September 17, 1978: Don’t Look Back

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(Pictured: Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta attend the premiere of Grease in appropriate attire, 1978.)

September 17, 1978, was a Sunday. Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin sign the Camp David Accords. The peace agreement was reached after 12 days of secret negotiations mediated by President Jimmy Carter, who will win the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. Carter also designates the coming week as National Port Week. The Guttenberg, Iowa, fire department responds to a car fire. In South Middleton, Massachusetts, a man reports seeing six “humanoid figures” in reflective clothing standing beside the road in front of his house; after a few minutes, they walk into the woods and disappear. In LaPorte, Indiana, the new LaPorte Historical Society museum opens. Hurricane Greta strikes Honduras. In Monroe, Wisconsin, local businessman Archie Myers is grand marshal of the Cheese Days parade.

It’s the third Sunday of the NFL season, which has expanded from 14 games to 16 this year; The Oakland Raiders defeat the Green Bay Packers 28-3. Bobby Allison wins the NASCAR Delaware 500. In the American League, the Boston Red Sox defeat the New York Yankees 7-4; New York leads Boston in their division by two and a half games, having made up a 14-game deficit since July. The season will come down to a one-game playoff on October 2, which will be won by the Yankees. Battlestar Galactica premieres on ABC, and the 25th season of The Wonderful World of Disney premieres on NBC. The CBS news show 60 Minutes begins a new segment called “A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney.” CBS also airs promos for a new series that will premiere the following night: WKRP in Cincinnati.

AC/DC plays Allentown, Pennsylvania; Little Feat plays Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Black Sabbath plays Kansas City, Missouri, with Van Halen opening; Bob Dylan plays New Haven, Connecticut; Bruce Springsteen plays New York City; saxophonist Dexter Gordon plays San Francisco; Frank Zappa plays Atlanta. On the Billboard Hot 100 dated September 16, 1978, the top five singles are in the same positions as the previous week: “Boogie Oogie Oogie” by A Taste of Honey is #1, followed by “Three Times a Lady” by the Commodores, “Hot Blooded” by Foreigner, “Hopelessly Devoted to You” by Olivia Newton-John, and “Kiss You All Over” by Exile. The only new entry in the Top 10 is Boston’s “Don’t Look Back,” at #8. The highest-charting new song is Barry Manilow’s “Ready to Take a Chance Again,” at #70, and the biggest mover is Ambrosia’s “How Much I Feel,” moving from #80 to #63 in its third week on.

Perspective From the Present: I attended the Cheese Days parade that afternoon, as Monroe is my hometown. That night, I reluctantly returned to college an hour away, in Platteville, where I was a freshman. I was, like many freshmen, having a difficult time adjusting, and there was at least one Sunday night that fall when I announced to my parents that I wasn’t going back. I always did, though, and I’d eventually start feeling like I belonged. Getting on the air at the campus radio station at the end of the semester helped a lot.

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September 11, 1973: Looking Glass

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(Pictured: Ken Norton ducks a punch from Muhammad Ali on September 10, 1973.)

September 11, 1973, was a Tuesday. Headlines this morning include the Nixon Administration’s acknowledgment that American bombers flew missions in support of the government of Cambodia during 1970 and 1971 and kept the missions secret by falsifying records. Today, Senate confirmation hearings continue for Henry Kissinger as Secretary of State; Foreign Relations Committee chairman J. William Fulbright wants more information on Kissinger’s wiretaps of officials and reporters between 1969 and 1971. Also today, armed forces in Chile combine to overthrow the government of Salvador Allende, who reportely commits suicide. In future years, the CIA will acknowledge having had advance knowledge of the coup but no involvement in it and the agency’s claim of non-involvement will be disputed.

Sports fans are talking this morning about Muhammad Ali’s split-decision victory over Ken Norton in last night’s rematch in Los Angeles. Ali had lost a split decision to Norton in March. Fans also look forward to the opening of the NFL regular season this Sunday, and to the tennis Battle of the Sexes between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs at the Houston Astrodome on September 20. In May, the 55-year-old Riggs defeated 30-year-old Margaret Court, the #1 ranked female player in the world. Court had accepted Riggs’ challenge after King declined it.

