April 28, 1969: Outcasts and Sit-Ins

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(Pictured: Don Murray and Otis Young in The Outcasts, a western that aired on ABC in 1968 and 1969.)

April 28, 1969, is a Monday. Yesterday, voters in France rejected a referendum that would have modernized the country’s armed forces. Today, President Charles de Gaulle, who had backed the referendum, resigns from office. De Gaulle, who led the Free French during World War II, served briefly as president in 1945 and 1946, but his current term began in 1958. Among his official communications today, President Nixon sends a message to De Gaulle, and condolences to Bolivia following the death of that country’s president. He also asks Congress to create a commission to develop a plan for “meaningful self-government” in the District of Columbia. In a Rose Garden ceremony, Nixon presents the National Teacher of the Year Award to English teacher Barbara Goleman of Miami.

Around the country, college students stage a variety of protests. An armed group takes over the administration building at Voorhees College, a historically black institution in Denmark, South Carolina. The students’ list of demands includes the establishment of a black studies program, raises for non-academic staff members including cooks and janitors, and a rule that no student should be compelled to attend classes. The standoff will end tomorrow with the arrest of approximately 25 protesters, although only seven will be charged. At St. Louis University, members of the Association of Black Collegians peacefully occupy a campus building for about 12 hours. Although school policy is to disperse such protests by force, university president Paul Reinert chooses to negotiate. He says the school will address the students’ concerns, including investigating the harassment of black students, hiring more black maintenance personnel and security officers, and establishing an office of black student affairs. At Memphis State University, more than 100 students, both black and white, are arrested after a sit-in at the university president’s office. The president had refused student requests to invite controversial New York Congressman Adam Clayton Powell to speak on campus.

Michigan representative Gerald Ford gives a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, where he tells the following joke: “You know what an atheist is, don’t you? It’s a guy who doesn’t care how the game between Notre Dame and Southern Methodist comes out.” In today’s Peanuts strip, Charlie Brown is confident about the outcome of a baseball game. In Santa Rosa, California, Redwood Empire Ice Arena opens with a show featuring Olympic figure skater Peggy Fleming, the Vince Guaraldi Trio, the cast of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and master of ceremonies Joe Garagiola. The arena is owned by Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz. Joe Burg, who played in 13 games for the National League’s Boston Doves (later the Braves) in 1910, dies at age 86. Eight games are played in the majors today. The Chicago Cubs beat Philadelphia 2-1 in 10 innings to run their record to 15-and-6, the best in major league baseball. In the American League, the Baltimore Orioles also have 15 wins, but their game tonight in Cleveland against Indians is postponed due to a forecast of rain. The Indians have dropped 10 in a row on the way to a 1-and-15 start.

Tonight, ABC-TV airs western series The Big Valley and The Outcasts. The latter is a post-Civil War drama starring Otis Young and Don Murray as a freed slave and a former Confederate soldier who form a partnership as bounty hunters. NBC airs a variety special called The Spring Thing, hosted by Noel Harrison and Bobbie Gentry and starring, among others, Goldie Hawn, Rod McKuen, Shirley Bassey, and Harpers Bizarre. Tonight’s CBS schedule includes an episode of The Carol Burnett Show.

The Who plays in Sunderland, England, and the Doors tape a performance in New York City. It will be part of a profile of the band to be broadcast June 25 on the public television series PBS Critique. At KDWB in Minneapolis, “Hawaii Five-O” by the Ventures shoots to #1 on the station’s new survey from #15 last week. “Hair” by the Cowsills falls from #1 to #2, and “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show” by Neil Diamond holds at #3. Also hot: “Will You Be Staying After Sunday” by Peppermint Rainbow, up to #4 from #14. “It’s Your Thing” by the Isley Brothers is also new in the Top 10 at #10, while “Do Your Thing” by Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band is at #12, up from #22. New songs among the Top 30 include “Pinball Wizard” by the Who and “Love (Can Make You Happy)” by Mercy.

Perspective From the Present: “Love (Can Make You Happy)” is another record about which I’m  completely irrational. Mercy was from Florida, and their song came out on a local Tampa label sounding half-amateurish and all great.

 

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April 22, 1977: Get Next to You

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(Pictured: the Captain and Tennille.)

