January 13, 1968: Am I That Easy to Forget

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(Pictured: Johnny Cash and June Carter leave Folsom Prison on January 13, 1968.)

January 13, 1968, was a Saturday. On this day, 34 American servicemen are killed in Vietnam, including 19-year-old Marine Lance Corporal Jackie Ray McElwee of Sidney, Illinois. Today’s edition of the Daily Egyptian, the student newspaper at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, carries a front-page review of Make Her Wilderness Like Eden, a student-written play documenting Illinois’ history, presented in celebration of the sesquicentennial of the state’s 1818 admission to the Union. Upcoming campus events include a production of Death of a Salesman, qualifying tests for the Peace Corps and the Air Force, and a speech by comedian Dick Gregory, the school’s outstanding athlete of 1953, sponsored by the Southern Illinois Peace Committee. Elsewhere in the paper, an article discusses how historians have begun to use computers to “test generalizations concerning social and economic characteristics of group and political leaders.”

The second NFL-AFL World Championship Game will be played tomorrow in Miami between the Green Bay Packers and the Oakland Raiders. The Packers, three-time NFL champs, are looking for their second straight win in the game some call the Super Bowl. Tonight, five games are played in the National Hockey League. In one of them, the Oakland Seals and Minnesota North Stars play to a 2-2 tie. Early in the game, North Stars center Bill Masterson is knocked to the ice and suffers a serious head injury; two days from now, he will die. In college basketball, top-ranked UCLA wins its 46th consecutive game, 75-63 over Stanford. The streak will reach 47 after an easy win over Portland this Thursday night; the Bruins will meet second-ranked Houston at the Astrodome next Saturday. The winning streak will end that night in what will come to be called college basketball’s Game of the Century.

Today’s Peanuts strip introduces the Creature From the Sea. Bob Hope is on the cover of this week’s TV Guide. A feature inside discusses how Soviet TV describes life in America. On daytime TV today, ABC airs the second episode of Happening ’68, hosted by Paul Revere and the Raiders. Leonard Nimoy guest stars. Tonight, ABC’s lineup includes The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, and The Lawrence Welk Show. Welk also appears on tonight’s fourth-anniversary broadcast of ABC’s Hollywood Palace, hosted by Bing Crosby and also starring Peggy Lee, Milton Berle, and Jimmy Durante. On CBS, viewers can see The Jackie Gleason Show, My Three Sons, Hogan’s Heroes, Petticoat Junction, and Mannix. On NBC, prime-time begins with the adventure series Maya starring former Dennis the Menace kid Jay North, followed by Get Smart and NBC Saturday Night at the Movies featuring Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman in the 1945 film Saratoga Trunk.

Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Three, June Carter, the Statler Brothers, and Carl Perkins play Folsom Prison in California. The show is being recorded, and Cash opens with “Folsom Prison Blues”; it will spend a month at #1 on the country chart this summer and hit #32 on the Hot 100. Jimmy Page and the Yardbirds play the Corn Exchange in Chelmsford, England, Ten Years After plays London, the Who plays Margate, England, and Gordon Lightfoot plays Waterloo, Ontario. On the new Sound of Music survey at WDLB in Marshfield, Wisconsin, “Judy in Disguise” by John Fred and the Playboy Band leaps to #1 from #12 last week. It’s not the only record to make a major move: “Am I That Easy to Forget” by Engelbert Humperdinck zooms to #3 from #25, and “Green Tambourine” by the Lemon Pipers is up to #15 from #33. Several songs plunge a fair distance, including last week’s #1 and #2 hits, “Hello Goodbye” by the Beatles and “In and Out of Love” by the Supremes, which are #16 and #17 respectively this week. “Summer Rain” by Johnny Rivers and “Woman Woman” by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap fall from #4 to #22 and #5 to #21.

Perspective From the Present: I couldn’t tell you what I was doing on this particular day, but the next day, the day of Super Bowl II, I went to a first-grade classmate’s birthday party. (I think I can remember a football game on TV in another room.) He was one of my best friends at the time, although we’d go our separate ways when I started going to a different school in second grade. When we met again in junior high, he’d become a poor student who was always in trouble, and I was neither. We had quite literally nothing in common anymore, except perhaps the occasional thought about the way it takes nothing more than time to change people.

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January 8, 1992: Nuts

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(Pictured: Whitney Houston, onstage during her 1991 tour.)

