April 19, 1987: Easter Bunnies

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(Pictured: Pat LaFontaine of the New York Islanders shoots and scores early in the morning of April 19, 1987.)

April 19, 1987, was Easter Sunday. Headlines on the Sunday papers include continuing nuclear-weapons control negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union and a brewing trade war between the United States and Japan in response to new American tariffs on certain Japanese goods. A feature story discusses the political future of Vice President George Bush. He’s assumed to be considering a run for president in 1988 but has yet to officially declare, even though other Republican hopefuls have done so. Bush has begun fundraising, however.

Early this morning, the New York Islanders won their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series over the Washington Capitals, taking Game 7 by a score of 4-3 at the Capital Center in Landover, Maryland. The game is decided in the fourth overtime on a goal by Pat LaFontaine after nearly 69 minutes of extra play. Today is the final day of the National Basketball Association’s regular season; the playoffs will begin on Thursday with the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics holding the top seeds. The Lakers finished the season with a league-best record of 65-and-17. In major-league baseball, the Milwaukee Brewers win their 12th straight game to open the season, coming from a 4-1 deficit in the bottom of the ninth on home runs by Rob Deer and Dale Sveum to beat the Texas Rangers 6-4. The Brewers’ win streak will reach 13 with a win over the Chicago White Sox tomorrow before the Sox snap the streak on Tuesday. Among the spectators at County Stadium in Milwaukee today is 16-year-old Craig Counsell, whose father works for the Brewers. Counsell will eventually play for and manage the team.

On TV tonight, Fox airs 21 Jump Street, Married . . . With Children, The Tracey Ullman Show, and two episodes of Duet, a sitcom about the romantic lives of two couples. The Tracey Ullman Show includes a cartoon short titled “Good Night.” It’s the first appearance of the animated Simpson family on TV. NBC airs the family drama Our House; an episode of Rags to Riches, a family comedy/drama in which the characters occasionally break into song; the holiday special Bob Hope and His Beautiful Easter Bunnies; and a one-off episode of This Is Your Life, in which host Ralph Edwards surprises Betty White and Dick Van Dyke with people from their pasts. On CBS tonight, 60 Minutes is followed by Murder She Wrote (which tops the night’s ratings) and a two-hour episode of High Mountain Rangers, an adventure series starring Robert Conrad and his sons Christian and Shane. ABC counters with its annual presentation of the 1956 movie The Ten Commandments.

Because it’s Easter Sunday, the concert calendar is fairly light. The Grateful Dead plays Laguna Hills, California, and Slayer plays Birmingham, England. Tina Turner plays Munich, Germany, and Kool and the Gang plays Denver. On the new Cash Box Top 100 that came out yesterday, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by the Starship is #1 for a third week. “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me” by Aretha Franklin and George Michael is up to #2. It swaps places with recent #1 “Lean on Me” by Club Nouveau, which is now #3. Three songs are new in the Top 10: Lou Gramm’s “Midnight Blue,” “The Finer Things” by Steve Winwood, and “Walking Down Your Street” by the Bangles. The biggest mover in the Top 40 is U2’s “With or Without You,” up seven spots to #15. Five songs are new in the Top 40 including “I Know What I Like” by Huey Lewis and the News, “If She Would Have Been Faithful” by Chicago, and Kim Wilde’s cover of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” Three songs among the Top 100 share the distinction of being around the longest, 23 weeks: “You Got It All” by the Jets, “Will You Still Love Me” by Chicago, and “Nobody’s Fool” by Cinderella, which is at #100 for the week.

Perspective From the Present: We most likely took it easy around our two-bedroom apartment in Davenport, Iowa, on this day, probably watching the Chicago Cubs lose 3-1 to the Montreal Expos. The Cubs were without announcer Harry Caray, who had suffered a stroke in February. A series of guest announcers filled in until he returned in May. The previous Monday, Detroit Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell called a near-no-hitter by Cubs pitcher Jamie Moyer. Bill Murray made his famous appearance on Friday; on this day, Chicago TV and radio personality Bob Sirott took Harry’s spot.

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2 thoughts on “April 19, 1987: Easter Bunnies

  1. I get the sense that Bob Hope was allowed/encouraged to host a whole mess of ephemeral TV specials, usually featuring some combination of middle-of-the-road entertainers, attractive young women, and sometimes prominent athletes. I wonder if any are on YouTube; I bet they’d be interesting viewing, at least for five minutes each.

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    • Hope probably had a decades-long contract with NBC. I’m not even sure *my parents* remembered a time when he was known for anything other than being Bob Hope. My favorite ’80s Hope special was the one celebrating the opening of the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum in ’81.

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