Skip to main content

Year 1979 Fun Facts, Trivia, and History

Gregory DeVictor is a trivia enthusiast who loves to write articles on American nostalgia.

This article teaches you fun facts, trivia, and history events from the year 1979.

This article teaches you fun facts, trivia, and history events from the year 1979.

What Happened During the Year 1979?

What are some fun facts, trivia, and history events from the year 1979? What were the top news stories in the U.S. and around the world, and what major events took place in the business and financial sectors? How much did a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk cost, and what happened in science, technology, sports, and in the entertainment industry? What were the biggest food and fashion trends, and what were the most popular baby names and Christmas gifts?

From world leaders to pioneers to innovators, who were the most influential people in 1979? What was the median household income, the average life expectancy, and how much did a new house or car cost? What about famous birthdays, marriages, and deaths that year, as well as the most popular slang words and pastimes? Finally, what was the year 1979 best known for, and was it a good or bad year overall? Let's find out.

Here is a summary of the top news stories and history events that happened in 1979:

  1. President Jimmy Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev signed the SALT II Treaty, which “established numerical equality between the two nations in terms of nuclear weapons delivery systems.”
  2. On November 4, the Iran hostage crisis began: About 3,000 Iranian college students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took more than 50 American hostages. History.com tells us that “The immediate cause of this action was President Jimmy Carter’s decision to allow Iran’s deposed Shah, a pro-Western autocrat who had been expelled from his country some months before, to come to the United States for cancer treatment.”
  3. The most serious nuclear power plant accident in American history occurred at Three Mile Island in south central Pennsylvania.
  4. In the deadliest aviation accident in U.S. history, an American Airlines DC-10 crashed during takeoff at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, killing 271 on board.
  5. In 1979, the price of oil reached a record $25 per barrel. One of the key elements that led to the 1980 recession was the 1979 energy crisis, which was mainly caused by the Iranian Revolution and a subsequent disruption of the global oil supply. As a result, “Oil prices began to rise rapidly in mid-1979, more than doubling between April 1979 and April 1980.”
  6. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “the police cannot constitutionally stop a motorist at random to check his license and registration unless there is some reason to believe that the motorist is violating a law.”
  7. President Carter named Paul Volcker as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
  8. The space station, Skylab, “crashed” back to Earth during July. ThePeopleHistory.com tells us that “Skylab was launched by the U.S. in May 1973 and was NASA’s first space station. It was in orbit for a total of 2,249 days before its orbit decayed and the space station plummeted back to Earth.”
  9. The Chrysler Corporation received $1.5 billion in federal loan guarantees, which was “the largest rescue package ever granted by the U.S. government to an American corporation.”
  10. The state of Ohio agreed to pay $675,000 to the families of those who died or were injured in the Kent State shootings that occurred in 1970.
  11. Margaret Thatcher became the first female prime minister of the UK, and Jane Byrne became the first female mayor of Chicago.
  12. China instituted “the one child per family rule” to help control its ever-increasing population.
  13. A total solar eclipse took place in North America, snow fell in the Sahara Desert town of Ain Sefra for half an hour, and the temperature fell to -12°F in Hawaii, setting a state record.
  14. With an average temperature of 21.90°F, January 1979 was the coldest month in the U.S. since 1880. On the other hand, February was Alaska’s driest month since record keeping began in 1925.
  15. An intense windstorm struck western Washington state and sank a ½-mile-long section of the Hood Canal Bridge.
  16. The state of Georgia designated Ray Charles' rendition of Georgia on My Mind as the official state song.
  17. McDonald’s introduced the Happy Meal, a delicious meal just for kids. Youngsters could choose from four chicken McNuggets, crispy chicken, grilled chicken, a cheeseburger, a hamburger, or hotcakes. (By the way, a Happy Meal cost $1.00 back in 1979, compared to $2.99 today.)
  18. Here are some sports facts from 1979: The Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl, the Pittsburgh Pirates were the World Series champions, and the Montreal Canadiens clinched the Stanley Cup.
  19. MLB legend Willy Mays was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  20. Major league umpires “went on strike for the third time in history from Opening Day until May 18.” Replacement umpires from the minor leagues were used during the strike.
  21. At the 51st Academy Awards, which honored the best films of 1978, The Deer Hunter won an Oscar for Best Picture, and Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter) won an Oscar for Best Director. Likewise, Jon Voight (Coming Home) won an Oscar for Best Actor, and Jane Fonda (Coming Home) won an Oscar for Best Actress.
  22. The 205th and final episode of the sitcom, All in the Family, was broadcast on CBS. The show premiered on January 12, 1971, and was the first television program to “genuinely reckon with the cultural upheaval of the 1960s in America.”
  23. Consumer products introduced in 1979 include the Black & Decker Dustbuster, Honey Nut Cheerios, Hubba Bubba bubble gum, the Maglite flashlight, and the Sony Walkman.
  24. In 1979, Conrad Hilton, Donny Hathaway, Joan Blondell, John Wayne, Mamie Eisenhower, Mary Pickford, Nelson Rockefeller, Richard Rogers, and Vivian Vance all passed away.
  25. At the 52nd Scripps National Spelling Bee, the winner was 13-year-old Katie Kerwin McCrimmon of Colorado, who correctly spelled the word “maculature.”

