1988 Fun Facts
George Bush Sr. is elected
The greenhouse effect is discovered.
America's Most Wanted debuts.
Prozac is introduced to the public.
Sonny Bono becomes mayor of Palm Springs
Yo! MTV Raps debuts.
CD's outsell albums for the first time.
Lionel Richie's wife was arrested for assaulting Lionel and a model she
found him with.
Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson get hitched.
#1 Song of The Year: Roll With It - Steve Winwood.
"She's Like The Wind" shows Patrick Swayze can sing as well as dance and
Salt N Pepa get their breakthrough hit with "Push It".
Julia Roberts hits the big screen in her first breakthrough role in Mystic
Top grossing film of the year: Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Spuds Mackenzie becomes the original party animal.
Oprah Winfrey is the hottest talk show in America.
The new Suzuki Samurai gets bad reputation for flipping over when turning
Penny Loafers with a penny in them and Levis with the cuffs rolled up were
the fashion statements of the year.
U2 records Rattle and Hum album and then later the documentary.
Flying chair thrown by skinhead hits Geraldo in the nose on his self
titled talk show.
Average price of a car in 1988:
Average price of a gallon of milk in 1988: $2.00
Average price of a loaf of bread in 1988: $0.61
Average price of a stamp in 1988: $0.25
Average price of a home in 1988: $138300.00
Cost of a gallon of regular
gas: it fluctuated between 72 cents and 98 cents
US GDP (1998 dollars): $5,049.60 billion
Federal spending: $1064.14 billion
Federal debt: $2601.3 billion
Median Household Income
(current dollars): $27,225
Consumer Price Index: 118.3
Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.22 ($0.25 as of 4/3/88)
The Wonder Years 3/28 on ABC with Fred Savage, 11, as Kevin Arnold; Danica
McKellar, 13, as Winnie Cooper in a 1968 suburban America show created by
Growing Pains creators Neal Marlens and Carol Black (to 5/12/1993); In the
Heat of the Night 3/15 on NBC with Carroll O'Connor as a Sparta, Miss.,
police chief, Howard Rollins as officer Virgil Tibbs (to 5/11/1994); Red
Dwarf on BBC-2 with Craig Charles; London's Burning on LWT with Mark
Arden, James Hazeldine; Hale & Pace on LWT with British comedians Gareth
Hale and Norman Pace; Empty Nest 10/8 on NBC with Richard Mulligan as
widowed Miami pediatrician Harry Weston, Los Angeles-born actress Kristy
McNichol, 25, Dinah Manoff in a spinoff of the sitcom The Golden Girls
that has been running since 1985 (to 6/17/1995); Roseanne 10/18 on ABC
with former Denver stand-up comic Roseanne Barr, 36, as a rotund,
salty-tongued, male-baiting blue-collar mother of three. The show will
soon have a larger audience than any other (to 5/20/1997); Murphy Brown
11/14 on CBS with Candice Bergen, now 42, in the title role (written by
creator-producer Diane English, 40) of a TV network executive (to
Simple Pleasures (album) by New
York-born singer Bobby McFerrin, 38, includes "Don't Worry, Be Happy";
"Welcome to the Jungle" and "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns N' Roses; Green
(album) by R.E.M. (Rolling Stone magazine readers vote R.E.M. the best
U.S. rock band); Rattle and Hum (album) by U2; "So Emotional" by Whitney
Houston; Roll with It (album) by English rocker Steve Winwood; Faith
(album) by George Michael; Talk Is Cheap (album) by Keith Richards of The
Rolling Stones; I'm Your Man (album) by Leonard Cohen, now 53, includes
"First We Take Manhattan" and "Everybody Knows"; Touch (album) by Halifax,
N.S.-born Canadian singer-songwriter-guitarist Sarah McLachlan, 20;
"Colors" by Newark, N.J.-born Los Angeles rap artist Ice-T (originally
Tracy Morrow, 20, for the Dennis Hopper film Colors).
Washington beats Denver 42 to 10 at San Diego January 31 in Super Bowl
Pittsburgh Steelers founder Art Rooney dies of a stroke at Pittsburgh
August 25 at age 87.
