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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April 6, 1982: Freeze-Frame

(Pictured: the Go-Gos, approaching peak 80-tude.)

April 6, 1982, is a Tuesday. By presidential proclamation issued today, it’s Parliamentary Emphasis Month. British prime minister Margaret Thatcher says she will not resign over her handling of the seizure of the Falkland Islands by Argentina last Friday. A blizzard that blasted the Midwest yesterday rolls east, with heavy snow followed by record cold. Many areas report thundersnow, with cloud-to-ground lightning in the midst of whiteout conditions. Baseball season openers are cancelled from Chicago to New York. One game that is not postponed today is the first-ever regular season Minnesota Twins game in the new Metrodome; the Twins lose to Seattle 11 to 7. The space shuttle Columbia, bolted to a 747, is flown back to the Kennedy Space Center from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico; next Monday, it will be launched on its maiden flight into space. A couple in Somersworth, New Hampshire, opens a trunk that had been stored in a dark basement for at least 20 years; inside they find the mummified bodies of four newborn infants wrapped in newspapers dated 1949 to 1952. The case will never be solved. Former Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas, the first sitting justice forced to resign (in 1969), died yesterday at age 71. Future pro hockey player Travis Moen is born.

The ABC-TV lineup tonight includes Happy Days, Joanie Loves Chachi, Three’s Company, Too Close for Comfort, and Hart to Hart. CBS has an episode of the adventure series Q.E.D., starring Sam Waterston and set in pre-World War I England, and the theatrical movie Love and Bullets. NBC counters with two animated Easter specials, a repeat of a Steve Martin special, and the premiere of a new variety show called The Shape of Things. The show, which is aimed at a female audience and intends to take a feminist point of view, features the Chippendales dancers as regulars and will last only three episodes amid complaints about its content. Chariots of Fire, which won Best Picture at the Oscars last week, continues to pack ’em in at theaters, as does On Golden Pond, with Best Actor Henry Fonda. The biggest star of the moment, however, is Richard Pryor: Some Kind of Hero was the top-grossing new film of the past weekend, while Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip remained in the top 10. The #1 film overall this past week was Porky’s. No new movies will open on the coming weekend, which is Easter.

The Grateful Dead plays Philadelphia, Ozzy Osbourne plays Providence, Rickie Lee Jones plays Cleveland, Mike Oldfield plays Dunedin, New Zealand, Tommy Tutone plays Minneapolis, and Rush plays Baton Rouge, Louisiana. At WLS in Chicago, the #1 song on the station’s survey dated April 3, 1982, is “I Love Rock & Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, for a fourth week; the Go Go’s Beauty and the Beat album is #1 for an eighth week.  Both the Go Gos and the J. Geils Band have two records in the station’s top 10: “We Got the Beat” and “Our Lips Are Sealed” are at #2 and #6; “Centerfold” and “Freeze Frame” are at #3 and #9. “Freeze Frame” made one of the week’s biggest moves, blasting from #20 to #9, but “Titles” from Chariots of Fire made the biggest, from #45 to #19. Other major moves this week are made by “867-5309/Jenny” by Tommy Tutone” (#26 to #11), and “Don’t Talk to Strangers” by Rick Springfield (#35 to #23).

Perspective From the Present: I’d been working full-time at KDTH for a couple of months, and if 1982 was the year the station started carrying broadcasts of my then-beloved Chicago Cubs, I probably spent some time running the board during games. They opened in Cincinnati and missed the blizzard. I expect it was cold in my one-bedroom apartment because it was that kind of place, but the rest of that week is gone down the memory hole.

January 1, 1982: Start Me Up

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(Pictured: the Stones onstage in Chicago, November 1981.)

January 1, 1982, is a Friday. At midnight, CNN launches a second channel known as CNN2, later to be renamed Headline News. The top story in the news regards the ongoing unrest in Poland and resistance to martial law, which was declared on December 13. Solidarity labor union chief Lech Walesa has been detained by Polish authorities, and American officials don’t know if he’s negotiating with those authorities. Peruvian diplomat Javier Perez de Cuellar takes over as Secretary-General of the United Nations, succeeding Kurt Waldheim. He will serve until 1991. The Justice Department announces that it will resume negotiations with AT&T in hopes of resolving its seven-year attempt to break up the company without going to court. Air-traffic controllers’ union chief Robert Poli has resigned, in hopes it might help persuade President Reagan to rehire the 11,500 striking controllers fired last August, but a spokesman says the president will not change his position. The Reagans welcomed the New Year at a party in Palm Springs, California. The 17-game college football bowl season ends with five games today. Clemson, ranked #1 in the latest poll, claims the national championship with a 22-15 win over #4 Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. Sixth-ranked Texas will be named national runner-up after beating #3 Alabama 14-12 in the Cotton Bowl. In the Sugar Bowl, Pittsburgh is a 24-20 winner over #2 Georgia. Penn State wins the Fiesta Bowl over USC 26-10; in the Rose Bowl, Washington shuts down Iowa 28-0.

