On this Day June 30
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1859 – Frenchman Jean Francois Gravelet, a.k.a. The Great Blondin, or Charles Blondin, becomes the first daredevil to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Thousands of spectators line the American and Canadian sides of the falls to observe the feat, which he performs along an 1,100-foot-long tightrope suspended 160 feet above the raging waters of Niagara Gorge.
1934 – In what comes to be known as the Night of the Long Knives, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler orders a bloody purge of his own political party, assassinating hundreds of Nazis whom he believed had the potential to become political enemies in the future.
1974 – The July 4th scene from the movie “Jaws” is filmed on Martha’s Vineyard, with 400 screaming, panic-stricken extras in bathing suits running from the water multiple times until director Steven Spielberg gets the right take.
1989 – Writer-director Spike Lee’s celebrated third feature film, “Do the Right Thing” — about racial tensions boiling over in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood on the hottest day of the year — opens in U.S. theaters. The movie receives Oscar nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Danny Aiello.
1993 – The legal thriller “The Firm,” directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Gene Hackman, opens in theaters. It’s based on the 1991 novel of the same name by John Grisham.
1995 – Director Ron Howard’s high-intensity drama “Apollo 13,” about NASA’s desperate efforts to bring the crew of Apollo 13 safely home after an explosion that denies them a moon landing, opens in U.S. theaters. Starring Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Ed Harris and Gary Sinise, the movie receives nine Oscar nominations and wins for Best Film Editing and Best Sound.
1973 – George Harrison has the hottest single on the radio for a week with “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth),” from his “Living in the Material World” album.” The track is the ex-Beatles’ second solo No. 1.
1990 – New Kids On the Block step to the top of the singles chart for three weeks with “Step By Step.” The song is an international smash, selling over 10 million copies worldwide, and becomes one of the biggest selling singles of 1990.