(On we go, attempting to recreate our favorite summer one day at a time. Other posts here. Edited since first posted.)
July 27, 1976, is a Tuesday. The country is abuzz over yesterday’s tradition-breaking announcement by presidential candidate Ronald Reagan: if he wins the nomination at the upcoming Republican convention, he will name liberal Republican senator Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania as his running mate. In Tangshan, China (where it’s already Wednesday), a 7.8 magnitude earthquake kills around 250,000 people. President Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger meet with Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser and other officials at the White House.
A gay-pride parade is held in Chicago. The Chicago Cubs beat the Montreal Expos 5-0 at Wrigley Field; the Cubs trail division-leading Philadelphia by 26 1/2 games; the Expos are buried even deeper in the basement. After losing the gold medal to the Soviet Union on a controversial last-second referee’s decision in 1972, the United States claims the gold in men’s basketball at the Montreal Olympics, beating Yugoslavia. Hungary wins the gold medal in men’s water polo. A feature story in the Capital Times of Madison, Wisconsin, notes the arrival of several new TV reporters in the city. Milwaukee Brewers baseball against Detroit and the Olympics take up the local TV air tonight along with reruns of M*A*S*H and Switch. The Tuesday night special at Lombardino’s in Madison is veal parmagiano for $3.50; at the Old Stamm House in suburban Middleton, spaghetti and meatballs with a free glass of wine is $2.25. Monty Python and the Holy Grail plays at the Middleton Theater.
Elvis Presley continues his tour in Syracuse, New York, Judy Collins plays Cleveland, and Weather Report plays London. Procol Harum plays in Norway, and Rush plays in Jackson, Mississippi. Fleetwood Mac plays Landover, Maryland, and Elton John plays the second of a three-night stand at Chicago Stadium. At WLS in Chicago, Elton’s new single, “Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart” with Kiki Dee, debuts on the station survey. “Got to Get You Into My Life” by the Beatles holds the Number One slot for a third week, ahead of “Afternoon Delight” by the Starland Vocal Band. “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen and “More More More” by the Andrea True Connection are new in the Top 10. “I’m Easy” by Keith Carradine leaps from 23 to 14; “Moonlight Feels Right” by Starbuck is up to 22 from 28. “Say You Love Me” by Fleetwood Mac and “Let ‘Em In” by Wings take 11-place jumps further down the chart. On the WLS album chart, the Beatles compilation Rock and Roll Music knocks Wings at the Speed of Sound from the top spot. Rocks by Aerosmith, Chicago X, and Fleetwood Mac round out the top five.
Perspective From the Present: During the first part of this week, I spent a couple of days with my grandparents, as I had done for a few days every summer since I was little, although it would be the last time. They lived about 15 miles away, and had moved off the farm and into town a couple of years before, so my visits were not quite the adventures they had once been. I would spend the latter part of the week at the county fair in my hometown, where for the first time in several years I would not have to drag an ill-trained animal around the show ring, having given up that project, although I would still hang out in the 4H barn as before. One of those new TV reporters would quit TV and become a communications instructor at my small Wisconsin college. She didn’t seem like a very good teacher, but it occurs to me now that I may have been blinded to whatever skills she had by my smart-ass attitude at the time. And although I was a certifiable Monty Python fan thanks to the PBS broadcast of the show, I don’t remember going to see Holy Grail during its theatrical run in 1976. I would see it on TV at some point within a year or two, but would not see it on the big screen until college.