birthday. She was born in 1971 and is known to sci-fi and fantasy fans for her role as a witch named Prue Halliwell on Charmed. Turns out, she was also one of the voices in The Secret of Nimh. Doherty is currently being pretty incredible on Twitter as she documents her journey with cancer.  Tomorrow: “Houston, we have a problem.”