May 8, 1988: Anything for You

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(Pictured: Gloria Estefan, onstage circa 1988.)

May 8, 1988, is a Sunday. Today is Mother’s Day. A jury in Seattle, Washington, finds Stella Nickel guilty on two counts of murder for putting cyanide in her husband’s Excedrin capsules. She’s the first person convicted under federal anti-tampering laws passed after the still-unsolved 1982 Tylenol poisonings in Chicago. Wisconsin is hit by 24 tornadoes today, setting a single-day record that will stand until 2005. Eastern Iowa is hit by 22, including an F3 tornado in Clinton County that does $25 million in damage. At Iowa State University in Ames, the annual pre-finals Veishea celebration weekend has been violent; early this morning, students attending a campus bonfire started throwing rocks and bottles at police. Forty-five people were arrested and eight cops hospitalized. It’s the biggest riot at ISU since the Vietnam War. In Hinsdale, Illinois, a fire at a major Illinois Bell switching center knocks out phone service in the Chicago area. Up to a half-million people will be affected over the next few weeks, and Illinois Bell will be strongly criticized for its slow response to the outages. Future porn star Violet Monroe is born. Science-fiction author Robert A. Heinlein dies at age 80. The New York Times best-seller list for fiction is topped by Robert Ludlum’s The Icarus Agenda, Love in a Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Rock Star by Jackie Collins. The nonfiction list is led by Love, Medicine, and Miracles by Dr. Bernie Siegel, Michael Jackson’s autobiography Moonwalk, and A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.

This past Friday night, following a National Hockey League playoff game between the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins, Devils coach Jim Schoenfeld got into a loud altercation with referee Don Koharski that was captured by TV cameras. The NHL suspended Schoenfeld, but Devils management got a court order permitting him to coach today. Just before today’s game, Koharski and his two fellow officials announce they will not work the game. After an hour-long delay, replacement referees are found. The Devils win the game 3-1 to tie their conference final series at two games each. In the NBA, the Chicago Bulls beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 107-101 to win their first-round playoff series three games to two. Michael Jordan of the Bulls leads all scorers with 39 points. His total of 226 points in the series sets an NBA record. In baseball, the Oakland Athletics have the best record in the majors, 23-and-7, after beating the Cleveland Indians 5-1 today. The New York Mets are the class of the National League at 21-and-7 after beating Cincinnati 5-1.

At the movies this weekend, the box-office leader is the police drama Colors starring Sean Penn and Robert Duvall, followed by Beetlejuice. The top new movie is Shakedown, another police drama, starring Peter Weller and Sam Elliott. Tonight’s CBS-TV lineup includes 60 Minutes, Murder She Wrote, and The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, a remake of the 1954 Humphrey Bogart movie, starring Jeff Daniels and Brad Davis. On ABC, it’s The Wonderful World of Disney, Remembering Marilyn, a special about Marilyn Monroe, and the first part of the made-for-TV movie The Bourne Identity. The FOX lineup includes 21 Jump Street, America’s Most Wanted, Married With Children, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, and The Tracey Ullman Show. NBC wins the night, however, with the first part of the science-fiction miniseries Something Is Out There. Pink Floyd plays Sullivan Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, and Robert Plant plays Ottawa, Ontario. In Santa Cruz, California, Carlos Santana plays a benefit show for Salvadoran children. Depeche Mode plays Salt Lake City.

On this week’s Billboard Hot 100, “Wishing Well” by Terence Trent D’Arby is the new #1 song. “Anything for You” by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine is #2, ahead of “Angel” by Aerosmith at #3. Last week’s #1, “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” by Whitney Houston, is #4 this week. “Shattered Dreams” by Johnny Hates Jazz makes a strong move from #15 to #8. “One More Try” by George Michael jumps from #22 to #14. The highest-debuting song in the Top 40 this week is “Circle in the Sand” by Belinda Carlisle at #30. The highest debut on the Hot 100 is Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana” at #53.

