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1988 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

<< - 1987

1988 History Snapshot

  • Politics: Rome and Carthage signed a peace treaty to officially end the 3rd Punic war. In 1985... Hostilities ended in 146 BC.
  • The Top Song was Roll With It by Steve Winwood
  • The Big Movies included Rain Man, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Coming To America
  • Price of a postage stamp in 1988: 25 cents
    Sony "Disk Jockey" 10 CD disc player/changer $399.99
  • The World Population was ~ 5,070,000,000
  • US Life Expectancy: Males: 71.4 years, Females: 78.3 years
  • On November 2, 1988, the Morris worm was one of the first computer worms distributed via the Internet.
  • And... Animated film The Land Before Time was executive produced by the legendary Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.

World Series Champions

Los Angeles Dodgers

Superbowl XXII Champions

Washington Redskins

National Basketball Association Champions

Los Angeles Lakers

NHL Stanley Cup Champions

Edmonton Oilers

US Open Golf

Curtis Strange

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Mats Wilander/Steffi Graf

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Stefan Edberg/Steffi Graf

NCAA Football Champions

Notre Dame

NCAA Basketball Champions


Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 1, 1988 - Miami (Florida) over Oklahoma
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1988 - Michigan State over USC
Sugar Bowl : January 1, 1988 - Syracuse over Auburn

Kentucky Derby

Winning Colors

Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Great Elms Prince Charming II

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

'The Endangered' Earth

Miss America

Kaye Lani Rae Rafko (Monroe, MI)

Miss USA

Courtney Gibbs (Texas)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Carol Alt, Christina Applegate, Candice Bergen, Naomi Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Cindy Crawford, Rebecca DeMornay, Elvira, Linda Evangelista, Linda Evans, Debbie Gibson, Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Susannah Hoffs, Kathy Ireland, Tawny Kitaen, Audrey Landers, Heather Langenkamp, Kelly LeBrock, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Heather Locklear, Traci Lords, Elle Macpherson, Madonna, Bettie Page (revival), Paulina Porizkova, Priscilla Presley, Princess Diana, Linnea Quigley, Jessica Rabbit, Molly Ringwald, Katey Sagal, Stephanie Seymour, Brooke Shields, Heather Thomas, Cheryl Tiegs, Tiffany, Christy Turlington

"The Quotes"

Jessica Rabbit"Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy"
- Lloyd Bentson to Dan Quayle

"Read my lips: no new taxes"
- Presidential Candidate George Bush

"Just do it"

"Itís everywhere you want to be"
- Visa

"I'm not bad- I'm just drawn that way"
- Jessica Rabbit

George Lucas gave a speech in 1988 to Congress about the need to protect films from being altered. "People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians."

1988 Pop Culture History

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of comedy by citing that the first ammendment covers the use of political figures in satire.

Scrappy-Doo, widely considered to be one of the most hated characters in fiction, has not appeared in an animated Scooby-Doo production since 1988 due to audience backlash.

The world's biggest ever recorded turtle was a Leatherback Turtle that washed up Harlech Beach, Wales, in 1988. It was estimated to be 100 years old, and was almost 9 foot in length weighing a tumultuous 2,016 lbs.

Jon Bon Jovi's first professional recording was for R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas on the 1988 Star Wars themed Christmas Album: Christmas in the Stars.

The first Jason Bourne movie was a 1988 made-for-tv adaptation of The Bourne Identity.

A single person was suspected of casting 320 votes for the death of Robin (Jason Todd) in Batman #428 during a poll put on by DC Comics to determine the fate of the new Robin in issue #427. The final tally was in favor of death and had a difference of 72 votes.

Wrigley Field did not have lights until 1988, even though the first night game in baseball history was played in 1935.

Pat Riley, former NBA player and now NBA executive with the Miami Heat, trademarked the word "Three-Peat" in 1988. When the Chicago Bulls won three straight championships in the 1990s, he was paid $300,000 dollars in royalties.

The Land Before Time had both Steven Spielberg and George Lucas as executive producers.

Oliver & Company was the first Disney animated film to include real world advertised products. More than 30 company logos and brand names were shown in the film.

The Shroud of Turin had radiocarbon tests indicated that it was from the 13th or 14th century. It should be noted that it had been repaired, even through a fire over the past 2000 (or 600) years.

The League of Women's voters stopped supporting the presidential debates in 1988 because they felt the debate format would "perpetrate a fraud on the American voter".

Doppler radar was invented by Christian Andreas Doppler.

Lennart Green, world champion close-up card magician was disqualified from the 1988 competition when the magician judges thought he must have been using stooges to shuffle the cards. He performed the same trick 3 years later, asking the judges to do the shuffling and won.

Boris Yeltsin’s first trip to a Texas grocery store in 1988 shattered his belief in communism. He told his fellow Russians in his entourage that if their people, who often must wait in line for most goods, saw the U.S. supermarkets, "there would be a revolution."

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles didn't get color-specific masks until their first cartoon aired in 1988.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit was loosely based off of a true conspiracy by General Motors to purchase & dismantle streetcar systems in American cities in the first half of the 20th century.

