December 9, 1986: Santa Claus Is Dead

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(Pictured: a scene from Who’s the Boss, airing on December 9, 1986.)

December 9, 1986, was a Tuesday. It’s cold in the Great Lakes region and the northern plains, with highs in the single digits and teens. Rain is forecast from Texas to New England. Oliver North and John Poindexter, two former Reagan Administration officials allegedly involved in the diversion of Iranian arms payments to the Nicaraguan contras, both take the Fifth Amendment in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. A new poll shows that 47 percent of Americans believe President Reagan is lying when he denies that he knew about the sales. Among the events on Reagan’s schedule today is a meeting with President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire. The Census Bureau releases a report that says the typical first-time bride and groom are 23.8 and 25.5 years old respectively, the oldest for women since 1890 and men since 1900. The survey also shows that about 1.9 million unmarried couples are living together, and 23 percent of children live in a household with only one parent. Parents in Colonia, New Jersey, are outraged after a priest gave a sermon in which he said that Santa Claus is dead, and if children pretend to be sleeping on Christmas Eve, they can catch their parents putting presents under the tree. Today, the Diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey, issues an apology, saying that the priest was acting on his “zeal to emphasize the spiritual dimension of Christmas.” In Spencer, Iowa, Christmas shoppers can register at a number of local businesses to win a 1950 Cadillac Fleetline sedan. Grocery shoppers at Fareway in Spencer can get boneless top sirloin butt steaks for $1.99 a pound, 80 percent lean ground beef for $1.19 a pound, or bulk braunschweiger for 59 cents a pound. In small-town Illinois, a young radio DJ gives his boss two weeks’ notice; he’s moving to a bigger market a couple of hours up the road.

Last night in the NFL, Seattle crushed the Los Angeles Raiders 37-0. With two weeks left in the regular season, the New York Giants and Chicago Bears have the NFL’s best record, 12-and-2. The Indianapolis Colts have the worst, 1-and-13, although they got their first win on Sunday, 28-23 over Atlanta. Six games are played in the NBA tonight. The Los Angeles Lakers are 15-and-3 after blowing out the New York Knicks 113-87. Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls and Kiki Vandeweghe of the Portland Trail Blazers each score 40 points and lead their teams to wins. Six games are played in the National Hockey League. In college basketball, Nevada Las-Vegas takes over the #1 spot in the polls as last week’s #1, North Carolina, drops to #2.

On TV tonight, NBC airs Matlock, Hill Street Blues, and the newsmagazine 1986. CBS presents the annual broadcast of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Circus of the Stars. ABC wins the night with its lineup of Who’s the Boss, Growing Pains, Moonlighting (the highest-rated show of the night despite being a repeat), and Jack and Mike, a comedy-drama starring Shelley Hack as a Chicago newspaper columnist married to a club owner played by Tom Mason.

Cyndi Lauper plays a show in real-life Chicago. Metallica plays Toronto and Todd Rundgren plays the Ritz in New York City. Elvis Costello plays Liverpool, Journey plays New Orleans, and David Lee Roth headlines in Spokane, Washington, with Cinderella opening. Barry Manilow is hospitalized in Los Angeles after jaw surgery.

“You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi takes over the #1 spot on the Cash Box chart dated December 6 from “Human” by Human League, which now sits at #2. “Next Time I Fall” by Peter Cetera and Amy Grant is up to #3. One song is new in the Top 10: “Walk Like an Egyptian” by the Bangles at #9. The biggest move in the Top 40 is made by Gregory Abbott, whose “Shake You Down” is up from #29 to #17. Bruce Springsteen’s live version of “War” is up 10, from #36 to #26. Springsteen’s Live 1975-1985 tops both the Cash Box and Billboard album charts. The highest debut on the Top 100 is “Open Your Heart” by Madonna at #47. The oldest song on the chart is “Two of Hearts” by Stacey Q, at #70 in its 21st week on, not counting Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” which is in its 23rd week counting weeks from its original chart run in 1961. It’s a hit again thanks to the movie Stand By Me.

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4 thoughts on “December 9, 1986: Santa Claus Is Dead

  1. mikehagerty

    If you are not yet watching Paul Reiser, Keegan-Michael Key, Rachel Bloom, Judy Greer and Johnny Knoxville in Hulu’s “Reboot” (about the reboot of a beloved 20th-century family sitcom), you should be—-if only for the single, brief Tony Danza reference somewhere around episode six.

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