1985 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

1985 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

Quick Facts from 1985:

  • World Changing Event: Mikhail Gorbachev became the Soviet Premier, beginning the era of “Glasnost” – openness and transparency.
  • Microsoft Windows 1.0 was released.
  • The Top Song was Say You, Say Me by Lionel Richie
  • The Movies to Watch include Back to the Future, The Color Purple, Cocoon, Witness, The Breakfast Club, Desperately Seeking Susan, and Prizzi’s Honor
  • The Most Famous Person in America was probably Phil Collins
  • Notable books include A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice, and The Ciderhouse Rules by John Irving
  • “Don’t Mess with Texas” began as an anti-littering campaign in 1985.
  • Price of a Swatch Watch: $29.99
    The price of a postage stamp in 1985 was 22 cents
    Swiss Miss Cocoa: 99 cents/9 pack
  • 1 ounce of gold value: $327.00
  • The Funny Guy was: Steven Wright
    The Funny Late Night Host: Johnny Carson
    The Funny Later Night Host: David Letterman
  • Pop Culture Censorship: The Chinese government banned Back to the Future because of its use of time travel and it was a “disrespectful portrayal of history.”

Top Ten Baby Names of 1985:

Jessica, Ashley, Jennifer, Amanda, Sarah, Michael, Chris, Topher, Matthew, Joshua, Daniel

Fashion Icons and Sex Symbols:

Catherine Bach, Kim Basinger, Jennifer Beals, Joan Collins, Lydia Cornell, E.G. Daily, Elvira, Morgan Fairchild, Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Kathy Ireland, Heather Langenkamp, Kelly LeBrock, Heather Locklear, Madonna, Kelli Maroney, Dolly Parton, Tatjana Patitz, Paulina Porizkova, Victoria Principal, Linnea Quigley, Tanya Roberts, Jewel Shepard, Helen Slater, Suzanne Somers, Brinke Stevens, Heather Thomas

Leading Men and Hollywood Heartthrobs:

Harrison Ford, Mick Jagger, John Travolta, Robert Redford

“The Quotes:”

– Dan Rather, a new ending for his daily news broadcast.

“Thank you for your support.”
– Bartles & Jaymes

“You Look Mah Va Lous”
-Billy Crystal as Fernando Lamsa

Time Magazine’s Man of the Year:

Deng Xiaoping

Miss America:

Sharlene Wells (Salt Lake City, UT)

Miss USA:

Laura Martinez-Herring (Texas)

Celebrity RIP:

Airplane Celebrity Death: Ricky Nelson

Yul Brynner died of lung cancer in 1985. After his death, he had a commercial aired: ‘Now that I’m gone, I tell you: ‘Don’t smoke, whatever you do, just don’t smoke.’

The Scandals:

“Project Kansas” secretly tested a new formula for Coca-Cola that became “New Coke.” Old Coke was gone, and New Coke sold poorly for three months. ABC’s Peter Jennings interrupted General Hospital to announce the return of “Coke Classic.” New Coke was available until 1992.

American Jonathon Pollard was captured spying on the U.S. for the State of Israel.

In 1985, the mayors of Carthage and Rome formally met to end the 3rd Punic War after 2,131 years.

Space Shuttle Challenger on the mission STS-61-A in 1985 carried eight people into space from launch to landing, making it the record for the largest crew flown on a single mission.

The US Supreme Court ruled in 1985 that Long Island is legally not an island. Despite the legal decision, the United States Board on Geographic Names still considers it an island, as it is surrounded by water.

1942-1985 quick fact: Dentists used uranium in dental porcelains because it helped give them a natural color.

World News:

Space Shuttle Challenger on the mission STS-61-A in 1985 carried 8 people into space from launch to landing, making it the record for the largest crew flown on a single mission.

Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) was discovered in 1793 by the English scientist Joseph Priestley, who also discovered oxygen. For the first 40 years, it was used for recreational enjoyment and public shows. Until 1985, scientists had no idea how the gas actually worked.

Germany passed legislation in 1985 that made it illegal to deny the existence of the Holocaust.

The McRib is sold year-round at McDonald’s in Germany and has been a permanent menu item since 1985.

The US Supreme Court ruled in 1985 that Long Island is legally not an island. Despite the legal decision, the United States Board on Geographic Names still considers it an island, as it is surrounded by water.

US Politics:

January 21, 1985 (Monday): Second inauguration of Ronald Reagan

Pop Culture Facts & History:

The plastic table thingy that saves hot pizza from the top of the box was invented by Carmela Vitale (patent #4,498,586). It’s called a ”package saver.”  Some people call it a “pressure guard.”

Tommy Hilfiger started selling his menswear clothing line.

The Titanic was found 370 miles from Newfoundland.