Twelve games are scheduled in Major League Baseball. In the National League East, the St. Louis Cardinals maintain a half-game lead on the Pittsburgh Pirates after both teams lose today. Burt Hooton of the Chicago Cubs throws a complete-game 2-0 shutout against the Pirates this afternoon. The Cardinals lose to Montreal at home tonight, 4-1, and they lead the division with a record of 72-and-72. The other National League division leader, Cincinnati, wins, as do American League leaders Baltimore and Oakland. In New York, Gaylord Perry goes the distance for Cleveland in a 7-3 win over the Yankees to run his record on the season to 16-and-19.

On TV tonight, CBS presents the season premieres of Maude and Hawaii Five-O, along with a first-run TV movie, Coffee, Tea, or Me?, starring Karen Valentine as a flight attendant with two husbands, one in Los Angeles and one in London. On ABC, the season premiere of the ABC Tuesday Movie of the Week features Deliver Us From Evil, a plane-hijack drama starring George Kennedy. Following the movie, it’s the season premiere of Marcus Welby, M.D. NBC’s lineup includes the premiere of the detective drama Chase, starring Mitchell Ryan, and another TV movie, Drive Hard, Drive Fast, about a race-car driver who is entranced by a beautiful woman and menaced by a psychopath. Although the movie, which stars Joan Collins, was filmed in 1969, this is its first broadcast.

Bette Midler, with her pianist and musical director Barry Manilow, tapes a performance of three songs, including her recent hit “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” for broadcast on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson tomorrow night. The Grateful Dead plays at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and Frank Zappa plays Liverpool, England. Jethro Tull plays Pittsburgh and Uriah Heep plays Norfolk, Virginia. Uriah Heep’s opening acts tonight are Earth Wind and Fire and Tucky Buzzard, a British band whose albums are produced by Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones. Uriah Heep has been joined on several other shows this summer by ZZ Top and/or Rory Gallagher. Albums released today include Angel Clare, the first solo album by Art Garfunkel, and The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle by Bruce Springsteen.

At KHJ in Los Angeles, “Delta Dawn” by Helen Reddy holds the #1 spot on the new survey out today. “Half Breed” by Cher is up to #2. Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” is #3. There’s not much movement in the Top 10 except for “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” by Elton John, which leaps to #8 from #16. The only other new song in the Top 10 is “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder, up from #12 to #10. The biggest mover on the chart is “Angie” by the Rolling Stones, up 10 spots to #18. Also making a strong move is “Jimmy Loves Mary Anne” by the Looking Glass, up from #23 to #16. Three songs debut on KHJ’s chart: “China Grove” by the Doobie Brothers, “Keep on Truckin'” by Eddie Kendricks, and “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight and the Pips.

(Note to Patrons: if you are interested in more stuff about 1973, click “1973” under “The Times of Our Times” in the right-hand column, and/or visit Tales of ’73 at my other blog.)

September 7, 1988: Need You Tonight

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(Pictured: Michael Hutchence of INXS on stage in 1988.)

September 7, 1988, was a Wednesday. News stories making headlines this morning include yesterday’s successful landing of the Soviet Soyuz 6 spacecraft after a problem with reentry guidance systems caused two earlier landing attempts to be aborted. Forest fires continue to burn in Yellowstone National Park and in Washington State. The Bush and Dukakis campaigns have agreed on two presidential debates this fall; Bush’s preferred dates would fall during the upcoming Summer Olympics and World Series; the Dukakis campaign prefers other dates. Today, remnants of Hurricane Debby are breaking up in the Gulf of California; Debby killed 20 people as she crossed Mexico earlier this week. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Florence intensifies to hurricane strength in the Gulf of Mexico. Florence will make landfall in Louisiana on Saturday, causing minor damage but no fatalities. Tonight, an earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale rattles parts of Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Ohio, and West Virginia. No damage or injuries are reported. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recalls about 145,000 squeaky duck toys sold by a Massachusetts company. Separation of the vinyl cover from the soft foam inside can present a choking hazard.

