On This Day February 12

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Celebrity Birthdays
Celebrity Birthdays

1809 – Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. president (d. 1865)

1809 – Scientist Charles Darwin, who laid the foundations for the theory of evolution in his book, “The Origin of Species”  (d. 1882)

1915 – Radio announcer-turned-actor and singer Lorne Greene, best know as Ben Cartwright in the TV western “Bonanza,” and Commander Adama in the sci-fi TV series “Battlestar Galactica” (d. 1987)

1923 – Director-producer Franco Zeffirelli, known for his Shakespeare film adaptations, including “The Taming of the Shrew” and “Romeo and Juliet” (d. 2019)

1934 – Five-time NBA Most Valuable Player and 12-time All-Star Bill Russell, who led the Boston Celtics to 11 championships from 1957 to 1969

1938 – Best-selling author Judy Blume, known for her children’s books and young-adult novels, including “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” and “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” 

1952 – Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and former Doobies Brothers vocalist Michael McDonald 

1956 – Actor, comedian and former talk show host Arsenio Hall 

1968 – Actor Josh Brolin (“The Goonies,” “No Country For Old Men,” “W,” “Milk,” “Men in Black 3,” “Hail, Caesar!”, “Deadpool 2”, “Avengers: Infinity War”, “Once Upon A Deadpool”, “Avengers: Endgame”, ) 

1980 – Actress Christina Ricci (“The Addams Family,” “Casper,” “The Ice Storm,” “The Opposite of Sex,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Monster,” “Pan Am”) 

History Highlights
History Highlights

1909 – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is founded. It is America’s oldest, largest and most widely recognized grassroots-based civil rights organization. 

1976 – Oscar-nominated actor Sal Mineo (“Rebel Without a Cause,” “Giant,” “Exodus,” “The Longest Day”) is stabbed to death outside his West Hollywood apartment at the age of 37. It takes authorities more than two years to arrest Lionel Williams, who is convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison.

1986 – After spending eight years in Soviet prisons and labor camps, human rights activist Anatoly (Natan) Scharansky is released.  Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan brokered the amnesty deal at a summit meeting three months earlier.

1999 – The five-week impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton comes to an end, with the Senate voting to acquit Clinton on both articles of impeachment: perjury and obstruction of justice.

2002 – Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic goes on trial at The Hague, Netherlands, on charges of genocide and war crimes in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo. The trial drags on for four years until Milosevic is found dead of a heart attack in his prison cell at the age of 64. 

2008 – Struggling auto giant General Motors (GM) attempts to cut costs by offering buyouts to all 74,000 of its U.S. hourly employees represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.

2008 – Hollywood’s longest work stoppage since 1988 ends when members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) overwhelmingly vote to go back to work following a 100-day walkout. The strike crippled the production of countless TV shows and cost the California economy more than $2 billion. It also gave rise to more reality TV programming that required little or no scripting.

On This Day January 21

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On This Day January 9

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On This Day January 2

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1959 – The Space Race intensifies as the Soviet Union launches Luna 1, the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the moon and orbit the sun. It was originally called Cosmic Rocket, but renamed Luna 1 to reflect the Soviets’ planned series of Luna missions to the moon. 

1971 – Known as the “Ibrox Disaster,” 66 football (soccer) fans die in a stampede at a stadium in Glasgow, Scotland, as they attempt to leave a game after a late goal by the home team. Nearly 200 other fans are injured.

1974 – President Richard Nixon signs a bill lowering the speed limit across the U.S. to 55 miles per hour in order to conserve gasoline during an OPEC embargo. The measure, known as the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act, remains in effect until Congress repeals it in 1995.

1980 – Angered by Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan, President Jimmy Carter requests that the Senate postpone action on the SALT II nuclear weapons treaty and recalls the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union. 

1980 – Sherry Lansing is named the head of Fox Productions, becoming the first woman in charge of production at a major movie studio as well as one of the highest-paid female executives in any industry.

1990 – Actor Alan Hale, Jr., who played the Skipper on TV’s “Gilligan’s Island,” dies of cancer at the age of 68. 

2009 – Shortly after the death of British surgeon Harold Carr, his family discovers the rare, unrestored 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante Coupe that he owned — sitting in a garage, undriven for some 50 years. One month later, the car sells at a Paris auction for $4.4 million.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1965 – The Beatles’ eighth single, “I Feel Fine,” is in the middle of three weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100. It is reported to be the first recorded song to incorporate guitar feedback (the opening note).

1971 – George Harrison’s first solo album, “All Things Must Pass,” featuring the hits “My Sweet Lord” and “What is Life,” begins a seven-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart. In January 2014, the album is inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

1979 – The murder trial of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious begins, with the punk rocker accused of stabbing his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, to death in a New York City hotel three months earlier. On February 2, 1979, before the trial is over, Vicious is found dead of a heroin overdose at the age of 21.

