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You are at the section Demented Yearbooks

1986: The Demented Year in Review

What a year 1986 was!

We were watching Moonlighting, Cheers, Top Gun, and Crocodile Dundee. A lot of us bought CD players for the very first time. The fledgling Fox network was launched with the ill-received Joan Rivers show on late night. Pee-Wee's Playhouse ran for five years on CBS.

  • "Happy Boy", by The Beat Farmers featuring the immortal Country Dick Montana, which was one of the demented delights of the year.

    ...and in the background we hear "Peter Gunn" by Duane Eddy and the Art of Noise.

    There was also the devasting Challenger disaster, and you can be sure there was nothing funny to write about. The Chernobal nuclear power plant meltdown in the Ukraine yielded one funny song though and it got a lot of requests that year. In fact, this was probably the first time since then that Dr. Demento played this on his show.

  • "Ukrainian Uranium Bread", by Tim Cavanagh

    It's been said that when the big meltdown comes, roaches will survive us all. This song has made the Billboard R&B charts and was one of the most popular songs of the year.

  • "Roaches", by Bobby Jimmy & The Critters

    1986 was the year that delightful deconstruction of our American cultural heritage of this song came our way...

  • "Jane, Get Me Off This Crazy Thing! (Prime Time Radio Mix)", by The Tee Vee Toons Master Mix

    The disco fad was long gone, but a lot of people realized that people still liked to dance, in clubs or just about anywhere. This comedian made a stand-up album and included this little dance song, which made #25 for the year...

  • "I Do The Watusi", by Howie Mandel

    "Weird Al" put out an LP "Polka Party" that year. It wasn't Al's best album, but it was still popular among the Al fans among us. "Living With a Hernia" was a popular cut from this album, as well as the following parody of this Robert Palmer song "Addictied To Love"...

  • "Addicted to Spuds", by "Weird Al" Yankovic

    ...and in the background we hear the instrumental portion of "Human" by The Human League, which was very popular on the pop and adult contemporary charts that year.

    The most requested parody of 1986, in fact the most popular demented song that year, came from a radio station in Phoenix with these morning jocks singing this song that was produced by a then 19-year-old Mark Davis. This would be the start of many demented parody songs that Mark would produce and/or perform on, including the 1997 hit "Star Wars Cantina". This song went through 2 or 3 different mixes and edits as we played frequently during the year. It was originally credited to Tri Five featuring Mike and Bud. And here's the way it finally came out on vinyl...

  • "Rock Me Jerry Lewis", by Mike Elliott & Bud Latour. Bud went on to have a Top 40 hit called "People Are Still Having Sex" in 1991.

    1986 also featured a digitally-created gentlemen with the impecchable dark glasses and the blond hair shown on a TV monitor and voiced by actor who later on was the star of the CBS series "Doctor, Doctor." Matt Frewer was the actor who gave Max Headroom life on his own Cinemax talk show as well as being a star in the short-lived series of 1987, "Max Headroom." He even appearred (as Max) on Late Night with David Letterman that year. It was one of the more modern-sounding songs from that year.

  • "Paranoimia", by Art Of Noise f/ Max Headroom

    We like to wind up our survey with a cut from another fine spoken comedy album and it features songs from an earlier decade...

  • "A Medley Of Beatles' Tunes", by Father Guido Sarducci doing it acapella style. It's from his album "Breakfast in Heaven"

    Events in 1986

    01/16, "Get Out Of My Room" video by Cheech & Chong was certified Gold by the RIAA

    01/24, the Voyager II space probe made its first fly-by of Uranus (81,593 km), finds new moons, and took dozens of photographs. This event proved to be the butt of many jokes.

    01/25, NBC broadcasts a 10-second gap of blank air, courtesy of "Saturday Night Live's" Weekend Update anchor Dennis MIller "and Ronald Reagan."

    01/27, "Dare To Be Stupid" album by "Weird Al" Yankovic was certified Gold (on the 27th even!) by the RIAA

    01/27, "Falco 3" album by Falco was released

    01/27, Frank Zappa's album [42] DOES HUMOR BELONG IN MUSIC? was released.

    02/08, R.C., "Superbowl Shuffle" by The Chicago Bears Shufflin' Crew peaked at #41 on the pop singles chart.

    02/11, "Superbowl Shuffle" single by the Chicago Bears Shufflin' Crew was certified Gold by the RIAA

    02/14, musician Frank Zappa appeared on the TV crime series "Miami Vice," playing a crime boss named "Mr. Frankie."