The largest diamond in the world weighed 755.5 carats before it was cut down to 545.67 carats, and it was found in South Africa in 1985.

Queen’s 1985 Live Aid performance (seen at the end of the Bohemian Rhapsody movie) was voted the greatest live performance in rock history. Jimi Hendrix’s appearance at Woodstock in August 1969 came second, followed by the Sex Pistols in 1976, according to the BBC’s World’s Greatest Gigs.

Ferris Bueller’s actual “day off” was June 5, 1985, pinpointed by the data from the Braves vs. Cubs game he attended.

The film Mask is based on the true story of Roy Lee “Rocky” Dennis, an American boy with craniodiaphyseal dysplasia, an extremely rare sclerotic bone disorder.

The Abraham Lincoln family line has been extinct since December 24, 1985, when its last undisputed descendant, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, died without any children.

In 1985, the most powerful supercomputer on Earth had 1.9 GFLOPS of processing power. Today, one Nintendo GameCube has 9.4. The world’s fastest supercomputer was a Cray-2. A modern iPad2 has as much computing power as the Cray-2 system.

Robert Downey Jr. was on Saturday Night Live as a full-time cast member for one season in 1985.

Madison was not a name for girls until 1985. Its rise in popularity (eventually peaking at #2 in 2001) is probably because of the 1984 movie Splash, a rom-com directed by Ron Howard.

The 12-year-old girl in the photo on the June 1985 cover of National Geographic is Sharbat Gula during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Coke was the first soft drink consumed in Space when astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger tested the “Coca-Cola Space Can” on July 12, 1985.

1985’s We Built This City by Starship was named the worst song of all time by Blender, Gentlemen’s Quarterly, Rolling Stone magazines, and VHS’s special episode “The 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs… Ever.

The movie Clue in 1985 had three different endings randomly distributed to theaters.

The 1985 film Young Sherlock Holmes was the first feature film to have a completely CGI character: the knight emerging from the stained glass window. The effect was created by Pixar’s John Lasseter, who worked at Lucasfilm then.

Disney’s The Black Cauldron (1985) did so poorly at the box office that it was released on VHS until 13 years later, and to this day, it has yet to make back even half of its $44 million budget.

Katrina and the Waves,  best known for the 1985 hit Walking on Sunshine, won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1997.

In 1985, Aretha Franklin’s voice was legally declared as one of Michigan’s natural resources.

Sour Patch Kids were originally called Mars Men, but the name changed in 1985 to capitalize on the popularity of Cabbage Patch Kids.

Super Mario Brothers was so wildly popular the best-selling book in Japan in 1985 was a strategy guide for Super Mario Bros.

Phil Collins took a supersonic jet to perform for Live Aid 1985 at Wembley Stadium and JFK Stadium on the same day. On the Concorde flight, he ran into Cher, who had no idea about the concert. She attended the concert and can be seen performing as part of the concert’s We Are the World finale.

Dennis Farina was the only cast member of Law & Order who was a Cop. He served in the Burglary Division of the Chicago Police Department from 1967 – 1985.

Cloudbusting” was a term coined by psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich to describe the manipulation of “orgone energy” to change the weather through a specially designed machine. The term was later used as the subject and title of Katie Bush’s 1985 single, Cloudbusting.

Hulk Hogan and Mr. T were guests on Richard Belzer’s talk show Hot Properties. Belzer asked Hogan to put him in a wrestling move. Pressured by the audience, Hogan put Belzer in a front chin lock, and Belzer passed out and hit his head on the floor, resulting in 9 stitches.

The song 1985 by Bowling For Soup is a cover song, the original being released a year earlier by SR-71.

Heart’s 1985 hit What About Love is a cover song, too, originally written and performed by the Canadian band Toronto.

There is an official Goonies Day every year on June 7 in Astoria, Oregon. The majority of the film Goonies was filmed in Astoria, and June 7th is the day the movie was released in 1985.

Cost of a Superbowl ad in 1985: $525,000

 1985 Oops!

Roberto P. Hernandez was jailed for a robbery he did not commit. The authorities confused him with another man because they had the same name, birthday, weight, height, brown hair and eyes, and tattoos on their left arms. Their Social Security Numbers differed by only one digit. #oops

The Habits:

Wondering whether David (Bruce Willis) and Maddie (Cybill Shepard) would get together on TV’s Moonlighting. They did in season 3.

Watching one of the most innovative music videos of all time – Take on Me by A-ha!

