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1977 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

<< - 1976

1977 History Snapshot

  • 20th Century Fox heavily promoted the film, The Other Side of Midnight, thinking Star Wars would be a flop.
  • The Top Song was You Light Up My Life by Debby Boone
  • The Big Movies included Star Wars (Ep. IV: A New Hope), Smokey and the Bandit and Saturday Night Fever
  • The US Population was officially 220,239,425 people.
  • The World Population was ~ 4,156,000,000
  • The 'High Five' was created by Los Angeles Dodgers, Glenn Burke and Dusty Baker..
  • 1 once of gold value: $161.10
  • And... In 1977's Star Wars, Han Solo did shoot Greedo first, although some updated history states otherwise.

World Series Champions

New York Yankees

Superbowl Champions

Oakland Raiders

National Basketball Association Champions

Portland Trail Blazers

NHL Stanley Cup Champions

Montreal Canadiens

US Open Golf

Hubert Green

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Guilermo Vilas/Christine Marie Evert

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Bjorn Borg/Virginia Wade

NCAA Football Champions

Notre Dame

NCAA Basketball Champions


Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 1, 1977 - Ohio State over Colorado
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1977 - USC over Michigan
Sugar Bowl : January 1, 1977 - Pittsburgh over Georgia

Kentucky Derby

Seattle Stew

Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Dersade Bobby's Girl

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

Anwar Sadat

Miss America

Dorothy Benham (Edina, MN)

Miss USA

Kimberly Tomes (Texas)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Barbara Bach, Adrienne Barbeau, Jacqueline Bisset, Christie Brinkley, Carol Burnett, Valerie Bertinelli, Jacqueline Bisset, Gia Carangi, Lynda Carter, Charo, Angie Dickinson, Farrah Fawcett, Carrie Fisher, Karen Graham, Shelley Hack, Iman, Kate Jackson, Lena Kansbod, Diane Keaton, Cheryl Ladd, Jessica Lange, Mary Tyler Moore, Dolly Parton, Bernadette Peters, Suzanne Pleshette, Diana Ross, Jane Seymour, Jacquelyn Smith, Suzanne Somers, Donna Summer, Lindsay Wagner, Mary Woronov

"The Quotes"

"May the Force be with you"
- Harrison Ford, in Star Wars (Episode IV: A New Hope)

"We are two wild and crazy guys"
-Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd on Saturday Night Live

"I love New York"
- NY State Dept. of Economic Development ad

"Well, Excuuuuse Me"
- Steve Martin

"La-dee-da, la-dee-da."
- Diane Keaton, in Annie Hall

Not long before Elvis Presley's death, a group of Scientologists once tried to recruit Elvis. After the meeting, Elvis fumed: "The hell with those people. There's no way I'll ever get involved with that s.o.b. group. All they want is my money."

1977 Pop Culture History

Prior to Jaws (1975) and Star Wars (1977), summers were considered the "graveyard season" for movie releases.

The original Star Wars premiered on just 32 screens across the U.S. when it opened on May 25, 1977.

James Cameron decided to enter the film industry and quit his job as a truck driver after seeing Star Wars.

The best-selling instrumental single of all time is Meco's Star Wars Theme and Cantina Band cover of the Star Wars soundtrack.

James Earl Jones declined to have his name appear on the credits of both Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) and Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), claiming that he felt his contribution wasn't significant enough to warrant a credit.

The sound of Darth Vader mask's respirator function is trademarked in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office under Trademark #77419252 and is officially described in the documentation as "The sound of rhythmic mechanical human breathing created by breathing through a scuba tank regulator." It was filed in 2008, and official in 2015.

The first "High Five" that is widely acknowledged as such occurred on October 2, 1977 between two members of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Glenn Burke and Dusty Baker.

The progressive rock band Pink Floyd tied a giant inflatable pig to a power station as a publicity stunt. The pig broke free, and floated over Heathrow airport, where all flights had to be grounded to avoid collisions with the pig. #pigs

The first openly gay doll, Gay Bob, was launched in 1977. He had a pierced ear, was anatomically correct, and his box was shaped like a closet.

The Big Ear radio telescope heard what many may consider a radio transmission from outer space from an intelligent extra-terrestrial source. It lasted 72 seconds, and has not been heard since. The 'Wow! Signal', a strong narrowband radio signal detected on Aug 15, 1977 that originated from near Chi Sagittarii. Its frequency is very close to the Hydrogen Line, which scientists believe intelligent races might use to send a strong signal.

A group of scientist discovered that any radioactive particle does not decay when being observed. This is called Quantum Zeno Effect.

The first documented occurrence of the high five wasn't until this year, between Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke of the Los Angeles Dodgers in Dodger Stadium on October 2, 1977. There were other claims, as early as just after WW2. The low five was referrred to by Cab Calloway in the 1920s.