January 8, 1992, is a Wednesday. The weather forecast for Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, is for another cloudy day. It will be the 12th straight day without sun in the Twin Cities, the longest such streak in 19 years. At a dinner hosted by Japanese prime minister Kiichi Miyazawa, President George H. W. Bush becomes ill, barfs in the prime minister’s lap, and then faints. A man claiming to be Bush’s physician calls CNN and says that Bush has died; CNN Headline News nearly reports the hoax as fact. Earlier that day in Japan, a homemade bomb is found and disarmed in the residence of American embassy staff. Art Agnos spends his last day as mayor of San Francisco; tomorrow he’ll be replaced by the man who defeated him for reelection last month, former police chief Frank Jordan. The Maryland General Assembly presents a redistricting plan to the governor; it will be challenged in court as a violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and new districts will be drawn for the 1994 elections. A U.S. government commission publishes public notice of an upcoming investigation into competitive practices in the international macadamia nut industry. A fire destroys the main lodge and conference center at Eagle Ridge Resort in Galena, Illinois. Among the big league baseball players signing free-agent deals today: Jamie Moyer with the Cubs, Steve Lyons with the Braves, and Tim Teufel with the Padres. Kathlyn Beatty is born. The first child of actors Warren Beatty and Annette Bening will come out as transgender at age 14 and in 2018, will be known as Stephen. French visual artist Nicolas Schoffer dies at age 79.

On TV tonight, ABC airs Dinosaurs, The Wonder Years, Doogie Howser MD, Anything But Love, and the dramatic series Civil Wars. CBS primetime starts with the sitcoms Davis Rules (starring Randy Quaid and Jonathan Winters) and Brooklyn Bridge and continues with Jake and the Fatman and the news magazine 48 Hours. On NBC, Unsolved Mysteries is followed by Seinfeld, Night Court, and Quantum Leap. The top movies at the box office last weekend were Hook, Father of the Bride, Beauty and the Beast, and The Prince of Tides. The Washington Post reports that 1991 was the worst year in history for the concert industry with ticket sales down 25 percent. Touring acts with disappointing results include Whitney Houston, Huey Lewis and the News, Diana Ross, Steve Winwood, and Amy Grant. The highest-grossing tours of the year belonged to the Grateful Dead, ZZ Top, and the Judds, whose farewell tour grossed $22.7 million. Metallica plays the Forum in Los Angeles and John Mellencamp plays the Omni in Atlanta. Lenny Kravitz plays Edmonton and Vanessa Williams appears on Soul Train.

On the current Billboard Hot 100, Michael Jackson’s “Black and White” is in its second week at #1. “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” by Boyz II Men and “All 4 Love” by Color Me Badd hold at #2 and #3. The former MC Hammer, who started calling himself just Hammer last year, has two hits riding high: “Too Legit to Quit” is at #8 and “Addams Groove,” from the soundtrack of the movie The Addams Family, is at #11. The hottest song within the Top 40 is “Diamonds and Pearls” by Prince and the NPG, up to #19 from #30.

Perspective From the Present: In January 1992, I was working in Clinton, Iowa, a town about 30 miles from where we lived. I was program director of the AM/FM combo and I did the afternoon show on the adult contemporary FM. I’d been working there nearly two years, and would have settled into a comfortable routine. I’d last almost exactly two more years, the last few months of which were anything but comfortable and anything but routine, but that’s a story for another day.

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.

December 25, 1969: Family Affair

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(Pictured: two soldiers decorate a trench for Christmas in Duc Lap, South Vietnam, December 1969.)

December 25, 1969, is a Thursday. In Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, a tornado kills one person and injures eight. Nine other tornadoes are reported today in Louisiana, Florida, and Georgia. In Portville, New York, the Portville Star has a front-page story in which a Cornell University economist predicts that the 1970s will begin with a period of slow economic growth but no prolonged or serious recession. President Nixon issues a Christmas message to American armed forces around the world. Three games are played in the National Hockey League: the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Oakland Seals 3-1; the Boston Bruins blast the Los Angeles Kings 7-1; the Chicago Black Hawks and Minnesota North Stars play to a 4-4 tie. In the National Basketball Association, four games are played. The league-leading New York Knicks run their record to 30-and-6 with a 112-111 win over the Detroit Pistons. Willis Reed of the Knicks leads all scorers with 33 points. In the American Basketball Association, the Los Angeles Stars beat the Kentucky Colonels 105-101 and the Washington Capitols beat the Pittsburgh Pipers 131-112. Future comedian Costaki Economopolous is born. The top movie at the box office is the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Also packing them in, as it has since its release in September: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance KidThe Reivers, starring Steve McQueen, opens today.

