Pop Culture Madness!
Pop Culture Madness!


1984 Trivia, Facts & History

<< - 1983

1984 History Snapshot

  • Crime: DNA fingerprinting was introduced.
  • The Top Song was Like A Virgin by Madonna
  • The Big Movies included Ghostbusters, Beverly Hills Cop and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  • Price of Peter Pan peanut butter, 18 oz in 1984: $1.29
    Commodore 64 Computer $799.00
  • The World Population was ~ 4,726,000,000
  • Balderdash was introduced in 1984.
  • And... On October 18, an oddly shaped hole, about 10 by 7 by 2 feet deep, was reportedly found on a farm near Grand Coulee, Washington. A large section of earth, roughly the same size and shape as the hole, rested on the ground 75 feet away.
1984 Books

World Series Champions

Detroit Tigers

Superbowl XVIII Champions

Los Angeles Raiders

NBA Champions

Boston Celtics

Stanley Cup Champs

Edmonton Oilers

U.S. Open Golf

Fuzzy Zoeller

U.S. Tennis (Men/Ladies)

John McEnroe/Martina Navratilova

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

John McEnroe/Martina Navratilova

NCAA Football Champions


NCAA Basketball Champions


Kentucky Derby


Sex Symbols and Fashion Icons

Carol Alt, Loni Anderson, Catherine Bach, Kim Basinger, Jacqueline Bisset, Linda Blair, Lisa Bonet, Christie Brinkley, Diahann Carroll, Phoebe Cates, Joan Collins, Lydia Cornell, Sybil Danning, Rebecca DeMornay, Bo Derek, Linda Evans, Farrah Fawcett, Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Kathy Ireland, Grace Jones, Nastassja Kinski, Tawny Kitaen, Audrey Landers, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Heather Langenkamp, Kelly LeBrock, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Heather Locklear, Elle Macpherson, Madonna, Kelli Maroney, Dolly Parton, Paulina Porizkova, Markie Post, Princess Diana, Victoria Principal, Molly Ringwald, Brooke Shields, Helen Slater, Suzanne Somers, Brinke Stevens, Catherine Mary Stewart, Heather Thomas, Cheryl Tiegs

"The Quotes"

"Where's the Beef?"
- Clara Peller, Wendy's commercial

"I'll be back."
- Arnold Schwarzenegger, in 'The Terminator'

"I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience."
-Ronald Reagan, in the second presidential debate with candidate Walter Mondale

"My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."
-Ronal Reagen, during a microphone check, on August 11, 1984.

Motown legend Marvin Gaye was shot to death by his own father after a fight between them. The murder weapon was a gun he had given his father for Christmas. His reputed final words were, "I got what I wanted... I couldn't do it myself so I made him do it."

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

Peter Ueberroth

Miss America

Vanessa Williams (9/17/83-7/23/84) (Millwood, NJ)
Suzette Charles (7/23/84-9/15/84) (Mays Landing, NJ)

Miss USA

Mai Shanley (New Mexico)

Scandals, RIP and Odd News

On December 3rd, a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, began leaking 27 tons of the deadly gas methyl isocyanate. 20,000 people were killed and an additional 120,000 suffered ailments from this disaster later.

Vanessa Williams, the first black Miss America loses her crown, because of some 'artsy' nude photos taken several years earlier, were published in Penthouse magazine... It was also the first time a male (George Burns) appeared on the cover. Since an underage Traci Lords was the centerfold, noone is actually allowed to own this particular issue either in the UNited States. BTW - Vanessa went on to become one of the most successful Miss Americas ever.

Rajneeshee bioterror attack: in 1984 a cult sprayed salmonella on doorknobs and food in a town in Oregon to poison 751 people so they would be too sick to vote and the cult could take over the town. It was the largest biological attack in US history. 45 people were hospitalized.

Women didn't earn the right to vote in national elections in the nation of Liechtenstein until 1984, when men voted 2,370-2,251 in favor of granting women the right to vote in national elections.

British comedian Tommy Cooper had a heart attack and died on live television. The audience all assumed it was part of his act and laughed/applauded during his final moments.

Rick Allen, the drummer for Def Leppard, lost his arm after a car accident in 1984. He thought he could never play in the band again and became very depressed until a fellow drummer helped him design an electronic drum kit that could be played with one arm. He returned to the band in 1986.

Singer Marvin Gaye (April 2, 1939 - April 1, 1984)was shot and killed by his father on the day before his 45th birthday.