The hottest pennant race in the majors is in the American League East, where Baltimore holds a one-game lead over Detroit after both teams win tonight. The majors’ best record belongs to the Oakland A’s, who have a 10 1/2 game lead over the Minnesota Twins in the American League West. The A’s beat Texas 6-3 tonight; Jose Canseco hits his 37th home run. In Chicago tonight, the National League East-leading New York Mets score five in the top of the ninth to tie the Cubs, but Cubs outfielder Rafael Palmeiro triples to open the bottom of the ninth and scores on a single by Damon Berryhill to give the Cubs a 9-8 win. The NL West-leading Dodgers beat the Astros 4-1. Future basketball star Kevin Love is born.

Singer Art Garfunkel continues his Walk Across America, spending tonight in Sadieville, Kentucky. The walk started outside his New York City apartment in 1984. He walks in short segments a few times each year, always picking up where he left off the previous time. He will complete the walk in 1997. AC/DC plays Hamilton, Ontario, and Tangerine Dream plays Radio City Music Hall in New York. Most of tonight’s network TV offerings are repeats. CBS airs Jake and the Fatman, The Equalizer, and Wiseguy. ABC’s lineup is Growing Pains, Head of the Class, Hooperman, The Slap Maxwell Story, and China Beach. NBC has the night’s lone new program, George Schlatter’s Funny People, followed by the movie repeat I Married a Centerfold. The MTV Music Video Awards are broadcast live from Los Angeles. INXS is the big winner: the video for “Need You Tonight” wins Video of the Year, Best Group Video, Breakthrough Video, Best Editing, and the Viewer’s Choice Award. Prince wins Best Male Video for “U Got the Look”; Suzanne Vega wins Best Female Video for “Luka.” Best New Artist in a Video is Guns ‘n’ Roses for “Welcome to the Jungle.” Michael Jackson wins the Video Vanguard Award. INXS and Guns ‘n’ Roses perform live on the show, as do Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, Depeche Mode, Crowded House, and the Fat Boys, among others. Elton John and Michael Jackson perform from remote locations.

On the Billboard Hot 100, “Monkey” by George Michael holds at #1. “Sweet Child o’ Mine” by Guns ‘n’ Roses moves up to #2. Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistable” is at #3 followed by Elton John’s “I Don’t Wanna Go on With You Like That” and “I Don’t Wanna Live Without Your Love” by Chicago at #4 and #5 respectively, followed by “Perfect World” by Huey Lewis and the News (#6) and Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” (#7). “When It’s Love” by Van Halen, “If It Isn’t Love” by New Edition, and “I’ll Always Love You” by Taylor Dayne round out the Top 10. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin in the hottest song on the Top 40, moving from #25 to #15. “Groovy Kind of Love” by Phil Collins is the highest debut on the Hot 100 at #52.

Perspective From the Present: The Mrs. and I had moved to a new apartment the previous June, in a little bedroom community north of Davenport, Iowa, where I was on the radio. We’d been married five years and had decided maybe it was time to have a baby. Spoiler: we never did. It took us two more years just to decide to get a cat.

September 3, 1970: Groovy Situation

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(Pictured: Canned Heat guitarist Al “Blind Owl” Wilson, on stage in 1970.)

September 3, 1970, is a Thursday. A nationwide manhunt is underway for four men suspected of blowing up the Army Math Research Center at the University of Wisconsin 10 days earlier. President Nixon is in California, where he meets a top-level delegation from Mexico and hosts a state dinner. A host of political and diplomatic celebrities attend, along with Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Red Skelton, and other Hollywood stars. Representatives from around the world meet for the first Congress of African People, which is held in Atlanta, Georgia. Illinois adopts a new state constitution. Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi dies of colon cancer at age 57; Canned Heat guitarist Al “Blind Owl” Wilson dies of a drug overdose at age 27. Future college and pro basketball player George Lynch is born; so is Jeremy Glick, who will attempt to fight back against the hijackers of United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, and die in the crash. A hailstone weighing 1.67 pounds and measuring 5 1/2 inches across is found near Coffeyville, Kansas. It will be the largest ever found anywhere until 2003. The Arcata Union newspaper in California reports that since G and H streets in Arcata were made into a one-way pair, five of the six service stations on the two streets have suffered sharp declines in gasoline sales.

