1977 - Bloomsday: The first Bloomsday, with more than 1,000 runners, is launched in Spokane, Wash. Race founder Don Kardong is the race's first winner... Music: Elvis Presley dies at age 42 at Graceland... Movies: Star Wars is released, introducing George Lucas's concept of the "space opera" and launching the careers of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and -- for a little while -- Mark Hamill... TV: Alex Haley's mini-series Roots airs with a record 130 million viewers tuning in to one or more of the eight episodes. The haunting story of Haley's search for his African ancestors is a watershed in American pop culture.
1978 - News: The world's first test tube baby, Louise Brown, is born in England... Music: The No. 1 album of the year is Fleetwood Mac's Rumours. Despite rumors of a breakup, Fleetwood Mac members pose between the sheets of a great big bed for Rolling Stone... TV: ABC's Laverne and Shirley is the most popular show in the land, followed by Three's Company and Mork & amp; Mindy... Kitsch: If you're a girl in the all important 11- to 18-year-old age bracket, there are few things cooler than Bonne Bell Lip Smackers, satin jackets inspired by Grease, and Love's Baby Soft perfume.
1979 - Music: Spokane radio station KJRB records its hit single "Bloomsday Blues." In other music news, Supertramp, Donna Summer and Blondie are all big... News: The American embassy in Tehran is attacked by Iranian student militants in November, with 63 Americans taken hostage for 444 days. The hostage crisis follows a year of political unrest during which the secular shah of Iran was deposed by Muslim extremist Ayatollah Khomeini... Movies: Kramer vs. Kramer wins five Academy Awards, beating out Apocalypse Now. It's also the highest grossing movie of the year, inexplicably earning more than Steve Martin's The Jerk.
1980 - Regional News: Mt. St. Helens shows the world just how un-dormant a volcano can be just two weeks after Bloomsday. The Northwest is blanketed in ash, which lingers along roadsides and in gift store crafts for nearly a decade after... TV: "Who shot J.R.?" is the question on everyone's lips following the campy series finale of Dallas... Pop Culture: Burt Reynolds is the biggest box office draw in the nation. Other names to watch for this year are Pat Benatar, Brooke Shields and Goldie Hawn... News: John Lennon is shot and killed outside his Manhattan apartment by Mark David Chapman on Dec. 8.
1981 - Local News: After terrorizing the South Hill for two years, Fred (Kevin) Coe is arrested in Spokane... Music: MTV airs on August 1, ironically launching with the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star"... Kitsch: Remember eating dots, encountering ghosts and navigating mazes? Pac Man is the most popular video game in the nation... Movies: Chariots of Fire, based on the true story of 1924 Olympic runners Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams, wins Oscars for best picture and best original score. Vangelis' Chariots of Fire theme didn't win best song, but continues to spur runners to the Bloomsday finish line.
1982 - Music: Michael Jackson's Thriller is the No. 1 album and for a while was the bestselling album of all time (supplanted by The Eagles' Greatest Hits 1971-1975)... News: Beloved comedian John Belushi dies of a cocaine overdose... Movies: E.T. the Extra Terrestrial continues director Steven Spielberg's love affair with outer space and introduces 6-year-old Drew Barrymore, who would later date and become engaged to alien Tom Green... Theater: The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats, based on T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, debuts on Broadway, winning an eventual seven Tony Awards and running for a record 18 years.
1983 - TV: The Day After, a frightening drama about the aftermath of nuclear war, freaks out the nation... Kitsch: Air bands, mimicking everything from Elvis Costello to AC/DC, are all the rage, but not as popular as Cabbage Patch Dolls, which cause Christmas season riots in department stores... News: Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space on June 18. It won't be the last time the space shuttle Challenger makes the news... sports: While Julius Erving was leading his Philadelphia team to the NBA championship, Michael Jordan became the College Player of the Year as a sophomore at North Carolina.
1984 - News: As Walter Mondale's running mate, Geraldine Ferraro becomes the first woman to run for vice president in the United States... Music: Band Aid records "Do They Know It's Christmas" to help raise money for hunger relief in Africa. The project, which included such music luminaries as Boy George, Bob Geldof and Bono, spawned similar superstars-for-charity events for years to come... Sports: In this year's Olympics, gymnast Mary Lou Retton brings home two gold, two silver and two bronze medals... Movies: Amadeus cleans up at this year's Oscars, winning eight, including a best director for Milos Forman.