This article teaches you fun facts, trivia, and history events from the year 1979. Find out about popular TV shows, movies, music, books, foods, sports facts, political and economic news, advances in science and medicine, famous birthdays, and other cool pop culture trends to get the right mix of questions and answers for your 1970s-themed trivia quiz.

In 1979, the Ford Motor Company was one of America's largest corporations.

In 1979, the Ford Motor Company was one of America's largest corporations.

Table of Contents

Are you ready for your next 1970s trivia quiz? For easier planning and referencing, I have divided this article into the following categories:

  1. Grocery Prices in the Year 1979
  2. History Facts and Events From the USA and World
  3. Sports Facts and Trivia
  4. Influential People From 1979
  5. Miscellaneous Fun Facts, Trivia, and Pop Culture Trends
  6. Entertainment News
  7. Nobel Prize Winners
  8. Best-Selling Fiction and Non-Fiction Books
  9. 10 Most Popular Television Shows From 1979-80
  10. Most Popular Movies
  11. Horror Films From the Year 1979
  12. Biggest Pop Music Artists
  13. Top 40 Songs for the Year
  14. Food and Beverage Trivia
  15. Famous Birthdays
  16. Notable Weddings
  17. Famous People Who Died
  18. U.S. Automobile Production Figures for the Year
  19. America’s Largest Corporations
  20. American Companies and Brands Established During 1979
In 1979, you could buy a 12-ounce can of SPAM for $1.09. Today, that same can of SPAM costs $3.39 at Target and $3.69 at Kroger.

In 1979, you could buy a 12-ounce can of SPAM for $1.09. Today, that same can of SPAM costs $3.39 at Target and $3.69 at Kroger.

1. Grocery Prices in the Year 1979

These 1979 grocery prices have been made available courtesy of the Morris County Public Library in Whippany, New Jersey.

  1. Apples (Delicious): 99 cents for a three-pound bag
  2. Bacon: 99 cents for a one-pound package
  3. Beef (chuck roast): $1.49 a pound
  4. Bread (ShopRite, white): 29 cents for a 22-ounce loaf
  5. Cake (Sara Lee): $1.09 for a 10-ounce package
  6. Cake mix (Betty Crocker): 59 cents for an 18.5-ounce box
  7. Cereal (Cheerios): 99 cents for a 15-ounce box
  8. Cheese (Borden, American slices): $1.09 for a 12-ounce package
  9. Chocolate syrup (Hershey’s): 99 cents for a 22-ounce can
  10. Coffee (Maxwell House): $2.89 for a one-pound can
  11. Cold cuts (Pathmark, bologna): $1.39 for a one-pound package
  12. Cookies (Sunshine, Hydrox): $1.19 for a 19-ounce package
  13. Cucumbers: Five for $1.00
  14. Eggs: 85 cents a dozen
  15. Fish (Starkist, tuna, chunk light): 69 cents for a 6.5-ounce can
  16. Grapes (seedless): 59 cents a pound
  17. Hot dogs (Armour): 99 cents for a one-pound package
  18. Juice (Hi-C): 49 cents for a 46-ounce can
  19. Lemons: Six for 59 cents
  20. Lettuce (iceberg): 39 cents a head
  21. Macaroni & cheese (Kraft dinner): Three 7.25-ounce boxes for 87 cents
  22. Milk: $1.62 a gallon
  23. Onions (Spanish): 25 cents a pound
  24. Peanut butter (Skippy): 99 cents for an 18-ounce jar
  25. Pizza (Ellio's): $1.19 for a one-pound package
  26. Pork & beans (Libby's): 99 cents for four 14-ounce cans
  27. Potatoes: 89 cents for a 10-pound bag
  28. Soda (Pepsi): $1.39 for six 12-ounce cans
  29. SPAM (Hormel): $1.09 for a 12-ounce can
  30. Tomatoes: 59 cents a pound
  31. Tostitos (regular or nacho cheese): 79 cents for a 6.5-ounce bag
  32. Whipped cream (Cool Whip): 69 cents for an eight-ounce container
  33. Yogurt (Light n' Lively): 35 cents for an eight-ounce cup
In 1979, ESPN—the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network—began broadcasting.

In 1979, ESPN—the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network—began broadcasting.

