Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed. Like on Jan. 1, 1987, and the 364 days thereafter. All right, maybe you had to get out of bed, but if only you didn't have to turn on the television set. Eegh, there it was again, that geeky old year.
1987 was the kind of year in which it seemed the National Enquirer had become the newspaper of record.
On television, significa magnifica. Maddie and David did "it" on "Moonlighting." Bob Barker stopped dyeing his hair and appeared au naturel on "The Price Is Right." Actor Crispin Glover nearly kicked David Letterman in the head on NBC's "Late Night." And Joan Rivers, bounced by Fox Television, graciously told a reporter, "Let's just say they raped me."
All this in addition to Jessica Hahn and Jim Bakker, Donna Rice and Gary Hart, Tom Brokaw and Mikhail Gorbachev, and Oral Roberts and God. Ollie North promised us "the good, the bad and the ugly"; maybe two out of three ain't bad.
Any way you pour it, 1987 was no year ordinaire. The trick will be in getting it back into the bottle.
It was a digital year, a colorized year, a people-metered year. It was RoboYear.
Before it has faded completely from the screen, we pause to glance once more -- not longingly, though -- at the groans, the moans, the banes and the pains that helped make 1987 what it was. You haven't got time for the pains? It will only take a minute. As Wilford Brimley says when shoving a piping hot bowl of oatmeal in your face, "It's the right thing to do."
True, it all seems a blur now. But it all seemed a blur then.
Imagine What a Little Tap Dance Might Accomplish -- Explaining her decision to end a self-imposed ban on performing in public, Barbra Streisand began her HBO special "One Voice" by declaring, "I feel I must sing again to do what I can to ensure a safer and better world."
"Barbie, Have You Met Barbra?" -- Publicity for the cartoon special "Barbie and the Rockers" described the finale: "Upon completing their world tour, Barbie and the Rockers feel a little blue that the biggest tour in rock history is over -- until Barbie has the most incredible idea! A world concert broadcast live from space! The perfect way to unite her fans from around the world for peace!"
Truth in Publicizing -- Actress Barbara Stanwyck referred to "The Colbys," the prime-time soap on which she starred, as "that turkey."
Proof That Even in the '80s, There Are Limits -- Public outcry forced Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream of Oakland to drop its commercial featuring a testimonial from convicted Watergate conspirator John Ehrlichman.
And Then Again, Maybe Not -- G. Gordon Liddy announced plans to star in his own talk show.
No, Definitely None -- An espresso bar in Seattle allowed customers to touch a magenta dress once worn by Vanna White on "Wheel of Fortune" for 25 cents a pop.
But Wait, We See a Teensy-Weensy Glimmer of Hope for All Humanity -- The book "Vanna Speaks" flopped.
Tapes We Never Rented -- "Video Aspirin" (Prism Entertainment), a would-be headache cure, and "Hispanic Helper" (Videoactive Co.), which offered tips on "communicating with your housekeeper."
Not All Bark -- A White House secretary said ABC News correspondent Sam Donaldson bit her.
The Heart of Show Business May Need a Triple Bypass -- Rock humanitarian Bob Geldof, of Live Aid fame, crossed a NABET picket line at ABC in New York so he could plug a new record on "Good Morning America," explaining to the strikers, "I've got to sell myself."
What's Hot -- Viewers of WSLS-TV in Roanoke phoned the switchboard one night in June to ask why the picture was hazy. The station was on fire.
What's Not -- Washington's WTTG-TV accidentally led its "10 O'Clock News" on the day of the L.A. earthquake with a two-week-old taped story about Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze.
Wreck a Network, Get a Check -- CBS Inc. revealed details of the golden parachute given ousted chairman Thomas H. Wyman: A lifetime annuity of $400,000 a year, bonus credits of $556,000 and a lump sum payment estimated at $2.7 million. Meanwhile, 230 CBS News employes were fired in budget cutbacks.
A Meeting of the Minds; Or, Next Stop, Pee-wee's Playhouse -- Talk show moderator John McLaughlin appeared as himself on an episode of "ALF," interviewing a puppet from outer space in a dream sequence.
