Pepsi or Coke? Choose your side


cola-warsCoke and Pepsi have been at each other’s throats for almost 3 decades,  competing for top cola of the USA. They have rallied back and forth with television advertisements and marketing campaigns, which took an interesting turn in the Eighties. Coke has been my favorite choice between the two. However, Prof Boles and I definitely agree that Dr. Pepper is actually the best cola ever…

  • But back to the eighties. Coca Cola had dominated the cola scene over Pepsi for most of the Seventies, but in the early Eighties Pepsi began rapidly closing the market gap between them. It seemed that the general public favored the sweeter-tasting Pepsi over the classic Coca Cola, especially after the the famous Pepsi Taste Challenge.

  • In response, Coca Cola launched a new product, Diet Coke, at a high-profile press conference in New York City on July 8, 1982. Reporters packed the Hyatt Hotel, where Coca-Cola USA President Brian Dyson announced that “the most significant new product introduction in the entire 96-year history of The Coca-Cola Company” would be available in the Big Apple within days.

Because, why not have a giant kick line? I wonder if the girls received free Diet Coke!

  • Pepsi came right back with the one, the only, Michael Jackson. He became the first international pop star to be a spokesperson for Pepsi and paved the way for other iconic endorsements of the Eighties like David Bowie, Tina Tuner, and Madonna.

Check out this commercial with our favorite Michael J. Fox!

  • With Pepsi’s raise to fame, Coca Cola couldn’t help but question their own formula. They reformulated the classic Coca-Cola and introduced New Coke in 1985.


  • The American public’s reaction to the change was negative and the new cola was considered a major marketing failure. The introduction of the original formula, re-branded as “Coca-Cola Classic”, resulted in a significant gain in sales. Hello? I feel like this was the most brilliant marketing ploy ever. ‘Let’s change our product, then introduce it back with a classic image!’


Urban Dictionary: 80s Slang

I stumbled across a few blog posts that claim to have the ultimate glossary of eighties terms, but here are my top 10 favorite eighties phrases!

Airhead: (noun) someone who's head is full of air

This term was invented to describe a Valley Girl, aka someone who flaunts their inability to make intelligent comments.

Nowadays I think it still carries the same meaning.

Example: “Did you hear what Mason said in class today?”
                “Yeah, he’s such an airhead!”

Cowabunga!: (exclamation) uttered when someone is about to do something crazy or adventurous

Cowabunga is a catchphrase used by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987 TV series). It is a well known ’80s battle cry.

I always thought that it was more of a surfer term, for catching waves, but I’m going to try and incorporate it into my life more. I might have to ‘cowabunga’ into my seat during my next Methods for Operations Research exam.

Crucial: (adjective) incredibly radical or cool

Example: “I just got a life time supply of ice cream! Crucial!”

I don’t think I have every heard anyone use crucial with this meaning, but I like it.

Crunchy: (adjective) to be extremely jealous

Example: “Shereef just got the new pair of Air Jordans! I’m so crunchy.”

I LOVE THIS TERM! I am definitely going to incorporate it into my own lingo.

DINK: (noun) acronym that stands for "dual income, no kids"

Basically a DINK is a Yippie couple with no children and lots of money to spend on themselves. If you don’t think these yuppies exist, check out their website,

Eat my shorts!: An expression of mild contempt

First used by Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club, Bart made it even more famous as one of his catch phrases on The Simpsons.

If you like this phrase and want to show your love with some feminine flair, check out these awesome t-shirts, here

Example:  “Nice shirt, Kowalski.”
                “Eat my shorts, dude!”

Gag me with a spoon!: (exclamation) A Valley Girl expression connoting extreme disgust
Teenage angst at its worst. This phrase used to describe how unpleasant a situation was, could be, might have been at come point.
Example:  “Hey Ashley, remember when you dated John? He’s so gross!”
                 “Yeah, gag me with a spoon.”
Have a cow: (verb) to be very worried, upset, or angry about something

Another catch phrase made famous by Bart Simpson, meaning “Calm down!” or “Chill out!”.

Example: “Hey, did you hear about how Sal got bulldozed over while he was on vacation?”
               “Yeah, he’s going to have a cow when he finds out!”