Perspective From the Present: The Mrs. and I were living in Davenport, Iowa, although we would move to a small suburb north of there in about a month. I did not usually work my radio job on Sundays, so I wouldn’t have been on the air when tornadoes hit eastern Iowa. I probably wished I was, though.

 

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May 3, 1979: Minute by Minute

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(Pictured: Woody and Keef, 1979.)

May 3, 1979, is a Thursday. It’s Election Day in Britain. The Conservative Party wins a majority in the House of Commons, which will make Margaret Thatcher prime minister. The Dallas/Fort Worth area is hit by severe thunderstorms; 37 people are injured and damage will be estimated at $5 million. Twenty-five tornadoes rumble across northeast Texas, southeast Oklahoma, and southwest Arkansas. President Jimmy Carter nominates John Macy to be the head of the new Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was created by executive order in March, and speaks to the National Council of the League of Women Voters. Carter also attends a news briefing on public land preservation in Alaska and is made an honorary member of an Alaskan Native American tribe. The East Room ceremony is also attended by the Secretary of the Interior and Theodore Roosevelt IV, environmentalist and great-grandson of the 26th president. Magazine editor Charles Angoff, who worked at H. L. Mencken’s American Mercury, The Nation, and The American Spectator, dies at age 76. Future screenwriter Emily V. Gordon is born.

Movies on TV tonight include The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island, the second reunion movie for the sitcom cast, and Ike: The War Years, about General Dwight Eisenhower, who is played by Robert Duvall. This morning, Duvall was a guest on Good Morning America, talking about the movie. Also on TV tonight: Mork and Mindy and the last episode of Highcliffe Manor, a sitcom parody of Gothic horror movies starring Shelley Fabares, canceled after only three episodes. Jazz trumpeter Clark Terry performs at Buffalo State University and Yes plays Calgary, Alberta. Van Halen plays Kalamazoo, Michigan, and the Grateful Dead plays Charlotte, North Carolina. The Moody Blues play Hollywood, Florida, and the Jacksons perform in St. Petersburg. Journey plays the University of Oregon in Eugene, and Chuck Mangione performs at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago. The New Barbarians, a band featuring Keith Richards and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones, plays Cincinnati. A couple of weeks earlier, the New Barbarians played two charity shows in Ottawa, Ontario, to fulfill Richards’ probation for a heroin posession charge last year. They were joined by the rest of the Rolling Stones. “This is Keith’s thing,” Charlie Watts said that night. “We just all thought that it would be a good idea to come.”

At WLS in Chicago, depending how you count them, as much as half of the station’s Top 45 singles list is made up of disco records. “Knock on Wood” by Amii Stewart is the new #1. “What a Fool Believes” by the Doobie Brothers moves up to #2, just ahead of Frank Mills’ instrumental “Music Box Dancer.” Last week’s #1, “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor, is #4. Only one song is new in the Top 10: “Heart of Glass” by Blondie at #7. The biggest mover on the chart is “Blow Away” by George Harrison, leaping from #37 to #24. Cher’s “Take Me Home” is up 11 spots to #23. The top album of the week is Minute by Minute by the Doobie Brothers, in its fourth week at #1. The debut album by Dire Straits is #2 again this week, and there’s little movement among the rest of the Top 10, which includes Supertramp’s Breakfast in America, Pieces of Eight by Styx, and Cheap Trick at Budokan.

Perspective From the Present: This would have been the last week of classes before finals at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. I was finishing up Radio Production, Freshman Composition, English Literature, and Intermediate French, as well as a bowling class for physical education credit. I don’t remember a solitary thing about the Freshman Comp or English Lit courses, the names of the professors, the stuff I wrote or read, none of it. I’d had four years of high-school French without becoming especially fluent, and the Intermediate course was a struggle. By May I would have been phoning it in, if I was still bothering to attend at all. I ended up with a C, which was a minor miracle.

I got a B in Radio Production.

(HERC’s Hideaway has a lot more detail on the singles and albums on the WLS survey this week, so go check it out.)

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.

