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Dateline: Events/Headlines – Week Of December 15, 1981 In News, Pop Culture, Tech, Celebrity, Sports, Entertainment & Fascinating Facts



In The News

Rioting erupts in Warsaw with clubs and tear gas. Seven are killed and over 400 are injured. Martial law continues.

 The Roman Catholic Church emerges as a powerful voice as Poland’s martial-law authorities tighten their grip on the country. Polish bishops call the government action “ a blow applied to the hopes and expectations of society.” The church urged “that peace may be restored and that passion and anger be reduced.” Poles continue to grudgingly adjust their lives to the new crushing limits on their lives. Said an elderly citizen -  “You can’t go out at night and they can come and search your house at any time. I could understand it when they were Germans. But these are Poles.”

Poland’s ambassador to the United States, Romuald Spasowski asks for, and receives political asylum in the United States because “a state of war has been imposed upon Poland, a state of war against the Polish people ... I ... cannot be silent.”

As the trash strike hits its 16th day in New York City - Mayor Ed Koch orders a “blitz” of municipal trash pick-ups. “It is not strike-breaking, because it is a health hazard. That’s the law. The city is charging businesses 70 cents per 22-gallon garbage bag for the emergency pick-ups. Black garbage bags have filled city streets, overshadowing Christmas decorations. 

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis testifies that her summer on Cape Cod was “intolerable and almost unlivable” because of the constant surveillance of free-lance photographer Ron Gallela. A complaint was filed alleging the photographer had violated a 1975 court order, barring him from coming within 25 feet of her and 30 feet from the children.

In the middle of eliminating 13,000 salaried jobs, ailing General Motors announces sweeping cutbacks in vacation, medical and other benefits for its 190,000 non-union white-collar workers.

Charles Richter (81) - inventor of the famed “Richter’ scale is found wandering in a dazed state in a Pasadena, CA canyon after his disabled car plunged off an embankment - six hours earlier. He suffered minor bruises and was shaken up.

11 persons accused of drug trafficking have their federal court case end in a mistrial - because of a broadcast this week on “60 Minutes.” The presiding district judge said the jury could have been influenced by the segment. The segment had to do with eavesdropping on heroin dealings in Sicily, the slayings of a prosecutor and a judge by drug dealers and the laundering of money. A senior producer says the segment was not based on the indictment charging the defendants. 


Fascinating Business news – December 15, 1981

Gannett President Allen Neuharth announces that the company will begin a new national newspaper - USA Today. Test marketed since June, it will be the nation’s first general interest, national daily paper. The paper will be published each weekday morning in Springfield, VA and will be transmitted to offset printing plants via satellite to 15 major cities. “USA Today is not designed to compete with other newspapers. It is designed to become an extra newspaper.” Neuharth says the paper is expected to attract 2 million readers and turn a profit within 5 years. 


Best-selling books – December 15, 1981

“The Hotel New Hampshire” - John Irving, “An Indecent Obsession” - Colleen McCullough, “Noble House” - James Clavell, “No Time For Tears” - Cynthia Freeman, “From Bauhous To Our House” - Tom Wolfe, “A Light In The Attic” - Shel Silverstein, “The Lord God Made Them” - James Herriot, “The Best Of Dear Abby” - Abigail Van Buren, “Fonda: My Life” - Howard Teichmann/Henry Fonda. 


Entertainment/Celebrity news – December 15, 1981

Liz Taylor (49) and her husband of five years - Senator John Warner (54) separate. At this time, neither one of them is seeking a divorce. Warner is her sixth husband.  

Daredevil Evil Knievel is ordered to pay $12.75 million in damages to Sheldon Saltman - a former vice president of the telecommunications division of 20th Century-Fox. Knievel assaulted the executive in September of 1977 with a metal baseball bat - crushing his left arm and breaking his right wrist. Knievel acted as his own attorney - but he failed to show-up for the trial. 

August A. Busch Jr. (22) - son of the beer tycoon - reports to the police in St Louis that he, did in fact, bite off the left ear of Jeffrey Hografe (19). Both were at a tavern, playing an amusement game when Hografe accused Busch of cheating and asked him to step outside. A fight began with a crowd shouting, “Bite off his ear.” He did - leaving only the lower lobe attached. So far, he hasn’t been arrested or charged. The ear wasn’t saved.


Television news – December 15, 1981

Charles Kuralt will leave CBS’s “Morning” news broadcast in March. He’ll be replaced by WBBM-Chicago anchorman Bill Kurtis. Kuralt will continue hosting “Sunday Morning.”

Rock Hudson - who underwent a quintuple coronary artery bypass operation November 2, will return to his new series “The Devlin Connection” on January 11. Only three episodes were filmed before the operation.


