On This Day April 30

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1789 – George Washington, the great military leader of the American Revolution, is inaugurated as the first president of the United States during a ceremony at Federal Hall in New York City — then the nation’s capital. 

1939 – Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) becomes the first U.S. president to appear on television when he officially opens the New York World’s Fair. He does so on the 150th anniversary of George Washington’s presidential inauguration.

1945 – With Soviet forces closing in on him, German dictator Adolf Hitler and his companion, Eva Braun, commit suicide in his underground bunker in Berlin. 

1975 – Saigon falls, as the president of South Vietnam announces his country’s unconditional surrender to the Viet Cong. Communist troops move into Saigon and a thousand Americans are hastily evacuated.  

1993 – Four years after its development by British scientist Tim Berners-Lee, the Word Wide Web truly goes global when its owners, Cern, make the software free for anyone to use.

1993 – A knife-wielding man lunges from the stands during a tennis match in Hamburg, Germany and stabs then-world No. 1-ranked Monica Seles in the back. Spectators subdue the assailant, a fan of German tennis great Steffi Graf, who apparently hoped that by injuring Seles, Graf would be able to regain her No. 1 ranking. Seles recovers, but takes a two-year hiatus from the game. 

1997 – Ellen DeGeneres’ TV character, Ellen Morgan, comes out as lesbian on the ABC sitcom “Ellen.” The introduction of the first-ever gay lead character on television becomes a breakthrough moment for the LGBTQ community. Forty-four million viewers tune in to “The Puppy Episode,” which captures an Emmy and Peabody Award. 

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

On This Day March 30

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1814 – European forces allied against Napoleonic France march triumphantly into Paris, formally ending a decade of French domination on the continent.

1842 – Anesthesia is used for the first time in an operation by Dr. Crawford Long. 

1858 – The first wooden pencil featuring a built-in rubber eraser on top is patented by Philadelphia inventor Hymen Lipman, who later sells his patent for $100,000 (about $2 million in today’s market). In 1875, The Supreme Court invalidates the patent, ruling that because the pencil combined two existing devices, it was not a legitimate invention. Nevertheless, this is observed as National Pencil Day.

1867 – U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward signs a treaty with Russia for the purchase of Alaska for $7.2 million. Despite the bargain price of roughly two cents an acre, the Alaskan purchase is ridiculed in Congress and in the press as “Seward’s Folly.” 

1964 – The popular game show “Jeopardy!” premieres on NBC with host Art Fleming. Alex Trebek takes over in 1984 and continues hosting until his death in 2020.

1981 – President Ronald Reagan is shot in the chest outside a Washington, D.C. hotel by John Hinckley, Jr., who claims he was seeking to gain the attention of actress Jodie Foster. Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a psychiatric hospital until 2016, when he is allowed to live with his mother in her Virginia home. Reagan is released from the hospital less than two weeks after the attempted assassination.

2009 – President Barack Obama issues an ultimatum to struggling American automakers General Motors (GM) and Chrysler: In order to receive additional bailout loans from the government, he says, the companies need to dramatically change the way they run their businesses. 

On This Day January 30

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On This Day December 30

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On This Day November 30

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Celebrity Birthdays
Celebrity Birthdays

1835 – Author Mark Twain, a.k.a. Samuel Clemens, best known for his classic American novels “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” (d. 1910)

1874 – Winston Churchill, the British leader who guided Great Britain and the Allies through the crisis of World War II, is born in Oxfordshire, England. (d. 1965) 

1918 – Actor Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (“77 Sunset Strip,” “The F.B.I.”) (d. 2014)

1927 – Emmy-winning actor Robert Guillaume, best known for his role as the butler in the ABC sitcom “Benson”

1929 – Legendary TV host and producer Dick Clark, born Richard Wagstaff Clark, who is credited with such popular shows as “American Bandstand,” “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” “The $25,000 Pyramid” and “TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes,” among others. (d. 2012)

1937 – Emmy-winning director-producer Ridley Scott (“Alien,” “Blade Runner,” “Thelma & Louise,” “Gladiator,” “Black Hawk Down,” “American Gangster,” “The Martian”)