 

March 27, 1973: Who Do We Think We Are?

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(Pictured: Cabaret stars Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey at the movie’s Paris premiere in September 1972.)

March 27, 1973, was a Tuesday. Newspapers headline the agreement between the United States and North Vietnam that will result in the release of the last prisoners of war from North Vietnam and withdrawal of American troops from South Vietnam later this week. But the Nixon Administration has also announced that military operations will continue in Cambodia until Communist forces agree to a cease-fire. Congressional Republicans are demanding that the White House provide more information about the Watergate break-in and operations against the McGovern campaign last year. In meetings today, President Nixon orders aide John Ehrlichman to conduct his own investigation of Watergate, since White House counsel John Dean hasn’t reported the results of the investigation he’s doing. In a conversation with Secretary of State William Rogers, the president places blame for Watergate on Attorney General John Mitchell and Deputy Chief of Staff Jeb Magruder. Among his public events today, Nixon meets with Lindy Boggs of Louisiana, who was elected to the House of Representatives one week ago to fill the seat previously held by her husband. Hale Boggs and Alaska congressman Nick Begich were aboard a plane that disappeared in Alaska last October; both men are presumed dead, although their bodies will never be found.

Playwright Noel Coward died yesterday at his estate in Jamaica; he was 73 years old. Tonight is Oscar night. Cabaret wins eight awards, including Best Actress for Liza Minnelli, Best Supporting Actor for Joel Grey, and Best Director for Bob Fosse. The Godfather wins three, including Best Picture. Marlon Brando is awarded Best Actor, but he is boycotting the ceremony in protest of treatment of American Indians and sends an actress named Sacheen Littlefeather to accept in his place. Dressed in Apache garb, she gives a brief speech declining the award on Brando’s behalf.

In sports, UCLA won its seventh straight NCAA men’s basketball championship last night, defeating Memphis State 87-66 in St. Louis. UCLA’s Bill Walton was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. It’s the first time the national championship game has been held on a Monday following semifinals on Saturday. In the NBA tonight, the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Los Angeles Lakers 85-84. Wilt Chamberlain of the Lakers plays 46 of the 48 minutes of the game but does not score a single point. Oscar Robertson scores 25 for the Bucks and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has 24. It’s the last regular season game for the Bucks, although the Lakers have one more tomorrow, the last day of the regular season. Both the Bucks and Lakers will end up with 60-22 records, but the Boston Celtics have the league’s best record with 68 wins and 14 losses. The American Basketball Association will also end its regular season tomorrow. The league’s top teams going into the playoffs are the Carolina Cougars, Kentucky Colonels, and Utah Stars.

The three TV networks air 16 game shows and 12 soap operas today, including second episodes of The $10,000 Pyramid and The Young and the Restless, both of which premiered yesterday on CBS. At KQV in Pittsburgh, “Neither One of Us” by Gladys Knight and the Pips takes a mighty leap from #9 to #1 on the station’s latest survey. Last week’s #1, “Killing Me Softly With His Song” by Roberta Flack falls to #2. “Love Train” by the O’Jays blasts to #6 from #20 the previous week. Three other songs are new in the Top 10: “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” by the Spinners, “Danny’s Song” by Anne Murray, and “Call Me” by Al Green. The highest-debuting new song on the survey is “I’m Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band” by the Moody Blues at #16. New songs in the Hit Parade Bound section of the survey are Helen Reddy’s “Peaceful,” “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder, and “Stuck in the Middle With You” by Stealers Wheel. Top albums include Elton John’s Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player, No Secrets by Carly Simon, Hot August Night by Neil Diamond, and Who Do We Think We Are by Deep Purple.

Perspective From the Present: At my other blog, I’m doing an intermittent series on 1973, trying to figure out why that year feels like an empty space in my growing-up. This post doesn’t explain much. I would have ridden the bus to school on this morning, heard about the Vietnam agreement and Sacheen Littlefeather on the news. But what I thought or felt or did on that day is gone down the memory hole.

March 7, 1993: Ordinary World

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(Pictured: Duran Duran, 1993.)