National Basketball Players Association founder Larry Fleisher retires
after reaching an agreement that guarantees players a majority of the
National Basketball Association's revenues in salary and benefits;
Fleisher dies of an apparent heart attack at New York May 4 at age 58.
The Chicago Bulls beat the Cavaliers 101 to 100 at Cleveland May 7 as
Bulls guard Michael Jordan's jump shot at the buzzer wins a five-game NBA
playoff series. The Bulls defeat the New York Knicks May 19 and advance to
the Eastern Conference semifinals but lose to Detroit.
Stefan Edberg, 22, (Sweden) wins in men's singles at Wimbledon, Steffi
Graf, 19, (W. Ger.) wins tennis's first "grand slam" since Margaret Court
of England did it in 1970. Mats Wilander, 23, becomes the first Swede to
win the U.S. singles title.
Stars and Stripes retains the America's Cup, defeating New Zealand 2 to 0
off San Diego, but New Zealand protests. A New York State Supreme Court
judge will rule in March 1989 that the San Diego Yacht Club's use of a
catamaran was unfair and that San Diego must forfeit yachting's most
prestigious trophy to the giant mono-hulled New Zealand; a New York
appeals court will reverse the decision 6 months later.
Soviet athletes win 132 medals in the Olympic Games at Seoul, East German
athletes 102, U.S. athletes 94. North Korea boycotts the games, insisting
that she has the right to host half the competition. Katarina Witt has won
her second figure skating gold medal in the winter Olympics at Calgary,
Alberta, where Cornwall, N.Y.-born speed skater Bonnie (Kathleen) Blair,
23, has won the 500-meter in record time. East St. Louis-born athlete
Jackie Joyner-Kersee, 26, the long jump (24 feet, 3½ inches); Canadian
runner Ben Johnson, 26, wins the 100-meter dash September 24, setting a
9.79-second record, but is stripped of his gold medal September 27 for
using performance-enhancing anabolic steroids (the medal is given,
instead, to Carl Lewis). Tennis is reinstated as an Olympic sport after a
64-year hiatus. U.S. diver Greg Louganis repeats his 1984 successes,
winning both the springboard and platform competitions.
The Los Angeles Dodgers win the World Series, defeating the Oakland
Athletics 4 games to 1.
Food and Drink
Kellogg introduces Common Sense Oat Bran cereal, other cereal companies
offer similar products, but although studies show that oat bran lowers
blood-serum cholesterol, and many responsible physicians and nutritionists
endorse its use, most oat bran cereals contain sodium and saturated fats,
and the promise of oat bran as a heart-disease preventive will prove to be
overblown (see 1990).
Nestlé S.A.'s Carnation subsidiary introduces Good Start H.A.
(hypoallergenic) infant formula in a bid to seize part of the $1.6 billion
U.S. infant formula market from Abbott Laboratories (Similac) and
Bristol-Myers (Enfamil). Pediatricians are quick to recommend Good Start
for colicky babies, but mothers of milk-allergic infants begin to report
serious reactions: some babies vomit violently after ingesting Good Start
and then go limp. Despite efforts to encourage breast-feeding, some 80
percent of U.S. infants are still given formula at least some of the time.
U.S. food processors introduce 962 new microwavable products, up from 278
in 1986, as microwave oven ownership soars.
Philip Morris buys Kraft Foods for $13.1 billion and adds it to the
tobacco company's General Foods division, which becomes Kraft General
Foods, the world's largest food company. By 1994 food will account for
half of Philip Morris's sales, but only 38 percent of its profits; beer
will account for 7 percent of its sales and 4 percent of its profits (56
percent of profits will come from tobacco).
The New York investment banking house Kohlberg Kravis Roberts agrees in
October after a bidding contest to pay $24.9 billion for RJR Nabisco in
the largest leveraged buyout thus far in history (see 1985). RJR Nabisco
had sales last year of $15.8 billion, KKR partner Henry Kravis says,
"Oreos will still be in children's lunchboxes."