The federal government issues a regulation requiring all TV sets manufactured after January 15, 1970, to conform to new standards designed to make sure sets do not pose a radiation hazard. On today’s Merv Griffin Show, guests include Carol Burnett, Danny Thomas, and Green Acres stars Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor. Shows on TV tonight include This Is Tom Jones, with guests Judy Collins and David Frye, Daniel Boone, Ironside, That Girl, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Family Affair, Kraft Music Hall with guests the Cowsills, and It Takes a Thief. Florence Henderson fills in for Johnny on the Tonight Show. Jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman is on the cover of the current edition of Down Beat. The Velvet Underground open a holiday run at the Second Fret in Philadelphia.

At WKNR in Detroit, known as Keener 13, the new music guide shows “Venus” by the Shocking Blue at #1, knocking last week’s #1, “Leaving on a Jet Plane” by Peter Paul and Mary to #2. “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” by B. J. Thomas is #3 and “Don’t Cry Daddy” by Elvis is #4. “Midnight Cowboy” by Ferrante and Teicher, Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and “Jingle Jangle” by the Archies are next at #5 through #7. The biggest mover on the survey is “Fancy” by Bobbie Gentry, up 10 spots to #18; Dionne Warwick’s “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” is up nine to #19. Topping the album chart are Led Zeppelin II and Abbey Road. The main page of the WKNR survey plugs the game at Detroit’s Olympic Stadium between the Keener Cagers and the Harlem Globetrotters, coming up on Saturday night.

Perspective From the Present: As I have written many times in other places, our family Christmas routine was very much the same for as long as I lived at home. On this day, my brothers and I (ages 9, 7, and 3) would be positively vibrating with anticipation on Christmas morning, waiting to see what Santa had brought, but we weren’t allowed out of our bedrooms until Dad could finish the milking and come in from the barn. That period of time, from Mother’s signal to his footsteps up the basement stairs, however long it may actually have been, represented the longest minutes of each year. All these years alter, I marvel at the sheer amount of stuff we got every year, things we’d asked for and things we had not (which often turned out to be even greater than what we had asked for). Dad and Mother weren’t rich, but we never wanted for a single thing, not just on Christmas but the other 364 days of the year. Whatever I’ve been able to do for them in adulthood will never come close to paying what they’re owed.

I owe each of you reading a debt of gratitude as well, that you have found your way to this lightly traveled corner of the Internet and the other corner on which I do business. Thank you, and a merry Christmas to all, wherever you are.

December 15, 1978: Sweet Life

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(Pictured: Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman.)

December 15, 1978, was a Friday. President Jimmy Carter gives a televised address to the nation announcing the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, and explains America’s new relationship with Taiwan. After the speech, President and Mrs. Carter fly to Camp David for the weekend. The city of Cleveland, Ohio, defaults on $15.5 million in short-term loans it had received to meet its financial obligations. It’s the first major American city to go broke since the Great Depression. Today is the last day of manufacture for aerosol products containing ozone-destroying fluorocarbons, following a federal government order last spring. The exhibit of treasures from the tomb of King Tut, which has been touring the country for over a year, opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Nine games are played in the NBA tonight. In a battle of top teams, the Los Angeles Lakers edge the Seattle Supersonics 100-98. Dennis Johnson of the Sonics leads all scorers with 28 points; Norm Nixon leads the Lakers with 26. New movies at the box office this weekend include Superman starring Christopher Reeve and California Suite starring Jane Fonda, Walter Matthau, Michael Caine, and Richard Pryor. The Deer Hunter opens in New York after its Los Angeles premiere last Friday. It will go into wide release in February. Philips/MCA puts laserdisc technology on the market under the name MCA Discovision. A laserdisc edition of Jaws comes out today. Actor Chill Wills, famed as the movie voice of Francis the Talking Mule and for many western roles, dies of cancer at age 76. Carter’s China speech preempts or delays scheduled network TV programming. NBC has Diff’rent Strokes, the final episode of the soon-to-be-cancelled Who’s Watching the Kids, and a two-hour episode of The Eddie Capra Mysteries. On CBS, it’s Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, and Flying High, a comedy/drama about flight attendants starring Connie Sellecca. On ABC, it’s a Christmas episode of Donny and Marie followed by the TV movie Long Journey Back starring Mike Connors and Cloris Leachman.

