April 19, 1987: Easter Bunnies

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(Pictured: Pat LaFontaine of the New York Islanders shoots and scores early in the morning of April 19, 1987.)

April 19, 1987, was Easter Sunday. Headlines on the Sunday papers include continuing nuclear-weapons control negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union and a brewing trade war between the United States and Japan in response to new American tariffs on certain Japanese goods. A feature story discusses the political future of Vice President George Bush. He’s assumed to be considering a run for president in 1988 but has yet to officially declare, even though other Republican hopefuls have done so. Bush has begun fundraising, however.

Early this morning, the New York Islanders won their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series over the Washington Capitals, taking Game 7 by a score of 4-3 at the Capital Center in Landover, Maryland. The game is decided in the fourth overtime on a goal by Pat LaFontaine after nearly 69 minutes of extra play. Today is the final day of the National Basketball Association’s regular season; the playoffs will begin on Thursday with the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics holding the top seeds. The Lakers finished the season with a league-best record of 65-and-17. In major-league baseball, the Milwaukee Brewers win their 12th straight game to open the season, coming from a 4-1 deficit in the bottom of the ninth on home runs by Rob Deer and Dale Sveum to beat the Texas Rangers 6-4. The Brewers’ win streak will reach 13 with a win over the Chicago White Sox tomorrow before the Sox snap the streak on Tuesday. Among the spectators at County Stadium in Milwaukee today is 16-year-old Craig Counsell, whose father works for the Brewers. Counsell will eventually play for and manage the team.

On TV tonight, Fox airs 21 Jump Street, Married . . . With Children, The Tracey Ullman Show, and two episodes of Duet, a sitcom about the romantic lives of two couples. The Tracey Ullman Show includes a cartoon short titled “Good Night.” It’s the first appearance of the animated Simpson family on TV. NBC airs the family drama Our House; an episode of Rags to Riches, a family comedy/drama in which the characters occasionally break into song; the holiday special Bob Hope and His Beautiful Easter Bunnies; and a one-off episode of This Is Your Life, in which host Ralph Edwards surprises Betty White and Dick Van Dyke with people from their pasts. On CBS tonight, 60 Minutes is followed by Murder She Wrote (which tops the night’s ratings) and a two-hour episode of High Mountain Rangers, an adventure series starring Robert Conrad and his sons Christian and Shane. ABC counters with its annual presentation of the 1956 movie The Ten Commandments.

Because it’s Easter Sunday, the concert calendar is fairly light. The Grateful Dead plays Laguna Hills, California, and Slayer plays Birmingham, England. Tina Turner plays Munich, Germany, and Kool and the Gang plays Denver. On the new Cash Box Top 100 that came out yesterday, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by the Starship is #1 for a third week. “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me” by Aretha Franklin and George Michael is up to #2. It swaps places with recent #1 “Lean on Me” by Club Nouveau, which is now #3. Three songs are new in the Top 10: Lou Gramm’s “Midnight Blue,” “The Finer Things” by Steve Winwood, and “Walking Down Your Street” by the Bangles. The biggest mover in the Top 40 is U2’s “With or Without You,” up seven spots to #15. Five songs are new in the Top 40 including “I Know What I Like” by Huey Lewis and the News, “If She Would Have Been Faithful” by Chicago, and Kim Wilde’s cover of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” Three songs among the Top 100 share the distinction of being around the longest, 23 weeks: “You Got It All” by the Jets, “Will You Still Love Me” by Chicago, and “Nobody’s Fool” by Cinderella, which is at #100 for the week.

Perspective From the Present: We most likely took it easy around our two-bedroom apartment in Davenport, Iowa, on this day, probably watching the Chicago Cubs lose 3-1 to the Montreal Expos. The Cubs were without announcer Harry Caray, who had suffered a stroke in February. A series of guest announcers filled in until he returned in May. The previous Monday, Detroit Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell called a near-no-hitter by Cubs pitcher Jamie Moyer. Bill Murray made his famous appearance on Friday; on this day, Chicago TV and radio personality Bob Sirott took Harry’s spot.

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April 15, 1962: Knock Yourself Out

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(Pictured: Louis Armstrong on stage, 1962.)

April 15, 1962, is Palm Sunday. Making headlines on the newspapers today is Fidel Castro’s decision to release for health reasons 60 prisoners held since the Bay of Pigs invasion last year. The released prisoners will be flown from Havana to Miami. Over 1,100 rebels still remain in custody. Georges Pompidou is the new prime minister of France; he took office yesterday following the resignation of Michel Debré. Debré left office at the request of French president Charles de Gaulle. Today in Chicago, firefighters are busy with three separate blazes. One of them, at a garage where ice-cream trucks are serviced, does $400,000 in damage, and over 100 firefighters are affected by fumes from the refrigerant used in the trucks. Six people are injured and 20 have to be rescued from a fire at the Tivoli Hotel, and a third fire damages an auto-parts store and a bar adjacent to it. Clara Blandick, who played Auntie Em in The Wizard of Oz, dies at age 85. In Monroe, Wisconsin, a two-year-old who will grow up to waste his time with not one but two blogs now has a brother, born yesterday.