2. History Facts and Events From the USA and World

  1. President: Jimmy Carter (D-Georgia)
  2. Vice President: Walter Mondale (D-Minnesota)
  3. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: Warren E. Burger (Minnesota)
  4. Speaker of the House of Representatives: Tip O'Neill (D-Massachusetts)
  5. Senate Majority Leader: Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia)
  6. The 95th Congress was in session. There were 435 representatives, including 292 Democrats and 143 Republicans. According to History.House.gov, “The Democrats retained control of Congress and won the presidency in the 1976 elections. Thomas P. ‘Tip’ O’Neill of Massachusetts succeeded Speaker Carl Albert of Oklahoma following his retirement in 1977. But despite their one-party control of the federal government, Democrats failed to pass President Jimmy Carter’s comprehensive energy program. The 95th Congress (1977–1979) produced only stop-gap energy legislation.”
  7. On January 1, the United States and the People’s Republic of China established full diplomatic relations.
  8. On January 4, the state of Ohio agreed to pay $675,000 to the families of those who died or were injured in the Kent State shootings. (History.com tells us that “On May 4, 1970, in Kent, Ohio, 28 National Guardsmen fired their weapons at a group of anti-war demonstrators on the Kent State University campus, killing four students, wounding eight, and permanently paralyzing another. The tragedy was a watershed moment for a nation divided by the conflict in Vietnam, and further galvanized the anti-war movement.”)
  9. January 1-31: With an average temperature of 21.90°F, January was the coldest month in the U.S. since 1880.
  10. On January 14, President Carter proposed that Martin Luther King’s birthday become a holiday.
  11. On January 23, MLB legend Willy Mays was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  12. On February 13, an intense windstorm struck western Washington state and sank a ½-mile-long section of the Hood Canal Bridge.
  13. On February 18, the temperature plunged to -52°F in Old Forge, New York, setting a state record.
  14. On February 18, snow fell in the Sahara Desert town of Ain Sefra for half an hour.
  15. On February 26, a total solar eclipse took place in North America.
  16. February 1-28: February was Alaska’s driest month since records began in 1925.
  17. On March 4, the Voyager I space probe revealed Jupiter’s rings.
  18. On March 27, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that that “the police cannot constitutionally stop a motorist at random to check his license and registration unless there is some reason to believe that the motorist is violating a law.”
  19. On March 29, the most serious nuclear power plant accident in American history occurred at Three Mile Island in south central Pennsylvania. History.com reports that “a series of mechanical and human errors at the plant” resulted “in a partial meltdown that released dangerous radioactive gasses into the atmosphere. Three Mile Island stoked public fears about nuclear power—no new nuclear power plants have been built in the United States since the accident.”
  20. On April 2, MLB umpires went on strike from Opening Day until May 18, forcing replacements from the minor leagues.
  21. On April 3, Jane Byrne (D) became the first female mayor of Chicago.
  22. In May, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.6%, which was the lowest level since July 1974.
  23. On May 4, Margaret Thatcher became the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom.
  24. On May 17, the temperature fell to -12°F on top of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, setting a state record.
  25. On May 25, in the deadliest aviation accident in U.S. history, an American Airlines DC-10 crashed during takeoff at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, killing 271 on board.
  26. On May 27, Rick Mears won the Indianapolis 500 for the first time.
  27. In June, McDonald’s introduced the Happy Meal for kids.
  28. On June 18, President Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev signed the SALT II Treaty, which “established numerical equality between the two nations in terms of nuclear weapons delivery systems.”
  29. In July, the space station, Skylab, "crashed" back to Earth. ThePeopleHistory.com tells us that "Skylab was launched by the U.S. in May 1973 and was NASA’s first space station. It was in orbit for a total of 2,249 days before its orbit decayed and the space station plummeted back to Earth.”
  30. On July 22, Bernard Hinault of France won the 66th Tour de France.
  31. On July 24, President Carter named Paul Volcker as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. APNews.com reports that “Working relentlessly to bring prices under control, Volcker raised the Fed's benchmark interest rate from 11% to a record 20% by late 1980 to try to slow the economy's growth and thereby shrink inflation.”
  32. On September 1, the Pioneer 11 became the first spacecraft to visit Saturn.
  33. On September 20, Lee Iococca became the president of the Chrysler Corporation.
  34. On October 17, President Carter signed legislation that established the Department of Education.
  35. On November 4, the Iran hostage crisis began: About 3,000 Iranian college students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took more than 50 American hostages. History.com tells us that “The immediate cause of this action was President Jimmy Carter’s decision to allow Iran’s deposed Shah, a pro-Western autocrat who had been expelled from his country some months before, to come to the United States for cancer treatment. However, the hostage-taking was about more than the Shah’s medical care: it was a dramatic way for the student revolutionaries to declare a break with Iran’s past and an end to American interference in its affairs.”
  36. On November 7, Senator Ted Kennedy announced that he would challenge President Jimmy Carter for the 1980 Democratic presidential nomination.
  37. On November 13, Ronald Reagan declared that he would run for U.S. president in 1980 on the Republican ticket.
  38. On November 15, Iran cancelled all contracts with U.S. oil companies.
  39. On December 8, U.S. Representative David C. Treen “was elected Governor of Louisiana, becoming Louisiana's first Republican governor in over 100 years.”
  40. On December 21, the Chrysler Corporation received $1.5 billion in federal loan guarantees at the request of CEO Lee Iococca. History.com reminds us that “it was the largest rescue package ever granted by the U.S. government to an American corporation.”
In 1979, the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl.

In 1979, the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl.

Scroll to Continue

3. Sports Facts and Trivia

Generally suitable for all age groups, sports questions are a welcome addition to any trivia quiz.