In The Crusader, the campus newspaper at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania, music critic Tim Brough names his top albums of 1978. Billy Joel plays Madison Square Garden in New York City, the Grateful Dead plays Birmingham, Alabama, Bob Dylan plays Lakeland, Florida, and Cheap Trick plays Boston. Bruce Springsteen plays San Francisco in a show broadcast on KSAN. Across town at KFRC, “Le Freak” by Chic and “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” by Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond continue at #1 and #2 on the new survey out today. There’s little movement among the top 11 songs on the survey. Al Stewart’s “Time Passages” makes the biggest move of any song among the Top 30, moving from #19 to #12. There’s one new song in the Top 20, “Sweet Life” by Paul Davis, at #18. The highest debut on the chart is Cheryl Lynn’s “Got to Be Real” at #22. The top albums on KFRC are Barbra Streisand’s Greatest Hits Volume 2, Let’s Get Small by Steve Martin, and The Best of Earth Wind and Fire, Volume 1. At WSUP, the campus station at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, final exams mean some changes in the regular Friday DJ lineup. A freshman who did his first-ever live radio show yesterday will be on the air today from noon til 6.

Perspective From the Present: The freshman was, of course, me. My six-hour Friday show was supposed to be my debut, but I got asked at the last minute to fill in on the morning show the previous day. I was too busy to think much about it on Thursday, but that Friday show was the most exhilarating experience of my life. That afternoon represented the single biggest dream of my life coming true. It’s no exaggeration when I say that nothing else in my life since then—nothing else—has ever come close to the thrill of it.

December 12, 1988: The Best That I Got

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(Pictured: kicker Max Zendejas tees it up for the Green Bay Packers early in the 1988 season. He wouldn’t be around for long.)

December 12, 1988, was a Monday. Indiana representative Dan Coats is appointed to the United States Senate by governor Robert Orr. He replaces Dan Quayle, who was elected vice-president with George Bush last month. At the White House, Nancy Reagan leads reporters on a tour of the Christmas decorations for a final time, telling them, “It’s very sentimental.” The Supreme Court rules that the NCAA can suspend University of Nevada-Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian for recruiting violations and other irrregularities. The decision is expected to increase the NCAA’s enforcement power. Texas A&M football coach Jackie Sherrill, under suspicion of paying a player to keep quiet about rules violations, resigns from his position. In the NFL yesterday, the Dallas Cowboys broke an 11-game losing streak with a 24-17 win over Washington. Also breaking a losing streak: the Green Bay Packers, who had lost seven in a row. They beat the playoff-bound Minnesota Vikings, 18-6. Newspapers around the country carry an Associated Press story about a man and woman in Puerto Rico, aged 90 and 70, who were arrested over the weekend for possessing a $45,000 stash of cocaine and heroin. In Mountain View, California, a couple is arrested after their 17-year-old daughter complains to her school counselor that her parents were teaching her how to use cocaine. The girl’s parents believe they’ve done nothing wrong, police say. They believe their daughter would be exposed to cocaine eventually, and they wanted her to learn about it at home.

The movie Rain Man, starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, has its New York premiere. The film will be officially released on Friday. At the box office this past weekend, the top film was the new release Twins, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito. Other popular movies over the weekend were The Naked Gun, Scrooged, Tequila Sunrise starring Mel Gibson, and the animated Disney film Oliver and Company. The death of actor Richard Castellano is announced. Best known for playing Clemenza in The Godfather and for an Oscar-nomimated role in Lovers and Other Strangers, he died on Saturday at age 55. Organized-crime figure Anthony Provenzano, known as Tony Pro, dies in prison at age 71. On TV tonight, ABC presents MacGyver and Monday Night Football, where the Miami Dolphins beat the Cleveland Browns 38-31. CBS airs Newhart, Kate & Allie, Murphy Brown, Designing Women, and a Christmas episode of Almost Grown, a new dramatic series exploring the life of a married couple during three different periods in their lives, which is co-created by former Rockford Files writer David Chase. NBC’s lineup includes ALF, The Hogan Family, and the made-for-TV movie I’ll Be Home for Christmas starring Hal Holbrook, Nancy Travis, and Eva Marie Saint, which scores the night’s highest rating.

