On This Day April 30

Musical Milestones

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. 

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Jailhouse Rock

Starring Elvis Presley, Judy Tyler and Mickey Shaughnessy, and directed by Richard Thorpe

The Very Best of Ben E. King

Ben E. King

Images of America: The 1939-1940 New York World's Fair/The World of Tomorrow

Bill Cotter

Hitler's Last Secretary: A Firsthand Account of Life with Hitler

 Traudl Junge and Melissa Muller

Anatomy of a Murder

Starring James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara and Eve Arden, and directed by Otto Preminger

Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles

Starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Stephen Rea and Kirsten Dunst, and directed by Neil Jordan

On This Day March 23

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The Very Best of Cher

Cher

The Essential Billy Joel

Billy Joel

The Third Reich in History and Memory

Richard J. Evans

Titanic

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and Billy Zane, and directed by James Cameron

What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?

Starring Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Victor Buono, and directed by Robert Aldrich

Waitress

Starring Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion and Cheryl Hines, and directed by Adrienne Shelly

On This Day January 30

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Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

The Shirelles

Private Eyes

Hall and Oates

The Lone Ranger

Original Radio Broadcasts

Gandhi The Man: How One Man Changed Himself to Change the World

Eknath Easwaran

The French Connection

Starring Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey and Roy Scheider, and directed by William Friedkin

American Hustle

Starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner, and directed by David Russell

On this Day August 9

History Highlights

1936 – African American track star Jesse Owens captures his fourth Gold medal at the Berlin Olympic Games in the 4×100-meter relay. His relay team set a new world record of 39.8 seconds. In their strong showing in track and field, Owens and other African American athletes struck a publicity blow to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, who planned to use the international event to showcase supposed Aryan superiority.

1945 – Three days after the bombing of Hiroshima, the U.S. drops a second atomic bomb on Japan. This time the target is Nagasaki. The attack leads to Japan’s unconditional surrender and brings hostilities in World War II to a close. The combined attacks leave some 200,000 people dead and level both cities.

1969 – In one of the most horrifying crimes of the 1960s, members of Charles Manson’s cult, the Manson Family, murder five people in the Beverly Hills home of director Roman Polanski. Polanski’s pregnant wife, 26-year-old actress Sharon Tate, is among the victims.

1974 – Gerald Ford becomes the 38th U.S. president, taking the oath of office on the heels of the Richard Nixon resignation. 

1975 – The Louisiana Superdome opens and an exhibition game there sees the Houston Oilers trounce the hometown New Orleans Saints by a score of 31-7.

2010 – JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater quits his job in dramatic fashion after his flight lands at New York’s JFK International Airport. He gets on the public address system, swears at a passenger whom he claimed treated him rudely, grabs a beer and slides down the plane’s emergency chute onto the tarmac.

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The Ultimate Bee Gees

Bee Gees

American Beauty

Grateful Dead

The Fall of Japan: The Final Weeks of World War II in the Pacific

William Craig

Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson

Jeff Guinn

Working Girl

Starring Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver, and directed by Mike Nichols

I Will Always Love You: The Best Of Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

On this Day August 2

History Highlights

1776 – The official signing of the Declaration of Independence takes place on this day, not July 4 as widely believed. John Hancock, president of the Congress, signs the engrossed copy with a bold signature. The other delegates, following custom, sign beginning at the right with the signatures arranged by states from northernmost New Hampshire to southernmost Georgia.

1790 – The first U.S. census is taken. It determines that there are nearly 4 million citizens in the 16 states and Ohio Territory. The U.S. has taken a census every 10 years since then.

1934 – With the death of German President Paul von Hindenburg, Chancellor Adolf Hitler becomes absolute dictator of Germany under the title of Fuhrer (“Leader”).

1943 – Almost two decades before becoming U.S. president, John F. Kennedy is commander of a U.S. Navy patrol torpedo boat (PT-109) in the Solomon Islands that is rammed by a Japanese destroyer and sliced in half. Two crewmen are killed, but 11 survive due largely to Lt. Kennedy’s dramatic rescue efforts.

1985 – Wind gusts from a severe thunderstorm are blamed for the crash of Delta Airlines Flight 191, a Lockheed L-1011 jumbo jet, at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport that leaves 137 people dead. 

