October 11, 1958: Tea for Two

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(Pictured: Buddy Holly with fellow Crickets Joe Mauldin and Jerry Allison, 1958.)

October 11, 1958, was a Saturday. Catholics around the world are mourning the death of Pope Pius XII, who died on Thursday after 19 years as Supreme Pontiff. Yesterday, his body lay in state in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Today, NASA, the newly formed American space agency, launches its first satellite, Pioneer 1, from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The spacecraft, developed by the Air Force, is intended to fly by the moon, but engine problems will cause controllers to shoot for Earth orbit instead. That attempt will fail also, and on Monday, Pioneer 1 will burn up in the atmosphere on reentry. The launch is broadcast live on WLTV in Jacksonville. In her syndicated newspaper column My Day, former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt has been writing about her recent trip to the Soviet Union. In today’s column, she tells about her recent visit with Yekaterina Furtseva, the highest-ranking female member of the Supreme Soviet. (Today is Mrs. Roosevelt’s 74th birthday.) In Orfordville, Wisconsin, a farmer from rural Monroe and a schoolteacher from rural Brodhead get married. They will go to Yellowstone National Park for their honeymoon, getting as far as Cuba City, Wisconsin, on their wedding night.

In a clash of college football titans this afternoon, #3 Army beats #4 Notre Dame 14-2. Top-ranked Auburn beats Kentucky 8-0 while #2 Oklahoma loses its annual showdown with Texas 15-14. Ohio State, which was ranked #1 in preseason polls but has slipped to #5 despite winning its first two games, beats Illinois 19-13. Among the other Big Ten results, Wisconsin blows out Purdue 31-6 and Iowa beats Indiana 34-13. Baseball fans are waiting to learn whether New York Yankees manager Casey Stengel will return for an 11th season next year. The Yankees won the World Series this past Thursday afternoon, coming back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the defending champion Milwaukee Braves in seven games. (Stengel does indeed return, and he will manage the Yankees through 1960.)

Prime-time TV is packed with westerns tonight, including Wanted: Dead or Alive, Have Gun Will Travel, Gunsmoke, and the debut episode of Cimarron City, starring George Montgomery, Audrey Totter, and John Smith, set on the Oklahoma frontier in the 1890sAlso airing tonight: Perry Mason, The Gale Storm Show, The Perry Como ShowSteve Canyon, and The Lawrence Welk Show. The latter has been broadcast with stereo sound in several American cities since its season premiere in September; ABC says the stereo broadcast will soon expand to 75 markets covering 80 percent of the country. Viewers will get one side of the stereo broadcast on TV and the other from tuning in the radio. Also on ABC, The Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show is broadcast live from Atlanta with guests including Sam Cooke, Danny and the Juniors, and Conway Twitty. The Ku Klux Klan has threatened to disrupt the show over Cooke’s appearance, so National Guard troops are on standby against trouble. In the UK, the sports show Grandstand premieres on the BBC. Showing a mix of live events and highlights, it will run until 2007.

The Biggest Show of Stars tour, which is playing 17 cities in 17 days, reaches Columbus, Ohio, on the ninth day. Stars include Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Clyde McPhatter, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Darin, the Coasters, Dion and the Belmonts, and others. On the new Fabulous Forty Survey at KFWB in Los Angeles, “It’s All in the Game” by Tommy Edwards and “Tears on My Pillow” by Little Anthony and the Imperials hold at #1 and #2 for another week. Bandleaders Cozy Cole and Tommy Dorsey are in the Top 10 with “Topsy Part 2” and “Tea for Two Cha Cha” respectively, at #3 and #5. “Bird Dog” by the Everly Brothers is #4. Three songs are new in the Top 10: “It’s Only Make Believe” by Conway Twitty, “Rockin’ Robin” by Bobby Day, and “To Know Him Is to Love Him” by the Teddy Bears. The biggest mover on the chart is “Non Dimenticar” by Nat King Cole, up 21 spots to #17 in its second week on. The highest debut is “Chantilly Lace” by the Big Bopper at #21.

