(Pictured: REO Speedwagon in the summer of 1985.)
August 16, 1985, was a Friday. The lead story on all three network newscasts tonight is reaction to a major speech by South African President P. W. Botha, who made no promises of any policy changes by the country’s apartheid government. Nevertheless, Reagan administration officials say the speech contained principles that could help bring an end to apartheid; Democrats in Congress suggest that a South Africa sanctions bill likely would pass, and probably with enough support to override a presidential veto. Another of the stories covered by all three networks is the aftermath of Monday’s toxic chemical leak at a Union Carbide plant in West Virginia. NBC Nightly News closes its broadcast with a profile of New York real estate developer Donald Trump. New York City’s utility companies are struggling to keep up with the demand for electricity during a ferocious heat wave. Several downtown buildings suffered power failures yesterday, and Mayor Ed Koch urged businesses to close and send their employees home. Authorities actually tried to keep people from entering Lower Manhattan by closing streets and reversing incoming traffic lanes on the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, causing massive traffic jams. Today, the remnants of Hurricane Danny, which made landfall in Louisiana yesterday, cause a tornado outbreak in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee.
A full schedule of games is played in the majors. In Chicago this afternoon, the Cubs blow a 5-2 lead in the top of the eighth only to push across a run in the bottom of the inning on a bunt single by Chris Speier to win 6-5. The St. Louis Cardinals take a one-game lead in the National League East when they beat Montreal 6-1 and the New York Mets lose to Pittsburgh 7-1. NFL training camps are open; a full schedule of preseason games will be played on Sunday. New movies opening this weekend include Volunteers, starring Tom Hanks and John Candy, the zombie comedy Return of the Living Dead, and Year of the Dragon. Older releases still packing theaters include Back to the Future, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, and National Lampoon’s European Vacation.
In Malibu, California, Madonna and Sean Penn get married, on Madonna’s 27th birthday. Celebrities attending include Tom Cruise, Cher, Carrie Fisher, David Letterman, and Christopher Walken. The Replacements play New York City and R.E.M. plays Toronto. Whitney Houston plays Houston, Texas, and Diana Ross plays Denver. Joan Armatrading plays Salt Lake City and Jane’s Addiction plays Hollywood. Donny and Marie Osmond play Salinas, California. Marie is a guest on this weekend’s edition of the syndicated TV show Solid Gold. Tonight’s network TV lineup is mostly reruns. On ABC, it’s Webster, Mr. Belvidere, Benson, an episode of Off the Rack, a sitcom set in in a Los Angeles garment manufacturing company starring Ed Asner and Eileen Brennan, and a special called World’s Funniest Commercial Goofs. CBS starts its night with The Dukes of Hazzard, then repeats the 1982 TV movie Not Just Another Affair, which stars Victoria Principal as a marine biologist trying to maintain her virginity until her wedding night despite being engaged to a randy lawyer played by Gil Gerard. NBC airs Knight Rider, an episode of a short-lived variety series The Motown Revue Starring Smokey Robinson, and Miami Vice, the highest-rated show of the night.
On the American Top 40 show that will be heard around the country this weekend, “Shout” by Tears for Fears spends another week at #1. “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News moves from #5 to #2, leapfrogging “Never Surrender” by Corey Hart and “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” by Sting. Pat Benatar’s “Invincible” makes the week’s biggest move, up eight from #25 to #17. “Cherish” by Kool and the Gang is up seven spots, from #22 to #15. Six songs are new in the Top 40. The highest debut belongs to “Live Every Moment” by REO Speedwagon at #35. “Dress You Up” by Madonna makes its Hot 100 debut at #36.
In Macomb, Illinois, a young radio guy prepares for another weekend. Earlier this month, he and his Mrs. drove an hour-and-a-half to Peoria on a Tuesday night to see Huey Lewis and the News with the Neville Brothers. Today, his ticket stub is tacked to the bulletin board in the kitchen of the couple’s one-bedroom basement apartment. Thirty-three years later, he suspects he might still have it somewhere, because a memento from such a fine night doesn’t get thrown away.