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In 1979, Bostonians tuned in to the premier episode of “This Old House” on WGBH, the local PBS station. The first season of the “do-it-yourself” series, with host Bob Vila, chronicled the renovation of a home in Dorchester. Massachusetts. It didn’t take long for “This Old House” to take off and soon PBS was broadcasting the show across the country. It went on to become one of the highest-rated home remodeling shows and spawned spin-off shows as well as a magazine. “This Old House” has gained legions of fans over the decades, and it’s received numerous Emmy Awards.
The 1980s are remembered for some interesting fashion trends. One is “big hair.” Another is shoulder pads. Both women and men wore shoulder pads in the '80s, but the larger showing was with women. Just about everything in a woman’s closet sported shoulder pads, from t-shirts, blouses, and sweaters to dresses and suits. Wearing a suit with shoulder pads was the epitome of high fashion in those days. Remember Joan Collins and Linda Evans on the prime time soap “Dynasty?” Shoulder pads became so popular that we could buy them separately so we could increase the height of an outfit’s existing shoulder pads or add them to garments without shoulder pads.
Hula hoops have been around forever… literally. Art relics from Ancient Greece show people hula hooping. Early hula hoops were made of natural materials like grass, plants, bamboo, and wood. Hula hoops began gaining popularity in the United States in the ‘50s. Through the decades, generations of children and adults have twirled hula hoops around their waists, arms, legs and necks. Hula hooping is actually a great form of exercise because the activity burns calories, strengthens muscles, and improves balance. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the longest hula hooping marathon by an individual using a single hoop is 74 hours and 54 minutes. The record was achieved by Aaron Hibbs in 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.
First, Paul was a Beetle… then he became a knight! “Sir” Paul McCartney was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his "services to music" today in 1997. The event drew crowds of screaming fans similar to those attracted by the Beatles back in the 1960s. He dedicated his knighthood to his fellow Beatles as well as to the people of Liverpool. As the story goes… Ringo and George supposedly started calling Paul “Your holiness” upon learning of his knighthood. Ringo Starr was knighted in 2017, 20 years after Paul.
In the good old days, families and friends often gathered together to watch 8mm home movies. Someone would set up the movie projector, load a reel, and thread the film through the projector. The lights would be turned off and the window shades lowered to make the room as dark as possible. Then the fun would begin! Sometimes, of course, there’d be a minor mishap or two during the show… like the film might snap… or the projector’s light bulb could burn out… or a film reel might unexpectedly pop off.
The first call placed on a handheld portable cell phone was made in New York City in 1973. Of course the phone was about the size of a loaf of bread and nothing like the phones we carry today. Back then, an engineer named Martin Cooper used a prototype that would become the world's first commercial cell phone to place a call to rival Bell Laboratories at AT&T. Many of the early cell phones on the market were considered to be “car phones,” because they were large and cumbersome. In the ‘80s, the first truly “mobile” phones small enough to carry in a pocket or purse became available.