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Dateline: Events/Headlines – Week Of December 15, 1978 In News, Pop Culture, Tech, Celebrity, Sports, Entertainment & Fascinating Facts


In The News

In a surprise development – President Carter  announces that The United States and China will establish full diplomatic relations. It’s a move that may alter the strategic balance between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The move severs diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

The island of Taiwan reacts with shock, uncertainty and anger to the long-feared announcement. China hints that it has no intentions of invading Taiwan after the last American troops are withdrawn from the Nationalist island in spring.

Former  Prime Minister Indira Gandi is jailed by order of the lower house of the Indian Parliament  because they say she foiled a probe.

Cleveland mayor Dennis Kucinich says that due to a major financial crunch – a fifth of the city’s workers will be laid off. 

OPEC ministers announce an increase of world crude prices by 15% by the end of 1979, starting with a 5% increase on January 1. The OPEC nations have frozen the basic price - $12.70 for a 42-gallon barrel of Saudi light crude since mid-1977. Experts estimate that every 5% increase in the price of crude oil increases the price Americans pay for gas by 1-cent per gallon.  

Watergate figure H.R. Haldeman is released from prison after 18 months.

Robin Oswald (17) – hijacks a Kansas City bound jetliner and diverts it to Marion, IL. She later surrendered and none of the 87 on board the DC-9 jet were injured. Ms. Oswald said she had three sticks of dynamite strapped to her chest and threatened to detonate them unless her mother’s lover, Garrett Brock Trapnell, was freed and brought to the plane. At the time, Trapnell was on trial nearby, charged in connection with a May escape attempt. 


Bestselling books – December 15, 1978  

Chesapeake - James A. Michener

War and Remembrance - Herman Wouk

Aaloverder - Jacqueline Briskin

Evergreen - Belva Plain

Empty Copper Sea - John D. MacDonald

Mommie Dearest - Christina Crawford

Gnomes - Wil Huygen

American Caesar: MacArthur - William Manchester

If Life Is A Bowl of Cherries - What Am I Doing In The Pitts? - Erma Bombeck

Faeries - Brian Froud/Alan Lee

In Search Of History - Theodore H. White

Linda’ Goodman’s Love Signs - Linda Goodman


A legislative committee repeals an archaic Connecticut regulation that required all toilets in the home or in public buildings – to have horse-shoe-shaped toilets. Toilet manufacturers had complained to the Health Department that it was expensive to make horse-shoe-shaped toilet seats in the various colors and designs used in homes because they could not be sold in any other state. The regulation was adopted in 1939 because some believed they could get VD from soiled, circular toilet seats, despite disclaimers from doctors.  


Sports news – December 15, 1978

Chuck Fairbanks, who left Oklahoma in 1973 to lead the New England Patriots from mediocrity to the NFL’s AFC East title and a possible Super Bowl chance this year, is suspended for agreeing to take the head coaching job at the University of Colorado next year. 


Entertainment/Celebrity/Movie Hollywood news – December 15, 1978

Comedian John Belushi contends his landlord weaseled him out of a $500 security deposit when he was in Eugene, OR for the filming of “Animal House.” Belushi has filed suit, asking for $500 in aggravation damages plus legal fees, in addition to the return of the security deposit. The movie was filmed on the University of Oregon campus.

“Evita” – the Tim Rice-Andrew Lloyd Weber musical based on the life of Eva Peron, will have its American premiere May 8, 1979 in Los Angeles.

Passing – actor Chill Wills. He was 76.

Sophia Loren discloses that she and Cary Grant had a romance during “those perfect days” of the filming of “The Pride and the Passion” in Spain – back in 1957. She says Grant wanted to marry her, although she was living with producer Carlo Ponti at the time  Eventually chose him.  


Technology news – December 15, 1978

Hi Tech – Magnavox’s video disc player hits the market. About the size of a record LP, place the disc in the player and away you go. The unite plugs into any television.

Has the CB craze peeked? - The FCC says there has been a sharp drop of CB (Citizen Band) license applications. Figures show only 106,000 people applied for new licenses last month. That compares with 465,983 applications in January. An FCC survey indicates CBS radio operators own an average of 1.5 radios each for a total of about 20 million now in use.  


Television news – December 15, 1978

After nine seasons, actress Jean Stapleton says she has made up her mind and is leaving “All In The Family” at the end of this season.

Bob Schieffer will replace Lesley Stahl and Richard Threlkeid as anchor of the “CBS Morning News” when it unveils its revised format and new title January 29. Stahl will take Schieffer’s present post as CBS White House correspondent.

