December 15, 1978: Sweet Life

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(Pictured: Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman.)

December 15, 1978, was a Friday. President Jimmy Carter gives a televised address to the nation announcing the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, and explains America’s new relationship with Taiwan. After the speech, President and Mrs. Carter fly to Camp David for the weekend. The city of Cleveland, Ohio, defaults on $15.5 million in short-term loans it had received to meet its financial obligations. It’s the first major American city to go broke since the Great Depression. Today is the last day of manufacture for aerosol products containing ozone-destroying fluorocarbons, following a federal government order last spring. The exhibit of treasures from the tomb of King Tut, which has been touring the country for over a year, opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Nine games are played in the NBA tonight. In a battle of top teams, the Los Angeles Lakers edge the Seattle Supersonics 100-98. Dennis Johnson of the Sonics leads all scorers with 28 points; Norm Nixon leads the Lakers with 26. New movies at the box office this weekend include Superman starring Christopher Reeve and California Suite starring Jane Fonda, Walter Matthau, Michael Caine, and Richard Pryor. The Deer Hunter opens in New York after its Los Angeles premiere last Friday. It will go into wide release in February. Philips/MCA puts laserdisc technology on the market under the name MCA Discovision. A laserdisc edition of Jaws comes out today. Actor Chill Wills, famed as the movie voice of Francis the Talking Mule and for many western roles, dies of cancer at age 76. Carter’s China speech preempts or delays scheduled network TV programming. NBC has Diff’rent Strokes, the final episode of the soon-to-be-cancelled Who’s Watching the Kids, and a two-hour episode of The Eddie Capra Mysteries. On CBS, it’s Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, and Flying High, a comedy/drama about flight attendants starring Connie Sellecca. On ABC, it’s a Christmas episode of Donny and Marie followed by the TV movie Long Journey Back starring Mike Connors and Cloris Leachman.

In The Crusader, the campus newspaper at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania, music critic Tim Brough names his top albums of 1978. Billy Joel plays Madison Square Garden in New York City, the Grateful Dead plays Birmingham, Alabama, Bob Dylan plays Lakeland, Florida, and Cheap Trick plays Boston. Bruce Springsteen plays San Francisco in a show broadcast on KSAN. Across town at KFRC, “Le Freak” by Chic and “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” by Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond continue at #1 and #2 on the new survey out today. There’s little movement among the top 11 songs on the survey. Al Stewart’s “Time Passages” makes the biggest move of any song among the Top 30, moving from #19 to #12. There’s one new song in the Top 20, “Sweet Life” by Paul Davis, at #18. The highest debut on the chart is Cheryl Lynn’s “Got to Be Real” at #22. The top albums on KFRC are Barbra Streisand’s Greatest Hits Volume 2, Let’s Get Small by Steve Martin, and The Best of Earth Wind and Fire, Volume 1. At WSUP, the campus station at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, final exams mean some changes in the regular Friday DJ lineup. A freshman who did his first-ever live radio show yesterday will be on the air today from noon til 6.

Perspective From the Present: The freshman was, of course, me. My six-hour Friday show was supposed to be my debut, but I got asked at the last minute to fill in on the morning show the previous day. I was too busy to think much about it on Thursday, but that Friday show was the most exhilarating experience of my life. That afternoon represented the single biggest dream of my life coming true. It’s no exaggeration when I say that nothing else in my life since then—nothing else—has ever come close to the thrill of it.

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December 12, 1988: The Best That I Got

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(Pictured: kicker Max Zendejas tees it up for the Green Bay Packers early in the 1988 season. He wouldn’t be around for long.)