1947 – Tony-winning playwright, screenwriter and director David Mamet (“The Verdict,” “Glengarry Glen Ross,” “Wag the Dog,” “Ronin”)

1952 – Emmy and Tony-winning actor Mandy Patinkin (“Yentl,” “The Princess Bride,” “Dick Tracy,” “The Adventures of Elmo In Grouchland,” “Chicago Hope,” “Criminal Minds”)

1955 – Rock singer-guitarist Billy Idol, born William Albert Michael Broad (“Rebel Yell,” “Eyes Without a Face,” “Rock the Cradle of Love”)

1965 – Emmy-winning actor, director and comedian Ben Stiller (“Reality Bites,” “There’s Something About Mary,” “Zoolander,” the “Meet the Parents” trilogy, “DodgeBall,” “Tropic Thunder,” the “Madagascar” series, the “Night at the Museum” trilogy, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”)

1978 – Singer and “American Idol” alum Clay Aiken, born Clayton Holmes Grissom

History Highlights
History Highlights

1965 – Consumer advocate Ralph Nader publishes “Unsafe at Any Speed,” a book that singles out the Chevy Corvair while criticizing U.S. auto safety standards. It immediately becomes a bestseller and prompts passage of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, seat belt laws in 49 states (all but New Hampshire) and other highway safety initiatives.

1967 – Senator Eugene McCarthy, who advocated for a negotiated end to the Vietnam War, declares that he will challenge President Lyndon Johnson for the Democratic Party nomination. However, four months later, Johnson announces that he is not seeking re-election.

1971 – The made-for-television movie “Brian’s Song” premieres on ABC, starring James Caan as Brian Piccolo, the Chicago Bears running back who is stricken with terminal cancer, and Billy Dee Williams as his teammate, Gale Sayers. It leaves audiences sobbing with its compelling portrayal of the strong friendship the two athletes form. The movie captures five Emmy Awards.

1977 – After nearly four decades with CBS News, anchor Eric Sevareid retires. Sevareid was among a group of elite war correspondents hired by legendary CBS journalist Edward R. Murrow, and nicknamed “Murrow’s Boys.” He was the first to report the Fall of Paris when the city was captured by the Germans in World War II.

1993 – President Bill Clinton signs the Brady Bill into law, requiring a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases and background checks of prospective buyers.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

On This Day October 30

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On This Day September 30

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1927 – Babe Ruth hits his 60th home run of the season off Tom Zachary of the Washington Senators. Ruth’s record for the most homers in a single season stands for 34 years until Roger Maris hits 61 in 1961.

1954 – The U.S. Navy commissions the USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear submarine. During its early years of service, the vessel breaks numerous submarine travel records, and in August 1958, achieves the first voyage under the North Pole. 

1955 – Hollywood legend James Dean is killed in a car accident at the age of 24. At the time, Dean is speeding in his beloved “Little Bastard” — a silver Porsche 550 Spyder — to a car race in Salinas, California, when a vehicle driven by a 23-year-old college student veers into his path.

1960 – Yabba Dabba Do! Hanna-Barbera introduces Americans to a “modern Stone Age family” in the animated series “The Flintstones,” which lasts six seasons on ABC.

1968 – The first Boeing 747, named “City of Everett,” is rolled out before thousands of employees and the international press at Boeing’s Everett, Washington factory. The jumbo jet is the world’s largest civilian aircraft at that time — capable of carrying up to 490 passengers and 33 attendants. It officially enters service on February 9, 1969.

1982 – The NBC sitcom “Cheers,” set in a Boston bar, debuts, starring Ted Danson and Shelley Long. It is nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series each of the 11 seasons it is on the air, capturing 28 Primetime Emmy Awards from a record 117 nominations.

1984 – The popular prime time series “Murder, She Wrote” premieres on CBS, starring Angela Lansbury as crime novelist Jessica Fletcher, who travels the country solving murder cases. The show picks up two Golden Globes during a 12-season run. Lansbury is nominated for 10 Golden Globes and 12 Emmy Awards, winning four Golden Globes.