Comedian George Kirby is sentenced to 20 years on the Nevada sate Prison for trafficking in narcotics Kirby, one of the top mimics in the entertainment field, has appeared in most of the top hotels in Vegas and has made a number of television appearances over the years.

It looks like “Dallas” - seen on CBS Sunday Nights will remain on the CBS schedule. The show just placed its highest rating - at #18 overall in the Nielsen ratings. Says costar Larry Hagman: “Its full of sex, greed and avarice, and so it appeals to everyone. When I first read the script, it had no redeeming characters ... that’s what appealed to me.” 

Cable TV – Premium service Showtime switches from the cassette system of delivering films and other entertainment features to programs beamed from satellite. $85,000 was spent to build and earth station in South Toledo, location of Buckeye Cablevision (owners of Showtime). 


News Update From Last Week’s Cable Show – December 15, 1978

All news channel -  The Cable News Network of Turner Communications  projects a service offering programming 24 hours a day, exclusive for cable TV, with full “network quality” live newscasts produced in professional news studios by January 1, 1980.  Turner says enough cable systems representing (at least) 8 million homes need to commit before any launching.

HBO says it’s now servicing all 50 states with fee-based programming.

 “Nickelodeon” which will transmit out of Warner Cable’s Qube production center in Columbus, Ohio - will begin offering some 13 hours of daily kid’s programming (14 on weekends), beginning February 1.

Showtime now claims some 250,000 subscribers on cable TV systems passing more than 1.6 million homes.

 WTCG Atlanta (Ted Turner’s UHF Channel 17), which bills itself as “the space-age TV station” is now available 24 hours on satellite for cable systems. The station is an independent and shows older movies, network shows, cartoons and sports. Out of all the superstations now being offered on satellite (others are WOR, KTVU, WGN and WSBK) – WTCG is the most popular. WTCG started the “superstation” trend a few years ago.

Speaking of “superstations” – Talk show host Johnny Carson has eyes to have his newly-purchased KVVU-TV (Las Vegas channel 5) be a superstation. Seems that everyone wants their station offered around the country!

Music On Television – The Carpenters – A Christmas Portrait. Come To the Carpenters Christmas Party!  On ABC-TV.


Tuesday Night Television listings/programs/TV guide – December 15, 1978

CBS - CBS Reports: A Turning page of History, Movie

NBC - The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas, Once Upon A Starry Night, A Mac Davis Christmas Odyssey: 2010

ABC - Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, The Carpenters... A Christmas Portrait, Starsky & Hutch

PBS - Live From the Met


CBS Reports - Walter Cronkite anchors this report on the U.S. recognition of the People’s Republic of China. Features an interview with President Carter.

Live From The Met - “Tosca” - Shirley Verrett and Luciano Pavarotti star.

Once Upon a Starry Night - Grizzly Adams (Dan Haggerty) reunites two youngsters with their frantic parents during a snowstorm. Guest Don Galloway, Denver Pyle and Ken Curtis.

The Carpenters ... A Christmas Portrait - Karen and Richard Carpenter celebrate Christmas with guests Kristy and Jimmy McNicol, Georgia Engel and Gene Kelly.


Sunday Night Television listings/programs/TV guide – December 15, 1978

CBS – 60 Minutes, All In The Family, Kaz, Dallas

NBC – Hallmark Hall of Fame, Movie, Sword of Justice

ABC – ABC Sunday Night Movie, Battlestar Galactica, Movie

PBS – Simple Gifts: Six Episodes For Christmas, Duchess of Duke Street


All In The Family – The Bunkers pay a holiday visit on Mike and Gloria in California.

NBC Movie – “The Winds of Kitty Hawk” – the story of two very human heroes. Stars Michael Moriarty and David Huffman.

Battlestar Galactica – A Cylon kamikaze attack leaves the galactica severely damaged and Adama gravely wounded. Stars Lorne Greene, Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict, Maren Jensen

Dallas – Kidnapers hold Bobby for ransom using Cliff Barnes as the go-between, but an impatient JR dangerously takes the matter into his own hands.


Radio news – December 15, 1978

The ratings of new disco-formatted WKTU-FM have gone through the roof from a 1.4 to an 11.3. The huge numbers have dethroned WABC-AM, which is down to a 7.1 from a 9.0. Is this the beginning of the end of WABC as a music station? In quarter hour listeners, WABC went from 219,000 to 174,000; WKTU jumped from just over 34,000 to 278,000. In cume, WABC slipped from 4.1 million persons per week to just over 3 million with WKTU climbing to 2.8 million, up from 724,000.