December 12, 1988, was a Monday. Indiana representative Dan Coats is appointed to the United States Senate by governor Robert Orr. He replaces Dan Quayle, who was elected vice-president with George Bush last month. At the White House, Nancy Reagan leads reporters on a tour of the Christmas decorations for a final time, telling them, “It’s very sentimental.” The Supreme Court rules that the NCAA can suspend University of Nevada-Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian for recruiting violations and other irrregularities. The decision is expected to increase the NCAA’s enforcement power. Texas A&M football coach Jackie Sherrill, under suspicion of paying a player to keep quiet about rules violations, resigns from his position. In the NFL yesterday, the Dallas Cowboys broke an 11-game losing streak with a 24-17 win over Washington. Also breaking a losing streak: the Green Bay Packers, who had lost seven in a row. They beat the playoff-bound Minnesota Vikings, 18-6. Newspapers around the country carry an Associated Press story about a man and woman in Puerto Rico, aged 90 and 70, who were arrested over the weekend for possessing a $45,000 stash of cocaine and heroin. In Mountain View, California, a couple is arrested after their 17-year-old daughter complains to her school counselor that her parents were teaching her how to use cocaine. The girl’s parents believe they’ve done nothing wrong, police say. They believe their daughter would be exposed to cocaine eventually, and they wanted her to learn about it at home.

The movie Rain Man, starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, has its New York premiere. The film will be officially released on Friday. At the box office this past weekend, the top film was the new release Twins, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito. Other popular movies over the weekend were The Naked Gun, Scrooged, Tequila Sunrise starring Mel Gibson, and the animated Disney film Oliver and Company. The death of actor Richard Castellano is announced. Best known for playing Clemenza in The Godfather and for an Oscar-nomimated role in Lovers and Other Strangers, he died on Saturday at age 55. Organized-crime figure Anthony Provenzano, known as Tony Pro, dies in prison at age 71. On TV tonight, ABC presents MacGyver and Monday Night Football, where the Miami Dolphins beat the Cleveland Browns 38-31. CBS airs Newhart, Kate & Allie, Murphy Brown, Designing Women, and a Christmas episode of Almost Grown, a new dramatic series exploring the life of a married couple during three different periods in their lives, which is co-created by former Rockford Files writer David Chase. NBC’s lineup includes ALF, The Hogan Family, and the made-for-TV movie I’ll Be Home for Christmas starring Hal Holbrook, Nancy Travis, and Eva Marie Saint, which scores the night’s highest rating.

At Z100 in New York City, “Giving You the Best That I Got” by Anita Baker is the #1 song on the new survey out today. Last week’s #1, “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys, falls to #4. In between the two are “Free Bird/Baby I Love Your Way” by Will to Power and “My Prerogative” by Bobby Brown. New songs in the Top 10 are “How Can I Fall” by Breathe and “Look Away” by Chicago. “I Wanna Have Some Fun” by Samantha Fox and “Two Hearts” by Phil Collins are the hottest songs on the survey, both up seven spots from the previous week. The station’s top three albums are unchanged from the previous week: U2’s Rattle and Hum, Giving You the Best That I Got by Anita Baker, and New Jersey by Bon Jovi.

Perspective From the Present: The Packers were struggling through a season that would see them finish 4-and-12. Despite beating the Vikings on Sunday, they released their kicker, Dean Dorsey, on Tuesday. He had missed an extra point in the game. He was the Packers’ third kicker of the season; they signed a guy named Curtis Burrow for the final game of the season, who promptly missed two of four extra points in a 26-17 win over the Phoenix Cardinals. It was the only NFL game Burrow ever appeared in. I was listening to the game, and one of the misses inspired a favorite radio moment of mine: Packers color commentator Max McGee remarked to his play-by-play partner Jim Irwin, “You know, Jim, they’re running a damn punt-pass-and-kick contest up here every week and they keep bringing the losers in!”

December 7, 1981: Let’s Get Physical

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(Pictured: Olivia Newton-John.)

December 7, 1981, was a Monday. President Reagan tells reporters that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has sent assassination teams to murder top U.S. officials, after an American official is killed by suspected Libyan gunmen in Paris yesterday. (Later in the week, Reagan will call on Americans in Libya to leave, and forbid any other Americans to enter.) Reagan also meets Colonel Joseph Engel and Captain Richard Truly, the astronauts who flew the space shuttle Columbia on its second mission last month, and nominates Robert Bork to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Seven coal miners are killed in an explosion in Knott County, Kentucky. Spain officially joins NATO. The Finnish-American Chamber of Commerce of the Northwest holds its first meeting in Seattle. Joe’s Pizzeria and Vittoria opens in Summit, New Jersey.