World War II News

On his 50th birthday, Donald Duck was promoted to Buck Sergeant and honorably discharged from the US Army for his service in anti-Nazi propoganda during World War II

1984 Pop Culture News

In 1984 women earned 37% of computer science degrees. In 1998, women were at 27%. In 2011, only 12% of CS degrees went to women.

During the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, McDonald's "If the US wins, you win!" campaign for free food when USA wins a medal, causing big financial losses because team USA won more medals than expected, due to many Soviet countries boycotting the Olympics.

"Baby on Board" signs were marketed by their creator, Micheal Lerner.

Bill Murray is thought to have coined the modern use of the phrase "you're toast" by ad libbing a line in Ghost Busters.

Celebrity astronomer Carl Sagan, actor Martin Sheen, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and PGP-creator Phil Zimmermann were in police jail together. They had been arrested after breaking into the Nevada nuclear test site.

Michael Dell started selling Dell Computers, targeting small businesses and households instead of the high-end consumers like his competitors (IBM, Apple, Compaq).

Iron Maiden played 187 shows in 331 days during their 'World Slavery Tour' of 1984.

In June 1984 the prime minister of New Zealand, Robert Muldoon, drunkenly announced on national television that a snap election was to be held in a month's time. With 93.7% of voters turning out for the election, he lost. The occasion is sometimes remembered as the 'Schnapps election'.

George Orwell sent a copy of 1984 to Aldous Huxley. Huxley wrote Orwell a letter, in effect saying, "Good book, but the future will be more like what I wrote in Brave New World, not 1984."

Room 101, the torture chamber in George Orwell's 1984, was named after a meeting room at the BBC where Orwell would have to sit through tortuously boring meetings.

After George Orwell's death, the CIA secretly bought the rights to 1984 and Animal Farm and clandestinely produced the first film version of 1984 and the critically acclaimed animated film version of Animal Farm.

There is an Academy Award Category for Best Original Musical, but it hasn't been awarded since Purple Rain in 1984 due to lack of contenders.

The United States Army retired Donald Duck from active duty on his 50th birthday in 1984 with the rank of Buck Sergeant.

The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was a proposed missile defense system intended to protect the United States from attack by ballistic strategic nuclear weapons founded in 1984 and now its called Missile Defense Agency (MDA), founded in 2002.

Molecular biologist Alec Jeffreys developed DNA testing.

The Magazine Cover: National Geographic magazine was the first US publisher to establish a color photo lab in 1920, the first to publish underwater color photographs in 1927, the first to print an all-color issue in 1962 and the first to print a hologram in 1984.

The Boston Beer Company, makers of Samuel Adams Beer, was founded.

Ronald Reagan was 3,761 votes shy, in Minnesota, of winning every state in the 1984 Presidential Election. Ronald Reagan had 525 electoral votes, more than any other president.

In July of 1984 President Ronald Reagan called ice cream "a nutritious and wholesome food" and established National Ice Cream Month.

A young boy named Andy Smith wrote a letter to Ronald Reagan asking for federal funds to clean his bedroom after his mother called it a "disaster area." The President replied: "May I make a suggestion? This administration, believing that government has done many things that could better be done by volunteers at the local level, has sponsored a Private Sector Initiative program, calling upon people to practice voluntarism in the solving of a number of local problems."

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first appeared in comic books. In 1987, the first TMNT cartoons appeared.

When Dune came out in 1984, several theaters handed out a laminated cheat sheet to try to minimize audience confusion.

Lowest PGA score of 63 was played by Gary Player

Cost of a Superbowl ad in 1984: $368,000

The Habits

Playing Trivial Pursuit, listening to sex therapist and expert Dr. Ruth Westheimer (born June 4, 1928), watching Robin Leach's Life Styles of the Rich and Famous.

Reading The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub

The Big Thing Everybody Paid Attention To

Do They Know It's Christmas was released. Written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, it was produced by Trevor Horn, to help people in Ethiopia. The band was named "Band Aid" and recodred the song and raw video footage within a day. The band included:

Adam Clayton (U2)
Phil Collins (Genesis)
Bob Geldof (The Boomtown Rats)
Steve Norman (Spandau Ballet)
Chris Cross (Ultravox)
John Taylor (Duran Duran)
Paul Young
Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet)
Glenn Gregory (Heaven 17)
Simon Le Bon (Duran Duran)
Simon Crowe (The Boomtown Rats)
Keren Woodward (Bananarama)
Martin Kemp (Spandau Ballet)
Jody Watley (Shalamar)
Bono (U2)
Paul Weller (The Style Council)
James "J.T." Taylor (Kool & the Gang)
George Michael (Wham!)
Midge Ure (Ultravox)
Martyn Ware (Heaven 17)
John Keeble (Spandau Ballet)
Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet)
Roger Taylor (Duran Duran)
Sarah Dallin (Bananarama)
Siobhan Fahey (Bananarama)
Pete Briquette (The Boomtown Rats)
Francis Rossi (Status Quo)
Robert 'Kool' Bell (Kool & the Gang)
Dennis J. T. Thomas (Kool & the Gang)
Andy Taylor (Duran Duran)
Jon Moss (Culture Club)
Sting (The Police)
Rick Parfitt (Status Quo)
Nick Rhodes (Duran Duran)
Johnny Fingers (The Boomtown Rats)
David Bowie
Boy George (Culture Club)
Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes to Hollywood)
Paul McCartney
Stuart Adamson (Big Country)
Bruce Watson (Big Country)
Tony Butler (Big Country)
Mark Brzezicki (Big Country)

1984's Most Popular Christmas Gifts

Cabbage Patch Kids (again), Trivial Pursuit (specialty editions), Transformers Action Figures, Duck Hunt Video Game, and Tetris - the most popular video game of all time.

Popular Movies:

16 Candles, 2010, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, Amadeus, Bachelor Party, Beverly Hills Cop, Breakin', Footloose, Ghostbusters, Gremlins, Greystroke: The Legend of Tarzan, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Johnny Dangerously, The Karate Kid, The Killing Fields, The Natural, Places in the Heart, Police Academy, Purple Rain, Red Dawn, Repo Man, Revenge of the Nerds, Romancing the Stone, Sixteen Candles, Splash, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, The Terminator, This is Spinal Tap, Tightrope, The Toxic Avenger

The Big Movies

(according to boxofficemojo)
1. Beverly Hills Cop
2. Ghostbuster
3. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
4. Gremlins
5. The Karate Kid
6. Police Academy
7. Footloose
8. Romancing The Stone
9. Star Trek III: The Search For Spock
10. Splash

1984/85's Most Popular TV

(according to Nielsen TV Research)
1. Dynasty (ABC)
2. Dallas (CBS)
3. The Cosby Show (NBC)
4. 60 Minutes (CBS)
5. Family Ties (NBC)
6. The A-Team (NBC)
7. Simon & Simon (CBS)
8. Murder, She Wrote (CBS)
9. Knots Landing (CBS)
10. Falcon Crest (CBS)

Popular Music

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1984 include
Ashford & Simpson, The Bar-Kays, Billy Ocean, Billy Idol, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Cameo, The Cars, Culture Club, Cyndi Lauper, Deniece Williams, Duran Duran, Elton John, Eurythmics, Huey Lewis & the News, Jeffrey Osborne, Laura Branigan, Lionel Richie, Madonna, Micheal Jackson, Newcleus, New Edition, Patti LaBelle, Phil Collins, Pointer Sisters, Prince, Ray Parker Jr, Rick Springfield, Shannon, Stevie Wonder, The Thompson Twins, The Time, Tina Turner, Van Halen, Yes

(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 1984

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

January 21, 1984 - February 3, 1984: Yes - Owner of a Lonely Heart

February 4, 1984 - February 24, 1984: Culture Club - Karma Chameleon

February 25, 1984 - March 30, 1984: Van Halen - Jump

March 31, 1984 - April 20, 1984: Kenny Loggins - Footloose

April 21, 1984 - May 11, 1984: Phil Collins - Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)

May 12, 1984 - May 25, 1984: Lionel Richie - Hello

May 26, 1984 - June 8, 1984: Deniece Williams - Let's Hear It for the Boy

June 9, 1984 - June 22, 1984: Cyndi Lauper - Time After Time

June 23, 1984 - July 6, 1984: Duran Duran - The Reflex

July 7, 1984 - August 10, 1984: Prince - When Doves Cry

August 11, 1984 - August 30, 1984: Ray Parker, Jr. - Ghostbusters

September 1, 1984 - September 21, 1984: Tina Turner - What's Love Got to Do with It

September 22, 1984 - September 28, 1984: John Waite - Missing You

September 29, 1984 - October 12, 1984: Prince and The Revolution - Let's Go Crazy

October 13, 1984 - November 2, 1984: Stevie Wonder - I Just Called to Say I Love You

November 3, 1984 - November 16, 1984: Billy Ocean - Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)

November 17, 1984 - December 7, 1984: Wham! - Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

December 8, 1984 - December 21, 1984: Daryl Hall and John Oates - Out of Touch

December 22, 1984 - February 1, 1985: Madonna - Like a Virgin

More Pop Culture Resources

Popular Music in 1984
# 1 Hits of 1984
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