1982 – Olivia Newton-John is in the middle of a 10-week ride on top of the Billboard singles chart with her 80s workout anthem, “Physical.”

1988 – During a four-week run as a Billboard No. 1, “Faith,” by George Michael, officially becomes the first chart-topping single of 1988.

1993 – Whitney Houston is in the midst of a 14-week domination of the Billboard Hot 100 with “I Will Always Love You,” a song originally written and recorded by Dolly Parton in 1973.

1999 – The Céline Dion-R. Kelly duet, “I’m Your Angel,” is the No. 1 single.

2010 – Kesha kicks off nine weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Tik Tok.”

2016 – Adele begins the fourth of 10 non-sequential weeks on top of the Billboard album chart with her Grammy-winning album, “25.”

On This Day October 29

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On This Day September 17

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1787 – Drafted in secret by delegates to the Constitutional Convention, the four-page U.S. Constitution is signed, establishing a framework for the government of the United States and an intricate system of checks and balances.

1862 – At the Battle of Antietam, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and Union General George B. McClellan’s Army of the Potomac fight to a standstill along a Maryland creek. The bloodiest day in American military history ends with nearly 23,000 soldiers killed, wounded or missing, and changes the course of the Civil War.

1937 – The stone likeness of President Abraham Lincoln’s face is officially dedicated at Mount Rushmore.

1963 – New programming premieres on ABC: “The Greatest Show on Earth” and “The Fugitive,” the latter of which is made into a movie 30 years later, starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones. 

1966 – The spy series “Mission: Impossible” debuts on CBS. Thirty years later, in 1996, the first in a series of “Mission: Impossible” movies is produced starring, starring Tom Cruise. 

1972 – The Korean War-era series “M*A*S*H,” starring Alan Alda, begins an 11-year run on CBS

1976 – NASA unveils the first space shuttle, Enterprise, a $10 billion technological marvel that took a decade to develop. 

1978 – A milestone is achieved on the road to a Middle East peace, with the signing of the Camp David Accords. U.S. President Jimmy Carter presides as Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli President Menachem Begin agree to end three decades of hostilities between their nations. 

1996 – Daytime talk show host Oprah Winfrey launches a television book club. Oprah’s Book Club quickly becomes an influential force in the publishing world, with Winfrey’s endorsements capable of catapulting a previously little-known book onto best-seller lists.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1967 – The Doors are banned from “The Ed Sullivan Show” after front man Jim Morrison breaks his agreement with the producers to replace the word “higher” with “better” in the line “Girl, we couldn’t get much higher” in the song “Light My Fire.” After learning that his band would not be welcome back on the program, Morrison reportedly said, “Hey, that’s okay – we just did the Ed Sullivan Show.”

1969 – Media on both sides of the Atlantic report that Paul McCartney of The Beatles is dead — supposedly killed in a car accident in Scotland in November 1966 and that a double had been standing in for him during public appearances. In fact, Paul and his girlfriend, Jane Asher, were vacationing in Kenya at the time.

1977 – Andy Gibb owns the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 with “I Just Want to Be Your Everything.”

1988 – Guns N’ Roses begins the second and final week at No. 1 on the singles chart with “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” off the band’s debut album, “Appetite for Destruction.”

1994 – “I’ll Make Love to You,” by Boyz II Men, is in the midst of a 14-week domination of the singles chart.

2005 – “Gold Digger,” by Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx, kicks off 10 weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100.

2011 – Adele dominates the pop chart for a week with “Someone Like You,” off her “21” album. It becomes her second U.S. No. 1.

2016 – Barbra Streisand extends her record as the artist with the most No. 1 albums in chart history (11) when “Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway” reaches the top of the Billboard album chart.

On this Day July 2

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1776 – Convening in Philadelphia, the Second Continental Congress formally adopts Richard Henry Lee’s resolution for independence from Great Britain. The vote is unanimous, with only New York abstaining.

1881 – President James A. Garfield is shot while walking through a Washington, D.C. railroad station. Vice President Chester Arthur steps in as acting president while Garfield recuperates, but 80 days later, Garfield dies of blood poisoning and Arthur is inaugurated as 21st president. The assassin, 40-year-old Charles Guiteau, had stalked the president for weeks.

1937 – Aviator Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappear over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to fly around the world. They were believed to be headed for Howland Island — about halfway between Hawaii and Australia —  after taking off from the city of Lae in Papua New Guinea.

1964 – President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. The historic measure prohibits discrimination on the basis of race in public places as well as in employment, union membership and voter registration. 

