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1987 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

<< - 1986

1987 History Snapshot

  • Politics: R. Budd Dwyer, Treasurer for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, shot and killed himself at a live press conference.
  • The Top Song was Faith by George Michael
  • The Big Movies included Three Men and a Baby, Fatal Attraction and Beverly Hills Cop II
  • Price of Dawn dish detergent, 22 oz in 1987: $1.29
    Strawberries: $1.49/pint
    Campbell's Soup, 10.6 oz: 99 cents
  • The World Population was ~ 4,986,000,000
  • Legend of Zelda was released for the NES in 1987.
  • 1 once of gold value: $486.50
  • And... WGN and WTTW broadcasts were interrupted by the transmission of a Max Headroom impersonator for several minutes. Facing a maximum $10,000 fine, up to a year in prison, or both, the perps were never caught.

World Series Champions

Minnesota Twins

Superbowl XXI Champions

New York Giants

National Basketball Association Champions

Los Angeles Lakers

NHL Stanley Cup Champions

Edmonton Oilers

US Open Golf

Scott Simpson

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Ivan Lendl/Martina Navratilova

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Pat Cash/Martina Navratilova

NCAA Football Champions


NCAA Basketball Champions


Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 1, 1987 - Oklahoma over Arkansas
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1987 - Arizona State over Michigan
Sugar Bowl : January 1, 1987 - Nebraska over LSU

Kentucky Derby


Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Covy Tucker Hill's Manhattan

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

Mikhail Gorbachev

Miss America

Kellye Cash (Memphis, TN)

Miss USA

Michelle Royer (Texas)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Carol Alt, Christina Applegate, Rosanna Aquette, Kim Basinger, Candice Bergen, Naomi Campbell, Diahann Carroll, Cher, Cindy Crawford, Sybil Danning, Rebecca DeMornay, Elvira, Linda Evangelista, Linda Evans, Debbie Gibson, Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Susannah Hoffs, Kathy Ireland, Tawny Kitaen, Audrey Landers, Diane Lane, Heather Langenkamp, Kelly LeBrock, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Heather Locklear, Traci Lords, Elle Macpherson, Madonna, Tatjana Patitz, Paulina Porizkova, Markie Post, Princess Diana, Victoria Principal, Linnea Quigley, Molly Ringwald, Katey Sagal, Stephanie Seymour, Jewel Shepard, Brooke Shields, Helen Slater, Heather Thomas, Cheryl Tiegs, Christy Turlington

"The Quotes"

"I'm going to Disneyworld"
- Phil Simms after winning Superbowl XXI

"This is your brain... This is drugs... This is your brain on drugs"

"Greed, for lack of a better word, is good."
- Michael Douglass, as Gordon Gekk, in Wall Street

"Snap out of it!"
- Cher, in Moonstruck

"Nobody puts 'Baby' in a corner"
- Patrick Swayze, in Dirty Dancing

"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."
- Ronald Reagan requesting the elimination of the Berlin Wall

In responding to why he starred in Jaws: The Revenge, Michael Caine said "I have never seen the film, but by all accounts it was terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific."

1987 Pop Culture History

The mail truck most commonly used by the USPS was produced by Grumman and is called the Long Life Vehicle. Production began in 1987, and a new one hasn't been produced since 1994.

When Billy Idol's cover of Tommy James and the Shondells' song Mony Mony reached #1 on the charts in 1987, it dethroned Tiffany's I Think We're Alone Now, which was also a cover of a Tommy James and the Shondells song.

Alphonso Hayden Jr., a robbery suspect in Sacramento fled into a darkened movie theater to escape police. He became so engrossed in the movie, Robocop, that he failed to notice that police had evacuated all other patrons from the theatre. When the lights flipped on, the stunned man was taken into custody.

Eli Lilly & Company's Prozak was first sold to the public.

Mathias Rust, a West German 19 year old teenager, flew through Soviet air defences to land a Cessna plane in Red Square.

Actor and Personality Mr. T angered the residents of Lake Forest, by cutting down more than a hundred oak trees on his estate. The incident was called The Lake Forest Chain Saw Massacre. He was attempting to help his allergies.

Robert Downey Jr. buried the clothes that he wore in 1987's Less Than Zero in the backyard of his house in a symbolic attempt to bury his decadent 1980s Brat Pack image and begin a new phase of his life and career after filming 1992's Chaplin.

In 1987, there were only 22 California Condors left on the planet. All of them were caught to help preserve the species, and now there are several hundred birds, half of which are in the wild.

After University at Buffalo graduate Greg Jarvis died on Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986, students affixed a sign on an engineering building to informally rename it 'Jarvis Hall'. The name became official in 1987.

In April, Princess Diana, on live TV, shook the hand of an AIDS patient without wearing gloves, challenging the belief that AIDS could be passed via contact. The act was seen as a huge moment for those suffering with the disease.