The Harvard Medical School partnered with film and TV studios to insert the concept of the "Designated Driver" into popular consciousness. The project has been a huge success.

An Aboriginal man planted a flag on the cliffs of Dover in 1988 and claimed England for the Aborigines.

In 1969 Laugh-In ran a "News of the Future" sketch in which they accurately predicted the year of the fall of the Berlin Wall and Ronald Reagan being president in 1988.

Edgar C. Whisenant, a former NASA engineer wrote a book predicting that the rapture would occur in 1988, selling 4.5 million copies and convincing many people. When it didn't happen, he published a new book predicting it in 1989. Then in 1993. And again in 1994.

Snapple lemon-flavored iced tea was distributed.

In 1988 Debbie Gibson was the youngest artist to write, produce, and perform a No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100, with her song Foolish Beat.

The Soviet Union became a bit freerer when Mikhail Gorbachov introduced 'glasnost' - allowing political expression and dissent.

The Brave Little Toaster very nearly took home the top award at the 1988 Sundance Film Festival - the judges were afraid that the festival would lose respect for picking a cartoon.

Table Tennis (Ping Pong) became an Olympic Sport.

Larry Lemieux, a Canadian sailor at the 1988 Olympics, was about to win a silver medal when he abandoned the race to save two other competitors who had capsized. He was given the Pierre de Coubertin Medal for sportsmanship.

Quentin Tarantino played an Elvis impersonator on an episode of Golden Girls.

During the 1976 Summer Olympics, hosted in Montreal, Canada became the first host country to not win a single gold medal on home soil. During the 1988 Winter Olympics, hosted in Calgary, they accomplished this astounding feat for a second time.

CDs out-sold vinyl records for the first time.

Actor Jimmy Stewart made a plea in Congressional hearings against Ted Turner's decision to 'colorize' classic black and white films, including It's a Wonderful Life, stating 'It's morally and artistically wrong and these profiteers should leave our film industry alone".

Seventh Generation's nontoxic, environmentally safe household products began to be marketed.

Cost of a Superbowl ad in 1988: $645,000.

Robert Lucas, upon receiving a Nobel Prize in economic sciences, was only awarded half the prize money. His ex-wife had placed a clause in their divorce settlement in 1988 stating she would receive half the prize money if he won the prize in the following 7 years. He won in the year 1995.

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

The Lockerbie, Scotland airplane bombing, ordered by Libya, killed 270 people.

James Brown, while high on PCP, was involved in a high-speed chase with the police. He was eventually convicted of assaulting an officer and possession of an unlicensed firearm, among other charges. He spent three years in prison

Actor Gary Busey was in a severe motorcycle accident. Busey, not wearing a helmet, was in a coma for 33 days. In 2008, a psychiatrist determined that the accident caused brain damage and that is why he is considered to have an eerie and bizarre persona.

Treasure hunter Tommy Thompson located the shipwreck of the SS Central America which sank in 1857 carrying 21 tons of gold. Investors sued after he sold $40 million worth of gold & kept it for himself. He went on the run in 2012 after failing to appear in court, but was caught in 2015.

Television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart was photographed in series of hook-ups with prostitutes.

In the elections for mayor of Rio de Janeiro in 1988 the population was so unhappy with politicians, that a well-known monkey of the local zoo received over 400,000 votes.

Barbara Hershey had collagen injected into her lips, a new scandalous thing at the time. There was a false rumor that, while flying in an airplane, her lips swelled and blew up. We were so naive back then...

The Soviet Union cancelled history exams in 1988 because increased government transparency had revealed that the textbooks were filled with lies.

Philly reputed gangster Jackie DiNorscio, in the longest criminal trial in US history, fired his lawyer, defended himself and through charm, wit and no legal experience, convinced a jury to acquit him and 19 other defendants of charges of loansharking, extortion, trafficking, arson and murder.

Cosmopolitan claimed that unprotected sex with an HIV-positive man did not put women at risk of infection and that it was impossible to transmit HIV in the missionary position.

Pete Maravich. During an interview in 1974, he said, "I don't want to play 10 years (in the NBA) and then die of a heart attack when I'm 40."
He died of a heart attack in 1988, at age 40, after his 10 year career in the NBA.

Rob and Fab, Milli Vanilli's frontmen didn't really sing, although they were considered good looking guys who could lip sync rather well. They were also smooth stage dancers, but were disqualified for the Grammy they won as Best New Artsist.

At the Opening Ceremonies for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, a large group of doves were released to symbolize peace. The world watched in horror a few minutes later when those doves were cooked alive when the Opening Ceremony cauldron was ignited.

There was a weight loss option in the 1980's that with the unfortunate name "Ayds" - literally pronounced "AIDS". A name change in 1988 did not help, and it went out of business shorty thereafter. "Ayds Reducing Plan vitamin and mineral Candy"

C. Everett Koop sent every household in America a booklet on HIV/AIDS education, despit protests from BOTH political parties. With 107 million households delivered, it remains the largest public health mailing ever done.