1990 – Iraqi troops invade Iraq’s tiny, oil-rich neighbor, Kuwait, quickly capturing Kuwait City and establishing a provincial government. The move leads to “Operation Desert Storm,” a massive U.S.-led military offensive aimed at ousting Iraqi forces to prevent further invasion into nearby Saudi Arabia. 

1992 – Jackie Joyner-Kersee becomes the first woman ever to win two consecutive Olympic gold medals in the heptathlon.

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One of These Nights

Eagles

Solitude / Solitaire

Peter Cetera

The American Census: A Social History, Second Edition

Margo J. Anderson

PT 109: An American Epic of War, Survival, and the Destiny of John F. Kennedy

William Doyle

Lawrence of Arabia

Starring Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn, and directed by David Lean

Avatar

Starring Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver, and directed by James Cameron

On this Day July 20

Musical Milestones

1963 – Beach music is the favorite on this day, as Jan and Dean’s “Surf City” hits No. 1 on the singles chart. 

1968 – Trumpeter Hugh Masekela begins a two-week run on top of the singles chart with the jazz instrumental “Grazing in the Grass.” In 2018, the song is inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

1968 – Heavy metal strikes the album chart for the first time in the form of Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” which was originally supposed to be titled “In The Garden of Eden.” The 17-minute title track takes up all of Side Two and was edited down to 2:53 for release as a single.

1974 – Early disco hit “Rock Your Baby,” by George McCrae, begins its second and final week as a No. 1 single.

1985 – Duran Duran begin their second and final week on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “A View to a Kill,” from the James Bond movie of the same name.

1986 – The movie “Sid & Nancy,” based on the life of Sex Pistol Sid Vicious, premieres in London, starring Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb.

1991 – One-hit-wonder EMF kick off a week at No. 1 on the pop chart with “Unbelievable.”

1996 – “How Do U Want It,” by 2Pac featuring K-Ci & JoJo, grabs the top spot on the Billboard single chart. The track remains at No. 1 for a week.

2002 – “Hot in Herre,” by Nelly, is in the midst of a seven-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The track garners Nelly a 2003 Grammy for Best Male Rap Solo Performance, a brand new category at the time.

History Highlights

1944 – A plot to murder German dictator Adolf Hitler fails as a bomb planted in a briefcase goes off, but leaves him only slightly wounded. Known as Operation Valkyrie, the assassination attempt was masterminded by senior-level German military officials who wanted to remove Hitler in order to establish a new government. Hitler’s would-be assassins are executed after being discovered.

1969 – More than a billion people around the world are glued to TV sets and radios as Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes the first human to step onto the surface of the moon. He famously marks the landmark event by saying, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

1973 – Actor and martial arts icon Bruce Lee dies unexpectedly at the age of 32, just before the release of his film, “Enter the Dragon.” The official cause of death is a brain edema, possibly triggered by a reaction to a prescription painkiller that Lee was reportedly taking for a back injury.

1976 – On the seventh anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, Viking 1, an unmanned U.S. planetary probe, becomes the first spacecraft to successfully land on the surface of Mars. 

1976 – In Major League Baseball, “Hammerin'” Hank Aaron hits his 755th and final home run during the Milwaukee Brewers’ game against the California Angels. 

1977 – A flash flood washes over Johnstown, Pennsylvania, killing 84 people and causing millions of dollars in damage. The disaster marks the third time that floods, caused by dam failures, devastate the same community. The Great Flood of 1889 killed more than 2,000 people in Johnstown. A second flood in 1936 left two dozen people dead.

2012 – Twelve people are killed and 70 others are injured when a gunman opens fire inside a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.  The theater was packed with Batman fans that were there for a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.” The tragedy becomes the deadliest mass shooting in Colorado since the Columbine shooting in 1999 in which 12 high school students and a teacher were gunned down.

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In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

Iron Butterfly

Sid & Nancy

Starring Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb, and directed by Alex Cox

The Plots Against Hitler

Danny Orbach

Apollo 11

This documentary features never-before-seen Apollo 11 footage; directed by Todd Douglas Miller

Splendor in the Grass

Starring Natalie WoodWarren BeattyPat Hingle, and directed by Elia Kazan

Sideways

Starring Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh, and directed by Alexander Payne

On this Day June 30

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.

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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The Very Best of Ray Charles

Ray Charles

Living In The Material World

George Harrison

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

Starring Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson and Peter Ostrum, and directed by Mel Stuart

Gone With the Wind

Margaret Mitchell

The Essential Lena Horne

Lena Horne

Undisputed Truth

Mike Tyson