The Oakland Raiders score 16 points in the fourth quarter to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 30-27, on Monday Night Football. At baseball’s annual winter meetings, the Chicago Cubs trade pitcher Doug Capilla to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for pitcher Allen Ripley. (Tomorrow, they will make a major trade, acquiring three players from the Philadelphia Phillies, including infielder Keith Moreland and pitcher Dickie Noles, for pitcher Mike Krukow.) Future NFL defensive lineman Tank Johnson is born. William Edmunds, who played minor roles in Casablanca and It’s a Wonderful Life, dies at age 95.

The cover story in Time magazine is “Crazy Over Cats,” inspired by the proliferation of cat-related popular culture, including Garfield, the musical Cats, and the book 101 Uses for a Dead Cat. People‘s cover story is about Johnny Carson’s return to his hometown to film a documentary. Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett is on the cover of Sports Illustrated. TV shows on the air tonight include M*A*S*H, That’s Incredible!, Lou Grant, Knots Landing, and Little House on the Prairie. The Grateful Dead plays Des Moines. Badfinger plays Cleveland. Eric Clapton plays Budokan in Tokyo. Frank Zappa plays Salt Lake City. The Rolling Stones play suburban Washington, D.C.

At WLS in Chicago, “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John takes over the #1 slot from “Private Eyes” by Hall and Oates, which slips to #2. Among the biggest movers on the chart are “Young Turks” by Rod Stewart (#26 to #14), “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie (#45 to #24), and a live version of “Closer to the Heart” by Rush (#44 to #30). These records indicate the hard-rockin’ direction the station has taken in 1981, particularly in morning drive and at night. The station is still playing Air Supply, Christopher Cross, Sheena Easton, Kenny Rogers, Barry Manilow, and “Endless Love,” but also Triumph’s “Magic Power,” “Nicole” by Point Blank, “Heavy Metal” by Don Felder, and Diesel’s “Sausalito Summernight.”

December 4, 1972: Winter Show

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(Pictured: Elizabeth Montgomery, at center, plays Password.)

December 4, 1972, is a Monday. Time magazine reports on the opening of the SALT II arms limitation talks. At the Vietnam peace talks in Paris, North Vietnamese negotiator Le Duc Tho tells Henry Kissinger that even if the United States were to use nuclear weapons against his country, “our children will continue the struggle.” Five mice are selected to fly aboard Apollo 17, the final mission to the moon, which will be launched on Wednesday—if mission controllers don’t go on strike as they are threatening to do. Future porn star Nikki Tyler, future NBA player Howard Eisley, and future NFL linebackers Ted Johnson and Damien Covington are born. An executive at Motorola tells the company’s lead designer, “We have to build a portable telephone.” Less than four months later, Motorola will unveil the predecessor of the cellular phone at a press conference. In Merced, California, seven-year-old Steven Stayner is kidnapped. He will be held for nearly eight years; in 1989, his story will be told in the TV miniseries I Know My Name Is Steven.

Guest celebrities on Password this week are Elizabeth Montgomery and Bert Convy. Stars on Hollywood Squares are Wally Cox, Nanette Fabray, Jan Murray, John Davidson, Paul Lynde, Marilyn Michaels, Don Rickles, Della Reese, and Vincent Price. On NBC tonight, Jack Klugman, Rich Little, and Henny Youngman appear on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. Also on NBC, it’s The Perry Como Winter Show, a Christmas special with guest stars Joey Heatherton, Art Carney, and the Muppets. In tonight’s NFL game, the Los Angeles Rams beat the San Francisco 49ers 26-16. Roman Gabriel throws two touchdown passes for the Rams and David Ray kicks four field goals. At the 92nd Street Y in New York, author Erica Jong reads from her current bestseller Fear of Flying.

In a courtroom in Nice, France, Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, and Mick Taylor are cleared of drug charges. Led Zeppelin plays Glasgow, Scotland, the Velvet Underground plays Reading, England, and Lynryd Skynyrd plays Atlanta. Disc jockey Don Imus celebrates his first anniversary on the air at WNBC in New York. At WCOL in Columbus, Ohio, it’s a glorious week for soul music: “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” by the Temptations knocks “I’m Stone in Love With You” by the Stylistics from #1 to #5 on the new music survey out today; “Me and Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul is at #7, “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes is at #9, and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” is at #11. Also on the chart is a cover of “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” by a British group called Blue Haze, at #12. In a small Wisconsin town without a single black resident, the manager of the seventh-grade basketball team is deeply into soul music nevertheless.

