I was born in September of 1979 and thought it might be fun to highlight some of the events during the year I had no idea it was. I'll try to stay away from the bigger main news stories where I can such as the gas "shortage" and the Iran Hostages but they were pretty big so I might skim them. But lets delve into the last year my dad had to put up with Jimmy Carter.
The Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series. The Steelers under Terry Bradshaw won Super Bowl XIII and the cost of a Superbowl ad in 1979 was $185,000. ($608,860.79 nowadays) The cost of an Ad for 2017 was 5 million which shows just how much ($$) time has changed.
A large number of Swedish people were calling sick with a 'case of being homosexual' as protest to homosexuality being labeled an illness. Although homosexuality was legalized in Sweden in 1944, in 1979 it was still classified as a mental illness. (Could you imagine being the Boss and getting ten calls from employees saying "I can't make it to work. I'm feeling just a little bit gay today.") The law was quickly changed by October.
Anna Williams received a bizarre poem lamenting her absence from her home on the night of April 28th, 1979, From the serial killer, BTK, who had been waiting in her bedroom closet that night. If that man had left me a note like that after hiding in my closet I would burn down my house and move 20 times! Changing my name every time I moved.
The Sony Walkman cassette/radio was released and sold for $200.00. ($658.00 in today's money.) I don't love any family member enough to give them an almost $700 Christmas present like that. Yet they still sold out. Along with the first Atari and Speak n' Spell.
On 9/22/1979 there was an unidentified nuclear explosion in the Indian Ocean, and it is known as the Vela Incident. This happened long before social media and modern cell phones existed but it only seemed to freak out the major Governments of the day. No nations admitted responsibility for the covert test, but intelligence reports indicated that the most probable perpetrator was Israel, possibly working in cooperation with South Africa. Still there are so many other theories that no normal person could know what really happened. Maybe when the all the report findings are declassified.
ABC had 8 out of 10 of the most popular shows on TV including M.A.S.H., The Jefferson's and Three's Company. According to the creators of these shows:
M.A.S.H. was a statement on the Vietnam war even though it took place during the Korea war.
The Jefferson's were created after the Black Panthers complained about "Good Times" just promoting the notion that black people could only be poor.
And Three's Company was just total T&A programming.
Etan Patz was the first missing child to have their picture on milk carton in 1979 and that the murderer Pedro Hernandez wasn't caught till 2012.
The year started out with Chic's "Le Freak" topping the music charts. In September I was born to The Knack's "My Sharona" as the #1 song but the year ended with Rupert Holmes' "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" as #1. People got Freaky then became obsessed and finally just had a drink.
Walking while listening to tapes on your Sony Walkman and wearing a LaCoste Preppies shirt with the famous alligator on the left side was the big fashion statement of the year. Based on that pic even I'm annoyed by Preppies.
The #1 movie of the year was Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Which might explain why I'm a Trekkie and the start of the Borg.
Nickelodeon and ESPN both launched in '79. Initial programming on Nickelodeon included Video Comic Book, PopClips, Hocus Focus, Pinwheel (which was reformatted as a daily hour-long series that ran in a three- to five-hour block format, and was a precursor to the Nick Jr. block that replaced it in 1988).
ESPN first aired with SportsCenter and the first score announced was Chris Evert's victory over Billie Jean King at the US Open. SportsCenter lasted a half-hour, consisting mainly of videotaped highlights. Following the conclusion of the telecast, the network aired a slow-pitch softball game along with other programming, including wrestling and college soccer. It was really just a collection of odd sporting events that never got coverage by the nightly news, plus SportsCenter.
Time Magazine's Man of the Year: Ayatollah Khomeini
A politically active Shi'ite cleric, Khomeini was an outspoken critic of the Shah of Iran's Western-influenced policies and was exiled to Iraq for 14 years before moving to France, where he continued his opposition. By January 1979, public anger with the Shah caused him to flee, and a month later Khomeini returned from exile. By April he had established a theocracy based on strict adherence to Islamic law, with the U.S. as Iran's greatest enemy.
With his support, students seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979, and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. They weren't released until President Carter was officially out of office. (They loathed Carter.)
Gas went from $0.38 a gallon to $0.84 a gallon. ($1.37 to $3.02) when the average working person made $2.90 per hour. For the second time since 1973 people wasted more gas while idling in long lines at the pump than they did in their daily commute. The cost of the long war in Vietnam and tensions in the middle east lead to the price increases in oil across the globe. Still the majority of Americans thought it was corporate greed and were completely pissed.
The First modern Bungee Jumping performed by a group from the Oxford University Dangerous Sports club jumped from the Clifton Suspension Bridge joining England and Wales. Having jumped myself from a tower when I was 18, I can say I still blame these guys. Here's a tip: Don't jump stoned and make sure the guy assisting isn't a comedian. Because on the way down all I heard was "DIDN'T... CHECK...ROPE!" Which lead to the second time I punched out a guy.
In all I look at the Seventies as a very Intense Decade. From Movies to Music and Scandals to Serial Killers emotions ran hot. I'm surprised my parents didn't snap in all the commotion let alone have another kid. Even an Awesome Kid like me!
Anyways I hope you enjoyed it and would love to see you all write takes on your birth years or in the comments below.