1976: The bicentennial, Nadia Comaneci and Rocky.
Nixon was gone from office. Vietnam was finally over. And the United States was ready for a party. Thank goodness 1976 was the year of the bicentennial! Other notable events? The Concorde supersonic airplane made the world a little smaller with its first commercial flight. Farrah Fawcett’s pin-up poster sold millions of copies. And kids everywhere rejoiced at the introduction of Everlasting Gobstoppers; Jelly Belly’s first eight flavors; Kenner’s Stretch Armstrong action figure; The Gong Show; and Slime, a clammy goo perfect for grossing out grown-ups.
JAN. 18 Super Bowl X adds the perky group Up With People to the usual marching bands at halftime.
JAN. 21 Concorde makes the world’s first supersonic flight with fare-paying customers.
JAN. 23 Donny and Marie debuts on ABC. The teen siblings’ guests include Bob Hope, Paul Lynde, Lee Majors, Farrah Fawcett-Majors and Vincent Price.
FEB. 13 Team USA’s Dorothy Hamill wins figure-skating gold—and haircut accolades—at the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria.
APRIL 1 Two college dropouts, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, form Apple Computer Inc.
APRIL 4 All the President’s Men, starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, premieres at a gala Kennedy Center event in Washington, D.C.
MAY 3 Paul McCartney kicks off his 21-city Wings over America tour in Texas. It’s Paul’s first post-Beatles concert in the U.S.
JULY 4 The USA commemorates 200 years since its adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Israeli Defense Forces rescue 103 hostages from an Air France jet at Uganda’s Entebbe Airport.
JULY 12 ABC premieres Family Feud, with Richard Dawson as host.
JULY 18 In Montreal, Nadia Comaneci becomes the first Olympic gymnast to score a perfect 10.
Her coaches? Bela and Marta Karolyi.
JULY 20 NASA’s Viking 1 lander becomes the first U.S. spacecraft to set down on Mars.
JULY 29 Serial killer David Berkowitz (aka Son of Sam) begins his reign of terror in NYC. AUG. 18 Bruce Jenner (now Caitlyn) wins the decathlon at the Summer Olympics in Montreal. The gold medalist is declared the “world’s greatest athlete.”
SEPT. 5 Jim Henson’s
The Muppet Show, below left, premieres on CBS.
SEPT. 9 In Japan,
JVC releases the first VHS-format videotape recorder (it weighs 30 pounds). It becomes the industry standard over Sony’s Betamax format.
SEPT. 17 NASA unveils
Enterprise, below, the first space shuttle. Spectators
include original Star Trek
TV series cast members.
SEPT. 22 Charlie’s Angels debuts on ABC and becomes a megahit.
NOV. 2 Former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter (D) defeats Gerald Ford (R) to become president of the United States.
DEC. 3 Rocky, the story of a Philadelphia boxer who gets a shot at the world championship,