(Individual days tend to get past us. For every one we remember vividly—in my case, October 6, 1981, or October 16, 1978—hundreds more slip away into the void. The simple purpose of this month’s series of One Day in Your Life posts has been to rescue a few of those lost days. The deeper purpose is to ponder the distance between there and here, distance against which everything in my life eventually ends up being measured. Here’s one last day to visit before November arrives.)
October 31, 1984, is a Wednesday. Early morning TV viewers learn that Indira Gandhi, prime minister of India, has been assassinated by her bodyguards. With six days to go until the presidential election, the last Gallup poll to be taken before the vote shows President Reagan with a 57-40 lead over Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale. An ad paid for by 101 prominent professors appears in the New York Times, endorsing Mondale and criticizing Reagan for claiming that his record is in the tradition of Truman, Roosevelt, and Kennedy. A tornado kills one person in Osage County, Kansas. Yosemite National Park is designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations. Congress approves the Atlantic Striped Bass Conservation Act. Top movies at the box office last weekend: The Terminator, the horror-film clip compilation Terror in the Aisles, and Body Double starring Melanie Griffith. The Wednesday night movie on KCPQ-TV in Tacoma is The Night Stalker. On network TV tonight, there’s the movie Sweet Revenge, starring Alec Baldwin and Kelly McGillis, about an Army major who gets involved with his commanding officer’s daughter. CBS airs the fifth and final episode of Dreams, a series about a struggling Philadelphia rock band starring John Stamos and Jami Gertz.
The Grateful Dead plays Berkeley, Culture Club plays Baton Rouge, and Quiet Riot plays Kansas City, Kansas. U2 plays Rotterdam, Alvin Lee plays St. Louis, and Megadeth plays San Francisco. Stevie Ray Vaughan plays Melboune, Australia, and John Prine plays Westbury, New York. “I Just Called to Say I Love You” by Stevie Wonder tops the Cash Box magazine chart for the week. “Hard Habit to Break” by Chicago is Number Two, and “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince is Number Three. (It’s a big week for Prince, with “Purple Rain” at Number 9 and “When Doves Cry” at Number 100.) “Drive” by the Cars is in its fourth straight week at Number 4. The biggest mover in the Top 40 is “The War Song” by Culture Club, leaping from 33 to 22 in its fourth week on the chart. Julian Lennon’s “Valotte” is at Number 60 in its second week on. To the program director of WKAI in Macomb, Illinois (who moved to town exactly one year ago today), it’s perfect for Halloween—the sound of a voice from beyond the grave.