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Dateline: Events/Headlines – Week Of September 1, 1981 In News, Pop Culture, Tech, Celebrity, Sports, Entertainment & Fascinating Facts



In The News

John W. Hinckley Jr. pleads not guilty to charges of trying to kill President Reagan and three others. His lawyers were seeking his release from jail, but that’s not going to happen. His lawyers say that prison officials are violating his rights reading his mail.

Secretary of State Alexander Haig charges that Cuba has stepped up its support of guerrillas in El Salvador, who are now embarked on attacks against the country’s economic base. Haig served notice that the Regan Administration is preparing a set of countermeasures to meet that problem “at its source.”

An explosion rips through the headquarters of Iran’s prime minister in Tehran, killing him and the nation’s president. They had been at their helms for only 27 days.

Explosions rock the headquarters of the U.S. and NATO air commands in West Germany – wounding 18 Americans. In Peru, seven separate explosions go off, including the U>S. Embassy in Lima.

 Millions of Iranians chant “Death to America” at an emotionally charged funeral for President Mohammed Ali Rajai and Prime Minister Mohammed Javad Bahonar, both assassinated in a bomb blast. 

President Regan calls a Cabinet meeting for next week, telling department heads to find another $45 billion in planned domestic program cuts for the 1983 and 1984 fiscal years. 

In a speech defending his firing of striking air traffic controllers, President Reagan tells organized labor in Chicago that his is not a union-busting Administration. He stressed that the strike was illegal.

Rebuffing proposed budget cuts – Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger is quoted as saying that rebuilding U.S. military strength is the most important task this Administration was elected to carry out. 

A 5.1 tremor – the strongest since 1971, rocks the Los Angeles area. Not much damaged is reported.


Fascinating Facts – September 1, 1981

Prison officials confirm that former Charles Manson follower Susan Atkins will marry self-described Texas “millionaire” Donald Lee Laisure. He said he met Atkins in 1965 and that they have corresponded ever since.


Entertainment /Celebrity/Movie news – September 1, 1981

Peanuts creator Charles Schulz (57) undergoes quadruple bypass heart surgery. He’s doing OK.

Passing – Actress Vera Ellen (55) of cancer.

Doonesbury reruns – Garry Trudeau is taking time off to be with wife Jane Pauley, who suffered a miscarriage last week. She was 2 ½ months pregnant.

Cary Grant (77) and wife of four months Barbara Harris Grant (30) sue the National Enquirer for $10 million. The Grants claim the tabloid libeled them in an article asserting Harris “pushed him into marriage.” Because she was “humiliated” and mortified to be known as his live-in girlfriend.

Actress Lynn Redgrave files a $14 million suit against Universal Studios, claiming she was improperly fired for breast-feeding her baby on the set of the TV series “House Calls.” Universal attributes the dispute to her salary demands and claims she was asked to be released from the series.  


Top TV shows/Nielsen ratings – September 1, 1981

MASH – 24.0

Diff’rent Strokes –21.9

Hart to Hart – 21.6

The Jeffersons – 21.3

Three’s Company – 21.2

Too Close for Comfort – 21.1

The Facts of Life – 20.9

House Calls – 20.4

Dukes of Hazzard – 20.3

Quincy, M.E. – 19.8

Trapper John, M.D. – 19.8

Alice – 19.8

Real People – 18.5

 60 Minutes – 18.2

ChiPs – 17.9

Laverne & Shirley – 17.8

20/20 – 17.4

Magnum, P.I. – 17.0

Bosom Buddies – 16.7

Movie-When She Was Bad – 16.7

Movie-An Unmarried Woman – 16.5

Happy days – 16.3

Fantasy Island – 16.2

Love Boat – 16.2

Barney Miller – 16.2

Lou Grant – 16.1

Taxi – 15.9


Wednesday night television listings/programs/TV guide – September 1, 1981

CBS – Movie, (Late night) U.S. Open Tennis

NBC – Real People, Diff’rent Strokes, Quincy, Tonight Show, Tomorrow Show

ABC – Greatest American Hero, Vegas, Dynasty, Nightline

PBS – Soundstage, Queen of Hearts


On Real People – A Medieval festival, Skiing in Bikinis, a bedroom papered with dollar bills and more.

On Vegas – Tanna tracks down a pair of rapists.

On Quincy – Our star leans (by accident) of a planned assassination.

On the Tonight Show – Joan Rivers and the Dixie Belles join Johnny.

On Tomorrow – With guest host Kelly Lange. Guests – Gary U.S. Bonds, Robert Daley, Chris Costello.   


Television news – September 1, 1981

Premiering in a few weeks – “Entertainment Tonight” a show business news magazine featuring reports profiles and reviews.

ABC’s ARTS cultural cable TV channel gets its first advertiser – General Motors. The channel is on three hours a night – on the same channel as Nickelodeon children’s (daytime) channel.

David Brinkley will retire from NBC news after 38 years with the network. Said Brinkley (61) – “When I came to NBC, it had only recently relaxed its rules that announcers had to wear tuxedos to talk on radio. From that time – a different world – we have all worked through the entire history of television up to now, a time when great changes are in prospect.” “I think NBC will be ready for them since it has some of the best leadership it has had in years. I will miss the place where quite literally television journalism and I grew up and together. I am grateful to NBC and I will always miss it and wish it well.”

Passing – Lowell Thomas (89) whose nightly radio newscast became the longest-running program in broadcast history (so far). 


Music news – September 1, 1981

Three years ago, you could find him at a Sears store behind the counter, but today – Joey Scarbury has a big hit with “Theme From The Greatest American Hero.”


Look for new albums from these artists before the end of the year –

Adam and the Ants “Prince Charming.”

Police – “Ghosts In The Machine.”

U2 – “October.”

Genesis – “Abacab.”

Thin Lizzy – “Trouble Boys.’

Motels – “Apocalypso.”

Elvis Costello “Almost Blue.”


More Music News - Devo is hot. Their last album – “Freedom of Choice” sold over 800,000. A typical fan (devotee) shows up at their concerts in 3-D glasses, space suits, flower-pot hats (called energy domes). A new album is due in a week or two –“New Traditionalists.” The band has a mail-order catalogue called “Club Devo.” 


Top movies – September 1, 1981

Endless Love – Brooke Shields

An American Werewolf in London – David Naughton

Four Seasons – Alan Alda

On The Right Track – Gary Coleman

Tarzan the Ape – Bo Derek

 Blow Out – John Travolta

The Empire Strikes Back – Mark Hamill

First Monday in October – Walter Matthau

Stripes – Bill Murray

Heavy Metal – featuring songs by Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick, Devo, Donald Fagen, Don Felder, Grand Funk Railroad, Sammy Hagar, Journey, Nazareth, Stevie Nicks, Riggs, Trust.

An Eye for an Eye – Chuck Norris

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