    02/22, "Rock Me Amadeus" by Falco entered the Top 40 chart.

    03/01, R.C., "Tarzan Boy" by Baltimora peaked at #13 on the pop singles chart.

    03/01, R.C., "Living In America" by James Brown peaked at #4 on the pop singles chart; "Weird Al" parodied it into "Living With A Hernia".

    03/19, the "monkey cam" makes its debut on "Late Night With David Letterman." Its groundbreaking use of a videocamera strapped to a monkey would help prepare America for the camerawork on "N.Y.P.D. Blue." It was so stupid, it was funny as David Letterman laughed himself silly looking at the monkey doing his normal monkeying around.

    03/29, "Comic Relief", TV Event, HBO's charity special for the homeless, aired for free in some cable systems to maximize the viewing audience potential.

    03/29, R.C., "Rock Me Amadeus" by Falco peaked at #1 on the pop singles chart, it was parodied into "Rock Me Jerry Lewis".

    04/09, "Dallas" announced it will revive the killed Bobby Ewing character, thought to have been killed off. The solution was the famous "Bobby In The Shower/It Was All A Dream*" scene.

    04/13, "Return To Mayberry" aired featuring the original cast of the "Andy Griffith Show".

    04/20, in the Mr. Ed Theme Song Fiasco: an evangelist with nothing better to do, Jim Brown, said it included backward Satanic messages such as "The source is the Devil" and "Someone sung this song for Satan". I thought the horse "sung this song for the Edsel", as in a car model that bombed. Dr. Demento thought it was the birds at the end (er, beginning) that were Communist.

    04/22, "Weird Al" Yankovic recorded the first of his Polka Party LP tracks "Dog Eat Dog", "One Of Those Days", and "Don't Wear Those Shoes".

    04/23, "Weird Al" Yankovic recorded the classic "Christmas At Ground Zero" for his Polka Party LP.

    04/30, "The Official G.E. Handshake Logo" is introduced on "Late Show With David Letterman." Five years later, on the 4/30/91 show, Letterman displays the "G.E. voodoo doll."

    05/03, R.C., "Addicted To Love" by Robert Palmer peaked at #1 on the pop singles chart; "Weird Al" parodied it into "Addicted To Spuds"

    05/10, "Rock Me Amadeus," by Falco hit #1 on UK pop chart.

    05/13, "Freedom Of Choice" album by Devo was certified Platinum by the RIAA

    05/13, "The B-52's" album by B-52's was certified Platinum by the RIAA

    05/13, "Richard Pryor's Greatest Hits" album by Richard Pryor was certified Platinum by the RIAA

    05/17, R.C., "The Chicken Song" by Spitting Image peaked at #1 on the U.K. pop singles chart.

    05/19, Ronald Reagan appears at a dinner of the White House News Photographers Association. Putting thumbs to his ears and wiggling his fingers, the President quipped, "I've been waiting for years to do this."

    05/20, "The Flintstones 25h Anniversary Celebration" aired on CBS.

    05/27, "Those Of You With Or W/O Children,You'll Understnd" album by Bill Cosby was released

    06/13, "Back To School" starring Rodney Dangerfield opened in theaters in the U.S.A.

    06/20, The Touchstone Pictures live-action feature film, "Ruthless People" is released in theaters in the US. Weird Al Yankovic parodied the movie theme song with his "Toothless People"

    06/21, R.C., "Living On Video" by Trans-X peaked at #61 on the pop singles chart.

    06/21, R.C., "Vienna Calling" by Falco peaked at #18 on the pop singles chart.

    06/21, R.C., "I Wanna Be A Cowboy" by Boys Dont Cry peaked at #12 on the pop singles chart.

    06/27, on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" on NBC, Judge Wopner tries Carson v. Letterman. Yes, the most-loved "Tonight Show" episode with LATE SHOW NEWS readers is one with Dave in it. On an earlier show, Carson complained that Dave's weather-beaten truck was an eyesore to his exclusive Malibu neighborhood in which both men kept houses, and then surprised his guest by rolling Dave's butt-ugly truck right onto the stage in Burbank. But wait! Letterman notices a broken headlight, caused by Carson's people. The litigation begins. Ultimately, Wopner rules in Letterman's favor and orders restitution.

