LIFE STYLE

The Real World Events Bill Murray Would Have Lived Through Over and Over Again on Groundhog Day 1993

Groundhog Day the movie came out in February 1993, which means—we’re going to assume—that the Groundhog Day Bill Murray’s Phil Connors experienced happened on February 2, 1993. So we wondered: What was happening in news and culture on that day? If Groundhog Day had occurred in real life, here are five things Phil would’ve experienced on repeat.

Tom Waits wins a major court case against Doritos.Phil watches a decent amount of television in the movie, and if he’d flipped on the evening news a top news story would’ve been Waits vs. Frito-Lay. The iconic singer Tom Waits had sued the chip company over its SalsaRio Doritos campaign, which featured a song and voice that closely resembles Waits. On February 2, 1993, Waits won the case and was awarded $2.6 million.

The voice of Robin Williams is No. 1 at the box office. Phil dresses as a cowboy to see a movie with the woman he’s, uh, courting. The top movie in America on February 2, 1993—which was a Tuesday—was Disney’s Aladdin, in which Robin Williams voices the genie. (The movie was released in November 1992.) A few days later, on February 5, Loaded Weapon 1, a satire about buddy cop movies starring Emilio Estevez and Samuel L. Jackson, would hit theaters and knock out Aladdin as the No. 1 movie. (A couple weeks after that Groundhog Day became America’s top movie.)

Bill and Hillary Clinton greet visitors at the White House in February 1993.
Getty ImagesCQ Archive

America gets to know its new First Lady. It’s unclear how many townspeople of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, were reading the New York Times in 1993. But if they did on February 2, they would’ve seen the first interview with First Lady Hillary Clinton. It appeared on the front page of the Times that day. (The presidential inauguration happened two weeks earlier, making Bill Clinton the 42nd president of the United States.) The headline said, “Hillary Clinton’s New Home: Broccoli’s In, Smoking’s Out.” The Times made a big deal out of the fact that the Clintons were the first First Family to prohibit smoking in the White House.

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Whitney Houston fires up the charts. The song Phil Connors keeps hearing on the radio is Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe,” but if he let the radio play he would’ve likely heard Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” the song from Houston’s movie with Kevin Costner, The Bodyguard, which came out in November 1992. It was also a cover of a song Dolly Parton had recorded in 1974.

Neil Winokur

Bridges of Madison County dominates the best-sellers list. If Phil had been looking for a steamy beach read, it would’ve been The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller. The book was atop the New York Times best-sellers list for the entire month of February. It’s a steamy romance about a married woman living on a farm who has an affair with a National Geographic photographer. Three years later, Clint Eastwood would adapt the book into a movie of the same title.

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