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This monthly podcast looks back at the pop culture of Generation X, from an African-American perspective.

Apr 1, 2019

Topics: Pac-Man & the start of the "Gaming" culture, Zapp, Fame (1980 Film), Eddie Murphy. (Bonus Artist: hidingtobefound)
1.    Jimmy Carter President
2.    Jan – The comic strips The Far Side debuts in newspapers
3.    Feb – The XIII Winter Olympics open in Lake Placid, New York.[1]
4.    Feb – The United States Olympic Hockey Team defeats the Soviet Union in the medal round of the Winter Olympics, in the Miracle on Ice.
5.    Feb - U.S. President Jimmy Carter announces that the United States will boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.
6.    Apr – Operation Eagle Claw, a commando mission in Iran to rescue American embassy hostages, is aborted after mechanical problems ground the rescue helicopters. Eight United States troops are killed in a mid-air collision during the failed operation.
7.    Apr – Rosie Ruiz wins the Boston Marathon, but is later exposed as a fraud and stripped of her award
8.    May – A Miami, Florida court acquits four white police officers of killing Arthur McDuffie, a black insurance executive, provoking three days of race riots.
9.    May – Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington, killing 57 and causing US$3 billion in damage.
10.    May – The Empire Strikes Back is released.
11.    May – Pac-Man, the best-selling arcade game of all time, is released.
12.    May – Vernon Jordan is shot and critically injured in an assassination attempt in Fort Wayne, Indiana by Joseph Paul Franklin (the first major news story for CNN).
13.    Jun – The Cable News Network (CNN) is officially launched.
14.    Jun – In Los Angeles, comedian Richard Pryor is badly burned trying to freebase cocaine.
15.    Jun – U.S. President Jimmy Carter signs Proclamation 4771, requiring 19- and 20-year-old males to register for a peacetime military draft, in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
16.    Jul – The Unemployment Rate peaks at 7.8%, the highest in four years.
17.    Nov – United States presidential election, 1980: Republican challenger and former Governor Ronald Reagan of California defeats incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter, exactly one year after the beginning of the Iran hostage crisis.
18.    Nov - Millions of viewers tune into the U.S. soap opera Dallas to learn who shot lead character J. R. Ewing. The "Who shot J. R.?" event is a national obsession.
19.    Dec - John Lennon is shot and killed by Mark David Chapman in front of The Dakota apartment building in New York City.
20.    Open Comments:
21.    Popular Music Scene
22.    Top 3 Singles
23.    1 - "Call Me", Blondie
24.    2 - "Another Brick in the Wall, Part II", Pink Floyd
25.    3 - "Magic", Olivia Newton-John
26.    Record of the Year: Michael Omartian (producer) & Christopher Cross for "Sailing"
27.    Album of the Year: Michael Omartian (producer) & Christopher Cross for Christopher Cross
28.    Song of the Year: Christopher Cross for "Sailing"
29.    Best New Artist: Christopher Cross
30.    Open Comments:
31.    Popular Movies
32.    Top 3 Grossing Movies
33.    1 - The Empire Strikes Back
34.    2 - 9 to 5
35.    3 - Stir Crazy
36.    Open Comments:
37.    Notables:
38.    Airplane!, starring Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Leslie Nielsen, Peter Graves, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
39.    American Gigolo, directed by Paul Schrader, starring Richard Gere, Lauren Hutton and Héctor Elizondo
40.    The Blue Lagoon, starring Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins
41.    The Blues Brothers, directed by John Landis, starring John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Cab Calloway, Carrie Fisher, John Candy, Henry Gibson
42.    Caddyshack, directed by Harold Ramis, starring Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Michael O'Keefe, Cindy Morgan, Bill Murray
43.    Coal Miner's Daughter, starring Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones
44.    Flash Gordon, directed by Mike Hodges, starring Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Chaim Topol
45.    Friday the 13th, directed by Sean S. Cunningham, starring Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King and Harry Crosby
46.    Raging Bull, directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Cathy Moriarty
47.    The Shining, directed by Stanley Kubrick, starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers
48.    Open Comments:
49.    Popular TV
50.    Top 3 Rated Shows
51.    1 - Dallas
52.    2 - The Dukes of Hazzard
53.    3- 60 Minutes
54.    Open Comments:
55.    Black Snapshots
56.    Ralph Abernathy, president of the SCLC following the assassination of King in 1968, endorses Ronald Reagan
57.    Nikki Giovanni publishes Vacation Time: Poems for Children
58.    Bernard Shaw stars at CNN:  Shaw is widely known for the question he posed to Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Michael Dukakis at his second Presidential debate with George H. W. Bush during the 1988 election, which Shaw was moderating. Knowing that Dukakis opposed the death penalty, Shaw asked him if he would support an irrevocable death penalty for a man who hypothetically raped and murdered Dukakis's wife. Dukakis responded that he would not.