The Arkansas-based discount retailer
Wal-Mart opens its first Super-Center
November 17 at Wheeler, Okla., selling meats, produce, dairy products, and
baked goods in addition to the packaged foods that it has offered along
with dry goods at its regular discount stores. By the end of the century
Wal-Mart will have more than 700 Super-Centers nationwide, and they will
be undercutting supermarket chains as well as Main Street grocers.
New York's City Council enacts a law in April requiring restaurants with
50 seats or more to provide separate sections for smokers and nonsmokers.
Many restaurants predict a slump in business, but their dire outlook will
McDonald's announces April 29 that it will open 20 Moscow restaurants,
staffed by Soviet workers and run by Soviet managers trained at McDonald's
Hamburger Universities. Instead of Big Macs, the restaurants will serve
the Bolshoi Mak at two rubles ($3.38—about 1 percent of a month's pay for
the average Russian). In a joint venture with the Food Services Division
of the Moscow City Council, the company will also build a food-processing
plant to service the restaurants.
Britain's Licensing Act receives royal assent May 20, permitting 65,000
pubs in England and Wales to remain open from 11 o'clock in the morning
until 11 o'clock at night on weekdays with more restricted hours on
Sundays (see 1916). Most publicans are unwilling to pay extra wages and
will continue to say, "Time, Gentlemen, please" well before 11 o'clock.
Canada's Supreme Court rules January 28 that a law restricting abortion is
The Reagan administration acts January 29 to bar most family planning
clinics from providing abortion assistance if they receive federal funds.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives approval May 23 to cervical
cap contraceptives long available in Europe.
A federal jury finds G. D. Searle guilty in a case that involves testing
and marketing the Copper-7 intrauterine contraceptive device. The jury
awards plaintiffs $8.7 million.
France and China act September 24 to authorize use under medical
supervision of the steroid drug RU-486 (mifepristone) which induces
abortion in the first months of pregnancy (see 1986). The French
government pays virtually the entire cost of the two-step pill-taking
process, but although anti-abortion activists say the pills will increase
the total number of abortions they will be proved wrong, and most women
wishing to end their pregnancies will opt for the quick surgical
procedure. Hoechst-Roussel, U.S. subsidiary of the West German maker
Roussel-Uclaf, does not apply for FDA approval lest pro-life groups
boycott the company's other products (see 1990).
Illegal U.S. immigrants flood agency offices prior to the May 4 expiration
date for the amnesty program set up under the 1986 Immigration Control and
China's central authorities give up hope that the nation's population can
be held to 1.2 billion by the year 2000 (see 1980). Peng Peiyun takes over
as fourth head of the State Family-Planning Commission and acknowledges
that the figure was probably unrealistic; the population is already over 1
billion, and she says that by 2000 it will likely be 1.27 billion.
Moscow agrees April 14 to withdraw Soviet forces from Afghanistan (the
first group leaves May 17), promises to have all 115,000 out by
mid-February 1989, and agrees to restore a nonaligned Afghan state. Former
Pathan (Pashtun) leader Abdul Ghaffar Khan has died at Peshawar January 20
at age 97. Occupation of the country since December 1979 has cost at least
15,000 Soviet and more than 1 million Afghan lives. Mujahideen resistance
fighters, covertly supplied by the CIA, step up efforts to oust the puppet
regime at Kabul (see 1992). War has broken out in February and March
between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the issue of autonomy for
Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave that the late Josef Stalin placed
inside Azerbaijan even though its people are mostly Christian while
Azerbaijans are mostly Shiite Muslims. The enclave has demanded autonomy.
The skipper of the U.S.S. Vincennes in the Persian Gulf mistakes an Iran
Air A300 Airbus for an attacking plane July 3 and shoots it down, killing
all 290 aboard. Embarrassed Washington officials will offer reparations
next year to families of the victims.
