The landmark 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles kicked off 30 years ago this week; with their tight budget and heavy sponsorship, they changed the way Olympics are run, and they also brought us some amazingly goofy pageantry. The opening ceremonies had their Gershwin and rocket men (hat tip to A Walker in LA for that one), but the closing ceremony—marked by a live performance of "All Night Long" by Lionel Ritchie in a sequined jacket-and-shirt combo that must have weighed about 20 pounds AND the appearance of a UFO that hovered over the Coliseum communicating with the crowd—was pretty clearly the pinnacle of the games. They'll be tough to top if LA wins its bid for the 2024 Summer games.
Lionel Ritchie put on an awesome performance of his classic jam for the crowd at the Coliseum in some of the booty-cuppingest white pants known to man, flanked by breakdancers popping and locking their hearts out while stage-mounted pyrotechnics flashed to the oohs and aahs of the crowd.
Yes, this video does take a while to get good, but around the three-minute mark, when the spaceship starts descending and interacting with the crowd, à la Close Encounters of the Third Kind, it gets very cool. The two-ton, jet-fuel-powered spaceship, nicknamed "the Flying Taco" by the event staff, had a close call just a few days before the ceremony that almost grounded it. The secrets of how the craft was made were revealed in 2009.
· Out of the sky, some Hollywood magic [LAT]
· Here Are LA's Huge Plans for the 2024 Olympics [Curbed LA]