(Pictured: Jane Fonda at the premiere of On Golden Pond, 1981.)
December 21, 1981, was a Monday. Poland’s crackdown on political opposition continues after martial law was declared on December 13. Yesterday, Polish ambassador Ronauld Spasowski reportedly defected to the United States. Today, there are reports of militiamen attacking Catholic priests in Wroclaw and Gdansk. Shipyards at Gdansk have been ground zero for a series of strikes by the Solidarity labor union and its leader, Lech Walesa. President Reagan meets with top advisors regarding the situation in Poland and the federal budget for the forthcoming fiscal year. The New York Times reports today that the budget may include $45 billion in tax increases over the next two fiscal years. Reagan’s working day ends with a brief appearance at a surprise party for a departing presidential assistant. Many retailers are disappointed with sales figures for the weekend before Christmas. Shoppers are favoring larger stores and cheaper gifts as inflation continues higher than predicted.
Yesterday, the Minnesota Vikings played their final NFL game at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota, losing to Kansas City 10-6. It was their fifth straight loss, ending their season with a record of 7-and-9. In the postgame rush for souvenirs—seats, bleachers, goal posts, and chunks of sod—dozens of fans were injured. Tonight, in college basketball, Cincinnati defeats Bradley 75-73 in seven overtimes. The game was tied at 61 following 40 minutes of regulation play. Through 35 minutes of extra time, both teams play keepaway. Only one overtime period (the fourth) features more than one basket each, after neither team scored in the third overtime. The game is decided on a last-second shot by Cincinnati’s Doug Schloemer, who scores the only points in the seventh overtime.
Top box-office draws over the past weekend included Reds, On Golden Pond,and Porky’s, and new releases Sharky’s Machine starring Burt Reynolds, Neighbors starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, the re-release of Walt Disney’s Cinderella, and Absence of Malice starring Paul Newman and Sally Field. Tonight, Field stars with William Hurt in a live NBC presentation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play All the Way Home, which follows an episode of Little House on the Prairie. The CBS lineup features four sitcoms: Private Benjamin, The Two of Us (starring Mimi Kennedy as a single mom and Peter Cook as her English butler), a Christmas-themed episode of M*A*S*H, and former M*A*S*H star Wayne Rogers in House Calls, plus Lou Grant. An ABC News Closeup investigation of possible Soviet “yellow rain” chemical warfare in southeast Asia precedes the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football. The Chargers win 23-10 to capture the AFC West and knock the Denver Broncos out of the playoffs. San Diego has a bye in the opening round, which will begin with two wild-card games next Sunday.
AC/DC plays Landover, Maryland, and Black Sabbath plays Chicago. Rush plays the first of two shows at Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Duran Duran plays Birmingham, England, and U2 wraps up a two-night stand at the Lyceum Ballroom in London. Journey opens a two-night stand in Honolulu, the last dates of their Escape tour until April. At KFXM in San Bernardino, California, “Young Turks” by Rod Stewart is the new #1 song; last week’s #1, “Waiting for a Girl Like You” by Foreigner, falls to #4. (On the Billboard Hot 100, “Waiting for a Girl Like You” is in its fourth of what will eventually be 10 straight weeks at #2.) In between Rod Stewart and Foreigner are “Leather and Lace” by Stevie Nicks and Don Henley and “Trouble” by Lindsey Buckingham. Three songs are new in the Top 10: “Heart Like a Wheel” by Steve Miller, “I Can’t Go for That” by Hall and Oates, and “Yesterday’s Songs” by Neil Diamond. Those three take the places of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” by the Police, and “Oh No” by the Commodores.
Perspective From the Present: The first semester of my senior year in college was over, and I had just completed a third semester as program director of the campus radio station. Come spring, I would take 13 credits, most of which was independent study or internship, because in February I would start my first full-time radio job at KDTH in Dubuque. In early January, a fire in my college apartment would accelerate my timetable for moving to Dubuque, but on this day, I was merely looking forward to Christmas.