On This Day April 25

Musical Milestones

1956 – Rock and Roll King Elvis Presley signs a seven-year movie contract with Paramount Pictures.

1960 – Elvis Presley gets stuck on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks with “Stuck On You.” It’s his first hit single following his two-year stint in the U.S. Army.

1970 – The Jackson 5 give The Beatles’ “Let It Be” the boot and claim the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for two weeks with “ABC.”

1981 – Daryl Hall and John Oates begin their third and final week as chart-toppers with “Kiss On My List.”

1987 – U2 begin a nine-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart with “The Joshua Tree,” which packs chart-topping tracks including “With or Without You,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Where the Streets Have No Name.” It goes on to capture Grammys for Album of the Year and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

1990 – The Fender Stratocaster that rock guitar legend Jimi Hendrix played at the Woodstock festival is auctioned off for a record $330,000. His two-hour set at the 1969 rock festival included a rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.”

1992 – “Jump,” by hip hop duo Kris Kross, grabs the top spot on the singles chart and remains there for eight weeks.

1998 – Next has the No. 1 single with “Too Close.” The track remains on top of the pop chart for five weeks.

2007 – Leukemia claims the life of 69-year-old Bobby “Boris” Pickett, best known for his hit novelty song “Monster Mash,” which still gets radio airplay every Halloween.

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ABC

Jackson 5

The Joshua Tree

U2

A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety

Jimmy Carter

Shall We Dance

Starring Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire and Edward Everett Horton, and directed by Mark Sandrich

Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism

Bob Edwards

Dog Day Afternoon

Starring Al Pacino, John Cazale, James Broderick and Charles Durning, and directed by Sidney Lumet

On This Day March 25

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Save The Turtles: The Turtles Greatest Hits

The Turtles

The Complete Greatest Hits

America

Triangle: The Fire That Changed America

David Von Drehle

Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rocketman

Starring Taron EgertonJamie Bell and Richard Madden, and directed by Dexter Fletcher

L.A. Story

Starring Steve MartinMarilu Henner and Sarah Jessica Parker, and directed by Mick Jackson

On This Day February 25

History Highlights

1870 – Hiram Rhodes Revels, a Republican from Natchez, Mississippi, is sworn into the U.S. Senate, becoming the first African American ever to sit in Congress. He is assigned to serve on the Committee on Education and Labor and the Committee on the District of Columbia.

1916 – German troops seize Fort Douaumont, the most formidable of the forts guarding the walled city of Verdun, France, four days after launching their initial attack. The Battle of Verdun becomes the longest and bloodiest conflict of World War I, lasting 10 months and resulting in over 700,000 casualties.

1950 – The TV comedy “Your Show of Shows,” hosted by Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, premieres, eventually helping launch the successful entertainment careers of Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Woody Allen and others.

1964 – Twenty-two-year-old Cassius Clay (who later changes his name to Muhammad Ali) stuns odds-makers by dethroning world heavyweight boxing champ Sonny Liston in a seventh-round technical knockout in Miami Beach.

1984 – A massive explosion, triggered when gasoline from a ruptured pipeline ignited, levels a shantytown outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, killing at least 500 people — mostly young children. However, investigators speculate that the actual death toll may have been closer to 700 since many bodies were incinerated in the intense blaze.

1986 – President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines flees the nation after 20 years of rule. Corazon Aquino becomes that nation’s first woman president. 

2004 – “The Passion of the Christ,” Mel Gibson’s controversial film about the final hours of Jesus of Nazareth’s life, opens in U.S. theaters, starring  Jim Caviezel as Jesus. It receives three Oscar nominations.

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Christopher Cross

Christopher Cross

1984

Van Halen

Black is Best: The Riddle of Cassius Clay

Jack Olsen

Diary of a Dictator -- Ferdinand & Imelda: The Last Days of Camelot

William C. Rempel

Deep Impact

Starring Robert Duvall, Tea Leoni and Elijah Wood, and directed by Mimi Leder

The Social Network

Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake and Armie Hammer, and directed by David Fincher

On This Day January 25

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Carpenters: Gold / Greatest Hits

Carpenters

The Broadway Album

Barbra Streisand

John F. Kennedy: The American Presidents Series: The 35th President, 1961-1963

Alan Brinkley

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

Vincent Bugliosi

The Best of Etta James: The Millennium Collection

Etta James

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Starring William Vail and Paul A. Partain, and directed by Tobe Hooper

On This Day December 25

History Highlights

1776 – General George Washington and 2,400 of his Continental Army troops cross the icy waters of the Delaware River for a surprise attack against Hessian forces at Trenton, New Jersey.