Perspective From the Present: “I’m Stone in Love With You” is a wonder. It makes me feel stupidly happy whenever I hear it, and nobody made prettier records than producer Thom Bell did. He and his songwriting partner, Linda Creed, were responsible for some of the most glorious confections of the 1970s, including all of the Stylistics’ signature hits and “Rubberband Man” by the Spinners. Bell and Creed (who died in 1986) are both in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. As for “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” I knew neither the song nor the Blue Haze version of it back then, although I have since come to adore the Platters’ version.

November 30, 1989: Another Day in Paradise

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(Pictured: George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev get along famously during their December 1989 summit in Malta.)

November 30, 1989, was a Thursday. President George Bush speaks at a Rose Garden departure ceremony before his summit meeting with Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev in Malta, which will be on Saturday and Sunday. He also signs the Ethics Reform Act of 1989, which, among other things, raises the pay of senators and representatives. Bush also issues a statement in advance of the second World AIDS Day, which is tomorrow. Prominent West German banker Alfred Herrhausen dies in a bomb blast. The case will never be solved. A story seen in newspapers around the country recaps the six-month 1989 hurricane season, which officially ends today. Seven hurricanes formed in the Atlantic during 1989, including Hugo, which was the costliest storm in American history. Early this morning, Linda Cortile Napolitano, age 41, is abducted by aliens from the roof of her Manhattan apartment, or so she will claim. UFO researcher Budd Hopkins will find several people who say they saw it happen; one of them is reportedly UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, who tells Hopkins he obviously can’t be quoted regarding the incident.

The New York Yankees sign free-agent outfielder Mel Hall, who has spent the last four-plus seasons with the Cleveland Indians. Six games are played in the NBA; the Los Angeles Lakers run their league-best record to 11-and-2 with a 109-93 win over Sacramento. The NHL schedule has seven games; Montreal pulls into a tie for the league’s best record with Buffalo when the Canadiens defeat the cellar-dwelling Quebec Nordiques 6-2. On TV tonight, ABC’s lineup includes the revived Mission: Impossible, the western drama The Young Riders, and an edition of the newsmagazine Prime Time Live. CBS starts the night with its own newsmagazine, 48 Hours, followed by the political drama Top of the Hill and Knots Landing. But NBC will win the night by a large margin with The Cosby Show, Ann Jillian, a sitcom that stars the titular actress as a New York widow relocated to small-town northern California with her kids, Cheers, Dear John starring Judd Hirsch, and L.A. Law. In today’s Peanuts strip, Snoopy is demanding.

In the current edition of Rolling Stone, Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead sits for an extended interview. Also in the magazine, Billy Joel’s new Storm Front gets a positive review from writer John McAlley. The Rolling Stones play the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Phish plays Boston, Squeeze plays Providence, and Van Morrison plays the Beacon Theater in New York City. Black Sabbath, with Tony Iommi the only original member remaining, plays Leningrad in the Soviet Union, and the B-52s play the Fox Theater in Detroit.

On the Billboard Hot 100, the #1 song  is “Blame It on the Rain” by Milli Vanilli, which knocks last week’s #1, “When I See You Smile” by Bad English, to #2. The B-52’s “Love Shack” holds at #3; “The Way That You Love Me” by Paula Abdul holds at #4; “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel is up to #5. Two songs are new in the Top 10: “Don’t Know Much” by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville at #9 and “Another Day in Paradise” by Phil Collins at #10. The latter is up 12 spots from last week, the biggest mover within the Top 40 along with “Rhythm Nation” by Janet Jackson, which jumps from #34 to #22. The highest debuting new song in the Top 40 is “Swing the Mood” by Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers at #34. The highest debut within the Hot 100 is Rod Stewart’s “Downtown Train” at #54.

Perspective From the Present: If we’re honest about it, most of our days are fairly mundane. Stuff happens, but in a day or two we’ll have trouble remembering it. November 30, 1989, looks like it was one of those days. I was working at the elevator-music station, and I suspect that by this time our new program director had arrived in town, or was on his way, with all of the upheaval he would bring on a less-mundane days to come.

