- Politics & Money
- Ronald Reagan was elected as President in late 1980
- George Herbert Walker was Vice President
- Nov. 4:Ronald Reagan is elected 40th president of the United States. Reagan earned 51 percent of the vote and 489 electoral votes. Carter received 41 percent of the vote. The Republicans also gained control of the Senate. After taking office, the devoutly conservative Reagan proceeds to cut taxes and government spending, but also beefs up the defense budget. During the beginning of Reagan's presidency, inflation eases to just below the double digits, and interest rates soar to new highs by the middle of 1981. (The prime interest rate climbs to more than 20 percent.) Unemployment jumps to more than 8 percent.
- President Carter gave his Farewell Address to the Nation
- President Reagan gave his first inaugural address
Jan. 20: Minutes after Reagan's presidential inauguration, the 52 Americans held hostage for 444 days at the American Embassy in Tehran, Iran by Muslim fundamentalists are flown to freedom following an agreement in which the United States agrees to return to Iran $8 billion in frozen assets.
- Sandra Day O'Connor becomes the first female Supreme Court Justice
- President Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, Jr.
- March 30:President Reagan is shot in the chest by a would-be assassin outside the Washington Hilton as he walked to his limousine
following an AFL-CIO address. The 70-year-old president recovers after surgery to remove a bullet from his left lung. John Hinckley Jr., 25, the son of a Denver-area oil tycoon is
arrested. In a series of letters to teen actress Jodie Foster, Hinckley said his
unrequited love for her might lead him to do something that would make him famous.
- A First Class stamp was $0.15 ($0.18 as of 3/22/81; $0.20 as of 11/1/81)
- Unemployment was 7.1%
- Median household income $19,074
- Government debt: $994.8 billion
- Lech Walesa Voted Time's Man of the Year
- Anwar Sadat (Egyptian President) was assassinated
- France officially abolishes the death penalty and with it the guillotine
- Science & Health
- BMW develop first in car computer, to monitor engine performance
- The 236-m.p.h. TGV, Europe's first high-speed passenger train, begins operating out of Lyons, France.
- Walter Cronkite's last day as principal anchorman of The CBS Evening News was March 6, 1981. He continues to work for CBS in other news and information assignments. Days later, Dan Rather becomes his replacement.
- AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is first diagnosed
March: AIDS virus surfaces and identified in the United States. A drug technician for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notices an unusually high number of requests for the drug pentamidine used in the treatment of pneumocystis carinii pneumonis (PCP). This led to a scientific report of PCP occurring in five gay Los Angeles men. Later in the year, the first cases of PCP appear in drug addicts. Clinical investigators also observe an alarming rate of rare cancer, Kaposi's Sarcoma, in otherwise healthy gay men. The disease is first called "gay cancer" but renamed GRID-"gay-related immune deficiency." The CDC commissions first AIDS task force in June. In July, the first press reports appears on the syndrome in the New York Times.
- The US Agriculture Department trys making ketchup a school lunch vegetable.
- The FDA approves the use of the artificial sweetener aspartame (Nutrasweet).
- Space Shuttle Columbia was the first shuttle to be launched.
April 12: The 75-ton U.S. space shuttle Columbia, the world's first reusable spacecraft, launches from Florida into space. The Columbia completes is 54-hour mission and lands in the Mojave Desert in California.
- Pope John Paul is shot outside St. Peter's Square
May 13: While greeting pilgrims from his jeep in St. Peter's Square in Rome, Pope John Paul II is shot in the stomach. Two bystanders also are wounded. The 61-year-old pope survives a 4 ½ hour operation. Would-be assassin Mehmet Ali Agca, an escaped Turkish murderer, claimed his actions were in protest of the imperialism of the Soviet Union and United States.
- Great Britain celebrates a national holiday to mark the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.
- About 12,000 members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization walk off the job in dispute over pay and working conditions. President Reagan gives them one day to return to work. When they don't, Reagan fires them all.