1914 – Gunfire is replaced with the sounds of Christmas carols as German troops serving in World War I lay down their weapons and break into song on Christmas morning. Russian, French and British troops do the same and even shake hands and exchange cigarettes with enemy soldiers along the eastern and western fronts during the Christmas Truce of 1914. 

1962 – “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a film based on the 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Harper Lee, opens in theaters, starring Gregory Peck, who wins a Best Actor Oscar for his performance as attorney Atticus Finch.

1973 – “The Sting,” starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford as a pair of 1930s grifters, premieres.

1977 – British director, producer and comedic actor Charlie Chaplin, an icon of the silent film era, dies at the age of 88.

1989 – Ousted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, are executed following a popular uprising.

1989 – Former New York Yankees manager Billy Martin dies in a traffic accident at the age of 61.

1991 – Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as president of the Soviet Union just days after 11 of the former Soviet republics establish the Commonwealth of Independent States.

1996 – Six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey is killed in her Boulder, Colorado, home. Her parents call police the following morning to report their daughter missing and discover a ransom note demanding $118,000. The girl’s body is found in the basement that afternoon. The crime becomes a national sensation that remains unsolved today.

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White Christmas

Bing Crosby

Dino The Essential Dean Martin

Dean Martin

Charlie Chaplin: A Brief Life

Peter Ackroyd

Billy Martin: Baseball's Flawed Genius

Bill Pennington

The Twilight Zone (Season 1)

Created by Rod Serling

Coal Miner's Daughter

Starring Sissy Spacek, Tommy Lee Jones and Levon Helm, and directed by Michael Apted

On This Day November 25

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The Last Waltz

Starring The Band,  Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, Eric Clapton and other musicians, and directed by Martin Scorsese

The Bodyguard

Starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, and directed by Mick Jackson

Naming Names

Victor S. Navasky

Iran-Contra: Reagan's Scandal and the Unchecked Abuse of Presidential Power

Malcolm Byrne

56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports

Kostya Kennedy

Come to the Edge: A Memoir

Christina Haag

On This Day October 25

History Highlights

1962 – Tensions escalate between the United States and Soviet Union over the Cuban Missile Crisis. During a U.N. Security Council meeting, U.S. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson demands that his Soviet counterpart confirm whether his country is installing missiles in Cuba, saying, “I am prepared to wait for my answer until hell freezes over.”

1971 –  Sixteen years after Disneyland opens in Anaheim, California, the official dedication of Walt Disney World takes place in Orlando, Florida. Walt Disney’s brother, Roy O. Disney, and Mickey Mouse preside, followed by a grand opening parade through the Magic Kingdom. The celebration is taped for a special that airs on NBC four days later.

1982 – The sitcom “Newhart” premieres on CBS, starring Bob Newhart as an author and Vermont innkeeper.

1983 – The U.S. and its Caribbean allies invade Grenada just days after the island nation’s leader is killed in a coup.

1994 – In a case that garnered international attention, Susan Smith notifies South Carolina authorities that she was carjacked by a man who sped off with her two young boys still buckled in the back seat of her car. Nine days later, she confesses that she made up the story after driving her own car into a lake to drown the kids because she was having an affair with a man who did not want children. Smith is convicted of two counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

2002 – Golden Globe and Grammy-winning actor and singer Richard Harris, whose career spanned six decades and included starring roles in movies like “Camelot” and the “Harry Potter” series, dies of cancer at age 72. Harris had a 1968 hit single, “MacArthur Park,” which Donna Summer later covered.

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Guilty

Barbra Streisand

True Colors

Cyndi Lauper

Adlai Stevenson: His Life and Legacy

Porter McKeever

The Disney Story: Chronicling the Man, the Mouse and the Parks

Aaron H. Goldberg

Helen Reddy's Greatest Hits (And More)

Helen Reddy

Dazed and Confused

Starring Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey and Adam Goldberg, and directed by Richard Linklater

On This Day September 25

History Highlights

1959 – Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev kicks off two days of meetings with President Dwight Eisenhower at Camp David. The two men reach general agreement on several issues, but a spy plane incident in May 1960 crushes any hopes for further improvement in U.S.-Soviet relations during the Eisenhower years.

