PlayStation first hit the U.S. 20 years ago today

Twenty years ago today, on Sept. 9, 1995, PlayStation launched in North America to immediate success. Fondly remembered by kids of the “90s as the console that gave them hours of “Tomb Raider” and “Final Fantasy” and “Tony Hawk”s Pro Skater” play, PlayStation put Sony on the gaming map.

The game console, now commonly referred to as PS1, was quickly seen as attention-worthy competition for Sega. PlayStation retailed for $299, which was $100 less than the Sega Saturn, and PlayStation soon earned praise from Bill Gates, who preferred the Sony console to Sega”s, telling tech magazine Upside, “Our game designer likes the Sony machine.” Over 100,000 units were already pre-sold at the time of the launch, which followed the console”s debut in Japan the prior December.

Other notable Sept. 9 happenings in pop culture history:

• 1956: Elvis Presley made his “Ed Sullivan Show” debut, performing “Don”t Be Cruel” and “Love Me Tender” for 60 million viewers.

• 1971: John Lennon released “Imagine,” his second solo studio album.

• 1978: The Rolling Stones released the single “Beast of Burden.”

• 1999: The VMAs aired on 9/9/99, when Will Smith won Best Male Video, Ricky Martin performed “Livin” la Vida Loca,” Nine Inch Nails had their first-ever appearance on a televised award show, and Diana Ross greeted Lil” Kim (wearing her infamous purple jumpsuit) onstage by jiggling her exposed breast.

• 2005: The season 2 “Battlestar Galactica” episode “Final Cut” aired, introducing Lucy Lawless” pivotal character.

Birthdays: Hugh Grant (turns 55 today), Michael Bublé (40), Zoe Kazan (32), Adam Sandler (49), Henry Thomas (44), actress Michelle Williams (35)