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Dateline: Events/Headlines – Week Of December 8, 1980 In News, Pop Culture, Tech, Celebrity, Sports, Entertainment & Fascinating Facts



In The News

In New York - Beatle John Lennon is slain in front of the Dakota apartment building he and Yoko called home. The suspect is Mark David Chapman, who was photographed getting an autograph from John Lennon by Paul Goresh, who talked to Chapman earlier in the evening. He said a guy named Mark, spoke with a Southern accent and said he was from Hawaii by way of Atlanta. “He said he spent the last three days trying to see Lennon and get an autograph on Lennon’s new album.” When Lennon and his wife emerged from the building, mark approached with the album said Goresh. “He timidly held it in front of him. Lennon took it and signed “’John Lennon’ across the cover.”  

 Police say Lennon and his wife arrived at 10:50pm in a limousine from a recording studio and had just stepped out of the car when the gunman approached them. “Mr. Lennon” the man said, drawing a .38 caliber handgun from under his coat. Chapman then opened fire without waiting for an answer. Lennon was struck in the chest, back and shoulder and staggered from the sidewalk into a small vestibule of the apartment used by the doorman. “Do you know what you just did?” said the doorman to Chapman? “I just shot john Lennon,” the gunman responded throwing down his gun. The first policeman arrived and made the decision to take Lennon directly to the hospital without waiting for an ambulance.

Lennon was rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, less than a mile away. Doctors pronounced him dead at the hospital. 

Next day - Ringo Starr and his wife Barbara Bach slipped into the Dakota building to see Yoko. They broke off a vacation to fly into the United States after hearing of the murder. Paul McCartney – quoted leaving his Sussex, England farmhouse after learning of Lennon’s murder – “I can’t take it at the moment. He is going to be missed by the whole world.” 

In New York, President-elect Ronald Reagan, asked about the Lennon shooting said “we have to find an answer” to violence in the nation’s streets, but that handgun control legislation is not the answer. Asked if there is any solution to such killings, Reagan said, “Well if there is, it should be done, but I think the overall picture of violence in our streets has to be treated.” He called the murder of John Lennon “a great tragedy… just further evidence of something we’ve got to stop.”

Despite the murder of her husband, Yoko Ono still believes in the philosophy of peace:

This is not a time for hate or disillusionment.” She said of the even – “it was so sudden… so sudden. We had planned to go out to eat after leaving the recording studio but we decided to go straight home instead. We were talking to the entrance of the building when I heard the shot. I didn’t realize at first John had been hit. He kept walking, then he fell and I saw the blood.”

Continued Yoko Ono – “The future is still ours to make. The 80’s will blossom if only people accept peace and love in their hearts. It would just ad to the tragedy if people turned away from the message in John’s music.”

John Lennon is cremated and his ashes are privately inurned sources close to Lennon’s family said the action was taken to avoid any of the mss public adulation that has marked the grave of Elvis Presley in Memphis.

Yoko Ono says she has explained the killing to their 5-year-old son Sean: “I told Sean what happened. I showed him the picture of his father on the cover of the paper and explained the situation.” “I took Sean to the spot where John lay after he was shot. Sean wanted to know why the person shot John if he liked John. I explained the he was probably a confused person.’

The lawyer for Mark David Chapman is replaced after he reportedly received death threats an after he told the court the defense had become ‘an albatross” in terms of the time it was taking from his other clients.

Mark David Chapman is secretly moved from a psychiatric hospital to an island jail in the East River.


More news – December 8, 1980

President-elect Ronald Regan fills eight Cabinet-level jobs, naming Wall Street financier Donald T. Regan as Treasury secretary, confidante Caspar W Weinberger as defense secretary and his personal lawyer, William French Smith as attorney general. 

Art – millionaire Armand Hammer buys the last Leonardo da Vinci manuscript for $5.28 million.


Technology news – December 8, 1980

On-TV and Select-TV Are One Of A Dozen Or So “Over the Air” Premium TV Services. It’s A Choice For Those With No Cable-TV Availability (yet). Uses a licensed UHF-TV Station For Delivery. Only Available Near Prime-Time viewing hours.


Entertainment news – December 8, 1980

 “Mr. Bill” – the playdough star on “Saturday Night Live” is the subject of a copyright lawsuit. Walter Williams, the squeaky voice of Mr. Bill, holds the copyright, but Vance DeGeneres, at one time Williams’ close friend and roommate, claims he and Williams co-created Mr. Bill in 1974 and developed him in their New Orleans comedy act.


Music news – December 8, 1980

Federal district court in Los Angeles awards performer Bruce Springsteen and CBS Inc. damages in excess of $2.2 million in connection with an infringement suit they brought against an alleged bootlegger. It’s the largest-ever judgment in a bootleg record related case. The judgment was against Andrea waters, aka “Vicky Vinyl.”


Television news – December 8, 1980

Ted Turner maintains that if present trends continue, CNN cable news will in the black next November. CNN pulled in about $1 million in advertising in November, its best month to date. Turner Broadcasting is presently raising $25 million for CNN to cover its outstanding debt, most of it by selling shares of common stock. CNN now reaches 3.8 million homes with a daily increase of about 10,000. CNN’s present loses may be greater than the $2 million a month Turner originally anticipated.

More cable-TV - Although it began in 1977 as an all-sports cable channel, USA Network now places reliance on other entertainment forms. In the beginning, the network was called “Madison Square Garden Sports Network.” Sports are still the mainstay of the network. In season, it shows a baseball game a week, a hockey game a week, a basketball game a week and indoor and outdoor soccer on night a week – a live and in primetime for the most part.

New on NBC-TV – “Marie” starring Marie Osmond. It’s a fabulous hour of comedy, variety and music plus exciting guest stars. This week – Jeff Conaway.


Friday night television listings/programs/TV guide – December 8, 1980

CBS – The Incredible Hulk, Dukes of Hazzard, Dallas, Late Movie

NBC – Marie-Debut, Number 96, NBC Magazine With David Brinkley, Tonight, Midnight Special

ABC – I’m A Big Girl Now, Movie, Fridays, Hollywood Heartbeat.

PBS – Washington Week, Wall St. Week


Dukes of Hazzard – Bo and Luke encounter sneak thieves, a pretty girl and a haunted house.

Marie – Debut of Marie Osmond’s new variety show .

On Dallas – JR’s elated about the sinking of an oil tanker.

Midnight Special – Robert Klein hosts with the Rolling Stones, ABBA, Dire straits, Cliff Richard, Kool and the Gang, Fred Knoblock, Susan Anton and the Tremblers.


Top movies  – December 8, 1980

Flash Gordon

Private Benjamin

Ordinary People

The Elephant Man

It’s My Turn

Song of the South

The Idolmaker

Dragon Vs. Neeles Of Death

The Empire Strikes Back

If You Don’t Stop You Go Blind

Private Eyes

Return of the Dragon


The warriors

Raging Bull

American Gigolo

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