1st Appearances & 1985’s Most Popular Christmas Gifts, Toys and Presents:

Wearing Swatch Watches. Playing with Super Mario Brothers, She-Ra Princess of Power action figures, Care Bears, Teddy Ruxpin, My Buddy dolls, Pound Puppies, Wheel of Fortune Game

David Letterman’s First Top Ten List Appeared…

Top 10 Words That Almost Rhyme With “Peas”
10. Heats
9. Rice
8. Moss
7. ties
6. Needs
5. Lens
4. Ice
3. Nurse
2. Leaks
1. Meats

Popular and Best-selling Books From 1985:

A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Baby’s First Words by Lars Wik
Chapterhouse: Dune by Frank Herbert
The Ciderhouse Rules by John Irving
The Class by Erich Segal
Contact by Carl Sagan
Family Album by Danielle Steel
Hold The Dream by Barbara Taylor Bradford
If Tomorrow Comes by Sidney Sheldon
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond
Jubal Sackett by Louis L’Amour
Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Lucky by Jackie Collins
The Mammoth Hunters by Jean M. Auel
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Secrets by Danielle Steel
Self-Help by Lorrie Moore
The Sicilian by Mario Puzo
Skeleton Crew by Stephen King
The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub
Texas by James A. Michener
The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice
White Noise by Don DeLillo

East End Shows:

Me and My Girl (Musical) Opened on February 12, 1985, and closed on January 16, 1993 (revival of the 1937 musical)
Les Miserables (Musical) Opened on October 8, 1985

Broadway Show:

Big River (Musical) Opened on April 25, 1985, and closed on September 20, 1987

Best Film Oscar Winner:

Amadeus (presented in 1985)

The Big Movies: (according to boxofficemojo)

1. Back To The Future
2. Rambo: First Blood Part II
3. Rocky IV
4. The Color Purple
5. Out Of Africa
6. Cocoon
7. The Jewel of the Nile
8. Witness
9. The Goonies
10. Spies Like Us

1985 Most Popular TV Shows:

1. The Cosby Show (NBC)
2. Family Ties (NBC)
3. Murder, She Wrote (CBS)
4. 60 Minutes (CBS)
5. Cheers (NBC)
6. Dallas (CBS)
7. Dynasty (ABC)
8. The Golden Girls (NBC)
9. Miami Vice (NBC)
10. Who’s the Boss? (ABC)

1985 Billboard Number One Songs:

December 22, 1984 – February 1, 1985:
Like a Virgin– Madonna

February 2February 15:
I Want to Know What Love Is – Foreigner

February 16March 8:
Careless Whisper – Wham! Featuring George Michael

March 9March 29:
Can’t Fight This Feeling – REO Speedwagon

March 30April 12:
One More Night – Phil Collins

April 13May 10:
We Are The World – USA For Africa

May 11May 17:
Crazy for You – Madonna

May 18 – May 24:
Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds

May 25 – June 7:
Everything She Wants – Wham!

June 8June 21:
Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Tears For Fears

June 22July 5:
Heaven – Bryan Adams

July 6 – July 12:
Sussudio – Phil Collins

July 13July 26:
A View to a Kill – Duran Duran

July 27August 2:
Everytime You Go Away – Paul Young

August 3August 23:
Shout – Tears For Fears

August 24September 6:
The Power of Love – Huey Lewis & The News

September 7September 20:
St. Elmo’s Fire (Man In Motion) – John Parr

September 21October 11:
Money For Nothing – Dire Straits

October 12October 18:
Oh Sheila – Ready For the World

October 19October 25:
Take On Me – A-ha

October 26November 1:
Saving All My Love For You – Whitney Houston

November 2November 8:
Part-Time Lover – Stevie Wonder

November 9November 15:
Miami Vice Theme – Jan Hammer

November 16November 29:
We Built This City – Starship

November 30December 6:
Separate Lives – Phil Collins & Marilyn Martin

December 7December 20:
Broken Wings – Mr. Mister

December 21, 1985 – January 17, 1986:
Say You, Say Me – Lionel Richie


World Series Champions: Kansas City Royals
Superbowl XIX Champions: San Francisco 49ers
NBA Champions: Los Angeles Lakers
Stanley Cup Champs: Edmonton Oilers
U.S. Open Golf Andy North
U.S. Tennis: (Men/Ladies) Ivan Lendl/Hana Mandlikova
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Boris Becker/Martina Navratilova
NCAA Football Champions: Oklahoma
NCAA Basketball Champions: Villanova
Kentucky Derby: Spend A Buck

More 1985 Facts and History Resources:

Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)
Popular and Notable Books (popculture.us)
Broadway Shows that Opened in 1985X
1985 Calendar, courtesy of Time and Date.com
Everything 80s Podcast 1985
Fact Monster
1980s, Infoplease.com World History
Live Aid
1985 in Movies (according to IMDB)
1985 Top Movies (according to BoxOfficeMojo)
New Coke
Retrowaste Vintage Culture
The 80s(History.com)
80s and 90s Classic NES Games (1985-1994)
1980s Slang
Wikipedia 1985