November 24, 1971: Dan Cooper, Phone Home

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(Pictured: Cher, onstage.)

November 24, 1971, is a Wednesday. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. Headlines on the morning’s newspapers include passage of a major defense bill by the United States Senate and the ongoing tensions in south Asia, where India and Pakistan are on the brink of war. In Madison, Wisconsin, hungry pre-Thanksgiving shoppers can get a spaghetti dinner with salad, roll, and beverage for 95 cents at the lunch counter of their neighborhood Rennebohm Rexall Drug Store. Future actress Lola Glaudini, who will appear on NYPD Blue, The Sopranos, and Criminal Minds, is born, and so is future professional hockey player Keith Primeau. Radio relay operator Rick Holt of Dundalk, Maryland, with less than 30 days remaining on his hitch in Vietnam, writes two letters home. Tonight, a Northwest Airlines flight from Portland to Seattle will be hijacked by a man who claims to have a bomb in his briefcase. He demands $200,000 and two parachutes. The plane lands to release the other passengers and get the hijacker his money, then takes off again. Somewhere over Washington state, the man jumps out of the plane, and he is never seen again. Although he’s on the passenger list as Dan Cooper, his name will be reported by the media, and he will be remembered forever after, as D. B. Cooper.

In today’s Doonesbury strip, documentarian Mark intrudes on B. D.’s football huddle. The CBS-TV lineup tonight features The Carol Burnett Show, Medical Center, and Mannix; on NBC, it’s Adam-12, McCloud, and Night Gallery. In the UK, George Harrison is a guest on The David Frost Show. Led Zeppelin plays Manchester, England. The Doors, minus the late Jim Morrison, play at the University of Pennsylvania, while King Crimson and Yes play the Academy of Music in New York City. At WWDJ in Hackensack, New Jersey, there’s lots of movement at the top of this week’s chart: “Family Affair” by Sly and the Family Stone leaps from #9 to #1, and “Got to Be There” by Michael Jackson jumps from #17 to #2. Last week’s #1, “Gypsys Tramps and Thieves” by Cher falls to #3. Also moving up: “Superstar” by the Temptations, from #16 to #11, and “I Know I’m Losing You” by Rod Stewart from #21 to #14. New on the chart this week are David Cassidy’s “Cherish,” “Scorpio” by Dennis Coffey, and “Hallelujah” by Sweathog.

A sixth-grader in Wisconsin (who will soon buy “Scorpio” on a 45)  looks forward to Thanksgiving Day, eating a big dinner, and watching football with the men of his extended family, not just the traditional NFL games in Detroit and Dallas, but the #1 vs. #2 showdown in college football between Nebraska and Oklahoma. The day will end too early, as such days often do.

November 18, 1984: Dark Side

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(Pictured: a scene from the movie Eddie and the Cruisers, 1984.)

November 18, 1984, is a Sunday. By Congressional resolution, it’s the first day of National Family Week. The New York Times publishes several articles about Baby Fae, the anonymous child who died last Thursday after living 20 days with the transplanted heart of a baboon. The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub tops the Times bestseller list for fiction; Iacocca: An Autobiography, by former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca, leads the nonfiction list. Future Avenged Sevenfold bassist Johnny Christ is born, although his parents name him Jonathan Lewis Seward. The Chuck Norris film Missing in Action tops the weekend box office. The New York City Opera’s production of Sweeney Todd closes after 13 performances.

In the National Football League, the Miami Dolphins suffer their first loss of the season after 11 straight wins, losing to San Diego, 34-28. The San Francisco 49ers are also 11-and-1 after a 24-17 win over Tampa Bay. Tim Lewis of the Green Bay Packers sets a team record with a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown in a 31-6 win over the Los Angeles Rams. Geoff Bodine wins the final NASCAR race of the season, but Terry Labonte wins the Winston Cup championship.