Speaking of WABC-AM, afternoon man Dan Ingram signs a five-year pact with the station, which extends his work to television and publishing. Ingram is expected to appear on ABC-TV shows and to write for magazines published by the company. (Couldn’t come at a worst time… Ingram’s ratings are about to slip along with everyone else at WABC. )

Storer Broadcasting is getting out of the radio business to concentrate on cable. Sold will be stations WHN-New York, WGBS/WLYF-Fm-Miami, and WSPD-AM, Toledo. Storer just sold KTNQ-AM and WHTZ-FM, Los Angeles.

WLS-AM in Chicago airs its first live rock concert – airing the Styx concert from  Chicago Stadium.


Music news – December 15, 1978

The Jackie Wilson Medical Trust has been formed with five trustees to hold for Wilson’s medical benefit all monies received from various sources. Wilson collapsed with a heart attack at a Latin Casino performance in Cherry Hill, NJ back in September 25, 1975.

On American Bandstand this week – The Pointer Sisters sing “Fire” and Eric Carman sings “Change of Heart.”

Punk rock loses its only mainline Toronto club as the 450-seat Horseshoe tavern goes back to country music.

More punk – On December 6, Sid Vicious (nee John Simon Ritchie) was arrested after being charged with cutting Todd Smith, brother of rock performer Patti Smith, with a broken beer bottle at Hurrah disco in New York. Vicious, bass guitarist for the defunct Sex Pistols, was continued in $50,000 bail after pleading non guilty to murdering his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, October 12 at the Chelsea Hotel in Greenwich Village.

After being associated with Capitol Records since the Beatle years, Paul McCartney signs with Columbia Records.

More Paul McCartney - miffed over being unable to book EMI’s Abbey Road studio 2 – Paul is having an exact replica of the famous chamber constructed in the basement of his MPL Communications headquarters in London. The workmen and engineers have been told to duplicate the Abbey Road facility down to the last toggle switch.

John Denver will once again host the Grammy Awards in February.

Passing – Jazz composer, trumpeter and bandleader Don Ellis (44) – of an apparent heart attack.

Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder team on the song Pops, We Love You” – a tribute to the late Berry Gordy Sr.

New Christmas song heard on the radio – “Please Come Home For Christmas” by the Eagles.

The IRS raids Studio 54 in New York, seizing books and records and arrests co-owner Ian Schrager on a drug charge.


Top pop hit music singles(top-40) USA – December 15, 1978

Le Freak - Chic

Too Much Heaven - Bee Gees

You Don’t Bring Me Flowers - Barbra Streisand/Neil Diamond

My Life - Billy Joel

I Love The Night Life - Alicia Bridges

MacArthur Park - Donna Summer

YMCA - The Village People

(Our Love) Don’t Throw It All Away - Andy Gibb

Sharing The Night Together - Dr Hook

Time Passages - Al Stewart

September - Earth, Wind & Fire

Please Come Home For Christmas/Funky New Year - The Eagles

We’ve Got Tonight - Bob Seger

I Was Made For Dancing - Leif Garrett

A Little More Love - Olivia Newton-John

Promises - Eric Clapton

Lotta Love - Nicolette Larson

Fire - Pointer Sisters

Sharing The Night Together - Dr Hook

Ooh Baby Baby - Linda Ronstadt


Top Music Albums – December 15, 1978

 A Wild And Crazy Guy - Steve Martin

52nd Street - Billy Joel

Grease - sound track

C’est Chic - Chic

Greatest Hits Vol. 2 - Barbra Streisand

Live and More - Donna Summer

The Best of Earth, Wind and Fire

Double Vision - Foreigner

Jazz - Queen

Pieces of Eight - Styx 

Shadow Dancing - Andy Gibb

Time Passages - Al Stewart

Totally Hot - Olivia Newton-John

You Don’t Bring Me Flowers - Neil Diamond

Briefcase Full of Blues - Blues Brothers

Back to Earth - Cat Stevens

A Simple Man - Elton John

Toto - Toto

Energy - The Pointer Sisters

Cruisin’ - The Village People

Greatest Hits - 1974-1978 - Steve Miller Band

Love Tracks - Gloria Gaynor

Disco Dancin’ - 30 of Today’s Disco Hits

Stranger In Town - Bob Seger

2 Hot! - Peaches & Herb

Alicia Bridges - Alicia Bridges

Minute By Minute - The Doobie Brothers

Blonds Have More Fun - Rod Stewart

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band - soundtrack

Saturday Night Fever - soundtrack

Live Bootleg - Aerosmith

Two For The Show - Kansas

Hot Streets - Chicago


More Top Pop Music Albums – December 15, 1978

Elan - Firefall

The Cars - The Cars

Willie And Family Live - Willie Nelson

 Weekend Warriors - Ted Nugent

Destiny - The Jacksons

Timeless - The Isley Brothers

Backless - Eric Clapton

You Had To Be There - Jimmy Buffett

Greatest Hits - The Commodores

Every 1’s A Winner - Hot Chocolate

Smokin’ - Smokey Robinson

Hemispheres - Rush

Love Beach - Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Briefcase Full of Blues - Blues Brothers