59.    Nov - Eddie Murphy made his first Saturday Night Live appearance, appearing in a non-speaking role in the sketch "In Search Of The Negro Republican".
60.    Jan - Black Entertainment Television launches in the United States as a block of programming on the USA Network; it won't be until 1983 that BET becomes a full-fledged channel.
61.    Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female - Stephanie Mills for "Never Knew Love Like This Before"
62.    Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male - George Benson for Give Me the Night
63.    Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal - The Manhattans for "Shining Star"
64.    Open Comments:
65.    Economic
66.    New House: 69K
67.    Avg. income: 19K
68.    New car: 7K
69.    Avg rent: 300
70.    Postage Stamp: 15c
71.    Movie ticket: 2.25
72.    Open Comments:
73.    Social Scene:  Pac-Man, Arcade, and the birth of the Gaming Culture.
74.    Taken from: For Amusement Only: the life and death of the American arcade []
75.    "If you’ve never been inside a “real” arcade, it could be hard to distinguish one from say, oh, a Dave & Buster’s. Authenticity is a hard nut to crack, but there are a few hallmarks of the video game arcade of days gone by: first, they have video games. Lots and lots of video games, and (usually) pinball machines. They’re dark (so that you can see the screens better), and they don’t sell food or booze. You can make an exception for a lonely vending machine, sure, but full meals? No thanks. There’s no sign outside that says you “must be 21 to enter.” These are rarely family-friendly institutions, either. Your mom wouldn’t want to be there, and nobody would want her there, anyway. This is a place for kids to be with other kids, teens to be with other teens, and early-stage adults to serve as the ambassador badasses in residence for the younger generation. It’s noisy, with all the kids yelling and the video games on permanent demo mode, beckoning you to waste just one more quarter. In earlier days (though well into the ‘90s), it’s sometimes smoky inside, and the cabinets bear the scars of many a forgotten cig left hanging off the edge while its owner tries one last time for a high score, inevitably ending in his or her death. The defining feature of a “real” arcade, however, is that there aren’t really any left."
76.    Open Comments:
77.    The years between 1978 and 1982 saw unprecedented growth across the entire video game industry. A January 1982 cover story in Time magazine noted that the most popular machines were pulling in $400 a week in quarters and the number of dedicated arcades in the United States reached its peak with around 13,000. Video game cabinets also appeared in grocery stores, drug stores, doctor’s offices, and even in school recreation centers. The arcade chain Tilt began opening locations in the growing number of shopping malls across America. Beginning with Space Invaders in 1978, a string of now legendary games were released in rapid succession: Galaxian ('79), Asteroids ('79), Berzerk ('80), Centipede ('80), Rally-X ('80), Defender ('81), Donkey Kong ('81), Frogger ('81), Galaga ('81), Ms. Pac-Man ('81), Dig Dug ('82), Donkey Kong Jr. (('82), Joust ('82), Pole Position ('82), Q*bert ('82), and Tron ('82). 
78.    Simultaneously, the home console business blossomed: from the primitive Magnavox Odyssey in 1972, the concept of home gaming erupted with the Atari 2600 and the Apple II in 1977, the Intellivision in 1980, the Commodore 64 and ColecoVision in 1982, and the NES and Sega Master System in 1985.But it was 1980’s Pac-Man, the most successful video arcade game of all time, released by Midway in the United States, which had the most lasting effects on the industry and the American psyche.