March 7, 1993, was a Sunday. Headlines on the Sunday papers include reports from Waco, Texas, where state and federal law enforcement officers have surrounded a complex occupied by members of the Branch Davidians, a religious sect led by David Koresh. A raid by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms on February 28 resulted in a gun battle that killed four agents and five Davidians. Supreme Court justice Byron White may be considering retirement after 31 years on the court. A retirement would give the new president, Bill Clinton, the chance to make the first Democratic appointment to the court since the Johnson Administration. NBC and CBS lead their evening newscasts with the Waco story; ABC leads with a story on Clinton’s plan to close military bases.

In college basketball, top-ranked North Carolina defeats #6 Duke 83-69 to close the regular season. The game is broadcast on ABC; it will be the final game for analyst Jim Valvano, who has been fighting cancer and will die in April. Six games are played in the NBA today. The league leaders—New York, Chicago, Houston, and Phoenix—all have the day off. In Milwaukee, a battle of cellar-dwelling teams finds the Detroit Pistons beating the Bucks 98-91 behind 35 points by Joe Dumars. Six games are played in the NHL. The San Jose Sharks, in their second season in the league, win their 10th game of the year, and their second in a row, beating Edmonton 6-3. They will lose their next 13 straight before getting their final win of the season on April 6 (again over Edmonton), and will end up with a record of 11 wins, 71 losses, and two ties. The first Pennsylvania Nordic Championship ski race takes place at Laurel Ridge State Park. Davey Allison wins the NASCAR Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond.

Falling Down, starring Michael Douglas, tops the box office for the second straight weekend. Last weekend, it knocked Groundhog Day to #2, and it remains at #2 this weekend. Also packing theaters: The Crying Game and Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. The top new movie of the weekend is Mad Dog and Glory, starring Robert de Niro, Bill Murray, and Uma Thurman, On TV tonight, ABC airs the family drama Life Goes On, the first episode of the newsmagazine show Day One, and a rerun of the theatrical movie Platoon. NBC airs the reality shows Unsolved Mysteries and I Witness Video. The latter, hosted by John Forsythe, often features video of natural disasters and crime and is sometimes criticized for its content. NBC closes the night with the TV movie Passport to Murder starring Connie Sellecca and Ed Marinaro. Fox airs six 30-minute programs in primetime, including In Living Color, Roc, and Married With Children. On CBS, it’s 60 Minutes, Murder She Wrote, and the TV movie The Disappearance of Nora starring Veronica Hamel, which draws the night’s highest rating.

Van Morrison plays Tilburg in the Netherlands, Duran Duran plays Hamburg, Germany, Leonard Cohen plays San Francisco, and Quiet Riot plays Cincinnati. On the Billboard Hot 100, Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” has finally been knocked from the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 after 14 weeks, by “A Whole New World,” a song from the soundtrack of the animated movie Aladdin, sung by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle. Nevertheless, Whitney continues to dominate the chart. Her version of Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” drops from #4 to #6, and her latest hit, “I Have Nothing,” is the highest debut in the Top 40 at #23. Elsewhere, Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World” holds at #3, “Informer” by Snow jumps from #10 to #4, and “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang” by Dr. Dre holds at #5. Two songs are new in the Top 10: “Don’t Walk Away” by Jade at #9 and “Bed of Roses” by Bon Jovi at #10. The biggest mover within the Top 40 is “Freak Me” by Silk, which is up 19 spots to #21; “Two Princes” by the Spin Doctors is up 1o spots to #20. On the Billboard 200 album chart, Houston’s soundtrack from her movie The Bodyguard is #1 for a 13th week. Although it will be taken out next week by Eric Clapton’s Unplugged, it will have three more runs and seven additional weeks at #1 between now and the end of May.

Perspective From the Present: I can do the math, and so I know this was 25 years ago. In my head, it seems like a lot less than that.

February 24, 1980: Closing Ceremony

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(Pictured: Americans Steve Christoff and Mark Johnson celebrate a goal in the 1980 Olympic gold medal hockey game against Finland.)