Perspective From the Present: Stereo sound was new, having been launched by the major record labels late in 1957. One review of September’s Lawrence Welk season premiere said, “The stereo sound under this setup, where the speakers and sound systems are unbalanced, is not very good, but it’s a gimmick that helps rivet attention to the show’s sound.” Read more about the first year of stereo here.

The farmer and the schoolteacher became my parents, and today is their 60th wedding anniversary. We’ll have a family celebration this weekend.


October 7, 1976: Hope Springs Eternal

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(Pictured: Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford debate, 1976.)

October 7, 1976, is a Thursday. At last night’s second Ford/Carter debate, President Ford said there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. Today, Ford’s campaign unveils a new ad touting the president’s biography. Hua Kuo-Feng is named chairman of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, succeeding Mao Tse-Tung, who died last month. In a meeting with the foreign minister of Argentina, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger gives indications that the United States will not oppose Argentina’s “dirty war” against its own people. Gary Gilmore is convicted of murder in Utah; he will insist on a speedy execution by firing squad, and in January 1977, become the first person to be executed in the United States since the death penalty was banned by the Supreme Court in 1972. Future actress Rachel McAdams, future singer Taylor Hicks, and future Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Charles Woodson are born. Hank Aaron, baseball’s all-time home run king, joins the Atlanta Braves’ front office after retiring as a player. High-school football fans in Monroe, Wisconsin, look forward to tomorrow night’s game despite the fact that their team is mired in a losing streak; hope nevertheless springs eternal because the team opened the season in September with two straight wins, equaling their total over the two previous seasons.

Connie Stevens is this week’s cohost on The Mike Douglas Show. Burt Reynolds is today’s guest. On the competing daytime show Dinah!, Dinah Shore’s guests include Sid Caesar and Marsha Mason. Shows on TV tonight include the NBC sci-fi series Gemini Man and the CBS crime drama Barnaby Jones. Elton John appears on the cover of the latest Rolling Stone. In the cover story, he reveals his bisexuality. Frank Sinatra plays Hartford, Connecticut, Neil Diamond plays Fort Worth, Texas, and Lynryd Skynyrd plays Spokane, Washington.

At KYA in San Francisco, “Disco Duck” by Rick Dees is #1 again this week; “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry holds at #2. Peter Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like We Do” jumps from #11 to #5; in Cash Box, it’s the highest-debuting record on the magazine’s chart for over a year, coming on the Top 100 at #48. Three new songs debut on the KYA survey: “Rock’n Me” by the Steve Miller Band, “You Are My Starship” by Norman Connors, and “Still the One” by Orleans. The station adds three songs to its playlist: “Nadia’s Theme” by Perry Botkin Jr., “Just to Be Close to You” by the Commodores, and “Muskrat Love” by the Captain and Tennille. “Muskrat Love” is the biggest mover within the Cash Box survey, up 29 spots to #31. The Captain and Tennille’s TV variety show is new on ABC, with its fourth episode scheduled for this coming Monday night. Guests will include Leonard Nimoy, Rita Moreno, and the cast of What’s Happening!! In its first three episodes, the show has already scored guest appearances by Jackie Gleason, Bob Hope, and Redd Foxx.

October 2, 1970: Fun Company

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(Pictured: Martha and John Mitchell, 1970. He’s the Attorney General of the United States; she’s his eccentric and outspoken wife.)

October 2, 1970, was a Friday. A plane carrying 36 members of the Wichita State University football team and a crew of four, en route to a game in Utah, crashes in Colorado. Only nine survive. (Six weeks later, a plane carrying 75, including 37 members of the Marshall University football team, will crash in West Virginia, killing everyone aboard.) Future talk-show host and actress Kelly Ripa is born. Martha Mitchell, wife of U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell, is on the cover of Life magazine. Inside, an article on Saturday morning TV features a photo of Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp. President Nixon travels from Zagreb to Madrid, continuing a foreign tour that has taken him to Rome and will also take him to the UK and Ireland. Nixon accepts a key to the city of Madrid and attends a state dinner given by Generalissimo Francisco Franco. A conference sponsored by American Library Association and the U.S. Office of Education Bureau of Libraries and Educational Technology closes in Warrenton, Virginia. Papers presented at the conference include “Broad Bandwidth Telecommunications Systems” and “World Wide Information Networks.” The National League and American League championship series are set to begin tomorrow, although probably with minor-league umpires, as major-league umpires are on strike in a contract dispute with baseball owners. Billy Martin is hired as manager of the Detroit Tigers.