    07/05, R.C., "Who's Johnny" by El DeBarge peaked at #3 on the pop singles chart; "Weird Al" parodied it into "Here's Johnny" about a retired king of late-night talk shows.

    07/05, R.C., "Peter Gunn" by Art Of Noise & Duane Eddy peaked at #50 on the pop singles chart.

    07/08, President Reagan signs legislation moving up and fixing the start of daylight savings time to the first Sunday in April.

    07/12, "Rumours", by Timex Social Club entered the Top 40 chart.

    07/23, "Walk Like An Egyptian" single by Bangles was released. Watch the video and see Susanna Hoffs do something funny with her eyeballs. Cute, ay?

    08/01, "Max Headroom", TV Talk Show, starring Matt Frewer as M-M-Ma...M-M-M-M-Max Headroom!, debut on Cinemax. Following his success with a talk show on Britain's Channel Four, serving as a spokesman for Coke, a hit pop song, and a British TV movie, Cinemax gives an American talk show to the man who's truly a head of his time: "The Original Max Talking Headroom Show."

    08/01, "Howard The Duck" opened in movie theaters and laid a huge egg; it was the subject of Whimsical Will's first summer movie "interview" first broadcast later that month on KMET-FM during the Dr. Demento Show.

    08/01, "Those Of You With Or W/o Children,you'll Understnd" album by Bill Cosby was certified Gold by the RIAA

    08/04, "Weird Al" Yankovic records the parodys "Addicted To Spuds" and "Living With A Hernia" for his Polka Party LP.

    08/05, Weird Al Yankovic recorded "Here's Johnny," an ode to Ed McMahon and a parody of "Who's Johnny" by El DeBarge. "'Here's Johnny!' he says, and laughs in his special way/'...Johnny!' he says, you know I love him/'Here's Johnny!' he says, that seems to be his claim to fame/Ed McMahon's his name."

    08/13, The Senate approved President Reagan's request for $100 million in aid to the Nicaraguan contras. He later took the Contra Rap.

    08/16, R.C., "Rumors" by Timex Social Club peaked at #8 on the pop singles chart. "Roaches" was the parody of this song.

    08/16, M-T-V began airing the video for "Walk This Way" by Run-D-M-C and featuring Aerosmith; the song also entered the Top 40 chart on that day.

    08/29, "Weird Al" Yankovic records "Toothless People" and the title track of his LP "Polka Party!".

    08/30, "Benson", TV Comedy; last aired on ABC after 7 years. Who won the election? We'll never know.

    08/30, R.C., "Ruthless People" by Mick Jagger peaked at #51 on the pop singles chart; "Weird Al" parodied it into "Toothless People".

    08/30, R.C., "Velcro Fly" by ZZ Top peaked at #35 on the pop singles chart. Do the velcro fly!

    09/01, "Weird Al" Yankovic recorded "Good Enough For Now" for his Polka Party LP.

    09/10, "It's Garry Shandling's Show", TV Variety; debut on Showtime.

    09/13, "Pee-Wee's Playhouse", TV Childrens; starring Paul Reubens, debut on CBS.

    09/19, The 3-D film, "Captain EO", starring Michael Jackson, opens in the Magic Eye Theater at Disneyland, and in EPCOT Center in Walt Disney World. It cost over US17 million to produce, making it the most costly movie to date, at about US1 million per minute. Lucasfilm provided more than 150 special effects, in the 17 minute movie.

    09/20, there really isn't much "Life With Lucy." Comic legend. Yes. Re-teamed with Gale Gordon and a few of the old "I Love Lucy" writers? Yes. Still wacky at age 75? Sadly, no. Even though ABC offered Ms. Ball complete control and a guaranteed 22 shows (and unfortunately no pilot or testing), "Life," stuck in ABC's Saturday night graveyard, is dead in the water by November. Even more embarrassing...it couldn't even beat "The Facts of Life" on NBC!

    09/22, "Alf", TV Scifi Comedy; debut on NBC. ALF=Alien Life Form.

    09/23, "Sledge Hammer!", TV Comedy; debut on ABC.

    09/26, Bobby (Patrick Duffy) returns to prime-time soap "Dallas". The episode, from Southfork Ranch, had Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) returning from the dead -- in the shower, no less! Pam Ewing (Victoria Principal) was a bit perplexed. So were the viewers. This scene wiped out all of the previous season! Wish David Tanny would himself wake up and realize that this whole website was nothing but a dream!