Please, Mr. President, You're Needed in the Oval Office -- During an argument among Sam Donaldson, Bill Plante and a troop of visiting schoolteachers in a White House driveway, someone shouted, "Oh, shut up."
Going the Couch Potato One Better -- David Hudson, the 1,200-pound man, made the rounds of the talk shows from the bed he hadn't left in 16 years.
Flickez Mon Bic, S'Il Vous Plait -- Sharp-eyed viewers spotted one of the extras in the ABC mini-series "Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story" setting a 19th-century bonfire with a cigarette lighter.
And How Come Nobody Ever Slips on an Orange Peel? -- The president of the International Banana Association protested the use of a banana in a condom demonstration on the PBS special "AIDS: Changing the Rules," saying the banana "deserves to be treated with respect and consideration."
Hey, We Work for a Living! -- Representatives from the Ogilvy & Mather advertising agency and MGMM Productions screened more than 70 classic movies of the '40s so they could create "the proper mood" for a 30-second Seagram's Golden Wine Cooler commercial starring Bruce Willis. Then they interviewed 300 beautiful models in New York, Los Angeles, London and Paris to cast his leading lady.
Upward and Outward With the Arts -- The Fox network's series "Married ... With Children" was promoted with a fashion show at the "Fabulous New Bra Museum" opened by Frederick's of Hollywood.
Fabulous New Federal Bra Museum Seen Likely -- FCC Chairman Dennis Patrick, writing in TV Guide, cited among the blessings of his pea-brained deregulation policy "such innovations as the Fox network, which provides another alternative for viewers."
Good News for the Hearing-Impaired -- Censors bleeped naughty words from the sound track of a "Sid and Nancy" movie clip on "Entertainment Tonight," but the words ran intact in closed captions for the hearing-impaired.
Bad News for the Hearing-Impaired -- Public TV station WGBH in Boston announced plans to closed-caption the pledge breaks in its August fund-raising drive.
We Were Just Wondering: Are Programs Only Seven Minutes Long Eligible for Emmy Awards? -- Dan Rather threw a tanty and stomped off the set when a U.S. Open tennis match ran over and left CBS affiliates with seven minutes of dead air instead of "The CBS Evening News."
Dan's Blue Period -- Irked by the counsel of insiders that his delivering of the news was too "intense," Dan Rather slowed his speech down so drastically that some viewers thought he was sick.
No Editorializing, Please -- When candidate Jesse Jackson made a biblical reference to "Simon the Leper" during a televised debate, the director cut immediately to a shot of fellow candidate Paul Simon.
A Failure to Communicate; Or, We're Paying for Monkey Business, We Want Monkey Business -- Negotiations broke off between Donna Rice and ABC for a movie about her life after Rice said she thought the film should stick to such subjects as "the press, the right to privacy, double standards and the political process."
Annals of Taste, Part 1 -- A satellite cable channel specializing in porno launched a home shopping service offering sex toys and dirty movies.
Annals of Taste, Part 2 -- A mother booked as a guest on "Hour Magazine" implored viewers to stay tuned through the next commercial break by saying, "In January, my daughter died from AIDS. Right after this, I'll tell you how I'm coping with the loss."
It's Mooning Again in America -- TV talk show host Richard Shanks of Lakeland, Fla., dropped his pants and bared his bottom to the camera to protest a local school board decision.
Work Safe, Play Safe and Watch the Stupidest Sitcoms You Can Find -- From a press release: " 'Toys in the Basement,' the Nov. 11 episode of 'You Can't Take It With You' starring Harry Morgan as Grandpa Vanderhof, confronts the controversial issue of violence in the playroom."
Plus, He Has 10 Million Fewer Dead Brain Cells Than All the Other Kids; Or, Our Nominee for President in 2012 -- Benjamin Barreaux, an 11-year-old sixth-grader from Millburn, N.J., collected $500 from his mother after successfully completing 365 days without watching a single television show.