November 30, 1989: Another Day in Paradise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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November 24, 1971: Dan Cooper, Phone Home

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(Pictured: Cher, onstage.)

November 24, 1971, is a Wednesday. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. Headlines on the morning’s newspapers include passage of a major defense bill by the United States Senate and the ongoing tensions in south Asia, where India and Pakistan are on the brink of war. In Madison, Wisconsin, hungry pre-Thanksgiving shoppers can get a spaghetti dinner with salad, roll, and beverage for 95 cents at the lunch counter of their neighborhood Rennebohm Rexall Drug Store. Future actress Lola Glaudini, who will appear on NYPD Blue, The Sopranos, and Criminal Minds, is born, and so is future professional hockey player Keith Primeau. Radio relay operator Rick Holt of Dundalk, Maryland, with less than 30 days remaining on his hitch in Vietnam, writes two letters home. Tonight, a Northwest Airlines flight from Portland to Seattle will be hijacked by a man who claims to have a bomb in his briefcase. He demands $200,000 and two parachutes. The plane lands to release the other passengers and get the hijacker his money, then takes off again. Somewhere over Washington state, the man jumps out of the plane, and he is never seen again. Although he’s on the passenger list as Dan Cooper, his name will be reported by the media, and he will be remembered forever after, as D. B. Cooper.

In today’s Doonesbury strip, documentarian Mark intrudes on B. D.’s football huddle. The CBS-TV lineup tonight features The Carol Burnett Show, Medical Center, and Mannix; on NBC, it’s Adam-12, McCloud, and Night Gallery. In the UK, George Harrison is a guest on The David Frost Show. Led Zeppelin plays Manchester, England. The Doors, minus the late Jim Morrison, play at the University of Pennsylvania, while King Crimson and Yes play the Academy of Music in New York City. At WWDJ in Hackensack, New Jersey, there’s lots of movement at the top of this week’s chart: “Family Affair” by Sly and the Family Stone leaps from #9 to #1, and “Got to Be There” by Michael Jackson jumps from #17 to #2. Last week’s #1, “Gypsys Tramps and Thieves” by Cher falls to #3. Also moving up: “Superstar” by the Temptations, from #16 to #11, and “I Know I’m Losing You” by Rod Stewart from #21 to #14. New on the chart this week are David Cassidy’s “Cherish,” “Scorpio” by Dennis Coffey, and “Hallelujah” by Sweathog.

A sixth-grader in Wisconsin (who will soon buy “Scorpio” on a 45)  looks forward to Thanksgiving Day, eating a big dinner, and watching football with the men of his extended family, not just the traditional NFL games in Detroit and Dallas, but the #1 vs. #2 showdown in college football between Nebraska and Oklahoma. The day will end too early, as such days often do.

November 18, 1984: Dark Side

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(Pictured: a scene from the movie Eddie and the Cruisers, 1984.)

November 18, 1984, is a Sunday. By Congressional resolution, it’s the first day of National Family Week. The New York Times publishes several articles about Baby Fae, the anonymous child who died last Thursday after living 20 days with the transplanted heart of a baboon. The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub tops the Times bestseller list for fiction; Iacocca: An Autobiography, by former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca, leads the nonfiction list. Future Avenged Sevenfold bassist Johnny Christ is born, although his parents name him Jonathan Lewis Seward. The Chuck Norris film Missing in Action tops the weekend box office. The New York City Opera’s production of Sweeney Todd closes after 13 performances.

In the National Football League, the Miami Dolphins suffer their first loss of the season after 11 straight wins, losing to San Diego, 34-28. The San Francisco 49ers are also 11-and-1 after a 24-17 win over Tampa Bay. Tim Lewis of the Green Bay Packers sets a team record with a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown in a 31-6 win over the Los Angeles Rams. Geoff Bodine wins the final NASCAR race of the season, but Terry Labonte wins the Winston Cup championship.

On ABC tonight, Ripley’s Believe It or Not and the adventure series Hardcastle and McCormick are followed by the theatrical movie Stripes, starring Bill Murray and Harold Ramis. CBS primetime starts with 60 Minutes, then Murder She Wrote, The Jeffersons, Alice, and Trapper John, M.D. NBC’s lineup includes Silver Spoons, Knight Rider and the first part of the made-for-TV movie Fatal Vision, dramatizing the Jeffrey MacDonald murder case. Metallica plays Paris and Queensryche plays Buffalo. Bruce Springsteen plays Lincoln, Nebraska and rushes the season a little bit by closing with “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” Jethro Tull plays Seattle, and Stevie Ray Vaughan becomes the first white artist to win the W.C. Handy Blues Awards for Entertainer of the Year and Blues Instrumentalist of the Year. On this weekend’s edition of The Dr. Demento Show, “Earache My Eye” by Cheech and Chong tops the Funny Five countdown.

