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Masters of the Universe

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The crew of Space Shuttle mission STS-51-L pose for their official portrait on November 15, 1985. In the back row from left to right: Ellison S. Onizuka, Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis, and Judy Resnik. In the front row from left to right: Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, and Ron McNair. All were killed when Space Shuttle Challenger blew apart 73 seconds after liftoff.

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With the motto “greed... is good,” Gordon Gekko encapsulates the 1980s drive for excess and ruthless ambition in Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street,” while big traders mirror his notoriously bad behavior with insider trading and drug use in real life. Cocaine has become the drug of choice for those celebrating success; Miami’s status as a drug-dealing haven inspires the launch of one of the decade’s most famous television series: “Miami Vice.” In the ’80s, CEOs see their salaries skyrocket while women struggle to overcome office boys’ clubs. Hollywood superstar Jane Fonda shatters the glass ceiling in the movie “9 to 5,” exposing sexism in the workplace. Offices may be changing slowly but pulpits are transforming fast — and turning faith into fortunes. In the ’80s, televangelists like Jim and Tammy Bakker are masters of the cable universe. But the Bakkers go bust in 1987 amid accusations of adultery, hush money and using donations to fill their own pockets. And the quest to climb higher also leads to one of the ’80s biggest tragedies, as NASA’s Space Shuttle Challenger explodes during lift-off, claiming the lives of all on board.