At Z100 in New York City, “Giving You the Best That I Got” by Anita Baker is the #1 song on the new survey out today. Last week’s #1, “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys, falls to #4. In between the two are “Free Bird/Baby I Love Your Way” by Will to Power and “My Prerogative” by Bobby Brown. New songs in the Top 10 are “How Can I Fall” by Breathe and “Look Away” by Chicago. “I Wanna Have Some Fun” by Samantha Fox and “Two Hearts” by Phil Collins are the hottest songs on the survey, both up seven spots from the previous week. The station’s top three albums are unchanged from the previous week: U2’s Rattle and Hum, Giving You the Best That I Got by Anita Baker, and New Jersey by Bon Jovi.

Perspective From the Present: The Packers were struggling through a season that would see them finish 4-and-12. Despite beating the Vikings on Sunday, they released their kicker, Dean Dorsey, on Tuesday. He had missed an extra point in the game. He was the Packers’ third kicker of the season; they signed a guy named Curtis Burrow for the final game of the season, who promptly missed two of four extra points in a 26-17 win over the Phoenix Cardinals. It was the only NFL game Burrow ever appeared in. I was listening to the game, and one of the misses inspired a favorite radio moment of mine: Packers color commentator Max McGee remarked to his play-by-play partner Jim Irwin, “You know, Jim, they’re running a damn punt-pass-and-kick contest up here every week and they keep bringing the losers in!”

November 30, 1989: Another Day in Paradise

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(Pictured: George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev get along famously during their December 1989 summit in Malta.)

November 30, 1989, was a Thursday. President George Bush speaks at a Rose Garden departure ceremony before his summit meeting with Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev in Malta, which will be on Saturday and Sunday. He also signs the Ethics Reform Act of 1989, which, among other things, raises the pay of senators and representatives. Bush also issues a statement in advance of the second World AIDS Day, which is tomorrow. Prominent West German banker Alfred Herrhausen dies in a bomb blast. The case will never be solved. A story seen in newspapers around the country recaps the six-month 1989 hurricane season, which officially ends today. Seven hurricanes formed in the Atlantic during 1989, including Hugo, which was the costliest storm in American history. Early this morning, Linda Cortile Napolitano, age 41, is abducted by aliens from the roof of her Manhattan apartment, or so she will claim. UFO researcher Budd Hopkins will find several people who say they saw it happen; one of them is reportedly UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, who tells Hopkins he obviously can’t be quoted regarding the incident.

The New York Yankees sign free-agent outfielder Mel Hall, who has spent the last four-plus seasons with the Cleveland Indians. Six games are played in the NBA; the Los Angeles Lakers run their league-best record to 11-and-2 with a 109-93 win over Sacramento. The NHL schedule has seven games; Montreal pulls into a tie for the league’s best record with Buffalo when the Canadiens defeat the cellar-dwelling Quebec Nordiques 6-2. On TV tonight, ABC’s lineup includes the revived Mission: Impossible, the western drama The Young Riders, and an edition of the newsmagazine Prime Time Live. CBS starts the night with its own newsmagazine, 48 Hours, followed by the political drama Top of the Hill and Knots Landing. But NBC will win the night by a large margin with The Cosby Show, Ann Jillian, a sitcom that stars the titular actress as a New York widow relocated to small-town northern California with her kids, Cheers, Dear John starring Judd Hirsch, and L.A. Law. In today’s Peanuts strip, Snoopy is demanding.

In the current edition of Rolling Stone, Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead sits for an extended interview. Also in the magazine, Billy Joel’s new Storm Front gets a positive review from writer John McAlley. The Rolling Stones play the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Phish plays Boston, Squeeze plays Providence, and Van Morrison plays the Beacon Theater in New York City. Black Sabbath, with Tony Iommi the only original member remaining, plays Leningrad in the Soviet Union, and the B-52s play the Fox Theater in Detroit.

