(Pictured: a multiple exposure of the 1991 total solar eclipse, taken in Mexico.)
July 11, 1991, is a Thursday. Headlines this morning include the inauguration of Boris Yeltsin as the first popularly elected president of Russia yesterday. A total solar eclipse is visible in Hawaii, Mexico, and parts of Central and South America. Totality, which occurs this afternoon, lasts six minutes and 53 seconds. It will be the longest solar eclipse until the year 2132. During the eclipse, a UFO is sighted over Mexico City. The eclipse leads all three network newscasts tonight. Other stories covered include contentious hearings into the nomination of Robert Gates to be CIA director, and the controversy over the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. CBS reports on a music industry agreement to tax digital audio tape and equipment that makes “mirror image” copies. In Washington, the National Women’s Political Caucus celebrates its 20th anniversary. Among those on the dais tonight are Washington mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon, former vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, former representatives Bella Abzug and Shirley Chisholm, journalist Linda Ellerbee, and author Betty Friedan.
In major-league baseball, the Toronto Blue Jays, who have the American League’s best record, open their lead in the Eastern Division to six games over the Boston Red Sox by beating Texas 2-0. The National League’s best record belongs to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who beat Cincinnati 10-6. Elsewhere, the fourth-place Milwaukee Brewers get a 5-1 win over the equally woebegone Chicago White Sox. Bill Wegman pitches a complete game for the Brewers. After tying the game in the bottom of the ninth on a home run by George Bell, the Chicago Cubs lose to Houston 6-4 in 11 innings. Both teams are largely out of the National League race.
The New England Journal of Medicine carries a report by a neurologist about a patient who suffers seizures when she hears the voice of Entertainment Tonight co-host Mary Hart. Fox airs new episodes of Beverly Hills 90210 and The Simpsons tonight. It’s the second summer that the network has tried to get more eyeballs on some of its shows by putting new episodes up against reruns on the other networks. The Simpsons noses out The Cosby Show in the ratings, but 90210 is beaten by the night’s ratings leader, Cheers. Also on NBC tonight, A Different World, Wings, and L.A. Law. ABC airs a Sea World special, an episode of Gabriel’s Fire, a detective drama starring James Earl Jones, and the newsmagazine Primetime Live. CBS trails with the reality show Top Cops, the drama The Trials of Rosie O’Neill starring Sharon Gless, and Candid Camera. On late-night TV tonight, Arsenio Hall’s guests are actor Patrick Swayze and rock band Nelson. Jay Leno fills in for Johnny Carson and welcomes actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, comedian Paul Provenza, and violinist Itzhak Perlman. Schwarzenegger’s latest movie, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, is #1 at the box office this week. It will be #1 after the coming weekend as well, withstanding the challenge of new releases Point Break (starring Swayze), Boyz N the Hood, and the reissue of Disney’s 101 Dalmatians.
Alice Cooper plays Irvine, California, and Stevie Nicks plays Dallas. Garth Brooks plays Calgary, Alberta, and Keith Jarrett plays London. Paul Simon plays Firenze, Italy, and Guns ‘n’ Roses plays Denver. On the new Billboard Hot 100 that comes out on Saturday, “Rush Rush” by Paula Abdul and “Unbelievable” by EMF hold at #1 and #2. “Right Here Right Now” by Jesus Jones is up to #3 from #5. Big movers within the Top 40 include “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, up to #12 from #20, and “Everything I Do (I Do It for You)” by Bryan Adams, up to #14 from #31. “It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over” by Lenny Kravitz is up to #18 from #25. Four songs are new in the Top 40 including “3AM Eternal” by the KLF and “Crazy” by Seal. The highest debut on the Hot 100 is “Time, Love, and Tenderness” by Michael Bolton at #59. Also debuting this week are “You Could Be Mine” by Guns ‘n’ Roses and “Unforgettable,” a manufactured duet between Natalie Cole and her late father, Nat.
In Clinton, Iowa, a radio DJ and program director shows up for work, for another day of the usual routine, summer festivals, summer promotions, and day-to-day odds and ends. If he’s started wondering whether there’s life after radio—and he will, before too much more time has passed—the feeling is still buried.