April 22, 1977, is a Friday. In the morning papers, it’s reported that Social Security recipients will get a 5.9 percent increase effective July 1. Members of Congress and leaders of the postal unions criticize a proposal to cut mail service from six days a week to five. This morning, President Jimmy Carter holds a press conference. He is asked mostly about energy policy, and he suggests that if Congress doesn’t adopt his energy plan, he could use his presidential powers to mandate gas rationing. Shimon Peres becomes acting prime minister of Israel after Yitzhak Rabin steps down. Late last night and early this morning, people in Dover, Massachusetts, claim to have seen an unidentified creature with glowing eyes that will be nicknamed the Dover Demon.

Cleveland TV station WJW-TV becomes WJKW. On TV today, Dinah Shore welcomes Pearl Bailey, Mel Tillis, and Mel Torme and their children to Dinah! Sonny and Cher announce that they will end the current reincarnation of their variety show at the end of the current TV season. David Frost and Richard Nixon tape their final interview to be broadcast this summer. Future FC Barcelona soccer player Mark Van Bommel is born, and former major league pitcher Rube Yarrison, who pitched in 21 games for the Philadelphia Athletics and Brooklyn Dodgers over two seasons in the 1920s, dies. Movies in the theaters include Rocky, Airport 77, Slap Shot, Taxi Driver, and All the President’s Men.

The Grateful Dead plays Philadelphia, Boston plays Greensboro, North Carolina, Rush plays Binghamton, New York, Elvis Presley plays Detroit, AC/DC and Black Sabbath play Goteborg, Sweden, and Pink Floyd opens its “In the Flesh” tour with a show in Miami. At WLS in Chicago, “Rich Girl” by Hall and Oates tops the new survey that will come out tomorrow. “Don’t Give Up on Us” by David Soul makes a strong move from #7 to #2; “Southern Nights” by Glen Campbell moves from #9 to #3. New in the Top 10 is “When I Need You” by Leo Sayer, moving to #8 from #11. The biggest movers are “I Wanna Get Next to You” by Rose Royce, up 11 spots, and “Lido Shuffle” by Boz Scaggs and “Can’t Stop Dancin’” by the Captain and Tennille, up nine. The top two albums are unchanged for the sixth straight week: the soundtrack from A Star Is Born is #1 (for the ninth week overall), Hotel California by the Eagles is #2.

In Wisconsin, a high-school junior and his girlfriend (who very much likes the Captain and Tennille, to her boyfriend’s great chagrin) celebrate her birthday. Years later, he won’t be able to remember what they did that night, but it’s enough to guess.

April 15, 1990: Lead You Back

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(Pictured: Greta Garbo, 1931.)

April 15, 1990, is Easter Sunday. The nuclear-armed nations of India and Pakistan remain nose-to-nose over the disputed province of Kashmir. At Cape Canaveral, preparations continue for the April 24 launch of the space shuttle Discovery, which will deploy the Hubble Space Telescope. Eruptions continue at Mount Redoubt, a volcano in Alaska. This series of eruptions will be the second-costliest in American history behind Mt. St. Helens in 1980. The New York Times publishes data showing that the median price of a house in the United States was $95,400 in February. A world record for tallest sand sculpture (17 feet, 5 3/4 inches) is set in Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia.

Movie icon Greta Garbo dies at age 89, and U.S. Senator Spark Matsunaga of Hawaii dies at age 73; future Harry Potter actress Emma Watson is born. The top movies at the box office this weekend are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pretty Woman, The Hunt for Red October, and Ernest Goes to Jail. The Miss Universe pageant is held in Los Angeles; the winner is Miss Norway, Mona Grudt; Miss USA Carole Gist is first runnerup. Payne Stewart wins the MCI Heritage Golf Classic, but Greg Norman continues to lead the world golf rankings; Nick Faldo, who won the Masters last Sunday, is ranked second. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum tops the paperback best-seller lists.