On the Billboard Hot 100, the #1 song  is “Blame It on the Rain” by Milli Vanilli, which knocks last week’s #1, “When I See You Smile” by Bad English, to #2. The B-52’s “Love Shack” holds at #3; “The Way That You Love Me” by Paula Abdul holds at #4; “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel is up to #5. Two songs are new in the Top 10: “Don’t Know Much” by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville at #9 and “Another Day in Paradise” by Phil Collins at #10. The latter is up 12 spots from last week, the biggest mover within the Top 40 along with “Rhythm Nation” by Janet Jackson, which jumps from #34 to #22. The highest debuting new song in the Top 40 is “Swing the Mood” by Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers at #34. The highest debut within the Hot 100 is Rod Stewart’s “Downtown Train” at #54.

Perspective From the Present: If we’re honest about it, most of our days are fairly mundane. Stuff happens, but in a day or two we’ll have trouble remembering it. November 30, 1989, looks like it was one of those days. I was working at the elevator-music station, and I suspect that by this time our new program director had arrived in town, or was on his way, with all of the upheaval he would bring on a less-mundane days to come.

November 14, 1968: Not Great, But Nice

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(Pictured: Ray Charles on stage, 1968.)

November 14, 1968, was a Thursday. On this day, 28 American soldiers die in Vietnam. President Lyndon Johnson’s White House taping system captures today’s phone conversations with president-elect Richard Nixon. Among the discussions: Johnson’s concerns about possible Soviet actions during the transition. Yale University announces that after 265 years, it will admit women beginning this fall. Princeton and Sarah Lawrence will also go co-ed. At Florida State University, the campus newspaper, the Flambeau, publishes two separate front-page stories about entertainment planned for homecoming weekend. On Friday, November 23, the Swingin’ Medallions will play in the University Union ballrooms. Tickets are “$2 stag and $3 drag.” On Saturday the 24th, Ray Charles, the Raelettes, and Billy Preston will play in Tully Gym. Tickets are $2.50 each. At Grand Valley State College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, issue #1 of the Lanthorn News Flash hits the streets. The entire four-page edition is devoted to a drug bust in one of the campus dorms last Sunday. Otto Silha, publisher of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune newspapers, gives a speech at a conference in Paris in which he suggests that automated editing by computer will eventually replace human copy editors.

Bill Sherdel, who won 165 games in the majors for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Braves between 1918 and 1932, dies at age 72. Kent Bottenfield, who will win 46 and lose 49 pitching for eight different clubs between 1992 and 2001, is born. Five games are played in professional basketball tonight, two in the NBA and three in the ABA. The ABA Oakland Oaks beat the Dallas Chaparrals 122-106 behind 43 points by Rick Barry.

The New York Times reviews the new animated film Yellow Submarine, which opened yesterday. Critic Renata Adler calls it “not a great film, after all, but truly nice.” Opening today is the drama The Shoes of the Fisherman, starring Anthony Quinn as a former inmate at a Russian labor camp who is sent to Rome, becomes a cardinal, and is eventually elected pope. On TV tonight, the ABC lineup includes The Flying Nun, Bewitched, That Girl, and Journey to the Unknown, a British anthology series. On NBC, it’s Daniel Boone, Ironside, and Dragnet. CBS kicks off its night with an episode of Hawaii Five-0.

Big Brother and the Holding Company play Hartford, Connecticut, and the Velvet Underground plays the Whisky A Go-Go in Los Angeles. It’s a return engagement for the Velvets, who played five nights at the end of October with the Chicago Transit Authority opening. Neil Diamond plays Arlington, Texas. Frank Sinatra completes recording sessions for a forthcoming album to be called Cycles. Elvis Presley takes a break from filming his next movie, The Trouble With Girls, and spends the day in Reno, Nevada. Singer Johnnie Taylor and jazz organist Jimmy McGriff are among the guests on tonight’s episode of the educational television series Soul!, produced by WNET in New York City.