The baseball season is one week old. The National League’s Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals remain unbeaten; the best record in the American League belongs to the Los Angeles Angels, who are 3-and-1 after a 6-3 win over the Minnesota Twins today. The Twins use three pitchers in the game, including 18-year-old Jim Manning, who pitches three scoreless innings in his major-league debut. Manning will pitch in four more games with the Twins in the next three weeks, including one start. They will be his only big-league appearances. Back in the National League, the Milwaukee Braves get their first win, beating Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers 6-3 in Los Angeles. In Milwaukee, Braves fans attend an open house at Milwaukee County Stadium, where they tour the clubhouses, press box, and team offices before the home opener later in the week. The stadium has a new scoreboard this season, and fans will get there on a new expressway. The Chicago Black Hawks beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-0 in Chicago, but the Leafs still lead the Stanley Cup Final two games to one. It’s an off-day in the NBA Finals. Yesterday, the Los Angeles Lakers took a 3-1 lead with a 126-121 win over the Boston Celtics. Elgin Baylor scored 61 points for the Lakers, a playoff record that will stand until 1986. Game 6 will be tomorrow night in Boston.

Tomorrow, CBS will launch a new evening news broadcast titled Walter Cronkite With the News. Cronkite, who will double as managing editor, is taking over the anchor chair from Douglas Edwards, who has anchored the evening news on CBS since 1947. Shows on TV tonight include Lassie, Dennis the Menace, Maverick, The Bullwinkle Show, The Ed Sullivan Show (featuring Liberace, Sophia Loren, and Teresa Brewer), Bonanza, The Jack Benny Program, General Electric Theater, Candid Camera, What’s My Line, and Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. Among the acts featured on the latter is a family group called the Osmond Brothers, who are making their national TV debut, along with Annette Funicello, Bobby Rydell, and Louis Armstrong. The performances are recorded; on this night, Armstrong is performing with his All-Stars in Berlin, Germany. Ray Charles plays the Apollo Theater in Harlem and Frank Sinatra opens a world tour in Mexico City. Proceeds from the 30-date, two-month tour will benefit children’s charities.

At WOHO in Toledo, Ohio,”Soldier Boy” by the Shirelles is #1, ahead of “Stranger on the Shore” by Mr. Acker Bilk and Elvis Presley’s “Good Luck Charm.” Dee Dee Sharp has two songs on the chart: “Slow Twistin'” with Chubby Checker at #4 and her own “Mashed Potato Time” at #12. Two young stars of TV’s The Donna Reed Show have hit records:  “Johnny Angel” by Shelley Fabares at #8 (it’s currently #1 on the Billboard Hot 100) and “She Can’t Find Her Keys” by Paul Petersen at #30. Also charted: “Don’t Break the Heart That Loves You” by Connie Francis, “Shout! Shout! (Knock Yourself Out)” by Ernie Maresca, Jimmy Dean’s “P.T. 109,” “You Better Move On” by Arthur Alexander, and “Uptown” by the Crystals. With the twist remaining a national craze, WOHO is charting several twist record, including its own “Wally Wo-Ho Twist” by the Tip Top Twisters. Wally Wo-Ho is the station’s mascot; the record is produced by the jingle company Richard H. Ullman Inc., so the Tip Top Twisters may in fact be the Johnny Mann Singers.

April 9, 1959: It’s Just a Matter of Time

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(Pictured: the Boston Celtics celebrate winning the NBA championship on April 9, 1959.)

April 9, 1959, was a Thursday. NASA names seven military test pilots as the first group of astronauts for its Mercury program: Air Force pilots Gus Grissom, Gordon Cooper, and Deke Slayton, Navy men Alan Shepard, Scott Carpenter, and Wally Schirra, and Marine John Glenn. Over 500 names were originally submitted from all four branches of the service. The number was eventually winnowed to 25 finalists; of the 18 who didn’t make the final cut, three will eventually join the astronaut corps: Pete Conrad, Jim Lovell, and Edward Givens. Tonight, Massachusetts senator John F. Kennedy speaks at the Gridiron Club dinner in Milwaukee. He tells the audience that brainpower is more important than atomic, military, or industrial power. “The dinosaur was bigger and stronger than anyone else . . . but he was also dumber. And look what happened to him.” Speaking to a religious group in Washington, Minnesota senator Hubert Humphrey says, “It is impossible to win a war with the Communists by military and economic means—it has to be won by spiritual zeal.” CIA director Allen Dulles gives a speech in Lubbock, Texas, titled “Alert to the Communist Challenge.” Architect Frank Lloyd Wright dies at age 91.

The Boston Celtics win the NBA championship, completing a four-game sweep of the Minneapolis Lakers with a 118-103 win. It’s the second title in the last three seasons for Boston. They will win the next seven in a row. The National Hockey League Stanley Cup final opens tonight; Montreal beats Toronto 5-3. The Canadiens will take the series in five games to claim their fourth straight championship. In baseball, it’s Opening Day. At Crosley Field in Cincinnati, the Reds win the traditional National League opener 4-1 over Pittsburgh. Bob Purkey gets the complete-game win; Frank Robinson goes 2-for-4 with a home run and three runs batted in. In the American League, the Washington Senators beat Baltimore 9-2 on the strength of a four-run fourth inning that includes home runs by Harmon Killebrew and Reno Bertoia. In the bottom of the fifth, the Orioles turn a triple play. Game-time temperature in Washington is 89 degrees. For the first time since taking office in 1953, President Eisenhower does not throw out the first pitch at the Senators’ home opener. Vice President Nixon substitutes for him.

