October 20, 1979, is a Saturday. In Boston, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated. President Jimmy Carter speaks at the dedication. His secretary of state and national security advisor recommend that he allow the Shah of Iran into the United States for medical treatments; two days later, Carter will consent. The decision will lead to the takeover of the American embassy in Tehran on November 4 and the holding of hostages for 444 days. In Newton, Massachusetts, future actor John Krasinski is born. In college football, USC beats Notre Dame 42-23, and Ohio State beats Wisconsin 59-0. At halftime of its game against Colgate, the Princeton marching band performs a soap-opera parody, “As the Tiger Turns,” but Colgate wins the game 17-6.
The cast of WKRP in Cincinnati is on the cover of TV Guide. Shows on kids’ TV this morning include Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo, The New Fred and Barney Show, The Godzilla Power Hour, and Plastic Man; in prime time tonight, CHiPs and Celebrity Challenge of the Sexes. On Saturday Night Live, Eric Idle is the host, but he has the flu and does most of his bits lying on a stretcher, with Buck Henry standing by to take over if needed. Bob Dylan is the musical guest, performing “Gotta Serve Somebody” and other songs from his new gospel-flavored album Slow Train Coming. Rick James and Teena Marie are the guests on Soul Train.
Elton John and Rockpile play the Palladium in New York City, and the Ramones play Old Chicago in Bolingbrook, Illinois. Whitesnake plays St. Albans, England, John Cougar plays Austin, Texas, and Golden Earring plays Veghel in the Netherlands. Island Records scores its first Number-One single when “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles hits Number One in the UK. Stateside radio stations are still drowning in disco records and pop ballads. WSUP in Platteville, Wisconsin, which converted to an album-rock format in September, is not one of them, although the station still cranks out its share of current hit singles: “My Sharona,” “Heartache Tonight,” “Cruel to Be Kind,” “Tusk,” “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’,” “Dirty White Boy,” “Don’t Bring Me Down,” “Babe.” And “Driver’s Seat” by Sniff ‘n’ the Tears, which several of the jocks dig more than anything else.