79.    Audio Clip:
80.    Question: What do you say about the following criticisms: Ingrains scripts of violence and aggression into the psyche. / Too much sex, nudity, and mistreatment of women. / Poor portrayal of race / Addiction leading to health problems and obesity.
81.    Music Scene
82.    Black Songs from the Top 40 
83.    4    "Rock with You"    Michael Jackson
84.    8    "Funkytown"    Lipps Inc
85.    13    "Cruisin"    Smokey Robinson
86.    14    "Working My Way Back to You/Forgive Me, Girl"    The Spinners
87.    18    "Upside Down"    Diana Ross
88.    19    "Please Don't Go"    KC and the Sunshine Band
89.    21    "With You I'm Born Again"    Billy Preston and Syreeta
90.    22    "Shining Star"    The Manhattans
91.    23    "Still"    Commodores
92.    29    "Cupid/I've Loved You for a Long Time"    The Spinners
93.    30    "Let's Get Serious"    Jermaine Jackson
94.    35    "Ladies' Night"    Kool & the Gang
95.    36    "Too Hot"    Kool & the Gang
96.    37    "Take Your Time (Do It Right)"    The SOS Band
97.    38    "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)"    Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer
98.    42    "Special Lady"    Ray, Goodman & Brown
99.    43    "Send One Your Love"    Stevie Wonder
100.    44    "The Second Time Around"    Shalamar
101.    Vote:
102.    Top R&B Albums
103.    Jan - Off the Wall    Michael Jackson
104.    Feb - The Whispers    The Whispers
105.    Apr - Light Up the Night    The Brothers Johnson
106.    May - Go All the Way    The Isley Brothers
107.    Jun - Let’s Get Serious    Jermaine Jackson
108.    Jul - Cameosis    Cameo
109.    Jul - diana    Diana Ross
110.    Sep - Give Me the Night    George Benson
111.    Oct - Love Approach    Tom Browne
112.    Oct - Zapp    Zapp
113.    Nov - Triumph    The Jacksons
114.    Nov - Hotter Than July    Stevie Wonder
115.    Vote:
116.    Key Artists: Roger Troutman and Zapp
117.    Roger Troutman (@ 29 yrs. old) singer, composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer.
118.    Born and raised in Hamilton, OH, the fourth child of nine, he gravitated toward music at an extremely early age; he was only five years old when he received his first guitar.
119.    By 11, he was playing in local bands with one of his brothers. 
120.    Influenced by old-schoolers B.B. King, Jimmy Reed, Chuck Jackson, and Junior Walker, and then-current chart-toppers The Temptations, Wilson Pickett, and the Beatles, by the late '60s, Roger had added Hammond organ to his resumé of instruments, and 2 more brothers.
121.    Like many of his generation, Roger and his brothers became enraptured by such funk/rock artists as Jimi Hendrix, the Isley Brothers, Stevie Wonder, and Funkadelic.
122.    By age 26, the band was playing shows all over the U.S. and Canada. The group added another Troutman brother to their ranks ((4 in total), Terry, who went by the nickname of "Zapp," and that soon became the group's new name.
123.    Shortly thereafter, Bootsy Collins' brother, Phelps "Catfish" Collins, happened to catch a gig by Zapp, who put them in touch with Bootsy, who then brought them to the attention of George Clinton. Clinton promptly signing the group to his own custom label, Uncle Jam.
124.    Clinton got Roger (Not Zapp) a performance spot at a 1979 Awards show and declared “Roger Troutman as the most talented musician” he'd ever seen in his life. Roger’s performance created a buzz for Zapp's self-titled debut release, issued in 1980.
125.    Audio clips
126.    After the 1980 release of Zapp's debut album, tensions rose between Roger Troutman and George Clinton. Troutman's solo album “The Many Facets of Roger” was primarily funded by Clinton and Clinton was experiencing financial troubles due to his poor management skills and shifting tastes in music.
127.    Troutman could see the disarray surrounding Clinton and severed their partnership by accepting a higher offer for the album from Warner Bros. and cut Clinton out of the picture.