The sketch comedy series In Living Color premieres on Fox. Also on Fox tonight, The Outsiders, a series based on the S. E. Hinton novel, the 21 Jump Street spinoff Booker starring Richard Grieco, and The Simpsons. NBC airs an episode of The Magical World of Disney. In the first-ever Sunday night baseball game broadcast on ESPN, the Montreal Expos beat the New York Mets 3 to 1. On MTV, 120 Minutes features videos by Depeche Mode, the Cure, and Stone Roses. On the radio, The Dr. Demento Show features music and comedy bits about television, but the top song on the weekly Funny Five is, once again, “Fish Heads” by Barnes and Barnes.

Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan play in suburban Detroit. Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour continues its opening stand in Tokyo. Paul McCartney plays Miami, and Fleetwood Mac plays Sydney, Australia. Janet Jackson plays Houston. On the current Billboard Hot 100, the new #1 song is “I’ll Be Your Everything” by Tommy Page, taking out Taylor Dayne’s “Love Will Lead You Back,” which falls to #5. Also among the Top 5: “Don’t Wanna Fall in Love” by Jane Child, “All Around the World” by Lisa Stansfield, and “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor. The lone new song in the Top 10 is “I Wanna Be Rich” by Calloway, moving to #6 from #11. The highest-debuting song of the week within the Top 40 is “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You” by Heart, which comes in at #26 from #41. Madonna’s “Vogue” makes its Hot 100 debut at #39.

The new jock at a tiny radio station in small-town Iowa has to go back to work tomorrow. He’s been there about three weeks. It’s a job he needed more than he wanted, although it will eventually have its satisfactions.

April 9, 1976: Winners and Losers

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(Pictured: Helen Reddy, circa 1976.)

April 9, 1976, is a Friday. Frisch’s Big Boy Restaurants in the greater Cincinnati area invite you in for fish fillets tonight with fries, salad, and a roll for $1.60. It’s the second day of the major-league baseball season, but only two games were played yesterday; 16 teams open their seasons today, including the Chicago Cubs, who lose to the Cardinals 5-0 in St. Louis. On a trip to Texas, President Ford visits the Alamo in San Antonio during the morning and then goes to Dallas. He throws out the first pitch at the Texas Rangers’ season opener, staying only for the first inning. In the first pro sports event at the new Seattle Kingdome, Pele scores two goals as the New York Cosmos defeat the Seattle Sounders in pro soccer, 2-1. Folksinger Phil Ochs, most famous for “I Ain’t Marching Anymore,” hangs himself; he was 35. A strong earthquake kills eight people in Ecuador. In Nagoya, Japan, a 13-year-old boy takes a series of photos that seem to show a UFO. In Syracuse, New York, the Onondaga County Public Library unveils its new logo. In Madison, Wisconsin, the first edition of a new weekly newspaper, Isthmus, is laid out in the living room of one of its co-founders.

New movies in theaters include All the President’s Men starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford and Alfred Hitchcock’s Family Plot. On daytime TV, Foster Brooks ends a week co-hosting The Mike Douglas Show; guests today include Gloria Swanson, Frankie Valli, and Geraldo Rivera. The Merv Griffin Show welcomes Kaye Ballard, Jack Jones, comedian Charlie Callas and impressionist Marilyn Michaels. In prime time, the animated special The First Easter Rabbit, featuring the voices of Burl Ives and Robert Morse, airs on NBC, and so does The Rockford Files. CBS airs an episode of Sara, starring Brenda Vaccaro as a schoolteacher in an 1870 Colorado town. She will be nominated for an Emmy, but the show will end after 13 episodes.

Rush plays the Indianapolis Coliseum with special guests Ted Nugent and the Sutherland Brothers and Quiver. On separate bills, Genesis and Donovan play New York City. The Electric Light Orchestra and Journey play Huntsville, Alabama. Bruce Springsteen plays Colgate University in Hamilton, New York.

The Midnight Special airs on NBC following Johnny Carson. Host Helen Reddy welcomes Fleetwood Mac, who perform a blazing version of their new hit “Rhiannon.” Also on the show, Gary Wright, Barry Manilow, Queen, and Hamilton Joe Frank & Reynolds, who perform “Fallin’ in Love” with Reddy and their recent hit “Winners and Losers,” and then come back for a second spot doing “Every Day Without You.”

