1986 was a
year of breaking out, and breaking the rules. From a triumvirate of rebellious
teens taking a day off to a hairy cat-eating alien taking over a family’s
garage, there were plenty of rules that were broken in ‘86. And as far as
break-outs go, there was a wheel-spinning game show hottie, an Australian with a
rather large knife, and – of course – a teddy bear with a tape deck for a
stomach. How futuristic!
When Ferris Bueller took his now-infamous day off, we all followed, and spent it at the local movie theater. Bueller became a huge hit, and helped launch Matthew Broderick into the land of superstardom. Another star who broke out was a beautiful blonde named Vanna White, who could turn letters on Wheel of Fortune like nobody’s business.
Another breakout of ’86 was the unusual collaboration between rock and rap stars, as Aerosmith and Run DMC knocked down walls – literally and figuratively – in their hit Walk This Way. And while Steven Tyler was gyrating with Run, a whole new craze began across the country. The Bangles – along with thousands of music listeners – walked like Egyptians.
The Mets broke out of the shadow of their cross-town rivals as they won their first championship since the 60s, in one of the most memorable World Series of all time. Robert Palmer broke just about every feminist rule in the book, as he placed a group of sexy, similar-looking women behind him in his famous video Addicted to Love. Swatch Watches also broke out in ’86, and would eventually become a true 80s icon.
Paul Hogan broke out as an international star with Crocodile Dundee, and the rules of politics were broken when Clint Eastwood brought his scowl to Carmel, CA, where he was elected Mayor. Our hearts were broken when the Challenger exploded on live TV, bringing a nation to tears. And lest we forget Oprah Winfrey, breaking out as a superstar and breaking the mold of television forever.
ALF broke the rules on more than one occasion in the Tanners’ garage, and broke out as a huge star. And while he wasn’t as funny or mobile, Teddy Ruxpin broke out as a teddy bear with a heart of gold and a stomach of tape decks. The Cosby Show broke into a gigantic hit, and Janet Jackson broke from the label of “Michael’s little sister” to become a mega-star in her own right.
A group of kids broke the rules when they went looking for a dead body in Stand By Me while Tom Cruise’s Maverick had the need for speed and broke out of his father’s shadow in Top Gun. Cruise, Anthony Edwards, and Val Kilmer also broke women’s hearts across the globe with a shirtless volleyball game for the ages.
From films to television to the news, 1986 broke through with an attitude. From unforgettable breakouts to rebellious rule-breakers, it is a year that is not easily forgotten.