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Oral History

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The Oral History of System of a Down’s ‘Toxicity’

In 2001, an Armenian American heavy-metal band conquered the charts despite infighting, a riot, and a ban that kept them off major radio stations following 9/11. Twenty years later, System of a Down and others look back on a career-defining album.

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An Oral History of ‘Nickelodeon GUTS’

How a crack creative team dreamed up the wildest kids’ game show of the ’90s, invented the Aggro Crag, and helped make Mike and Mo famous

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The Oral History of ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’

Three decades ago, James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Linda Hamilton joined forces again to make the biggest, baddest, most eye-popping sequel ever. Here’s the story of how the machines took over Hollywood.

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“Violently Stupid and Insane”: The Oral History of ‘Pros vs. Joes’

Fifteen years ago, Spike TV launched the ultimate fantasy: a show in which amateurs could compete against sports legends. The final result was as absurd as the premise.

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Two Assholes Lost in the Woods: An Oral History of ‘Pine Barrens’

Twenty years after it aired, David Chase and Co. look back on one of the wildest, boldest, funniest episodes of ‘The Sopranos’ ever made

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The Making of Fake Bands and Their Very Real Fan Bases

The masterminds behind fictional acts like Stillwater, 2gether, Pink Slip, and many others break down what went into making an inherently ridiculous concept something people could take so seriously

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The Oral History of the Best Game Mike D’Antoni Ever Saw

Jason Kidd and Steve Nash went head-to-head in a Nets-Suns game back in 2006, producing an all-time classic and offering a glimpse of where the league was headed. "When it’s over you’re thinking, ‘Fuck, that would’ve been a fun one to win,’ because you know they’re going to be talking about this game for years to come."

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It’s a Mad World: The ‘Donnie Darko’ Oral History

Twenty years ago, an unproven writer-director made a movie with a scary bunny, time travel, and an ’80s soundtrack that would at first struggle to make an impact before becoming "everybody’s first deep thought"

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Anyone Can Cook: The Oral History of ‘Ratatouille: The Musical’

What started as a TikTok trend in the middle of the pandemic became a Disney-sanctioned, one-night-only virtual Broadway show helmed by Jeremy O. Harris. Here’s how it all happened.

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‘Dazed and Confused’ and Hooking Up

Dozens of beautiful young actors. Nighttime shoots. Hormones aflutter. In this exclusive excerpt of ‘Alright, Alright, Alright,’ a new oral history of the ’90s classic, discover how the set of Richard Linklater’s ‘Dazed and Confused’ was a hotbed of horny future stars.

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The Oral History of A.J. Soprano’s Slipknot Jacket, Its Online Resurrection, and ‘Sopranos’ Style

In 2001, an iconic piece of metal merch appeared on possibly the greatest TV show of all time. The people who were there and those who have preserved its legacy explain how it happened.

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The Oral History of ‘Best in Show’

Looking back at the dog show–centric successor to the mockumentaries ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ and ‘Waiting for Guffman’ on its 20th anniversary

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The Oral History of ‘The Town’

Ten years ago this week, Ben Affleck and his crew put on nun masks, robbed Fenway Park, and made the ultimate Boston movie. This is their story.

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“BA-BA DA-DA-DA BAAA!”: An Oral History of “Roundball Rock”

How John Tesh created the theme song to the glory years of the NBA

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The Oral History of ‘Money Plane,’ 2020’s Ultimate Good Bad Movie

Here’s how Kelsey Grammer, the professional wrestler Edge, and the Lawrence brothers—yes, those Lawrence brothers—built a casino on an aircraft and made the most ridiculous movie of the summer

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One Night in D.C.: The Oral History of June 1, 2020

A day of peaceful protesting against the police killing of George Floyd turned violent in the nation’s capital, as President Trump forced people away from the area surrounding the White House. Here’s how a photo op became a flashpoint in the movement against racism.

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The Oral History of Deftones’ ‘White Pony’ at 20

The story of how the Sacramento band pushed past the nu-metal label and delivered a classic that reverberates to this day

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An Oral History of MTV’s Unhinged, Eerily Prescient ‘Wonder Showzen’

The creators of the radical, riotous MTV comedy series were also warning us how bad things were about to get. And they did it with puppets, little kids, and some deeply messed-up animation. Fifteen years later, they recall the making of one of the weirdest and most profound shows ever.

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“We All Need Something”: The Oral History of Chuck’s BDSM Reveal on ‘Billions’

In advance of the new season, Paul Giamatti, Maggie Siff, and the creators of ‘Billions’ look back at the making of the show’s most shocking moment yet

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Green Screen: The Oral History of ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’

No one believed in a movie about four overgrown turtles who are trained in martial arts and named after Italian artists. Then it made more than $200 million, and launched a nationwide phenomenon.

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Pure Magic: The Oral History of Prince’s Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show

As the heavens opened up and rain poured down, the Purple One ran through a handful of covers and some of his own songs, delivering an iconic set on the biggest stage possible and only expanding his legend

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The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Stuart Scott

Five years after his death, friends, family, and the athletes he covered reflect on the legendary ‘SportsCenter’ anchor and ESPN icon. Boo-yah!

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The Oral History of the Baby Bulls

The end of the Jordan dynasty gave way to six long years of suffering in Chicago. But in 2004-05, a group of young’uns and a defensive-minded coach overcame a preseason fight, an 0-9 start, and the loss of their offensive fulcrum to make it back to the postseason.

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“Football Is a Dark Place”: The Oral History of ‘Any Given Sunday’

Twenty years ago, Oliver Stone set out to make the sports version of ‘Platoon,’ flanked by a general in Al Pacino and a gunslinger in Jamie Foxx, and armed with a whole lot of brash, righteous attitude

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An Oral History of the Shot That Changed Toronto and Kawhi Leonard Forever

The buzzer-beater in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals propelled the Toronto Raptors to their first title, and ended the season for the ascendant Philadelphia 76ers. Players, coaches, broadcasters, and a ball kid talk about the biggest moment of the season, and the impact it had.

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The Oral History of ‘Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater’

The remasters of the first two games in the legendary skateboarding video game series arrive on Friday. To mark the occasion, we’re revisiting our deep dive into the first installment’s birth, legacy, and killer soundtrack.

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Dewey Cox Ain’t Dead: An Oral History of ‘Walk Hard’

How John C. Reilly’s transcendent performance in a fake music biopic forever changed the way we look at the genre. And why, after its initial box office disappointment, it’s going stronger than ever.

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“Who’s an EGOT?” How ‘30 Rock’ Made a Fake Award Into a Real-Life Goal

The EGOT was conceptualized by an actor in 1984, but a ‘30 Rock’ story line made it a cultural touchstone. Here’s how it came together.

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“An Unmitigated Disaster”: An Oral History of the Lockout-Shortened 1999 NBA Season

Part 2: fist fights, the end of MJ, 8-seed Cinderellas, a four-point play heard round the world, and the dawning of a new age in the league

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Follow the Path of Least Resistance: An Oral History of ‘Office Space’

Twenty years ago, an upstart animator named Mike Judge forever changed how we think about office culture, adulthood, red staplers, and Michael Bolton

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“It Was All About Money”: An Oral History of the 1998-99 NBA Lockout

Part 1 of the inside story of one of the most bitter and bizarre labor disputes in sports history

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The Great NFL Heist: How Fox Paid for and Changed Football Forever

An oral history of the most important deal in sports TV history, when Rupert Murdoch and Fox stole the NFL and John Madden out from under the Big Three networks, created the modern pregame show, invented a new way to see football, and launched a television empire