September 22, 1965: Three Strikes and You’re Out

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(Pictured: Hank Aaron of the Milwaukee Braves, center, gets caught off third base by a pack of Los Angeles Dodgers on September 21, 1965.)

September 22, 1965, was a Wednesday. Pakistan agrees to a cease-fire in its war with India, which Pakistan started with a surprise attack on September 1. Pakistani Foreign Minister Bhutto demands voters in Muslim-majority Kashmir be permitted to decide whether to remain part of India or become part of Pakistan. In addition to fighting a two-front war with Pakistan, India has also been on the verge of war with China. Reports yesterday indicated that India had begun to remove troops from the border with Tibet, as China had demanded, although Indian officials denied that a withdrawal had begun. In New York City, seven of the city’s eight daily newspapers remain shut down as reporters continue a strike that began last week and other unionized workers refuse to cross picket lines. The New York Post, which is not affected by the strike, has doubled its press run, but to fill the void, radio and TV stations have expanded news coverage, and some out-of-town papers are being sold in the city. An Associated Press story published around the country reports that subway riders are not sure how to act without a newspaper to distract them from fellow passengers. In California, migrant workers are on strike for higher wages, threatening the harvest of grapes and other farm products.

In major-league baseball today, the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Milwaukee Braves 7-6 in 11 innings at Milwaukee County Stadium. It seems likely that this is the last game for the Braves in Milwaukee before they move to Atlanta in time for the 1966 season. The win pulls the Dodgers to within two games of the National League-leading San Francisco Giants, who lost to the Cincinnati Reds 7-1. In the AL, the front-running Minnesota Twins lose to the second-place Baltimore Orioles 5-2, but the Twins still lead by eight games. They haven’t clinched the pennant yet, but it’s getting close. Future Twins pitcher Mark Guthrie is born. In London, Ringo Starr and his wife Maureen bring their son Zac home from the hospital nine days after his birth.

On TV tonight, a number of new shows that premiered last week air their second episodes, including Gidget, The Big Valley, I Spy, Lost in Space, and Green Acres. Elvis Presley continues work on his next film, Paradise Hawaiian Style. Jazz players Wes Montgomery and Wynton Kelly complete work on a new album, which will be titled Smokin’ at the Half Note and released later this year. Dean Martin headlines the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. At the Coffee Gallery in San Francisco, the Great Society, featuring lead singer Grace Slick, plays its first gig. Elsewhere in San Francisco, the Jefferson Airplane opens for Lightning Hopkins at the Matrix.

At WMCA in New York, “Yesterday” and “Help” by the Beatles are both in the Top 10, at #1 and #7 respectively. Also in the Top 10 is Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction,” which was #1 last week, along with the McCoys’ “Hang on Sloopy,” “You Were on My Mind” by We Five, “The In Crowd” by Ramsey Lewis, the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody,” and Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.” Dylan’s “Positively 4th Street” debuts on the station’s Good Guys Top 57 survey all the way up at #24; “Everybody Loves a Clown” by Gary Lewis and the Playboys is red-hot right behind it at #25, up from #46 last week.  Across the country at KHJ in Los Angeles, “The In Crowd” is #1 on the Boss 30 for a second week. “Yesterday,” which is shown as being by Paul McCartney, is up to #3, and “Help” is at #8. The hottest record at KHJ is “Keep on Dancing” by the Gentrys, up from #29 last week to #14 this week.

Perspective From the Present: Milwaukee Braves ownership started thinking about a move to Atlanta in 1963, and wanted to be there for the 1965 season, but were forced to keep playing in Milwaukee while legal wrangling continued. Braves games were broadcast in Atlanta in 1965. The last legal roadblock wasn’t removed until shortly before the 1966 season began. The scars left by the drawn-out battle over the future of the Braves lasted a long time in Wisconsin, even after the Brewers began play in 1970.

