Home » 80s Capsule 1987 – What Happened In 1987?

80s Capsule 1987 – What Happened In 1987?

by Kathy

In 1987 the world was a very different place with many significant changes having taken place in the previous decade or so.

Social Politics

In 1987, the world was taking a turn for the worse. The cold war was now raging in the streets. The Soviet Union was making advancements in space technology and manufacturing. Iraq invaded Iran, France became part of NATO, and China had begun to spread its influence from Hong Kong to Manchuria . In Africa, there were several failed coups d’etat (some which led to more) and rebellions were becoming more frequent.

The year of 1987 saw an escalation in the arms race between the U.S. and Soviet Union, along with a number of major world events. 1987 began with the 13th Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva, Switzerland, which was attended by more than 90 delegations from around 100 countries who discussed methods to further reduce nuclear weaponry and prevent their use. The conference continued for almost two years, but little progress was made due to disagreements over verification procedures for some treaties.


In 1987 the entertainment industry was undergoing significant changes. As a result of these changes, the worlds of television programming and music were becoming much more closely intertwined than they had been in years past. The transition from one medium to another often meant that movies would be shelved temporarily and replaced by TV series (as was the case with “The Sopranos” and “The Golden Girls”). On the other hand, shows like “M*A*S*H”, which had originally been part of prime-time network scheduling, were now being seen on cable networks such as USA Network (which aired reruns of earlier episodes in addition to new ones). Having established themselves as an alternative programming source for many viewers, cable channels began taking an increasing interest in reality TV, coining the phrase “We’re looking for someone to love.”

The fact that music was no longer confined to the radio played a significant role in this new type of programming. The television program “American Bandstand” launched a string of successful performers and bands (including, at one point, Madonna), while MTV and VH1 became home to a wide range of original programming featuring music videos. This trend continued well into the 21st century; by 2001, more than half of all music video viewing occurred on cable television, as opposed to broadcast channels.


It is common knowledge that the year 1987 was memorable for the Super Bowl, which was played in January. But, it is also common knowledge that there were many other major sports events that took place during 1987.

1987 Baseball World Series. This baseball series was played between the American League champion Detroit Tigers and National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers.  It was the first World Series to be played in California since 1962, with the last one being played in New York (1954).

1987 National Football League. The NFL season started on September 5, 1987. The San Francisco 49ers were in first place at 9-1 behind a very dynamic quarterback named Joe Montana. However, they lost their next 13 games, with Montana injured most of it.  He recovered by mid October, but his team could not make up any ground after that.

1987 World Series. This series was between the American League champion Kansas City Royals and the National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Both teams came from the American League West division and played against each other at a neutral site in Arlington, Texas. The Royals were getting ready to play their first World Series since 1985, while the Cardinals had won it four times (1949, 1954, 1964 & 1967).

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