For the first time since September 1963, outfielder Billy Williams is not in the lineup for the Chicago Cubs, breaking a streak of 1,117 straight games played. Without him, the Cubs beat the Phillies, 7-2. In the minor leagues, the 1970 International League regular season ends with the Syracuse Chiefs finishing first. Shows on daytime TV today include 17 soap operas (counting Dark Shadows) and eight game shows. Shows on TV tonight include Family Affair, That Girl, Ironside, This Is Tom Jones, Dragnet, Bewitched, and Dean Martin Presents the Golddiggers. At Criteria Studios in Miami, Derek and the Dominoes record “I Am Yours,” “Anyday,” and “It’s Too Late,” which will appear on their forthcoming album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. Joni Mitchell tapes an episode of BBC in Concert that will be broadcast in October. Jimi Hendrix plays Copenhagen, Denmark and Led Zeppelin plays San Diego. A triple bill at the Fillmore West in San Francisco features Johnny Winter, Boz Scaggs, and Freddie King.

At WLS in Chicago, “War” by Edwin Starr is #1 again this week; “25 or 6 to 4” by Chicago makes a strong move from #7 to #2. New in the Top 10 is “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” by Creedence Clearwater Revival at #8. Other big movers: “Julie Do Ya Love Me” by Bobby Sherman (#22 to #14) and “Groovy Situation” by Gene Chandler (#25 to #18). Aboard a Wisconsin school bus, a kid just entering fifth grade at Northside School discovers the best place to sit.

Perspective From the Present: I don’t know for certain whether September 3, 1970, was really the famous day I first sat under the radio speaker on the school bus and my future was set for me. I know it wasn’t long after school started, and I was collecting WLS music surveys by the end of September, so it’s as good as guess as any other.

September 28, 1970: Don’t You Know

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(Pictured: a group of travelers arrives at the airport in Rome on September 28, 1970.)

September 28, 1970, was a Monday. It’s the first day of the fall semester at Kent State University in Ohio, where four anti-war protesters were killed by National Guardsmen in May. Folk singer Phil Ochs headlines a memorial event that includes speeches by civil rights activist Dr. Ralph Abernathy and Thomas Grace, a student wounded in May. Last week, the Scranton Commission investigation into the shootings determined that even if the Guardsmen believed they were in danger, the situation did not call for lethal force. Thirty-two Americans taken hostage three weeks ago in a series of airplane hijackings in the Middle East arrive in Cyprus on their way home; six more former hostages are free in Jordan but yet to start for home. Time‘s cover story this week is about Palestinian guerillas and the Jordanian civil war. Egyptian president Gamel Abdel Nasser dies of a heart attack at age 52 and is succeeded by Anwar Sadat; author John Dos Passos dies at age 74. Running for reelection in California, Governor Ronald Reagan visits a Honda car plant in Gardena. President and Mrs. Nixon visit Pope Paul VI during their trip to Rome. Also in Rome today: the Rolling Stones, who arrive from Vienna for a concert tomorrow night.

This week’s Sports Illustrated features a cover foldout with pictures of major league managers Danny Murtaugh of Pittsburgh, Leo Durocher of the Chicago Cubs, and Gil Hodges of the New York Mets. Inside, the magazine reports on the controversy surrounding eight black football players at Syracuse University who have been suspended for the season over their discrimination complaint against the university. In today’s Peanuts strip, Lucy wonders why Schroeder never gives her flowers. On TV tonight, ABC’s second broadcast of Monday Night Football stars the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, who race to a 31-0 lead in the second quarter on the way to beating the Baltimore Colts, 44-24. The Colts will lose only one more game this season on their way to a Super Bowl win. Major sponsor Ford promotes the new 1971 Mustang, LTD, Maverick, and Torino models among the game’s commercials. CBS counters with Gunsmoke, The Lucy Show, Mayberry RFD, The Doris Day Show, and The Carol Burnett Show. NBC’s lineup includes The Red Skelton Show (new on NBC after 19 seasons on CBS), Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, and the theatrical movie The Lost Man, a 1969 film starring Sidney Poitier as a revolutionary on the run from the police.