- IBM PC's are released
- Aug. 1: Character actor Strother Martin dies of a heart attack at 61.
acted in such films as "The Wild Bunch" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance
Kid," but was best known for his role as the sadistic warden in the 1967
chain gang prison flick "Cool Hand Luke" starring Paul Newman. Martin's
character declared the famous line, "What we've got here is failure to
- Sept. 15: Jazz pianist Bill Evans, 51, dies in New York.
- Sept. 18: American author Katherine Anne Porter, best known for her
"Ship of Fools," dies at 90.
Sept. 25: Led Zeppelin drummer John "Bonzo"
Bonham, 32, dies from asphyxiation by his own vomit during a coma induced by some 40
measures of vodka. Heavy metal pioneers Led Zeppelin disbands soon after.
- Oct. 10: William "Buckwheat" Thomas, famed child actor in the
Our Gang film
series, dies at 49. Thomas was the most durable of the Little Rascals, with
his pigtails, patched gingham clothing and name after a breakfast food.
Comedian Eddie Murphy gained fame portraying "Buckwheat" on Saturday Night
- Nov. 7: Film star Steve McQueen dies of heart attack at 50 while
undergoing controversial treatment for lung cancer
- Nov. 22: Actress, comedienne and sex goddess Mae West dies at 88. With
a film career that peaked in the 1930s, West was viewed as too risqué and independent for
the time. Her famous quotes include "Come up and see me sometime," and "Is
that a gun in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?"
- Dec. 8: Former Beatle John Lennon, 40, is shot
and killed outside his apartment in New York City. Assassin Mark David Chapman admits to
firing five .38 bullets into Lennon.
- Dec. 16: Col. Harland Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken,
from leukemia at 90. An American fast food pioneer, Sanders perfected his
"finger lickin' good" recipe that was said to contain 11 herbs and spices.
Millions of his buckets of chicken have been sold, but lab results of his
chicken disclosed only the seasonings of salt, pepper and monosodium
- Jan. 8: Matthew "Stymie" Beard Jr., famed child actor in the
Our Gang film
series, dies at 56. At age five, Beard began acting in the series later
dubbed "The Little Rascals." The derby-hatted, bald-headed "Stymie"
outwitted the adult protagonists in the series.
- Jan. 23: American composer Samuel Barber, 70, dies. Barber is best
known for his piece "Adagio for Strings," which was later featured prominently
in the 1986 film "Platoon."
- Feb. 9: Musician Bill Haley, 56, dies in Texas. Haley boosted the rock
'n' roll craze with the hit "Rock Around the Clock" in the 1955.
- April 8: Gen. Omar Bradley, the five-star general who commanded the
12th Army Group in Europe during World War II, dies at 88. Bradley's troops
broke out of the Normandy beachhead and liberated Paris.
- April 12: Former heavyweight boxing champ Joe Louis, 66, dies of a
heart attack in Las Vegas. Known as "The Brown Bomber," Louis held the title
- May 11: Musician Bob Marley, 36, Jamaican folk hero and reggae champ
from cancer in Miami.
- July 16: Musician Harry Chapin, 38, is killed in Long Island when his
car collides with a truck. His songs included "Cat's in the Cradle" and
These newsmakers of today were born during the 1980-81 school year.
- Aug. 26: Actor and misguided Macaulay Culkin, who shot to fame with the
1990 film "Home Alone," about a resourceful youth who gets left behind when his
family takes a European vacation.
- Sept. 30: The world's top-ranked female tennis player, Martina Hingis,
who lives in Switzerland.
- Nov. 17: Isaac Hanson, guitarist and eldest brother of the all-sibling
pop group Hanson, best known for the annoying song, "Mmm-Bop."
- Dec. 18: American teen pop star Christina Aguilera.
- Feb. 17: Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, best known for his role as a
mature alien passing as a human teen-ager on NBC's "3rd Rock from the Sun."
- June 7: Russian tennis star Anna Kournikova. The young Kournikova has
received more attention for her looks rather than her tennis abilities.