Steve Rothstein bought a lifetime unlimited first class American Airlines ticket for $250,000. He flew over 10,000 flights costing the company $21,000,000. They terminated his ticket in 2008.

1987 was the year that Red Bull started accelerating parties.

On October 19, 1987, stock markets around the world suffered one of their worst days ever, in what became known as Black Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 22.6%.

U2 opened for themselves at a few shows in 1987. They were introduced as "The Dalton Brothers from Galveston, Texas," and they played country music while disguised in wigs and costumes.

U2 filmed the video for their hit Where the Streets Have No Name on the roof of a liquor store in Los Angeles. Initially they expected a crowd of 30,000 people but managed to attract only over 1,000 people.

Italian TV host Enzo Tortora was convicted of drug trafficking in 1985. After being acquitted of all charges and then released in 1987, he returned to telelvsion and began the show by saying "Well then, where did we leave off?"

Chuck Lorre (creator of Two & A Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, Dharma & Greg) also composed the theme song to the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series.

In 1987, Fisher-Price manufactured and sold a camcorder capable of recording video footage to standard audio cassettes.

A new word, "Borked" came into the political arena, meaning "railroaded through an interview, with no chance of being approved".

Don Mattingly hit six grand slams in 1987 to set the MLB single-season record. Those six were also the only grand slams he would ever hit in his 14 year career.

Cost of a Superbowl ad in 1987: $600,000

At the height of their popularity, in 1987, 22 percent of all mattress sales in the US were waterbed mattresses.

On November 22, two television stations in Chicago, IL, were hijacked within the course of three hours. The hijacker dressed to resemble Max Headroom, a fictional British artificial intelligence character from the mid 80's. To this day neither the hijacker nor any accomplices have been found.

In 1987, the year the live action He-Man movie was released, sales of He-Man toys dropped 98 per cent, falling from $400 million in 1986 to only $7 million.

THe 1987 Feuds

Singer/songwriter Debbie 'Foolish Beat' Gibson vs Tiffany who sand Tommy James' I Think We're Alone Now.
(not really much of a feud, they barely knew each other)

After two and a half seasons, David and Maddie had sex on TV's Moonlighting, losing the sexual tension. Then, the audience stopped watching the show. Stars Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepard were barely speaking in real life at this point.

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

Jim Bakker resigned as host of the PTL (Praise The Lord) Club in 1987, after a scandal involving former secretary Jessica Hahn.

On September 11, 1987, Dan Rather, upset at the evening news being delayed by a US Open tennis match, walked off the set and when the match was over CBS was left with nothing but dead air for six minutes.

Kim Hyon-hui was a North Korean agent responsible for killing 115 people in 1987. She was convicted but then pardoned due to brain washing. She now lives in exile, wrote a book, and donates the proceeds to her victims.

In NYC in 1987 the number of people bitten by squirrels: 95. The number of people bitten by other people in NYC that year: 1600.

In 1987 Italy's GDP was revalued to include the black market economy. The numbers were so large that it allowed Italy's economy to overtake the United Kingdom's as the 5th largest in the world - a move referred to as "il sorpasso" or "the overtake".

In 1987, FBI agent Robert Hanssen was tasked by his superiors to find a mole within the agency after the FBI's moles in the KGB were caught. In reality, he was the mole, working with the KGB since 1979.

Spokane, Washington's Keyboard Cat (real name: Fatso) died in 1987.

Ken Parks got out of bed in his sleep and drove several miles to his in-laws' house, where he killed his mother-in-law and injured his father-in-law. He was tried and acquitted through the 'sleepwalking defense'.

Gary Hart, Democrat,abandoned his 1988 campaign for US president after details of his alleged affair with Donna Rice became public. Prior, he challenged reporters to "Follow me" around, and they did.

19-year old West German Matthias Rust landed a small plane in Red Square in Moscow. With a combination of luck and human error, he flew over 500 miles from Helsinki, evading the largest air defense system in the world. He told Soviet authorities he was on a peace mission.

Actor Matthew Broderick killed 2 women due to careless driving in 1987 while on vacation in Ireland. He was ordered to pay $175 and served no time in prison.

Robert "Budd" Dwyer was a former Pennsylvania politician who, on January 22, committed suicide by shooting himself in the mouth with a handgun during a live televised press conference. It inspired Filter's song Hey Man, Nice Shot.

Iran-Contra - Reagan security advisor Ollie North was part of a plan to help anti-communist Contra guerrillas in Nicaragua with funds from Iran which directly (or indirectly) got hostages out of Iran. Isreal may or may not have been involved as well. It was much more confusing than it sounds here.