Findings of a coroner’s inquest into the death of Jimi Hendrix on September 18th are announced in London. Hendrix choked to death while intoxicated on barbiturates. Badfinger plays at Eastern Washington College in Cheney, Washington; Yes plays at Aberystwyth University in Wales. The Moody Blues play the Spectrum in Philadelphia. At WDBQ in Dubuque, Iowa, “Cracklin’ Rosie” by Neil Diamond spends another week at #1 according to the station’s new music survey. New in the Top 10 are “Joanne” by Michael Nesmith, “Groovy Situation” by Gene Chandler, and “Indiana Wants Me” by R. Dean Taylor. The biggest mover on the chart is “Candida” by Dawn. Among the new songs on the survey are the latest hits by Mark Lindsay, Melanie, and Linda Ronstadt, along with last week’s Premier Single, “Don’t You Know” by Beefcake.

Perspective From the Present: Moody Blues flutist Ray Thomas fell off a stage platform just before the Spectrum show, breaking two toes—and his flute. He asked if anyone in the audience happened to have a flute he could use, and someone did. Whether this happened on September 28 or the night before isn’t clear; neither is it clear whether the Moodys played on back-to-back nights at the Spectrum or just one, and whether Thomas asked for a replacement flute on the first night or the second night. As for the band Beefcake, our friend Larry Grogan suspects it may be made up of songwriters Chris Arnold, David Martin, and Geoff Morrow, who recorded under several different names, and who wrote dozens of songs for acts from Elvis on down, including “Can’t Smile Without You,” made famous by Barry Manilow.

And as for the bigger hits from the fall of 1970, you know how I am about all that.

(Programming note: because I have written about many, many October days over the years, this blog will be busy in the coming month. You should subscribe, in the right-hand column, if you haven’t already.)

September 25, 1966: Brand New Model

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(Pictured: the Supremes on stage, 1966.)

September 25, 1966, was a Sunday. A Minnesota man is being held for questioning in the murder of Valerie Percy, the 21-year-old daughter of U.S. Senator Charles Percy of Illinois earlier this month. (Fifty-one years later, the case will remain unsolved.) People from Virginia to Wisconsin are still abuzz over the unexplained bright lights seen in the sky early yesterday morning. NASA says it ejected chemicals into the atmosphere as part of a missile test, and the lights must have had something to do with that.  In the Chicago suburb of Alsip, the village holds an open house to show off the new garage built to house its municipal vehicles. Newspapers around the country carry the first ad for the Chevrolet Camaro, a brand-new model for 1967, which will go on sale on Thursday.

Ken Holtzman of the Chicago Cubs takes a no-hitter into the ninth inning at Wrigley Field against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Holtzman will lose the no-hitter and the shutout but win the game 2-1. The losing pitcher is Sandy Koufax, who also pitches a complete game. The game takes one hour and 50 minutes to play. The Dodgers will clinch the National League pennant this week; the Cubs will finish dead last with 103 losses; after the Dodgers lose the World Series, Koufax will retire. The American League cellar-dwellers, the New York Yankees, finish their home schedule with a 3-0 win over the Red Sox in front of a crowd of about 16,000; the previous Thursday, attendance for a game against the White Sox was announced as 413. Jim Stevens, who played two games for the Washington Senators in 1914, dies in Baltimore at age 77, and Army PFC Gary Dopp of Almond, Wisconsin, is killed in Vietnam. The Green Bay Packers win their third game of the season, beating the Los Angeles Rams 24-13.

On TV tonight, ABC airs the 1957 film Bridge on the River Kwai and almost 28.5 million homes tune in. It’s the highest rated movie in TV history, and a good thing, too. ABC paid a record $2 million to Columbia Pictures for the right to show it. NBC has Bonanza and The Andy Williams Show, with special guests Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. On CBS, Ed Sullivan welcomes the Supremes and Ethel Merman.  In Wisconsin, a first-grader is watching The Ed Sullivan Show on the new color TV at his grandparents’ house when he is called to the telephone—a very rare occurrence. It’s his father, who tells him that his new baby brother was born today.