On TV tonight, ABC’s lineup includes Leave It to Beaver, The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom, The Real McCoys, and Zorro. The CBS lineup includes December Bride, Playhouse 90, Yancey Derringer, and Zane Grey Theater. NBC’s offerings tonight include The Ford Show (sponsored by the Ford Motor Company and hosted by Tennessee Ernie Ford) and You Bet Your Life with Groucho Marx. The Ford Show is broadcast in color. Opening tonight at the Shoals Theater in Florence, Alabama, are The Party Crashers starring Connie Stevens, “Prying the lid off the TEENAGE problem!” and As Young As We Are, starring Robert Harland and Pippa Scott, “TEEN-AGE shocker with a DIFFERENT TWIST!”

In Mason City, Iowa, a pair of eyeglasses is found in the cornfield where Buddy Holly’s airplane crashed in February. It’s determined that the glasses belonged to Holly, and they’re given to the county sheriff. On the new Cash Box Top 100 that will come out on Saturday, Holly’s “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” is at #30, up from #31 last week. “Come Softly to Me” by the Fleetwoods is the new #1 song, ending the five-week run of Frankie Avalon’s “Venus” at #1. “Venus” is #2 this week, ahead of “Pink Shoe Laces” by Dodie Stevens, “It’s Just a Matter of Time” by Brook Benton, and “A Fool Such as I” by Elvis Presley. Elvis has a second hit in the Top 10: “I Need Your Love Tonight” is #8 in its third week on the chart. Ricky Nelson also has two hits high on the chart: “Never Be Anyone Else” at #6 and “It’s Late” at #11. “It’s Late” is one of three songs to drop out of the Top 10 this week; the other two are “Tragedy” by Thomas Wayne, now at #12, and “Alvin’s Harmonica” by David Seville and the Chipmunks, now at #16. Eight songs are new in the Top 40 including two by the Everly Brothers, “Poor Jenny” and “Take a Message to Mary,” at #35 and #38 respectively.

Perspective From the Present: The name of astronaut Edward Givens is not familiar to you because he died in a 1967 traffic accident before he could fly in space. Buddy Holly’s glasses remained in the files of the Cerro Gordo county sheriff’s department in Iowa until 1980, when they were returned to Holly’s widow. The Fleetwoods, atop the chart on this day, would hit the Top 10 with a version of “Tragedy” in 1961.

April 1, 1975: Your Mama

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(Pictured: Leo Sayer on stage in Atlanta on April 1, 1975.)

April 1, 1975, was a Tuesday. The government of South Vietnam is collapsing. North Vietnamese forces captured Da Nang last week; yesterday, the US Army Chief of Staff, Frederick Weyand, gave a pessimistic assessment of the situation on the ground, while a colonel at the US Embassy told reporters that without strategic Amerian bombing of North Vietnamese forces, South Vietnam would be defeated within 90 days. North Vietnamese commanders have seen their timetable for capture of Saigon moved up from 1976 to six weeks from now. In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge are nearing capture of the capital city, Phnom Penh; today, the country’s president, Lon Nol, flees his homeland for exile in Hawaii. As of today, young American men are no longer required to register with the Selective Service System. Registration had remained mandatory even after the draft was suspended in 1973.

President Ford is on vacation in Palm Springs, California. After morning meetings with aides, he plays a round of golf, briefly visits an antique shop for an appearance with Mrs. Bob Hope and Mrs. Phil Harris, then returns to his vacation residence for more meetings. Tonight the Fords host a private dinner attended by the Hopes, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Annenberg, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Capra, various California business leaders, and Eva Gabor. It is Election Day in a number of cities and states; in Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley is elected to a record sixth term with 77 percent of the vote. The Freedom Train begins its Bicentennial tour in Wilmington, Delaware; seven million people will see the train and tour its exhibits on American history before the tour ends in Miami on December 31, 1976. The midwestern United States braces for a late-season snowstorm, which will drop up to a foot of snow tomorrow and on Thursday. In Canada, weather forecasts and measurements switch to the metric system. In Adelaide, Australia, a TV news program reports that the country is switching to a metric calendar, in which seconds will become millidays, minutes become centidays, and hours become decidays. South Australia’s deputy premier appears on the program to explain the change, which turns out to be an April Fool’s Day prank. Future professional tennis player Magdalena Maleeva is born.

Last night, UCLA won its tenth men’s college basketball championship in 12 years, beating Kentucky 92-85. It’s the final game on the bench for UCLA coach John Wooden, who has coached the Bruins since 1948. Also last night, CBS aired the final first-run episode of Gunsmoke, which premiered in 1955. Tonight, the CBS lineup includes Good Times, M*A*S*H, Hawaii Five-O, and Barnaby Jones. Lorne Michaels, who has been working as a TV writer in Los Angeles for several years, signs a contract with NBC to produce a new late-night comedy show that will air live on Saturdays starting in the fall.

Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band play Ann Arbor, Michigan. Elvis Presley closes a two-week engagement at the Las Vegas Hilton with two shows tonight at 8:15 and midnight. In Burbank, California, KISS tapes a performance for future airing on The Midnight Special. Lynryd Skynyrd plays Lake Charles, Louisiana, and 10cc plays Manchester, England, while Leo Sayer plays Atlanta and Alice Cooper plays Chicago Stadium with Suzi Quatro opening. At KQV in Pittsburgh, Leo Sayer holds at #1 with “Long Tall Glasses” and Suzi Quatro holds at #6 with “Your Mama Won’t Like Me” on the new survey to be released tomorrow. Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom” is at #2 again this week. The hottest songs on the KQV Master Playlist include “Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” by B. J. Thomas, up to #9 from #25, “Killer Queen” by Queen, which is up 26 spots to #13, “Jackie Blue” by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, up to #18 from #40, and “Dynomite” by Bazuka, up to #21 from #37.

Perspective From the Present: I am not sure whether the Master Playlist was a published list or an internal KQV list. In any case, it’s fairly adventuresome, and not just because of the clavinet-heavy “Your Mama Won’t Like Me,” which failed to make the Hot 100. It’s got lesser-known tracks by big stars (such as “Live Your Life Before You Die” by the Pointer Sisters and “Someone Take My Heart Away” by Edgar Winter) and people you may never have heard of (among them Dooley Silverspoon, Tamiko Jones, and the Crescent Street Stompers). It will take a high-school kid who was a freshman in 1975 44 years to catch up with them.

March 22, 1969: Mad Pursuit

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(Pictured: Yoko and John, abed.)

March 22, 1969, was a Saturday. A rally led by the Black Panthers and featuring several Chicago Eight defendants is held at the federal courthouse in New York City. In Oakland, members of the Black Students Union at Mills College take the school’s president hostage for several hours, demanding more involvement by minorities in college affairs. President Nixon issues a statement on campus disorders. A group calling itself the DC 9 breaks into Dow Chemical’s Washington offices and destroys files and equipment with pig blood and homemade napalm. They leave behind a letter that says, “In your mad pursuit of profit, you and others like you, are causing the psychological and physical destruction of mankind.” Ten Americans die in Vietnam today: they include Coast Guard engineman Morris Beeson of Pitkins, Louisiana, Marine corporals David Ovist of Pelkie, Michigan, and Thomas Folden of Belle Glade, Florida, and Army sergeant Armin Blake of Denver, Colorado. Future NFL player Russell Maryland is born. Two days after their wedding, John Lennon and Yoko Ono hold their first bed-in for peace at the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam.

In sports, UCLA wins its fifth NCAA men’s basketball championship in six years, beating Purdue 92-72. UCLA’s Lew Alcindor scores 37 points and is named the tournament’s most outstanding player in his final college game. West Chester College of Pennsylvania wins the first-ever college women’s basketball championship, beating Western Carolina 65-39. At the Wisconsin state high school tournament, Lamont Weaver of Beloit Memorial hits a 55-foot shot at the buzzer to send the championship game against Neenah into overtime. At the end of the second overtime, Weaver hits two free throws to seal an 80-79 win.

The current edition of The New Yorker is the first to include a conventional table of contents. Elizabeth Montgomery of Bewitched is on the cover of TV Guide. One of NBC’s Saturday morning shows is The Storybook Squares, a kids’ version of Hollywood Squares starring many of the same regulars dressed as fictional or historical characters. Neil Diamond appears on American Bandstand and sings “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.” Bandstand is followed by Happening ’69, hosted by Mark Lindsey and Paul Revere of the Raiders, and also a Dick Clark production. Today’s guest: the Monkees. Shows on TV tonight include My Three Sons, Petticoat Junction, The Newlywed Game, Adam-12, Mannix, Hogan’s Heroes, and Get Smart! The Grateful Dead plays Pasadena and Santana plays San Francisco. Alvin Lee and Ten Years After play Seattle. Led Zeppelin and Blodwyn Pig play Birmingham, England. Blood Sweat and Tears and Chuck Berry play Madison, New Jersey. Steppenwolf plays the Fillmore East in New York City, and Laura Nyro plays Brooklyn.

The Broadway musical Billy, with songs co-written by bubblegum music master Ron Dante, closes after a single performance. Billboard magazine  reports on the large number of songs from the musical Hair that have been covered by various artists. At WAKY in Louisville, Kentucky, (where the NCAA men’s final is played), the Cowsills’ “Hair” debuts on the station’s survey at #30; the Fifth Dimension’s version of “Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In” is hitbound. The #1 song in Kentuckiana is “Breakfast in Bed” by Dusty Springfield, which will do only a couple of weeks on the nationwide Hot 100; “Runaway Child” by the Temptations is #2. The Zombies’ “Time of the Season” makes a big leap from #11 to #4; “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” by Blood Sweat and Tears goes from hitbound last week to #12 this week. Other strong movers: “My Whole World Ended” by David Ruffin of the Temptations jumps from #27 to #18, and “I Can Hear Music” by the Beach Boys goes from #29 to #19. New songs in the Top 30 include “Will You Be Staying After Sunday” by the Peppermint Rainbow and “Time Is Tight” by Booker T. and the MGs.

