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1985 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

<< - 1984

1985 35 Years Ago | History Snapshot

  • Giving Back: Live Aid concerts in Philadelphia, PA and London, UK raised over £50,000,000 for famine relief in Ethiopia.
  • The Top Song was Say You, Say Me by Lionel Richie
  • The Big Movies included Back to the Future, Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rocky IV
  • Price of 14 oz Hershey's Kisses in 1985: $2.39
    Price of a Swatch Watch: $29.99
  • The World Population was ~ 4,813,000,000
  • WrestleMania I debuted at Madison Square Garden. In the main event, Hulk Hogan and Mr. T defeated Paul Orndorff and 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper.
  • Sweden and Finland share a small island called Märket. In 1885, the Finns accidentally built an lighthouse on the Swedish side of the island. This land dispute was solved in 1985 by redrawing the border to include the lighthouse and ceded an equal sized piece of land on the other side to Sweden.
  • And... Created in 1985, 'New Coke' wasn't actually discontinued until 2002.

World Series Champions

Kansas City Royals

Superbowl XIX Champions

San Francisco 49ers

National Basketball Association Champions

Los Angeles Lakers

NHL Stanley Cup Champions

Edmonton Oilers

US Open Golf

Andy North

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Ivan Lendl/Hana Mandlikova

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Boris Becker/Martina Navratilova

NCAA Football Champions


NCAA Basketball Champions


Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 1, 1985 - Washington over Oklahoma
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1985 - USC over Ohio State
Sugar Bowl : January 1, 1985 - Nebraska over LSU

Kentucky Derby

Spend A Buck

Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Braeburn's Close Encounter

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

Deng Xiaoping

Miss America

Sharlene Wells (Salt Lake City, UT)

Miss USA

Laura Martinez-Herring (Texas)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Carol Alt, Catherine Bach, Kim Basinger, Jennifer Beals, Diahann Carroll, Joan Collins, Lydia Cornell, E.G. Daily, Rebecca DeMornay, Janice Dickinson, Elvira, Linda Evans, Morgan Fairchild, Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Kathy Ireland, Tawny Kitaen, Audrey Landers, Judy Landers, Heather Langenkamp, Kelly LeBrock, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Heather Locklear, Elle Macpherson, Madonna, Kelli Maroney, Dolly Parton, Tatjana Patitz, Paulina Porizkova, Markie Post, Princess Diana, Victoria Principal, Linnea Quigley, Molly Ringwald, Tanya Roberts, Brooke Shields, Jewel Shepard, Helen Slater, Suzanne Somers, Brinke Stevens, Heather Thomas, Cheryl Tiegs

"The Quotes"

- Dan Rather,a new ending for his daily news broadcast.

"Thank you for your support"
- Bartles & Jaymes

"You Look Mah Va Lous"
-Billy Crystal as Fernando Lamas

When President Reagan controversially visited a German WWII military cemetery in Bitburg in May 1985, Michael Moore and a Jewish friend were there with a banner that read "We came from Michigan, USA to remind you: They killed my family."

Yul Brynner died of lung cancer in 1985. After his death, he had a commercial that aired: "Now that I'm gone, I tell you: Don't smoke, whatever you do, just don't smoke."

1985 Pop Culture History

Father-In-Law of Howard Schultz sat him down to say "My daughter's 7 months pregnant and it's time her husband forgot his hobby and got a real job."When Howard told his wife she said "No, we're going to do it." The following year, 1986 the Schultz's opened their first coffee bar and called it Starbucks.

T he 1985 federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) requires that all patients who present with an emergency medical condition must receive treatment to the extent that their emergency condition is medically 'stabilized,' irrespective of their ability to pay.

In 1901 the town of Sing Sing, NY changed its name to Ossining to avoid association with the prison. In 1970 New York renamed Sing Sing to the Ossining Correctional Facility to associate it to the renamed town. In 1985 the prison name was reverted to back Sing Sing.

The Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore held a youth rap contest and the winner was 14-year-old Tupac Shakur.

Burger King launched a viral ad campaign featuring 'Herb the Nerd', a mysterious man who had never eaten a Whopper in his life. People could get a 99 cent Whopper by saying "I'm Not Herb", or if their name was Herb, "I'm not the Herb you're looking for."

Rome and Carthage officially ended their 2100 year war in 1985 when the mayors of the respective cities signed a peace treaty.

Disney's The Black Cauldron did so poorly at the box office that it was released on VHS until 13 years later and to this day it has yet to make back even half of its $44 million budget. It is available on DVD too.

The plastic thingy that saves hot pizza from the top of the box was invented by Carmela Vitale (patent #4,498,586).