128.    Clinton's view was, "…I paid for it. I don't like to go into it on the negative side, but it cost about 5 million [dollars], and a lot of people's jobs and what we consider as the empire falling". - The financial loss from the rupture with Troutman is credited as one of the factors that derailed Clinton's musical career and sent Funkadelic into hiatus.
129.    On Sunday morning, April 25, 1999, Roger Troutman was fatally wounded as a result of an apparent murder-suicide that was orchestrated by his older brother, Larry. Roger was shot several times in the torso by Larry as he exited a recording studio. Larry's body was found in a car a short distance away from the murder scene. There were no witnesses at the time, and Larry's motive for the murder of Roger remains unclear. Larry had been experiencing increasingly severe financial problems managing the family-run business. Larry might also have been bitter after Roger fired him as manager of his music career, a position Larry had held for several years.
130.    After Troutman's death, Ice Cube said that "More Bounce To The Ounce" introduced him to hip-hop. "I was in the sixth grade, we'd stayed after school. We had this dude named Mr. Lock, and he used to bring in his radio with these pop-lockers. He used to teach [the dance group] the L.A. Lockers, and he would do community service in after-school programs. He knew a lot of kids and introduced them to all the new dances, he put on that song 'More Bounce', and they started pop-locking. And I think from that visual, from seeing that, it was my first introduction into hip-hop. Period. I didn't know nothing about nothing. I hadn't heard 'Rapper's Delight' yet. It was the first thing that was really fly to me. They started dancing, and since 'More Bounce' goes on forever, they just got down. I just think that was a rush of adrenaline for me, like a chemical reaction in my brain.”
131.    Open Comments
132.    Black Movies: Fame
133.    Blending elements of straight drama, music, and dance, FAME shadows a group of gifted students (including singer Irene Cara, dancer Gene Anthony Ray, and composer Lee Currieri) during their time at New York's prestigious High School of Performing Arts, where they're learning the skills they need to succeed. The film -- which won two Oscars for its music (including a Best Original Song statuette for the title track "Fame" -- spawned a 1980s TV series of the same name that allowed several of its young stars to reprise their roles and gave Debbie Allen a much more prominent role as a no-nonsense dance teacher.
134.    Critical response: Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune, "When the kids perform, the movie sings, but their fictionalized personal stories are melodramatic drivel." -  Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, "Fame is a genuine treasure, moving and entertaining, a movie that understands being a teen-ager as well as Breaking Away did, but studies its characters in a completely different milieu."
135.    Audio Clips
136.    Open Comments
137.    Black Television: Eddie Murphy – The Young Prince
138.    Edward Regan Murphy, (@ 19 yrs. old), Comedian, actor, screen writer, film producer, and singer? He was the dominant comedic voice during the 1980s. 
139.    Born and raised in NYC, parents split when he was 3, father died when he was eight, lived in foster care for a year, and began doing stand-up comedy after listening to "That Nigger's Crazy", by Richard Pryor, when he was 15.
140.    Doing impersonations of Al Green at talents shows helped him land gigs at late night clubs.
141.    After the 79-80 season of SNL wrapped for summer break, the show had a major shakeup. OG Producer, Lorene Michaels and the OG cast left. After the new producer was hired, she had 2 months to re-cast the show.
142.    In September 19-year-old Eddie contacted the show and repeatedly pleaded for an audition. 2 months later he made his national television debut.
143.    Audio Clips
144.    Major criticism:” Welcome Back, Eddie Murphy! The rise and fall and rise of America's most dangerous comic” - Chris Nashawaty November 06, 2011 - []
145.    “If you grew up watching Eddie Murphy chomping on a cigar as Gumby or getting gunned down in a hail of bullets as Buckwheat on Saturday Night Live, or better yet, dropping F-bombs as the cool-cat star of 48 Hrs., Trading Places, and Beverly Hills Cop, it’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that there’s a whole generation out there that has no clue just how funny and dirty he once was. When they think of Eddie Murphy — if they even think of him at all — it’s as the donkey from the kiddie franchise Shrek, or the once-dangerous comedian desperately searching for laughs in fart gags and fat suits in The Klumps.”
146.    Audio Clips
147.    Open Comments
148.    Question: Is Eddie funny or formula?
149.    Vote: Favorite Pop Culture thing for the year?