On the cusp between the 70’s and the 80’s, the year 1980 sometimes feels like
the odd man out. Not a disco queen, not yet a yuppie. But don’t be fooled - 1980
has a lot to offer. What other year gave birth to Post-It Notes, CNN and today’s
diva in training Christina Aguilera? Not 1984, I can tell you that. 1980, do
that to me one more time. Once is never enough. With a…oh, you get the picture.
Movies from 1980 were just a gold mine of hilarity….intended or otherwise. “Caddyshack” (Be the ball.) and “Airplane” (I picked a bad week to stop sniffing glue) gave us numerous quotes that surely still resonate today (But don’t call me Shirley) Who didn’t want to be stuck on an island with Brooke Shields in “Blue Lagoon?” And, did Christopher Atkins ever find out what came between her and her Calvins? I have no idea, but what I do know is that my friends and me used to stop-frame the VCR to catch a glimpse of young Chris’ little sea snake. (It’s in the hole.) Oh, and Brooke’s Calvin Klein commercial was deemed too hot for TV and was banned. Oh, the innocence that was the year 1980.
By the way, Calvin wasn’t the only name in designer jeans. Sergio Valente, Jordache and Gloria Vanderbilt put their name on the back pocket of their jeans and every woman in America was suddenly focused on their butt- the tighter the better. 1980 really was a major turning point in fashion. Disco flare and Farrah Fawcett feathered hair was quickly becoming so five minutes ago. It was all about being Preppy…. Fueled by label lust and The Official Preppy Handbook, people everywhere were proudly sporting freshly pressed Dickie pants (pegged at the ankle, then rolled), Bass weejun penny loafers with obligatory penny, and Izod shirts with upturned collars. If you didn't have this exact formula, then you missed the boat, and were relegated to the wannabes. Or…you wanted to be Pat Benatar, with spandex pants, headband and tough-cookie attitude.
1980 was the year that John Lennon was shot in New York City…but over on Dallas the question was: Who shot JR? A nation was riveted to their TV sets for what was the biggest cliffhanger of all time. Who knew that hussy Kristen had it in her? Speaking of hussies, Tom Hanks cleaned up real nice in “Bosom Buddies.” You may remember that show as silly, but it was actually a trendsetter dabbling in gender politics. Let’s not forget, this was way before Rupaul and transvestites were hip…you go Tom.
“Fear Factor”? No way. “Jackass?” I don’t think so. That’s right folks, it was the good people of “That’s Incredible” who coined the phrase “Don’t try this at home.” Take that, Johnny Knoxville. Every week “That’s Incredible” mined the country for the biggest freaks willing to take the biggest chances. Like the woman who held onto a blimp by a rope. Except she held onto the rope with her teeth and had to get some new teeth after the show. Duh.
“Do you believe in miracles!?” Al Michaels yelled when The US hockey team beat Russia in the Olympics. A nation of kids ran into the streets with their hockey sticks and some more teeth were lost.
Well, hellllllo Dolly. Dolly Parton exploded onto the big screen in “9 to 5” and even earned an Oscar nomination for her efforts. That song was pretty catchy, too. “Working nine to five what a way to make a livin’…”
Is 1980 an important year? You bet it is! It kicks off the decade of all decades. Every time the Olympics comes around, we relive that hockey game. John Lennon’s music is still selling. People are still not trying things at home, “That’s Incredible” – style. I’m still looking for Christopher Atkins and his sea snake. 1980 is a scrappy little year that deserves some attention. Let’s give it to him. Her. (Roger, roger.)