  1. Kentucky Derby: Spectacular Bid
  2. NBA Champions: Seattle SuperSonics
  3. NCAA Basketball: Michigan State
  4. NCAA Football Champs: Alabama
  5. Orange Bowl: Oklahoma over Nebraska
  6. Rose Bowl: USC over Michigan
  7. Stanley Cup Champs: Montreal Canadiens
  8. Sugar Bowl: Alabama over Penn State
  9. Super Bowl VIII: Pittsburgh Steelers
  10. U.S. Open Golf: Hale Irwin
  11. U.S. Open Tennis (men/women): John McEnroe/Tracy Austin
  12. Wimbledon (men/women): Bjorn Borg/Martina Navratilova
  13. World Series Champions: Pittsburgh Pirates

4. Influential People From 1979

From world leaders to pioneers to innovators, who were the most influential people in 1979?

  1. Abdus Salam, Sheldon Lee Glashow, and Steven Weinberg: Nobel laureates in physics.
  2. Allan Cormack and Godfrey Hounsfield: Nobel laureates in physiology or medicine.
  3. Anwar Sadat (Egypt) and Menachem Begin (Israel): They signed the “first peace treaty between an Arab nation and the Jewish state.”
  4. Bill and Scott Rasmussen, along with Ed Eagan: They created ESPN (the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network) “as a channel dedicated to true sports fans.”
  5. Dick Clark: He won an Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host (The $20,000 Pyramid).
  6. Georg Wittig and Herbert C. Brown: Nobel laureates in chemistry.
  7. Jane Byrne: She became the first female mayor of Chicago.
  8. Jane Fonda: She won an Oscar for Best Actress (Coming Home).
  9. Jimmy Carter: He was the 39th U.S. president.
  10. Jon Voight: He won an Oscar for Best Actor (Coming Home).
  11. Katie Kerwin McCrimmon: She won the 52nd Scripps National Spelling Bee by correctly spelling the word “maculature.”
  12. Kenneth E. Iverson: He was a Canadian computer scientist who received the Turing Award in 1979. (The Turing Award “is generally recognized as the highest distinction in computer science and is often referred to as the Nobel Prize of Computing.”)
  13. Lee Iococca: He was the CEO of the Chrysler Corporation.
  14. Leonid Brezhnev: He was the Soviet leader who signed the Salt II Treaty along with U.S. President Carter.
  15. Margaret Thatcher: She became the first woman to be elected prime minister of the United Kingdom.
  16. Michael Cimino: He won an Oscar for Best Director (The Deer Hunter).
  17. Mother Teresa: She dedicated her life to caring for the destitute and dying, and also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
  18. Odysseas Elytis: Nobel laureate in literature.
  19. Paul Volcker: He became the new Chairman of the Federal Reserve. APNews.com reports that “Working relentlessly to bring prices under control, Volcker raised the Fed's benchmark interest rate from 11% to a record 20% by late 1980 to try to slow the economy's growth and thereby shrink inflation.”
  20. Pope John Paul II: He was head of the Roman Catholic Church from 1978 until his death in 2005, and was also the first pontiff to visit a Communist country.
  21. Ray Charles: The state of Georgia designated Ray Charles' rendition of Georgia on My Mind as the official state song. (Georgia on My Mind was written by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell in 1930, and first recorded that year by Hoagy Carmichael.)
  22. Sam Shepard: He received a Pulitzer Prize for his play, Buried Child.
  23. Theodore Schultz and W. Arthur Lewis: Nobel laureates in economics.
  24. Vivian Horner: She was an educator and “the director of research on the PBS series, The Electric Company.” She also created the first Nickelodeon series, Pinwheel.
  25. Willy Mays: He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
In 1979, the Pittsburgh Pirates were the World Series champions.

In 1979, the Pittsburgh Pirates were the World Series champions.

  1. In 1979, the most popular baby names for boys were Michael, Christopher, Jason, David, and James. Today, the most popular names include Liam, Noah, Oliver, Elijah, and William.
  2. In 1979, the most popular baby names for girls were Jennifer, Melissa, Amanda, Jessica, and Amy. Today, the most popular names include Olivia, Emma, Amelia, Ava, and Sophia.
  3. The average life expectancy at birth in the U.S. was 73.8 years.
  4. Fashion icons in 1979 were Candice Bergen, Jacqueline Bisset, Lauren Hutton, Kate Jackson, Olivia Newton-John, Dolly Parton, Bernadette Peters, Diana Ross, Meryl Streep, Donna Summer, and Cheryl Tiegs.
  5. Kylene Barker (Virginia) was crowned Miss America.
  6. Mary Therese Friel (New York) became Miss USA.
  7. The cost of a Super Bowl ad was $185,000.
  8. Consumer products that were introduced in 1979 include the Black & Decker Dustbuster, the Erasermate pen, Hubba Bubba bubble gum, McDonald’s Happy Meals, Honey Nut Cheerios, the personal stereo, the Sony Walkman, and Supersisters trading cards.
  9. After an absence of about 40 years, sardines returned to California waters.
  10. The number of horses that worked on British farms was around 3,500, down from 300,000 in 1950.
  11. McDonald’s introduced the Happy Meal for kids.
  12. General Mills launched Honey Nut Cheerios.
  13. In 1979, there were about 6,000 KFC restaurants worldwide.
  14. About 43.6 million tons of commercial fertilizer were used on U.S. farms.
  15. During the 1970s, U.S. agricultural exports were about $19.8 billion a year.
  16. Violent crime in the U.S. per 1,000 people: 55.7
  17. Property crime in the U.S. per 1,000 people: 50.2
  18. Movie ticket: $2.57
  19. Cost of a first-class stamp: 15 cents
  20. Cost of a gallon of regular gas: 86 cents
  21. Cost of a gallon of milk: $1.62
  22. Cost of a dozen eggs: 85 cents
  23. Unemployment: 6.0%
  24. Inflation rate: 11.2%
  25. Average household income: $17,500
  26. Average cost of a new house: $58,100
  27. Average monthly rent: $280.00
  28. Consumer price index: 72.6
  29. Dow Jones high for the year: 885.84
  30. Dow Jones low for the year: 796.67
In 1979, 60 Minutes was the most-watched television show.