Perspective From the Present: At the age of nine, I wasn’t into music yet. I was, however, into sports, and it would be days before my friends and I stopped talking about the finish of the state basketball tournament, and what is still known to Wisconsin dudes of a certain age as “The Shot.” If you are a dude of a certain age, you can see a 1984 TV report on it here. A full episode of The Storybook Squares is here.

March 13, 1974: There Won’t Be Anymore

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(Pictured: Blue Swede.)

March 13, 1974, was a Wednesday. King Hussein of Jordan is in the United States. Vice President Ford hosted a state dinner in his honor at the White House last night; today, the king and his prime minister meet privately with Ford. A plane carrying the cast and crew of the documentary TV series Primal Man crashes in California, killing 36 people including actor/stunt man Janos Prohaska, who is best-known for playing animals and monsters. He had a recurring role as Cookie the Bear on The Andy Williams Show and was also seen as a gorilla on Gilligan’s Island. Future professional tennis player Thomas Enqvist is born.

In today’s Doonesbury strip, journalist Roland B. Hedley tells Mike and Zonker who they are. On TV tonight, NBC opens with an episode of Adam-12, followed by the TV movie The Execution of Private Slovik, starring Martin Sheen as the only American soldier to be shot for desertion since the Civil War, in 1945. ABC carries an episode of The Cowboys followed by the TV movie The Hanged Man, a western starring Steve Forrest. CBS airs We Live With Elephants, a documentary following a Scottish scientist and his family who spent five years studying a herd of 500 elephants in Tanzania. It’s followed by episodes of Cannon and Kojak. After the late local news, Don Rickles sits in for Johnny with guests Jack Klugman and Charo. ABC’s Wide World of Entertainment presents Honeymoon Suite, which stars comedian Alan King in a set of stories all taking place in the same suite of a hotel. The CBS Late Movie is Gun Glory, a 1957 western starring Stewart Granger and Rhonda Fleming.

Late last night or early this morning, John Lennon and Harry Nilsson were kicked out of the Troubadour in Los Angeles after drunkenly heckling the Smothers Brothers, who were performing. Troubadour staffers also claim Lennon punched a waitress and kicked a valet. It’s not the first time Lennon has caused a scene at the Troubadour. Fans in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, attend a show supposedly starring Fleetwood Mac. However, it’s actually a band of entirely different musicians assembled by Fleetwood Mac’s manager, Clifford Davis. Davis tells Rolling Stone, “I want to get this out of the public’s mind as far as the band being Mick Fleetwood’s band. . . . I’ve always been sort of the leader. I’ve always sort of picked who was going to be in it and who wasn’t.” He claims Fleetwood was supposed to be the drummer on this tour, but dropped out at the last minute. Bob Welch denies the entire Davis story, and says he, Fleetwood, John and Christine McVie, and guitarist Bob Weston will meet with lawyers to sort things out. Elvis Presley plays Greensboro, North Carolina, and Jackson Browne plays Worcester, Massachusetts. Barry Manilow plays Philadelphia, and Deep Purple plays Madison Square Garden in New York. Jimmy Buffett plays Nashville, and Humble Pie plays Buffalo with Spooky Tooth and Montrose.

At WAKY in Louisville, “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede leaps from #10 to #1 on the new music survey. Last week’s #1, “Seasons in the Sun” by Terry Jacks, slips to #2. “Looking for a Love” by Bobby Womack and “Bennie and the Jets” by Elton John are new in the Top 10. The hottest song on the survey is “T.S.O.P” by MFSB, up to #15 from #30 last week. Also making a big move is “Dark Lady” by Cher, up eight spots to #11. Charlie Rich has two hits among the Top 30: “A Very Special Love Song” at #4 and “There Won’t Be Anymore,” on its way out of the survey at #25. Two songs are new on the chart: “Mighty Love” by the Spinners and “Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone)” by Tanya Tucker. WAKY’s Big Track Albums this week are Tales From Topographic Oceans by Yes, Piano Man by Billy Joel, High on the Hog by Black Oak Arkansas, and Bob Dylan’s Planet Waves.

Tonight, a Wisconsin eighth-grader watches The Execution of Private Slovik. Afterward, he goes off to bed, probably with the radio on for a little while before the light goes out.

March 5, 1971: Another Day

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(Pictured: Margaret and Pierre Trudeau, 1971.)

March 5, 1971, was a Friday. Eastern Canada is digging out after an historic blizzard. Montreal received 17 inches of snow yesterday alone, setting a record that will stand until 2012. It is revealed today that Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau married Margaret Sinclair, the daughter of another prominent Canadian politician, in a secret ceremony yesterday in North Vancouver, British Columbia. He’s 51 years old; she’s 22. On Christmas Day, they’ll welcome a son and name him Justin. Hockey pioneer Punch Broadbent, who played for the Ottawa Senators, Montreal Maroons, and New York Americans between 1912 and 1929, dies at age 78. Future major league baseball players Brian Hunter, Jeffrey Hammonds, and Chad Fonville are born.

