March 18, 1978, is a Saturday. Deposed Pakistani prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Before their annual banquet, members of the fire department in Frostburg, Maryland, ring the firebell 111 times to honor the members who have died fighting fires since the department was founded 100 years ago today. In the NCAA menâ€™s basketball tournament, Kentucky wins the Mideast Regional final over Michigan State, 52-48. Leon Spinks, who upset Muhammad Ali to win the heavyweight boxing championship in February, is stripped of the title for refusing to fight Ken Norton, who is declared champion. Future NBA player Brian Scalabrine and future NHL player Jan Bulis are born; author Leigh Brackett dies, shortly after turning in a script for The Empire Strikes Back. Although she will receive a writing credit, practically none of her words or ideas will make it onto the screen.
Lindsey Wagner of The Bionic Woman is on the cover of TV Guide. This morning, CBS broadcasts the final original episodes of the Robonic Stooges, an animated kidsâ€™ show reimagining Larry, Moe, and Curly as crime-fighting robots of the future. Tonight, it’s the final episode of Kojak. On NBC, Jill Clayburgh hosts Saturday Night Live with musical guest Eddie Money, whose debut single “Baby Hold On” has been on the radio for about a month.
A 15-year-old girl in Illinois buys a copy of the Bee Geesâ€™ Children of the World; looking at the cover, her father declares that the Bee Gees look â€œlike long-haired hippie gangsters.â€ On the latest Billboard Hot 100, the long-haired hippie gangsters hold down the top two spots with â€œNight Feverâ€ and â€œStayinâ€™ Alive.â€ Samantha Sang is next with â€œEmotion,â€ a song the Bee Gees wrote, produced, and sing on; Andy Gibbâ€™s â€œ(Love Is) Thicker Than Water,â€ a former Number-One song, is at Number Five. The lone interloper at the family reunion is Eric Clapton, whose â€œLay Down Sallyâ€ has sneaked up to Number Four.
The Jerry Garcia Band plays Washington, D.C., U2 plays Limerick, Ireland, and Yes plays Los Angeles. The second California Jam concert is held in Ontario, California. Headliners include Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, Heart, Foreigner, Santana, Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush, Dave Mason, Rubicon, and Bob Welch, who brings out surprise guests Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood. Nearly 300,000 fans show up, but critics focus on the generally substandard quality of the performances and the extravagance of the backstage amenities some performers demand, from pinball machines for amusement to plates of M&Ms with the yellow ones removed.
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In Wisconsin, a young music geek misses all of this. He’s gone to the state basketball tournament to watch the Class A finals, although not before catching hell from his parents when they discover him trying to sneak a bottle of his favorite liquor along. For some reason, they let him go anyway.