Best of the best

Classic pop culture leaves an imprint in who, and what, we are

So if aliens were to open a Variety time capsule 100 years from today, would they understand the value of entertainment, and how it lingers with us forever? How certain performances creep into our DNA?

As part of our Centennial issue, Variety editorial staffers and correspondents were asked to name three specific pieces of entertainment — from movies, television, songs, pop culture — that would leave clues of what moved them, what made an impact on their lives. Call it the “CSI” of showbiz.

From “Simpsons” to Springsteen, “Lolita” to Letterman, these entities affected us all.

“The Locust Years”
Jerry Lee Lewis
“Down Every Road”
Merle Haggard
“Willie Dixon Box Set”
Steven Gaydos

“Blue Skies”
Ella Fitzgerald
“Jumping Jack Flash”
The Rolling Stones
“The Godfather”
Dave McNary

“I Wanna Hold Your Hand”
The Beatles
“Annie Hall”
“Like a Virgin”
Michael Speier

“The Third Man”
“Seven Nation Army”
The White Stripes
Anthony D’Alessandro

“Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”
“Star Trek” the original TV series
“Pulp Fiction”
Tom McLean

Pretty much any episode of “The Twilight Zone,” but if forced to choose, “To Serve Man”
“Thunder Road” Bruce Springsteen
Brian Lowry

“The Ten Commandments”
“Little House on the Prairie”
“Bull Durham”
Kirstin Swanson Wilder

“London Calling”
The Clash
“The Mary Tyler Moore Show”
“A Hard Day’s Night”
Carole Horst

Bruce Springsteen, “A Night for the Vietnam Veteran,” Aug. 20, 1981, at the L.A. Sports Arena
“The Odd Couple”
Stuart Levine

“Round Midnight”
Thelonious Monk’s 1947 recording
“The Honeymooners”: “TV or Not TV” episode
“Highway 61 Revisited”
Bob Dylan
Phil Gallo

Bob Dylan
Radio’s Bob & Ray
Michael Kellner

The original vinyl package of the Beatles’ “White Album,” replete with glossy photos
“Kind of Blue”
Miles Davis
The complete 1975 kick-off season of “Saturday Night Live”
Steve Chagollan

“Blue Velvet”
“The Phil Hendrie Show”
Mickey Mouse
Nelson Anderson

Ziegfeld Follies
“O Sole Mio”

Enrico Caruso
Gary North

“Hogan’s Heroes”
“Imitation of Life”
“Harold and Maude”

Alys Marshall

George Bernard Shaw
“The Godfather”
“The Simpsons”

Timothy M. Gray

“Duck Soup”
“La Belle et La Bete”
“On the Waterfront”

Allan Parry

“Schindler’s List”
“As” Stevie Wonder
“Three’s Company”
Romy Marcus

The Legend of Zelda
from Nintendo
“Freaks and Geeks”
Ben Fritz

Broadcast of the Watergate hearings
“Saturday Night Live”

Brian Cochrane

“Gone With the Wind”
Bon Jovi
Vin Diesel

Martha Hernandez

The Pixies
“The Bad News Bears”
Late Night With David Letterman, “Camping with Barry White Day,” 1983
Dan Frankel

“Rapper’s Delight”
Sugarhill Gang
“Late Night With David Letterman”
Sony PlayStation
Tom Hicks

“All in the Family”
“Rocky Horror Picture Show”
“Blackboard Jungle”

Talia Ron

“Twin Peaks”

Joni Mitchell
“Annie Hall”
Yvonne Puig

“What’s Opera, Doc?”
Chuck Jones
“Death of a Salesman”
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

Dan Edelson

“Citizen Kane”
“Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”
“War of the Worlds”

Orson Welles’ 1938 radio broadcast
Bill Edelstein

The Beatles on “Ed Sullivan”
“I Love Lucy”
“Citizen Kane”

Kathy Lyford

“Bizarre Love Triangle”
New Order
“The Breakfast Club”
Sassy magazine

Ginny Chien

“Side Show”
“Blade Runner”

director’s cut
“The Wind”
Warren Zevon
David Cohen

“The Big Sleep”
“Le Corbeau”

Carmel Dagan

“Annie Hall”
“Gilmore Girls”

