On this Day August 11
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1934 – The first inmates, classified as “most dangerous,” arrive at the federal prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, joining a few dozen prisoners left over from the island’s days as a U.S. military prison.
1984 – During a sound check before a Saturday radio broadcast, President Ronald Reagan jokingly says, “My fellow Americans. I’m pleased to announce that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” Reagan was unaware, however, that the feed was live. The Soviets, who find no humor in the remark, put their military on high alert.
2014 – Oscar-winning actor-comedian Robin Williams (“Mork and Mindy,” “The World According to Garp,” “Moscow on the Hudson,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Dead Poets Socity,” “Aladdin,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “The Birdcage,” “Good Will Hunting”) dies by suicide at the age of 63.