Children of Sanchez - Chuck Mangione

Brother to Brother - Gino Vannelli

Blue Valentine - Tom Waits 

Let’s Keep It That Way - Anne Murray

Sanctuary - J. Geils Band

Pleasure & Pain - Dr Hook

Crosswinds - Peabo Bryson

Basic - Glen Campbell

Live All Night Long - Sammy Hagar

First Glance - April Wine

French Kiss - Bob Welch

When I Dream - Crystal Gayle

Gerry Rafferty - City to City

Heart Like A Wheel - Linda Ronstadt


Top Country Hit Music Singles – December 15, 1978

The Gambler – Kenny Rogers

Burgers and Fries – Charley Pride

All of Me – Willie Nelson

Don’t You Think This Outlaw Bit’s Done Got Out Of Hand – Waylon Jennings

On My Knees – Charlie Rich with Janie Frickie

Friend, Lover, Wife – Johnny Paycheck

Tulsa Time – Don Williams

The Bull and the Beaver – Merle Haggard

Do You Ever Fool Around – Joe Stampley


Top Disco Hit Music Tracks – December 15, 1978

Got To Be Real – Cheryl Lynn

Le Freak – Chic

September – Earth, Wind & Fire

I’m Every Woman – Chaka Kahn

Love Don’t Live Here Anymore – Rose Royce

Long Stroke – ABC Band  

Mary Jane – Rick James

One Nation Under A Groove – Funkadelic

Your Sweetness Is My Weakness – Barry White

Get Down – Gene Chandler

Don’t Hold Back – Chanson

I Don’t Know If It’s Right - Evelyn “Champagne” King


Top pop hit music singles in Britain – December 15, 1978

Mary’s Boy Child – Boney M

Do You Think I’m Sexy – Rod Stewart

Rat Trap – Boomtown Rats

A Taste Of Aggro - Barron Nights

Hanging On The Telephone – Blondie

 I Lost My Heart To The Starship Trooper – S. Brightman

Always & Forever/Mind Blowing Decisions – Heatwave

Too Much Heaven – Bee Gees

Hopelessly Devoted To You – Olivia Newton John

Le Freak - Chic


Top movies – December 15, 1978

Invasion of the Body Snatchers - Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright

Every Which Way But Loose - Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, GeoffreyLewis, Beverly d’Angelo, Ruth Gordon

Brass Target - Sophia Loren, John Cassavetes, George Kennedy, Robert Vaughn, Patrick McGoohan, Bruce Davison Edward Herrmann, max Von Sydow

Grease - John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John

Uncle Joe Shannon - Burt Young, Doug McKeon, Madge Sinclair

Moment By Moment - Lily Tomlin, John Travolta

Superman - Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman

Paradise Alley - Sylvester Stallone, Kevin Conway, Ann Archer, Joe Spinell, Armand Assante

The Boys From Brazil - Gregory Peck, Laurence Olivier, James Mason

Goin’ South - Jack Nicholson

Neil Simon’s California Suite - Alan Alda, Walter Matthau, Michael Caine, Bill Cosby, Elaine May, Richard Pryor, Jane Fonda, Maggie Smith

Midnight Express -

Walt Disney’s Pinocchio

Force Ten From Navarone - Robert Shaw, Harrison Ford, Barbara Bach, Edward Fox

National Lampoon’s Animal House - John Belushi, Tim Matheson, John Vernon, Verma Bloom, Thomas Hulce, Donald Sutherland

King of the Gypsies - Sterling Hayden, Shelley Winters, Susan Sarandon, Judd Hirsch, Brooke Shields, Annette O’Toole, Anne Potts

Up In Smoke - Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong (Produced and Directed by Lou Adler)

Caravans - Anthony Quinn, Jennifer O’Neil, Michael Sarrazin, Behrooz Vosoughi, Christopher Lee, Barry Sullivan, Jeremy Kemp, Joseph Cotten

Oliver’s Story - Ryan O’Neal, Candice Bergen, Ray Milland

Magic - Anthony Hopkins, Ann-Margret, Burgess Meredith, Ed Lauter

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