I knew nothing about anything that happened on this day, for I had been in kindergarten for less than a month, and my world was much, much smaller.

August 24, 1970: Spill the Wine

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(Pictured: Karl Armstrong, in custody in Toronto in 1972, before his extradition to stand trial as leader of the Sterling Hall bombing conspiracy.)

August 24, 1970, was a Monday. Early this morning, a truck bomb explodes outside Sterling Hall on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. The target is the Army Math Research Center, housed in the building. Researcher Robert Fassnacht, father of three, is killed in the blast, which is heard 30 miles away. In California, the United Farm Workers go on strike after an agreement with growers earlier this month collapsed. A front-page story in the New York Times is headlined “Homosexuals in Revolt.” It discusses the new militancy of the gay liberation movement about a year after New York’s Stonewall riots. The National Organization for Women is planning marches in several major cities to be held on Wednesday. Women’s Strike for Equality events are timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th Amendment, which permitted women the right to vote. President Nixon is at the Western White House in San Clemente, California; he arrived Saturday after a brief trip to Mexico. Among his appointments today, he meets with his economic advisors and hosts a reception for West Coast business leaders. He declines to take two phone calls from 1936 Republican presidential candidate Alf Landon, gets a haircut in the afternoon, and ends his day watching the movie Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here.

Only two games are played in the  National League. Chicago Cubs pitcher Ferguson Jenkins runs his season record to 16-and-14 with a complete-game 4-2 win over the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Elsewhere, Atlanta shuts out Montreal 6-0 in a make-up game after yesterday’s rainout at Parc Jarry in Montreal, and in the American League, Kansas City beats New York 8-7. At the University of Iowa, the football team assembles for its team picture. Future professional golfer Rich Beem is born.

Among his guests tonight, Dick Cavett welcomes singer James Brown and Dark Shadows star Jonathan Frid. Dark Shadows is one of 16 daytime dramas broadcast by the three networks today, along with eight game shows and primetime reruns including That Girl, Bewitched, The Lucy Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Andy Griffith Show, and Gomer Pyle USMC. While being followed by a film crew, Elvis Presley plays dinner and midnight shows at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. Jefferson Airplane plays Atlanta and Johnny Cash plays Toronto. Chicago plays Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4” is one of the top hits in its namesake city, at WLS. “War” by Edwin Starr is the station’s new #1 song this week, knocking last week’s #1, “Spill the Wine” by Eric Burdon and War, to #3. “I Just Can’t Help Believing” by B. J. Thomas is #2. Other top hits include “Signed Sealed Delivered” by Stevie Wonder, “Make It With You” by Bread, and “Why Can’t I Touch You” by Ronnie Dyson. The biggest mover on the chart is “Hi-De-Ho” by Blood Sweat and Tears, up seven spots to #13, although “Julie Do Ya Love Me” by Bobby Sherman debuts in the Top 30 at #22. Two other songs are in their first week among the Top 30: “Solitary Man” by Neil Diamond and “Candida” by Dawn. The oldest records on the chart have all been around 13 weeks: Freda Payne’s “Band of Gold,” “The Love You Save” by the Jackson Five, and “Mama Told Me Not to Come” by Three Dog Night.

Perspective From the Present: Events of that day either changed things directly—in Madison, Sterling Hall brought an immediate end to the era of anti-Vietnam protest marches on the UW campus—or they signaled broader changes in progress. The women’s rights movement would gain force after the Women’s Strike for Equality (although gay liberation would take a while longer). The United Farm Workers strike, which would last several months, turned organizer Cesar Chavez into a significant historical figure.

In Monroe, Wisconsin, an hour south of Madison, it wouldn’t be long before I first heard WLS on the school bus. It was a change, inasmuch as WLS became the radio station I heard most often instead of the hometown station Mother and Dad listened to. But it was also a beginning.