On ABC tonight, Ripley’s Believe It or Not and the adventure series Hardcastle and McCormick are followed by the theatrical movie Stripes, starring Bill Murray and Harold Ramis. CBS primetime starts with 60 Minutes, then Murder She Wrote, The Jeffersons, Alice, and Trapper John, M.D. NBC’s lineup includes Silver Spoons, Knight Rider and the first part of the made-for-TV movie Fatal Vision, dramatizing the Jeffrey MacDonald murder case. Metallica plays Paris and Queensryche plays Buffalo. Bruce Springsteen plays Lincoln, Nebraska and rushes the season a little bit by closing with “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” Jethro Tull plays Seattle, and Stevie Ray Vaughan becomes the first white artist to win the W.C. Handy Blues Awards for Entertainer of the Year and Blues Instrumentalist of the Year. On this weekend’s edition of The Dr. Demento Show, “Earache My Eye” by Cheech and Chong tops the Funny Five countdown.

At WLOL in Minneapolis/St. Paul, “Out of Touch” by Hall and Oates is #1 for a second week. “I Can’t Hold Back” by Survivor is up to #2, and “Better Be Good to Me” by Tina Turner holds at #3. Pat Benatar’s “We Belong” is the lone new entry in the Top 10 at #8, replacing “Caribbean Queen” by Billy Ocean, last week’s #10 down to #18 this week. The biggest mover on the WLOL chart is “Understanding” by Bob Seger, up seven spots to #20. The highest debuting song on the chart is Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” at #32. At WLOL’s crosstown rival, KDWB, “Out of Touch” has fallen completely off the station’s survey from #4 the previous week. “I Can’t Hold Back” and “Better Be Good to Me” show up at #2 and #4 respectively. (Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” is at #3). KDWB’s #1 single for a second week is “On the Dark Side” by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band from the movie Eddie and the Cruisers. (It’s #10 at WLOL.) Paul McCartney’s “No More Lonely Nights” is the lone new entry in the KDWB Top 10. “Hello Again” by the Cars is KDWB’s hottest song, up nine to #20. The highest debut belongs to Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” at #22. “Born in the USA” debuts on the KDWB chart at the bottom, #30.

November 14, 1968: Not Great, But Nice

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(Pictured: Ray Charles on stage, 1968.)

November 14, 1968, was a Thursday. On this day, 28 American soldiers die in Vietnam. President Lyndon Johnson’s White House taping system captures today’s phone conversations with president-elect Richard Nixon. Among the discussions: Johnson’s concerns about possible Soviet actions during the transition. Yale University announces that after 265 years, it will admit women beginning this fall. Princeton and Sarah Lawrence will also go co-ed. At Florida State University, the campus newspaper, the Flambeau, publishes two separate front-page stories about entertainment planned for homecoming weekend. On Friday, November 23, the Swingin’ Medallions will play in the University Union ballrooms. Tickets are “$2 stag and $3 drag.” On Saturday the 24th, Ray Charles, the Raelettes, and Billy Preston will play in Tully Gym. Tickets are $2.50 each. At Grand Valley State College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, issue #1 of the Lanthorn News Flash hits the streets. The entire four-page edition is devoted to a drug bust in one of the campus dorms last Sunday. Otto Silha, publisher of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune newspapers, gives a speech at a conference in Paris in which he suggests that automated editing by computer will eventually replace human copy editors.

Bill Sherdel, who won 165 games in the majors for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Braves between 1918 and 1932, dies at age 72. Kent Bottenfield, who will win 46 and lose 49 pitching for eight different clubs between 1992 and 2001, is born. Five games are played in professional basketball tonight, two in the NBA and three in the ABA. The ABA Oakland Oaks beat the Dallas Chaparrals 122-106 behind 43 points by Rick Barry.

The New York Times reviews the new animated film Yellow Submarine, which opened yesterday. Critic Renata Adler calls it “not a great film, after all, but truly nice.” Opening today is the drama The Shoes of the Fisherman, starring Anthony Quinn as a former inmate at a Russian labor camp who is sent to Rome, becomes a cardinal, and is eventually elected pope. On TV tonight, the ABC lineup includes The Flying Nun, Bewitched, That Girl, and Journey to the Unknown, a British anthology series. On NBC, it’s Daniel Boone, Ironside, and Dragnet. CBS kicks off its night with an episode of Hawaii Five-0.

