Time Capsule: The 1980s; the Space Shuttle Launched, the Berlin Wall Falls
The space shuttle Columbia, the first reusable spacecraft, was originally launched April 12, 1981. Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme court, and Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. The Iran-Contra hearings made headlines.
Several events signaled the easing of international tensions. In December 1987, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed a nuclear arms reduction treaty. The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 presaged the end of the Cold War.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated November 13, 1982. A new national holiday, Martin Luther King Day, was first celebrated in January 1986.
The growth of cable television, video games, and compact discs had a major impact on home entertainment. “Dallas” and “The Cosby Show” topped TV ratings. Hip-hop culture and music videos gained popularity.
New words: yuppie, infomercial, biodiversity, emoticon.
- During the 1980s, personal computers from companies such as Tandy, Commodore, Apple, and IBM revolutionized desktops. Home and office users could run business software, play games, or even write their own programs.
- Homely and lovable, Cabbage Patch Kids were the surprising toy success of the 1983-84 holiday season when they set off a shopping frenzy. In an increasingly electronic era, the low-tech “adoptable” dolls were a welcome change.
- Figure skating gained popularity during the 1980s as fans eagerly followed national and international rivalries. Americans captured nine World Championships, and American men won the gold medal in 1984 and 1988.
- “E.T.” tells the story of a boy who befriends a stranded space alien and helps him “phone home”. Winner of four Academy Awards and one of the most beloved films of all time, “E.T.” held the record as the top-grossing film for 15 years.
- The San Francisco 49ers were the most successful football team of the 1980s. Led by their high-powered “West Coast” offense, the 49ers won four Super Bowls between 1982 and 1990.