No shit, Sherlock: (exclamation) what you say when someone says something very obvious
This phrase is usually followed by the retort, “F*ck you, Watson!”. This is a bit more effective in insulting someone rather than just calling him Captain obvious!
Tubular: (adjective) so totally cool as to defy description

The first time I ever heard tubular used, it was in “Up On the House Top” from Jimmy Buffet’s christmas album. The song features Buffett yelling “Tubular dude” and other such things at Ol’ Saint Nick in the most clichéd surfer voice he can manage. Again, I don’t think I’ve ever heard this term used anywhere else! I think I might leave this one where it belongs, in the eighties.



What’s your favorite eighties-ism?

The 80s Valley Girl

HThe 1980s brought upon a new style, language, and just a way of life: the Valley Girl.

The term ‘Valley Girl’ originated in the 1970s, but was at its peak in the 1980s and it referred to a socio-economic class of middle and upper-class white women living in the San Fernando Valley, California. Over time, the traits and behaviors of Valley Girls represented a bunch of spoiled, ditzy girls most interested in shopping, appearance, and social status. They even had their own dialect, referred to as Valleyspeak. (Ex. Like, as if!)

Want to speak like a Valley Girl?! Click here for some tips on learning the lingo.

In 1981 came the release of a hit single by Frank Zappa entitled “Valley Girl,” on which Moon Zappa, Frank’s 14-year-old daughter, delivered a monologue of meaningless phrases in Valleyspeak behind the music. This song made some phrases famous, like “grody to the max”. Some of the terms used by Moon were not actually Valley phrases, but were surfer terms instead (ex. “tubular” and “gnarly”). But because of the song’s popularity, some of these surfer phrases actually entered the speech of real Valley teens.

Here’s the song:

The 1995 film, Clueless, also featured a Valley Girl in the form of the main character, Cher (Alicia Silverstone)


Cher uses the words “like,” “as if,” “whatever” and “duh” a good amount throughout the film. She also refers to attractive men and women as “bettys” and “baldwins.”

Here, we get a glimpse of some of her Valleyspeak:

Valspeak is also heard quite a lot in Bill and Ted’s Excellent AdventureBill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, and Wayne’s World.

There was also the movie, Valley Girl, which starred Nicholas Cage. It’s about Julie, a girl from the valley, who crosses, paths with a boy named Randy, a punk from the city. Their two worlds collide and love is found.

Now, clothing designers are even showcasing apparel following the Valley Girl trend…

by popular designer Wildfox

by popular designer Wildfox

Popular retailer NastyGal even did an entire Lookbook following the Valley Girl trend:

Screen shot 2014-06-07 at 11.46.21 PM

See the entire collection here!

Oh and…

Continue reading

‘Easy A’ Loves the 80s

The 2010 teenage comedy, Easy A, is a happy-go-lucky romantic comedy about a high school teenager played by Emma Stone, who’s an innocent girl that uses her school’s rumor mill to make a name for herself. The film is designed to take after the famous novel, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, because Emma Stone commits fake acts of adultery to gain popularity and status, but instead she gains an awful reputation.
Notably, this film is partially known for all of its famous 1980s movie references. The main character, Olive, creates these web diaries in which she shares information about all her exploits. One web diary in particular features her referencing all the great ’80s movies about romance, in which she opens with, “Whatever happened to chivalry? Does it only exist in ’80s movies?”
Here’s that web diary:
All these iconic ’80s movie references, in order are:
Say Anything, 1989

Say Anything, 1989

Can't Buy Me Love, 1987

Can’t Buy Me Love, 1987

Sixteen Candles, 1984

Sixteen Candles, 1984

The Breakfast Club, 1985

The Breakfast Club, 1985

And finally, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, 1986

And finally, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986

Another subtle reference to an ’80s film occurs when the main character, Olive is sharing a moment with her love interest Todd. He lets her know he has fallen with her and over the radio we hear a Cary Brothers cover of the famous ’80s song “If You Were Here,” originally by Thompson Twins. This song is actually the song playing when Jake Ryan and Sam share their first kiss in Sixteen Candles!

Here’s the original song:
In the end of the film, Olive Pendergast does, in fact, get her perfect ’80s movie ending! We get 3 of those ’80s movie references again in this scene alone- Breakfast Club’s “Don’t You Forget About Me” is playing on the speakers Todd is holding over his head (Say Anything) and he even takes her on a lawnmower ride like in Can’t Buy Me Love. What a guy.
Here’s that final sequence:
You’re welcome.

