January 11, 1999 12:00 PM

Week of January 11-17, 1974

When PEOPLE made its debut in March 1974, Nixon ruled, Fonzie “Aaaayed!” and Linda Blair’s head was spinning. To celebrate our 25th anniversary, here’s a new weekly section about the year it all began for us.

For This Crowd, Life Begins at ’50s

Everything old was new again when ABC’s Happy Days premiered Jan. 15. A malt shop, sock hops and Henry Winkler’s lovable biker, Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli (in leather jacket, right, with costar Ron Howard), charmed television audiences nostalgic for the innocent ’50s. “We stuck to the basics, people who cared about people,” recalls Anson Williams, who portrayed nice guy Warren “Potsie” Weber. The warm feelings carried over to their personal lives—Winkler is the godfather of Howard’s four children—and most of the cast remains close. The show ran more than 10 years, spinning off Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy. In addition to his all-purpose, multilingual “aaaay!” “the Fonz” gave us the ringing catchphrase “Sit on it.”

The Gap

On Jan. 15 technicians disputed a White House claim that President Nixon’s secretary Rose Mary Woods (above) accidentally erased 18½ minutes of a Watergate tape by hitting the wrong button.

THE HOTTEST!

The devil made

14-year-old Linda Blair a star in the No. 1 movie The Exorcist. Today, Blair recalls thinking it was “a really bad monster film.”

BORN THIS WEEK

JAN. 12, 1974

Sporty Spice

JAN. 16, 1974

Kate Moss

Courting Controversy

Tennis triumphs earned Billie Jean King the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year honor Jan. 15. Her response was pure hardball. “I should have won it in 1971,” King complained, referring to the year she became the first woman in any sport to earn $100,000 in a single season. (The 71 honor went to Australian tennis star Evonne Goolagong instead.) Not that King, then 30, was all that impressed with the title anyway. “I’m afraid it is too much of a popularity vote,” she said, attributing the selection to her celebrated Battle of the Sexes victory over Bobby Riggs in the Houston Astrodome in September 73.

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