Timothy C. May coined the term 'The Four Horsemen of the Infocalypse', referring to terrorists, pedophiles, drug dealers and money launderers, which are brought up in order to justify the regulation of the internet.

The Reagans lived at 666 St. Cloud Rd but had the address changed to 668 St. Cloud Rd following the 1988 election. #Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.

Britain's Prince Philip expressed the wish that, should he be reincarnated, he would want to be a deadly virus that would reduce world population.

A ten-year-old Michagan girl named Sarah York traveled to Panama to meet with her Panamanian pen pal, the infamous military leader Manuel Noriega. Her parents were criticized for allowing her to visit Panama, and for encouraging her friendship with Noriega.

The U.S.S. Vincennes accidently shot down an Iranian civilian arliner, killng 290 people.

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

Scattergories, Super Mario Bros. video game

Nintendo Power Magazine (1988-2012)

VideoGames & Computer Entertainment Magazine (1988-1996)

The Habit

Reading The Cardinal of the Kremlin by Tom Clancy

1988/89 Biggest Television Shows

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

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1988 include
Anita Baker, Al B. Sure!, Billy Ocean, Bobby Brown, Bobby McFerrin, The Boys, Breathe, Cheap Trick, Cherrelle, Chicago, Debbie Gibson, D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Def Leppard, Elton John, George Harrison, George Michael, Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine, Guns N' Roses, INXS, Karyn White, Kool Moe Dee, Keith Sweat, Levert, Luther Vandross, Micheal Jackson, New Edition, Paula Abdul, Pebbles, Pet Shop Boys, Phil Collins, Poison, Prince, Richard Marx, Rick Astley, Sade, Salt-N-Pepa, Stephanie Mills, Steve Winwood, Surface, Taylor Dayne, Terence Trent D'Arby, Tiffany, Tony! Toni! Tone!, Van Halen, 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 1988

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

January 9, 1988 - January 15, 1988: Whitney Houston - So Emotional

January 16, 1988 - January 22, 1988: George Harrison - Got My Mind Set On You

January 23, 1988 - January 29, 1988: Michael Jackson - The Way You Make Me Feel

January 30, 1988 - February 5, 1988: INXS - Need You Tonight

February 6, 1988 - February 19, 1988: Tiffany - Could've Been

February 20, 1988 - February 26, 1988: Exposť - Seasons Change

February 27, 1988 - March 11, 1988: George Michael - Father Figure

March 12, 1988 - March 25, 1988: Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up

March 26, 1988 - April 8, 1988: Michael Jackson - Man in the Mirror

April 9, 1988 - April 22, 1988: Billy Ocean - Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car

April 23, 1988 - May 6, 1988: Whitney Houston - Where Do Broken Hearts Go

May 7, 1988 - May 13, 1988: Terence Trent D'Arby - Wishing Well

May 14, 1988 - May 27, 1988: Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine - Anything For You

May 28, 1988 - June 17, 1988: George Michael - One More Try

June 18, 1988 - June 24, 1988: Rick Astley - Together Forever

June 25, 1988 - July 1, 1988: Debbie Gibson - Foolish Beat

July 2, 1988 - July 8, 1988: Michael Jackson - Dirty Diana

July 9, 1988 - July 22, 1988: Cheap Trick - The Flame

July 23, 1988 - July 29, 1988: Richard Marx - Hold On to the Nights

July 30, 1988 - August 26, 1988: Steve Winwood - Roll with It

August 27, 1988 - September 9, 1988: George Michael - Monkey

September 10, 1988 - September 23, 1988: Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine

September 24, 1988 - October 7, 1988: Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry, Be Happy

October 8, 1988 - October 14, 1988: Def Leppard - Love Bites

October 15, 1988 - October 21, 1988: UB40 - Red Red Wine

October 22, 1988 - November 4, 1988: Phil Collins - A Groovy Kind of Love

November 5, 1988 - November 11, 1988: The Beach Boys - Kokomo

November 12, 1988 - November 18, 1988: The Escape Club - Wild, Wild West

November 19, 1988 - December 2, 1988: Bon Jovi - Bad Medicine

December 3, 1988 - December 9, 1988: Will to Power - Baby, I Love Your Way / Freebird Medley (Free Baby)

December 10, 1988 - December 23, 1988: Chicago - Look Away

December 24, 1988 - January 13, 1989: Poison - Every Rose Has Its Thorn

Popular Movies

(according to boxofficemojo)
1. Rain Man
2. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
3. Coming To America
4. Big
5. Twins
6. Crocodile Dundee II
7. Die Hard
8. The Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad
9. Cocktail
10. Beetlejuice

A Fish Called Wanda, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Akira, Beaches, Beetlejuice, Big, Bull Durham, Cocktail, Colors,Coming To America, Crocodile Dundee II, Die Hard, Heathers, The Land Before Time, License to Drive, Mystic Pizza, The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!, Oliver & Company, Rain Man, Rambo III, Scrooged, Stand and Deliver, They Live, Twins, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Willow, Working Girl, Young Guns

More Pop Culture History Resources

Popular Music in 1988
# 1 Hits of 1988
Pop Culture News

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