Looking Back At “Chicago Christmas“: 1990
December 21, 2010 9:06 AM
“The weather for the Tuesday Christmas of 1990 was cold and snowy. A cold wave swept in on December 23rd, and the temperature wouldn’t rise to 20 degrees until about 11 a.m. on Christmas Day. A light dusting of snow was predicted for Christmas Eve.
“The big news of the day was the preparations that were underway in the Persian Gulf for the start of the US offensive to kick Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. The expected hostilities were well-noted from Chicago-area pulpits. Bishop Frank Griswold of the Episcopal Diocese, for instance, told congregants his prayers were for those seeking to bring about a just peace without recourse to war.
“It was only 20 years ago, but the world we lived in was oh, so different:
“With prices falling to around a thousand dollars, the idea of putting a computer in the home was just starting to catch on. IBM’s PS-1 and Apple’s MacIntosh were big sellers. But so were IBM clones made by Epson, Packard Bell and even Magnavox. They were much slower, and much less sophisticated than the machines we have today.
“The Internet and cell phones were in existence, but the Internet was not yet in daily use by most people, and cell phones were, well they were clunky: big, heavy units that some people called bricks.
“As for videos, 1990 was the biggest year ever for the sale of videocassettes.
“There was a run at Christmastime for the video called ”˜Your Christmas Yule Log Fireplace’ which made your TV set look like a roaring fireplace–but without the heat, of course.
“On television on Christmas Eve, it seemed like you couldn’t get away from the 1946 Frank Capra movie, ”˜It’s a Wonderful Life.’ It was on five different channels.
“The top three recording artists in December, 1990, were Stevie B, Madonna, and Bette Midler:
”˜Because I Love You’ by Stevie B; ”˜Justify My Love’ by Madonna; ”˜From a Distance’ Bette Midler.
“Movies of the season included ”˜Dances With Wolves’ starring Kevin Costner; ”˜Three Men and a Little Lady’; ”˜Mermaid’; ”˜The Bonfire of the Vanities’; ”˜The Godfather Part 3’; Arnold Schwarzenegger as ”˜The Kindergarten Cop’ and Macauley Culkin in the first ”˜Home Alone.’
“The Chicago Maritime Museum at North Pier terminal had an exhibit on the Christmas tree ships that brought Christmas trees to Chicago in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
“The Chicago Tribune told us about the Showalter family’s home decorations. They strung no less than seven thousand small colored lights over their two-story home at 105th and Oakley.
“Christmas in Chicago, 1990. With Dave Marsett, this is Jim Benes Newsradio 780 WBBM.“