Laura Clark

The Beatles on “Ed Sullivan”
Network coverage of 9/11

The chandelier falls to the stage in
“Phantom of the Opera”
Lisa Horowitz

“Your Mother’s Son-in-Law”
Billie Holiday
“Anarchy in the UK”
Sex Pistols
“Life of Brian”
Paula Taylor

“Citizen Kane”

the first season
The DVD player
Terry Flores

David Bowie
“The Empire Strikes Back”
“Blue Velvet”

Alex Romanelli

“The Big Parade”
Orson Welles signing on as radio’s “The Shadow” 1937
“Gloria Is Pregnant” episode of “All in the Family”
Josef Adalian

“Night of the Hunter”
All Kubrick films
“8 1/2”

Bob Yothers

Rickie Lee Jones
“My Own Private Idaho”
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”

Judy Garland
Amy Dawes

Oscar Micheaux
All Hitchcock
Bashirah Muttalib

“Meet the Beatles”
“NYPD Blue”
Television coverage of JFK assassination

Nancy Beningo

“King Kong”
“The Dreaming”
Kate Bush
Greg Byrnes

“Meet the Beatles”
“The Big Chill”
“The Simpsons”

Lindsay Chaney

“Chungking Express”
“Da Ali G Show”

Justin Chang

“A Canterbury Tale”
“The Railway Children”
“Astral Weeks”

Van Morrison
Adam Dawtrey

“Gone With the Wind”
The Beatles
Fox News Channel

Shali Dore

“The Graduate”
“Twin Peaks”

the album, the song, the video, the clothes
Rachel Dowd

“Flash Gordon”
1980 movie
“Educating Rita”

Pet Shop Boys
Tim Doyle

“Rid of Me”

PJ Harvey
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
Gordon Cox

“The Lord of the Rings”
Movie Trilogy
The Pixies
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
Olivia Hemaratanatorn

“8 1/2”
“Taxi Driver”

Nicole Laporte

“The Empire Strikes Back”
“The Simpsons”
“Surfer Rosa”

The Pixies
Dave Lewis

“Sesame Street”
“West Side Story”
“Sweeney Todd”

Denise Martin

“Saturday Night Fever”
“Rosemary’s Baby”
“The Last Waltz”

Pamela McClintock

“Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp”

ABC, 1970-1972
Jeff Buckley
Rich Nieciecki

“Apocalypse Now”
“Twin Peaks”
“Temple of Low Men”

Crowded House
Paul Chai

“The Simpsons”
Season four
The Pixies
“The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present”
Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh
Michael Schneider

“Doctor Who” The 1966 story strand that included the Daleks
“The Empire Strikes Back”
“Hotel California”
The Eagles
Bobbie Whiteman

“The Cable Guy”
“Triple Echo”
“Soy Cuba”

Archie Thomas

The Collected films of Louis Bunuel
“Video Quartet”
Christian Marclay
“The Girls of Karmare” Rene Vienet
Paul Young

“Sin City”
Frank Miller
“The Shawshank Redemption”
“Operation Mindcrime”
Jeff Siedlik

“Show Boat”
Broadway, 1927
Buster Keaton shorts

Jay Weissberg

“Withnail and I”
Elvis Costello & the Attractions’ perf of “Radio, Radio” on “Saturday Night Live”
“Nighthawks at the Diner”
Tom Waits
Ian Mohr

“The Godfather”
“A Kind of Blue”
Miles Davis
“In the Wee Small Hours”
Frank Sinatra
Ali Jaafar

“The 400 Blows”
“Tumbleweed Connection”

Elton John
“The Life and Times of Nicholas Nickleby”
Royal Shakespeare Company
Joe Leydon

“Annie Hall”
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

TV series
Danielle Grimes

Johnny Depp
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

Jennifer Blatz

“Twin Peaks”
“Ascenceur pour l’echaufaud”

soundtrack, Miles Davis
Gunnar Rehlin

“Soldaat van Oranje”
Paul Verhoeven
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
“Late Night” & “Late Show”

David Letterman
Sharon Swart

“Sunday in the Park With George”
“It’s Too Late to Stop Now”

Van Morrison
“The Shop Around the Corner”
Scott Foundas

Bob Dylan in toto
“Bo Diddley”
Bo Diddley live
“The African Queen”
Annie Garcelon

“Rules of the Game”
“The Killing of a Chinese Bookie”
John Cassavetes
Robert Koehler

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