In 1979, 60 Minutes was the most-watched television show.

6. Entertainment News

  1. On January 26, the action-comedy television series, The Dukes of Hazzard, premiered on CBS.
  2. On January 27, at the 36th Golden Globe Awards, Midnight Express won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Drama, and Heaven Can Wait won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Comedy or Musical.
  3. On January 28, the musical, The Wiz, closed at the Majestic Theater in NYC after 1,672 performances.
  4. On January 29, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, a progressive English rock group, disbanded after 10 years together.
  5. On February 5, the radio drama, Sears Radio Theater, debuted on CBS Radio.
  6. On February 11, about 43 million people watched Elvis, a “made-for-television biographical film,” on ABC.
  7. On March 1, the Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler musical, Sweeny Todd, opened at the Uris Theater in NYC for 557 performances.
  8. On March 4, the 200th episode of the sitcom, All in the Family, was broadcast on CBS.
  9. On April 9, at the 51st Academy Awards, which honored the best films of 1978, The Deer Hunter won an Oscar for Best Picture, and Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter) won an Oscar for Best Director. Likewise, Jon Voight (Coming Home) won an Oscar for Best Actor, and Jane Fonda (Coming Home) won an Oscar for Best Actress. Finally, Scared Straight won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, and Get Out Your Handkerchiefs (France) won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
  10. On April 16, Sam Shepard received the Pulitzer Prize for his play, Buried Child.
  11. On April 18, the reality TV series, Real People, premiered on NBC for five seasons.
  12. On April 24, the state of Georgia designated Ray Charles' rendition of Georgia on My Mind as the official state song. (Georgia on My Mind was written by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell in 1930, and first recorded that year by Hoagy Carmichael.)
  13. On May 17, at the 6th Daytime Emmy Awards, the soap, Ryan’s Hope, won an Emmy for Outstanding Daytime Drama Series. Ryan’s Hope also received Emmys for Outstanding Daytime Drama Series Writing and Outstanding Daytime Drama Series Directing. Likewise, The Hollywood Squares won an Emmy for Outstanding Game Show, and Dick Clark won an Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host (The $20,000 Pyramid).
  14. On May 20, the musical, I Love My Wife, closed at the Barrymore Theater in NYC after 864 performances.
  15. On May 25, Alien, a science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott and written by Dan O’Bannon, was released.
  16. On June 3, at the 33rd Tony Awards, The Elephant Man won a Tony for Best Play, and Sweeny Todd won a Tony for Best Musical. Likewise, Tom Conti (Whose Life Is It Anyway?) won a Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play, and Constance Cummings (Wings) won a Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play.
  17. On June 26, Moonracker, the 11th James Bond film starring Roger Moore, debuted in London.
  18. On August 10, Michael Jackson released his fifth studio album—Off the Wall.
  19. On August 15, the epic war film, Apocalypse Now, starring Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, and Martin Sheen, was released.
  20. On August 25, Hart to Hart, a mystery television series, premiered on ABC for five seasons.
  21. On August 29, the Sheridan Broadcasting Company purchased the Mutual Black Network (MBN). BackThen.com tells us that “MBN previously distributed news and public affairs programming to Black-orientated stations around the country, reaching millions of listeners. The merger marked the beginning of the first completely Black-owned radio network in the world.”
  22. On September 6, the musical, Peter Pan, opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater in NYC for 578 performances.
  23. On September 9, at the 31st Primetime Emmy Awards, Taxi (ABC) won an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, and Lou Grant (CBS) won an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series. By the same token, Carroll O’Connor (All in the Family) won an Emmy for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series, and Ruth Gordon (Taxi) won an Emmy for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series.
  24. On September 25, the musical, Evita, opened at the Broadway Theater in NYC for 1,568 performances.
  25. On October 17, the musical revue, Beatlemania, closed at the Winter Garden Theater in NYC after 920 performances.
  26. On October 18, Beatlemania opened in London.
  27. On November 2, Peter Shaffer's musical, Amadeus, debuted in London.
  28. On December 7, the science fiction film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, was released in Washington, DC. It was directed by Robert Wise, and starred William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy.
  29. On December 19, the legal drama, Kramer vs. Kramer, was released. It was directed by Robert Benton and starred Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep.
  30. On December 27, the soap, Knots Landing, premiered on CBS.
In 1979, Black & Decker introduced the cordless handheld vacuum—the Dustbuster.