Matthew Broderick (Ferris Bueller) and the Fatal Car Crash of 1987

Matthew Broderick, the actor that played the infamous Ferris Bueller in John Hughes’ 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, was involved in a car crash that claimed two lives.


While vacationing in Ireland on August 5, 1987, Broderick and his Ferris Bueller’s Day Off co-star and then girlfriend, Jennifer Grey who played Ferris’ sister Jeanie were in a rented BMW when Broderick drove into the wrong lane, colliding with a Volvo, killing two just 80 miles outside of Belfast. Broderick’s car collided head-on with a Volvo driven by Anna Gallagher, 28. She and her mother, Margaret Doherty, 63, were both pronounced dead on arrival at Erne Hospital. Broderick, who was 25 at the time, suffered a fractured leg, fractured ribs, a concussion, and collapsed lung. Grey, who was 27, only suffered severe whiplash and minor cuts and bruises.

Regarding the accident, Broderick had this to say:

“I don’t remember the day. I don’t remember even getting up in the morning. I don’t remember making my bed. What I first remember is waking up in the hospital, with a very strange feeling going on in my leg.”

His leg was badly broken, resulting in him being rushed to the hospital. The paramedics had to tear the car apart in order to administer first aid to Broderick. All Broderick kept asking at the time of the accident was whether or not the people in the other car had been hurt. Broderick could have been charged with causing death by dangerous driving, which could have ended in a five-year prison sentence, but he was only fined $175, something the family of the diseased was angered by.

Broderick received quite a bit of flack from the Doherty family and others after appearing in a Super Bowl commercial on game day for the 2012 Honda CR-V, intended to replicate him as Ferris Bueller. They suggested he may not be such a suitable driver.

Tennis of the 80’s



Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 1.19.17 PM

In looking at sports in the 80s I found that tennis was a lot different from tennis today what they ware was different and what they played with was different too the started off playing with these tennis shorts that are really high up and a regular whit collard shirt. No a days they play in all different types of clothing there are certain mandatory clothing for certain events some require all white and some only half white clothes and other half at least some what tennis like.  Also the tennis shoes have completely changed the technology of today has made tennis shoes in a completely different way they grip and do everything that tennis shoes do but they have figured out a way to make it so that way your tennis shoes don’t drag and mark up the clay courts as bad. However the main difference seems to be the changes in technology that have taken place over the years. For example, back in the eighties the majority of rackets were made of wood and had a round shape that was right at the end of the handle, but now the modern racket has a whole new shape to the racket where it is mostly oval and it takes up most of the racket except the handle.


The main push seems to have been professional athletes who need better equipment as the sport becomes more competitive.  So this means that only a couple years ago we were using wooden tennis rackets but now they are made out of carbon fiber and that means they are a lot lighter. Some rackets are meant f-

or more speed rather than spin, so a player can choose the racket that best suits their playing style. Lastly i have found allot of interesting things about the 80’s tennis that i wouldn’t of learned from if i didn’t reserch tennis in the first place and i do recommend learning more about tennis to anyone who is interested.


this video is Andre Agassi back in the 80 just so you guys get a feel of how the old school tennis was.






HIV/AIDS in the 1980s

The history of HIV/AIDS goes far back to the early 20th century when the first leap of the virus is hypothesized to have transferred to a human from primates in Africa. However, the issue of HIV/AIDS did not fully hit America until the 1980s. Once it did, though, the virus became a mysterious, lurking predator that struck fear into the public.

The first case was observed clinically in 1981. It primarily arose in injecting drug users and homosexual men. These patients were observed to have severely diminished immune systems. In particular, a rare skin cancer, Kaposi’s Sarcoma, and an opportunistic infection, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, appeared to accompany the HIV/AIDS.

The disease remained so elusive, however, it took until 1986 for the name Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) to be given to it.

Once identified, the disease took on a significant role in shaping society and cultures of the time.

For instance, the fear of infection which accompanied this epidemic resulted in people ostracizing and discriminating against those infected. This was also a result of the public viewing the disease in association with life styles which were frowned upon at the time such as homosexuality, drug use, and promiscuity.  This idea began to be changed when Ryan White became a poster child for the disease. He was diagnosed with the infection in 1984 and contracted it through a contaminated blood treatment for his hemophilia. More stories about the campaign that Ryan White sparked and other stories can be found here.

Many stars of the 1980s became involved in the campaign against HIV/AIDS, as well. Micheal Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor, for example, were very involved.