Shows on ABC tonight include The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family (an episode titled “The Sound of Money,” featuring an actress named Farrah Fawcett credited as “Pretty Girl”). This Is Tom Jones features Zero Mostel, Diahann Carroll, and the Ace Trucking Company. On NBC, guest stars on Name of the Game are Barbara Feldon and Mickey Rooney. In London, the Monty Python comedy troupe films an episode titled “The Attila the Hun Show” that will be broadcast in November. Derek and the Dominoes play Nottingham, England. At KADI in St. Louis (“The Fun Company, 96FM”), several records are outperforming their national chart number, including “As the Years Go By” by Mashmakhan, “Our World” by Blue Mink, and “Holy Man” by Diane Kolby, a Christian pop tune that will reach the Top 20 in St. Louis, Denver, and the Twin Cities. Up at the top, however, KADI is in step with the rest of the country: The top five are “Lola” by the Kinks, Three Dog Night’s “Out in the Country,” “All Right Now” by Free, “Candida” by Dawn, and “Look What They’ve Done to My Song” by the New Seekers. In Wisconsin, “Candida” is the first song a new Top 40 listener really loves.

Perspective From the Present: A lot of Christian-pop crossovers you can hear as generic love songs. Not “Holy Man.” There’s no way to hear it as anything but a love song to Jesus, and a borderline-erotic love song at that, although the part where she sings to him, “You’re the one who knows when I will die” is not so much erotic as it is creepy. But you’ll have to judge for yourself.

October 30, 1974: Rumble and Jump

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(Pictured: Evel Knievel poses with his Sky Cycle, a picture taken after his unsuccessful attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon in Idaho in September 1974.)

October 30, 1974, was a Wednesday. Last night here in the States (but at 4AM on the 30th in Zaire, where the fight is held), Muhammad Ali knocked out George Foreman in the eighth round to regain the heavyweight championship in “the Rumble in the Jungle.” In one of four games played in the World Football League tonight, Southern California beats Charlotte 34-25. Today, President Ford holds a cabinet meeting. Among the subjects discussed: how to ensure better public compliance with the 55MPH speed limit. The Omaha Register newspaper reports on a Nebraska state trooper who claims to have been abducted by a UFO, and the Gettysburg Times covers the dedication of a new parking lot at the First Lutheran Church in New Oxford, Pennsylvania. A teenager named Laura Aime disappears after a Halloween party in Utah. She will be found murdered, and in 1988, serial killer Ted Bundy will confess to the crime. Chicken magnate Frank Perdue is involved in a fatal traffic accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike; he will eventually be charged with involuntary manslaughter, but the case will be dismissed.

Shows on TV tonight include Cannon and The Manhunter, starring Ken Howard, on CBS, Little House on the Prairie on NBC, and the TV movie Death Cruise on ABC. In the UK, filming continues on The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Spirit plays Denver and Golden Earring plays Chicago. Eric Clapton plays Boston, Fleetwood Mac plays Jackson, Mississippi, KISS plays Columbus, Ohio, and David Bowie plays Radio City Music Hall in New York. At WDRQ in Detroit, “I Love Q, I Honestly Love Q” by Olivia Newton-John holds at #1; another record that some radio stations have altered to promote themselves, “Life Is a Rock” by Reunion, is at #16. (In Chicago, it’s heard as “life is a rock but WLS rolled me” and “life is a rock but ‘CFL rolled me”). Al Green’s magnificent “Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy)” leaps from #12 to #5, and “I Can Help” by Billy Swan vaults from #20 to #13. In Wisconsin, a high-school freshman hears Green’s chuckle at the start of “Sha La La” and knows precisely what it means—the song feels so good that you just can’t keep it in.

