October 16, 1978: Virtuous and Vicious

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(Pictured: Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols, on the right, on his way to court in October 1978.)

October 16, 1978, is a Monday. In Rome, Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, the current archbishop of Krakow, Poland, is elected pope and takes the name John Paul II. He is the first non-Italian pope since 1523. The Supreme Court refuses to get involved in the case of a group of Nazis who want to march in the largely Jewish Chicago suburb of Skokie; it appears that the march will go on as planned. A study on controlling pine vole infestation begins at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Hispanic Americans are featured on the current edition of Time magazine. The cover story notes that Hispanics are the fastest growing minority group in the United States and “are bidding to become an increasingly influential one.” Herbert A. Simon wins the Nobel Prize for economics. Actor Dan Dailey dies at age 62; he had been in several movie musicals during the 40s and 50s and starred in the TV series The Governor and J.J., which ran in 1969 and 1970. On TV tonight: M*A*S*H and Little House on the Prairie.

Oklahoma tops the new Associated Press college football poll; Penn State is #2. In the NFL yesterday, the Green Bay Packers jumped out to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter and beat the Seattle Seahawks 45-28 to raise their record to 6-and-1. After losing Game 5 last night at Yankee Stadium, the Los Angeles Dodgers are on the brink of elimination in the World Series. The Yankees will take Game 6 tomorrow night and win the series.  The new NBA season opened over the weekend; new Detroit Pistons coach Dick Vitale is in the hospital after two games with an intestinal infection. NBA star Marvin “The Human Eraser” Webster of the New York Knicks is on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

On TV tonight, the CBS lineup includes WKRP in Cincinnati, M*A*S*H, One Day at a Time, and Lou Grant. ABC shows Welcome Back Kotter, Operation Petticoat, and Monday Night Football with the Chicago Bears at the Denver Broncos. NBC has a 90-minute episode of Little House on the Prairie followed by the first-run TV movie Human Feelings, starring Billy Crystal as an angel trying to find six virtuous people in Las Vegas to keep God, played by Nancy Walker, from destroying the city. The Sex Pistols’ record company wires the group’s manager $50,000 to bail Sid Vicious out of jail, where he’s held on suspicion of murdering his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen. Jethro Tull and Uriah Heep play Buffalo, Little Feat plays Champaign, Illinois, and Santana plays the Bottom Line in New York City. Today’s Peanuts strip features Snoopy as “the world-famous disco dancer.” At WRKO in Boston, Donna Summer’s disco version of “MacArthur Park” vaults to #1, knocking off Exile’s “Kiss You All Over” (now #3) and leaping over the Little River Band’s “Reminiscing” (now #2), among others. Farther down the chart is an album track from Bob Seger’s Stranger in Town, “Till it Shines,” at #15, “” by City Boy at #16, and the title track from Van Morrison’s new album Wavelength at #24.

Among the songs not yet charted at WRKO is Hall and Oates’ passive-aggressive “It’s a Laugh.” In Wisconsin, it’s right in the wheelhouse of an unhappy college freshman who, despite the fact that he is finally getting started with the radio career he has always wanted, is having the worst month of his life.


One thought on “October 16, 1978: Virtuous and Vicious

  1. “Til It Shines” is a great cut from Bob Seger’s album, “Stranger in Town” featuring these terrific lyrics;
    “Like an echo down a canyon
    Never coming back as clear
    Lately I just judge the distance
    Not the words I hear”

    I also remember playing the song “5-7-0-5” by City Boy on college radio.


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