Here is a video of Micheal Jackson devoting a song to Ryan White and the fight against AIDS. Although this video is from the 1990’s it is a reflection of his experiences from the 1980s — particularly his time with Ryan White.

Here is a video of Elizabeth Taylor speaking about HIV/AIDS, too. I found this particularly interesting because she discusses many of the stigmas attached to it from the time.

Also as a consequence of HIV/AIDS rising prevalence, it began to be a topic of many movies in the late 1980s.


Image of As Is


Image of Go Toward the Light


Image of Longtime Companion

More movies on HIV/AIDS can be seen here.

If you are interested in the science behind AIDS here is a great video that explains it very thoroughly.


Advances in Genetics — 1980s

Genetics has undergone incredible advancements throughout the years. Every decade produced its own key elements that make up the genetic knowledge we have today – including the 1980s. The following are summaries of what have been referenced as the most important of these genetic advancements of the 1980s along with brief descriptions and some fun videos.

1. Methods for mapping DNA

In 1980, Paul Berg, Walter Gilbert, and Frederick Sanger were awarded a Nobel Prize for having devised a method to map the structure of DNA.  This allowed scientists to determine base sequences of nucleic acids (the fundamental building blocks of the genome). The award was also for the use of this knowledge to construct recombinant DNA with circles of DNA known as plasmids. Here is a video on how it works!

2. First U.S patent for gene cloning

In 1980, Stanley Norman Cohen and Herbert Boyer received the first patent for a gene. The way this was accomplished was through the use of plasmids with foreign DNA incorporated into their structure to produce specific proteins of interest such as HGH, Erythropoietin and Insulin. Not only did the patent earn about 300 million $, but this is a technique that has become common place and essential in labs. Also, in 1982, this genetically engineered human insulin was approved by the FDA.

3.Transposons – mobile genetic elements

In 1983, Barbara McClintock was awarded the Nobel Prize for her research regarding mobile genetic elements referred to as transposons. Eventually, this information would be used to understand mutations that result from transposons which often arise when these sequences insert within the middle of an important gene.

4. Polymerase chain reactions

In 1983, Kary Mullis devised a method for amplifying DNA using a cloning procedure called polymerase chain reactions (PCR). This technique allows a small amount of DNA to be amplified exponentially into many copies permitting a greater ability to study sequences of interest. Check out this awesome video!

5.Genetic fingerprinting

In 1985, Alex Jeffrey created DNA fingerprinting. This is a method that uses the unique small sequences of DNA, mini-satellites, within an individual’s genome as a means for identifying them (a DNA fingerprint). The strands of DNA are submitted to a specific endonuclease that will cut corresponding fragments of mini-satellites out. These pieces are separated through electrophoresis to create a unique set of bands that can be matched to a person.

6. Genes for color blindness and color vision identified

In 1986, Jeremy Nathens identified the genes responsible for color vision and color blindness. The identification of specific genes in relation to disease states becomes significant in understanding and treating various inherited diseases such as Progeria, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.

Can you see the numbers?

7. Identification of RNA as a catalyst

In 1989, Thomas Cech discovered that RNA is capable of acting as a catalyst. This not only unveiled the significance of DNA that previously the function of was not known, but also led to many elucidating hypothesizes regarding the origin of life potentially arising from an originally RNA based form.

The Goonies To Return?

The Goonies

Richard Donner, director of the successful cult children’s film, The Goonies, recently announced that a sequel has been confirmed! Also famous for directing the Superman  and Lethal Weapon movies, among others, Donner’s The Goonies still has a high fan base today, with many excited fans anticipating a sequel.

Richard Donner circa 1987

The original Goonies first hit the big screen in 1985. In the movie, two brothers named Mikey and Brandon come from a family that gets caught up in a financial crisis because developers seek to destroy their home and build a golf course in place. To save their home and stop their family from moving, these guys team up with an adventurous group of friends and find themselves on a treasure hunt. Mikey had discovered a map in his family’s attic and from thereon out, the crew sets out on a quest with the guidance of famed “One-Eyed Willy” to find his hidden fortunes. However, this cavern that holds their sought after treasure ends up being beneath an estranged family, The Fratellis, who threaten the kids throughout the film and want nothing but money (Gekkoism, anyone?) so they also seek the hidden treasure when they hear of its existence. The movie sets up lots of laughs along the way, with mishaps and adventures lurking in every corner of their adventurous journey. Also, hidden in the Fratelli’s basement is the infamous character the gang stumbles upon named ‘Sloth,’ and he’s creepy looking, but a dude you definitely want on your team.