Slim-Fast began selling in 1977 and, after initial hesitation by the FDA, was approved and came on strong in 1979 as a weight-loss product.

Nike's "Just Do It" slogan was inspired by the last words of Gary Gilmore, said right before being executed by firing squad.

NBC broadcast an animated musical film called The Hobbit, which was an adaptation of the fictional novel written by J.R.R Tolkien.

Maureen Weston, while in a rocking chair marathon, didn't sleep for 18 days and 17 hours. Don't try this at home, or even with friends.

A boundary dispute between the US states of New Hampshire and Maine was resolved by the US Supreme Court, which determined that the boundary was fixed by the 1740 decree of King George II of Great Britain.

An audio signal for a TV broadcast was hijacked in the UK for 6 minutes. The person claimed to be "Vrillon" from the "Ashtar Galactic Command," and proceeded with a warning to the people of Earth.

The 1924 novel Beau Geste was last adapted to film as a 1977 comedy starring Marty Feldman. That film, titled The Last Remake Of Beau Geste, is to this day the last remake of Beau Geste.

Kenner Toys was unable to manufacture Star Wars action figures in time for the 1977 holidays, so many kids were left unwrapping an "early bird certificate".

The Chia Pet® is the registered trademark belonging to Joseph Enterprises, Inc., the manufacturers and originators of the Chia Pet. The name was first used on September 8, but the idea of growing plants aroung clay and other materials has been around forever.

The e.p.t. pregnancy test was available over the counter. Previously, there was an ancient Egyptian test that was right about 2 out of 3 times, involving peeing on barley and wheat, that could even tell the sex of the children.

Cost of a Superbowl ad in 1977: $125,000.

Contrary to what you may have heard, Howard Cosell never said 'The Bronx Is Burning' during the 1977 World Series.

Maureen Weston of the U.K. voluntarily stayed up for 449 hours (18 days), and made it into the 1978 Guinness Book of World Records. But because staying awake for such long stretches poses so many health risks, Guinness chose to no longer acknowledge sleep deprivation records.

Saturday Night Live had an "Anyone Can Host" contest and the winner was an 80-year old woman named Miskel Spillman.

When Australian driver Alan Jones won the 1977 Austrian Formula 1 Grand Prix, the race organisers didn't have a copy of his national anthem to play at the podium ceremony (unaware that it was God Save The Queen). Instead, a drunk person played "Happy Birthday" on a trumpet.

Some Say... During the New York blackout, a number of looters stole DJ equipment from electronics stores and as a result, the hip hop genre, barely known outside of the Bronx at the time, grew at an astounding rate from 1977 onward.

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

Director Roman Polanski pleaded guilty of raping a 13 year old girl in 1977 but fled the U.S to avoid charges, this is why his 2011 film Carnage, staring Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly although set in New York was actually filmed in Paris.

The deadliest (583 casualties) crash in Aviation history occurred not in the skies but on the runway between two Boeing 747s on March 27, 1977. Known as the 'Tenerife Airport Disaster'. It happened at the runway at Los Rodeos Airport (now Tenerife North Airport), on the Spanish island of Tenerife, Canary Islands.

In 1962, special, hi-tech locks were added to all US nuclear missiles that would prevent launch without a secret, unique launch code. However, military officials quietly circumvented this safeguard by setting every lock to "00000000". The codes remained unchanged until 1977.

Aerosmith's flight crew inspected a Convair CV-240 for possible use and rejected it because they felt the plane and crew were not up to their standards. That plane crashed on October 20, 1977 from fuel exhaustion due to poor maintenance, killing three members of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Han Solo shot (Greedo) first in Star Wars. Deal with it.

DC Comics' original candidate for its first headlining black superhero was the Black Bomber, a white racist who would turn into a black superhero under stress. Comics historian Don Markstein called it "an insult to practically everybody with any point of view at all." The character was eventually born as "Black Lightning".

As of today, the cost of college textbooks in the US have risen more than 1,000 percent since 1977, even faster than tuition, health care costs and housing prices.

Megumi Yokota was a native Japanese citizen who was abducted by North Korean agents in 1977 at the age of thirteen. She was said to have been died in 1994 while in captivity, though her parents and many people in Japan continuously believe that she is still alive.

The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack did not get an Academy Award nomination.

Singer Tom Waits was arrested outside Duke's Tropicana Coffee Shop in Los Angeles, for trying to stop men from bullying other patrons.These men were plainclothes officers,and Waits was charged with disturbing the peace.Waits disputed the charge,was found not guilty,and successfully sued the police department for $7,500.

The 'Son of Sam' serial killer, David Berkowitz, was captured. Sam was his neighbor's dog, who told him to do the killing.

