News of the 80s

The news that I remember as a child
May 28, 2008
Growing up in the 80s my world was no bigger than playing video games, tag with my cousins, G.I. Joes, Voltron or whatever else I was into.

I hardly paid attention to current events, but there were still some news stories that even a kid like me couldn't forget..

Michael Jackson severely burned filming Pepsi commercial

For some reason. This event screams 80s to me more than the most. In short, MJ was filming a Pepsi commerical along with his brothers (the brothers were promoting their upcoming Victory Tour) and a pyrotechnic went off that caught the grease in MJ's hair on fire.

The gloved one suffered severe burns to his scalp and appeared on the news in bandages and a stretcher.
At home I remember my brother laughing at the whole thing, my sister wondering if he was going to make it, and my mother in shock. I was in awe at the whole thing and wondered when the "Can You Feel It" jokes would stop. Also the one where you hold five matches in your hand light one and say "Look! It's the Jackson Five!"

AIDS epidemic uncovered
It was during this time that the AIDS epidemic was first uncovered and got national media attention. At the time, no one knew much about the disease and people we dropping like flies.

I remember a big AIDS quilt that featured names of the people who died.I also remember our teachers talking to us about AIDS in school and my mother, who was a x-ray technician at SF General, tell me horror stories of people at the hospital who would be covered with black sores on their face -- full blown AIDS patients. We were scared to death.

Challenger explodes.

Dude! This news was huge in the '80s. I remember that day well. We were supposed to go to the science lab at St. Anne's Catholic School in SF and the lab for the day was watching the launching. All the kids went to the basement of the school and into the lab. We were made to sit on the carpet while the teachers shushed us as the event came on TV. We watched in horror as the shuttle started to flicker, then suddenly explode.

We were taken out of the classroom and had a discussion about the whole thing in class. The event came on in the nightly news and the family re-lived the tradegy again.

We Are The World!!!

Again, at Catholic School, we were sitting in class and my 3rd-grade teacher told us she had something special for us to watch.

At the time, we were just kids and were in awe at the star power that this music video had. The video had everyone in it: MJ, Billy Joel, Huey Newton, Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen and even Dan Aykroyd.
(Bob Dylan's voice in this song reminded me of a drunk rat.)

The song was tied into USA for Africa, a relief foundation that brought food, medical supplies and other necessities to the most impoverished parts of Africa.

49ers Vs Dolphins in Superbowl

Words can't describe how huge this was for us as kids. We loved the NINERS in SF and when they made it to the Superbowl, we were in heaven.

Coincidentally, we were also in Catholic School and even the teachers got into the fun. I remember them putting on a pep rally for the Niners and they needed football players to act out little skits to pump the students up.

I was chosen to be a Niner and was so happy to have been chosen. The moment of truth came and we were in a skit with a bunch of other Niners that were chosen from the 3rd grade. I remember one of the guys carrying a frying pan with a stuffed toy dolphin in it. I also remember how the other students were cheering for the Niners and after it was all said and done, we were treated to the music video that the Niners made. "Cuz, We're the 49ers!!!!" Total awesomeness.

Oliver North and the Iran Contra Scandal

North was forever on TV, testifying for what it seemed like months in this little fiasco. I had no clue who he was, but I could tell that he was in a lot of trouble.

When the full story came out, it all made sense. But not at the time. The only reason I remember this is because all of the news channels played the same thing at once, Ollie North testifying, ruining our night of TV.

Well, that's it for now. I know there were other significant happenings during the '80s, but these really, really bring me back to my childhood.
What news is big with you?
More Articles From cvillatoro
An unhandled error has occurred. Reload Dismiss