Panamanian dictator Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega is indicted by federal
grand juries in Tampa and Miami February 5 on charges of accepting
millions of dollars in bribes from drug traffickers (see 1981), but when
President Delvalle tries to oust Noriega he is dismissed February 26 by
the National Assembly. The United States and most Latin American countries
pledge support for Delvalle, Noriega's opponents stage a general strike in
March, the government closes the banks, U.S. sanctions are imposed, and
civil disorders follow as workers go unpaid and the government seizes
flour mills and Canal docks (see 1989).
A New York court indicts former Philippines president Ferdinand E. Marcos
and his wife, Imelda, October 21 on fraud and racketeering charges and
orders them to New York. They face 50 years' imprisonment and fines
totaling $1 million. Marcos, now 71, is called too ill to travel but
Imelda shows up.
Onetime Mafia courtesan Judith Exner Campbell admits in a February 29
People magazine interview that she acted as a courier between the late
President John F. Kennedy and mob boss Sam Giancana from 1960 until after
JFK's inauguration in 1961, crisscrossing the country carrying sealed
manila envelopes. Exner has previously written about her 2½-year affair
with Kennedy but did not disclose her role as his go-between with the mob;
now 54 and terminally ill with lung cancer, she acknowledges that she lied
to a Senate committee in 1975 when she said that Kennedy was unaware of
her friendship with mobsters.
Sen. Joseph (Robinette) Biden Jr., 45, (D. Del.) campaigns for his party's
presidential nomination but drops out following revelations by aides to
Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis, 54, that he has used lines from a
speech by British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock without attribution,
plagiarized a paper at Syracuse University Law School, and exaggerated his
academic record. Biden will remain an outstanding member of the Senate
into the 21st century.
Vice President George H. W. Bush wins the U.S. presidential election with
53 percent of the popular vote to 46 percent for Michael Dukakis, who
takes 10 states. The first sitting vice president to win election since
1836, Bush has narrowly defeated religious broadcaster Pat Robertson in
the Republican primaries; Sen. Barry Goldwater opposed Robertson, saying,
"I believe in separation of church and state. Now, he doesn't believe that
. . . I just don't think he should be running." Now 64, Bush has accepted
his party's nomination in August with an address written largely by New
York-born White House speechwriter Peggy Noonan (Rahn), 36, who called for
"a thousand points of light" (private charity) in lieu of government
spending and makes promises—"Read my lips—no new taxes" (he has also
promised to tax capital gains at a lower rate). A protégée of Reagan
communications director Pat Buchanan, Noonan is a onetime Democrat who
wrote the line in a Reagan speech calling Nicaragua's contras "the moral
equal to our Founding Fathers."
Human Rights, Social Justice
An Iraqi Air Force helicopter appears over the Kurdistani city of Halabja
late in the morning of March 16. The city of 80,000 is about 15 miles from
the Iranian border, its Kurdish population has for years been in revolt
against the regime of Saddam Hussein, whose bombers have earlier used
chemical weapons against it. Iraqi artillery now bombard the town,
unmarked bombers drop what may be napalm, and in early afternoon a
helicopter releases poison gas that smells like a mixture of garlic and
apples, smothering the city and killing at least 4,000 men, women, and
children (some estimates say 12,000). German companies have built
facilities in Iraq to produce the gas, which is also used to kill an
estimated 10,000 Iranian soldiers.
President Reagan vetoes a Civil Rights Restoration Act March 16 but
Congress overrides his veto March 22, expanding the reach of
non-discrimination laws within private institutions receiving federal
The U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously June 20 in New York State Club
Association, Inc., v. The City of New York that the city's 1984 law
banning discrimination against women and minorities in private clubs with
more than 400 members does not violate First Amendment rights. The ruling
supports the city's human rights law and will affect clubs in every other
Ship owner Daniel K. Ludwig turns over much of his vast wealth to two
foundations, one at Zürich and the other at New York, with the ostensible
purpose of finding cures for cancer.
NASA launches a space vehicle September 29 in the first U.S. manned space
launch since the 1986 Challenger disaster.
President Reagan and Canada's prime minister Mulroney sign a trade
agreement January 2 that eliminates tariffs and lowers other trade
barriers. Canada's House of Commons approves the accord August 31, ending
a century of economic nationalism.
