(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!”