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Dateline: Events/Headlines - Week of April 8, 1981 In News, Pop Culture, Tech, Celebrity, Sports, Entertainment & Fascinating Facts



In The News

The space shuttle Columbia with astronauts John W. Young and Robert L. Crippen in the cockpit, came within nine minutes of being launched, but a timing error caused the effort to be abandoned.  Crowds estimated at half a million people jammed roadways and beached for miles around the Kennedy Space Center to wait for a launch that never came. It’ll be postponed for two days.

Poland’s National Assembly bans strikes for the next 60 days.

President Reagan leaves the hospital and returns to the White House, declaring he had “much to be thankful for.”

The space shuttle Columbia lifts-off – the first time a shuttle has ever been launched into space by America!

President Reagan, back at the White after 12 days in the hospital, was up at 6:50a.m to witness the launch of the space shuttle Columbia and then spent a restful day in preparation for a week of limited activity. “It was a spectacular sight said the President.

A Soviet fishing trawler is escorted by a Coast Guard cutter away from an area of international waters where the space shuttle Columbia’s twin booster rockers were soon to splash down.

Atlantic City acting Mayor Gustav J. Akerland, described by friends and political associates as a high-strung perfectionist, lay near death having apparently shot himself in despair over the city’s 1982 fiscal budget. “He was driving everybody nuts with details, said a friend.

Convicted IRA guerrilla Bobby Sands defeats his Protestant rival in a parliamentary election but cannot take his seat in Britain’s House of Commons because he is in prison on a hunger strike, “to the death."

The body of a young black man is found in an abandoned apartment building in Atlanta, and officials identified the victim as a retarded man who disappeared last week. He is the 23rd black youth to be found dead in the last 20 months.

President Reagan, although doing well in his recover, will not take to the airwaves this week to promote his economic recovery program. Meantime, the White House said the President would not compromise with Congress on his three-year tax-cut plan, despite the House budget chairman’s hint the Administration may be willing to make a deal.

The United States pledges $285 million in aid to Africa refugees during 1981 and 1982.

54 hours later -Some 225,000 applaud the landing of the space shuttle Columbia at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Shouts of “go-go,” and “come on!” could be heard.

Passing – General of the Army Omar Nelson Bradley, last of America’s five-star generals. He was 88.

Basque guerrillas assassinate two retired army colonels and a business executive in Spain’s worst day of political violence this year.


Fascinating Facts – Jodi Foster/President Reagan Connection – April 8, 1981

Another Jodi Foster fixation? The man secret service arrested last week, Edward Richardson for promising to kill President Reagan, had also written a letter to actress Jodi Foster. In it, he said he wanted to kill her. Wow! And, there’s no connection between he and John Hinckley. 


Sports news – April 8, 1981

Passing – Boxing great Joe Louis. He was 78.

NBC begins its 16th consecutive year as the baseball game of the week begins this weekend. Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek call the action.

In Las Vegas, Larry Holmes wins in a 15-round unanimous decision in a bout against Trevor Berbick.

Dan Driessen draws a bases-laded walk off reliever tug McGraw with one out in the bottom of the ninth to lift Cincinnati to a 32 victory over the defending world champion Philadelphia Phillies in the 1981 season opener 


Technology news – April 8, 1981

FCC Approves Cell Phones

The FCC approves a long-awaited, Dick Tracy-type phone service called cell phones. . The Bell system wins about half the potential business. Cellular radio takes its name from a process of dividing cities into small geographic pieces – or cells – each served by a low powered radio transmitter. Through computer switching, a call made from a moving vehicle can be transferred automatically from cell to cell and frequency to frequency without interrupting the conversation.  The current system uses a single powerful radio transmitter to blanket an area so that a conversation on a car phone can continue regardless of the vehicle’s whereabouts. But, this older technology allows just 24 simultaneous conversations to take place in a place such as New York City, where Cell will offer hundreds of thousands of calls. AT&T announced that it would be prepared to operate its firs cellular system by 1983 and could be operating in 70 major cities by the mid 1980’s.


Music news – April 8, 1981

Wendy O. Williams lead singer of the Plasmatics punk-rock band is found innocent of an obscenity charge in Cleveland. She was accused of performing wearing only shaving cream.  

Kit Lambert, the promoter who discovered the Who in a tavern and set them on the path to stardom, dies of injuries suffered in a fall. He was 45.


Television news – April 8, 1981

ABC gets into the cable game with a new channel  -ARTS (Alpha Repertory Television Service). It’ll be offered to all subscribers who receive the Nickelodeon children’s channel: Nick by day, ARTS at night. Nick runs until 9pm, then ARTS takes 3 hours with music, theater, dance, literature and fine arts.  

Abe Vigoda returns to “Barney” (one shot deal) after 3 ½ years after he starred in his own series “Fish.” If it works out, Vigoda could be back at the sitcom as a regular next season.  


Saturday night television listings/programs/TV guide – April 8, 1981

CBS – WKRP In Cincinnati, Flo, That’s My Line, Riker

NBC – Barbara Mandrell & The Mandrell Sisters, The Gangster Chronicles, Hill Street Blues, Saturday Night Live

ABC – Eight Is Enough, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island

PBS – PBS – Austin City Limits


That’s My Line – Bob Barker hosts this look at an unusual with unusual professions.


Top movies – April 8, 1981

The Postman Always Rings Twice

Back Roads

Black Hole


The Howling

Modern Romance

The Jazz Singer


Altered States

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