U.S. unemployment falls in April to 5.4 percent, lowest since 1974.
Median weekly U.S. earnings: lawyer $914, pharmacist $718, engineer $717,
physician $716, college teacher $676, computer programmer $588, high
school teacher $521, registered nurse $516, accountant $501, editor,
reporter, $494, actor, director, $488, writer, artist, entertainer,
athlete, $483, mechanic $424, truck driver (heavy) $387, carpenter $365,
bus driver $335, laborer $308, secretary $299, truck driver (light) $298,
machine operator $284, janitor $258, hotel clerk $214, cashier $192
(source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).
The poverty rate of U.S. families headed by women declines sharply as a
result of women obtaining better-paying jobs. Families headed by women are
still 4.5 times as likely to be poor as families headed by men. Such
families constitute 15 percent of the population but more than 50 percent
of the poor. Welfare policies give the poor incentives to avoid marriage,
but nearly three out of four young black women who bear children out of
wedlock marry by the time they are 24 and thus emerge from poverty.
President Reagan signs a trade bill in August giving him broad powers to
retaliate against countries found to be engaged in unfair trade practices.
A protectionist trade bill to limit textile imports passes the House 248
to 150 and the Senate 59 to 36, but the president vetoes the measure
U.S. savings and loan institutions lose $13.44 billion. Chief regulator of
the S&Ls is former architect Danny Wall, who knows virtually nothing about
A U.S. federal jury at Tampa, Fla., indicts the Luxembourg-based Bank of
Credit & Commerce International October 11 on charges of having conspired
to launder over $32 million in profits from alleged U.S. cocaine sales by
Colombia's Medellín Cartel. Also indicted are two BCCI units and nine of
its executives plus 85 persons in seven U.S. cities.
Wall Street's Dow Jones Industrial Average closes December 30 at 2168.57,
up 229.74 (11.8 percent) from its 1987 close of 1938.80. The New York
Stock Exchange has announced February 4 that it would curb use of its
electronic trading system when the Dow rose or fell more than 50 points in
a day. The Nasdaq closes at 381.38, up 15.4 percent since the end of 1987.
A Soviet-built Ilyushin Il-18 plows into a Chinese hillside January 19,
killing 108; an Avianca Boeing 727 crashes after takeoff on a domestic
flight March 17, killing 136, including two soccer teams; a gaping hole
opens in the fuselage of a 19-year old Aloha Airlines Boeing 737 April 28,
flight attendant C. B. Lansing is swept to her death, but the plane lands
safely at Maui Airport and the airline industry institutes new maintenance
procedures; a Pan Am 747 explodes in flight over Lockerbie, Scotland,
December 21, killing all 259 aboard plus 11 on the ground (a bomb planted
by a Mideastern terrorist in Frankfurt is blamed).
Air Canada bans smoking on all transatlantic flights. A new U.S. federal
law bans smoking on domestic flights of 2 hours or less.
Union Station reopens at Washington, D.C., September 29 following a $160
Italy inaugurates 155-mile-per-hour rail service on the Direttisima
between Rome and Florence.
British Rail introduces the Electra locomotive on its London-Leeds run,
increasing speed to 140 miles per hour.
A long-distance British Rail commuter train slams into the back of another
commuter train in southwest London December 12, killing 33 people and
injuring 113 in the nation's worst railroad crash in more than 20 years.
Japan's 56-year-old Bridgestone Corp. acquires the 88-year-old Firestone
Tire & Rubber in March for $2.6 billion. Firestone has 1,500 automobile
service centers, but it has been hard hit by its recall of defective
steelbelted radial tires between 1978 and 1980.
Apple Computer files suit against Microsoft Corp. in March for infringing
on its Macintosh copyrights by using icons in the Windows program
introduced for personal computers by Microsoft 2 years ago. The suit will
fail, and Apple will reject Bill Gates's advice that it license its
program, which remains superior to Microsoft's Windows.