February 24, 1980, was a Sunday. Two days after stunning the heavily favored Soviet team, the United States hockey team wins the gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, with a 4-2 win over Finland. It’s the final day of the games; East Germany leads the medal count with 23, although the Soviets record the most gold medals with 10. Team USA records 12 medals: six goal, four silver, and two bronze. Besides the hockey gold, the other five American gold medals are won by speed skater Eric Heiden. Darrell Waltrip wins the Richmond 400, the third race of the NASCAR season. Two days before the New Hampshire presidential primary, several political commentators say that George Bush, who won the Iowa caucuses in January, is now the front-runner for the Republican nomination. NBC reporter Tom Pettit has suggested that Ronald Reagan, considered the leader of the pack before Bush’s surprise Iowa win, “is politically dead.” On Tuesday, Reagan will win New Hampshire with 50 percent of the Republican vote. On the Democratic side, President Carter will defeat Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy 47 percent to 37 percent.

On TV tonight, ABC broadcasts the closing ceremony from the Winter Olympics. CBS counterprograms the night with 60 Minutes, an hour-long episode of One Day at a Time, Alice, The Jeffersons, and Trapper John M.D. NBC airs the made-for-TV movie Harper Valley P.T.A., based on the 1968 #1 hit by Jeannie C. Riley and starring Barbara Eden. It’s not just the top-rated show of the night, but it wins the ratings for the entire week. Mary Tyler Moore opens on Broadway in Whose Life Is It Anyway?, which will run for 96 performances and earn her a Tony award. Pink Floyd brings The Wall tour to Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. Weather Report plays Atlanta. The Jerry Garcia Band plays Stony Brook, New York, John Denver plays Lake Charles, Louisiana, Madness plays the Paradise Rock Club in Boston, and the Ramones play in Paris. The Ramones get a mention in the popular Sunday newspaper insert Parade, in an article headlined “Rock rolls into new wave,” which introduces readers to the “hard-boiled assessments of life” performed by the Ramones, Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, Blondie, the Knack, the B-52s, the Clash, the Police, and others. “Fish Heads” by Barnes and Barnes is #1 on the Funny Five, part of this week’s Dr. Demento radio show. Also among the five: “Titties and Beer” by Frank Zappa and “Bounce Your Boobies” by Rusty Warren. Tonight’s edition of the King Biscuit Flower Hour features Molly Hatchet and .38 Special.

KQCR, Q-103 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, airs the Weekly Top 30, a syndicated countdown hosted by Mark Elliott, from 9AM til noon. “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen is #1 again this week. Dan Fogelberg’s “Longer” is up to #2, and last week’s #2, “Yes I’m Ready” by Teri de Sario and KC, slips to #3. “Working My Way Back to You” by the Spinners blasts to #4 from #14; “Romeo’s Tune” by Steve Forbert is at #5. Another major mover is “Desire” by Andy Gibb, up to #6 from #15. Other hot records include “Him” by Rupert Holmes, up to #12 from #23; “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” by Pink Floyd, making the biggest move of the week, from #27 to #13; and “Heartbreaker” by Pat Benatar, at #16 from #26. “Refugee” by Tom Petty is the week’s top debut, all the way up at #17. The only other new song among the Top 30 is “Back on My Feet Again” by the Babys at #28.

Perspective From the Present: I watched neither the Miracle on Ice game nor the gold medal hockey game at the Winter Olympics. I most likely missed the gold medal game because I was working my weekend radio gig at KDTH. How I missed the win over the Russians, I don’t remember. I recall other guys in the dorm watching it. Maybe that’s why I didn’t. I liked neither living in the dorm nor the people I had to live with (although my own roommate was OK), and I kept my distance from them as much as I could.

February 1, 1968: Hippie Hooray

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(Pictured: Elizabeth Montgomery in Bewitched, from an episode aired on February 1, 1968.)