In Oakland, California, the Black Panther Party holds a Revolutionary Intercommunal Solidarity Day event honoring imprisoned Panthers co-founder Bobby Seale, controversial activist Angela Davis, and others. The event is also billed as a “Post-Birthday Celebration for Huey P. Newton,” recently released from prison. The program features “revolutionary singing by the Lumpen of the Black Panther Party backed by the Freedom Messengers,” plus music by the Vanguards and the Grateful Dead. As the Dead perform, the front of the hall is occupied by hippies, while the Panthers, who are less friendly to the Dead than the Dead are to them, stand in the back. Across the bay in San Francisco, Aretha Franklin opens a three-night stand at the Fillmore West. She is the first female performer to headline the Fillmore. Highlights of the shows will be released in May on Aretha Live at Fillmore West.

Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes play Des Moines with Mason Profitt, Badfinger plays Toledo, and Three Dog Night headlines Madison Square Garden in New York City with Stevie Wonder and Bloodrock. The Rolling Stones play Manchester Free Trade Hall in the UK. Led Zeppelin opens a spring tour of the UK at Ulster Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Their setlist includes the first public performances of several new songs, “Black Dog,” “Rock and Roll,” “Going to California,” and “Stairway to Heaven,” all of which will be on the album the band is currently recording.

Six games are on the NBA schedule. The league-leading Milwaukee Bucks get 34 points from Oscar Robertson and 26 from Jon McGlocklin to beat the Detroit Pistons 108-95. Dave Bing of the Pistons leads all scorers with 39. Five games are played in the American Basketball Association tonight, including a triple-overtime barnburner between the league’s two worst teams, in which the Texas Chaparrals beat the Denver Rockets 158-153. On TV tonight, ABC presents The Brady Bunch, Nanny and the Professor, The Partridge Family, That Girl, The Odd Couple, and Love American Style. CBS primetime features episodes of The Interns and The New Andy Griffith Show plus the 1968 theatrical movie The Biggest Bundle of Them All starring Robert Wagner and Raquel Welch. NBC airs episodes of The High Chaparral, The Name of the Game, and The Strange Report, a British import about a freelance criminologist starring Anthony Quayle. In the Poughkeepsie Journal, Vassar College student Meryl Streep gets a positive notice for her performance in the Vassar Experimental Theater production of the 1731 play The London Merchant by George Lillo.

At KJR in Seattle, “Timothy” by the Buoys is #1 on the new Fabulous Fifty survey. “Doesn’t Somebody Want to Be Wanted” by the Partridge Family is #2, followed by Tom Jones’ “She’s a Lady,” “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin, and the Osmonds’ “One Bad Apple.” New entries in the Top 10 are “Woodstock” by Matthews’ Southern Comfort and “Chick-a-Boom” by Daddy Dewdrop. The hottest records on the chart include “Another Day” by Paul McCartney, up 15 spots to #19; “Stay Awhile” by the Bells, up 14 to #34, and “What Is Life” by George Harrison, up 13 to #19. Harrison’s double-sided hit “My Sweet Lord” and “Isn’t It a Pity” is still on the KJR chart as well, at #36. The highest debut on the chart is “Hot Pants,” a novelty record by Salvage, at #40. Also debuting this week is the new song by Three Dog Night, “Joy to the World.”

(Note to Patrons: the recent poll about what you’d like to read here showed overwhelming interest in the 70s, some interest in the 60s and earlier, less interest in the 80s than I expected, and no votes at all for posts covering dates in the 90s or the new millennium. Since that largely reflects my own interests, I think we’ll probably carry on as we’ve been doing. If there’s a particular date you’d like to read about, send it along no less than a couple of weeks out and I’ll fulfill your request.)

February 26, 1973: Deliverance

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(Pictured: released American POWs get a red-carpet welcome at an American base in the Phillippines on February 12, 1973.)

February 26, 1973, is a Monday. President Nixon’s reelection committee files a lawsuit against the Washington Post, New York Times, Washington Star-News, and Time magazine demanding they reveal notes and sources of their reporting on the Watergate investigation. Those subpoenaed include Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and Post publisher Katherine Graham. NBC and CBS lead their newscasts tonight with news from Vietnam, where a peace agreement was signed last month. They also cover the ongoing return of released prisoners of war to the United States. ABC leads with economic news before getting to the Vietnam stories. The White House is preparing for confirmation hearings for FBI director-designate L. Patrick Gray, which will begin on Wednesday. Gray has been acting director since the death of J. Edgar Hoover in May 1972. Gray will fail to win Senate confirmation to the permanent post, and will resign as acting director in April after he admits to destroying certain documents relating to national security at the request of Nixon aides John Dean and John Ehrlichman. At Cape Kennedy in Florida, NASA rolls out the Saturn 1B rocket that will launch the first Skylab crew into space in May.

On primetime TV tonight, NBC airs Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, which features guest stars Johnny Carson, Sandy Duncan, Arthur Godfrey, and Charlie Callas. NBC follows Laugh-In with a TV movie called The Stranger, about an astronaut who crashes on a previously unknown planet that is a twin of the earth. ABC presents an episode of The Rookies in which two of the young cops are detailed to a different precinct to help solve a murder. CBS shows tonight include Gunsmoke, The Lucy Show, and The Doris Day Show. Later tonight, Johnny Carson’s guests include David Brenner, Ross Martin, and Paul Williams.