Big Brother and the Holding Company play Hartford, Connecticut, and the Velvet Underground plays the Whisky A Go-Go in Los Angeles. It’s a return engagement for the Velvets, who played five nights at the end of October with the Chicago Transit Authority opening. Neil Diamond plays Arlington, Texas. Frank Sinatra completes recording sessions for a forthcoming album to be called Cycles. Elvis Presley takes a break from filming his next movie, The Trouble With Girls, and spends the day in Reno, Nevada. Singer Johnnie Taylor and jazz organist Jimmy McGriff are among the guests on tonight’s episode of the educational television series Soul!, produced by WNET in New York City.

At KHJ in Los Angeles, the top two songs on the latest Boss 30 survey are the same as last week: “Love Child” by the Supremes and “Stormy” by the Classics IV. “For Once in My Life” by Stevie Wonder blasts to #3 from #11 last week, and Dionne Warwick’s “Promises, Promises” is up to #6 from #16. Also new in the Top 10: “Come On, React!” by the Fireballs, now at #8 from #13 last week. Also in the Top 10: Glen Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman,” “Both Sides Now” by Judy Collins, and “White Room” by Cream. The hottest record on the survey is “I Love How You Love Me” by Bobby Vinton, up 16 spots to #13. Among the records falling down the Boss 30 are the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” (which is still atop the Hot 100 this week) and “Magic Carpet Ride” by Steppenwolf. Listed as “hitbound” on KHJ is the new single by Marvin Gaye, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”

Perspective From the Present: “Come On, React!” would top out at #63 on the Hot 100 in December, and it’s really good. The KHJ survey listed the station’s jock lineup, and it’s a veritable hall of fame: Robert W. Morgan, Scotty Brink, Charlie Tuna, the Real Don Steele, Sam Riddle, Humble Harve, Johnny Williams, and Bill Wade. As for me, I was in Mrs. Blanc’s third-grade class at Northside School. Sometime that year, she taught us our multiplication tables with a series of jingles she played on 45s. To this day, when I’m doing multiplication in my head, I hear some of those jingles.

November 8, 1975: What a Difference

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(Pictured: in the fall of 1975, Howard Cosell’s ABC variety show beat NBC to the title it wanted for its new late-night comedy show.)

November 8, 1975, was a Saturday. The morning papers say that heiress Patty Hearst has been found competent to stand trial on federal bank-robbery charges. Union railroad workers agree to delay a potential nationwide strike to November 18. The nation’s unemployment rate is up to 8.6 percent. Seventeen-year-old Debby Kent spends the evening at a skating rink in Bountiful, Utah, but she never comes home. Shortly before his execution 14 years hence, serial killer Ted Bundy will confess to having murdered her. Fighter planes from Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana are scrambled to chase UFOs, and two people in France claim to have seen space creatures who were picked up by mysterious cars. The United States opens an embassy in Mozambique. Actress/party girl Tara Reid and pro basketball player Brevin Knight are born. In pro wrestling, golden bad-boy Nick Bockwinkle defeats perennial champion Verne Gagne to win the heavyweight championship. In college football, Iowa beats Wisconsin, 45-28.

In Chicago, the Tribune is crowded with full-page ads from car dealers. Chicagoland AMC dealers will sell you a new 1976 Gremlin for $2597, although automatic transmission and air conditioning are options that will cost you more. Another full-page ad touts the 1976 Pontiac Astre hatchback, which gets 35 miles per gallon of gas on the highway and 22 in the city. The new Dodge Dart Lite gets 36 and 24. If you’d like something bigger, Dave Cory Ford in Niles, Illinois, will put you into a 1976 T-Bird for $6099. Prices on outgoing 1975 models have been cut at many dealerships. Most will be open tomorrow for your convenience.

On CBS tonight, the lineup includes The Jeffersons, Doc (a sitcom from MTM Productions starring Barnard Hughes, Elizabeth Wilson, Mary Wickes, and Professor Irwin Corey), The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and The Carol Burnett Show. NBC features Emergency! and the theatrical movie The Sugarland Express, starring Goldie Hawn and directed by Steven Spielberg. ABC’s lineup includes the variety show Saturday Night Live With Howard Cosell, cop drama SWAT, and secret agent series Matt Helm, starring Tony Franciosa. Later tonight, NBC’s Saturday Night airs its fourth episode, hosted by actress Candice Bergen with musical guest Esther Phillips. Phillips performs her current hit, “What a Difference a Day Makes.” Because The Sugarland Express bumps the late local news by 15 minutes, Saturday Night doesn’t begin until 11:45 Eastern time.

