1979 - What Shaped Us

Between the Fall of Saigon and the U.S. bicentennial, the atmosphere in our country could perhaps have been described as both cautiously optimistic and somewhat cynical as we began our high school years. So we were ready to be entertained in 1977, when the blockbuster film Star Wars made its premiere. (How many of you remember standing in line to buy tickets?)

Our graduation year brought several momentous news events. The Three Mile Island nuclear accident – the country’s most significant nuclear accident to date — took place in Pennsylvania. (Oddly, the film The China Syndrome, which deals with safety hazards at a nuclear power plant, premiered just 12 days before the real-life event.) And the Iran hostage crisis began when 52 Americans were taken hostage after an invasion of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

But the news wasn’t all bad in 1979. Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Menachem Begin signed their historic peace treaty in Washington, DC. And Margaret Thatcher became the first woman to be elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

In the pop culture world, 1979 brought us the Sony Walkman (revolutionizing the world of portable music), Atari’s Asteroids, and the McDonald’s Happy Meal. On the small screen, The Dukes of Hazzard, The Facts of Life, and ESPN’s SportsCenter all made their debuts. And popular movies opening in 1979 included Apocalypse Now, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Alien, and The Muppet Movie.

Popular Grad Names for 1979

Boys:

Richard
Steve
Kevin
Tim
Mike

Girls:

Susan
Donna
Brenda
Kim
Laura

Boys:

Richard
Steve
Kevin
Tim
Mike

Girls:

Susan
Donna
Brenda
Kim
Laura

Movies and TV

Oscar for Best Picture:

The Deer Hunter

Oscar for Best Actor:

Jon Voight

Oscar for Best Actress:

Jane Fonda

Top-rated TV shows:

Laverne & Shirley
Three’s Company
Mork & Mindy

Oscar for Best Picture:

The Deer Hunter

Oscar for Best Actor:

Jon Voight

Oscar for Best Actress:

Jane Fonda

Top-rated TV shows:

Laverne & Shirley
Three’s Company
Mork & Mindy

Cost of Living Stats for 1979

Average new house:

$58,100

Average annual income:

$17,500

Gallon of gas:

86 cents

Average new house:

$58,100

Average annual income:

$17,500

Gallon of gas:

86 cents

Celebrities Born in 1979

 
 
 

Celebrities Who Graduated in 1979

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Grammy Awards

Album of the Year:

Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack
(various artists)

Song of the Year:

"Just the Way You Are"
(Billy Joel)

Album of the Year:

Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack
(various artists)

Song of the Year:

"Just the Way You Are"
(Billy Joel)

Classmates.com

Billboard Chart-Toppers

Year-end #1 Pop single:

"My Sharona"
(The Knack)

Year-end #1 Pop album:

52nd Street
(Billy Joel)

Year-end #1 R&B single:

"Good Times"
(Chic)

Year-end #1 R&B album:

C'est Chic
(Chic)

Year-end #1 Pop single:

"My Sharona"
(The Knack)

Year-end #1 Pop album:

52nd Street
(Billy Joel)

Year-end #1 R&B single:

"Good Times"
(Chic)

Year-end #1 R&B album:

C'est Chic
(Chic)

1979 Super Bowl

Pittsburgh Steelers

35

Dallas Cowboys

31

Pittsburgh Steelers

35

Dallas Cowboys

31

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