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Dateline: Events/Headlines - Week of April 15, 1981 In News, Pop Culture, Tech, Celebrity, Sports, Entertainment & Fascinating Facts



In The News

Space shuttle Columbia returns to earth (Edwards Air Force base) with astronauts John W. Young and Robert L. Crippen who exclaimed – “what a way to come to California.”

On this tax week, President Reagan calls on Americans to “make it clear to all elected officials that they are fed-up with big government and high taxes.”

Segurd Debus – a convicted terrorist of West Germany’s Red Army faction dies in a Hamburg hospital after a 2 ½ month hunger strike, setting off fear of leftist violence across the country.

In Redstone, Colorado – a long vigil by a prayerful coal mining community comes to a sad end when search teams find the body of the last of 15 miners killed a few days ago in an underground explosion.

The nation’s economy spurted ahead at a surprising 6.5% annual rate – the biggest increase in 3 years.


Sports news – April 15, 1981

Joe Louis – “the brown bomber” is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, eulogized by President Reagan as a man whose life was “an indictment of racial bigotry.”

Toshikhiko Seko (24) wins the Boston marathon.


Fascinating Business news – April 15, 1981

 American Motors Corp. reports that it lost $52.7 million in the first three months of this year. The company has a 10% price rollback program in place at dealers.  


Entertainment/Celebrity news – April 15, 1981

Abbie Hoffman (44) surrenders to court officials in Manhattan to begin serving up to three years in prison for selling $36,000 worth of cocaine to undercover agents in 1974. “The U.S. Press won’t have Abbie Hoffman to kick around anymore,” said Hoffman.


Playing in Las Vegas –

Joey Bishop – Aladdin

Sammy Davis Jr. – Caesars Palace

Roy Clark – Frontier

Bill Cosby, Juliet Prowse – Hilton

Barry Manilow – Riviera

Bobby Vinton, Joan Rivers – Sands


Top TV shows/TV ratings – April 15, 1981

Dallas – 31.3

MASH – 25.5

Dukes of Hazzard – 25.2

60 Minutes – 24.9

Three’s Company – 22.2

 Private Benjamin – 22.0

Diff’rent Strokes –21.5

House Calls – 21.1

Ten Commandments – 20.8

Too Close For Comfort – 20.7

The Two of Us – 20.5

Magnum, PI – 20.4

Facts of Life – 20.1

Lou Grant – 29.0

Alice – 18.8

The Love Boat – 18.7

Hart to Hart – 18.4

Greatest American Hero – 18.4

The Jeffersons – 18.3

Happy Days – 18.2

Bob Hope Special – 18.2


Television news –  April 15, 1981

CBS Cable announces the completion of nine original programs for its initial schedule. Among the programs are the first two in a series of 25 programs on American jazz planned over a five-year period. CBS launched its cable enterprise last April with plans for 12 hours of cultural programming daily to be carried by satellite to cable operators.  

Cable penetration into U.S. TV homes has reached 25.3% according to A.C. Nielsen.

 24-hour Music channel coming to Cable TV.  Robert Pittman (27) – the vice president of programming for Warner Amex Satellite Entertainments says that if cable TV is to succeed, programmers will have to understand and respond to the specific needs of the “TV generation.” He predicted that the company’s recently announced 24-hour music channel, for which he also has program responsibility, would be for the forerunner of “specialized sources’ for the youth market of the future. “The only people who are going to watch this channel will be very interested in music and will be record buyers.” Pittman said the concept of a music channel first was tested among 12-34 olds and that 53% were found to be “very interested.” “It’s more like radio than TV; it catches their ear and they can come in and out of the room to watch. And the advantage of this age group is that we don’t have to worry about diverse tastes in music as we would with the 40-year age range.”

Pittman says they’ve been auditioning for so called “video jocks” but have turned up too many in the “Phil Donahue” tradition. New forms require new techniques said Pittman.   

Maureen McCormick, formerly with the Brady Bunch – gives us an update… she’s in the movie “The Idolmaker” and composes music in her free time. “I have made several recordings and have written the theme song for ‘Texas Lightening’ which will released this month.”

Saturday Night Live is knocked off the air by a strike by the Writers Guild of America. It’s the second causality – the first being “The Tonight Show.”

NBC-TV orders five half-hour pilots of “Wedding Day” from Osmond Television. It’s a daytime show featuring couples actually tying the knot. Will if fly?

It’s official – Suzanne Somers has been dropped from “Three’s Company” just renewed for it’s sixth season. Somers last season earned $30,000 per episode and was offered another $5,000 but turned it down. Instead, she asked for $150,000.


Top sports programs on television – April 1981

ABC’s Wide World of Sports (Sunday)

ABC’s Wide World of Sports (Saturday

ABC’s International Boxing (ABC)

Pro Bowlers Tour (ABC)

The Superstars (ABC)

Sportsworld (NBC)

NCAA Basketball (NBC)

CBS Sports Spectacular

NBA Basketball (CBS)


Sunday night television listings/programs/TV guide – April 15, 1981

CBS – 60 Minutes, Archie Bunker’s Place, One day At A Time, Alice, The Jeffersons, Trapper John, M.D.