If there is a single date in Madison’s local history that stands out from all the others, August 24, 1970—50 years ago today—is probably it. I wrote about Sterling Hall for my original blog 15 years ago (!) and reposted it here in 2010. It’s one of my favorite pieces of my own writing, and I invite you to read it, or read it again.

August 3, 1984: Close Your Eyes

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(Pictured: gymnast Mary Lou Retton at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.)

August 3, 1984, was a Friday. The lead story on all three network newscasts tonight is about the economy. Despite rising unemployment numbers, the stock market rose again today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 31.47 to close at 1166.08. The S&P 500 has gained more than eight percent in the last three trading days. Bert Lance, who resigned from his position in the Carter Administration under a cloud of scandal and was later acquitted of bank fraud, has stepped down as an advisor to Walter Mondale’s presidential campaign. Mondale had tried to name Lance chairman of the Democratic National Committee before the party’s convention last month; that nomination was withdrawn after complaints from fellow Democrats.

The Summer Olympics continue in Los Angeles. Scoring a perfect 10 on her vault, Mary Lou Retton wins gold in women’s all-around gymnastics, one of six golds Team USA wins on this day. Swimmer Tracy Caulkins wins two, an individual gold in the 200 meter individual medley and a team gold in the 4-by-100 medley relay. Future Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte is born. In the majors, the Detroit Tigers are cruising in the American League East despite dropping a 9-6 decision to Kansas City; they lead the Toronto Blue Jays by 10-and-a-half games. The American League West is much tighter. The Minnesota Twins and California Angels opened a critical four-game series last night. The Angels took over first place by a half-game after a 14-2 laugher, but tonight the Twins regain the lead with a 4-2 win. The National League East is equally tight; the New York Mets pull to within a half-game of the Chicago Cubs with a 4-1 win over Pittsburgh while the Cubs lose 6-5 to Montreal. In the NL West, the San Diego Padres maintain a seven-and-a-half game lead over Atlanta despite losing to Nolan Ryan and the Houston Astros 6-2.

ABC devotes primetime to the Summer Olympics and nearly triples the ratings of its competitors. CBS counterprograms with its usual Friday-night lineup of The Dukes of Hazzard, Dallas, and Falcon Crest. NBC presents a repeat episode of the martial-arts adventure The Master starring Lee Van Cleef and Timothy Van Patten, as well as the first network broadcast of The Private Eyes, a 1980 theatrical movie starring Tim Conway and Don Knotts as Scotland Yard sleuths solving a mystery in a spooky mansion. In theaters, moviegoers can choose from last week’s top-grossing picture, Purple Rain, along with Ghostbusters, Gremlins, the re-release of Disney’s The Jungle Book, The Karate Kid, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. New releases this weekend include Grandview U.S.A., The Philadelphia Experiment, and Joy of Sex, based (very loosely) on the how-to book by Dr. Alex Comfort.

Metallica plays New York City. Stevie Ray Vaughan plays Tampa; he’ll move on to Jacksonville tomorrow night and Columbia, South Carolina, on Sunday. Elvis Costello plays Sunrise, Florida, and the Pretenders play New Haven, Connecticut. The Beach Boys play the Great America theme park in Santa Clara, California, performing 22 songs in less than an hour. On the American Top 40 show to be broadcast around the country this weekend, “When Doves Cry” by Prince and “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. hold at #1 and #2. Also in the Top Five: “State of Shock” by the Jacksons, “Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen, and “What’s Love Got to Do With It” by Tina Turner. Lionel Richie’s “Stuck on You” makes the biggest move of the week, up seven spots to #15. Richie’s “Hello” is one of two Long Distance Dedications on the show, along with “Looks Like We Made It” by Barry Manilow. There are four new songs among the 40 this week: “All of You” by Julio Iglesias and Diana Ross, Jermaine Jackson’s “Dynamite,” “Leave a Tender Moment Alone” by Billy Joel, and Night Ranger’s “When You Close Your Eyes.”

