1979

Photo Of The Day

Demonstrating the balloon for the press, about a month after the successful escape.

Demonstrating the balloon for the press, about a month after the successful escape.

Escaping To The West

In a Hot Air Balloon

In 1978 a young East German, Lukas Keller, tried to cross border in a bulldozer and was shot, then left for others to see for several days. Peter Strelzyks and Gunter Wetzel with their wives and two children each were at a picnic with the Kellers when the Stassi (East German Secret Police) drove up and informed the Keller family what had happened. They then took the family away and they were never heard from again.

That incident was so frightening that the two families decided they needed to find a way to escape soon. They came up with the idea of using a hot air balloon but they were without any experience in either design or operation.

As night fell over the East German town of Pössneck on the evening of 14 September 1979, most of the town’s citizens were busy getting ready for bed. But not Günter Wetzel. The mason was in his attic, hunched over an old motor-driven sewing machine, desperately working to complete his secret project.

Wetzel and his friend H. Peter Strelzyk and their families had been working on their plan for more than a year, and by now the authorities were looking for them.

They were nearly out of time. Wetzel had feigned illness in order to procure five weeks off from work, and during that time he and his friend had collected the materials and laboured over the construction together. This would be their last chance.

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Photo Of The Day

The Sarah Joe after she was found and pulled from the sand.

The Sarah Joe after she was found and pulled from the sand.

The Mystery of Sarah Joe

The ocean is a prime spot for mystery-it’s vast, violent, and unknowable. One of the most curious tales comes in the form of the Sarah Joe.

The 17-foot Boston Whaler went out from a busy port, was crewed by a number of responsible people, then disappeared. But this story takes a twist because rather than the usual “was never heard from again,” this boat actually turned up years later. And rather than answer many of the questions, its discovery only added to the mystery.

Scott Moorman was born in 1952 and grew up in the San Fernando Valley. He watched the TV series Adventures in Paradise as a child and started telling his parents that one day he was going to move to Hawaii. He married young and had a son, but his dream of living in Hawaii never left so when Scott and his young wife called it quits in 1975, he fulfilled his dream by moving to the small community of Nahiku on the east coast of Maui.

Nahiku was a town of native Hawaiians and a growing population of “haoles,” mostly Caucasian refugees looking for their version of paradise – hippies, earth mamas, nature freaks and Vietnam vets trying to forget. Women and men both wore their hair long, grew and smoked dope, lived with each other with no thought of being married and partied way more than they worked.

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Photo Of The Day

Photo Unknown source. THE MADNESS OF ‘DISCO DEMOLITION NIGHT’ IN CHICAGO’S COMISKEY PARK, 1979.

Photo Unknown source.
THE MADNESS OF ‘DISCO DEMOLITION NIGHT’ IN CHICAGO’S COMISKEY PARK, 1979.

Burn, Baby, Burn

A Look Back at Disco Demolition Night

This is now officially the world’s largest anti-disco rally! Now listen—we took all the disco records you brought tonight, we got ’em in a giant box, and we’re gonna blow ’em up reeeeeeal goooood.” — Chicago DJ Steve Dahl during Disco Demolition Night  which took place on July 12, 1979.

It may be hard to believe given its presence on radio stations even today, but not everyone caught disco fever in the late 1970s. Like a lot of trends, it began to suffer from being too much of a good thing as it permeated every facet of pop culture. There were disco-themed movies, disco-themed TV sitcoms, and disco-themed albums by artists who had no business dabbling in the musical genre and also fashion was influenced by disco.

It didn’t help that rock and roll performers were dabbling in disco: Rod Stewart recorded “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” Paul McCartney experimented with “Goodnight Tonight” and The Rolling Stones had a big hit with “Miss You.” (Keith Richards admitted that he and Mick Jagger frequented disco clubs and were fans of the sound.) But most rock and roll fans were less than enamoured with the musical crossover. At the 1979 GRAMMY Awards, many rockers lost out to disco performers, sparking rumours that rock and roll was in serious trouble and about to fade away for good. Thirty-six years ago, a Chicago DJ named Steve Dahl wrangled their angst to his advantage in what would become a disco inferno for real: Disco Demolition Night.

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Photo Of The Day

Helmut Newton

Helmut Newton (1920 – 2004)

Two Pairs of Legs in Black Stockings, Paris, 1979 Read more »