Perspective From the Present: Some of the stuff on the WDRQ chart that I never heard back then is mighty fine, like “Let’s Straighten it Out” by Latimore (#3). It’s a slow-cookin’ deep soul record that would barely sneak into the national Top 40. “Evil Boll Weevil” by Grand Canyon (#24) is a break-in record about Evel Knievel’s then-recent attempt to jump over the Snake River Canyon in Idaho. It was devised by Jeff McKee and Ed Brown, jocks at WQXI in Atlanta, although the first voice heard on it is almost certainly Chicago legend Fred Winston. Brown impersonates Ed Sullivan, who died in mid-October 1974; McKee said that Sullivan’s death kept many stations from adding the record.

October 28, 1985: Blown Call

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(Pictured: St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joaquin Andujar, ejected from Game 7 of the 1985 World Series, gives umpire Don Denkinger a piece of his mind about Game 6.)

October 28, 1985, was a Monday. The headline on the nation’s sports pages today is the meltdown of the St. Louis Cardinals, who lost Game 7 and the World Series to Kansas City last night 11-0. On Saturday night, the Cardinals had lost Game 6 on a call by umpire Don Denkinger that TV replays clearly showed to be wrong. In tonight’s NFL game, the Los Angeles Raiders run their record to 6-and-2 with a 34-21 win over San Diego. Future NFL player Early Doucet is born, and former player Tommy Thompson dies. Chris Evert takes over the #1 ranking among female tennis players from Martina Navratilova, who had taken it from Evert two weeks only, and who will get it back a month from now.

A series of stories in the current Time magazine dissects the hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro earlier this month, and the joint American-Italian operation that intercepted a plane carrying the Palestinian hijackers. People‘s cover story is on the best and worst-dressed people of the year. Portions of Massachusetts are declared a federal disaster area after Hurricane Gloria struck the East Coast in late September. TV preacher Pat Robertson will claim the hurricane missed his headquarters in Virginia because of his prayers. A total eclipse of the moon is visible throughout all of Asia, but cannot be seen in North and South America.

Top movies at the box office this past weekend included Jagged Edge, Krush Groove, Commando, and Back to the Future. Among the soaps on daytime TV today: Ryan’s Hope. Tonight, PBS airs a documentary about the Statue of Liberty, directed by Ken Burns. On network TV, it’s the made-for-TV movie A Time to Live, starring Liza Minnelli in a role that will win her a Golden Globe award for Best Actress, and the retooled sitcom What’s Happening Now. Joan Rivers is guest host on The Tonight Show with John Larroquette and Howie Mandel. The Grateful Dead opens a two-night stand in Atlanta, Eric Clapton plays Milan, Italy, R.E.M. plays London, and Miles Davis plays Copenhagen, Denmark. Barbra Streisand shoots a video for “Somewhere” at the Apollo Theater in New York.

On the American Top 40 show broadcast over the preceding weekend, Charlie Van Dyke filled in for Casey Kasem. Seven songs entered the Top 40 for the first time. The highest debut was “Soul Kiss” by Olivia Newton-John at #34, followed by Scritti Politti’s “Perfect Way” at #35, plus new hits by ZZ Top, Billy Joel, Alive and Kicking, Ray Parker Jr., and Klymaxx. The biggest upward move within the 40 was made by Mr. Mister’s “Broken Wings,” up eight spots to #27.  The biggest drop belonged to “Cherish” by Kool and the Gang, down 13 spots to #26 in its 17th week on the Hot 100. Whitney Houston took the #1 spot with “Saving All My Love for You,” knocking last week’s #1, “Take on Me” by a-ha, to #3. “Part Time Lover” by Stevie Wonder was at #2. The show included two Long Distance Dedications: “I Won’t Hold You Back” by Toto and “You’re Only Human” by Billy Joel.

Perspective From the Present: We lived in a one-bedroom basement apartment in the fall of 1985. It was in what was otherwise a commercial building, owned by the insurance agent whose office was across the hall, with an optometrist and some other office upstairs. We’d been there exactly two years at that point, but would soon move to a rented house. I can still see myself in that little apartment, sitting in the big easy chair I scrounged from my parents’ basement, watching the sixth and seventh games of the World Series. But when I went to look at the Google Street View of the address not long ago, I didn’t recognize it at all.