1985 - Pop Culture: Bloom County is the most popular comic strip in the country, due as much to creator Berke Breathed's dead-on political sense as it is to the appeal of his characters Bill the Cat, Opus, Milo and Binkley... Music: The No. 1 single of the year according to Billboard magazine is Wham's "Careless Whisper," but Madonna shows up on the Top 10 list a few times, most notably for "Crazy for You," which she recorded for the set-and-filmed-in-Spokane Vision Quest... TV: The Cosby Show is what everyone's watching the most, followed by Family Ties and Murder, She Wrote... Movies: The Breakfast Club hits theaters.
1986 - Bloomsday: Spokane's little road race turns 10, and 45,541 turn out for the milestone, making it one of the nation's largest running events... News: Moments after takeoff on Jan. 28, the space shuttle Challenger explodes, killing six astronauts and teacher Christa MacAuliffe... History: Martin Luther King Day, the third Monday in January, is celebrated as a national holiday for the first time in the United States... Movies: Oliver Stone's Platoon won Best Picture, squeaking ahead of A Room With a View.
1987 - Music: U2 officially becomes a mainstream success in the United States with the release of their multi-platinum album The Joshua Tree... Scandals: First it's TV evangelist Jim Bakker and church secretary Jessica Hahn, then presidential hopeful Gary Hart and Donna Rice. Finally, another TV evangelist, Jimmy Swaggart, tearfully confesses his addiction to prostitutes and porn... TV: Our favorite shows this year are L.A. Law, Moonlighting, Night Court, and (although no one here at The Inlander claims to ever have seen it) Alf... Personalities: Robert Downey Jr. checks himself into drug rehab for the first time.
1988 - Music: Compact discs outsell vinyl records for the first time this year -- 149.7 million CDs are sold compared to 72.4 records, according to the Recording Industry Association of America... Tragedy: Pan-Am Flight 103 explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 259 passengers and 11 people on the ground... Movies: It's a great year for movies. In addition to Academy Award-winner Rain Man, we also liked nominees like A Fish Called Wanda, Dangerous Liaisons and Gorillas in the Mist... News: Vice President George Bush is the Republican presidential nominee, and he picks Dan Quayle as his running mate.
1989 - Books: Salman Rushdie publishes The Satanic Verses, incurring the wrath of the nation of Islam. When death threats are issued by Islamic militants, Rushdie goes into hiding for most of the next decade... News: To generations raised on Cold War fears, the fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9 is welcome news indeed... Regional news: Thomas S. Foley, a Democrat from not only Washington State but Spokane, becomes Speaker of the House... the Environment: The Exxon Valdez founders in Prince William Sound off the coast of Alaska, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil, making it the largest oil spill in U.S. history.
1990 - Television: The Simpsons, previously a clumsily drawn series of animated sketches between bits on The Tracey Ullman Show, becomes a hit in its own right on the Fox network, with Bart as its star... News: After 27 years of political imprisonment in South Africa for his stance on apartheid, Nelson Mandela is freed... Books: Raymond Carver, Northwest author of A New Path to the Waterfall, Cathedral and other poetry and short story collections, dies of cancer... Scandal: Milli Vanilli has to return its Grammy Award when the world discovers that the voices on its hit album Girl You Know Its True, are not their own.
1991 - News: The United States declares war on Iraq on Jan. 17. The Persian Gulf War lasts a little over two months and makes national heroes of Generals Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell... Scandal: Fans of Pee Wee's Playhouse and Pee Wee's Big Adventure are saddened by the career-killing arrest of Paul Reubens in Florida on charges of indecent exposure... TV: David Lynch's new series Twin Peaks is to televison what Agent Cooper's daily slice of pie is to "damn fine" pie appreciation. The beautifully eerie series puts the Snoqualmie/North Bend area on the map and makes TV worth watching again.
1992 - Scandal: Woody Allen and Mia Farrow split when his affair with Farrow's adopted 19-year-old daughter Soon Yi Previn is revealed... TV: Northern Exposure, theoretically set in Alaska but filmed in Roslyn, Wash., is one of the most avidly watched shows this year... Music: Seattle emerges as ground zero for grunge rock. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice and Chains are the sound; black and flannel with unwashed hair and glazed expression are the look. Few but those on the inside have any inkling that Nirvana's lead singer and pop music icon Kurt Cobain will be found dead of suicide in two years.
