August 7, 1994 |
Ten years ago, a spunky sprite with a 1,000-watt smile and a girl-next-door name, Mary Lou Retton, vaulted from the Los Angeles Olympics across television screens into the homes of millions of Americans who fell in love with her. Sweet 16, 4-feet-9, a red-white-and-blue, stars-and-stripes ball spinning through the air, she made an entire country cheer on Aug. 3, 1984, when she landed firmly on her feet and flung up her arms, absolutely sure of a perfect 10 that gave her the first U.S.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 1, 1988 |
It's Friday night at the drive-in. As the pale-skinned hero of the season's hot new martial-arts flick snaps the bones of the Asian archvillain, the Winnetka 6 erupts in honking horns and flashing headlights. The movie that has the big-wheeled pickups beeping is "Bloodsport." Advertised as the true story of an American who defeated all comers 13 years ago in a no-holds-barred international tournament of warriors, the movie opened last month at 800 U.S.
February 14, 1993 |
It was just another tragedy in family court. A young crack mother, desperate to conceal her pregnancy, had locked herself in a tenement bathroom and given birth to a three-pound boy. As she pushed, he fell to the floor and broke his skull. The mother abandoned him, like she had two previous babies. All were born addicted to crack. "Can we do anything about this woman?" asks Judge Judith Sheindlin, her voice taut with anger.
March 14, 1988 |
In the late 1950s, Jimmy Swaggart was roaming around the back roads of Louisiana in a broken-down Chevrolet, earning about $40 a week from his preaching and gospel singing. He has come a long way since then. The controversial evangelist now heads a tax-exempt enterprise that ranks, by almost any measure, as one of the most successful of its kind. Jimmy Swaggart World Ministries and its Bible college boasted revenues of $150 million in 1987--more than $500,000 each working day.
January 12, 1996 |
Pop diva Janet Jackson is expected to sign a four-album contract today with Virgin Records worth an estimated $80 million--an unprecedented fee that analysts say could set the stage for another round of music industry mega-deals. The pact is the biggest ever awarded, surpassing the $60-million mark shared by such superstars as Michael Jackson and Madonna, whose six-album deals included film and joint-venture record label components.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 7, 1999 |
For Drew Birtness, the last straw came when he realized he was arresting the grandchildren of suspects he had picked up years ago. The Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy had been working the streets of East Los Angeles for 21 years, long enough to be hardened by the shootings and deaths and gangs--but also long enough to try something new. "I was tired of picking up kids' bodies off the street," he said.
December 11, 1988 |
Elias Lopez never had a chance. He got sucked into something so much stronger than he was, something with a history so powerful, that there seemed no choice but to submit. He was 17, a nice, quietly handsome young man with jet-black hair and a plan. He was going to be a cop, a narcotics investigator. Sure, there were street gangs in his neighborhood, but he did not want to join one. All Elias wanted to do was look like a gang member.
November 7, 1989 |
In the spring and early summer of 1984, I watched two teen-agers in the selection process for the U.S. Olympic boxing team who looked to me like future superstars. As it turned out, neither made the Olympic team that year--1984 was too soon for them. But both left the impression that they were champions in early development. One was Mike Tyson, a 17-year-old pounder from Upstate New York who was still learning to box. An unpolished diamond.
July 23, 1989 |
REMEMBERING HER DAYS AS A young girl--"No one would have accused me of being a happy child"--Leslie Abramson has an enduring memory of her favorite means of escape. After school, at the corner luncheonette, she'd buy button candies and chocolate marshmallow twists (two for a nickel) and spend hours at the comic-book racks, reading. Mad magazine was good for a giggle. But it was the spooky stuff, the horror comics like "Tales From the Crypt," that she really loved. And hated, too.
June 4, 1998 |
In the rarefied, regimented world of ballroom dancing, an incident in 1982 proved nothing short of a fashion coup: During an international competition, half a dozen of the world's reigning ballroom dancers--queens of the floor--threw down their tutus. For decades they'd been consigned to wear short skirts with layer upon layer of netting that made them look as if they had stick legs and huge hips. They'd had enough.