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

Double Loves transforming plush animals, Jenga, Koosh ball, Pictionary (Pictionary was available in small markets since 1985) Action Max by Worlds of Wonder

Spuds MacKenzie first appeared in Bud Light beer advertisements, so his likeness was on many household knick-knacks..

Robert Bork was rejected by the US Senate as a Ronald Reagan Supreme Court Justice.

Premiere Magazine (1987-2007)

Cooking Light began publication

Men's Health began publication

Costco Connection began publication

Midwest Living began publication

Condé Nast Traveler began publication

The Habits

Watching ABC's Moonlighting, until about 1/2 way through the season.

Iran-Contra hearings aired during daytime television, pre-empting most programming.

Reading The Tommyknockers by Stephen King

1987/88 Biggest Television Shows

(according to Nielsen TV Research)
1. The Cosby Show (NBC)
2. A Different World (NBC)
3. Cheers (NBC)
4. The Golden Girls (NBC)
5. Growing Pains (ABC)
6. Who's the Boss? ( ABC)
7. Night Court (NBC)
8. 60 Minutes (CBS)
9. Murder, She Wrote (CBS
10. ALF (NBC)

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1987 include
Alexander O'Neal, Anita Baker, Atlantic Starr, The Bangles, Billy Ocean, Bob Seger, Bon Jovi, Club Nouveau, Cutting Crew, Europe, Expose, Fleetwood Mac, Freddie Jackson, Genesis, George Michael, Heart, Herb Alpert, Huey Lewis & the News, Janet Jackson, The Jets, Jody Watley, John Cougar Melloncamp, Keith Sweat, Levert, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, LL Cool J, Luther Vandross, Madonna, Miami Sound Machine, Micheal Jackson, Michael McDonald, Mike + the Mechanics, Neal Alexander, Pet Shop Boys, Peter Cetera, Prince, Robbie Nevil, Robert Palmer, Starship, Stephanie Mills, Steve Winwood, Stevie Nicks, Tiffany, U2, Van Halen, The Whispers, Whitesnake, 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 1987

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1987
December 20, 1986 - January 16, 1987: The Bangles - Walk Like An Egyptian

January 17, 1987 - January 23, 1987: Gregory Abbott - Shake You Down

January 24, 1987 - February 6, 1987: Billy Vera and the Beaters - At This Moment

February 7, 1987 - February 13, 1987: Madonna - Open Your Heart

February 14, 1987 - March 13, 1987: Bon Jovi - Livin' On A Prayer

March 14, 1987 - March 20, 1987: Huey Lewis and the News - Jacob's Ladder

March 21, 1987 - April 3, 1987: Club Nouveau - Lean On Me

April 4, 1987 - April 17, 1987: Starship - Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now

April 18, 1987 - May 1, 1987: Aretha Franklin and George Michael - I Knew You Were Waiting (for Me)

May 2, 1987 - May 15, 1987: Cutting Crew - (I Just) Died in Your Arms

May 16, 1987 - June 5, 1987: U2 - With or Without You

June 6, 1987 - June 12, 1987: Kim Wilde - You Keep Me Hangin' On

June 13, 1987 - June 19, 1987: Atlantic Starr - Always

June 20, 1987 - June 26, 1987: Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam - Head to Toe

June 27, 1987 - July 10, 1987: Whitney Houston - I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)

July 11, 1987 - July 31, 1987: Heart - Alone

August 1, 1987 - August 7, 1987: Bob Seger - Shakedown

August 8, 1987 - August 21, 1987: U2 - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

August 22, 1987 - August 28, 1987: Madonna - Who's That Girl

August 29, 1987 - September 18, 1987: Los Lobos - La Bamba

September 19, 1987 - September 25, 1987: Michael Jackson with Siedah Garrett - I Just Can't Stop Loving You

September 26, 1987 - October 9, 1987: Whitney Houston - Didn't We Almost Have It All

October 10, 1987 - October 16, 1987: Whitesnake - Here I Go Again

October 17, 1987 - October 23, 1987: Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam - Lost in Emotion

October 24, 1987 - November 6, 1987: Michael Jackson - Bad

November 7, 1987 - November 20, 1987: Tiffany - I Think We're Alone Now

November 21, 1987 - November 27, 1987: Billy Idol - Mony Mony

November 28, 1987 - December 4, 1987: Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes - (I've Had) The Time of My Life

December 5, 1987 - December 11, 1987: Belinda Carlisle - Heaven Is a Place on Earth

December 12, 1987 - January 8, 1988: George Michael - Faith

Popular Movies

(according to boxofficemojo)
1. Three Men and A Baby
2. Fatal Attraction
3. Beverly Hills Cop II
4. Good Morning, Vietnam
5. Moonstruck
6. The Untouchables
7. The Secret Of My Success
8. Stakeout
9. Lethal Weapon
10. The Witches of Eastwick

More Pop Culture History Resources

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