Happy Birthday to my dear friend, Gail who turns…. uh well actually that’s not a known fact, so instead in honor of her birthday and because it was she who sent me this information, here are 10 of the 30 things that turned 30 this year!
McDonald’s executive chef Rene Arend created the Chicken McNugget way back in 1979, but it wasn’t available in McDonald’s restaurants nationwide until 1983 because there simply wasn’t enough processed chicken to go around.
2. Swatch Watch
The Swatch Watch was introduced in March, putting a decidedly ’80s twist on classic Swiss craftsmanship. An analog Swiss wristwatch, Swatch competed with the trend of digital watches of the day.
Michael Jackson introduced his signature “moonwalk” dance move during the TV special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever in which he reunited with his brothers from the Jackson 5. The move was shown during a performance of “Billie Jean,” and the crowd went wild as it happened. Of course, similar moves had been used before, but 1983 was the first time we called it the moonwalk, and the first time Michael Jackson did it.
4. Mario Brothers Arcade Game
Nintendo released the original Mario Bros. arcade game, unleashing the Italian plumbers Mario and Luigi into the game-playing world. Mario had first appeared in Donkey Kong in 1981, but he was then named “Jumpman” and was a carpenter—presumably he spent the next two years learning the plumbing trade and developing a hatred of turtles. The same year, the laserdisc-based “Dragon’s Lair” was introduced, with fully animated graphics but annoyingly difficult gameplay.
Hooters launched its first restaurant in Clearwater, Florida on October 4, 1983. Today the chain has more than 450 locations, and continues its reliance on waitresses wearing jogging shorts and tight tee shirts. From the official Hooters History:
Hooters was appropriately incorporated on April Fool’s Day, 1983, when six businessmen with absolutely no previous restaurant experience got together and decided to open a place they couldn’t get kicked out of.
AOL was founded in 1983, though at the time it was called Control Video Corporation (CVC). CVC’s first offering was “GameLine,” a modem-based game service for the Atari 2600 video game console. The company experimented with different business models (all involving online components) before hitting it big in the 1990s with its AOL dialup service.
Though Xavier Roberts’s hand-sewn “Little Person” dolls were first available for adoption in 1976, most people had never been to Cleveland, Georgia’s “Babyland General Hospital” to pick one out. Roberts worked with Coleco to mass-market the dolls under their new name, Cabbage Patch Kids. Though a few early-adopters picked up their Kids in 1982, the official launch (and the height of their popularity) came in 1983.
8. Disney Channel
On April 18, 1983 at 7am, the Disney Channel launched with Good Morning, Mickey!, a 30-minute compilation program featuring classic Disney shorts and a brief fitness segment called Mousercize (Jazzercise had been a staple of American fitness since the late 1960s).
9. Care Bears
Before the cartoons, plushes, and books, Care Bears were a line of greeting cards developed by American Greetings. When the characters premiered to the general public in February 1983 at the New York City Toy Fair, a series of six books and the Bears’ first animated TV special (“The Care Bears in the Land Without Feelings“) soon followed.
10. J. Crew
Originally branded as “Popular Club Brand,” J.Crew launched in 1983 as a lower cost alternative to Ralph Lauren’s near monopoly on preppie-only clothing. The brand has been back in the public eye over the past half decade largely because of Michelle Obama’s fondness for the company’s clean lines and affordable prices.
So Gail, exactly how old are you now? Happy Birthday tomorrow!!