    09/26, the double platinum "Raisin' Hell" by Run-DMC peaked at number three on Billboard's Top-200 album chart. It was the first rap album to crack the top 10.

    09/27, R.C., "Twist And Shout" by The Beatles reentered the chart and peaked at #23 on the pop singles chart. It was a reissue made popular from the movies "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Back To School".

    09/27, R.C., "Walk This Way" by Run-D.M.C. peaked at #4 on the pop singles chart.

    10/00, "Weird Al" Yankovic released his "Polka Party!" LP featuring the hits "Living With A Hernia", "Here's Johnny", "Addicted To Spuds", and "Christmas At Ground Zero".

    10/03, "Robert Klein Time" TV Comedy debut on USA.

    10/04, (or Oct 5?) "What's the Frequency Kenneth?" two well-dressed goons ask as they assault CBS News anchor Dan Rather on a New York City street. Incident inspired the R.E.M. song by that name.

    10/04, R.C., "Paranoimia" by The Art Of Noise with Max Headroom peaked at #34 on the pop singles chart.

    10/09, Fox, whose success prompted Paramount and Warner Bros. to launch their own TV networks nine years later, debut as a broadcast network by stripping "The Late Show" starring Joan Rivers in late night. Without which, Mr. Burns wouldn't been shot, no Shannen Doherty dirt in the tabloids, Buck the dog would still be unemployed, over 200 criminals would not have been caught, and mostly, Melrose Place would still be just an ordinary place. Think about it. Her show was on opposite former boss, Johnny Carson on NBC. Reportedly, Rupert Murdoch paid up to $25,000 a week for Joan's lovely gowns. Carson quipped, "The show proves that all that glitters is not watched."

    10/11, "The Church Lady" (played by Dana Carvey, male) made her first appearance on "Saturday Night Live."

    10/18, "Hans & Franz" first pump you up on SNL.

    10/18, R.C., "Goin' Crazy!" by David Lee Roth peaked at #66 on the pop singles chart.

    10/21, "Living With A Hernia" is released off Weird Al Yankovic's fourth LP "Polka Party"

    10/30, The Beastie Boys released their "License To Ill" LP. It became the first rap album to go to #1.

    10/31, For the first time, Universal Studios in Hollywood opened at night -- to give fans a scare. Halloween Horror Night included Dracula, the Mummy, King Kong, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Wolfman, and Rick Dees. Scary...and that was just the Dees part!

    11/15, it was the second time Saturday Night Live used a time delay loop when the raunchy Sam Kinison hosted.

    11/15, Frank Zappa's album [43] JAZZ FROM HELL was released.

    11/16, Carol Burnett, Dabney Coleman, Teri Garr, and Tom Poston mock the sprawling scenery (and even more sprawling writing) of prime time soap operas in the first comic miniseries -- "Fresno," exploring the ups and downs of the glamorous raisin industry.

    11/20, Steve Martin wed Victoria Tennant

    11/26, the movie "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" was released in the movie theaters in USA.

    11/29, R.C., "Weird Al" Yankovic's album POLKA PARTY peaked at #177 on the Billboard album chart

    12/01, Filming begins on "Who Framed Roger Rabbit".

    12/06, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short (all sons of motherless goats) host SNL to plug "Three Amigos!"

    12/13, Penn & Teller performed "The World's Most Expensive Card Trick" on "Saturday Night Live."

    12/20, the "William Shatner at the Star Trek Convention" classic sketch. In an inspired Saturday Night Live skit, William Shatner fulfills his official duty as the former Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise: attending one of those Trekker conventions. Looking balefully out at the all-male audience, he sees attendees in Federation uniforms, sporting pointy Vulcan ears or proudly wearing T-shirts with slogans like "I Grok Spock." Finally he addresses this motley multitude who gaze up at him so raptly: "Having received many of your letters over the years -- and I've spoken to you, and some of you have traveled hundreds of miles to be here -- I'd just like to say, 'Get a life, will you, people! I mean, for crying out loud, it was just a t.v. show.!'" It was satire with a wicked bite of reality. The sketch was written by Conan O'Brien's first head writer, Robert Smigel.

    12/20, R.C., "Walk Like An Egyptian" by Bangles peaked at #1 on the pop singles chart. It was parodied into "Walk Like Deukmajan" and "Walk With An Erection" among the crowd.

    12/31, "Weird Al" Yankovic gave a live performance at the Manhattan Center in New York NY fronting a house band for MTV Nero's Eve party.

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