February 1, 1968, was a Thursday. Two days ago, North Vietnam began a major offensive in South Vietnam on the holiday known as Tet. In Saigon today, South Vietnamese police chief Nguyen Loc Loan executes Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem while reporters watch. Photographer Eddie Adams captures the pistol shot to the prisoner’s head; the photo will become one of the most famous ever taken. Video of the execution will be broadcast by NBC News tomorrow night. Among his public events today, President Lyndon Johnson sends his annual economic message to Congress and awards the Congressional Medal of Honor to Air Force Major Merlyn F. Dethlefsen for heroism in Vietnam.

The minimum wage in the United States goes up for many workers, from $1.40 to $1.60 an hour. Certain service workers can be paid less; their minimum wage goes from $1.00 to $1.15. In Memphis yesterday, 22 black sewer workers were sent home without pay due to inclement weather while their white supervisors were permitted to stay and get paid. Today, black sanitation workers Echol Cole and Robert Walker, aged 36 and 30, are accidentally crushed to death by the compactor mechanism in their truck. The incidents will lead sanitation workers to go on strike on February 12, a job action eventually supported by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In New Hampshire, former vice president Richard Nixon announces his candidacy for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination. Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi announces his retirement, which has been rumored since the Packers won Super Bowl II last month. He will remain as general manager. Former pro golfer Lawson Little, who won the U.S. Open in 1940, dies at age 57. Nine months to the day after her parents’ wedding, Lisa Marie Presley is born. Also born: future actor Pauly Shore and future hockey star Mark Recchi.

In today’s Peanuts strip, Lucy terrorizes the boys. On TV today, Bobby Darin co-hosts The Mike Douglas Show. Guests include actress Geraldine Chaplin and jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery. Shows on ABC tonight include The Flying Nun, That Girl, and Bewitched, with an episode titled “Hippie, Hippie, Hooray,” in which mistaken identity leads to big laffs when Samantha’s sister Serena becomes a hippie and gets on the front page of the local newspaper. (Elizabeth Montgomery is on the cover of TV Guide as Serena this week.) NBC’s lineup includes Daniel Boone, Ironside, and Dragnet. CBS kicks off primetime with the Western drama Cimarron Strip. Janis Joplin of Big Brother and the Holding Company signs with Columbia Records as a solo performer. The Velvet Underground, whose new album White Light/White Heat was officially released on Tuesday, play an album release party at Aardvark Cinemathique in Chicago. The Grateful Dead plays Seattle. In San Francisco, the Jimi Hendrix Experience plays two shows at the Fillmore with Albert King, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, and Soft Machine; the Jefferson Airplane plays the Matrix, the tiny club where they debuted in 1965; the show is recorded and will be released in 2010. Also in San Francisco, the Santana Blues Band wraps up a three-night stand at the Straight Theater. Your $1 ticket also entitles you to see the Federico Fellini film La Dolce Vita.

In Cleveland, at 3:05 this afternoon, WKYC debuts a format it calls Power Radio, which is intended to better compete with local station WIXY and CKLW from Detroit. The top four songs on WKYC’s new survey are in the same positions as last week: “Love Is Blue” by Paul Mauriat, “Itchycoo Park” by the Small Faces, “Spooky” by the Classics IV, and “Baby Now That I’ve Found You” by the Foundations. “Bottle of Wine” by the Fireballs blasts to #6 from #17. “Everything That Touches You” by the Association is up 15 spots, from #37 to #22. Also moving fast: “Words” by the Bee Gees, up 12 to #23 and “Tomorrow” by the Strawberry Alarm Clock,” up 10 to #30. The highest-debuting new song on the survey is listed as “Sittin’ on the Dock” by Otis Redding, ranking at #29.

Perspective From the Present: On this day, I was in a new school. In January, I had been among the students moving from the early-2oth-century monolith Lincoln School to the newly built Northside School in our town. Northside was the most modern of buildings—by 1968 standards. Today, it’s the oldest elementary school in town.

One online calculator indicates that the 1968 minimum wage of $1.60 an hour is equivalent to over $11.00 today. Today’s minimum wage of $7.25 would be equivalent to a little over $1.00 in 1968.