October 21, 1976: No Perspective

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(Pictured: Thurman Munson of the Yankees heads for home plate, defended by Johnny Bench of the Reds, during the 1976 World Series.)

October 21, 1976, was a Thursday. The Cincinnati Reds beat the New York Yankees 7-2 to sweep the World Series, giving them back-to-back championships. President Gerald Ford issues a statement expressing pride in the fact that Americans have won all five Nobel prizes: medicine, economics, physics, chemistry, and literature. Ford meets with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who reports that former vice-president Hubert Humphrey wants Ford to defeat Jimmy Carter in the upcoming presidential election. Later in the day, both Ford and Carter will campaign in New York before tomorrow night’s final debate in Williamsburg, Virginia. Carter’s brother Billy speaks to an audience in Georgia, telling them that his brother drinks Scotch, and that “I’ve never trusted a Scotch drinker.” A new Gallup poll shows Carter’s lead over Ford down to six points. Also today, Ford signs a bill mandating the expansion of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. With the nation preparing for the outbreak of swine flu, the Cass City Chronicle of Cass City, Michigan, publishes local residents’ memories of the 1918 flu epidemic. On the night of their season-opening game, the NBA’s New York Knicks retire the number of longtime center Willis Reed. Future actor Jeremy Miller and future pop singer Josh Ritter are born.

On TV tonight: Barney Miller (an episode set on Election Day), The Waltons, and Barnaby Jones. Aerosmith plays Erlangen, Germany, and Elvis Presley plays Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Eagles play the second night of a stand at the Los Angeles Forum; their performance of “Desperado” will later appear on the album Eagles Live. The Who plays Toronto. In London, Paul McCartney and Wings wrap up their “Wings Over the World” tour at the Empire Pool, Wembley. In New York City, George Michael is rockin’ the evening shift at WABC, taking over from the legendary Cousin Brucie Morrow. “Disco Duck” by Rick Dees is #1 on the station’s latest survey, knocking “A Fifth of Beethoven” by Walter Murphy out of the top spot. “If You Leave Me Now” by Chicago is at #3. New in the Top 10 are “Rock’n Me” by the Steve Miller Band and “She’s Gone” by Hall and Oates. “Fernando” by ABBA is at #29 on the survey. They lip-synch it on today’s episode of the long-running syndicated kids’ show Wonderama.

Perspective From the Present: When it comes to this particular date, and this particular season, I’ve got no perspective. Everyone, if they’re lucky, has a single season in which they’d live forever, given the opportunity. The fall of 1976 is mine. If I could keep it in perspective, it wouldn’t be what it is.

October 1973: The Way We Were

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(Pictured: Gerald Ford speaks after Richard Nixon announces his appointment as vice president on October 14, 1973.)

Normally, this feature examines a single day. This time, we’ll look at several days from one extraordinary month—October 1973, when Egypt and Israel brought the world to the brink of war, Richard Nixon went nose-to-nose with the Constitution only to blink first, and Cheech and Chong had a hit single.

October 8, 1973, is a Monday. Two days after Arab forces led by Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, Israel launches an unsuccessful counterattack. The Soviet Union supplies arms to Egypt and Syria. Wayne Newton co-hosts The Mike Douglas Show; primetime TV shows tonight include The Rookies and Here’s Lucy. Scandal-plagued Vice President Spiro Agnew is on the cover of Newsweek.

October 10, 1973, is a Wednesday. Agnew makes a deal: He pleads no contest to tax evasion, agrees to repayments and a fine, and resigns the vice presidency. Nixon will appoint Congressman Gerald Ford of Michigan to replace him. Tensions rise further in the Middle East after the United States pledges unlimited military aid to Israel. Israeli counterattacks recapture some of the territory lost in the war’s first hours. Future actor and TV personality Mario Lopez is born. The New York Mets win the National League pennant, defeating the Cincinnati Reds.

October 16, 1973, is a Tuesday. After a tense week in which the Soviet Union threatened to intervene in the Arab-Israeli war on behalf of Egypt and Syria, and the United States continued to send aid to Israel, Egypt asks the Soviets to get the UN to order a cease-fire. OPEC cuts oil production and announces an embargo on sales to the West, especially the United States. The embargo will remain in place for five months and have a drastic effect on the American economy. Henry Kissinger wins the Nobel Peace Prize for the Vietnam peace accords. His North Vietnamese counterpart, Le Duc Tho, declines the award. Bette Midler plays Madison, Wisconsin, and the movies The Way We Were and The Paper Chase open in theaters.