On the Billboard 200 album chart, Elton John’s Rock of the Westies becomes the second album in history to debut at #1. His Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy had been the first, earlier this year. Rock of the Westies bumps the Jefferson Starship’s Red Octopus, last week’s #1, to #2. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd is #3. Also among the Top 10: Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, Minstrel in the Gallery by Jethro Tull, and Paul Simon’s Still Crazy After All These Years. On the Hot 100, Elton’s “Island Girl” is in its second week at #1. Elton is not #1 everywhere, however. At WABC in New York, “Fly Robin Fly” by Silver Convention tops the singles chart. KHJ in Los Angeles places War’s “Low Rider” at #1. At WAKY in Louisville, the #1 song is “I’ll Go to My Grave Loving You” by the Statler Brothers, despite the fact that WAKY is a Top 40 station also playing Elton, Silver Convention, and War, among others. Clearly, they didn’t call themselves “wacky” for nothing.

November 1, 1983: Total Eclipse

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(Pictured: Bonnie Tyler performs on American Bandstand, 1983.)

November 1, 1983, is a Tuesday. One day after another Senate vote refusing to raise the debt ceiling, and after a contentious White House meeting today, President Reagan criticizes recalcitrant Republican senators in his diary. The New York Times publishes an interview with House Speaker Tip O’Neill, who blasts Reagan: ”He only works three to three-and-a-half hours a day. He doesn’t do his homework. He doesn’t read briefing papers. It’s sinful that this man is president.” Secretary of State George Shultz receives a memo stating that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has chemical weapons capability, possibly acquired from the United States. Twenty-one year old Kimberly Nelson disappears in Seattle; in 1986, her body will be found, another one of the 49 confirmed victims of the Green River Killer. The Texas Department of State Health Services begins screening all newborns for sickle-cell traits. Former major league outfielder Art Ruble, who played in 56 games with the 1927 Detroit Tigers and 19 with the 1934 Philadelphia Phillies and recorded a lifetime batting average of .207, dies at age 80, and John Alexander, who will catch eight games and pinch-hit in three others for the 2006 GCL Braves of the Gulf Coast League during his only season of professional baseball, is born.

CBS airs four soaps and four game shows during the day today, including The Price Is Right, The New $25,000 Pyramid, Press Your Luck, and Tattletales. In prime time, ABC airs new episodes of Just Our Luck (soon to be canceled), Happy Days, Oh Madeline (starring Madeline Kahn as a bored suburban housewife married to a romance novelist), and Hart to Hart. NBC’s lineup includes The A Team and Remington Steele.

Tina Turner plays Lund, Sweden, and Queensryche plays the Ritz in New York City. Stevie Ray Vaughan plays Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and ZZ Top plays Hamburg, Germany. AC/DC plays Memphis. At B96 in Chicago, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler and “Islands in the Stream” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton hold the top two spots on the survey again this week. Moving up within the top 10 are “True” by Spandau Ballet and “All Night Long” by Lionel Richie. “Say Say Say” by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney is new in the top 10. “Church of the Poison Mind” by Culture Club, “Heart and Soul” by Huey Lewis and the News, and “Suddenly Last Summer” by the Motels are the chart’s biggest movers. About 250 highway miles southwest of Chicago, at WJEQ in Macomb, Illinois, it’s the new guy’s first day. He and his wife, married six months, moved to town yesterday. He’s on the air from 5 until 8 in the evening, which is not exactly the afternoon show he thought he would be doing.

Perspective From the Present: I needed a job that fall, but Macomb was not my first choice. I’d been chasing a job in Madison, at a new station that was assembling its first staff—Magic 98. But when they never called and the offer from Macomb came in ($200 a week!), I took it. From the jump, I was not happy there. After four years part-time and full-time at KDTH, which was (unlike WJEQ) fabulously well equipped and efficiently run, I felt as though I had taken a step backward with this new job. And given the size of my ego at the age of 23, that I was too good for it.

That, of course, was probably not true. A few years ago, I found an old aircheck that must have been from my first week down there. It was terrible. I was terrible. And probably exactly where I should have been.