1993 - TV: Seinfeld, the "show about nothing" hits its stride this year, introducing such phrases into the pop culture lexicon as "sponge-worthy," "soup Nazi" and "yadda, yadda, yadda"... News: The 51-day FBI siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, ends in fiery chaos on April 19... Movies: Benny & amp; Joon, starring Johnny Depp, Mary Stuart Masterson and Aidan Quinn, is released. While the film's story was sweetly odd, we also got a kick out of seeing ourselves -- everything from Riverfront Park to a house in Peaceful Valley to one guy we know who played "Johnny Depp's arms" -- on the big screen.
1994 - Movies: Director Steven Spielberg finally wins for Schindler's List, which won a total of seven Oscars and is the only film from the last two decades to make it into the top ten of the American Film Institute's "Top 100" list... Pop Culture: They said it couldn't be done. They said it was foolish to try. Nevertheless, Pulp Fiction effectively resuscitates John Travolta's hanging-by-a-thread career.... Technology: The Internet now has 3 million users, most of them in the United States. Netscape Communications releases its browser, the Netscape Navigator, followed a year later by Microsoft's Internet Explorer.
1995 - News: A truck bomb outside a federal office building in Oklahoma City exploded, killing 168 people in all. Timothy McVeigh was convicted for the bombing in 1997 and will be executed on May 16, 2001... Books: Bainbridge Island author David Guterson wins the PEN/Faulkner award for Snow Falling on Cedars... Movies: Braveheart kicks off an official fascination with all things Celtic, including Riverdance, Rob Roy, Clannad and Celtic knot tattoos... local news: Spokane's Cowles family, owners of the local newspaper and lots of downtown property, announces its plans to renovate its River Park Square mall.
1996 - Local News: A fierce Ice Storm blankets much of the Inland NW in power line-snapping, plunge-us-all-in-darkness-and-knock-out-the-power-for-eight-days ice... Kitsch: Remember the macarena? Quick, think about something else before the movements and melody get lodged in your head again... Music: The top-selling album is Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill. Her alternately angry/compassionate lyrics and pop melodies lead to a resurgence in the popularity of female rockers... Bloomsday: The Lilac City's road race hits the 20-year mark, and 56,156 cross the finish line -- the most ever.
1997 - Astronomy: The Hale-Bopp Comet passes incredibly close to the Earth, and the Heaven's Gate cult in Southern California has a fatally effective way to hitch a ride... TV:A crudely animated cartoon about four Colorado youngsters and their perpetually wintry world, South Park makes Kyle, Stan, Cartman and Kenny household names and its creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker millions... News: Princess Diana dies in Paris, victim of an early morning car accident in a tunnel under the Seine River... Science: A 7-month old Finn-Dorset sheep named Dolly makes headlines as the world's first cloned animal.
1998 - News: Ken Starr's investigation proves to an uneasy nation that President Bill Clinton did indeed "have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky." The president is impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, but he was acquitted a year later... TV: Saturday Night Live alum and News Radio star Phil Hartman is killed by his wife, in L.A.... Books: Inland Northwest author Sherman Alexie's first film Smoke Signals, based on a short story from his collection The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, is released by Miramax and debuts to a huge and enthusiastic crowd at The Met in Spokane.
1999 - News: The World Trade Organization riots in Seattle generate public sympathy for the protesters' cause. In other news, the world's population reaches the 6 billion mark... Movies: This year's Academy Award-winning film, American Beauty debuts in early autumn, along with The Basket, a family drama filmed in the Inland Northwest by Spokane's own North by Northwest. The film stars Peter Coyote and Karen Allen... Bloomsday: The course gets a new Finish Line, in front of the county courthouse. Construction on the new River Park Square project and the closing of Post Street necessitate the permanent move.
2000 - News: We learned once and for all that every vote does indeed count in this year's presidential election, where it took more than a month for us to find out whether our new president would be George W. Bush or Al Gore... Sports: Tiger Woods wins his sixth consecutive golf tournament. He also wins the U.S. Open by a record-setting 15 strokes... Local News: After years of fruitless investigation in the Spokane serial killer case, the Spokane Police Department arrests Robert L. Yates in July... TV: Leading the pack of the new TV season is Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and The West Wing.