October 19, 1973, is a Friday. After a long refusal to turn over tapes of his Oval Office conversations to Congressional investigators looking into the Watergate break-in, President Nixon offers to permit hard-of-hearing Senator John Stennis of Mississippi to review them. The Watergate special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, immediately refuses the offer and continues efforts to force Nixon to surrender the tapes. Bob Marley and the Wailers play San Francisco, the Rolling Stones wrap up their current tour in West Berlin, and the Steve Miller Band plays Dallas with Muddy Waters opening. The Who releases Quadrophenia. Among the shows on TV tonight: The Brady Bunch and The Odd Couple.

October 20, 1973, is a Saturday. On kids’ TV this morning: Sigmund and the Sea Monsters and The New Scooby Doo Movies. This evening, President Nixon orders Attorney General Elliott Richardson to fire Archibald Cox, but Richardson refuses and resigns in protest. Richardson’s deputy, William Ruckelshaus, is ordered to fire Cox, but when he refuses, Nixon fires him. Solicitor General Robert Bork finally fires Cox, and Nixon announces that he has abolished the office of special prosecutor. The events are quickly termed the Saturday Night Massacre. Oakland beats the Mets 3-1 to tie the World Series at three games each. (The A’s will win it tomorrow.) The Six Million Dollar Man premieres on ABC. New Riders of the Purple Sage and Commander Cody play Duke University, and Genesis plays London.

October 23, 1973, is a Tuesday. Eight impeachment resolutions against Nixon are introduced in the House of Representatives, and he agrees to turn over the Watergate tapes to the Justice Department. The UN passes a resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Arab-Israeli War. It will go into effect tomorrow, but when fighting continues to flare, the Soviets will threaten to send troops to support Egypt. In response, American forces around the world, including nuclear forces, will be placed on a higher alert. Toyota officials hold their first-ever American press conference to tout the fuel efficiency of their vehicles, just days after the OPEC oil embargo has begun. Fleetwood Mac plays Greeley, Colorado, and Lynryd Skynyrd plays Athens, Georgia.

October 27, 1973, is a Saturday. The Arab-Israeli war does not escalate further; tomorrow, the two sides will begin talking about a resolution. Central Florida is hit by an earthquake, and a meteorite strikes in Colorado. Allan “Rocky” Lane, a cowboy actor of the 30s and 40s better known as the voice of TV’s Mister Ed, dies at age 69. Mott the Hoople plays Boston with Aerosmith opening, and Miles Davis plays Stockholm, Sweden. At WCFL in Chicago, “Angie” by the Rolling Stones takes over the #1 slot, knocking out “Half Breed” by Cher. The top album is Goats Head Soup by the Stones; Los Cochinos by Cheech and Chong is #2. The single from that album, “Basketball Jones,” is in WCFL’s Top Ten. It features guest appearances by George Harrison, Billy Preston, Carole King, Tom Scott, Nicky Hopkins, Darlene Love, and Michelle Phillips.

October 14, 1977: The Series

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(Pictured: Reggie Jackson swings and misses during a 1977 World Series game at Yankee Stadium.)

October 14, 1977, is a Friday. At the White House, President Carter meets with General Omar Torrijos and other Panamanian officials to clarify American military rights in the Canal Zone if the canal is turned over to Panama, as proposed in the Panama Canal Treaty signed last month. Later, Carter answers questions from a group of reporters and editors, meets author David McCullough, and attends a reception for Democratic Party fund-raisers, among his other daily activities. After a round of golf in Spain, singer and actor Bing Crosby dies at age 74. (He shot an 85.) Actor Keenan Wynn dies in Los Angeles. Speaking in Des Moines, Iowa, anti-gay activist Anita Bryant is hit in the face with a pie. The First National Bank of Chicago reports that a million dollars is missing from its vaults. “It’s possible that at some point we miscounted the cash,” says the bank’s senior vice president, “but as of now we are working on the assumption that it is a cash loss.” In 1981, $2,300 of the money will be recovered; the rest never will.

