(Pictured: a high school scene, September 1976.)
I have written many, many One Day in Your Life posts about days in 1976 over the years, although not very many new ones as part of The 1976 Project. But here’s one.
September 2, 1976, was a Thursday. It’s Election Day in Barbados. It’s the first day of school in Dayton, Ohio, and the first day of a new desegregation plan for the city’s schools. In Monroe, Wisconsin, the new school year is about one week old. A newly minted junior is taking third-year French, Social Psychology, Contemporary Family Living, Creative Writing, Journalism, and a physical education course. After a yearlong flight, the Viking II spacecraft has reached Mars; tomorrow, it will become the second spacecraft to make a soft landing on the planet, joining Viking I, which landed in July. Even though it is Thursday, President Gerald Ford discusses political strategy for the upcoming presidential campaign with advisers from the House and Senate known as the Wednesday Group. The group includes Senator Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania, who pledges his support for Ford despite having been named Ronald Reagan’s running mate before the Republican National Convention earlier in the summer. Ford is told that labor leaders dislike Jimmy Carter, and that “the Christ-like evangelism of Carter is not as strong as the president’s quiet faith.” Ford also receives advice on how to look into the camera during the upcoming debates, and he is urged to make a whistle-stop train tour in West Virginia.
In today’s Peanuts strip, Charlie Brown and Linus review the baseball season. Five games are played in the majors; the Los Angeles Dodgers sweep a doubleheader from the Montreal Expos. The first Canada Cup international hockey tournament opens; the Canadian team, loaded with NHL stars, is a heavy favorite. (Two weeks later, they will win it.) The NBA Portland Trail Blazers send LaRue Martin, who had been taken first overall by the Blazers in the 1972 NBA draft, to Seattle in exchange for future considerations. Daytime talk show Dinah Shore’s guests today are Jerry Lewis, Chad Everett, Marvin Hamlisch, Charo, and Julius LaRosa. Tonight, network prime-time TV is mostly reruns, including The Waltons, Hawaii Five-O, and Barnaby Jones on CBS and Welcome Back Kotter, Barney Miller, and The Streets of San Francisco on ABC. NBC airs a nature special about the Galapagos Islands and The Oregon Trail, the pilot for a proposed western series. Later, comedian David Brenner fills in for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show; one of his guests is singer Robert Goulet. Elvis Presley plays Tampa, Queen plays Edinburgh, Scotland, and the Band plays Boston Music Hall.
At WLS in Chicago, Elton John’s duet with Kiki Dee, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” holds on to #1 for a fourth week on the chart dated August 28, 1976. The songs at #2 and #3, “You Should Be Dancing” by the Bee Gees and “Let ‘Em In” by Paul McCartney and Wings, hold their spots for a third week, and the songs at #4 through #6 are there for a second consecutive week: Lou Rawls’ “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine” (which will go on to spend a third week at #4), “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight” by England Dan and John Ford Coley, and “Shake Your Booty” by KC and the Sunshine Band. Also in the Top 10: “Play That Funky Music,” “A Fifth of Beethoven,” Seals and Crofts’ “Get Closer,” and “This Masquerade” by George Benson. Farther down the Top 40, the change of seasons is on, where other indelible hits of summer (“Kiss and Say Goodbye,” “Love Is Alive,” “Afternoon Delight”) mingle with the equally indelible hits of fall (“Lowdown,” “Still the One,” “If You Leave Me Now”).
Buckle up, newly minted high school junior. You are about to take the ride of your life.