On This Day

Events in Film & Television in 1980

  • Jan 10 Last broadcast of "The Rockford Files" on NBC

Music History

Jan 26 175,000 pay to hear Frank Sinatra sing in Rio de Janeiro

  • Feb 1 Sears Radio Theater moves from CBS to Mutual Broadcasting System
  • Feb 1 Soap opera "Love of Life" ends a 28 year run

Music History

Feb 14 "West Side Story" opens at Minskoff Theater NYC for 341 performances

  • Feb 18 30th Berlin International Film Festival: "Heartland" and "Palermo or Wolfsburg" win the Golden Bear (tie)
  • Feb 25 British political comedy "Yes Minister" written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, starring Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne and Derek Fowlds premieres on BBC Two

Daytime Emmy Awards

Mar 6 Emmy 7th Daytime Award presentation - Susan Lucci loses for 1st time

Film and TV Awards

Mar 8 6th People's Choice Awards: Burt Reynolds & Jane Fonda win (Motion Picture) and Alan Alda & Carol Burnett win (TV)

Television Finale

Mar 21 On season finale cliffhanger of TV show "Dallas", villain J.R. Ewing is shot by unknown assailant

Iran Hostage Crisis

Mar 24 ABC's nightly Iran Hostage crisis program renamed "Nightline"

  • Apr 14 52nd Academy Awards: Best Picture "Kramer vs Kramer", Dustin Hoffman & Sally Field win
  • May 1 "Day in Hollywood, A Night..." opens at John Golden NYC for 588 performances
  • May 9 Slasher horror film "Friday the 13th" is released in US cinemas
  • May 15 Shawn Weatherly of South Carolina crowned 29th Miss USA, goes on to win Miss Universe

Music History

May 17 Paul & Linda McCartney appear on "Saturday Night Live"

Film & TV History

May 19 Ringo & Barbara Bach are involved in a car crash

Music History

May 21 "Star Wars Episode V - Empire Strikes Back", produced by George Lucas opens in cinemas in UK and North America

  • May 23 ABC Masters Bowling Tournament won by Neil Burton

Cannes Film Festival

May 23 33rd Cannes Film Festival: "All That Jazz" directed by Bob Fosse and "Kagemusha" directed by Akira Kurosawa jointly awarded the Palme d'Or

Film Release

May 23 Horror film "The Shining" released directed by Stanley Kubrick, starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall, based on book by Stephen King

  • Jun 1 1st transmission of CNN, the Cable News Network

Music Concert

Jun 1 Barbra Streisand appears at an ACLU Benefit in California

  • Jun 3 ESPN begins televising college world series games

Film & TV History

Jun 9 Comedian Richard Pryor suffers severe burns from free basing cocaine

Film Premiere

Jun 16 Musical comedy film "The Blues Brothers", starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, and directed by John Landis, premieres in Chicago, Illinois

  • Jun 20 Musical comedy film "The Blues Brothers", starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, and featuring appearances by Aretha Franklin; Cab Calloway; and Ray Charles opens in 594 theaters

Television Debut

Jun 23 "David Letterman Show" debuts on NBC-TV daytime

  • Jul 2 Comedy film "Airplane!" written and directed by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker and starring Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty premieres
  • Jul 7 Shawn Weatherly, of USA, crowned 29th Miss Universe
  • Jul 7 Jineane Ford of Arizona replaces Shawn Weatherly (Miss Universe) as the 29th Miss USA
  • Jul 30 13th San Diego Comic-Con International opens at U.S. Grant Hotel
  • Aug 19 Willy Russell's play "Educating Rita" premieres in London starring Julie Walters
  • Aug 28 37th Venice Film Festival: "Atlantic City" directed by Louis Malle and "Gloria" directed by John Cassavetes jointly awarded Golden Lion (first since 1968)

Telethon

Sep 1 Jerry Lewis' 15th Muscular Dystrophy telethon raises $31,103,787

Sports History

Sep 2 Australian cricket batsman Kim Hughes becomes 3rd player to bat on all 5 days of a Test match as the rain affected Centenary Test peters out to a draw at Lord's; BBC's John Arlott calls his final match

  • Sep 6 Susan Powell (Okla), 21, crowned 53rd Miss America 1981
  • Sep 7 32nd Emmy Awards: "Taxi"; "Lou Grant"; Ed Asner & Barbara Bel Geddes win. Notable for going ahead despite 51 of the 52 nominated performers boycotting the event due to a strike by members of the Screen Actors Guild.
  • Sep 13 5th Toronto International Film Festival: "Bad Timing" directed by Nicolas Roeg wins the People's Choice Award

Film Premiere

Sep 17 "Divine Madness" starring Bette Midler, premieres

Film Release

Sep 19 "Ordinary People" directed by Robert Redford and starring Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore and Judd Hirsch is released (Best Picture 1981)

Film & TV History

Sep 25 Chevy Chase calls Cary Grant a homo on Tomorrow show, a lawsuit follows

  • Oct 4 ABC premiere of Saturday futuristic fantasy cartoon "Thundarr the Barbarian"

Music Awards

Oct 13 14th Country Music Association Award: Barbara Mandrell, Emmylou Harris, and George Jones win

  • Oct 18 Brooke Alexander, 18, of Hawaii, crowned Miss World USA
  • Oct 18 Bernard Slade's stage comedy "Romantic Comedy", closes at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, NYC, after for 396 performances
  • Oct 25 Barbra Streisand's "Guilty" album goes #1 for 3 weeks & her single "Woman In Love," goes #1 for 3 weeks
  • Nov 10 Dan Rather refuses to pay his cabbie, CBS pays $12.55 fare
  • Nov 13 Gabriella Brum, 18, of West Germany crowned 30th Miss World; she resigns the next day because she wants to marry her 52 year old boyfriend
  • Nov 14 Kimberley Santos, 19 of Guam, crowned 30th Miss World
  • Nov 17 WHHM Television in Washington, D.C., becomes the first African-American public-broadcasting television station

Film Premiere

Nov 18 "Heaven's Gate" film directed by Michael Cimino, starring Kris Kristofferson and Christopher Walken premieres - one of the biggest box office bombs ever

  • Nov 20 United Artists withdraws $44 million movie "Heaven's Gate" for re-editing
  • Nov 21 TV show "Dallas" episode "Who Done It" reveals 'Who Shot J.R.?', gets a then record 53.3 rating (over 83 million viewers, 76% of television watchers) in the US
  • Nov 30 "West Side Story" closes at Minskoff Theater NYC after 341 performances
  • Dec 1 Mel Harris appears on M*A*S*H in "Cementing Relationships"
  • Dec 8 "Bravo" network premieres on cable TV

Television Premiere

Dec 11 "Magnum P.I." starring Tom Selleck premieres on CBS

Film Release

Dec 19 "Raging Bull", directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro as boxer Jake LaMotta and Cathy Moriarty as his wife, is released in the United States

  • Dec 30 "Wonderful World of Disney" last performance on NBC-TV