Future football star Marshall Faulk is born. On a pro wrestling card at Madison Square Garden in New York, Verne Gagne defends his AWA world heavyweight championship by defeating Eddie Graham. The New York Times publishes a review of a new musical by Stephen Sondheim, A Little Night Music, which opened at the Shubert Theater on Broadway last night. The Grateful Dead play Lincoln, Nebraska, and Frank Zappa plays Atlanta. Black Sabbath plays Munich, Germany, and Bruce Springsteen plays the Troubadour in Los Angeles. Barry Manilow plays Massey Hall in Toronto. Neil Young plays Kansas City, Missouri, and the Rolling Stones play Sydney, Australia.

At WAMS in Wilmington, Delaware, “Love Train” by the O’Jays and “Last Song” by Edward Bear hold at #1 and #2 on the station’s new survey. Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly,” “Space Oddity” by David Bowie, and “Lucky Man” by Emerson Lake and Palmer round out the Top Five. New songs in the Top 10 include “Dueling Banjos” from the Deliverance soundtrack and “Don’t Cross the River” by America. They bump “Hi Hi Hi” by Wings and “Don’t Expect Me to Be Your Friend” by Lobo. “Dueling Banjos” is the week’s biggest mover, but “Ain’t No Woman Like the One I’ve Got” by the Four Tops is hot, too. Debuts on the singles chart include “Give Me Your Love” by Barbara Mason and “Teacher I Need You,” a cut from Elton John’s album Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player. The latter is one of five albums the station lists on its survey, unranked. The others are More Hot Rocks by the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys’ Holland, Shootout at the Fantasy Factory by Traffic, and the self-titled album by Stealers Wheel.

In Wisconsin, a boy soon to turn 13 looks forward to his birthday. A couple of friends will come to his house and stay overnight to celebrate; they’ll watch monster movies on TV, talk about sports, and listen to the radio.

February 18, 1965: I’ve Got Five Dollars

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(Pictured: the cast of My Three Sons, 1965.)

February 18, 1965, was a Thursday. In Marion, Alabama, civil rights marchers protesting the arrest of one of their number clash with a crowd that includes state troopers, auxiliary police, and private citizens. Protester Jimmie Lee Jackson is shot inside a restaurant while trying to protect his mother. He will die on February 26. Jackson’s death helps to inspire the Selma-to-Montgomery march later in the year. Among those injured is NBC News correspondent Richard Valeriani, who’s hit with an axe handle. Defense secretary Robert MacNamara testifies before the House Armed Services Committee, and he says that the United States has little choice but to continue defending Southeast Asia from Communist aggression. He says the situation in South Vietnam is “grave but by no means hopeless.” Early this morning, NASA’s Ranger 8 spacecraft makes a midcourse correction on its way to the moon. On Saturday, it is scheduled to spend just under 14 minutes taking and sending back over 4,000 pictures of a potential landing site for a manned mission to the moon. It will then crash into the surface at 5,800 miles per hour. In Rome, an archaeologist claims that she has discovered the tomb of the Apostle Peter. After 68 years as a British colony in Africa, the Gambia becomes an independent country.

Many retailers are planning Washington’s Birthday sales for the coming weekend and Monday. At South Shore Mall in Bayshore, New York, shoppers can register to win one of 22 AKC-registered beagle puppies to be given away on Monday. Elsewhere on Long Island, in Farmingdale, a local meat market offers smoked hams for 49 cents a pound, prime rib for 59 cents a pound, and top sirloin roast for 79 cents a pound. At McDonalds in Ann Arbor, Michigan, hamburgers are 15 cents, triple-thick shakes 23 cents, and the Filet-o-Fish sandwich is 24 cents.

Activist Malcolm X appears on a TV talk show in New York City with journalist Aubrey Barnette to discuss the nature of the Black Muslim movement. Three days later, just before a scheduled speech in Manhattan, Malcolm will be shot to death. Future rapper and producer Andre Young, who will be known professionally as Dr. Dre, is born. ABC’s TV lineup tonight includes Jonny Quest, The Donna Reed Show and My Three Sons; NBC’s offerings include Daniel Boone, Dr. Kildare, and Hazel; CBS airs The Munsters, Perry Mason (“The Case of the Lover’s Gamble”), Password, The Baileys of Balboa, and The Defenders, a critically acclaimed legal drama starring E. G. Marshall and Robert Reed. At Abbey Road Studios, the Beatles continue work on what will be the Help! soundtrack, including nine takes of “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” during an afternoon session. John Coltrane and his band continue a session at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. The Who plays the London borough of Ealing. Elsewhere in London, Rod Stewart and the Soul Agents play the Marquee Club. The Beach Boys play Worcester, Massachusetts.

