Pop Culture Madness!
Pop Culture Madness!

1983 Trivia, Facts & History

<< - 1982

1983 History Snapshot

  • Sports Record: The most points scored in an NBA game is 186 by the Detroit Pistons against the Denver Nuggets. The second most is 184 by the Denver Nuggets, in the same game on Dec 13, 1983.
  • The Top Song was Every Breath You Take by The Police
  • The Big Movies included Return of the Jedi, Terms of Endearment and Flashdance
  • Price of Chevrolet Chevette in 1983: $7,287.00
    Bananas: 33 cents/pound
    32 oz Listerine: $2.49
  • The World Population was ~ 4,640,000,000
  • US Life Expectancy: Males: 71.0 years, Females: 78.1 years
  • Jenga was introduced at the London Toy Fair in January 1983.
  • Since 1983 the length of the meter is defined by the distance light travels in 1/299,792,458 of a second.
  • And... Mr. Rogers Neighborhood aired a five episode arc about nuclear war titled Conflict in November 1983. The episodes have not aired in rerurns since.
1983 Books

World Series Champions

Baltimore Orioles

Superbowl XVII Champions

Washington Redskins

NBA Champions

Philadelphia 76ers

Stanley Cup Champs

New York Islanders

U.S. Open Golf

Larry Nelson

U.S. Tennis (Men/Ladies)

Jimmy Connors/Martina Navratilova

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

John McEnroe/Martina Naratilova

NCAA Football Champions


NCAA Basketball Champions

North Carolina State

Kentucky Derby

Sunny's Halo

Sex Symbols and Fashion Icons

Carol Alt, Loni Anderson, Catherine Bach, Kim Basinger, Jennifer Beals, Jacqueline Bisset, Christie Brinkley, Anne Carlisle, Phoebe Cates, Joan Collins, Lydia Cornell, Rebecca DeMornay, Janice Dickinson, Linda Evans, Farrah Fawcett, Carrie Fisher, Deborah Foreman, Daryl Hannah, Goldie Hawn, Kathy Ireland, Grace Jones, Nastassja Kinski, Tawny Kitaen, Diane Lane, Audrey Landers, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Heather Locklear, Elle Macpherson, Madonna, Stevie Nicks, Dolly Parton, Paulina Porizkova, Markie Post, Princess Diana, Victoria Principal, Betsy Russell, Brooke Shields, Suzanne Somers, Cheryl Tiegs, Heather Thomas

"The 1983 Quotes"

"Go ahead, make my day"
- Clint Eastwood in Sudden Impact

"Say hello to my little friend!"
- Tony Montana in Scarface

"Would you like to play a game?"
- NORAD W.O.P.R. in WarGames

George Lucas approached Mark Hamill in 1983 and asked him if he'd like to play an elderly, mentoring Luke to hand the story to the next generation. When Hamill asked "When?", Lucas replied with, "Oh, around 2011."

Time Magazine's Men of the Year

Ronald Reagan
Yuri Andetopov

Miss America

Debra Maffett (Anaheim, CA)

Miss USA

Julie Hayek (California)

The unScandals

Jim Thorpe regained his 1912 decathlon and pentathlon Olympic Gold Medals, 30 years fter his death. They were originally taken from him because it was revealed that he played professional minor league baseball for a season in 1908.

Korean airliner (Flight 007) was shot down by a Russian jet killing 269 people. The Russian government did not acknowledge the incident for 5 days.

After Michael Jackson's hair was accidentally set on fire during the shooting of a Pepsi commercial in 1983 he chose not to sue but instead asked Pepsi to fund the creation of a burn center.

Captain Bob Pearson landed Flight 143, piloting a Air Canada Boeing 767, at the RCAF Station Gimli, a closed air force base, with several mechanical failures going on, and NO FUEL.

Scandals, RIP and Odd News

While on duty at a Soviet nuclear attack warning station in 1983, Stanislav Petrov's computer indicated the US had fired several missles. He decided his computer was faulty and urged against a launch. He was right, averting nuclear war, but was not rewarded and was reprimanded by his superiors.

Germany's Der Stern magazine obtained Adolf Hitler's secret diaries. After announcing them, and showing them to the world, it was discovered that they were fake.

The town of Thistle, Utah was destroyed by a landslide and the resulting flood. The disaster was the costliest landslide in United States history.

When Sally Ride was preparing to launch as the first US woman in space in 1983, reporters asked questions like "Do you cry when things go wrong on the job?" and "Will the flight affect your reproductive organs?"