In today’s Peanuts strip, Charlie Brown philosophizes about new years. The top movie at the box office is Sharkey’s Machine starring Burt Reynolds. Other big hits include Modern Problems starring Chevy Chase, Absence of Malice starring Paul Newman and Sally Field, the Warren Beatty film Reds, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, which has been out since last June. Victor Buono, famed for playing King Tut in the 1960s Batman TV series, dies at 43. On TV tonight, the first episode of The McLaughlin Group airs on PBS. With ABC and NBC carrying bowl games, CBS counters with episodes of The Dukes of Hazzard, Dallas, and Falcon Crest. McLean Stevenson and Eddie Murphy are Johnny’s guests on the Tonight Show. Billy Idol plays a Boston club called the Channel, and Chuck Berry plays the Roxy in West Hollywood with Tina Turner. The show is filmed and broadcast in November 1982. Ozzy Osbourne plays Phoenix. The Michael Stanley Band concludes a two-night stand at Richfield Coliseum in Cleveland; the hometown heroes set an attendance record at the venue, drawing in excess of 40,000 people over the two nights.

In Chicago, WLS has seen out the old year by counting down the Big 89 of 1981, topped by the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up.” “I Love You” by the Climax Blues Band ranked #2, and “Hold On Loosely” by .38 Special came in at #3. The year’s top album was Hi Infidelity by REO Speedwagon; three singles from the album were among the Big 89: “Keep On Lovin’ You (#21), “Take It on the Run” (#27), and “Don’t Let Him Go” (#77). Paradise Theater by Styx is was the #2 album for the year. “Don’t Let It End” and “Too Much Time on My Hands” both made the Big 89, at #9 and #33 respectively. On the regular weekly chart at WLS, Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” and “Private Eyes” by Hall and Oates hold at #1 and #2. “Centerfold” by the J. Geils Band takes a big leap from #8 to #3. The hottest record on the chart is “I Can’t Go for That” by Hall and Oates, blasting from #36 to #13 this week. The highest debut of the week is “Oh No” by the Commodores at #28. The #1 album, for the eighth week, is IV by Foreigner.

Perspective From the Present: On New Year’s Day 1982, I board-opped the radio broadcast of the Rose Bowl on KDTH in Dubuque. The night before, I’d done the New Year’s Eve countdown, but I don’t remember much about it, apart from having shared an illicit split of champagne at midnight with the guy board-opping the New Year’s Eve countdown on the FM station. After work, I must have gone home to my college apartment in Platteville, where I would have been alone. The Mrs., who was not yet The Mrs., was at the annual New Year’s Eve overnight bacchanal with the rest of the group of my friends known as the Crew. A New Year never comes in that I don’t think of those parties, and those people. All these years later, we still see each other now and then.

October 1, 1982: Fast Times

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(Pictured: John Cougar on American Bandstand, 1982.)

(Note to patrons: now that October is here, there are going to be lots of posts on this blog, as I have lots of October days to draw from.)

October 1, 1982, is a Friday. In Orlando, Florida, EPCOT Center opens, on the 11th anniversary of the opening of Walt Disney World. In Chicago, more deaths are reported from cyanide-laced Tylenol capsules hidden on store shelves, bringing the total to seven. The crime will never be solved. West German chancellor Helmut Schmidt loses a vote of confidence in Parliament and will be replaced by Helmut Kohl. President Ronald Reagan attends a luncheon marking the start of the 1982 term of the Supreme Court, which will begin on Monday. He also writes to Republican Congressional leaders to reiterate his support for a Constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget, which is nevertheless defeated in the House of Representatives today. The Nordic Association for Clinical Sexology wraps up its fifth conference in Sigtuna, Sweden. In Michigan, a new law takes effect regulating the activities of rendering plants and other matters related to the disposal of dead animals. The Baltimore Orioles take both games of a doubleheader from the Milwaukee Brewers, 8-3 and 7-1, cutting the Brewers’ lead in the American League Eastern Division to one game with two to play.

Shows on TV tonight include the premiere episode of Remington Steele, the second episode of Knight Rider starring David Hasselhoff, and the sixth-season opener of Dallas. New movies in theaters for the weekend include My Favorite Year and Sorceress. The top-grossing movies are E.T., An Officer and a Gentleman, Amityville II: The Possession, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Sony’s first consumer CD player, the CDP-101, goes on sale in Japan. When it hits the American market next year, the list price will be $800, unless you want a remote control—then it’s $1000. Warren Zevon plays the Capitol Theater in Passaic, New Jersey, and AC/DC plays Leeds, England. In California, Olivia Newton-John plays Oakland and Metallica plays Anaheim. On the new Billboard Hot 100, which comes out tomorrow, “Jack and Diane” by John Cougar takes the #1 spot, knocking “Abracadabra” by the Steve Miller Band to #2. (Cougar’s “Hurts So Good” is at #10.) The songs in positions 3 through 8 hold from the previous week. (In fact, 21 of the week’s top 40 songs hold the same positions as the previous week.) The lone new entry in the Top 10 is “I Keep Forgettin'” by Michael McDonald at #9—it replaces “Love Is in Control” by Donna Summer, which plunges all the way to #59. (Last week’s #11 song, “Take It Away” by Paul McCartney, takes an even bigger fall to #66.) The biggest move within the Top 40 is enormous: Olivia Newton-John blasts from #39 to #13 with “Heart Attack.” Juice Newton’s “Break It to Me Gently” is up 12 spots from #27 to #15. The highest debut within the Top 40 is “Heartlight” by Neil Diamond at #35. “Up Where We Belong” by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes is new at #36.