Mr Snuffleupagus was revealed to the adults on Sesame Street in 1985. The writers wanted children to have confidence that adults would believe them, making children less likely to hide sexual assaults.

When Coca-Cola announced the return of Coke's original formula, ABC News interrupted General Hospital to break the story.

According to Peter Cetera, he originally wrote and composed Glory of Love as the end title for the 1985 film Rocky IV, but was passed over by United Artists, and instead it was used as the theme for The Karate Kid Part II.

Phil Collins first performed at the Live Aid concert at Wembley (UK), 5 hours later he joined the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia (US) at the same local time as in London, thanks to the Concorde.

Two researchers from Oxford published a paper that put the definitive date of Jesus' crucifixion at Friday, April 3, 33 AD

After Nintendo won their case against Universal Studios over their game Donkey Kong, they thanked their attorney with a $30,000 sailboat named Donkey Kong and "exclusive worldwide rights to use the name for sailboats".

Tim Burton's directorial debut and Danny Elfman's film-scoring debut happened on the same film: Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.

Per a 1985 Supreme Court ruling, Long Island is legally considered a peninsula.

In 1985, Aretha Franklin's voice was legally declared one of Michigan's natural resources.

Jeff Goddard, a Domino's Pizza franchisee, invented the Spoodle, a combination spoon/ladle that allowed him to win the World's Fastest Pizza Maker competition. They are now in use throughout the food service industry.

Ferris Bueller's actual "day off" was June 5, 1985, pinpointed by the data from the Braves v Cubs game he attended.

Tommy Hilfiger started selling his own menswear cloths line.

Members of the staff (The New Republic) of a "Bestseller" book, placed coupons redeemable for $5 cash inside 70 books that were selling well, and none of them were sent in, proving that they were most likely not read.

Mattel released an action figure of Stinkor, an anthropomorphic skunk supervillain of the He-Man universe, in 1985. Patchouli Oil was added to the molds to recreate the character's unpleasant superpower.

When Ronald Reagan watched Back to the Future for the first time, he loved the joke about who was president in 1985 (Ronald Reagan? The Actor?) so much that he made the theater projectionist stop the film, roll it back, and play the joke again.

The Titanic was found, 370 miles from Newfoundland.

Abraham Lincoln has no confirmed living descendants. His last, a great-grandson, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, died in 1985.

Falco's single "Rock Me Amadeus" made him the only artist whose principal language was German to score a vocal number-one hit in the US.

Vomedian Steven Wright has only two comedy albums...1985 "I have a pony"...then 2007's "I still have a pony".

The largest diamond in the world weighed 755.5 carats before it was cut down to 545.67 carats and it was found in South Africa in 1985.

Cost of a Superbowl ad in 1985: $525,000

Robert Downey Jr was a cast member on Saturday Night Live for one season in 1985/1986.

Koko the gorilla got a pet cat after she specially requested one for her birthday.

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

The Japan Air 123 accident, the deadliest single aircraft crash of all time. Crew could not control the plane so they used thrust to go up and down and differential trust to turn. It crashed after 32 minutes - 524 people died. No simulation reconstruction has held out as long as the crew did.

Timothy Cole was arrested and convicted of rape in 1985 and sentenced to 25 years, dying in prison in 1999. After the statute of limitations on the crime had run out, the real rapist confessed and DNA testing proved Cole innocence. He was officially pardoned in 2009.

Edward Johnson programmed his computer to call Jerry Falwell's toll-free number every 30 seconds and then hang up. In total, he charged over $500,000 in phone bills to Falwell's organization.

Up until 1985, babies were generally operated on without anesthetic, as doctors believed they don't feel pain as adults do.

Airplane Celebrity Death: Ricky Nelson

"Project Kansas" secretly tested a new formula for Coca-Cola that became "New Coke." Old coke was gone, and New Coke sold poorly for three months. ABC's Peter Jennings interrupted General Hospital to announce the return of "Coke Classic." New Coke was acually available until 1992.

American Jonathon Pollard was captured spying on the US for the State of Isreal.

1942-1985 quick fact: Dentists used uranium in dental porcelains, because it helped give a natural color.

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

Wearing Swatch Watches. Playing with Super Mario Brothers, She-Ra Princess of Power action figures, Care Bears, Teddy Ruxpin Talking Bears, My Buddy dolls, Pound Puppies, Wheel of Fortune Game, Famicom/Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Mario Bros. video game

David Letterman's First Top Ten List Appeared...
Top 10 Words that Almost Rhyme With "Peas"
10. Heats
9. Rice
8. Moss
7. ties
6. Needs
5. Lens
4. Ice
3. Nurse
2. Leaks
1. Meats

The Habits

Wondering whether David (Bruce Willis) and Maddie (Cybill Shepard) would get together on TV's Moonlighting. They did, in season 3.