Perspective From the Present: The August 1984 gains in the stock market are widely recognized now as the start of a bull market that wouldn’t end until the Black Monday crash of October 1987. Three months before the presidential election, no one seriously believed that Walter Mondale would oust Ronald Reagan from office, and unforced errors like the continued promotion of the disgraced Bert Lance didn’t help his chances. The Soviet boycott of the Summer Olympics, which was a major story all summer, was forgotten in the blitz of American gold medals, and the games became a two-week patriotic celebration. From our one-bedroom basement apartment in small-town Illinois, we cheered Mary Lou Retton and the other Olympians, and we spent the weekend watching them.

July 15, 1979: Summer of Summer

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(Pictured: Donna Summer.)

(Note to patrons: this post originally appeared at Popdose.)

July 15, 1979, was a Sunday. In the Soviet Union, it’s Metallurgist’s Day. With gasoline prices skyrocketing again and his approval rating at 25 percent, President Jimmy Carter delivers a prime-time address in which he addresses the energy situation, but also what he perceives as a crisis of confidence on the part of the American people. The speech will be remembered as the “malaise speech,” even though Carter never uses the word. His approval ratings will rebound before cratering again later in the week, when he will fire half of his cabinet. In Australia, souvenir hunters descend on the southwestern desert to find pieces of Skylab, which crashed there three days before.

The Matarese Circle by Robert Ludlum and Sophie’s Choice by William Styron top the New York Times Best Seller List for fiction; The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet by Herman Tarnower and Cruel Shoes by Steve Martin lead the nonfiction list. The Chicago Tribune reports that 2.3 million copies of John Irving’s The World According to Garp have been sold since its publication in 1978. The top movie at the box office this weekend is Alien starring Sigourney Weaver. A tropical storm that will be named Claudette forms in the Atlantic Ocean. Ten days from now, it will drop 43 inches of rain on Alvin, Texas, in just 24 hours—a single-day American rainfall record. Alvin is the hometown of baseball pitcher Nolan Ryan, who will be the starter for the American League in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night in Seattle. Horseshoe Canada, the governing body for the game of horseshoe pitching, is created in Ottawa. Jerilyn Britz wins the U.S. Women’s Open golf championship.

Rick Garberson, drummer for the Akron, Ohio-based band the Bizarros, dies of carbon monoxide poisoning. Funeral services are held in Los Angeles for Minnie Riperton, the pop singer who died on July 12. Harry Chapin plays a show in Los Angeles, Devo plays Buffalo, and Ian Hunter plays Kansas City. Cheap Trick and Graham Parker share a bill in Chicago. Van Halen plays Midland, Texas, the Allman Brothers Band plays Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Cars play Columbus, Ohio. On the Billboard Hot 100, “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer takes over the #1 spot from Anita Ward’s “Ring My Bell,” which falls to #2. Summer’s former #1 hit “Hot Stuff” is at #3; this is its 10th straight week among the Top 3. (In all, Donna Summer will have a hit in the Top 10 of the singles chart from mid-May through the end of August; her Bad Girls album will spend six non-consecutive weeks at #1.)

A young disc jockey in Dubuque, Iowa, who is attending summer school classes at college when he’s not working, is fairly pleased not to be playing Donna Summer records, although what he’s playing instead is nothing to get very excited about: Kenny Rogers’ “She Believes in Me,” “When You’re in Love With a Beautiful Woman” by Dr. Hook, and “Shadows in the Moonlight” by Anne Murray), to name a few. He’s learning that the “real” world of radio is a lot different than the college world of radio. Although he probably wouldn’t want to admit it, it’s not as much fun.

July 3, 1981: You Cannot Be Serious

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(Pictured: John McEnroe at Wimbledon, July 4, 1981.)

