Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, Goodman’s first production of A Christmas Carol premiered in 1978. We took a time machine back to yesteryear to see what life was like in 1978, and what we found was…pretty groovy.

1. Popular TV shows include Happy Days, The Rockford Files, Charlie’s Angels and The Love Boat. And we met both Mork & Mindy (Robin Williams & Pam Dawber) and Arnold Jackson (Gary Coleman of Different Strokes) for the first time. All of those sound ripe for a reboot, no?

2. First Garfield comic strip debuts in the newspapers, voicing everyone’s main grievance with Mondays (and deep love for lasagna) for the first time.


3. Illinois Bell Company introduces the first-ever Cellular Mobile System, installing the first trial cellular network here in Chicago!

4. The first baby is born using in vitro fertilization. English baby Louise Brown is born on July 25th.


5. Introducing John Travolta: Saturday Night Fever (limited release December 1977) and Grease are released in theaters. Other notable releases include Animal House and Superman with Christopher Reeves.

6. Ice cream legends Ben & Jerry open their first ice cream parlor in Burlington, Vermont. Original flavors included Oreo Mint, Wild Blueberry, Mocha Walnut and Honey Orange.

7. Arcade game “Space Invaders” is released. By 1981, their machines took in over four billion quarters. That’s a lot of pocket money!


8. Number One Radio hits range from the Bee Gee’s “How Deep is Your Love” to the Commodores’ “Three Times a Lady,” Donna Summer’s “Macarthur Park” and Chic’s “Le Freak.” Freak out!

9. Popular toys included Hungry, Hungry Hippos and Simon.

10. The World Series of 1978 featured the New York Yankees winning 4 games to 2 over the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers take on the Houston Astros this year for the World Series.

40 years seems like a long time, but so many of the things that are on this list are still around today, like Goodman’s A Christmas Carol. Celebrate the past 40 years with Chicago’s timeless holiday tradition. Tickets →

William J. Norris as Ebenezer Scrooge. The first Goodman Scrooge in the 1978 production of A Christmas Carol, and the longest-lasting (he played the role for 12 seasons, 1978 – 1983, 1985 – 1990).