At WLOL in Minneapolis/St. Paul, “Out of Touch” by Hall and Oates is #1 for a second week. “I Can’t Hold Back” by Survivor is up to #2, and “Better Be Good to Me” by Tina Turner holds at #3. Pat Benatar’s “We Belong” is the lone new entry in the Top 10 at #8, replacing “Caribbean Queen” by Billy Ocean, last week’s #10 down to #18 this week. The biggest mover on the WLOL chart is “Understanding” by Bob Seger, up seven spots to #20. The highest debuting song on the chart is Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” at #32. At WLOL’s crosstown rival, KDWB, “Out of Touch” has fallen completely off the station’s survey from #4 the previous week. “I Can’t Hold Back” and “Better Be Good to Me” show up at #2 and #4 respectively. (Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” is at #3). KDWB’s #1 single for a second week is “On the Dark Side” by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band from the movie Eddie and the Cruisers. (It’s #10 at WLOL.) Paul McCartney’s “No More Lonely Nights” is the lone new entry in the KDWB Top 10. “Hello Again” by the Cars is KDWB’s hottest song, up nine to #20. The highest debut belongs to Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” at #22. “Born in the USA” debuts on the KDWB chart at the bottom, #30.

November 14, 1968: Not Great, But Nice

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(Pictured: Ray Charles on stage, 1968.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 8, 1975: What a Difference

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

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

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

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

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

November 1, 1983: Total Eclipse

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(Pictured: Bonnie Tyler performs on American Bandstand, 1983.)

November 1, 1983, is a Tuesday. One day after another Senate vote refusing to raise the debt ceiling, and after a contentious White House meeting today, President Reagan criticizes recalcitrant Republican senators in his diary. The New York Times publishes an interview with House Speaker Tip O’Neill, who blasts Reagan: ”He only works three to three-and-a-half hours a day. He doesn’t do his homework. He doesn’t read briefing papers. It’s sinful that this man is president.” Secretary of State George Shultz receives a memo stating that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has chemical weapons capability, possibly acquired from the United States. Twenty-one year old Kimberly Nelson disappears in Seattle; in 1986, her body will be found, another one of the 49 confirmed victims of the Green River Killer. The Texas Department of State Health Services begins screening all newborns for sickle-cell traits. Former major league outfielder Art Ruble, who played in 56 games with the 1927 Detroit Tigers and 19 with the 1934 Philadelphia Phillies and recorded a lifetime batting average of .207, dies at age 80, and John Alexander, who will catch eight games and pinch-hit in three others for the 2006 GCL Braves of the Gulf Coast League during his only season of professional baseball, is born.

CBS airs four soaps and four game shows during the day today, including The Price Is Right, The New $25,000 Pyramid, Press Your Luck, and Tattletales. In prime time, ABC airs new episodes of Just Our Luck (soon to be canceled), Happy Days, Oh Madeline (starring Madeline Kahn as a bored suburban housewife married to a romance novelist), and Hart to Hart. NBC’s lineup includes The A Team and Remington Steele.

Tina Turner plays Lund, Sweden, and Queensryche plays the Ritz in New York City. Stevie Ray Vaughan plays Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and ZZ Top plays Hamburg, Germany. AC/DC plays Memphis. At B96 in Chicago, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler and “Islands in the Stream” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton hold the top two spots on the survey again this week. Moving up within the top 10 are “True” by Spandau Ballet and “All Night Long” by Lionel Richie. “Say Say Say” by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney is new in the top 10. “Church of the Poison Mind” by Culture Club, “Heart and Soul” by Huey Lewis and the News, and “Suddenly Last Summer” by the Motels are the chart’s biggest movers. About 250 highway miles southwest of Chicago, at WJEQ in Macomb, Illinois, it’s the new guy’s first day. He and his wife, married six months, moved to town yesterday. He’s on the air from 5 until 8 in the evening, which is not exactly the afternoon show he thought he would be doing.

Perspective From the Present: I needed a job that fall, but Macomb was not my first choice. I’d been chasing a job in Madison, at a new station that was assembling its first staff—Magic 98. But when they never called and the offer from Macomb came in ($200 a week!), I took it. From the jump, I was not happy there. After four years part-time and full-time at KDTH, which was (unlike WJEQ) fabulously well equipped and efficiently run, I felt as though I had taken a step backward with this new job. And given the size of my ego at the age of 23, that I was too good for it.

That, of course, was probably not true. A few years ago, I found an old aircheck that must have been from my first week down there. It was terrible. I was terrible. And probably exactly where I should have been.

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.