June 23, 1984: Mr. Success

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(Pictured: Clarence Clemons and Bruce Springsteen onstage in the summer of 1984.)

June 23, 1984, was a Saturday. In his weekly radio address, President Reagan touts higher-than-expected economic growth figures, lower inflation, and the large percentage of small businesses planning to hire new workers. According to a government report, 12,219 Americans died for various reasons during the week that ends today. Over 1,400 of them were in New York City, 486 each in Chicago and Los Angeles, and 24 in Madison, Wisconsin.

It is the final weekend of regular season play in the United States Football League; the Arizona Wranglers clinch a playoff berth with a 35-10 win over the Los Angeles Express in a game broadcast on ESPN. Los Angeles had already qualified for the playoffs. Five more games will be played tomorrow and one on Monday night before the postseason starts next weekend. NBC’s Game of the Week features the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs. The Cubs come back from a six-run deficit and tie the game 9-9 in the bottom of the ninth on a Ryne Sandberg home run. Cardinal Willie McGee, who has already hit for the cycle and been named Player of the Game by NBC, singles in two runs in the top of the 10th to give the Cardinals an 11-9 lead. In the bottom of the 10th, Sandberg ties the game again with a second home run off Cardinals closer Bruce Sutter. The Cubs win it in the bottom of the 11th on a RBI single by Dave Owen, 12-11. A museum dedicated to former home run king Roger Maris is dedicated at West Acres Mall in Fargo, North Dakota.

Today’s episode of American Bandstand includes a performance by Slade and a video by R.E.M. On TV tonight, ABC wins the ratings battle with T. J. Hooker, The Love Boat, and Fantasy Island. CBS airs an episode of Mama Malone, a sitcom about an Italian-American woman who hosts a TV cooking show from her apartment in Brooklyn, and the 1978 theatrical film The Fury, a thriller about a government project that kidnaps children for a psychic warfare program. On NBC, Diff’rent Strokes, Silver Spoons, and Mama’s Family are followed by Mr. Success, the pilot episode for a TV series starring James Coco that was not picked up by the network, and an episode of The Rousters, an adventure series about modern-day bounty hunters descended from Wyatt Earp, which stars Chad Everett, Mimi Rogers, and Jim Varney. Connie Sellecca is on the cover of TV Guide.

Soupy Sales appears at the Bottom Line in New York City in a show that will include “uncensored outtakes” from his TV shows, and Billy Joel plays Madison Square Garden. Van Halen plays Omaha, Nebraska, and the Grateful Dead plays Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are preparing for the opening of the Born in the USA tour next week, the Boss asks a lifeguard at the hotel where he and his band are staying if she would show them around town tonight. She takes them to a club called the Village, where they end up playing an impromptu 35-minute set. At B96 in Chicago, Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” holds at #3 on the station’s new survey, behind “The Reflex” by Duran Duran and “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger, which remain at #1 and #2 again this week. “When Doves Cry” by Prince leaps from #11 to #4. Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without a Face” is the only other new song in the Top 10, at #9. Rod Stewart’s “Infatuation” makes the biggest move within the station’s top 40, up to #23 from #32 last week. “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. is up to #26 from #34. (Ghostbusters has been the top movie at the box office since its release two weekends ago.)

In Macomb, Illinois, a local radio DJ who is also a crazed Cub fan has to shut off the Cubs/Cardinals game after Sandberg’s first home run so he can go to work. When he gets to the station, he starts recording the Cubs radio broadcast so he can listen to the end of the game later in the evening, when he’ll have some downtime. And later that night, he does.


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