Here’s Sloth saving the day:

As for the sequel, Donner told gossip site TMZ that he hoped to bring back all the stars for a follow-up. But what do they look like now? I bet you’re all as curious as I am so…

Here’s Chunk:

Then there’s Mikey:

And there’s Brand: (bit easier on the eyes)

Donner hopes that these stars, as well as some others, agree to come back together for a sequel after seemingly parting ways since the movie’s release date in 1985. Fingers crossed!

You’re welcome.

Medical Advancements- 1980s

Vaccines remain controversial to this day. Jenny McCarthy, formerly of MTV’s “Singled Out” has publicly spoken out against them. Among others, McCarthy believes that there is a link between autism and vaccines given to newborns. One of the vaccines she believes poses a threat is the Hepatitis B vaccine. Incidentally, in 1981, the first vaccine for Hepatitis B was created.

Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver caused by a virus (HBV). Chronic Hepatitis B can eventually cause cirrhosis and liver cancer. The acute version of the disease (which occurs when the virus attacks the liver) can cause liver inflammation, vomiting, and jaundice. Hepatitis B is 50-100 times more infectious than HIV.

Gay men and drug users are especially prone to Hepatitis B infections. The virus is spread through bodily fluids, including blood. Use of contaminated needles (among drug users) helps the spread of the disease.

According to Wikipedia the vaccine, “was withdrawn from the marketplace when Pablo DT Valenzuela, Research Director of Chiron Corporation succeeded in 1986 in making the antigen in yeast and invented the first recombinant vaccine.[32] The recombinant vaccine was developed by inserting the HBV gene that codes for the surface protein into a species of yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This allows the yeast to produce only the noninfectious surface protein, without any danger of introducing actual viral DNA into the final product.[31] This is the vaccine still in use today.”

We are currently using the vaccine that was “tweaked” in 1986 from the original 1981 version. The initial vaccine worked by “infecting” the vaccinated recipient with a non-infectious version of a surface protein found on the HBV virus. In order to isolate this protein, scientists used an intricate filtration system. These proteins would not be infectious, as they lacked the DNA that would make them virulent. The immune system would recognize this protein as foreign and generate antibodies to destroy it. Next time the recipient encountered the virus, their body would recognize the surface proteins, re-generate antibodies and would therefore be able to properly fight off the infection.

Currently, we use the model proposed in 1986 by Pablo Valenzuela. The gene that codes for the surface protein on the HBV virus is inserted into a yeast. The yeast then generates large amounts of this non-infectious surface protein which is used to make vaccines. By using the yeast, there is less likelihood that viral DNA will make its way into the serum used for vaccination. As a result, it is nearly improbable that someone will get “sick” after receiving the Hepatitis B vaccination.

As of 1991 in the United States, the vaccine is recommended for all infants, with doses received over the course of 14 months. As of 2011, the incidence of new cases is down 90%. The map below shows the prevalence of HepB cases in 2005. Note the prevalence in the United States is one of the lowest.


Polo Ralph Lauren


As Madonna said, eighties culture was most certainly a “material world” and status was all about having money. Owning fast cars and lavish homes was a necessity, and dressing sharply was equally important. Clothing by Ralph Lauren was another status symbol that had immediate visual association with money and classic style. During the 1980s, Polo opened its flagship store in New York City, became famous for their “power suits” for men and women, and launched the first full housewares collection from a clothing designer, Ralph Lauren Home.

My favorite 1980s collection from Polo Ralph Lauren is the Safari collection for women, launched in 1984. I’d like to tell you it’s because the crisp and clean white clothing is so gorgeously contrasted with the dusty African desert, but the real reason is because they use a baby lion cub and other wild animals in most of the shots. The ad, quoted “could have come straight out of an English royal’s photo album”. The first photo is a perfect example of the power suit women wore to feel powerful in the workplace.

This gorgeous building is called The Gertrude Rhinelander Waldo House. Built on the fashionable Madison Avenue on the corner of East 72nd Street, the house was designed by Kimball & Thompson and finished in 1898, however was never lived in. The house was commissioned by “the eccentric heiress” Gertrude Waldo, but she preferred to live in another building just across the street. The mason was eventually divided into retail spaces, and “it slowly fell into disrepair for almost a century”.

