On This Day January 28
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1912 – Abstract expressionist artist Jackson Pollock (d. 1956)
1936 – Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actor-director Alan Alda (“M*A*S*H,” “Same Time, Next Year,” “The Four Seasons,” “Everyone Says I Love You,” “The West Wing,” “The Aviator”)
1959 – Director Frank Darabont (“The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Green Mile,” “The Mist”)
1968 – Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan (“Building a Mystery,” “Angel,” “Fallen”)
1977 – Singer, actor and TV personality Joey Fatone, former member of NSYNC, one of the most popular boy bands of all time
1981 – Actor-producer Elijah Wood (“Avalon,” “The Ice Storm,” “Deep Impact,” “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Sin City,” “Happy Feet”)
1915 – The American merchant ship William P. Frye becomes the first casualty of World War I as a German cruiser opens fire and sinks the vessel. Despite apologies from the German government, the attack sparks outrage in the U.S.
1922 – Ninety-eight guests are killed, 133 others are injured when the roof of Washington, D.C.’s Knickerbocker Theatre collapses under the weight of a heavy snowfall. The disaster ranks as one of Washington’s worst, and the “Knickerbocker Snowstorm,” as it is known, still holds the record for Washington’s single greatest snowfall.
1958 – The interlocking stud-and-tube plastic Lego brick is patented by Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, whose father founded the Lego toy company (“Lego,” from the Danish term “leg godt,” meaning “play well”). The colorful bricks have covered playroom floors for generations. In fact, it’s estimated that Lego has since produced the equivalent of 62 bricks for every human being on the planet.
1964 – The State Department accuses the Soviet Union of shooting down an unarmed Air Force trainer jet over East Germany, killing its three occupants.
1986 – A nation watches in horror as Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-51-L) explodes 73 seconds into flight, killing teacher Christa McAuliffe — who was to have been the first civilian in space — and fellow crew members Dick Scobee, Michael Smith, Judith Resnick, Ellison Onizuka, Ronald McNair and Gregory Jarvis.
1997 – Four apartheid-era police officers, appearing before a tribunal in South Africa, admit to the 1977 killing of Stephen Biko, a leader of the South African “Black consciousness” movement.
1967 – The Monkees are in the middle of a seven-week ride atop the Billboard Hot 100 with “I’m a Believer,” a song written by Neil Diamond.
1978 – “Baby Come Back,” by Player, begins its third and final week as a No. 1 single.
1984 – “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” off Yes’ “90125” album, rules the Billboard Hot 100 for a second and final week.
1985 – Forty-five of the world’s top recording artists gather in a Los Angeles studio to record “We Are the World” to help raise funds for Ethiopian famine relief. The song, written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones, reaches No. 1 on the singles chart three months later.
1995 – TLC marks the first of four weeks as Billboard singles chart-toppers with “Creep.”
2006 – “Grillz,” by Nelly featuring fellow rappers Paul Wall, Ali & Gipp, is the No. 1 single.