1979 – The Susan B. Anthony dollar coin is introduced, but fails to catch on because many consumers are unable to distinguish it from a quarter.

1994 – While attempting to land, US Air Flight 1016 crashes near Charlotte-Douglas Airport in North Carolina, killing 37 people and seriously injuring 16 others. Investigators determine that wind shear resulting from a thunderstorm caused the plane to plummet to the ground and strike a home.

1997 – “Men in Black,” starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, opens in U.S. theaters. The sci-fi-comedy action movie grosses more than $250 million domestically and helps establish Smith as one of Hollywood’s most bankable leading men.

On this Day June 4

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On this Day May 21

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1881 – After being around wounded soldiers during the Civil War and, later, the Franco-Prussian War overseas, nurse and educator Clara Barton establishes the American Red Cross to provide humanitarian aid to victims of wars and natural disasters as well as to military personnel and their families.

1901 – Connecticut becomes the first state to impose a speed limit for motor vehicles (known then as “horseless carriages”). Motorists are required to keep it to 12 miles per hour in the city and 15 miles per hour on country roads. Speed limits were first enacted in Connecticut because horseless carriage manufacturers were springing up all across New England, and New Englanders were buying, and driving, their products.

1917 – The Great Atlanta Fire destroys much of that city’s Fourth Ward, including nearly 2,000 homes and businesses. Ten thousand people—nearly one tenth of the city’s population—are left homeless.

1979 – Gay rights activists riot outside San Francisco City Hall following the conviction of Dan White for the murders of Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk, an openly gay San Francisco supervisor. Protesters participating in the so-called White Night Riots contend that White’s sentence is too light.

1980 – A new installment to George Lucas’ “Star Wars” film saga opens in U.S. theaters: “The Empire Strikes Back.”

1999 – Ninetheenth time’s the charm! After 18 straight years of being nominated for a Best Actress Daytime Emmy Award and never winning, Susan Lucci finally captures the coveted honor for her portrayal of Erica Kane in the popular ABC soap opera “All My Children.”

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1955 – Rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry enters a Chicago sound studio and records his first single, “Ida Red.” During the session, his producer decides the track needs a new name: “Maybelline.” It becomes the first of Berry’s many hits.

1968 – “Tighten Up,” by Archie Bell & The Drells from Houston, Texas, is in the middle of a two-week run as the No. 1 single.

1971 – Marvin Gaye releases his eleventh studio album, “What’s Going On,” which becomes Motown Records’ best-selling album to date. It serves as a musical commentary on the Vietnam War. The title track soars to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and becomes one of Gaye’s signature songs.

1977 – His musical tribute to jazz legend Duke Ellington, “Sir Duke,” puts Stevie Wonder on top of the singles chart.

1979 – Elton John becomes the first Western rock star to tour the Soviet Union. Over the course of eight days, he plays four concerts at the Great October Hall in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and four more at the exclusive Rossya Hotel in Moscow.

1983 – David Bowie grabs the top spot on the singles chart for a week with “Let’s Dance,” off the album of the same name. Coincidentally, that album was nominated for an Album of the Year Grammy but had the misfortune of competing against Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

1994 – “I Swear,” by All-4-One, begins an 11-week domination of the pop chart.

2011 – Adele kicks off seven weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Rolling in the Deep,” which goes on to capture Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Short Form Music Video Grammys.

On this Day May 5

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1862 – During the Battle of Puebla, Mexican troops under General Ignacio Zaragoza — outnumbered three to one — defeat invading French forces. The historic event is marked each year with Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

1925 – Teacher John Scopes is arrested for violating the Butler Act, which prevents the teaching of evolution in Tennessee schools. He is later tried in the famous Scopes Monkey Trial.

1945 – One woman and five children are killed in rural Oregon while attempting to drag a Japanese balloon out the woods. The balloon was armed and exploded after the group began tampering with it. They were the first and only known American civilians killed in the continental U.S. during World War II.

1955 – The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) becomes a sovereign state when the U.S., France and Great Britain end their 10-year military occupation. The move clears the way for West Germany to rearm and become a full-fledged member of the western alliance against the Soviet Union.

1961 – Astronaut Alan Shepard becomes the first American to travel into outer space during a suborbital flight of 15 minutes aboard the Mercury capsule named Freedom 7.

1985 – President Ronald Reagan angers Jewish leaders and Holocaust survivors by visiting the Bitburg war cemetery in Germany, unaware that the cemetery houses the graves of 49 Nazi officers.

2002 – “Spider-Man” becomes first movie to top $100 million in an opening weekend. Directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire in the title role, the eagerly awaited comic book adaptation rakes in a staggering $114.8 million.