In 1979, Black & Decker introduced the cordless handheld vacuum—the Dustbuster.

7. Nobel Prize Winners

Beth Rowen tells us that winning a Nobel Prize is a life-changing honor. Whether the laureate is an internationally known figure (such as Mother Teresa) or a scientist from obscurity (like Richard R. Ernst), the award brings worldwide recognition that highlights one's life work and provides the funds to continue the mission.

This Nobel Prize information from 1979 has been made available courtesy of NobelPrize.com.

  • Chemistry: Georg Wittig and Herbert C. Brown
  • Economic Sciences: Theodore Schultz and W. Arthur Lewis
  • Literature: Odysseas Elytis
  • Peace: Mother Teresa
  • Physics: Abdus Salam, Sheldon Lee Glashow, and Steven Weinberg
  • Physiology or medicine: Allan Cormack and Godfrey Hounsfield

8. Best-Selling Fiction and Non-Fiction Books

This book trivia from 1979 has been made available courtesy of PublishersWeekly.com.

Fiction books:

1. The Matarese Circle by Robert Ludlum

2. Sophie's Choice by William Styron

3. Overload by Arthur Hailey

4. Memories of Another Day by Harold Robbins

5. Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut

6. The Dead Zone by Stephen King

7. The Last Enchantment by Mary Stewart

8. The Establishment by Howard Fast

9. The Third World War: August 1985 by General Sir John Winthrop Hackett

10. Smiley's People by John Le Carré

Non-fiction books:

1. Aunt Erma's Cope Book by Erma Bombeck

2. The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet by Herman Tarnower and Samm Sinclair Baker

3. How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years by Howard J. Ruff

4. Cruel Shoes by Steve Martin

5. The Pritikin Program for Diet and Exercise by Nathan Pritikin and Patrick McGrady Jr.

6. White House Years by Henry Kissinger

7. Lauren Bacall By Myself by Lauren Bacall

8. The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong

9. Restoring the American Dream by Robert J. Ringer

10. The Winner's Circle by Charles Paul Conn

This TV trivia from 1979-80 has been made available courtesy of Nielsen.com.

1. 60 Minutes (CBS)

2. Three's Company (ABC)

3. That's Incredible! (ABC)

4. Alice (CBS)

5. M*A*S*H (CBS)

6. Dallas (CBS)

7. Flo (CBS)

8. The Jeffersons (CBS)

9. The Dukes of Hazzard (CBS)

10. One Day at a Time (CBS)

In 1979, Superman, starring Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel, was the most popular film.

In 1979, Superman, starring Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel, was the most popular film.

This motion picture trivia has been made available courtesy of BoxOfficeMojo.com.

  1. Superman
  2. The Amityville Horror
  3. Rocky II
  4. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  5. Alien
  6. Apocalypse Now
  7. 10
  8. The Jerk
  9. Moonracker
  10. Meatballs
  11. Escape from Alcatraz
  12. Manhattan
  13. All that Jazz
  14. 1941
  15. The Champ
  16. The Rose
  17. The Warriors
  18. Norma Rae
  19. National Lampoon’s Animal House
  20. La Cage aux Folles

11. Horror Films From the Year 1979

This film trivia from 1979 has been made available courtesy of IMDB.com.

  1. Alien
  2. Nosferatu the Vampyre
  3. Arrebato
  4. The Brood
  5. Phantasm
  6. Zombie
  7. Salem’s Lot
  8. Murder by Decree
  9. When a Stranger Calls
  10. Tourist Trap

12. Biggest Pop Music Artists

Here are some of the most popular music artists and groups from the year 1979:

  1. Barbra Streisand
  2. Barry Manilow
  3. The Bee Gees
  4. Billy Joel
  5. The Commodores
  6. The Doobie Brothers
  7. Donna Summer
  8. Earth, Wind & Fire
  9. Foreigner
  10. George Benson
  11. Herb Alpert
  12. John Travolta
  13. Kenny Rogers
  14. Kool & the Gang
  15. Micheal Jackson
  16. Olivia Newton-John
  17. Prince
  18. Rod Stewart
  19. Sister Sledge
  20. Steely Dan
In 1979, Victoria’s Secret, an American lingerie, clothing, and beauty retailer, opened for business in Palo Alto, California.

In 1979, Victoria’s Secret, an American lingerie, clothing, and beauty retailer, opened for business in Palo Alto, California.

13. Top 40 Songs for the Year

This music trivia has been made available courtesy of MusicOutfitters.com.

