July 15, 1976, is a Thursday. Newly chosen Democratic presidential nominee Jimmy Carter opens his acceptance speech at the convention in New York with the same words he has used to open most speeches during his longshot presidential bid: “My name is Jimmy Carter and I’m running for president.” Carter selects Minnesota senator Walter Mondale as his running mate. In Chowchilla, California, three armed men hijack a school bus with 26 children aboard. The children are taken to a rural location and their bus is hidden in a cave. About 16 hours later, the children and their driver will escape. The three kidnappers will still be in prison in 2011. Author Paul Gallico dies just a couple of weeks short of his 79th birthday, and future standup comic Gabriel Iglesias is born. There’s a possibility that the United States may elect to boycott the Summer Olympic Games, set to open this weekend in Montreal, in support of Taiwan. The National Hockey League’s Kansas City Scouts move to Denver, where they become the Colorado Rockies. After six seasons, the team will relocate again, becoming the New Jersey Devils.
Daytime TV viewers can choose from the game shows Gambit, Wheel of Fortune, Hollywood Squares, The Gong Show, and Family Feud, among others; TV soaps airing today include Love of Life, The Young and the Restless, Search for Tomorrow, The Doctors, and The Edge of Night. CBS pre-empts some of its afternoon lineup for Democratic convention coverage, so regular programs including As the World Turns, The Guiding Light, and Match Game ’76 are not seen. In prime time, most viewers have to watch the convention, which takes up all of prime time on all three networks. The current edition of Rolling Stone includes an article about NBC’s new late-night program Saturday Night. The show has been in reruns since late May, but will conclude its first season with two new episodes on July 24 and July 31. The Beatles are on the magazine’s cover.
Aerosmith plays Peoria, and folksinger Mary Travers plays the Bottom Line in New York City. The Grateful Dead plays San Francisco, and KISS plays Knoxville, Tennessee. Jethro Tull opens the North American leg of its Too Old to Rock and Roll tour in Providence, Rhode Island, and Rainbow plays Miami. At WLS in Chicago, “Got to Get You Into My Life” by the Beatles vaults from Number 9 to Number One, knocking “Shop Around” by the Captain and Tennille to Number Two. “Crazy on You” by Heart vastly outperforms its national number in Chicago, where it blasts into the Top 10 at Number 8. The top song on the Billboard Hot 100, “Afternoon Delight” by the Starland Vocal Band, takes the biggest leap on the WLS survey, from 26 to 12.
For a 16-year-old kid in Wisconsin, summer has fallen into a rut. He’s got to work on the farm, which he hates. Tomorrow, he will buy the new Rick Wakeman album, No Earthly Connection, which will be a disappointment. He may play softball, too, although he will not write down the score for posterity, perhaps because the team isn’t doing very well. In search of diversions on the weekend, he will watch the Summer Olympics, and over the next few days marvel with the rest of the world at Nadia Comaneci’s perfect 10 scores in gymnastics. On Sunday night, he will stay up very late listening to Madison’s WIBA-FM; the station’s featured artist that night is Monty Python, and he plans to tape the sketches on his 8-track recorder. He will play the tapes for years thereafter.