Perspective From the Present: I was equipment manager of the high school baseball team, and we had a scrimmage on that Friday after school. That night, a couple of friends and I went to the local drive-in theater for what I recall as some terrible movies (although I don’t remember what they were), killing time until midnight. The Key Club at my high school was putting on a marathon basketball game that weekend, in which teams signed up to play for an hour at a time from Friday afternoon through Sunday night. I was on a team scheduled to play at midnight and again at 5AM, so the night of April 9 and 10, 1976, marked the first time I ever stayed up all night. Spring break (known to us then as Easter vacation) started on Monday the 12th. On the Tuesday the 13th, I passed my behind-the-wheel test and got my driver’s license; on Wednesday the 14th, the local radio station said they’d hire me for the summer—although they didn’t follow through on that.

An eventful few days, for sure.

April 6, 1982: Freeze-Frame

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(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.

April 22, 1986: Abuzz

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(Pictured: Prince appears at the American Music Awards in January 1986.)

April 22, 1986, is a Tuesday. The nation is abuzz this morning over last night’s syndicated TV special The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults, hosted by Geraldo Rivera, during which a chamber below the Lexington Hotel in Chicago, where Capone had once lived, was opened on live TV. It did not contain cars, bodies, or money as hoped, only dirt and old empty bottles. Thirty-five percent of TV homes in America watched. In Madison, Wisconsin, just after 4AM, 20-year-old convenience store clerk Andrew Nehmer is murdered. Decades from now, a possible suspect will be identified, but the murder will remain unsolved. Western diplomats continue discussions about a further crackdown on Libya, one week after retaliatory American bombing raids on Tripoli and Benghazi. The Libyan government is accused of sponsoring the April 5 terrorist bombing of a Berlin disco frequented by American soldiers, in which two Americans were killed and 79 wounded. President Reagan notifies Congress that the national security emergency regarding Nicaragua, in place since the previous May, will be continued. Tonight, Reagan gives a speech at the Heritage Foundation anniversary dinner. Several states get snow with record cold.

In today’s Peanuts strip, Lucy tells Linus about their sister-brother dynamic. Future football player Marshawn Lynch and future actress Amber Heard are born. Cliff Finch, who served as governor of Mississippi from 1976 to 1980, dies of a heart attack at age 59. On TV tonight, ABC’s lineup features Who’s the Boss, Perfect Strangers, Moonlighting and Spenser: For Hire. CBS airs the new family drama Morningstar/Eveningstar, Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, and The Equalizer. NBC counters with The A-Team, Hunter, and an NBC White Paper news special titled The Japan They Don’t Talk About, which shows how some Japanese manufacturing differs from the industrial powerhouse portrayed in media reports. The Boston Celtics beat the Chicago Bulls 122-104 to win their first-round NBA playoff series three games to none. After scoring 63 points in the previous game, Bulls star Michael Jordan scores 19. The Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets also complete first-round sweeps.

The Los Angeles Times carries a feature story on prolific session guitarist Tommy Tedesco. The Grateful Dead play Berkeley, California, and Rush brings the Power Windows tour to Greensboro, South Carolina. Van Halen plays the Rosemont Horizon in suburban Chicago, Stevie Nicks plays Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, and Neil Diamond plays the Spectrum in Philadelphia. Van Halen’s “Why Can’t This Be Love” is new in the Billboard Top 10; Stevie’s “I Can’t Wait” holds at #16. Prince tops the Hot 100 with “Kiss”; a song he wrote under an assumed name for the Bangles, “Manic Monday,” is #2. At #99, on its way out of the Hot 100, is “A Love Bizarre” by Sheila E, co-written by Prince. In Macomb, Illinois, the local Top 40 morning-show host plays all of these songs, although his favorites at the moment are “Your Love” by the Outfield and “R. O. C. K. in the U. S. A.” by John Cougar Mellencamp, both of which sound great blasting in the car on warm spring days. Or they will, if spring ever comes to western Illinois.

April 16, 1967: The Happening

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(Pictured: Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Syd Barrett, and Rick Wright of Pink Floyd, 1967.)