- June 9: Actress Natalie Portman, who gained fame as Queen Amidala in
the 1999 Star Wars prequel known as Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.
- Movies & TV
- Birth of MTV ("Video Killed the Radio Star")
- Dynasty Premieres
- Hill Street Blues premieres
- Luke and Laura's wedding (General Hospital)
- Private satelite dishes are given the ok by the FCC
- Some Popular Movies:
- American Werewolf in London
- Chariots of Fire (Academy Awards' Best Picture)
- Cheech and Chong's Nice Dreams
- Elephant Man
- For Your Eyes Only
- Mommie Dearest
- On Golden Pond
- Ordinary People
- Raiders of the Lost Ark
- Super Bowl - Oakland def. Philadelphia (27-10)
- World Series - Dodgers def. Yankees (4-2)
- NBA Championship - Boston def. Houston (4-2)
- Stanley Cup - Islanders def. Minnesota (4-1)
- NCAA Basketball - Indian def. North Carolina (63-50)
- NCAA Football - Clemson (12-0-0)
- Women: Chris Evert Lloyd d. H. Mandlikova (6-2 6-2)
- Men: John McEnroe d. B. Borg (4-6 7-6 7-6 6-4)
- Music World
- Album of the Year "Christopher Cross" Christopher Cross
- Best New Artist - Sheena Easton
- Billboard Top 10
- 10. Rapture - Blondie
- 9. Celebration - Kool and the Gang
- 8. Jessie's Girl - Rick Springfield
- 7. Private Eyes - Hall and Oates
- 6. Morning Train - Sheena Easton
- 5. Kiss on my List - Hall and Oates
- 4. Arthur's Theme - Christopher Cross
- 3. Endless Love - Diana Ross and Lionel Richie
- 2. Physical - Olivia Newton-John
- 1. Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carnes
Remember These Songs?
- Heading Out to the Highway - Judas Priest
- Back in Black - AC-DC
- Bringin' on the Heartbreak - Def Leppard
- Hold on Loosely - 38 Special
- Hells Bells - AC-DC
- Jessie's Girl - Rick Springfield
- Burnin' For You - Blue Oyster Cult
- Keep on Loving You - REO Speedwagon
- Don't Stop Believin' - Journey
- Talk to Ya Later - The Tubes
- Unchained - Van Halen
- Believe It Or Not (from Greatest American Hero) - Joey Scarbury
- Leather and Lace - Stevie Nicks and Don Henley
- The Tide is High - Blondie
- Pretty in Pink - Pyschedelic Furs
- Tom Sawyer - Rush
- The Best of Times - Styx
- The Waiting - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
- Just Between You and Me - April Wine
- Stone in Love - Journey
- Shoot to Thrill - AC-DC
- Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carnes
- The Breakup Song (They Don't Write 'Em) - Greg Kihn Band
- I've Done Everything For You - Rick Springfield
- America - Neil Diamond
- Stop Draggin' My Heart Around - Stevie Nicks/Tom Petty
- Tempted - Squeeze
- Start Me Up - Rolling Stones
- Waiting For A Girl Like You - Foreigner
- Limelight - Rush
- Take it on the Run - REO Speedwagon
- Every Little Thing She Does is Magic - The Police
- Harden My Heart - Quarterflash
- Don't Stand So Close to Me - The Police
- Rapture - Blondie
- Under Pressure - Queen & David Bowie
- In the Air Tonight - Phil Collins
- Too Much Time on My Hands - Styx
- Woman - John Lennon
- Our Lips are Sealed - The Go Go's
- Who's Crying Now - Journey
- Lonely is the Night - Billy Squier
- Poor Man's Son - Survivor
- Morning Train - Sheena Easton
- Urgent - Foreigner
- Fire and Ice - Pat Benatar
- In the Dark - Billy Squier
- You Better You Bet - The Who
- Say Goodbye to Hollywood - Billy Joel
- Endless Love - Diana Ross and Lionel Richie
- Private Eyes - Hall & Oates
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