Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two in One Day: Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson Both Gone

It seemed like any other day today. Actually, for me, it was going to be a catch up day after finishing up a film over the weekend, attending a funeral for a relative the last two days, and working on prepping my film that shoots in a week and a half. 

Then I saw the first report of Farrah Fawcett passing. Being a child of the 70s, it felt like a personal loss. The reminder of what seemed like an endless childhood in the 1970s. 

Here are some historical events that helped shape the world in the 1970s:
  • demonstration at Kent State, resulting in the deaths of four students (1970)
  • opening of Disney World (1971)
  • voting age lowered to 18 (1971)
  • founding of Ms. magazine (1972)
  • passing of Roe v. Wade (1973)
  • resignation of Nixon (1974)
  • end of the Vietnam War (1975)
  • Charlie's Angels premieres (1976)
  • pardon of Vietnam draft evaders (1977)
  • accident at Three Mile Island nuclear-power plant (1979)
  • 52 Americans held hostage at the American Embassy in Iran by Ayatollah Khomeini followers (1979)
And we can't forget films of the 1970s, like 
  • M*A*S*H (1970)
  • A Clockwork Orange (1971)
  • Dirty Harry (1971) 
  • The Godfather (1972)
  • American Graffiti (1973)
  • Jaws (1975)
  • Rocky (1976)
  • Star Wars (1977)
  • Blazing Saddles (1978)
  • The Deer Hunter (1978)
  • Apocalypse Now (1979)
  • Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)  
The iconic poster of Farrah Fawcett in the red swimsuit came out in 1976 and a frenzy of poster buying happened. (That poster manufacturer hit the mother lode on that one.) I read that the photographer used a Mexican blanket from his car seat as the background. Sounds like indie filmmaking! 

Then Charlie's Angels happened and she was everywhere once again. Even though she was only on the show for one season that role would be the one she is most remembered for (whether she liked that or not). 

So hearing of Farrah's death, I immediately began thinking of the 70s again. And then, Michael Jackson dies on the same day! What?! A major icon of both the 1970s and 1980s? What is going on?

So now, I am being thrust back in time to the days of Thriller. The craziness over Michael Jackson in the 1980s will never be forgotten. (I try to forget the more recent craziness over him - yikes!)

I remember doing the moon walk and a friend who wore a silver glove all the time. Who can forget the red leather jacket and the Pepsi commercial saga in 1984 when pyrotechnics burned Michael's head during the filming of a commercial? 

So thinking of the 80s, here is what we were dealing with culturally:
  • trade embargo against the USSR (remember the USSR? -- known as Russia today) (1980)
  • 8 Americans killed trying to free hostages in Iran (1980)
  • AIDs identified (1981)
  • Iran hostages are freed (1981)
  • attempted assassination on U.S. President Ronald Reagan (1981)
  • appointment of first female Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor (1981)
  • release of Michael Jackson's Thriller (1982)
  • suicide bombing, killing 241, at U.S. marine installation in Beirut (1983)
  • release of Madonna's Like a Virgin (1984)
  • Gorbachev in power in USSR (1985)
  • release of Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. (1985)
  • U.S. space shuttle Challenger comes apart at takeoff (1986)
  • Chernobyl nuclear incident (1986)
  • Berlin Wall comes down (1989)
And here are some amazing films from the 1980s:
  • Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)
  • The Empire Strikes Back (1980) -- the first film I was allowed to attend without adult supervision; I sat in the front row!
  • Ordinary People (1980)
  • Raging Bull (1980)
  • The Shining (1980)
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  • ET (1982)
  • Sophie's Choice (1982)
  • The Big Chill (1983)
  • Return of the Jedi (1983)
  • Terms of Endearment (1983) -- one of my favorite dramas!
  • Amadeus (1984)
  • Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
  • The Terminator (1984)
  • Out of Africa (1985)
  • The Color Purple (1985)
  • Empire of the Sun (1986)
  • Platoon (1986)
  • Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
  • Rain Man (1988)
  • Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
  • Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
And so two figures made famous in two different decades -- a fame that lasted to today and will carry on tomorrow -- say goodbye. No matter who they were personally, you can't ignore they had an affect on generations of people. 


Filmmaking said...

Two tragic figures. Rest in peace.

Also, it's spelled "mother lode."

Jane Kelly Kosek said...

Ha! You got me. I fixed the misspelling. Thanks for the catch. And yes, may they both rest in peace!

Jentri said...

Moments to remember. good read. :)

The Kid In The Front Row said...

thanks for the post.