At the Empire Theater in Liverpool, the Rolling Stones are on their biggest tour of Britain to date, headlining with the Yardbirds, and Ike and Tina Turner. Because it’s a Sunday, the bands play two shows. The Jefferson Airplane, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and Muddy Waters wrap up a three-day stand at the Fillmore in San Francisco with an afternoon show. The Kinks play Vienna, Austria. Gordon Lightfoot wraps up a three-night stand at Canterbury House in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a venue that seats 150 people. At WLS in Chicago, the top 3 songs on the latest Silver Dollar survey are unchanged from the previous week: “Cherish” by the Association, “Sunshine Superman” by Donovan, and “You Can’t Hurry Love” by the Supremes (which they perform on The Ed Sullivan Show tonight). New in the top 10 is “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by the Beach Boys; the biggest movers are “Mr. Dieingly Sad” by the Critters and “Cherry Cherry” by Neil Diamond. Among the new songs on the survey this week: “Reach Out I’ll Be There” by the Four Tops and “Poor Side of Town” by Johnny Rivers.

Perspective From the Present: My four-year-old brother and I were rousted in the wee hours of what was probably Saturday morning to go along when Dad took Mother to the hospital. He parked the car at curbside and took her in, leaving us in the back seat by ourselves. (It was a different time.) Sleepily, my brother asked me, “What’s going on?” “Mom’s gonna have a baby,” I told him. I remember being quite proud to have a baby brother. He’s still my baby brother today, and although he’s not nearly as cute as he used to be, his own kids have made up for it.

And sweet fancy Moses, the music in September 1966. Unbelievable.

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.)

September 16, 1987: Just Can’t Stop

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(Pictured: Michael Jackson on stage, 1987.)

September 16, 1987, is a Wednesday. A front-page story in the New York Times details the growing plagiarism scandal surrounding Delaware Senator Joseph Biden, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Biden’s committee is holding confirmation hearings for Supreme Court appointee Robert Bork. Pope John Paul II continues a visit to the United States; today, he’s in Los Angeles, where he celebrates mass at Dodger Stadium and stresses the need for religious communities to draw together “in a common concern for man’s earthly welfare, especially world peace.” President Reagan speaks on the steps of the Capitol at “A Celebration of Citizenship,” as school children across the country celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution. The mayors of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and Hsin Tien, Taiwan, sign a sister-city proclamation. National Football League players and owners are eyeball-to-eyeball in a labor dispute; in six days, the players will go on strike, resulting in the cancellation of one week’s games and the playing of three others with replacement players. Bob Boone of the California Angels appears in his 1,919th game at catcher, which is a major league record.

Calvin and Hobbes decide to secede from their family. On CBS-TV tonight, it’s the premiere of Wiseguy, starring Ken Wahl. On NBC, the final season of St. Elsewhere begins. The New York Times reports that investment firm Smith Barney is dropping John Houseman from its TV ads; for several years, Houseman has told viewers that Smith Barney makes money the old fashioned way: “they ear-r-r-r-r-n it.” The current edition of Variety includes the obituary of TV star Lorne Greene (Bonanza), who died last week at age 72. Films set to open this coming weekend include Fatal Attraction, Hellraiser, and The Pick-Up Artist. Top movie last weekend: Stakeout, starring Emilio Estevez and Richard Dreyfuss.

Pink Floyd plays Cleveland, Boston plays Nashville, and Bob Dylan plays Nuremberg, Germany, with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers opening. The Grateful Dead plays Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Dead’s biggest hit single to date, “Touch of Grey,” is at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. That chart is topped by Los Lobos and Michael Jackson, sitting at #1 and #2 for the second consecutive week with “La Bamba” and “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You.” Whitney Houston’s “Didn’t We Almost Have It All” is at #3, followed by Whitesnake and “Here I Go Again”at #4. Madonna is in the Top 10 with “Who’s That Girl” (#9) and she also has the highest debuting song on the Hot 100 with “Causing a Commotion,” which comes in at #41. Also in the top 10: Huey Lewis and the News (“Doing It All for My Baby” at #7) and “When Smokey Sings” by ABC (#8), which cleverly incorporates the main riff from Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ 1970 hit “Tears of a Clown.” Smokey himself is at #21 with “One Heartbeat.”