Rock star Dave Navarro's mother was murdered in 1983. In 1991, Navarro appeared on America's Most Wanted and thanks to a viewer tip the killer was caught.

Pop Star Death: Karen Carpenter (eating disorder) The word 'anorexia' entered the American vocabulary.

A preserved head was discovered at a bog in Lindow Moss. Believing the remains to be his former wife, Peter Reyn-Bardt confessed to murdering her in 1960. When testing later found the head was from 250 AD, Reyn-Bardt tried to revoke his confession but was still convicted of her murder.

Steven Seagal accidentally broke Sean Connery's wrist while filming Never Say Never Again in 1983.

Thomas Silverstein is a convict who's been held in solitary confinement at a Supermax prison since 1983. Considered one of the most dangerous inmates in the U.S., he's committed multiple murders in jail. He's held in a specially designed cell called Range 13 and has no human contact

An Alabama school tried to ban The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank in 1983 because, according to the board's records, it was "a real downer."

Korean Air flight 007 was shot down over Soviet airspace without warning.

Iqbal Masih (1983-1995) was a Pakistani child who, at age four, was sold into bondage by his family, escaped after years of hardship and helped thousands of children flee bondage labor through his internatioal activism. He was assasinated at age 12.

1983 Pop Culture News

Someone born in 1983 is a member of three different "generations" - Generation X, Generation Y and Millennials.

AS of 2017, of the top 20 most watched TV broadcasts in the United States, 19 were Super Bowls, and the other was the 1983 finale of television's M*A*S*H.

Naloxone (Narcon) has became a mainstay of hospital emergency rooms and medical wards. It can be injected or sprayed up the nose, and can stop/reverse a heroin overdose in under two minutes. It's so vital the World Health Organization placed the drug on its list of essential medications in 1983.

That the series finale of M*A*S*H was watched by 125 million people. The U.S. population that year was approx. 203 million people.

The 1983 Atlantic hurricane season was the least active Atlantic hurricane season in 53 years, during this season only four tropical storms formed. The season officially began on June 1, 1983, and lasted until November 30, 1983.

New York City's sewer system experienced a 6.7 million gallon hike after the series finale of M*A*S*H. An estimated one million citizens held it in til the ending.

MTV would repudidly have folded in 1983 if Mick Jagger hadn't agreed to say, "I Want My MTV" in front of a camera and allowed it to be used in MTV's iconic "I Want My MTV" ad campaign. That ad campaign saved the network from ruin.

In 1983, 90% of US media was controlled by fifty companies; today, 90% is controlled by just six companies.

On November 6th, 1983, Will Byers disappeared.

In their 1983 film Monty Python's the Meaning of Life, the Pythons defined the meaning of life as "Try to be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try to live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations."

Cliff Young, a 61-year-old potato farmer, won a 544 mile endurance race because he ran throughout the night while the younger 'professional' athletes slept.

Papa John sold his car 1983 to help start up his pizza company. He later located and bought the car back in 2009.

An Air Canada flight in 1983 ran out of fuel mid-flight, but the crew managed to glide the 767 to nearby airport. The plane turned out to have only been filled with half the amount of fuel it needed due to a miscalculation because Canada was in the process of converting to the metric system.

The Pittsburgh Penguins purposefully finished last in the 1983-84 season to secure the 1984 draft pick of current owner and hall of famer Mario Lemieux.

Not only was Return of the Jedi 1983's top grossing film, but also it's novelization was the year's top selling book.

John Lasseter was fired from Disney in 1983 for pushing too hard for computer animation. When Disney bought Pixar in 2006, Lasseter was given a $5 million signing bonus, a $2.5 million salary, and control of all Disney's animation projects.

The computer mouse was invented.

In 1966 Dick Shulze founded his stereo store, 'The Sound of Music.' In 1983, he renamed it "Best Buy" and started the current chain of home electronics stores.

Red Red Wine was written by Neil Diamond in '67. The band UB40 covered it in '83 in a light reggae style and it reached #1 on the Billboard 100. Diamond has stated that it is one of his favorite covers and he often performs the song in the UB40 style instead of the original version.

Musician Frank Zappa had an idea in 1983 that mapped out a sophisticated filesharing system meant to bypass record companies.

Sally Ride became the first woman in Space.

Actor Kevin Costner was 'the dead guy' in the opening of the film The Big Chill, but we never saw his face.

Every new issue of adult magazine Hustler has been sent to all 535 Members of Congress since 1983 by owner Larry Flynt. Congress has tried to stop the deliveries but the U.S. District Court has ruled that the delivery cannot be stopped under the First Amendment.