July 3, 1981, was a Friday. It’s the legal holiday before Independence Day tomorrow. President Reagan is among those with the day off. He has no public events, takes only a couple of phone calls, and otherwise spends the day with the First Lady and an old friend from California. Outside the White House today, demonstrators protest a number of issues including budget cuts, defense spending, and Reagan’s foreign policy positions. In Israel, the outcome of Tuesday’s election is still in doubt. It is unclear whether the Likud Party retained enough seats in the Knesset for Menachim Begin to remain as prime minister, or whether the Labor Party’s Shimon Peres will take over. But the lead story on all three network newscasts regards the visit of Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko to Poland, which has been the site of labor unrest and the Solidarity movement since 1980. Also in the news tonight is the possibility that Reagan might name Arizona appeals court judge Sandra Day O’Connor to become the first woman on the United States Supreme Court. A report on page 20 of today’s New York Times is headlined “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals.” It refers to a disease currently described as GRID, for “gay related immune disorder.” Actor Ross Martin, best known for playing Artemus Gordon on the 60s TV show The Wild Wild West, dies of a heart attack while playing tennis. He was 61 years old.

Tomorow, the Reagans will travel to Virginia to celebrate the First Lady’s birthday before returning to host a White House staff Independence Day party and to watch the DC fireworks from the Truman Balcony. Also tomorrow, the National Symphony Orchestra will perform on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the first time, and the Beach Boys will headline a show on the National Mall.

Chris Evert Lloyd wins the women’s singles championship at Wimbledon, defeating Hanna Mandlikova in straight sets. She is the first woman in 14 years to win the title without losing a set. (Among those watching at Wimbledon today is Lady Diana Spencer, who will marry Britain’s Prince Charles later this month.) Tomorrow’s Wimbledon men’s final matches John McEnroe against Bjorn Borg. There’s no major-league baseball today due to the ongoing players’ strike. Players walked off the job on June 12 over free agency rules.

At the movies this weekend, popular options include Superman II, Raiders of the Lost Ark, the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only, and Bill Murray in Stripes. Rush plays Bloomington, Minnesota, with opening act the Joe Perry Project. The two bands will move on to Alpine Valley Music Theater in East Troy, Wisconsin, near Milwaukee, for a show on the Fourth of July. Def Leppard plays Barcelona, Spain. Santana opens a two-night stand in Hyannis, Massachusetts; their show tomorrow night will be broadcast live on a nationwide network of album-rock radio stations. Bruce Springsteen plays East Rutherford, New Jersey, and Van Halen plays Detroit. In Eugene, Oregon, the Oregon Jam stars Heart, Blue Oyster Cult, Pat Travers, and Loverboy; the same four acts will be joined tomorrow by Ozzy Osborne for the annual Day on the Green in Oakland, California. Ozzy is in Bakersfield tonight. Heart, Travers, and Loverboy will be joined by Jimmy Buffett at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego on Sunday.

At KEZR in San Jose, California, “Hearts” by Marty Balin jumps to #1. “You Make My Dreams” by Hall and Oates is #2 and last week’s #1, “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes, is #3. The hottest record on the survey is the Greatest American Hero theme by Joey Scarbury, up 10 spots to #9. Kraftwerk’s “Pocket Calculator” is up one spot to #12. The highest-debuting song on the survey is “Cool Love” by Pablo Cruise at #24.

Perspective From the Present: the disease once known as GRID would later be named AIDS; the New York Times story on this date is the first mention of the disease in the national media. Baseball resumed with the All-Star Game on August 9. The Capitol lawn concerts continue to this day and are broadcast annually as A Capitol Fourth. John McEnroe won the Wimbledon men’s final but spent most of the match berating the officials. At one point, he disputed a call by shouting “You cannot be serious!,” which became an iconic moment in his career and in 2002, the title of his autobiography. I am guessing I worked a lot of radio over the holiday weekend, and on the Fourth, Ann and I watched the fireworks at the football stadium in our college town. I think. It’s been too long to remember.

June 26, 2000: Everything You Want

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(Pictured: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on stage on June 26, 2000.)

