1977: The Year of The Blaze

By Nicole Mikic and Lea Porcelli, Contributing Writers

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Graphic Courtesy of Daniel Falkenheim Blaze during a game in 1975 (Left picture) by Lonny Cohen | The Montclarion Carol Blazejowski at Commencement. (Right Picture) Photo Courtesy of Mike Peters.
Blaze during a game in 1975 (Left picture)
Photo Courtesy of Lonny Cohen | The Montclarion
Carol Blazejowski at Commencement. (Right Picture)
Photo Courtesy of Mike Peters.

For New York City and the rest of the world, 1977 was a year of firsts. It was the year of record-breaking athletes like Carol Blazejowski, standout stars like John Travolta, advances in science and technology and one-of-a-kind weather patterns. According to public weather records, snow fell for the first and only time in Miami, Florida on January 19, 1977, kickstarting a year of unexpected headlines and events.

On March 5, 1977, just one day before Blazejowski scored 52 points at Madison Square Garden, President Jimmy Carter gave the public a chance to voice their opinions. He opened up a phone line to the public for two hours, which allowed 46 people to call in and have a chat with him during a session that he called, “Ask President Carter.” The session inspired one of the most beloved skits on Saturday Night Live, which aired one week later on March 12, 1977.

New York experienced a havoc-wreaking blackout on July 13, 1977. This happened at the same time that the Son of Sam murders were occurring throughout the city, which caused even more reason for paranoia. The city stayed dark for 25 hours, and by the time the power came back on, arsonists had set more than 1,000 fires and looters ransacked 1,600 stores.

Blazejowski was not the only athlete making headlines in 1977. Reggie Jackson hit three consecutive home runs in game six of the World Series, bringing the New York Yankees to their World Series title against the Los Angeles Dodgers on October 18, 1977.

Just as Blazejowski made history in the world of sports, Star Wars made history in the movie business, when George Lucas released his first installment of the series on May 25, 1977. The movie went on to win seven Oscars and grossed nearly $800 million worldwide. On December 16, 1977, Saturday Night Fever was released. This blockbuster launched John Travolta’s career and brought the disco group, the Bee Gees, into the mainstream music world.

In unfortunate news, two beloved stars of the entertainment world died in 1977. “The King,” Elvis Presley, died on August 16, 1977, and on December 25, 1977, the star of the silent film era, Charlie Chaplin, died.

While breaking news was occupying headlines across the globe, Blazejowski was in her own world at Madison Square Garden, scoring points and breaking barriers that would land her in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

The remainder of 1977 would bring surprises, heartache and history-changing headlines, but one thing would remain the same: the story of a small-town girl from Cranford, New Jersey who made it to the top.

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