February 12, 1982: The First Big Thing

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(Pictured: Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond.)

February 12, 1982, was a Friday. This year’s Academy Award nominations were announced yesterday. Reds is up for 12 Oscars including Best Picture. On Golden Pond, the current weekly box-office champ, received 10 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Henry Fonda, Best Actress for Katharine Hepburn, and Best Supporting Actress for Jane Fonda. The other Best Picture nominees are Chariots of Fire, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Atlantic City. Today, as he leaves the White House for the long Presidents Day weekend at Camp David, President Reagan answers questions from reporters about whether American military advisors in El Salvador are carrying rifles, which would be against policy. Senators opposed to American actions in Central America are considering whether to invoke the War Powers Act and to require Reagan to get Congressional approval for them. (The El Salvador story leads network newscasts tonight.) Reagan also reiterates his insistence on budget cuts in the new fiscal year. On a pilgrimage to Africa, Pope John Paul II visits Lagos, Nigeria.

A double-elimination women’s basketball tournament involving Big Ten schools opens today in East Lansing, Michigan. The league will not officially sponsor any women’s sports until this fall; Big Ten schools compete as independents or as members of other women’s leagues. Ohio State will win the tournament championship. The Daytona 500 will be run on Sunday. Today, Tim Richmond passes Slick Johnson on the last lap to win a 30-lap consolation race at the speedway and a purse of $4,450.

On TV tonight, CBS airs first-run episodes of its popular Friday-night lineup: The Dukes of Hazzard, Dallas, and Falcon Crest. ABC opens its night with Benson, followed by sitcoms Open All Night (about an oddball family running a convenience store), Best of the West (an Old West spoof), and It’s a Living (starring Ann Jillian), before wrapping up the night with an episode of the police drama Strike Force starring Robert Stack. NBC starts with the news show NBC Magazine and follows with episodes of McClain’s Law, starring James Arness, and Cassie and Co., starring Angie Dickinson. NBC announced today that Cassie and Co. will be yanked from the schedule after next Friday’s broadcast. Also getting the axe from NBC today: the limited-run Billy Crystal Comedy Hour and Harper Valley, a sitcom starring Barbara Eden.

In Lincoln, Nebraska, stereo shoppers at the Electronics Center can save on receivers, turntables, and speakers, including Cerwin-Vega U-123s. A newspaper ad says of the speakers, “Meet the lease-breaker!” Depeche Mode plays Cardiff, Wales, the Police play the Cow Palace in San Francisco, and Alice Cooper plays Birmingham, England. Ozzy Osbourne and UFO play Cincinnati, and Prince plays Santa Monica, California. Dan Fogelberg plays Houston. On the new Cash Box magazine chart coming out tomorrow, the top three songs are in the same positions for the third week in a row: “Centerfold” by the J. Geils Band at #1, “I Can’t Go for That” by Hall and Oates at #2, and “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John at #3. “Sweet Dreams” by Air Supply and “Leader of the Band” by Dan Fogelberg are new in the Top 10. The biggest move within the Cash Box Top 40 is made by Buckner and Garcia’s “Pac Man Fever,” up 10 spots to #29; Stevie Wonder’s “That Girl” is up nine spots, from #21 to #12. On the Billboard 200 album chart, Freeze-Frame by the J. Geils Band is in its second week at #1. Filling out the Top 5: Journey’s Escape, IV by Foreigner, Hooked on Classics by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and Private Eyes by Hall and Oates. The highest-debuting album is The First Family Rides Again, a Reagan parody starring Rich Little, at #95.

Perspective From the Present: On this day, I was wrapping up the second week of my full-time radio career, on the air weekdays from 1 to 6 on KDTH in Dubuque. It was also my second week in a new apartment. But those would not be all of life’s big changes in this week. On this night, my girlfriend would be coming over. I don’t remember if we went out for dinner or stayed in, but I do remember that I gave her an engagement ring. I had planned to save it for Valentine’s Day on Sunday, but I couldn’t wait. It was the first big thing I’d bought with my princely new radio salary of $180 a week.

(I’m pleased to see that the Cash Box Archives are back online. The pop charts are up now, and country and R&B charts are supposed to be coming soon. Also: for more about the music of this week in 1982, visit good brother HERC here.)

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