Until 1977 there was a commercial heliport on the roof of what is now the Met-Life Building (over Grand Central Station) in NYC, with shuttle flights to local airports, until several people were killed in a horrible accident there.

Airplane Celebrity Death: Ronnie Van Zant, , Steve Gaines

Celebrity Suicide Death: Freddie Prinze (gunshot)

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

Atari 2600 Console, Studio II Game Console, Bally Professional Arcade, Star Wars Toys, Chai Pets, Slime, Skateboards, Coleco released the Telstar Alpha, Telstar Colormatic and Telstar Ranger

Heavy Metal began publication

Us Weekly began publication

The Habits

Watching Star Wars. FYI - Again, Han shot first.
Disco dancing
Watching Roots on ABC
Reading The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien

1977/78 Biggest Television Shows

(according to Nielsen TV Research)
1. Laverne & Shirley (ABC)
2. Happy Days (ABC)
3. Three's Company (ABC)
4. 60 Minutes (CBS)
5. Charlie's Angels (ABC)
6. All in the Family (CBS)
7. Little House on the Prairie (NBC)
8. Alice (CBS)
9. M*A*S*H (CBS)
10. One Day at a Time (CBS)

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1977 include
Abba, Alan O'Day, Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow, Barry White, The Bee Gees, Bob Marley, Brick, The Brothers Johnson, The Commodores, Daryl Hall & John Oates, David Soul, Debby Boone, Donna Summer, The Dramatics, The Eagles, Earth, Wind & Fire, Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), The Emotions, Fleetwood Mac, Heatwave, Johnnie Taylor, KC & the Sunshine Band, Kiss, Leo Sayer, Linda Ronstadt, Lou Rawls, LTD (Love, Togetherness and Devotion), Manfred Mann's Earth Band, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr, Natalie Cole, Rose Royce, Rufus featuring Chaka Kahn, Shaun Cassidy, Steve Miller Band, Stevie Wonder, Tavares, Thelma Houston, The Trammps, War

Number One Hits of 1977

November 13, 1976 - January 7, 1977: Rod Stewart - Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)

January 8, 1977 - January 14, 1977: Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. - You Don't Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show)

January 15, 1977 - January 21, 1977: Leo Sayer - You Make Me Feel Like Dancing

January 22, 1977 - January 28, 1977: Stevie Wonder - I Wish

January 29, 1977 - February 4, 1977: Rose Royce - Car Wash

February 5, 1977 - February 18, 1977: Mary MacGregor - Torn Between Two Lovers

February 19, 1977 - February 25, 1977: Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Blinded by the Light

February 26, 1977 - March 4, 1977: Eagles - New Kid in Town

March 5, 1977 - March 25, 1977: Barbra Streisand - Love Theme From 'A Star Is Born' (Evergreen)

March 26, 1977 - April 8, 1977: Daryl Hall and John Oates - Rich Girl

April 9, 1977 - April 15, 1977: ABBA - Dancing Queen

April 16, 1977 - April 22, 1977: David Soul - Don't Give Up on Us

April 23, 1977 - April 29, 1977: Thelma Houston - Don't Leave Me This Way

April 30, 1977 - May 6, 1977: Glen Campbell - Southern Nights

May 7, 1977 - May 13, 1977: Eagles - Hotel California

May 14, 1977 - May 20, 1977: Leo Sayer - When I Need You

May 21, 1977 - June 10, 1977: Stevie Wonder - Sir Duke

June 11, 1977 - June 17, 1977: KC and the Sunshine Band - I'm Your Boogie Man

June 18, 1977 - June 24, 1977: Fleetwood Mac - Dreams

June 25, 1977 - July 1, 1977: Marvin Gaye - Got to Give It Up (Part 1)

July 2, 1977 - July 8, 1977: Bill Conti - Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky)

July 9, 1977 - July 15, 1977: Alan O'Day - Undercover Angel

July 16, 1977 - July 22, 1977: Shaun Cassidy - Da Doo Ron Ron

July 23, 1977 - July 29, 1977: Barry Manilow - Looks Like We Made It

July 30, 1977 - August 19, 1977: Andy Gibb - I Just Want to Be Your Everything

August 20, 1977 - September 30, 1977: The Emotions - Best of My Love

October 1, 1977 - October 14, 1977: Meco - Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band

October 15, 1977 - December 23, 1977: Debby Boone - You Light Up My Life

Popular Movies

Annie Hall, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Demon Seed, Eraserhead, The Goodbye Girl, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, The Hills Have Eyes, Julia, Pete's Dragon, Saturday Night Fever, Smokey and the Bandit, The Spy Who Loved Me, Star Wars (Episode IV), Suspira, Three Women, The Turning Point

More Pop Culture History Resources

Popular Music in 1977
# 1 Hits of 1977
Pop Culture News

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