Watching one of the most innovative music videos of all time - Take on Me by A-ha!

Reading The Mammoth Hunters by Jean M. Auel

United States 1985 Census


1985/86 Biggest Television Shows

(according to Nielsen TV Research)
1. The Cosby Show (NBC)
2. Family Ties (NBC)
3. Murder, She Wrote (CBS)
4. 60 Minutes (CBS)
5. Cheers (NBC)
6. Dallas (CBS)
7. Dynasty (ABC)
8. The Golden Girls (NBC)
9. Miami Vice (NBC)
10. Who's the Boss? (ABC)

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1985 include
Aretha Franklin, Atlantic Starr, Billy Ocean, Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Cameo, Chaka Kahn, Daryl Hall & John Oates, DeBarge, Don Henley, Duran Duran, Foreignor, Eddie Murphy, Freddie Jackson, Glenn Frey, Huey Lewis & the News, Julian Lennon, Klymaxx, Kool & the Gang, Lionel Richie, Madonna, Mary Jane Girls, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Mr. Mister, New Edition, Paul Young, Phil Collins, Pointer Sisters, Prince, Ready for the World, Rene & Angela, REO Speedwagon, Sade, Sheila E, Simple Minds, Starship, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Tears for Fears, Tina Turner, UTFO, Wham! featuring George Michael, Whitney Houston

(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 1985

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

February 2, 1985 - February 15, 1985: Foreigner - I Want to Know What Love Is

February 16, 1985 - March 8, 1985: Wham! featuring George Michael - Careless Whisper

March 9, 1985 - March 29, 1985: REO Speedwagon - Can't Fight This Feeling

March 30, 1985 - April 12, 1985: Phil Collins - One More Night

April 13, 1985 - May 10, 1985: USA for Africa - We Are the World

May 11, 1985 - May 17, 1985: Madonna - Crazy for You

May 18, 1985 - May 24, 1985: Simple Minds - Don't You (Forget About Me)

May 25, 1985 - June 7, 1985: Wham! - Everything She Wants

June 8, 1985 - June 21, 1985: Tears for Fears - Everybody Wants to Rule the World

June 22, 1985 - July 5, 1985: Bryan Adams - Heaven

July 6, 1985 - July 12, 1985: Phil Collins - Sussudio

July 13, 1985 - July 26, 1985: Duran Duran - A View to a Kill

July 27, 1985 - August 2, 1985: Paul Young - Everytime You Go Away

August 3, 1985 - August 23, 1985: Tears for Fears - Shout

August 24, 1985 - September 6, 1985: Huey Lewis and the News - The Power of Love

September 7, 1985 - September 20, 1985: John Parr - St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)

September 21, 1985 - October 11, 1985: Dire Straits - Money for Nothing

October 12, 1985 - October 18, 1985: Ready for the World - Oh Sheila

October 19, 1985 - October 25, 1985: a-ha - Take On Me

October 26, 1985 - November 1, 1985: Whitney Houston - Saving All My Love for You

November 2, 1985 - November 8, 1985: Stevie Wonder - Part-Time Lover

November 9, 1985 - November 15, 1985: Jan Hammer - Miami Vice Theme

November 16, 1985 - November 29, 1985: Starship - We Built This City

November 30, 1985 - December 6, 1985: Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin - Separate Lives

December 7, 1985 - December 20, 1985: Mr. Mister - Broken Wings

December 21, 1985 - January 17, 1986: Lionel Richie - Say You, Say Me

Popular Movies

(according to boxofficemojo)
1. Back To The Future
2. Rambo: First Blood Part II
3. Rocky IV
4. The Color Purple
5. Out Of Africa
6. Cocoon
7. The Jewel of the Nile
8. Witness
9. The Goonies
10. Spies Like Us

A View To A Kill, Back to the Future, Better Off Dead..., The Black Cauldron, Brazil, The Breakfast Club, Brewster's Millions, Cocoon, The Color Purple, Desperately Seeking Susan, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (re-release), European Vacation, Fletch, Fright Night, The Goonies, Jagged Edge, The Jewel of the Nile, The Legend of Billie Jean, Lost in America, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Mask, Out of Africa, Pale Rider, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Revenge of the Nerds, Rocky IV, Rustler's Rhapsody, Spies Like Us, St. Elmo's Fire, Weird Science, White Nights, Witness

More Pop Culture History Resources

Popular Music in 1985
# 1 Hits of 1985
Pop Culture News

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