Perspective From the Present: During the week of October 3, “One Heartbeat” would reach #10 and become Smokey Robinson’s final Top 10 hit to date. “La Bamba” would be knocked from the #1 spot the next week by “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” Although Michael Jackson’s Bad had been released two weeks before, it didn’t knock the La Bamba movie soundtrack from #1 until the week of September 26. Such were the limitations of chart methodology in the pre-Soundscan era. Bad was, nevertheless, the album absolutely everyone was talking about 30 years ago this month, and Michael-mania was raging anew. It was so pervasive that even my radio station—which played elevator music—briefly made room for “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”

September 11, 1985: Twice a Day

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(Pictured: Pete Rose follows through on his 4,192nd hit. The catcher is Bruce Bochy, who would go on to manage in the majors, winning three World Series in five years with the San Francisco Giants.)

September 11, 1985, was a Wednesday. Headlines in the morning papers include a request by the Reagan Administration to raise the federal debt ceiling to an unprecedented $2.078 trillion in October. Also yesterday, incumbent mayors Ed Koch in New York and Coleman Young in Detroit won primary elections. In such heavily Democratic cities, winning the primary is tantamount to winning the general election. A Colorado resident named Dennis Whiles turns himself into immigration authorities in San Pedro, California. His real name is Georg Gaertner, and during World War II, he escaped from a camp for German prisoners of war in New Mexico, a secret he kept from his wife of 21 years until recently. His surrender is timed to coincide with the release of a book he co-wrote about his experience; authorities say that his lengthy marriage means he probably won’t be deported. A wire-service story reports on a survey that says 50 percent of career women are dissatisfied with the frequency of their sex lives. The psychologist conducting the survey also says that women “like the idea of starting and finishing the day in a warm, emotional way.” This prompts the Los Angeles Times to headline the story, “Career Women Tell Survey They’d Like Sex Twice a Day.”

Tonight, in the bottom of the first inning at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Pete Rose of the Reds singles off Eric Show of the San Diego Padres. It’s Rose’s 4,192nd hit, breaking the all-time record held by Ty Cobb. The Reds go on to win 2-0. On TV tonight, CBS airs an episode of I Had Three Wives, a short-run series starring Victor Garber as a private eye whose ex-wives—a lawyer, an actress with martial arts skills, and a reporter—help him solve cases. It’s followed by the TV movie Brass, an unsold pilot, starring Carroll O’Connor as the NYPD’s chief of detectives. ABC carries the sci-fi movie J. O. E. and the Colonel followed by a rerun of Hotel with guest star Elizabeth Taylor. NBC airs Highway to Heaven followed by the premiere of the new series Hell Town, starring Robert Blake, and the news program American Almanac, hosted by Roger Mudd. The Fall Preview edition of TV Guide is on sale in stores with listings for the week of September 14.

On the current Billboard Hot 100, “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” by John Parr is #1, taking over the top spot from “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News, which falls to #2. “We Don’t Need Another Hero” by Tina Turner and “Freeway of Love” by Aretha Franklin have pulled a similar trade of positions at #3 and #4. “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams holds at #5. The biggest mover within the Top 10 is “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits, moving to #6 from #10. Two songs are new in the Top 10: “Don’t Lose My Number” by Phil Collins and “Pop Life” by Prince. Ready for the World’s song “Oh Sheila” moves from #26 to #18, the biggest move within the Top 40. The only other song new to the Top 20 is “Dress You Up” by Madonna at #17. Five songs are new in the Top 40; the highest debut is Sting’s “Fortress Around Your Heart” at #32. New at #33 is “Dancing in the Street,” a record Mick Jagger and David Bowie made for Live Aid in July. Stevie Wonder’s “Part Time Lover” is new on the Hot 100 all the way up at #43.