At WKY in Oklahoma City, Petula Clark holds the #1 spot on the new Top 50 again this week with “Downtown.” Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger” is #2, and “King of the Road” by Roger Miller is up to #3. Two versions of “Red Roses for a Blue Lady,” an instrumental by Bert Kaempfert and a vocal by Vic Dana, are new in the Top 10, sharing the #6 position. Also new in the Top 10: “The Birds and the Bees” by Jewel Akens and the Kinks with “All Day and All of the Night.” The Beatles are exploding up the chart with “Eight Days a Week” and “I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party,” up from #48 last week to #12 this week. Also making a gigantic leap is the double-sided Gerry and the Pacemakers hit “Ferry Cross the Mersey” and “Pretend,” which went from #43 to #14, and “Midnight Special” by Johnny Rivers is up to #19 from #46 one week ago. Eleven songs are new among the Top 50. They include “Shotgun” by Jr. Walker and the All-Stars, “People Get Ready” by the Impressions, and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by the Animals. The highest debut, however, belongs to George Jones and Gene Pitney. Their song “I’ve Got Five Dollars and It’s Saturday Night” comes on all the way up at #21.

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February 12, 1982: The First Big Thing

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(Pictured: Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond.)

February 12, 1982, was a Friday. This year’s Academy Award nominations were announced yesterday. Reds is up for 12 Oscars including Best Picture. On Golden Pond, the current weekly box-office champ, received 10 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Henry Fonda, Best Actress for Katharine Hepburn, and Best Supporting Actress for Jane Fonda. The other Best Picture nominees are Chariots of Fire, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Atlantic City. Today, as he leaves the White House for the long Presidents Day weekend at Camp David, President Reagan answers questions from reporters about whether American military advisors in El Salvador are carrying rifles, which would be against policy. Senators opposed to American actions in Central America are considering whether to invoke the War Powers Act and to require Reagan to get Congressional approval for them. (The El Salvador story leads network newscasts tonight.) Reagan also reiterates his insistence on budget cuts in the new fiscal year. On a pilgrimage to Africa, Pope John Paul II visits Lagos, Nigeria.

A double-elimination women’s basketball tournament involving Big Ten schools opens today in East Lansing, Michigan. The league will not officially sponsor any women’s sports until this fall; Big Ten schools compete as independents or as members of other women’s leagues. Ohio State will win the tournament championship. The Daytona 500 will be run on Sunday. Today, Tim Richmond passes Slick Johnson on the last lap to win a 30-lap consolation race at the speedway and a purse of $4,450.

On TV tonight, CBS airs first-run episodes of its popular Friday-night lineup: The Dukes of Hazzard, Dallas, and Falcon Crest. ABC opens its night with Benson, followed by sitcoms Open All Night (about an oddball family running a convenience store), Best of the West (an Old West spoof), and It’s a Living (starring Ann Jillian), before wrapping up the night with an episode of the police drama Strike Force starring Robert Stack. NBC starts with the news show NBC Magazine and follows with episodes of McClain’s Law, starring James Arness, and Cassie and Co., starring Angie Dickinson. NBC announced today that Cassie and Co. will be yanked from the schedule after next Friday’s broadcast. Also getting the axe from NBC today: the limited-run Billy Crystal Comedy Hour and Harper Valley, a sitcom starring Barbara Eden.

In Lincoln, Nebraska, stereo shoppers at the Electronics Center can save on receivers, turntables, and speakers, including Cerwin-Vega U-123s. A newspaper ad says of the speakers, “Meet the lease-breaker!” Depeche Mode plays Cardiff, Wales, the Police play the Cow Palace in San Francisco, and Alice Cooper plays Birmingham, England. Ozzy Osbourne and UFO play Cincinnati, and Prince plays Santa Monica, California. Dan Fogelberg plays Houston. On the new Cash Box magazine chart coming out tomorrow, the top three songs are in the same positions for the third week in a row: “Centerfold” by the J. Geils Band at #1, “I Can’t Go for That” by Hall and Oates at #2, and “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John at #3. “Sweet Dreams” by Air Supply and “Leader of the Band” by Dan Fogelberg are new in the Top 10. The biggest move within the Cash Box Top 40 is made by Buckner and Garcia’s “Pac Man Fever,” up 10 spots to #29; Stevie Wonder’s “That Girl” is up nine spots, from #21 to #12. On the Billboard 200 album chart, Freeze-Frame by the J. Geils Band is in its second week at #1. Filling out the Top 5: Journey’s Escape, IV by Foreigner, Hooked on Classics by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and Private Eyes by Hall and Oates. The highest-debuting album is The First Family Rides Again, a Reagan parody starring Rich Little, at #95.

Perspective From the Present: On this day, I was wrapping up the second week of my full-time radio career, on the air weekdays from 1 to 6 on KDTH in Dubuque. It was also my second week in a new apartment. But those would not be all of life’s big changes in this week. On this night, my girlfriend would be coming over. I don’t remember if we went out for dinner or stayed in, but I do remember that I gave her an engagement ring. I had planned to save it for Valentine’s Day on Sunday, but I couldn’t wait. It was the first big thing I’d bought with my princely new radio salary of $180 a week.

(I’m pleased to see that the Cash Box Archives are back online. The pop charts are up now, and country and R&B charts are supposed to be coming soon. Also: for more about the music of this week in 1982, visit good brother HERC here.)