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What summer was like the year you were born

  • 1980: CNN begins broadcasting

    The first 24-hour news network in the world, CNN, launched at 2 p.m. Pacific time on June 1, 1980. Helmed by Ted Turner, the cable news network changed the way Americans learned and consumed the news. Prior to CNN, news broadcasts only ran in the mornings and evenings, and in between those shows, Americans had to get all their information from newspapers and radio.

  • 1981: AIDS crisis begins in the US

    “The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” published the first reports on June 5, 1981 about a mysterious illness that would later come to be known as AIDS. The CDC’s weekly digest highlighted the cases of five previously-healthy men who’d very suddenly come down with Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia: Two of those had died. By the end of the decade, known cases of AIDS in the U.S. reached 100,000.

  • 1982: “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” lands in theaters

    Released June 10, 1982, Steven Speilberg’s “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” quickly became the highest-grossing film up to that point, passing previous summer blockbuster “Star Wars” along the way. Hailed by critics as one of the best movies of all time, the family-friendly flick drew in $663.4 million worldwide during its initial box office run.

  • 1983: Sally Ride becomes first woman in space

    Sally Ride was one of five crew members aboard the Challenger STS-7 when it left earth on June 18, 1983. Holding a doctorate degree in physics from Stanford University, Dr. Ride was uniquely qualified to be the flight engineer, becoming the first American woman and the youngest American in space. In the days leading up to takeoff, the press hounded the accomplished scientist with sexist questions like what makeup she was planning to take with her into orbit.

  • 1984: Pop music’s biggest summer

    1984 has been called “pop’s greatest year,” and the summer saw a handful of incredible releases that seem to confirm that point. At various points over the warmer months, Bruce Springsteen released “Dancing in the Dark;” Tina Turner released “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” and Prince released “When Doves Cry,” all while Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” dominated the charts. Fittingly, the first MTV Music Video Awards took place that same year on Sept. 14.

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  • 1985: Live Aid charity concert

    Organized by Bob Geldof, frontman of the Irish band The Boomtown Rats, the Live Aid concert was a global pop show broadcast around the world to raise money for Ethiopian famine relief. In stadiums in both London and Philadelphia, 50 of the biggest musical acts at the time, from Queen to Madonna and Elton John to Bob Dylan, took the stage, raising just over $140 million. In the U.S., the concert aired on ABC and MTV in a special that was hosted by Dick Clark.

  • 1986: 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' premieres

    On Sept. 8, 1986, "The Oprah Winfrey Show" hit airwaves around the country. Winfrey used her platform to educate and inspire her viewers, focusing on everything from hard-hitting interviews to self-improvement segments. The daytime series ended up becoming the highest-rated talk show of all time and ran for 25 seasons, wrapping in 2011.

  • 1987: The Day of 5 Billion

    The United Nations designated July 11, 1987 as the Day of 5 Billion, recognizing the approximate date that the world’s population reached the milestone. The occasion was marked with celebration but also with “sober reflection on the future,” as international leadership reckoned with the type of world they’d be leaving for the next billion inhabitants.

  • 1988: Bruce Willis stars in 'Die Hard'

    As the ‘80s came to a close, action movies replaced sci-fi as the summer’s biggest blockbusters. On July 12, 1988, “Die Hard”—starring Bruce Willis as a tough, action-loving NYC cop—premiered. While today many argue that the movie should actually be considered a Christmas classic (thanks to its Christmas party setting), its release date indicates that it was initially a warm-weather hit.

  • 1989: Game Boy is released in North America

    Nintendo released its first handheld video game system, the classic Game Boy, in North America on July 31, 1989. Just over 30 years later, the pocket-sized device remains the third-best-selling video game system in history, and almost 120 million of the gadgets have been sold.

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