World Events
  • Syria frees captured US Navy pilot, Lieut. Robert C. Goodman, Jr. (Jan. 3).
  • US and Vatican exchange diplomats after 116-year hiatus (Jan. 10).
  • Reagan orders US Marines withdrawn from Beirut international peacekeeping force (Feb. 7).
  • Yuri V. Andropov dies at 69; Konstantin U. Chernenko, 72, named Soviet leader (Feb. 9). Background: Rulers of Russia since 1533
  • Italy and Vatican agree to end Roman Catholicism as state religion (Feb. 18).
  • Soviet Union withdraws from summer Olympic games in US, and other bloc nations follow (May 7 et seq.).
  • José Napoleón Duarte, moderate, elected president of El Salvador (May 11).
  • Three hundred slain as Indian Army occupies Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar (June 6).
  • Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi assassinated by two Sikh bodyguards; 1,000 killed in anti-Sikh riots; son Rajiv succeeds her (Oct. 31).
  • Toxic gas leaks from Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, killing 2,000 and injuring 150,000 (Dec. 3).
U.S. Events
  • Bell System broken up (Jan. 1).
  • Congress rebukes President Reagan on use of federal funds for mining Nicaraguan harbors (April 10).
  • Thirty-ninth Democratic National Convention, nominates Walter F. Mondale and Geraldine A. Ferraro (July 16–19).
  • Thirty-third Republican National Convention renominates President Reagan and Vice President Bush (Aug. 20-25).
  • President Reagan re-elected in landslide with 59% of vote (Nov. 7).

US GDP (1998 dollars):   $3,902.40 billion
Federal spending:   $851.85 billion
Federal debt:   $1564.7 billion
Median Household Income
(current dollars):  
Consumer Price Index:   103.9
Unemployment:   7.5%
Cost of a first-class stamp:   $0.20


Super Bowl
LA Raiders d. Washington (38-9)

World Series
Detroit d. San Diego (4-1)

NBA Championship
Boston d. LA Lakers (4-3)

Stanley Cup
Edmonton d. NY Islanders (4-1)

Women: Martina Navratilova d. C. Evert Lloyd (7-6 6-2)
Men: John McEnroe d. J. Connors (6-1 6-1 6-2)

Kentucky Derby Champion

NCAA Basketball Championship
Georgetown d. Houston (84-75)

NCAA Football Champions
BYU (13-0-0)



  • The Cosby Show debuts on NBC. The sitcom is widely considered the most popular show of the 1980s.
  • The Supreme Court rules that taping television shows at home on VCRs does not violate copyright law.
  • Led by Bob Geldof, the band Band Aid releases “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” with proceeds of the single going to feed the starving in Africa.


  • Amadeus, The Killing Fields, A Passage to India, The Pope of Greenwich Village


  • Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac, Alison Lurie, Foreign Affairs
  • Joe W. Kittinger makes the first solo transatlantic balloon flight in the helium-filled Rosie O’Grady’s Balloon of Peace. He travels 3,535 miles from Caribou, Maine to Savona, Italy. Background: Famous Firsts in Aviation
  • Apple introduces the user-friendly Macintosh personal computer. Background: Computers and Internet
  • Indira Gandhi
  • Francois Truffaut
  • Truman Capote
  • Count Basie


The movie “The Killing Fields” came out
(Haing S. Ngor & John Malkovich