Ralph Lauren purchased the building lease in 1983 and started a massive overhaul of the building to create his Polo Ralph Lauren NYC flagship store.

“When Ralph Lauren took over the reconstruction of the Rhinelander as a flagship store, less than five percent of the building’s original interior remained. The entire building was designed to re-create the classic opulence of the original mansion. This involved extensive research into what few original plans and physical evidence could be found, and creatively piecing them together.”

The costs of the renovations are estimated at around $14–15 million.

Walking into the mansion is like walking straight into a RL ad. Well, maybe not one from the Safari Collection.

Check out Vogue’s Full history on Polo and RL.


I Love the Smiths



If you weren’t already into the Smiths or spent your time listening to those sad songs over and over again in your room, the 500 days of Summer brought you out of the twenty first century and threw you right heart break that was the 1980s controlled by the sappy love songs of the Smiths.

The Smiths who were featured in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off while the three of them visited the art museum have also been featured in numerous other films over the years. One of the most recent coming from the movie version of The Perks of Being a Wallflower



This film in particular focused on “Asleep” which was one of Charlie’s favorite songs off of  Pony Tail Derek’s mixtapes.


The Smiths were an English Rock Band formed in Manchester in 1982 and only active for five years when they separated in 1987. Over this brief time together the band put out four albums.

Meat is murder was released in early 1985 and was ranked 295 on Rolling Stones top 500 albums of all time.

The Smiths were also a band who had very influential lyrics. My personal favorite is “There is a Light That Never Goes Out”

Take me out tonight
Where there’s music and there’s people
Who are young and alive
Driving in your car
I never never want to go home
Because I haven’t got one anymoreTake me out tonight
Because I want to see people
And I want to see life
Driving in your car
Oh please don’t drop me home
Because it’s not my home, it’s their home
And I’m welcome no more

And if a double-decker bus
Crashes in to us
To die by your side
Is such a heavenly way to die
And if a ten ton truck
Kills the both of us
To die by your side
Well the pleasure, the privilege is mine

Take me out tonight
Take me anywhere, I don’t care
I don’t care, I don’t care
And in the darkened underpass
I thought Oh God, my chance has come at last
But then a strange fear gripped me
And I just couldn’t ask

Take me out tonight
Oh take me anywhere, I don’t care
I don’t care, I don’t care
Driving in your car
I never never want to go home
Because I haven’t got one
No, I haven’t got one

And if a double-decker bus
Crashes in to us
To die by your side
Is such a heavenly way to die
And if a ten ton truck
Kills the both of us
To die by your side
Well the pleasure, the privilege is mine

Oh, there is a light and it never goes out
There is a light and it never goes out
There is a light and it never goes out
There is a light and it never goes out
There is a light and it never goes out
There is a light and it never goes out
There is a light and it never goes out
There is a light and it never goes out
There is a light and it never goes out

Even if you do not know the Smiths that well there is no doubt you haven’t herd them and as I mentioned before they are one of those ultimate break up bands.

Books of the 1980′s: Part II (1986-1989)

This is the follow-up post to the original Books of the 80’s post, which listed 10 books from 1980-1985 that are still around (and popular) today. Here are 10 books from the latter half of the decade you might be familiar with.

1. It (Stephen King, 1986)

2. Red Storm Rising (Tom Clancy, 1986)

3. A Perfect Spy (John Le Carre, 1986)

4. Fatherhood (Bill Cosby, 1986)

5. Patriot Games (Tom Clancy, 1987)

6. The Tommyknockers (Stephen King, 1987)

7. Misery (Stephen King, 1987)

8. Windmills of the Gods (Sidney Sheldon, 1987)

9. A Brief History of Time (Stephen Hawking, 1988)

10. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett, 1989)

It would appear that “thrillers” were a common theme in the later half of the 1980s decade, with many novels about spies, military, and intelligence agencies. John Le Carre and Tom Clancy quickly became leaders in the espionage genre.

Stephen King remained a popular author and published a total of 12 books over the course of the decade; some were short-story collections while others were novels. Between 1986 and 1989 the following were published: Skeleton Crew, It, The Tommyknockers, Misery, The Eyes of the Dragon, and The Dark Half. It and Misery were both adapted into films.