Tuesday Night Television listings/programs/TV guide – December 15, 1981

CBS - Simon & Simon, Special-G.E. Theater ... NBC - Father Murphy, Bret Maverick, Flamingo Road ... ABC - Special-John Denver and the Muppets, Three’s Company, Too Close For Comfort, Hart to Hart


On Simon & Simon - A.J. and Rick go to Mexico to find a girl believed kidnapped by her father.

On Bret Maverick - Maverick wins a feisty Chinese girl in a card game and is hounded by a number of people, including a local journalist. Stars James Garner.

On Too Close For Comfort - another family squabble begins when Jackie and Sara lose their furniture to the former tenant’s sister.

On The Tonight Show w/ Johnny Carson - Steve Martin, Phyllis Newman and Placido Domingo.

On The Tomorrow Show with host Tom Snyder - Rex Reed is the guest host with guests Ali McGraw, Donna Mills and Mel Torme


Music news – December 15, 1981

The Rolling Stones perform the first rock concert on Pay-TV. The group performed live from Hampton, VA for pay-outlets around the country - mostly over the air (STV) subscription television. Viewers were asked to pony-up $10 for the event. 

Country great Johnny Cash is help-up at gunpoint at a home he owns in Jamaica. He was robbed of more than $5000 in cash as two men ransacked his house. 


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

Physical - Olivia Newton-John

Waiting for a Girl Like You - Foreigner

Private Eyes - Daryl Hall & John Oates

Hooked On Classics - The Royal Philharmonic

Here I Am” (Just When I Thought I Was Over You) - Air Supply

I Can't Go For That” (No Can Do) - Daryl Hall & John Oates

Oh No - The Commodores

For Your Eyes Only - Sheena Easton

Why Do Fools Fall In Love - Diana Ross                                          

Let’s Groove - Earth, Wind & Fire

Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic - The Police

Trouble - Lindsey Buckingham

Young Turks - Rod Stewart

Don’t Stop Believin - Journey

Our Lips Are Sealed - The Go Go’s”

My Girl - (Gone Gone Gone)

Heart Like A Wheel - The Steve Miller Band”

Wrack My Brain - Ringo Starr


Top Country Hit Music Singles – December 15, 1981

“All Roads Lead To You” - Steve Wariner, “Still Doin’ Time” - George Jones, “Love In The First Degree’ - Alabama.


Radio news – December 15, 1981

Satellite Music Network, which debuted country and adult contemporary 24-hour satellite-delivered formats last spring, adds another one – Religious.

Another 24-hour satellite format in the making – ABC’s “Superadio” is getting ready to debut July 4. Headed by Rick Sklar, who hopes to have 1,000 records dubbed to cartridge by early next year. The format will feature a collection of oldies from the past 15 years. Sklar calls for the format “adult contemporary plus” with a music mix that can pull in youth not strongly committed to AOR or FM. Superadio will be ABC’s second full-format satellite network – the first, a talk format will debut in April.

WCAU-FM in Philadelphia is having success with its new “Hot Hits” and ratings are up. The hit format is geared toward teens and young adults.   

KCBS-FM is changing call letters to KRQR. The San Francisco station plays hit music.

Viacom is giving WWRL New York away to the United Negro College Fund, which will in turn, sell the station to Unity Broadcasting. The station is playing Soul hits with Program Director Bobby Jay… Al Jazzbeaux Collins returns to WNEW-AM in New York, where he once worked in the 1950’s.

 RKO Networks is debuting a series of syndicated shows, one is yet another top-30 countdown show – “The Weekly Music Magazine” hosted by WRKO’s Charlie Van Dyke. Another is the “Country Star Countdown” presented by Kenny Rogers and other country artists. WFYR-FM (Chicago) oldies programmer Dick Bartley is set with “The Saturday Night Oldies Show” and it’ll be the first time Bartley is heard on a nationwide basis.

Although it is not yet announced, there’s very strong gossip WABC radio is going talk soon. The station is said to be doing half the advertising business it did in 1976 – when it pulled $9 million with its top-40 music. Most believe it will be tied-in with the launch of ABC radio’s new satellite talk network. New York talker WOR-AM pulled-in $13 million last year. Look for an announcement soon. WABC’s longtime music researcher Sonia Jones moves over to ABC’s new Radio Enterprises unit.    

Top movies – December 15, 1981

Ghost Story - Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., John Houseman

Taps - George C. Scott, Timothy Hutton

Pennies From Heaven - Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Jessica Harper, Christopher Walken

Sharkey’s Machine - Burt Reynolds, Vittori Gassman, Brian Keith, Charles Durning, Earl Holliman, Henry Silva

Ragtime - James Cagney, Brad Dourif, Moses Gunn

 Neighbors - John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Cathy Moriarty, Kathryn Walker  

Chariots Of Fire

Buddy Buddy - Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau

Absence Of Malice - Paul Newman, Sally Field

HeartBeeps - Andy Kaufman, Bernadette Peters

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