1. My Sharona: The Knack

2. Bad Girls: Donna Summer

3. Le Freak: Chic

4. Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?: Rod Stewart

5. Reunited: Peaches and Herb

6. I Will Survive: Gloria Gaynor

7. Hot Stuff: Donna Summer

8. Y.M.C.A.: Village People

9. Ring My Bell: Anita Ward

10. Sad Eyes: Robert John

11. Too Much Heaven: The Bee Gees

12. MacArthur Park: Donna Summer

13. When You're In Love With a Beautiful Woman: Dr. Hook

14. Makin' It: David Naughton

15. Fire: Pointer Sisters

16. Tragedy: The Bee Gees

17. A Little More Love: Olivia Newton-John

18. Heart of Glass: Blondie

19. What a Fool Believes: The Doobie Brothers

20. Good Times: Chic

21. You Don't Bring Me Flowers: Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond

22. Knock On Wood: Amii Stewart

23. Stumblin' In: Suzi Quatro and Chris Norman

24. Lead Me On: Maxine Nightingale

25. Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground): The Jacksons

26. Don't Cry Out Loud: Melissa Manchester

27. The Logical Song: Supertramp

28. My Life: Billy Joel

29. Just When I Needed You Most: Randy Vanwarmer

30. You Can't Change That: Raydio

31. Shake Your Groove Thing: Peaches and Herb

32. I'll Never Love This Way Again: Dionne Warwick

33. Love You Inside Out: The Bee Gees

34. I Want You to Want Me: Cheap Trick

35. The Main Event (Fight): Barbra Streisand

36. Mama Can't Buy You Love: Elton John

37. I Was Made for Dancin': Leif Garrett

38. After the Love Has Gone: Earth, Wind & Fire

39. Heaven Knows: Donna Summer and Brooklyn Dreams

40. The Gambler: Kenny Rogers

In 1979, beef bourguignon—a beef stew braised in red wine and beef stock, and flavored with carrots, onions, and garlic—was a popular American food trend.

In 1979, beef bourguignon—a beef stew braised in red wine and beef stock, and flavored with carrots, onions, and garlic—was a popular American food trend.

14. Food and Beverage Trivia

EatThis.com tells us that “In a yearbook consisting entirely of food, the 1970s would be a colorful entry. It was a decade marked by health consciousness, packaged goods, French cuisine, and global awareness.” During the 1970s, we saw everything from green goddess dressing and Jell-O salads to Hamburger Helper and lo mein."

Here are 40 of the most popular foods from the 1970s:

  1. Beef bourguignon
  2. Black Forest cake
  3. Campbell’s Chunky Soup
  4. Carrot cake
  5. Cheese balls
  6. Chex Mix
  7. Country Captain (A curried chicken and rice dish that is popular in the southern United States.)
  8. Cup Noodles
  9. Deviled eggs
  10. Egg McMuffin
  11. Fajitas
  12. Fondue
  13. Frozen yogurt
  14. Golden Grahams
  15. Granola bars
  16. Hamburger Helper
  17. Honey Nut Cheerios
  18. Hunt’s Manwich
  19. Jell-O 1-2-3
  20. Jell-O salads
  21. Macaroni salad
  22. Mississippi mud pie
  23. Pasta primavera
  24. Perrier
  25. Pineapple upside-down cake
  26. Poke cake
  27. Quiche Lorraine
  28. Snapple
  29. Spaghetti-Os
  30. SPAM
  31. Strawberry pie
  32. Tab (soft drink)
  33. TV dinners
  34. Wacky cake
  35. Watergate salad
In 1979, pineapple upside-down cake was all the rage.

In 1979, pineapple upside-down cake was all the rage.

15. Famous Birthdays

Here are some of the famous people who were born in 1979:

  1. Adam Levine: Pop singer
  2. Brandy: R&B singer
  3. Caroline Flack: TV show host
  4. Chris Pratt: Movie actor
  5. Cooper Barnes: TV actor
  6. Drew Brees: Football player
  7. Heath Ledger: Movie actor
  8. James McAvoy: Movie actor
  9. John Krasinski: TV actor
  10. Kate Hudson: Movie actress
  11. Kevin Hart: Comedian
  12. Kourtney Kardashian: Reality star
  13. Lamar Odom: Basketball player
  14. Luke Evans: Movie actor
  15. Mindy Kaling: Movie actress
  16. Notch: Game designer
  17. Oscar Isaac: Movie actor
  18. Pete Wentz: Bassist
  19. Pink: Pop singer
  20. Walker Hayes: Country singer

16. Notable Weddings

These marriage facts have been made available courtesy of OnThisDay.com.

  1. On January 1, film director John Carpenter married actress Adrienne Barbeau.
  2. On February 24, NBA player Bill Walton married Susan Guth.
  3. On March 17, actor Kurt Russell married actress Season Hubley.
  4. On April 6, singer Bob Denver married model Alana Collins.
  5. On April 7, country singer Roseanne Cash married singer and songwriter Rodney Crowell.
  6. On May 12, U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke married Anne Lee Fleming.
  7. On May 19, British guitarist Eric Clapton married model Pattie Boyd.
  8. On June 5, blues musician Muddy Waters married Marva Jean Brooks.
  9. On September 29, actress Isabella Rossellini married director Martin Scorsese.
  10. On October 16, MLB outfielder Tim Raines married Virginia Hilton.
  11. On November 24, author Kurt Vonnegut married Jill Krementz.
  12. On December 4, singer and actress Liza Minnelli married Mark Gero.

