What the sky looked like on 1978
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Near the end of the “Disco Decade,” 1978 gave the world many important cultural developments.
In April of this year, the 50th Academy Awards were held in Los Angeles, California. Hosted by Bob Hope, Annie Hall won Best Picture, with Star Wars winning Best Original Score and winning many other technical awards. This was also the year that Grease, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, was released in theatres. 1978 was also the year that another important film, Superman, starring Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel, made its debut in theatres.
In a curious development, the remains of Charlie Chaplin were stolen from Chaplin’s resting place in Coster-sur-Vevey, Switzerland in March of 1978. The body was held for ransom, extorting Chaplin’s widow, Oona Chaplin. Police caught the thieves in May and the body of Charlie Chaplin was returned to the original resting place, although the grave was obviously reinforced for security purposes.
There were some major scientific advances made this year as well. In June, Charon, a satellite of the dwarf planet, Pluto, was discovered. The following month, the first “test tube” baby was born in the United Kingdom. The impact of this reproductive technology gave humanity an unprecedented means of manipulating the natural world and would affect millions of lives around the world.
In two notable political developments, the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt were signed at the U.S. presidential retreat in Maryland. This laid the groundwork for the 1970 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, a significant step towards peace in the region. In Europe, the newly approved Spanish Constitution of 1978 restored democratic government to the Spanish people.
This was also the year that Polish Cardinal Karol Wojtyla succeeded Pope John Paul I, taking the name John Paul II. Pope John Paul II would minister for many years until his passing in 2005.
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