At KHJ in Los Angeles, the top two songs on the latest Boss 30 survey are the same as last week: “Love Child” by the Supremes and “Stormy” by the Classics IV. “For Once in My Life” by Stevie Wonder blasts to #3 from #11 last week, and Dionne Warwick’s “Promises, Promises” is up to #6 from #16. Also new in the Top 10: “Come On, React!” by the Fireballs, now at #8 from #13 last week. Also in the Top 10: Glen Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman,” “Both Sides Now” by Judy Collins, and “White Room” by Cream. The hottest record on the survey is “I Love How You Love Me” by Bobby Vinton, up 16 spots to #13. Among the records falling down the Boss 30 are the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” (which is still atop the Hot 100 this week) and “Magic Carpet Ride” by Steppenwolf. Listed as “hitbound” on KHJ is the new single by Marvin Gaye, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”

Perspective From the Present: “Come On, React!” would top out at #63 on the Hot 100 in December, and it’s really good. The KHJ survey listed the station’s jock lineup, and it’s a veritable hall of fame: Robert W. Morgan, Scotty Brink, Charlie Tuna, the Real Don Steele, Sam Riddle, Humble Harve, Johnny Williams, and Bill Wade. As for me, I was in Mrs. Blanc’s third-grade class at Northside School. Sometime that year, she taught us our multiplication tables with a series of jingles she played on 45s. To this day, when I’m doing multiplication in my head, I hear some of those jingles.

November 8, 1975: What a Difference

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(Pictured: in the fall of 1975, Howard Cosell’s ABC variety show beat NBC to the title it wanted for its new late-night comedy show.)

November 8, 1975, was a Saturday. The morning papers say that heiress Patty Hearst has been found competent to stand trial on federal bank-robbery charges. Union railroad workers agree to delay a potential nationwide strike to November 18. The nation’s unemployment rate is up to 8.6 percent. Seventeen-year-old Debby Kent spends the evening at a skating rink in Bountiful, Utah, but she never comes home. Shortly before his execution 14 years hence, serial killer Ted Bundy will confess to having murdered her. Fighter planes from Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana are scrambled to chase UFOs, and two people in France claim to have seen space creatures who were picked up by mysterious cars. The United States opens an embassy in Mozambique. Actress/party girl Tara Reid and pro basketball player Brevin Knight are born. In pro wrestling, golden bad-boy Nick Bockwinkle defeats perennial champion Verne Gagne to win the heavyweight championship. In college football, Iowa beats Wisconsin, 45-28.

In Chicago, the Tribune is crowded with full-page ads from car dealers. Chicagoland AMC dealers will sell you a new 1976 Gremlin for $2597, although automatic transmission and air conditioning are options that will cost you more. Another full-page ad touts the 1976 Pontiac Astre hatchback, which gets 35 miles per gallon of gas on the highway and 22 in the city. The new Dodge Dart Lite gets 36 and 24. If you’d like something bigger, Dave Cory Ford in Niles, Illinois, will put you into a 1976 T-Bird for $6099. Prices on outgoing 1975 models have been cut at many dealerships. Most will be open tomorrow for your convenience.

On CBS tonight, the lineup includes The Jeffersons, Doc (a sitcom from MTM Productions starring Barnard Hughes, Elizabeth Wilson, Mary Wickes, and Professor Irwin Corey), The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and The Carol Burnett Show. NBC features Emergency! and the theatrical movie The Sugarland Express, starring Goldie Hawn and directed by Steven Spielberg. ABC’s lineup includes the variety show Saturday Night Live With Howard Cosell, cop drama SWAT, and secret agent series Matt Helm, starring Tony Franciosa. Later tonight, NBC’s Saturday Night airs its fourth episode, hosted by actress Candice Bergen with musical guest Esther Phillips. Phillips performs her current hit, “What a Difference a Day Makes.” Because The Sugarland Express bumps the late local news by 15 minutes, Saturday Night doesn’t begin until 11:45 Eastern time.

On the Billboard 200 album chart, Elton John’s Rock of the Westies becomes the second album in history to debut at #1. His Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy had been the first, earlier this year. Rock of the Westies bumps the Jefferson Starship’s Red Octopus, last week’s #1, to #2. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd is #3. Also among the Top 10: Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, Minstrel in the Gallery by Jethro Tull, and Paul Simon’s Still Crazy After All These Years. On the Hot 100, Elton’s “Island Girl” is in its second week at #1. Elton is not #1 everywhere, however. At WABC in New York, “Fly Robin Fly” by Silver Convention tops the singles chart. KHJ in Los Angeles places War’s “Low Rider” at #1. At WAKY in Louisville, the #1 song is “I’ll Go to My Grave Loving You” by the Statler Brothers, despite the fact that WAKY is a Top 40 station also playing Elton, Silver Convention, and War, among others. Clearly, they didn’t call themselves “wacky” for nothing.

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.)