17. Famous People Who Died

This information has been made available courtesy of TheFamousPeople.com.

  1. A. Philip Randolph: Civil rights leader
  2. Charles Mingus: Bassist
  3. Conrad Hilton: Entrepreneur
  4. Dhyan Chand: Field hockey player
  5. Donny Hathaway: Soul singer
  6. Elizabeth Bishop: Poet
  7. Jack Haley: Movie actor
  8. Joan Blondell: Movie actress
  9. John Carroll: Movie actor
  10. John Reed King: Game show host
  11. John Wayne: Movie actor
  12. Mamie Eisenhower: First Lady
  13. Mary Pickford: Movie actress
  14. Merle Oberon: Movie actress
  15. Minnie Riperton: Soul singer
  16. Nelson Rockefeller: Vice President
  17. Richard Rodgers: Composer
  18. Sonia Delaunay: Painter
  19. Ted Cassidy: TV actor
  20. Vivian Vance: TV actress
In 1979, the Montreal Canadiens clinched the Stanley Cup.

In 1979, the Montreal Canadiens clinched the Stanley Cup.

18. U.S. Automobile Production Figures for the Year

Here are the U.S. automobile production figures for 1979:

  1. Chevrolet: 2,284,749
  2. Ford: 1,835,937
  3. Oldsmobile: 1,068,154
  4. Pontiac: 907,434
  5. Buick: 727,275
  6. Mercury: 669,138
  7. Dodge: 404,266
  8. Cadillac: 383,138
  9. Plymouth: 372,449
  10. Chrysler: 349,450
  11. Lincoln: 189,546
  12. AMC: 169,439
  13. Excalibur: 367
  14. Avanti II: 142

19. America’s Largest Corporations

This corporate trivia has been made available courtesy of Money.CNN.com.

  1. General Motors
  2. Exxon Mobil
  3. Ford Motor
  4. Exxon
  5. Texaco
  6. ChevronTexaco
  7. IBM
  8. General Electric
  9. Gulf Oil
  10. Chrysler
  11. ITT Industries
  12. Amoco
  13. Atlantic Richfield
  14. Shell Oil
  15. U.S. Steel
  16. DuPont
  17. At&T
  18. Conoco
  19. Tenneco Automotive
  20. Procter & Gamble

20. American Companies and Brands Established During 1979

  1. Activision is an American video game publisher that is based in Santa Monica, California.
  2. The Alvarado Street Bakery is a worker-owned bakery located in Petaluma, California.
  3. At Home is a chain of Home decor stores headquartered in Plano, Texas.
  4. CV Productions, Inc. is a Pittsburgh-based martial arts company.
  5. DaVita, Inc. provides kidney dialysis services through a network of 2,816 outpatient dialysis centers.
  6. Envipco is “a manufacturer and distributor of reverse vending machines.”
  7. GT Bicycles “designs and manufactures BMX, mountain, and road bicycles.”
  8. M & Co. is a "graphic and product design firm located in New York City."
  9. Merry Maids provides residential cleaning services through a network of 1,400 independently-owned and operated franchises worldwide.
  10. MGA Entertainment is a “manufacturer of children’s toys and entertainment products.”
  11. Miramax is an entertainment company that “provides and distributes films and television shows.”
  12. Mrs. Winner’s Chicken & Biscuits is a regional fast food restaurant chain serving the southern United States.
  13. The Mysterious Bookshop is an independent bookstore in New York City that specializes in mystery fiction. It is also one of the oldest mystery bookstores in the U.S.
  14. The Nickelodeon cable channel was founded in Columbus, Ohio by Vivian Horner. Today, Nickelodeon is only available to viewers on a subscription basis.
  15. Price Chopper is “a group of four separate family-owned chains of grocery stores in the Kansas City and Des Moines metropolitan areas.”
  16. Radio Computing Services is a provider of scheduling and broadcast software for the Internet as well as for radio and television stations.
  17. Supersonic Electronics is an American brand that specializes in consumer electronics.
  18. Taylor Energy is an oil company that is located in New Orleans.
  19. TaylorMade is a sports equipment manufacturing company based in Carlsbad, California.
  20. Headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, Universal Health Services “is an American Fortune 500 company that provides hospital and healthcare services.”
In 1979, there were about 6,000 KFC restaurants worldwide, and they sold  2.7 billion pieces of chicken.

In 1979, there were about 6,000 KFC restaurants worldwide, and they sold 2.7 billion pieces of chicken.

References:

In 1979, McDonald’s introduced the Happy Meal—a delicious meal for kids. Youngsters can choose from four chicken McNuggets, crispy chicken, grilled chicken, a cheeseburger, a hamburger, or hotcakes.

In 1979, McDonald’s introduced the Happy Meal—a delicious meal for kids. Youngsters can choose from four chicken McNuggets, crispy chicken, grilled chicken, a cheeseburger, a hamburger, or hotcakes.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Gregory DeVictor

Related Articles