March 19: Rock loses Randy Rhoads
March 19 — OTD in GenX history, we lost a guitar legend whose most famous riff will ride forever on the Crazy Train …
Randy Rhoads (1956) perished in a plane crash that never should’ve happened OTD in 1982. While on the Diary of a Madman Tour with Ozzy Osbourne, the bus stopped at the Flying Baron Estates in Leesburg, Fla., to get an air-conditioning unit fixed. The bus driver, Andrew Aycock, also had a pilot’s license, so he took members of the entourage up for a couple of plane rides. On his first run, Aycock buzzed the bus to try to awaken sleeping bandmates. Rhoads was afraid to fly, but when Aycock promised he’d take it easy on the next round because makeup artist Rachel Youngblood was going up and had a bad heart, Rhoads relented. Besides, he wanted to photograph the countryside from the air for his mom. Aycock instead decided to buzz the tour bus three more times, the final time cutting it too close, severing a wing and spiraling into a garage as everything burst into flames. Rhoads’ spirit can be heard in the opening notes of “Crazy Train.”
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Jim Bakker resigned from PTL on this day in 1987, following disclosure of secret hush money paid to former church secretary Jessica Hahn after she alleged Bakker and another PTL associate had drugged and raped her. He was convicted on fraud and conspiracy charges, and his overall presence inspired Jerry Falwell to say Bakker was “the greatest scab and cancer on the face of Christianity in 2,000 years of church history,” and for Jimmy Swaggart — who would go on to get defrocked for prostitution scandals a year later — to declare Bakker “a cancer in the body of Christ.”
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The Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network (C-SPAN) went live in 1979. The broadcaster-funded channel would go on to air countless hearings and speeches by obscure congressional committees we never knew existed but were nonetheless paying for, and provided a landing spot for generations of insane callers.
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“Kate & Allie” debuted in 1984, entertaining us with tales of Kate (Susan St. James) and Allie (Jane Curtin) sharing a New York brownstone while raising their kids together following their respective divorces. … Hijinks ensued.
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“Porky’s” hit the showers — er, theaters — in 1982. This wholesome family romp featured some lovable high school scamps in 1954 simply trying to ditch their virginity in a strip club set in a Florida swamp while getting extorted and beaten. We forget that part of the plot because of the more memorable shower scene.
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Cake and candles for Super Bowl-winning coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, Andy Reid (1958). The 63-year-old former Packers assistant (1992–98) won a ring in Green Bay but led the Chiefs past the 49ers in SB LIV on Feb. 2, 2020.
Also a “Yippy-kay-yay” to Walter Bruce Willis (1955), who turns 66 today. Most famous for the Christmas movie “Die Hard” (1988), he’d established himself first alongside Cybil Shepherd in “Moonlighting” (1985–89).