MTV was just getting its start the last time a Republican took the keys to the Washington governor’s mansion.

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The Iran hostages were released, Aussie sensation Rick Springfield was pining after Jesse’s girl, and IBM started selling something called a PC that featured products from some company called Microsoft. Oh, and Beyoncé was born.

The year was 1981 — the last time Washingtonians put a Republican in the governor’s mansion.

Longtime King County Executive John Spellman, described by The Seattle Times as a pipe-smoking Irishman who was an “unknown quantity in most circles of state government,” rode a Reaganized wave of conservative enthusiasm to beat then-state Sen. Jim McDermott. Spellman began his term on Jan. 14, 1981.

How different the world looked then.

Median home prices across the country were $67,600. In June this year, prices reached $306,700 nationwide.

• A 19-inch color TV cost north of $400.

• Both President Reagan and Pope John Paul II survived assassination attempts.

Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Now there are three women on the high court.

• TV watchers had to contemplate life without the retiring news legend “Uncle Walter” Cronkite (as The Times called him).

MTV launched its 24-hour music video service, though the channel didn’t make it to Seattle until the following year.

• “Raiders of the Lost Ark” debuted in theaters. The Times reviewer gave it five stars, calling it “the wittiest, most exhilarating and outrageous cliffhanger in the history of movie serials.”

• The Mariners, sold for $12.5 million to George Argyros on Spellman’s Inauguration Day, lost just 65 games that year. Of course, they won only 44 in the strike-shortened season.

Muhammad Ali retired from professional boxing.

Mount Rainier saw its worst recorded tragedy. Eleven climbers were killed in an avalanche.

Christopher Boyce was captured at a Port Angeles restaurant. A spy convicted of dealing secrets to the Russians, Boyce had escaped from federal prison and spent months on the lam.

Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer wed in England. Gifts to the couple included an oil well, a pair of vintage cockatoo figurines, and a bronze sculpture of a polo player, according to wire reports — truly royal gifts for the ’80s.