Perspective From the Present: I saw Rose tie Cobb’s record against the Cubs the preceding Sunday. I was at the height of my obsessive baseball fandom in 1985, although it would have been tempered by September. The Cubs had crashed at mid-season, losing the whole starting rotation to injuries and dropping 12 games in a row at one point, and were now firmly mired in fifth place. On this particular night, they beat the last-place Pirates 3-1. I don’t know if I watched, but if I had, I would likely have seen Rose’s record-setting hit. Nationally televised regular-season games were still relatively rare, but local broadcasters could pick up the Cincinnati TV feed whenever Rose came to bat.

September 7, 1967: Good Morning World

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(Pictured: Paul Revere and the Raiders.)

September 7, 1967, is a Thursday. The weather forecast for the northern half of the United States and the Pacific Coast is for fair skies, with rain possible across the south and into the Rocky Mountains. In Madison, Wisconsin, the predicted high is 79. President and Mrs. Johnson are at the LBJ Ranch in Texas through the weekend while Congress is on its Labor Day recess. The United Auto Workers launched a strike against Ford late last night; up to 159,000 union workers in 25 states may ultimately be affected by the strike. The strike will last for 68 days; workers at GM and Chrysler will stage brief walkouts as well. A million students in six states are idled by teachers’ strikes.

Walgreens stores in the Chicago area invite you to “save big on beer”: locally brewed Van Merritt is just 79 cents for a six-pack of cans. You can get a six-pack of Old Style in bottles for 92 cents or Budweiser in cans for $1.05. At the start of play today, four teams are in a virtual tie for first place in the American League: the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins have identical records of 78-61; the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers are percentage points behind with identical records of 79-62. Tonight, the Twins and Red Sox both win, while the White Sox and Tigers are idle; the result leaves the Twins ahead of the Red Sox by .001; the Tigers and White Sox trail by one-half game. In the National League, the Cardinals, Cubs, and Giants all win; St. Louis maintains an 11-and-a-half game lead over the Cubs and Giants.

Two new TV series premiere opposite one another tonight: on ABC, Sally Field stars in The Flying Nun; on CBS, it’s the western Cimarron Strip starring Stuart Whitman. Several other new fall shows have already premiered this week, including Good Morning World, a sitcom set in a Los Angeles radio station, and He & She, starring Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss. (They have been a married couple in real life since 1961; 50 years from now, they will still be married.) New fall series to premiere this weekend include The Mothers-In-Law, The High Chaparral, and The Carol Burnett Show. Crime dramas Ironside and Mannix will debut next week. Also this weekend, NBC will air Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, starring the comedy team in a fast-paced variety special. The show’s high rating will prompt NBC to make it a regular series in January.

On the new survey coming out tomorrow at WLS in Chicago, Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe” holds for another week at #1, just ahead of “Come Back When You Grow Up” by Bobby Vee and “Light My Fire” by the Doors. At #4 it’s “The Letter” by the Box Tops, up from #22 the week before. Two other songs are new in the Top 10: “I Had a Dream” by Paul Revere and the Raiders at #8 and “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, up to #10 from #24 last week. Also in the Top 10: local favorite the Cryan’ Shames with “It Could Be We’re in Love,” “Never My Love” by the Association, “Reflections” by Diana Ross and the Supremes, and the double-A-sided hit “Pleasant Valley Sunday” and “Words” by the Monkees. There are 12 new songs on the survey this week: the highest debut is “Little Ole Man” by Bill Cosby at #20. WLS DJs Art Roberts and Larry Lujack will make personal appearances tomorrow night. Roberts will be the MC of a show at the Holiday Ballroom; Lujack will MC a record hop at Notre Dame High School and later, a show at the Rivoli Ballroom.

Perspective From the Present: I have recently been watching episodes of He & She on YouTube. It was a sophisticated, adult sitcom, a predecessor of shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and several years ahead of its time, which helps to account for its demise after one season. A half-century later, it’s definitely worth watching.

Also: In September 1967, I had just started the second grade at Lincoln School, in Miss Jones’ class, although I would transfer to the newly opened Northside School in January. My second-grade report card includes the notation that I listen attentively and am considerate of others only some of the time, and there is also a note that says I need to work on expressing myself better in writing.