On this Day August 30

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Celebrity Birthdays
Celebrity Birthdays

1898 – Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy-winning actress Shirley Booth (“Come Back, Little Sheba,” “Hazel,” “The Glass Menagerie”) (d. 1992)

1908 – Actor Fred MacMurray (“Double Indemnity,” “My Three Sons”) (d. 1991)

1918 – Baseball legend Ted Williams (d. 2002)

1924 – Fashion designer Geoffrey Beene (d. 2004)

1927 – Actor Bill Daily (“I Dream of Jeannie,” “The Bob Newhart Show”) (d. 2018)

1930 – Investment guru and philanthropist Warren Buffett, a.k.a. “The Oracle of Omaha”

1939 – Tony-winning actress Elizabeth Ashley (“Take Her, She’s Mine,” “The Carpetbaggers,” “Evening Shade”)

1946 – Actress Peggy Lipton (“The Mod Squad,” “Twin Peaks,” “The Postman”) (d. 2019)

1948 – Grammy-winning comedian Lewis Black (“The Daily Show,” “Black on Broadway,” “Red, White, and Screwed,” “The Carnegie Hall Performance”)

1954 – Actor David Paymer (“Mr. Saturday Night,” “Quiz Show,” “Searching for Bobby Fischer,” “City Slickers,” “Crazy People,” “Get Shorty,” “The American President,” “Ocean’s Thirteen,” “Drag Me to Hell”)

1963 – Actor Michael Chiklis (“The Commish,” “The Shield,” “Fantastic Four,” “Vegas,” “American Horror Story”)

1966 – Actress Michael Michele (“ER,” “Homicide: Life on the Street,” “Ali,” “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”)

1972 – Actress Cameron Diaz (“The Mask,” “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “There’s Something About Mary,” “Being John Malkovich,” the “Charlie’s Angels” movies, the animated “Shrek” movies,” “Vanilla Sky,” “The Other Woman,” “Sex Tape,” “Annie”)

1982 – Tennis great Andy Roddick

History Highlights
History Highlights

1918 – Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin is shot twice by a member of the Social Revolutionary party. but survives the attack. The attempted assassination triggers a wave of reprisals by Bolsheviks against the Social Revolutionaries and other political opponents. Thousands are executed as Russia falls deeper into civil war.

1963 – A “hotline” linking Moscow and Washington, D.C. is activated to provide instant communication between the Superpowers in case nuclear weapons are accidentally launched. The system consists of a cable with a device resembling a large typewriter on either end.

1965 – New York Mets Manager Casey Stengel announces his retirement, ending a 56-year career in professional baseball.

1967 –  The U.S. Senate confirms Thurgood Marshall as the first African American justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. In nominating Marshall to the nation’s highest court, President Lyndon B. Johnson said, “It was the right thing to do, the right time to do it, the right man and the right place.” Marshall serves 24 years on the high court before retiring in 1991.

1976 – Tom Brokaw becomes news anchor of NBC’s “Today” show. where he remains for six years. He leaves in 1982 to co-anchor “NBC Nightly News” with Roger Mudd, taking over as sole anchor in 1983 and remaining in that post until 2004.

1983 – U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Guion “Guy” Bluford becomes the first African American to travel into space when the space shuttle Challenger lifts off on its third mission. In 2010, Bluford is inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

2003 – Actor Charles Bronson, best known for his tough-guy roles in movies like “The Dirty Dozen” and the “Death Wish” franchise, dies at the age of 81 in Los Angeles.

On this Day July 30

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On this Day June 30

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History Highlights
History Highlights

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.

1936 – Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Gone with the Wind,” one of the best-selling novels of all time and the basis for the blockbuster 1939 movie, is published.

1971 – “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory,” a movie musical-fantasy starring Gene Wilder, opens in theaters. It’s an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1964 novel, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

1971 – Three Soviet cosmonauts who made up the crew of the world’s first space station are killed when their spacecraft, Soyuz 11, depressurizes during reentry to Earth’s atmosphere.

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.

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