The decade started with one of the most exciting moments in recent sports history. The date was February 22, 1980. The location was Lake Placid, New York. The event was the Men’s Medel Round in ice hockey. Perhaps you can recall the words of Al Michaels, “Eleven seconds, you've got ten seconds, the countdown going on right now! Morrow, up to Silk. Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles? YES!” With that, The U.S. Men’s Hockey team, a group of amateur and collegiate players, defeated the heavily favored team from the Soviet Union. We were in the early months of the Iran hostage crisis and having this moment provided a lot of American’s something positive to hang our hopes on.
We were shocked when the space shuttle Challenger exploded on January 28, 1986. The shuttle program was the resumption of America’s space program following the Apollo era, and this tragedy reminded us of the toll that exploration sometimes extracts. A nation mourned.
On June 12, 1987, Ronald Reagan stood at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and challenged Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” On November 9, 1989 is started. With that came the reunification of Germany in October 1990 and the eventual demise of the Soviet Union on December 26, 1991.
The Eighties. It gave us Indiana Jones, advised us who were to call if we experienced any paranormal activity in our lives, and introduced us to a small alien botanist. Video gaming took a giant leap forward with the release of Pac-Man in May, 1980 and in the mid-80s, video gaming came back home with the Nintendo Entertainment System where Pong was replaced by Zelda.
Academy Award for Best Motion Picture to Ordinary People (1980), Chariots of Fire (1981), Gandhi (1982), Terms of Endearment (1983), Amadeus (1984), Out of Africa (1985), Platoon (1986), The Last Emperor (1987), Rain Man (1988) and Driving Miss Daisy (1989).
Grammy Award for Song of the Year went to What a Fool Believes by The Doobie Brothers (1980), Sailing by Christopher Cross (1981), Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes (1982), Always on My Mind by Willie Nelson (1983), Every Breath You Take by The Police (1984), What’s Love Got to Do with It? by Tina Turner (1985), We Are the World by USA for Africa (1986), That’s What Friends Are For by Dionne Warwick (1987), Somewhere Out There by Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram (1988) and Don’t Worry, By Happy by Bobby McFerrin (1989). As an aside, on November 30, 1982, Michael Jackson released Thriller which went onto be the best selling album of all time.
As for former Beatles, Paul McCartney was nominated in 1983 for Ebony and Ivory; his duet with Stevie Wonder. It was said that the music died with Buddy Holly died in a plane crash in , but for me, it died on Monday, December 8, 1980 with the murder of John Lennon.
In Disney, The Fox and the Hound bound into theaters on June 10, 1981 followed by The Black Cauldron in June 24, 1985. We were introduced to Basil of Baker Street in The Great Mouse Detective on July 2, 1986. Disney gave us their interpretation of a Charles Dickens classic on November 13, 1988 with the premier of Oliver & Company. Then on November 15, 1989 a renaissance in Disney animation dawned with the release of The Little Mermaid. It was the last Disney film to use the multi-plane camera and one of the first to utilize the Computer Animation Production System, or CAPS. The score went onto win the Academy Award for Best Original Score and both Kiss the Girl and Under the Sea were nominated for Best Song, with Under the Sea taking the statuette. A number of live action films were released, most notably, 1982’s Tron, which is one of the first films from Disney, or any studio, to make extensive use of computer graphics. On June 22, 1988 we were asked Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Produced for $29.9 million, the film went on to become the second highest grossing film of the year and won Academy Awards for Sound Editing, Visual Effects and Film Editing.
The Los Angeles Lakers went to the NBA Championship on eight occasions during the 80’s and brought home the trophy in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988.
Next up, a trip back to the 1990’s.