April 16, 1967, is a Sunday. The top story in the Sunday newspapers regards the massive anti-Vietnam protests held in New York and San Francisco yesterday; in New York, over 300,000 were said to have attended. More mass protests are scheduled for tomorrow, including Washington, D.C. The current edition of Look magazine features an article called “The Student Revolt,” but its cover features Britain’s Prince Philip and Prince Charles. Students are not the only ones angry. In an interview published this weekend, civil rights leader Martin Luther King warns that at least 10 cities “could explode in racial violence this summer.” Today, King delivers a sermon titled, “Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam.” Preparations continue for Monday’s launch of the unmanned Surveyor III spacecraft, which will land on the moon, take photos, and sample the lunar soil. Future pro football player Chuck Evans is born. The Cincinnati Nature Center opens.

Led by center Wilt Chamberlain’s 38 rebounds, the Philadelphia 76ers beat the San Francisco Warriors 126-95 to take a 2-0 lead in the NBA finals; one week from tomorrow, the 76ers will win the championship. The Chicago White Sox sweep a doubleheader from the Washington Senators; the second game goes 16 innings. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox play 18 innings, with the Yankees finally winning the six-hour game 7-6. The Grateful Dead plays the Kaleidoscope in Los Angeles, Pink Floyd plays Bethnal Green in London, the Buffalo Springfield plays San Francisco, the Yardbirds play Lolland, Denmark, the Duke Ellington Orchestra plays Cleveland, the Beach Boys and Tommy James play Pittsburgh, and the Electric Prunes appear on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Other shows on TV tonight include Lassie, Bonanza, Hey Landlord, and The FBI.

At WLS in Chicago, three Midwestern acts are in the Top 10 of the current Silver Dollar Survey: the Buckinghams and the Cryan’ Shames from Chicago with “Don’t You Care” and “Mr. Unreliable” at #6 and #7 respectively, and 2 of Clubs from Cincinnati with “Walk Tall” at #9. The top song belongs to the Monkees, however, with “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” which knocked last week’s #1 song, “Happy Together” by the Turtles, to #2. “Somethin’ Stupid” by Frank and Nancy Sinatra is at #3. “On a Carousel” by the Hollies leaps into the Top Ten at #4. Also hot: “You Got What It Takes” by the Dave Clark Five, “The Happening” by the Supremes, and “Somebody to Love” by the Jefferson Airplane.

A seven-year-old in Wisconsin hears none of this. One day this spring—perhaps in April—his first-grade teacher, fighting off laryngitis, decides to turn over parts of her lessons to some of her students. He teaches a math lesson that involves addition with the number nine. It’s the first teaching he’s ever done, but it won’t be the last.

April 11, 1965: How Dangerous

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(Pictured: This is not the tornado that struck my family’s farm on April 11, 1965, although it looms that large in my memory.)

April 11, 1965 was Palm Sunday. Across the middle of the country, it’s the first warm spring day. In an old schoolhouse near his ranch in Texas, President Johnson signs the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the nation’s first law federally funding schools. Johnson, who had been a teacher himself as a young man, is joined for the ceremony by his first teacher. In today’s Peanuts strip, Charlie Brown battles the kite-eating tree. House Minority Leader Gerald Ford speaks at a dinner in Chicago and encourages support for the Israel Bonds Program. In his mostly lighthearted speech he compares Israel, “surrounded by a numerically larger and hostile army,” to the Congressional GOP, whom Ford says are similarly outnumbered by the Democrats. A gigantic tornado outbreak strikes the Midwest. Over approximately 11 hours, 47 tornadoes are reported from Iowa to Ohio. Storms in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio come with winds in excess of 200 MPH, and 271 people are killed. The most fatalities occur in Indiana, including 36 in and around Elkhart. Among the first communities to be hit is Monroe, Wisconsin, about 2:00 in the afternoon. The tornado carves a 27-mile path through Green, Rock, and Dane counties, destroying or damaging homes, businesses, and over 400 cars. Forty injuries are reported, but no fatalities. Winds in the Monroe tornado are estimated to have reached over 100 MPH.

A Texas entrepreneur announces the formation of the United States Football League, which will have six franchises in major cities. It is to begin play in the spring of 1966 with its championship game on Memorial Day, but the new professional league will never get off the ground. Conference finals continue in the National Basketball Association. The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers take 3-2 leads in their respective series with wins today. In the National Hockey League, the Detroit Red Wings beat the Chicago Black Hawks 4-2 to take a 3-2 lead in their semifinal series. Marvin Panch wins the NASCAR Atlanta 500. Baseball’s regular season begins tomorrow; today the Chicago Cubs acquire pitcher Ted Abernathy from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for cash.

