November 9, 1979: Rise

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(Pictured: trumpeter Herb Alpert, on stage in the late 70s.)

November 9, 1979, is a Friday. Although it won’t be widely known until years later, ballistic missile silos in the Great Plains are alerted around 8:50AM that Soviet missiles are in flight and heading for North America, after some sort of malfunction in early warning systems. The mistake is discovered before a massive retaliatory strike can be launched. As part of the alert, the so-called “Doomsday Plane” takes off, although President Carter is not on board. (It is speculated later that Pentagon officials simply couldn’t find him, although his daily schedule shows he was at the White House all morning.) Instead of presiding over the end of the world, Carter meets with several family members of Americans taken hostage in Iran five days earlier. The hostages themselves are put on public display in Tehran. Later in the day, Carter goes jogging, gets a call from his daughter Amy that he doesn’t take, and watches the movie Running.

A plot by four Iranians and a Sudanese to kidnap Minnesota Governor Albert Quie is foiled in St. Paul. The prime interest rate goes up one-quarter of a point to 15.50 percent. Future major league baseball players Dave Bush and Adam Dunn are born. Louise Thaden, who set numerous speed and endurance records as an airplane pilot in the 20s and 30s, dies three days short of her 74th birthday. Robert Taylor of Livingston, Scotland, has his trousers ripped by a spherical object that drops out of a UFO and tries to pick him up. Montgomery Ward recalls 20,000 toy telephones. A new federal law goes into effect that permits the use of metric road signs in Puerto Rico. The body of a homicide victim, a girl aged about eight years, is found in a cornfield in New York State. She will remain unidentified until 2015.

TV shows on the air tonight include The Dukes of Hazzard, Charlie’s Angels, The Incredible Hulk, and The Rockford Files. The Buzzcocks and Joy Division play the Rainbow Theatre in London, the Stranglers play Brussels, Belgium, and the Dead Kennedys play Los Angeles. The Grateful Dead play Buffalo, New York, Bob Dylan continues a two-week stand at the Fox Warfield Theater in San Francisco, and Billy Joel wraps up a two-night stand in Pittsburgh. The Moody Blues play Rotterdam in the Netherlands, the Memphis Blues Caravan plays Grand Forks, North Dakota, Andy Kaufman plays Colorado State University in Greeley, and Henny Youngman plays Norman, Oklahoma.

At WABC in New York City, new overnight jock Mike McKay makes his on-air debut. On the WABC chart this week, Herb Alpert’s “Rise” is in its second week at #1, and “Pop Muzik” by M holds at #2. The fastest mover on the chart is Barry Manilow’s cover of Ian Hunter’s song “Ships,” up to #8 from #21; other strong moves are made by Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You,” “Please Don’t Go” by KC and the Sunshine Band, and “Dreaming” by Blondie. One of the station’s new “hit picks” for the week is a record by J. D. Souther called “You’re Only Lonely,” which sounds a bit like the Eagles doing Roy Orbison. (Jackson Browne sings backup on it; Glenn Frey, Don Henley, and Don Felder play elsewhere on Souther’s album.) KDTH in Dubuque is playing it, too, and at least one of the part-time jocks digs it.

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