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Dateline: Events/Headlines – Week Of July 17, 1981 In News, Pop Culture, Tech, Celebrity, Sports, Entertainment & Fascinating Facts



In The News

In Kansas City (MO) – two elevated concrete walkways at the Hyatt Regency hotel give way onto a lobby floor full of dancers on a Friday night. At least 46 are dead with 100 injured. Mayor Richard Berkley said there would be “more, many more deaths. (Final death toll – 111). Those there had gathered for Happy Hour at the hotel’s weekly “tea dance.”

Israeli jets raid Yasser Arafat’s command posts in Beirut and southern Lebanon leaving at least 123 dead and 469 wounded in the most punishing strikes against Palestinian guerrilla strongholds since Israel’s 1978 invasion of Lebanon.

Former Black Panther leader Huey Newton ends a six-day hail stay in Oakland (CA) after a judge approved a $100,000 bond on his appeal of a handgun conviction.

Housing costs, boosted by record home-loan rates, send the nation’s inflation up at an annual rate of 8.8% in June.

Israel and the PLO accept a cease-fire mediated by the United States.

The 128-year-old Washington star will cease publication August 7 leaving the nation’s capital with only one daily newspaper – the Washington Post.

White House Press secretary James Brady has been fitted for a brace on his left leg and can walk without a cane “under controlled conditions,” a hospital spokesman says.

The royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer is near, and there’s a big wedding souvenir blitz going on, with their faces going on coffee mugs and their faces are everywhere in London. 


Fascinating Business news – July 17, 1981

The Chrysler Corp keeps afloat in part with $1.2 billion in federal loan guarantees and has posted its first profit since 1978 - $12 million in the April-June quarter.


Technology news –July 17, 1981

High Definition Television - CBS announces a plan to introduce three satellite programming networks based on new technology. High-definition television, which scans double the 525 lines of the standard TV transmission, can also provide stereo sound. The technology would be broadcast directly to locally affiliated CBS stations, homes, and cable TV systems and was developed by the Sony Corp and CBS.  

The Air Force favors a Northrop Corp. “Flying Wing” design for a proposed Stealth bomber that could evade soviet defense radar and other detection methods, Aviation Week & Space Technology reports.


Sports news – July 17, 1981

Herschel Walker a 19-year-old college sophomore at the University of Georgia has already had a lucrative multiyear contract offer from the Canadian Football League. Walker is an outstanding runner, but wants to challenge the NFL rules. He graduates in 1984, but doesn’t want to wait that long. An NFL rule says that a college player can’t be drafted until his class has graduated.


Music news – July 17, 1981

Harry Chapin is killed when his small car was struck by a tractor-trailer rig on the Long Island Expressway. He was 39. Chapin was en route from his Long island home to New York on business.

“The Village People” have a new look. Last March was the final appearance of the group in their old regalia – Indian, sailor, construction worker etc. In their place are (what can best be described as) David Bowie clones in Elizabethan drag. 

Another tiff – Jenn Wenner, publisher of Rolling Stone magazine and recording industry titan Irving Azoff. It’s an on-and-off thing. The latest one has Azoff firing off letters to every record company with Azoff acts demanding that they cancel any future ads for those acts in Rolling Stone. Wenner has commissioned an article about the current “underperforming” tour by Joe Walsh and how slow ticket sales are to be blamed on Irving Azoff, Walsh’s manager. Oh boy!  

Producers want him to, but Rick Springfield, who portrays Dr. Noah Drake on ABC-TV’s “General Hospital”, will not sing on the show. “Forget it. My character wouldn’t sing. He’s a doctor.. His father was a doctor. His grandfather was a doctor. This guy wouldn’t have the time or the inclination to get into rock ‘n’ roll. He’s not the type. It wouldn’t be believable.” Springfield’s recording career has taken off with his album “Working Class Dog” and the hit “Jesse’s Girl.”


Entertainment /Celebrity news – July 17, 1981

Dies – Rolf Wuetherich, the race driver who survived the crash that killed actor James Dean 26 years ago. He died an auto accident in West Germany at the age of 53. 

Federico DeLaurentiis (25) the only son of movie producer Dino DeLaurentiis, is killed when two small planes collided over the Bristol Bay area of Alaska.


Radio news – July 17, 1981

ABC radio announces that it will offer a live via satellite national talk format beginning next year. The first talent’s named are Michael Jackson and Dr. Toni Grant from local KABC talk radio in Los Angeles. More talent will be named, but they’ll probably come from KABC. 


Sunday night television listings/programs/TV guide – July 17, 1981

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

ABC – Disney’s Wonderful World, ChiPs, Special-100 Years of Golden Hits

ABC – Omnibus, Movie

PBS – Evening At Pops, Masterpiece Theater

HBO – Movie (Just You And Me), Movie (Alien)

ESPN – CFL Football


The Jeffersons – A member of the Ku Klux Klan becomes a new neighbor.

100 Years of Golden Hits – Hosted by John Davidson and William Windom. Guests include Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Gordon MacRae, Henry Mancini, the Mills Brothers, Ethel Merman.

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