Wilkes-Barre, Pa.-born physicist William D. (Daniel) Phillips, 36,
discovers that atoms reach a temperature six times lower than their
predicted theoretical limit. Inspired by the work published 3 years ago by
Stanford University physicist Steven Chu, Phillips has developed new and
improved ways to measure the temperature of laser-cooled atoms at the
National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md. (see
The National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Energy Department draw up
plans for a project whose goal is to map the complete sequence of genes in
the human genetic makeup (see Mullis, 1983; medicine
[genetically-engineered vaccine], 1986). The challenge is as daunting as
any that ever faced the scientific community: while it is known that
physical traits are encoded in the human genetic material DNA
(deoxyribonucleic acid) (see Watson, Crick, 1953), DNA is made up of long
chains of organic molecules called nucleotides, the chains are found
inside every cell, they arrange themselves into separate coils called
chromosomes, there are 24 types of chromosomes, each physical trait
corresponds to a length of DNA on a chromosome, that length is known as a
gene, a human has roughly 75,000 genes (the sum is known as the genome),
but the formidable task now undertaken is to find the location of every
gene on the chromosomes, and then to determine the sequence of the
estimated 3 billion nucleotides that comprise the chromosomes. Nobel
laureate James D. Watson is appointed part-time head of the Office for
Human Genome Research at the NIH October 1 (it will be renamed the Center
for Human Genome Research next year); world scientists meet at Valencia,
Spain, from October 24 to 26 for discussions on cooperation in an
international genome project, and Japan has launched two pilot programs by
Nobel physicist Isidor I. Rabi dies at New York January 11 at age 89;
Nobel physicist Richard Feynman of abdominal cancer at Los Angeles
February 15 at age 69; evolutionary theorist Sewall Wright of
complications from a hip fracture at Madison, Wis., March 3 at age 79;
Nobel electrical engineer and electron microscope inventor Ernst Ruska at
West Berlin May 27 at age 81; Nobel physicist Luis W. Alvarez of cancer at
Berkeley, Calif., September 1 at age 77; physicist George Uhlenbeck at
Boulder, Colo., October 30 at age 87; anatomist Raymond Dart of a cerebral
hemorrhage at Johannesburg November 22 at age 95; Dutch-born Nobel
behavioral zoologist Nikolaas Tinbergen of a stroke at Oxford December 21
at age 81.
Prozac is introduced in January by Eli Lily, whose Illinois-born
biochemist Ray W. Fuller, now 52, synthesized the drug fluoxetine
hydrochloride 15 years ago. It slows the reabsorption of serotonin in the
brain. Bryan B. Molloy and Klaus K. Schmiegel have developed the
antidepressant drug, it gained approval for marketing in Belgium 2 years
ago, and it received FDA approval December 29 of last year despite
questions as to whether it was any more effective than a placebo; Lily
claims it has no adverse side effects (but see crime, 1989), U.S.
pharmacies will be filling 65,000 prescriptions for Prozac per month
within 2 years, 4.5 million Americans will have taken it by the end of
1991, it will be generating $1 billion per year in revenue for Lily, and
by the end of the century more than 40 million people will be using it in
90 countries, along with comparable medications such as Paxil and Zoloft.
A bill to expand Medicare by protecting the elderly and disabled from
"catastrophic" medical costs clears Congress June 8 and President Reagan
signs it into law July 1.
U.S. healthcare spending reaches $51,926 per capita as costs run out of
control, accounting for 11.1 percent of the gross national product. Sweden
spends 9.1 percent, Canada and France 8.5, the Netherlands 8.3, West
Germany 8.1, Austria and Switzerland 8, Ireland 7.9, Finland and Iceland
7.5, Belgium 7.1, Luxembourg and New Zealand 6.9, Australia and Norway
6.8, Italy and Japan 6.7, Britain 6.2, Denmark 6.1, Spain 6, Portugal 5.6,
Greece 3.9, Turkey 3.6. Every industrial nation except the United States
and South Africa has a national healthcare program, but defenders of the
costly U.S. system maintain that it provides better treatment than do
A congressional investigation raises alarms about cosmetic breast surgery,
FDA Product Surveillance investigators find that the failure rate of
breast implants is among the highest of any surgery-related procedure they
have studied, and a Dow Corning study finds that silicone-gel implants
cause cancer in more than 23 percent of test rats (see 1985). FDA
Commissioner Frank Young dismisses the Dow Corning study, saying, "The
risk to humans, if it exists at all, would be low" (see 1991).
