This Month In Retro is a monthly article where we look back on the current month as it happened during the 1980's. Learn, reminisce, and stay retro.
The mostly forgettable, though enjoyable, Phobia premiered in theaters. It stars the guy that played Starsky in Starsky and Hutch and was directed by John Huston. Time for a bold statement: John Huston is responsible for film noir as we understand it today. Decades earlier he made The Maltese Falcon and The Asphalt Jungle, as well as the not noir though still excellent The African Queen. Noir may have originated much earlier than the 80's, but it winds up having an influence on 80's film in a lot of surprising little ways throughout the decade. There's a good reason that most movies with a predominately synthwave soundtrack have noticeable noir influences.
Ever hear of Tom Hanks? He made his feature film debut in (of all things) a slasher flick called He Knows Your Alone. And though I want so badly for this to be a Santa Claus themed slasher film (and therefor the second Santa Claus themed slasher film of 1980), it is simply a Halloween-inspired without much worth note. Tom Hanks will of course pop up in films throughout the 80's, but they tend to have more whimsy than this one.
Solid Gold premiered with host Dionne Warwick. This show, which ran for much of the decade, had a very 70's-esque aesthetic at times. And then the hair of just about every dancer reminds you how 80's it truly was. Solid Gold has reached an interesting point of reference in pop culture where it is recognized in parody by more people than have probably ever seen the show.
The Dead Kennedys made their debut with Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, a blistering punk album clocking in at just above 30 minutes. This album established everything that the band would come to represent: sardonic lyrics that combined radical political thought with a youthful charisma. It's what makes songs like "Holiday in Cambodia" powerful when thought about and wicked fun when moshed to.
Billboard #1 Song of September 1980: "Upside Down" by Diana Ross, which I definitely want a vaporwave version of now. Please and thank you!
In comic books:
In the realm of DC comics, Lex Luthor deactivates all nuclear weapons on earth, repairs the ozone layer, and helps Superman fight some aliens. Seriously. That's pretty much more overall good than any superhero has accomplished. Don't worry though, this Good Guy Lex thing is temporary. In a separate comic, Batman winds up severely drugged and is being seriousy psychologically broken down by Professor Milo. This issue has some pretty stellar cover art.