1985 – Charles Ng arrested

Charles Ng was an American serial killer who often killed working with another man, Leonard Lake. It is unclear how many people they abducted and killed – often also including rape and torture – but it is generally assumed to be 11 to 25 people. They were eventually caught when Ng was arrested for shoplifting, and Lake for driving a car with plates registered to a different car.

In custody, Lake revealed the truth about himself and Ng, then swallowed cyanide. He died four days later, and a police search of his ranch in Calaveras County, California, found a custom-built dungeon, the remains of at least a dozen people, and extensive journals and video records incriminating himself and Ng. Ng remains on death row at the time of this writing.

Referenced in:
The Ballad Of Leonard And Charles — Exodus

1985 – Leonard Lake arrested

Leonard Lake was an American serial killer who often killed working with another man, Charles Ng. It is unclear how many people they abducted and killed – often also including rape and torture – but it is generally assumed to be 11 to 25 people. They were eventually caught when Ng was arrested for shoplifting, and Lake for driving a car with plates registered to a different car.

In custody, Lake revealed the truth about himself and Ng, then swallowed cyanide. He died four days later, and a police search of his ranch in Calaveras County, California, found a custom-built dungeon, the remains of at least a dozen people, and extensive journals and video records incriminating himself and Ng. Ng remains on death row at the time of this writing.

Referenced in:
The Ballad Of Leonard And Charles — Exodus

1985 — “Rambo: First Blood Part 2” premieres

As sequels go, it’s hard to find one that twists the message of its original installment quite as much as “Rambo: First Blood Part 2”. “First Blood” was a film about a Vietnam veteran who had no place in an America that wanted to pretend that war had never happened. It had more in common with films like “Deliverance” or “Southern Comfort” than it did with its own sequels.

In “Rambo: First Blood Part 2”, there’s no subtlety, no subtext. Eschewing the suspense and psychological aspects of the first film, it’s unashamedly triumphalist, and was one of the major sources of the myth that there were still American POWs in Vietnam. It was, of course, vastly more commercially successful than the first film, and made Sylvester Stallone an A list actor in Hollywood.

Referenced in:
Rambozo the Clown — Dead Kennedys

1985 – Ricky Nelson dies

The glory days of Ricky Nelson’s career were behind him by 1985. But at 45, he wasn’t ready to quit, and he still had enough of a fan base to make gigging a winning proposition financially. The other thing he had was a hatred of traveling by bus. Instead, despite not liking flying that much more than bussing, he had a charter plane to carry him and the band around.

On the New Year’s Eve, 1985, he was booked to play in Dallas, and as they flew into Texas that afternoon, it’s unlikely anyone though anything would go wrong. This may have been a little optimistic – the plane had already been grounded twice in the last six months due to assorted faults – but it was New Year’s Eve. Everyone wanted to party.

Nelson’s plane – which according to some witnesses was already on fire at the time – crashed two miles short of its destination, killing 8 of the ten people on board including Nelson.

Referenced in:

Air Crash Museum — The Dead Milkmen

1985 – Essendon defeats Hawthorn in the VFL Grand Final

As if they were only warming up the previous year, Essendon were never in doubt all day in the 1985 VFL Grand Final. Playing Hawthorn for the third successive year, on this day, Essendon started off strong and kept going that way. They led at the end of every quarter, finally recording a winning margin of 78 points (or 13 goals).

This game was also notable for several other reasons – it was the 332nd and final game of Hawthorn captain ‘Lethal’ Leigh Matthews, widely regarding as one the greatest players in the history of the game; Essendon won back to back premierships for the fourth time in the club’s history; and Dermott Brereton of Hawthorn acheived two records for a Grand Final player: most goals kicked by a player on the losing team (8), and most times reported during a Grand Final (3).

Referenced in:

You’re A Long Way From Home 1 — This Is Serious Mum

1985 – Live Aid

Live Aid was, on the face of it, impossible. The technology for the sort of hook ups that were needed was unreliable. And the idea that so many musicians could put aside their egos, for any cause no matter how good, seemed more than mildly implausible.

But it did come together. At two major concerts in London and Philadelphia, and several smaller ones in Sydney, Moscow, Cologne and The Hague, almost every musician currently working – and several who weren’t – played. Several bands reunited especially for the effort.

The concerts were broadcast around the world to an estimated audience of 400 million people, in addition to the more than 200,000 who attended the various concerts. A total of 150 million British pounds were raised directly by the concerts.

Referenced in:

The Tide Is Turning – Roger Waters