(This post is a long-overdue request, from a reader who asked if I would move this feature into the new millennium.)

June 26, 2000, was a Monday. All three broadcast network newscasts lead tonight with the announcement that for the first time, the human genome has been mapped. President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair made the announcement revealing the first DNA sequence at the White House today. Also in the news today: the Supreme Court has reaffirmed by a 7-2 margin that suspects must be read their Miranda rights at the time of arrest. Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia dissent. Debate continues over how the United States should spend its budget surplus, and there has been a new court filing in the custody case of six-year-old Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez. Character actor Logan Ramsey, best known for appearances in Walking Tall, Star Trek, M*A*S*H, and Scrooged, just a few of his many movie and TV roles from the 50s to the 90s, dies at age 79.

Sports fans are still buzzing over ABC’s recent announcement that this fall, comedian Dennis Miller will join play-by-play man Al Michaels and color analyst Dan Fouts in the Monday Night Football booth. There’s a partial schedule in Major League Baseball today. Only two of the six division leaders are in action: NL West-leading Arizona beats Houston 6-1 and NL Central-leading St. Louis loses to Cincinnati 3-2. Also in the National League, the San Diego Padres light up Orel Hershiser for eight runs in the second inning and then hold off the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-5. It will be the final appearance of Hershiser’s 18-year big-league career.

The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers list is led by The Indwelling, the seventh book in the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. The top New York Times nonfiction book is Flags of Our Fathers, the story of the Iwo Jima flag-raisers, by James Bradley and Ron Powers. Top movies at the box office over the weekend were Me, Myself and Irene starring Jim Carrey and the animated Chicken Run. They knock off last week’s 1-2 tandem, Shaft and Gone in 60 Seconds. On TV tonight, ABC has the highest rated program, an edition of Peter Jennings Reporting called “The Search for Jesus.” CBS presents two episodes of The King of Queens plus Everybody Loves Raymond, Becker, and the news show 48 Hours. On NBC, it’s Dateline NBC, Law and Order, and Third Watch. Fox presents That 70s Show, Titus, and Ally McBeal.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are wrapping up their 1999-2000 reunion tour with a run of shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Springsteen’s performance of “American Skin (41 Shots),” about the 1999 murder of Amadou Diallo by four New York City police officers, has caused some fans to boo, especially cops among the crowds. Pearl Jam plays Hamburg, Germany, and the Dave Matthews Band plays Cincinnati. NSYNC plays Lexington, Kentucky, and Coldplay does a radio concert in the Netherlands. On the Billboard Hot 100, “Be With You” by Enrique Iglesias is #1, taking over the top spot from “Try Again” by Aaliyah. “Everything You Want” by Vertical Horizon is #3, and Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady” is #4. “Breathe” by Faith Hill is #5 in its 34th week on the Hot 100. “Higher” by Creed, currently at #11, is also in its 34th week. Neither is the oldest record on the Hot 100, however: that’s “Smooth” by Santana with Rob Thomas, at #33 in its 48th week. “Amazed” by Lonestar is in its 47th week and still at #25. The #1 album of the week is The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem; Oops!…I Did It Again by Britney Spears is at #2.

In suburban Madison, Wisconsin, a couple who have just moved to town are getting settled in their new place. They are both adjusting to new jobs, although three months in, he’s already decided he doesn’t like his. He’s still figuring out how to manage his immediate supervisor who, in an earlier life, was a tutor for Aaliyah. It doesn’t help matters that a friend and former colleague from Iowa City visited over the weekend to remind him how much he misses it.

Programming Reminder: This weekend is the 50th anniversary of the Iola People’s Fair, a Wisconsin rock festival that featured a riot involving bikers and fans. I talked with a guy who was there, and also at Wisconsin’s other big 1970 rock festival, Sound Storm. That conversation is here and I hope you will listen to it and share it with people who might be interested.