Blockbuster, Ice Bucket Challenge, murder hornets, and more: ‘What Happened To…?’ re-examines news that once dominated our feeds

History April 13, 2022
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Listen to ‘What Happened To…?’

From Curiouscast comes the history podcast, “What Happened To…?” Travel back in time to learn about stories, ideas, events, and more that captivated the world then faded away and were replaced by the next news cycle.

This podcast has plenty of answers for your burning questions about events you might not have thought about in a while like the Notre Dame Cathedral fire, The Flint Water Crisis, The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, murder hornets, and more.

Host and Global News Reporter Erica Vella is joined by guests each episode to explore riveting stories from the past 15 years. Since 2020, “What Happened To…?” has released over 30 episodes running under an hour on average, and the show is now in its second season. We recommend streaming the multi-part episodes in chronological order for topics like Kony 2012, Alan Kurdi & the Syrian refugee crisis, and #BringBackOurGirls.”

Podsauce has a new segment called “It’s Just A Really Good Pod,” and host Alesha recommends this series to learn about history and events from people directly involved in each scenario. Alesha listened to the Blockbuster episode that interviewed Alan Payne, a former franchise owner operating over 40 stores in Alaska and Texas. At the height of the franchise’s success, over 9,000 Blockbuster stores existed around the world, and most stores were corporately owned.

Early on, Alan noticed internal corporate and financial issues that ultimately led to the franchise’s downfall – even before streaming took over and brick-and-mortar movie rental services were rendered obsolete.

Blockbuster did not evolve with the times and declared bankruptcy in 2010. By 2014, all corporate stores closed. One-by-one, Alan’s stores shuttered, and in 2018, his last location in Alaska finally closed. In this episode, Erica shares the brand’s history and also interviews the last Blockbuster’s general manager on how she kept the store running for as long as possible.

(Note: there is still a brick and mortar Blockbuster store in Bend, Oregon.)

In other episodes, hear about the 7-magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti in 2010. Another episode discussed the Pulse Nightclub shooting and talked to Brandon Wolf, a survivor from that horrific night. In the “Quebec City Mosque Shooting” episode, Erica interviewed Aymen Derbali, a survivor who was critically injured. They discussed the national conversation that arose in Canada around Islamophobia and explained what happened to the perpetrator.

There are virus-based episodes on SARS and The Zika Epidemic. A recent episode explained what happened to the monkey who was filmed running around an IKEA in 2012 and the legal action taken against his owner. In 2011, a homeless man, Ted Williams, went viral with a video sharing his golden voice with the world. Erica chatted with Ted and The Columbus Dispatch‘s photojournalist, Doral Chenoweth, who shot the original viral video.

It’s fascinating to hear updates on these stories, most of which were left out of mass media coverage for follow-ups in recent years. Tune in semimonthly for new episodes of “What Happened To…?”

Listen to ‘What Happened To…?’

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