NBC – Disney’s Wonderful World, ChiPs, Movie

ABC – Debut-Omnibus, Movie

PBS – The Cousteau Odyssey, Steve Allen’s Meeting of the Minds


Debut – Omnibus – Hal Holbrook hosts in a series featuring world-renowned artists and personalities. Guest – Larry Hagman, David Bowie, Meredith, Bea Arthur, the Peking Opera Theater of China and the USC Marching Band.

On ChiPs – Jon and Ponch discover a van filled with babies destined for black market adoption.

ABC Movie – “The Ten Commandments.”

Meeting of the Minds – An all-artists evening “featuring” Leonardo da Vinci, poet William Blake and violinist Niccolo Paganni.


Radio news – April 15, 1981

RKO radio announces the formation of two new networks. “The Satellite Music Network” will offer two 24-hour live formats for radio stations “to plug into.” The live formats come complete with live DJ’s for country or adult contemporary formats. RKO is doing the venture with Burkhart/Abrams/Michaels/Douglas & Associates. They claim a medium market station owner will save up to $150,000 after he plugs the format in and fires his program director, dj’s and other support personnel.

Bad news for WABC. Media trend, which sometimes predicts upcoming Arbitron numbers had WABC down to a 1.9 in March – from a 2.8 in February and 3.5 in January. The music station is dying hard. Rival WNBC-AM is up to a 4.9 in March, from a 2.6 in February and a 3.8 in January.


Music news – April 15, 1981

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – a band from Liverpool, appears at the Whiskey on the Sunset Strip. The sound is techno-pop due to its reliance on electronic sounds – danceable beats and catchy hooks. OMD is two guys – vocalist Andy McCluskey and synthesizer player Paul Humphreys. They had two others playing with them – Martin Cooper on another synthesizer and drummer Malcolm Holmes.

Todd Rungren’s Utopia and the Detroit-based pay-TV company “ON-TV” form a deal involving the videotape and audio recording of the group’s concert in Detroit’s Royal Oak Theater. ON-TV gets to air the concert in three cities in return, will underwrite the production.

Ringo Starr is sued by a Nancy Andrews – a woman who claims Starr had reneged on an oral promise to provide for her life-long financial needs. Ms. Andrews claims she gave up her career as a music publicist to devote herself to Starr. She seeks half of the assets accumulated by Star while the two were living together from August, 1974 through last April. She also seeks $5 million in punitive damages. 

Geffen Records bows his latest artist – Elton John through the music industry’s first live satellite sales meeting. Using the Holiday Inn Hi-Net Communications system which links some 33 sites around the country for two-way audio/video communications – Elton John joined  Geffen executives – to discuss marketing, advertising and merchandizing “The Fox”


Top pop hit music singles in Britain – April 15, 1981

This Old House – Shakin’ Stevens

Making Your Mind Up – Bucks Fizz

Lately – Stevie Wonder

Kids In America – Kim Wilde

Einsten A GoGo – Landscape

Intuition – Linx

Capstick Comes Home – Tony Capstick

It’s A Live Thing – Whispers

Can You Feel It – Jacksons

Four From Toyah – Toyah


Top pop music hit singles(top-40) – April 15 - 1981

Kiss On My List – Daryl Hall & John Oates

Morning Train – Sheena Easton

Rapture – Blondie

Just The Two of Us – Grover Washington Jr.

While You See A Chance – Steve Winwood

Being With You – Smokey Robinson

Woman – John Lennon

 Don’t Stand So Close To Me – Police

Angel of the Morning – Juice Newton

I Can’t Stand It – Eric Clapton

The Best of Times – Styx

Keep on Loving You – REO Speedwagon

Crying – Don McLean

Somebody’s Knockin’ Teri Gibbs

Her Town Too – James Taylor and J.D Souther

Hello Again – Neil Diamond

9 To 5 – Dolly Parton

Living Inside Myself – Gino Vannelli


Top Music Albums – April 15, 1981

Paradise Theatre – Styx

Hi Infidelity – REO Speedwagon

Winelight – Grover Washington Jr.

Moving Pictures – Rush

Zenyatta Mondatta – Police

Double Fantasy – John Lennon/Yoko Ono

Crimes of Passion – Pat Benatar

Another Ticket – Eric Clapton

Faces Dances – The Who

The Jazz Singer – Neil Diamond


Top country hit music singles – April 15, 1981

Old Flame – Alabama

Pickin’ Up Strangers – Johnny Lee

A Headache Tomorrow (Or A Heartache Tonight) – Mickey Gilley

Hooked On Music – Mac Davis

Rest Your Love On Me/I Am the Dreamer (You Are the Dream) – Conway Twitty

I Loved ‘Em Every One – T.G. Sheppard

Am I Losing You – Ronnie Milsap

Falling Again – Don Williams


Top movies – April 15, 1981

Star Wars



The Howling

Hardly Working


Postman Always Rings Twice

Ordinary People

Going Ape

Stir Crazy

Private eyes

Final Conflict


Nine to Five

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