In Dubuque, Iowa, the afternoon jock at KDTH looks forward to Sunday, when he will be at Wrigley Field in Chicago for the Cubs’ season finale against the St. Louis Cardinals. He and his friends will watch the scoreboard to see if the Brewers can hold off the Orioles and win the division championship. (They do.) Always conscious of his regrets, he has noticed that “Wasted on the Way” by Crosby, Stills and Nash, which is at #92 after spending most of the summer on the radio, sounds particularly appropriate now that autumn has arrived.

September 21, 1982: I Got the Shaft

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(Pictured: Frank Zappa sits for a portrait, 1982.)

September 21, 1982, was a Tuesday. It is the first observance of World Peace Day. Following last night’s NFL game (a 27-19 Green Bay Packers win over the New York Giants), players go on strike. The impasse will last 57 days before games resume in November. In San Francisco, the iconic cable car system closes for a renovation project. The project will be completed in June 1984. In Lebanon, Amin Gemayel is elected president, succeeding his brother Bashir, who was elected last month but was assassinated before he could take office. Reagan has announced that in response to the ongoing crisis in Lebanon, U.S. Marines will be sent back to Beirut as peacekeepers. Today, Reagan meets with American negotiators about to depart for arms reduction talks in Geneva and Vienna, and he appoints six members to the Board of Trustees of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, including actors Cary Grant and Dina Merrill. He also speaks at a fundraising luncheon for Republican U.S. Senate candidate David Emery of Maine.

Fifteen games are played in the majors, including two doubleheaders in New York, where the Yankees split with Cleveland and the Mets split with Montreal. Attendance for the latter is announced at 2,251. At the end of the day’s action, the California Angels lead the American League West by two games over Kansas City; the Milwaukee Brewers lead the AL East by two over Baltimore. Division leaders in the National League are Los Angeles in the West and St. Louis in the East. The Cardinals lose to the Phillies tonight 5-2 as Phillies ace Steve Carlton wins his 21st game.

Frank and Moon Zappa appear on Good Morning America to discuss the “Valley Girl” phenomenon. Cartoon Express premieres on USA Network. It’s a daily late-afternoon block of Hanna-Barbera reruns, and will air in various forms until 1996. The network TV lineups tonight are almost entirely reruns: ABC airs Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Three’s Company, Too Close for Comfort, and Hart to Hart; CBS shows The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie and the theatrical movie Hero at Large, starring John Ritter. On NBC, a two-hour episode of Father Murphy, starring Merlin Olsen, is followed by a news special called The Man Who Shot the Pope, about the 1981 attack on John Paul II and its possible terrorist connections. Later on NBC, Johnny Carson welcomes actor Richard Harris and comedian Charlie Callas. Callas fails to get many laughs, so Carson whistles a “bomb” sound, and in response, Callas gives him a shove that’s intended to be playful. Johnny doesn’t take it that way, and tells Callas on the air that he will never be invited back on the show. And he won’t be.

The Grateful Dead play Madison Square Garden, Van Halen plays Oklahoma City, Rush plays Salt Lake City, the Go Gos play Lakeland, Florida, and Judas Priest plays Chicago. The Harvard Crimson publishes a review of Elvis Costello’s latest album, Imperial Bedroom. In the Los Angeles Times, critic Robert Hilburn takes a nostalgic look back at the Whisky A Go-Go; the legendary nightspot closed on Sunday night. In today’s Peanuts strip, Charlie Brown has a question for Linus.

At WBEN in Buffalo, the top four songs on the station’s survey are unchanged from the previous week: “Jack and Diane” by John Cougar, “You Should Hear How She Talks About You” by Melissa Manchester, “Jump to It” by Aretha Franklin, and “I Keep Forgettin'” by Michael McDonald. “Love Come Down” by Evelyn “Champagne” King debuts at #5. The only other song new in the Top 10 is “Somebody’s Baby” by Jackson Browne. “Heart Attack” by Olivia Newton-John and “Heartlight” by Neil Diamond are both up 14 spots for the week, sitting at #11 and #12. Halfway across the country at KDTH in Dubuque, Iowa, the afternoon jock is not playing any of these. His show is more likely to feature the nation’s current #1 country hit, “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)” by Jerry Reed.

(Note from the proprietor: e-mail subscribers to this blog and followers on Twitter and Tumblr received an early draft of this post yesterday in error. Should you happen to walk under my office window, please be aware that hot garbage in the form of my new laptop may come flying out of the window at any moment.)