(Editor’s note: This is our second 1968 post in the last couple of weeks. I suspect there are going to be more as this year unfolds.)

January 25, 1971: Don’t Just Let That Lie

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(Pictured: Elton John.)

January 25, 1971, was a Monday. In Los Angeles, Charles Manson and three members of his “family,” Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten, and Patricia Krenwinkel, are found guilty in the 1969 murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others. They will be sentenced to death, but the sentences will be commuted. Atkins will die in prison in 2009; in 2017, Manson will die; in 2018, Krenwinkel and Van Houten will still be in prison. Ugandan president Milton Obote is attending an international conference in Singapore; at home, General Idi Amin takes control of the government before troops loyal to Obote can arrest him, as the president had ordered. Police officers remain on strike in Milwaukee; they walked off the job on Saturday after contract negotiations with the city broke down. A judge will order the striking officers back to work on Wednesday. The U.S. Supreme Court rules that Wisconsin’s “posting” law is unconstitutional. It allows police to forbid the sale of intoxicating beverages to an individual simply by posting announcements in retail liquor establishments that alcohol is not to be served or sold to that person. It’s used in cases when police believe a person puts themselves, their family, or the community at risk by drinking. Sixteen states have such laws on the books; Wisconsin’s has been in place for more than 40 years. Dissident priests Philip and Daniel Berrigan are on the cover of Time magazine. In a diary entry, White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman notes that President Nixon is concerned about what he perceives as a change in attitude toward his administration at Time; Haldeman says Nixon has urged him to develop “a plan for attack on them and not just let that lie.” Elsewhere in the White House, Nixon aide Chuck Colson and another staffer begin compiling a list of anti-Nixon people and organizations, which will eventually be known as the “enemies list.” The United States Senate begins using a new sound system in its chamber today, which will allow senators to be more easily heard.

In today’s Peanuts strip, Schroeder and Lucy talk about what brings people together. Prototypes of a new U.S. dollar coin with the face of former president Dwight D. Eisenhower are struck at the Philadelphia mint. The coin will go into general circulation on November 1. In Martin, Tennessee, the Harlem Globetrotters take the floor against their usual foe, the Washington Generals, although the Generals are wearing an alternate uniform and are called the New Jersey Reds. On this night, the Reds win the game, 100-99. Although official records are scarce, it’s thought to be the first Generals win since 1957. The team will fold in 2015 without winning another.

Shows on TV tonight include The Newlywed Game and the second episode of The Reel Game, which requires contestants to answer questions involving movie clips. Also tonight: Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, Gunsmoke, The Lucy Show (featuring a guest appearance by the UCLA Marching Band), Mayberry RFD, The Doris Day Show, and The Carol Burnett Show. In San Francisco, Grace Slick and Paul Kantner of the Jefferson Airplane welcome a daughter. At first, they name her god (with a lower-case g), but she is later renamed China. In New York City, James Taylor plays two shows at the Fillmore East, and Captain Beefheart plays a theater called Ungano’s. T. Rex plays London. Yes and Iron Butterfly play Copenhagen, Denmark, and the two bands close the show by jamming together.

At WLS in Chicago, Dave Edmunds’ “I Hear You Knocking” holds at #1. Elton John’s “Your Song” is #2. Only one song is new in the Top 10, “1900 Yesterday” by Liz Damon’s Orient Express. It’s at #10, tucked in behind Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” Three new songs have cracked the Top 20: “Most of All” by B. J. Thomas, “Watching Scotty Grow” by Bobby Goldsboro, and “We Gotta Get You a Woman” by Runt, at #18, #19, and #20 respectively. The hottest record on WLS is at #21, “Mama’s Pearl” by the Jackson Five, up from #28 the week before.

Perspective From the Present: “1900 Yesterday” is a record we have dug around here since always. And you’re going to want to click that link about the New Jersey Reds beating the Globetrotters. It’s quite a story.

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.

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.