On TV tonight, ABC broadcasts Wagon Train and the sitcom Broadside, about a group of Navy WAVES assigned to a base in the South Pacific. Bonanza anchors NBC’s lineup. On CBS tonight, following Lassie and My Favorite Martian, Ed Sullivan welcomes Gerry and the Pacemakers (who are promoting their movie Ferry Cross the Mersey), Maurice Chevalier, and Soupy Sales among his guests. In London, the Beatles close the annual all-star concert presented by New Musical Express, which features the winners of the magazine’s annual popularity poll. It’s the third year the Beatles have appeared. Also on the bill: the Moody Blues, the Rolling Stones, Them, the Animals, the Kinks, and several other acts.

At WRIT in Milwaukee, several of the acts from the NME show are on the station’s latest survey. “I’m Telling You Now” by Freddie and the Dreamers is #1; “Game of Love” by Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders moves to #2. The hottest record on the chart is “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” by Herman’s Hermits, moving from #20 to #3. (Herman’s version of “Silhouettes makes another strong move, from #32 to 20.) Also new in the Top 10 are “Go Now” by the Moody Blues and “The Clapping Song” by Shirley Ellis. Also moving up: “Count Me In” by Gary Lewis and the Playboys (to #22 from #34).

Perspective From the Present: The National Weather Service in Kansas City and local weather bureaus knew about the ripe conditions for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, so at about 10:45AM, they issued a Severe Weather Forecast, which was standard operating procedure at the time. At 1:00, they updated it to say that “one or two tornadoes” might occur, but they identified a huge area of threat—essentially from Madison to Peoria and Cedar Rapids to Chicago, about 50,000 square miles. But by then, tornadoes were already hitting Iowa. (My family and I heard that updated forecast on a Rockford, Illinois, radio station in the car on the way back from our Sunday dinner.) Further alerts were issued as the storms moved across Illinois and Indiana, but the terminology wasn’t clear enough about the urgency of the situation, and as a result, many people were unaware just how dangerous the storms were. In the aftermath, the National Weather Service devised the tornado watch and tornado warning terminology that we use today.

My first baseball glove, which I would get when I started playing organized ball three or four years hence, was a Ted Abernathy autographed model.

April 9, 1983: Let’s Dance

A wedding picture, 1983. All fashion and grooming choices seemed like a good idea at the time.

April 9, 1983, was a Saturday. By joint resolution of Congress, it is National POW/MIA Recognition Day and the last day of National Drug Abuse Education Week. The space shuttle Challenger lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California after its five-day maiden voyage. Rehearsals are held for the Academy Awards, which will be presented Monday night. Newspapers across the country publish a UPI story reporting that the city council of Ottumwa, Iowa, has declared the town to be the “video gaming capital of the world.” In his weekly radio address, President Reagan touts his tax cuts, and warns that “liberal Democrats in the House of Representatives want you to pay more—much more.” Stonyfield Farm produces its first batch of yogurt. There is an avalanche in California’s American River Canyon.

Quarterback John Reaves of the USFL’s Tampa Bay Bandits sets league records for pass attempts and pass completions in a 22-16 overtime win over the Denver Gold. Julio Franco of the Cleveland Indians hits his first major-league home run. Tanya Roberts guest-stars on the pilot episode of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, broadcast on CBS. Stephen Bishop and Oxo are guests on American Bandstand. Joan Rivers hosts Saturday Night Live with musical guest Musical Youth. The Grateful Dead plays the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia. In Brooklyn, New York, Metallica does its last show with guitarist Dave Mustaine, who later forms Megadeth. Bob Seger performs in Seattle. Rush wraps up a two-night stand in Montreal. Steve Forbert plays the Lone Star Cafe in New York City. Thin Lizzy plays in Dublin.

