Lost in Space

updated 12/31/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/31/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

The Hubble Space Telescope cost $1.5 billion. But it went aloft with the wrong eyeglass prescription, and now it's Up There, squinting Magoo-like into the void and wondering: Is that one quasar or two?

And speaking of seeing double: In February heavyweight Buster Douglas stunned the boxing world by toppling Mike Tyson. Eight months later, a blubbery Buster was blasted into orbit by Evander Holyfield.

Wheel of Fortune's Pat Sajak challenged chat-show heavyweight Johnny Carson with his own talk show. Result: another KO for the late-night king.

In Atlantic City did Donald Trump a stately pleasure dome decree: the $1.1 billion Taj Mahal casino. Now somewhere gamblers frolic, and successful developers shout, but there is no joy in Jersey, where Trump's Taj has crapped out.

NBC eggheads, deciding it was plain that Jane (Pauley) was mainly on the wane, replaced heron the Today show with Deborah Norville. Whoops goes the peacock! Today's ratings tumbled, Norville has taken heat—and Jane, through her Real Life with Jane Pauley, is again plainly on the gain.

Full of sound and fury and signifying not much, Tom Cruise's Days of Thunder never got out of second gear.

For the second time in five years Humphrey the Humpback Whale swam into shallow waters and, without human help, would have left his lard in San Francisco. It's elephants that never forget.

Oprah Winfrey bragged on TV that she had lost 67 lbs. on a liquid diet—then put it all back on and ate her words (zero calories).

Ronald Reagan wrote his memoirs, An American Life, but Millie's Book, about the Bushes' First Dog, outsold it.

Some dynasty! Led by Jose Canseco, the Oakland A's were supposed to be invincible, and the World Series was considered just a formality. It was; the Cincinnati Reds swept the A's in four games.

Jack Nicholson, who played private eye Jake Gittes in 1974's Chinatown, directed and starred in this year's sequel, The Two Jakes. Critics gave it a bloody nose, proving that one Jake was just jake.

Steve Bochco, TV genius, finally missed with Cop Rock—the police opera that couldn't get arrested.

Even Mother Earth got no respect. Voters in New York and California spurned environmental initiatives, and West Germany's Green Party lost all its parliamentary seats.

Is it live? Or is it Memorex? Or is it-gasp!—Milli Vanilli? Revealed as frauds—but frauds with great hair—Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus returned their Grammy, apologized profusely and began lip-synching out of sight.

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