The “film” adaptation of It came out in 1990 as a two-part TV miniseries. Tim Curry of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” fame starred as the horrific Pennywise, a clown that killed children. Images from the movie are still burned into the minds of clown lovers and haters alike. In both the book and the TV miniseries, seven outcast kids (The Loser Club) fight an evil demon that poses as a child-killing clown in 1960s Maine. 30 years later, the demon makes a second appearance and the club must once again come together–this time as adults–to defeat the monster. Surprisingly, the horror novel relies heavily on the “coming of age” theme. The miniseries downplays this aspect and received negative reviews from critics and fans alike.


The film adaptation of Misery was a much better commercial and critical success than King’s It. Misery, also out in 1990, featured Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes, an obsessed and deranged fan. You may recognize Kathy Bates from recent episodes (season 8 and 9) of The Office (US version) or FX’s American Horror Story. She won an Oscar for her portrayal of Annie Wilkes in Misery. Despite coming out over 20 years ago, the film still has an 88% (positive) on The novel and film adaptation are about an author that is “rescued” from a wintery, ice-fueled car accident by a crazy fan. The tagline of the film is: “Paul Sheldon used to write for a living. Now, he’s writing to stay alive.”


Patriot Games was also adapted into a film. Debuted in 1992, the movie starred Harrison Ford (of Star Wars and Indiana Jones fame) and Anne Archer. Phillip Noyce, also known for Clear and Present Danger, Salt, and the upcoming The Giver, directed the film. IMDB summarizes the movie and the book “When CIA Analyst Jack Ryan interferes with an IRA assassination, a renegade faction targets him and his family for revenge.” Clancy’s character of Jack Ryan has also been the focus of several other movies (originally based on books), including The Hunt for Red October, Clear and Present Danger, and The Sum of All Fears.

Books of the 1980’s: Part I (1980-1985)

Many of the books published in the 1980s are still popular today. Some of the authors that gained recognition in the 1980s are still writing and releasing novels (or works of non-fiction). These authors include Stephen King, Carl Sagan, Ken Follett, among many others. Here are some books that are still going strong nearly 30 years later:

1. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum, 1980)

2. Firestarter (Stephen King, 1980)

3. Cosmos (Carl Sagan, 1980)

4. Cujo (Stephen King, 1981)

5. A Light in the Attic (Shel Silverstein, 1981)

6. The Man from St. Petersburg (Ken Follett, 1982)

7. Return of the Jedi Storybook (J. Vinge, 1983)

8. Pet Sematary (Stephen King, 1983)

9. Jane Fonda’s Workout Book (Jane Fonda, 1982)

10. Contact (Carl Sagan, 1985)


The Bourne Identity has been made into a series of movies starring Matt Damon. Ludlum, the writer of the novel, was also responsible for the rest of the trilogy, which includes The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum. The first movie came out in 2002 and was directed by Doug Liman. IMDB summarizes the movie: “A man is picked up by a fishing boat, bullet-riddled, and without memory, then races to elude assassins and recover from amnesia.”


Cosmos, written by Carl Sagan, has been adapted into a television show; it currently airs on FOX (Spring 2014) and features Neil deGrasse Tyson. Cosmos is listed as one of the best-selling science books of all time. It discusses 14 billion years of cosmic evolution. Both the TV show and the non-fiction book tackle matters such as the origin of life, the human brain, Egyptian hieroglyphics, spacecraft missions, the death of the sun, space and time travel, and the evolution of galaxies.


Both Cujo and Stephen King’s Pet Sematary have been adapted into movies. The first film came out in 1983 and the second in 1989. Cujo is about a St. Bernard named “Cujo” that contracts rabies and terrorizes a small town in Maine. The disease makes the dog violent and causes it to kill local residents. Pet Sematary has the following summary on IMDB “Behind a young family’s home in Maine is a terrible secret that holds the power of life after death. When tragedy strikes, the threat of that power soon becomes undeniable.” The novel and the film adaptation are about a cemetery that resurrects the dead–however, there are horrific consequences. 


A Light in the Attic is a popular children’s book and is still widely read today. It features a series of poems and illustrations for children. The author, Shel Silverstein, is credited as a poet, singer-song writer, cartoonist, screenwriter, and children’s book writer. While he died in 1999, Silverstein was also responsible for many other children’s books, including The Giving Tree, Where the Sidewalk Ends, The Missing Piece, and Falling Up.