On the latest Billboard Hot 100, the top 3 songs are unchanged from the previous week: Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” is in its 6th week at the top, followed by Culture Club’s “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” and “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran. “Come On Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners zooms to #4 from #11. Jackson’s “Beat It” moves into the Top 10 from #14. The biggest move within the Top 40 is made by Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science,” jumping from #26 to #16. “Overkill” by Men at Work is new in the Hot 100 all the way up at #28. David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” entered the Top 40 at #29 from #43 the week before, and Duran Duran’s “Rio” is new at #40, up from #58. The oldest record on the chart, in its 21st week on, is “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by the Clash. It’s at #86 this week, down from #50.

Perspective From the Present: Yup, that’s our wedding picture at the top of the page, for on April 9, 1983, the Mrs. and I became Mr. and Mrs., getting married in my hometown church. I nursed a slight hangover through much of the day thanks to an impromptu bachelor party two nights before. My parents kept inviting wedding guests to what was supposed to be a small family gathering between the church reception and the dance, and they ended up with 150 people in their house. My ex-college roommate took his tux back to my parents’ house on Sunday, where he summed up the feelings of many guests, and of the bride and groom, when he said to my father, “Let’s do this again sometime, but not right away.”

April 5, 1983: Opening Days

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(Pictured: Tom Seaver back on the mound in New York, 1983.)

April 5, 1983, is a Tuesday. Headlines on the morning papers include the maiden voyage of the space shuttle Challenger, launched yesterday on the sixth mission of the shuttle program; the death of actress Gloria Swanson at age 84; and the upset win by North Carolina State over Houston in the finals of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Today, President Reagan vetoes the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Claims Settlement Act, extends the term of the Presidential Commission on Drunk Driving through the end of the year, and appoints Allen Davis ambassador to Uganda. Chattanooga, Tennessee, sets an all-time record with 3.36 inches of rain, while El Paso, Texas, sets an snowfall record for a single day in April with 6.5 inches. The Board of Commissioners of Orange County, North Carolina, adopts an ordinance prohibiting the keeping of wild animals. The ordinance exempts the teaching and research facilities at the University of North Carolina.

Today is the second day of the new major-league baseball season with nine games scheduled. After 5 1/2 seasons in Cincinnati, pitcher Tom Seaver returns to the New York Mets and outduels Steve Carlton and the Philadelphia Phillies 2-0. John Candelaria of the Pittsburgh Pirates strikes out 10 St. Louis Cardinals in a 7-1 win; it will be the most by any Pirates pitcher on Opening Day until 2013. The defending American League champion Milwaukee Brewers lose to California 3-2; the Chicago Cubs and Montreal Expos are postponed by bad weather in Chicago; they will open tomorrow. Shows on NBC tonight include The A Team, Remington Steele, and St. Elsewhere. CBS shows the TV movie The Return of the Man from UNCLE. On ABC, it’s Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Three’s Company, and Ryan’s Four, a medical-show pilot starring Tom Skerritt, Lisa Eilbacher, and Tim Daly. It won’t become a regular series.

Danny Rapp, lead singer of Danny & the Juniors, commits suicide in Arizona. Future pro football player Will Buchanon and future pro golfer Brendan Steele are born. Huey Lewis and the News play Austin, Texas, R.E.M. plays Nashville, and the Beach Boys play Halifax, Nova Scotia. Rush plays Buffalo and Prince plays Denver. On the current Cash Box chart, the top five are largely unchanged from the previous week. “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson is #1 for the fourth week in a row; “You Are” by Lionel Richie and “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” by Culture Club swap #2 and #3 spots; “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran and “Back on the Chain Gang” by the Pretenders round out the top 5. There’s one new entry in the Top 10: “Jeopardy” by the Greg Kihn Band. The biggest move within the top 40 is made by Bob Seger’s “Even Now,” moving from #38 to #28; “I Won’t Hold You Back” by Toto is up from #40 to #32, and Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” moves from #22 to #15. The hottest record on the entire chart is David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” reaching #34 in its second week on.

In a small one-bedroom apartment in Dubuque, Iowa, a calendar hangs on the kitchen wall. Today, there’s a note: “Opening Day: baseball.” On the upcoming Saturday, April 9, there’s another: “Opening Day: marriage.” The couple sharing the apartment differs on how funny the notes are: the young man thinks they’re hilarious, but his intended bride is less amused by them. Years hence, she will continue to put up with him, with everything that’s funny and everything that isn’t, and he will consider himself very fortunate indeed.