On TV tonight, ABC carries Game 3 of the World Series, to be played in Los Angeles. The Yankees beat the Dodgers 5-3 to take a 2-1 lead in the series. Yankee stars Reggie Jackson and Thurman Munson play in the game, after threatening to sit out in a dispute over seats provided to their family and friends at Dodger Stadium. In the Chicago Tribune, TV critic Gary Deeb blasts ABC for turning this week’s edition of its nightly newscast, anchored by Harry Reasoner and Barbara Walters, into a promotional vehicle for the network’s coverage of the Series, which ABC is carrying for the first time. Opposite the baseball game, CBS broadcasts Wonder Woman and Smile, a 1975 theatrical comedy about beauty pageant organizers, starring Bruce Dern and Barbara Feldon; NBC airs the Sanford and Son spinoff The Sanford Arms, Chico and the Man, The Rockford Files, and Quincy.

Before tonight’s World Series game, Linda Ronstadt sings the National Anthem. Ronstadt is also featured in the current edition of New Times magazine, and has two new singles out, “Blue Bayou” and “It’s So Easy.” The Grateful Dead plays Houston, Renaissance plays the Royal Albert Hall in London, Steppenwolf plays St. Louis, Keith Jarrett plays Paris, Rush plays Tulsa, and the Steve Miller Band plays Ann Arbor, Michigan. KISS Alive II is released. On the new Cash Box magazine chart, which will come out officially tomorrow, the top four are unchanged from the previous week: “You Light Up My Life” by Debby Boone is in its second week at #1, followed by “Keep it Comin’ Love” by KC and the Sunshine Band, “Nobody Does it Better” by Carly Simon, and Meco’s “Star Wars/Cantina Band.” New in the Top 10: “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer and “Cold as Ice” by Foreigner. New in the Top 40: “How Deep Is Your Love” by the Bee Gees, “I Just Want to Make Love to You” by Foghat, and “Send in the Clowns” by Judy Collins.

In Wisconsin, the leaves change and then they fall; the world gets a little bit colder every day. The radio talks to a guy who can’t help but listen, because it knows his life better than he does.

October 7, 1978: First Edition

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(Pictured: Bob Seger, rockin’ a Springsteen T-shirt, 1978.)

(This post is a historic one, as it’s the very first One Day in Your Life post I ever wrote at The Hits Just Keep on Comin’. The first few editions looked a lot different than the later ones would. Although I have revised most of the early ones that have and will appear here, I’m gonna put this one up almost exactly as it appeared back on October 7, 2004. I’ve made some cosmetic edits and added a link, plus Perspective From the Present at the very end. If I’m recalling correctly, I wrote the original on some public library computer while killing a morning on the road. )

Any given day can be filled with historic events, but some time has to pass before we recognize them as such. October 7, 1978, was one of those days. The Los Angeles Dodgers advanced to the World Series that night, and after the game was over, we turned on the radio.

Bob Seger’s “Hollywood Nights” peaked at #12 on the singles chart that day. It’s the quintessential Bob Seger record—a smart lyric about making your way in a world that wants to steal your money and break your heart, delivered with Seger’s trademark crunch. All-time classic lines: “She had been born with a face that would let her get her way / He saw that face and he lost all control.” Boston’s “Don’t Look Back” peaked at # 4. We would have been surprised to know that it would be their last major hit for eight years, until “Amanda” in 1986.

The Rolling Stones performed “Beast of Burden” and “Respectable” on Saturday Night Live. [Editor’s note: And also “Shattered.”] This was the night Mick grossed out America by licking Ron Wood’s cheek in mid-solo.

Toto’s first single, “Hold the Line,” was released debuted on the Hot 100 at #84. [I stopped using release dates in these posts fairly early on because a large percentage of Internet resources get them wrong, and chart dates are better anyhow.—ed.] Can you think of an artist that sold more records and got less love than Toto? “Hold the Line” became a radio hit because it sounded like it should be one—perfect for both Top 40 and album-rock formats.

