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Dateline: Events/Headlines – Week Of August 23, 1979 In News, Pop Culture, Tech, Celebrity, Sports, Entertainment & Fascinating Facts


In The News

Hurricane David devastates The Caribbean island of Dominica – killing at least 16.

 Alexander Godunov, star of Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet, asks for asylum in the United States. He is with a 125-member troupe touring the U.S. He was in the company’s fourth and final week at the state Theater at Manhattan’s Lincoln Center. His wife – also a member of the company - has not yet asked for asylum.

President Carter and his family step off the Delta Queen to the greetings of supporters and protesters, ending a Mississippi river campaigning cruise he called “the most remarkable and enjoyable week of our lives” and one he says could be a preview of his reelection strategy. During the ride, the ship hit a near-hurricane force squall with winds about 75mph.

A ship careens out of control down the Mississippi river and slams into a fuel dock and three butane-filled barges – touching off roaring fires on all four vessels and injuring more than two dozen people. 

A bomb rips through the medieval Grand Place in the heart of Brussels just minutes before a British military band was to give a concert. Police say the IRA claimed responsibility for the blast, which injured 16 people.

President Carter chooses Donald McHenry to take Andrew Young’s place as U.S. ambassador o the United Nations.

President Carter, acknowledging the impact of soaring inflation, raises his proposed pay increase for 3.5 million military and civilian government employees from 5.5% to 7%.

Vice President Mondale pledges that the U.S. would oppose efforts by the Soviet Union or any other country to “weaken or isolate” China economically or militarily. 

President Carter calls on the nation’s blacks and Jews to put aside their differences and urged that all Americans not allow “diversity to degenerate into division.”

North Carolina - Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald is convicted and sentenced to life in prison for killing his wife and two daughters nine years ago and trying to make their deaths resemble the Manson family killings.

Cuba pardons 400 political prisoners, including former revolutionary army leader Rolando Cubelas, who was sentenced to 25 years in 1966 for plotting to kill Fidel Castro.

Drama over - Soviet ballerina Ludmila Vlasova satisfied American officials that she wants to return to the Soviet Union and will be allowed to leave the U.S. Her husband, Alexander Godunov – defected to the U.S. earlier. She and dozens of Russians had to wait aboard a Soviet airliner which was blocked by police at Kennedy Airport as the State Department tried to determine whether the wife of ballet defector Alexander Godunov was being forced to leave the United States against her will.

Francis McGirl and Thomas McMahon - two suspected IRA terrorists were marched into a courtroom surrounded by police sharpshooters and charged with the bomb murder of Earl Mountbatten, the war hero-cousin of Queen Elizabeth. He was killed when an explosion destroyed his fishing boat off the Irish coast. 

Amtrak’s board of directors approve a new route system that would eliminate six well-known passenger trains and combine some others effective Oct. 1.

Aaren Simpson – 23-month-old daughter of O.J. Simpson – dies of respiratory failure eight days after being pulled unconscious from a swimming pool.

Passing – Sally Rand – whose near-nude fan dance shocked the nation – a dance considered outrageously sexy and immoral when she introduced it – in 1933. She was 75.


Sports news – August 23, 1979

Larry Csonka scores his first Miami touchdown in five years as the Dolphins complete an unbeaten exhibition season. Csonka is back with the Dolphins after a year in the World Football League and three years with the New York Giants. 

In Minnesota – 15-year-old Eddie Seidel Jr. jumps to his death from a bridge after learning that ABC canceled “Battlestar Galactica.”


Music news – August 23, 1979

Passing – Bandleader Stan Kenton (67).


Television news – August 23, 1979

Robert Johnson says he is resigning as v/p of the National Cable Television Assn. to create a new network called Black Entertainment Television.

On ABC-TV – The Andy Kaufman Special! Andy Kaufman leaves his Taxi repair shop to ost this outrageously funny hour of music and comedy. Special guest stars Cindy Williams and Howdy Doody. Friday night.


Saturday night television listings/programs/TV guide – August 23, 1979

CBS – Bad News Bears, the 416th, Movie

NBC – Football – Steelers at Cowboys, Saturday Night Live

ABC – Carol Burnett (see ad), Hart to Hart (2 hour preview)


On Saturday Night Live – Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Neil Sedaka.


Top movies – August 23, 1979

Breaking Away

Muppet Movie

Love & Bullets


Hot Stuff


Star Wars

More American Graffiti

North Dallas Forty

Amityville Horror

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