October 24, 1980, is a Friday. By presidential proclamation, it’s United Nations Day. Scientists continue to watch Mount St. Helens in Washington state, which erupted again last week. It’s the fifth smaller eruption since the devastating one last May. The SS Poet leaves Philadelphia, officially bound for Egypt with a cargo of corn. The ship will never arrive at its destination; a Coast Guard investigation will declare it lost at sea and all 34 crew members dead. In future years, there will be suggestions that the Poet contained $40 million in arms and spare parts, paid for by the Reagan campaign and sent to Iran as a bribe to keep their American hostages in captivity until after the November 4 election, and that the ship was deliberately destroyed after delivery to keep the shipment secret. Reagan talks economics in an nationally broadcast campaign speech. NBC airs the final episode of The David Letterman Show, a daytime variety series that has followed the Today Show since June. CBS has the annual broadcast of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, along with a new Peanuts special, Life Is a Circus, Charlie Brown. Opening in theaters this weekend: Motel Hell, a parody of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Heavyweight contender Gerry Cooney knocks out Ron Lyle in the first round. Future R&B singer Monica is born. Alexander Poniatoff, founder of Ampex, the company that developed the first practical videotape recorder, dies at age 88. The first U.S. national tour of Sweeney Todd opens in Washington, DC.
Head East plays Austin, Texas, the B-52s play Chicago, Bruce Springsteen plays Seattle, and Linda Ronstadt plays Iowa State University with the Joe Ely Band opening. On the new chart at CHUM in Toronto, which will come out officially tomorrow, the top three are unchanged from the previous week: the live version of “Dreamer” by Supertramp is Number One, “Touch and Go” by the Cars is Number Two, and “Real Love” by the Doobie Brothers is Number Three. New wave (or what passes for it) is making inroads on the chart: in addition to Split Enz, Devo, and the Police, the week’s biggest mover is “Turning Japanese” by the Vapors, leaping to 19 from 27. “Drugs in My Pocket” by the Monks, at Number 10, is a new-wave parody by several former members of the Strawbs. “This Beat Goes On/Switchin’ to Glide” by the Kings slips to 21 from 16. But at a small-town college radio station in Wisconsin, it’s everybody’s favorite song.