J. Crew began selling through a mail-order catalogue.

Sci-Fi writer Isaac Asimov contracted HIV from a blood transfusion received during his bypass operation in 1983. His physicians advised him against going public, warning that the anti-AIDS prejudice would likely extend to his family members. He died from HIV complications in 1992.

Cost of a Superbowl ad in 1983: $400,000

Bop Magazine (1983-2014)

Vanity Fair began publication

The Habits

Showing off your Swatch Watches, showing off your Break Dancing moves, Wacky Wallwalkers were octo-shaped sticky toys that could be tossed against a wall, then slowly 'slime' thier way down.

Reading Return of the Jedi Storybook by Joan D. Vinge
Reading Ironweed by William Kennedy

1983's Most Popular Christmas Gifts

Compuvision Console by Bently, DMS's Tel;esports Mini, My Little Pony, Care Bears, WereBears stuffed bears, Cabbage Patch Kids were the must-have Christmas toy.

Popular Movies:

The Big Chill, Blue Thunder, Flashdance, Jaws 3-D, The Man With Two Brains, Mr. Mom, Never Cry Wolf, Never Say Never Again, Night of the Comet, Octopussy, The Outsiders, Porky's II: The Next Day, Psycho II, Risky Business, Scarface, Silkwood, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (re-release), Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, Staying Alive, Sudden Impact, Superman III, Terms of Endearment, Trading Places, Twilight Zone: The MovieUncommon Valor, National Lampoon's Vacation, Valley Girl, Videodrome, WarGames, Yentyl

The Big Movies

(according to boxofficemojo)
1. Return Of The Jedi
2. Terms of Endearment
3. Flashdance
4. Trading Places
5. WarGames
6. Octopussy
7. Sudden Impact
8. Staying Alive
9. Mr. Mom
10. Risky Business

1983/84's Most Popular TV

(according to Nielsen TV Research)
1. Dallas (CBS)
2. 60 Minutes (CBS)
3. Dynasty (ABC)
4. The A-Team (NBC)
5. Simon & Simon (CBS)
6. Magnum, P.I. (CBS)
7. Falcon Crest (CBS)
8. Kate & Allie (CBS)
9. Hotel (ABC)
10. Cagney & Lacey (CBS)

Popular Music

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1983 include
Daryl Hall & John Oates, Angela Bofill, Billy Joel, Bob Seger, Bonnie Tyler, Culture Club, Daryl Hall & John Oates, David Bowie, DeBarge, Don Henley, Donna Summer, Duran Duran, Eurythmics, George Clinton, James Ingram, Irene Cara, Journey, Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie, Men at Work, Micheal Jackson, Naked Eyes, New Edition, Patti Austin, Paric Rushen, Paul McCartney, The Police, Ray Parker Jr, Prince, Rick James, Rufus, Stray Cats, Styx, Toto

(Data is complied from various charts including: Billboard's Pop, Rock, Airplay, R&B/Dance and Singles Charts. The Hot 100 is the primary chart used for this list.)

Number One Hits of 1983

December 18, 1982 - January 14, 1983: Daryl Hall and John Oates - Maneater

January 15, 1983 - February 4, 1983: Men at Work - Down Under

February 5, 1983 - February 18, 1983: Toto - Africa

February 19, 1983 - March 4, 1983: Patti Austin and James Ingram - Baby, Come to Me

March 5, 1983 - April 22, 1983: Michael Jackson - Billie Jean

April 23, 1983 - April 29, 1983: Dexys Midnight Runners - Come On Eileen

April 30, 1983 - May 20, 1983: Michael Jackson - Beat It

May 21, 1983 - May 27, 1983: David Bowie - Let's Dance

May 28, 1983 - July 8, 1983: Irene Cara - Flashdance... What a Feeling

July 9, 1983 - September 2, 1983: The Police - Every Breath You Take

September 3, 1983 - September 9, 1983: Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

September 10, 1983 - September 23, 1983: Michael Sembello - Maniac

September 24, 1983 - September 30, 1983: Billy Joel - Tell Her About It

October 1, 1983 - October 28, 1983: Bonnie Tyler - Total Eclipse of the Heart

October 29, 1983 - November 11, 1983: Kenny Rogers with Dolly Parton - Islands in the Stream

November 12, 1983 - December 9, 1983: Lionel Richie - All Night Long (All Night)

December 10, 1983 - January 20, 1984: Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson - Say, Say, Say

More Pop Culture Resources

Popular Music in 1983
# 1 Hits of 1983
. . .