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January 13, 2013

50 years of pop culture



Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is now honored the third Monday in January, as his birthday was declared a national holiday in 1983.

It was the same year that first lady Nancy Reagan launched the “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign, and crack cocaine was developed in the Bahamas.

Gas was about $1 a gallon, an average new home cost $82,600, and the average annual income was $21,070.

Motorola introduced the first mobile telephone, Microsoft Word was released for the first time, and the Internet was created.

The space shuttle Challenger made its maiden voyage, astronaut Sally Ride became the first woman in space, and young girls began begging their parents for Cabbage Patch Kids in 1983.

Vanessa Williams was crowned the first African-American Miss America, and the final DeLorean vehicles were produced. Compact discs were developed and would soon all but kill sales of vinyl records.

Playwright and author Tennessee Williams and boxer Jack Dempsey died, “Torch Song Trilogy” won the New York Drama Critics and Tony Award for Best Play on Broadway, and 125 million people tuned in to watch the final episode of “MASH.”

Movie theaters were packed with patrons watching “Return of the Jedi,” “Trading Places,” “Tootsie,” “WarGames,” “The Big Chill,” “The Right Stuff,” “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and “Terms of Endearment.”

Michael Jackson continued to dominate the music industry with hits from his 1982 album, “Thriller.” Five of his seven top singles came out in 1983: “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin,” “Human Nature” and “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing).”

Others bands with successes the same year were Culture Club, Phil Collins, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Lionel Richie and The Police.


The average new home sold for $113,200 in 1993 as the average household income climbed to $31,230, and gas was $1.16 a gallon.

President Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the Brady Bill, which requires background checks on people looking to purchase a handgun, was also made law.

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