December 16, 1973, is a Sunday. The front-page story on many newspapers across the country regards the decision yesterday by the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its list of psychiatric disorders. Also in the paper today is the story of J. Paul Getty III’s release by Italian kidnappers, who received a $2.8 million ransom. The previous month, the kidnappers had cut off Getty’s ear and delivered it along with a ransom demand to a newspaper. Ongoing stories include the energy crisis that began in October, when OPEC embargoed oil sales to the West after the Yom Kippur War. For many families, Christmas 1973 is going to be a lean one, thanks to skyrocketing prices for gasoline and heating oil. There are already lines at gas stations for scarce supplies, and there’s talk of rationing. Another ongoing story: Comet Kohoutek, which this week’s Time magazine calls “The Comet of the Century.” It will turn out to be a fizzle. Today, a section of New York City’s West Side Highway collapses and is closed; facing an $88 million repair bill, the city will decide to permanently close the highway.

On the last day of the NFL regular season, Buffalo Bills running back O. J. Simpson carries the ball 34 times for 200 yards in a 34-14 win over the New York Jets to become the first to go over 2000 yards rushing in a season, ending with 2003. The Cowboys, Vikings, Redskins, and Los Angeles Rams qualify for the playoffs in the NFC; the Dolphins, Bengals, Raiders, and Steelers make it in the AFC. The first Honololu Marathon is held. New in theaters this weekend: Steve McQueen in Papillon. On TV tonight, the big event is a new adaptation of The Glass Menagerie starring Katharine Hepburn, presented with limited commercial interruptions on ABC. Up against it on CBS are Mannix and Barnaby Jones; on NBC, an episode of Columbo.

The New York Times runs a feature article on Emerson, Lake & Palmer headlined “They Won’t Bach Around the Clock,” in advance of the band’s two-night stand at Madison Square Garden starting tomorrow. Elvis Presley records three songs at Stax Studios in Memphis. Mountain plays Detroit, Golden Earring plays Birmingham, England, and the New Lost City Ramblers play the NYU Law School. At KGMQ in Honolulu, the Stylistics’ “Rockin’ Roll Baby” is Number One, nosing out Marie Osmond’s “Paper Roses” at Number Two. Another sap-versus-soul juxtaposition takes place at Numbers 6 and 7, where the Carpenters’ “Top of the World” sits alongside “Let’s Get it On” by Marvin Gaye. Several records big in Hawaii aren’t as big elsewhere, including the Chicago-esque “Pretty Lady” by Lighthouse and “My Old School” by Steely Dan. The band had lip-synched it on American Bandstand back in November.

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J.A. Bartlett

Writer, raconteur, radio geek, beer snob. There's more of this pondwater at

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