Those of us who graduated in 1978 began our high school years in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, a period in which much of the country shared feelings of cynicism toward the government as well as despondency over the war itself. The United States marked its bicentennial in 1976, but the nation was not quite in the mood to celebrate.
We were ready for diversion, however, and we had lots of entertainment options. Saturday Night Live, which often served up political commentary along with its humor, was developing a cult following – and helped to launch Steve Martin’s very successful comedy career (do you remember “King Tut”?). On the heels of Star Wars, our graduation year brought Grease, Animal House, The Deer Hunter, Halloween, and Superman to the big screen. It also brought the debuts of Dallas, Mork & Mindy, Fantasy Island, and Diff’rent Strokes. This was an interesting time for music as well, with a growing disco trend sweeping the nation. The soundtrack from Saturday Night Fever stayed at number one for 24 long weeks (longer if you weren’t a disco fan).
Our high school years also saw the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, the death of Elvis Presley, the formation of Apple, and the construction of New York’s World Trade Center. And 1978 ushered in the birth of the first test tube baby, the launch of Space Invaders, the installation of the first computers in the White House, and the signing of the historic Camp David Peace Accords.