One out of four U.S. babies is born by cesarean section—up from one out of
20 in 1970 (only Brazil has a higher rate) (see 1980). Cesarean section is
the most frequently performed operation in U.S. hospitals: an estimated
934,000 such procedures are performed this year and the cost of cesareans
tops $3 billion. The Health Insurance Association of America reports that
in Northeastern metropolitan areas 2 years ago doctors charged $230 more
for a C-section than for a vaginal delivery—$1210 as opposed to $980. A
cesarean requires 4 more days in hospital, making it twice as long, and
twice as expensive, as a vaginal birth, and hospital charges for a
cesarean are about $1,050 higher.
Nobelist cardiac catheterization pioneer André F. Cournand dies at Great
Barrington, Mass., February 19 at age 92; gynecologist and laparascopic
surgery pioneer Patrick C. Steptoe of cancer at Canterbury, Kent, March 21
at age 74, having pioneered in vitro fertilization in 1978 with the
world's first "test-tube baby;" gerontologist Asa Aslan dies at Bucharest
May 20 in her early 90s, having made extravagant claims for the efficacy
of "Gerovital H3" (a form of procaine, or Novocaine) in restoring youth.
Former U.S. Navy patrol boat commander Elmo R. Zumwalt, 3rd, dies of
lymphoma and Hodgkin's disease at Fayetteville, N.C., August 13 at age 42.
His father, Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr., ordered spraying of Agent Orange
in the Mekong Delta during the Vietnam War, the younger Zumwalt has
defended his father's decision to use the defoliant as a means of
preventing enemy ambushes near the water's edge, they have co-authored a
book, My Father, My Son, and controversy continues over what, if any,
health effects Agent Orange may have had on U.S. combat forces.
Baton Rouge, La., television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, 52, visits
Nicaragua's president Daniel Ortega February 12, confesses sin February
21, and is removed from his pulpit by the Assemblies of God after
revelations that he has had sex with a prostitute. Swaggart has lost 69
percent of his viewers and 72 percent of the enrollment at his Bible
college. He is defrocked April 8 and ordered to stay off TV for a year but
returns in 3 months.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 87 percent of U.S. women aged 25 to 29
have high-school diplomas versus 84.7 percent of men in that age group;
21.9 percent of the women have had 4 years of college, versus 23.4 percent
of the men.
The U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously February 24 that Hustler
magazine's criticism of evangelist Jerry Falwell was within the rules
protecting attacks on public figures.
A report issued in February by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group
indicates that radio and TV station coverage of events is "grossly
unbalanced" (see abolition of FCC's "Fairness Doctrine," 1987).
Broadcasters are "not disposed to cover opposing viewpoints when they do
not view themselves as subject to the Fairness Doctrine obligation," the
Radio personality Rush (Hudson) Limbaugh (III), 37, begins a syndicated
program of right-wing opinion that will attract a huge audience and bring
Limbaugh an annual income of some $23 million by the mid-1990s. Son of a
Cape Girardeau, Mo., judge who owned the radio station that gave him his
start as a teenager, he disparages liberal "dittoheads," "feminazis," and
others whose views he finds distasteful.
Turner Network Television (TNT) is founded by Ted Turner, who has
purchased the M-G-M library of old films.
A 14-inch liquid crystal display (LCD) television screen developed by
Japanese engineers at Sharp offers flat-screen pictures in full color with
The U.S. first-class postal rate goes to 25¢ per ounce April 3 (see 1985;
Rupert Murdoch agrees August 7 to pay Walter H. Annenberg $3 billion for
Triangle Publications (TV Guide, Daily Racing Form, and Seventeen).
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