John Mellencamp celebrated his 27th birthday. It would be the last time he celebrated a birthday without having it mentioned on lists of notable birthdays, because by the time he would turn 28, the album Nothin’ Matters and What If It Did would be out, and the single “I Need a Lover” would be on its way up the charts.

Perspective From the Present: On the Billboard Hot 100 dated 10/7/78, the top two were the same as the previous week: “Kiss You All Over” by Exile and former #1 hit “Boogie Oogie Oogie” by A Taste of Honey. Nick Gilder’s “Hot Child in the City” was up to #3 in its 18th week on; three weeks hence it would finally take out “Kiss You All Over” and set a record for the slowest-cooking #1 hit of all time. “How Much I Feel” by Ambrosia made the biggest leap within the 40, from #29 to #16; “Double Vision” by Foreigner went from #38 to #26. New songs in the 4o were “Took the Last Train” by David Gates, “Ready to Take a Chance Again” by Barry Manilow, and “Sweet Life” by Paul Davis. In addition to “Hold the Line,” eight other records debuted on the Hot 100, all between #80 and #90. Other than “Hold the Line,” Justin Hayward’s “Forever Autumn” (#82) and Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” (#86), the rest of them remained obscure. If you remember “Martha” by Gabriel (the highest debut of the week at #80) or “Mellow Lovin'” by Judy Cheeks (#88), maybe you should be writing this blog.

October 6, 1981: Sensation

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(Pictured: Pat Benatar, circa 1981.)

October 6, 1981, was a Tuesday. Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, reviewing a parade in Cairo, is assassinated by Muslim extremists after 11 years in office. President Reagan makes a brief televised speech about the Sadat assassination after attending a luncheon in honor of the visiting prime minister of Thailand. He also proclaims October 9 to be Leif Erickson Day. The Progressive Conservative Party wins a majority in general elections in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. The Mall of Memphis opens in Memphis, Tennessee.

The major-league baseball playoffs open, with an unusual format made necessary by the players’ strike earlier this season. Nolan Ryan of the Houston Astros outduels rookie sensation Fernando Valenzuela of the Los Angeles Dodgers in one game; in the other, Oakland defeats Kansas City. Two more series will open tomorrow: New York Yankees at Milwaukee and Philadelphia at Montreal. Actor Gary Coleman tells producers of Diff’rent Strokes that he wants a new contract; he will not appear on new episodes of the show until the dispute is resolved. Shows on TV tonight include Hart to Hart, Three’s Company, and the TV movie Return of the Beverly Hillbillies.

The Grateful Dead play the Rainbow Theatre in London, AC/DC plays Newcastle, England, and Motorhead plays live on the BBC. The Dead Kennedys play Rome, and the Police play Russelsheim, Germany. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Stevie Nicks, and the Joe Ely Band share a bill in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Pat Benatar plays Austin, Texas. At WLS in Chicago, the top album is Tattoo You by the Rolling Stones, which has knocked Journey’s Escape from #1. The live album Nine Tonight by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band leaps from #12 to #5; Dan Fogelberg’s The Innocent Age also enters the Top 10, moving to #8 from #25. The soundtrack of the R-rated, animated sci-fi movie Heavy Metal is at #11. Two songs from the soundtrack are new on the WLS singles chart: Devo’s cover of “Working in the Coal Mine” is at #40 and the title song, recorded by Don Felder of the Eagles, is at #41.

Perspective From the Present: It was the fall of my senior year in college. A group of us decided to watch the afternoon baseball playoff game in the student center bar. At 6:00, we decided to skip our evening class to watch the second game and drink more beer. At 10:00, my girlfriend (now The Mrs.) pulled me out of the bar, reminding me that I had to be on the air the next morning in Dubuque at 5AM. Because she was sure I would never get there by myself, she put me to bed on her couch, rousted me at 3AM, and drove me to work. I was still half-intoxicated, and the other half of me was hung over. I lasted until 7:30, when a friendly colleague took pity on me and sent me home. It is to the man’s eternal credit that he didn’t report my condition to our boss, because I would surely have been fired, and justifiably so. But he didn’t like the guy any more than I did, so it remained our little secret.