1961 – President John F. Kennedy gives his “Sword of Damocles” speech before the United Nations General Assembly. He outlines the threat nuclear weapons had on the world, and challenges the Soviet Union to a “peace race…until general and complete disarmament has been achieved.” 

1963 – The first in a series of 1960s teen beach movies is launched when “Beach Party,” starring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, opens in U.S. theaters. 

1978 – Tragedy erupts in the skies over San Diego as a small Cessna aircraft being used for flying lessons collides with a Pacific Southwest Airlines 727 (PSA Flight 182). The accident kills 153 people, including seven on the ground, and 22 homes where the burning jet fell are damaged or destroyed. 

1981 – Sandra Day O’Connor is sworn in as the first female associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. 

1997 – NBC’s prime time medical drama “ER,” which supercharged George Clooney’s acting career, opens its fourth season with live performances — first for East coast viewers and a second time for its West coast audience. The episode, entitled “Ambush,” draws a record 42.7 million viewers, becoming the series’ highest rating ever.

Celebrity Birthdays

1897 – Nobel Prize-winning novelist William Faulkner (“‘The Sound and the Fury,” “As I Lay Dying”) (d. 1962)

1929 – Retired Emmy-winning TV journalist-host Barbara Walters, the first woman to co-anchor a network evening news broadcast

1944 – Oscar and Golden Globe-winning actor Michael Douglas (“The Streets of San Francisco,” “The China Syndrome,” “Romancing the Stone,” “Wall Street,” “The War of the Roses,” “Falling Down,” “The American President,” “Wonder Boys,” “Last Vegas”)

1947 – Supermodel-actress Cheryl Tiegs, remembered for adorning covers of the “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue” and for her 1978 “Pink Bikini” poster, which became an iconic image of 1970s pop culture

1951 – Actor Mark Hamill, best known for playing Luke Skywalker in the “Star Wars” movies

1952 – Actor Christopher Reeve, who was paralyzed in a 1995 horse-riding accident (“Superman,” “Somewhere in Time,” “Deathtrap,” “The Remains of the Day”) (d. 2004)

1961 – Actress Heather Locklear (“TJ Hooker,” “Melrose Place,” “Spin City”)

1968 – Grammy-winning actor-rapper Will Smith (“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Independence Day,” “Men in Black,” “Ali,” “I, Robot,” “I Am Legend,” “Hancock,” “After Earth,” “Suicide Squad”)

1969 – Oscar-winning actress Catherine Zeta-Jones (“The Mask of Zorro,” “Entrapment,” “Traffic,” “Chicago,” “Oceans Twelve,” “The Terminal”)

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The Partridge Family (Season 1)

Starring Shirley Jones, David Cassidy, Susan Dey, Danny Bonaduce, Suzanne Crough, Jeremy Gelbwaks and Dave Madden

Abracadabra

The Steve Miller Band

Khrushchev's Cold War

Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali

Beach Party / Bikini Beach

Starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello

The American President

Starring Michael DouglasAnnette Bening and Martin Sheen, and directed by Rob Reiner

Enemy of the State

Starring Will Smith, Gene Hackman and Jon Voight, and directed by Tony Scott

On this Day August 25

Celebrity Birthdays

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Born To Run

Bruce Springsteen

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey

The Wizard of Oz

Starring Judy GarlandRay BolgerFrank Morgan, and directed by Victor Fleming

In Cold Blood

Truman Capote

The Leonard Bernstein Letters

Leonard Bernstein

Beetlejuice

Starring Michael Keaton, Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin, and directed by Tim Burton

On this Day July 25

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Dylan Goes Electric!: Newport, Seeger, Dylan, and the Night That Split the Sixties

Elijah Wald

Apple Music

Stevie Nicks has her first solo chart success when “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” reaches No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written by Tom Petty, who assists on vocals.

Subway Adventure Guide: New York City: To the End of the Line

Kyle Knoke

Alive on the Andrea Doria!: The Greatest Sea Rescue in History

Pierette Simpson

The Golden Girls: The Ultimate Viewing Guide

Harry Huryk

Episodes: Seasons 1 & 2

Starring Matt LeBlanc and Tamsin Greig 

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