On This Day February 12

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.

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”) 

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The McGuire Sisters Greatest Hits

The McGuire Sisters

A Star Is Born

Barbra Streisand & Kris Kristofferson

Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement

Patricia Sullivan

The Writers: A History of American Screenwriters and Their Guild

Miranda J. Banks

The Addams Family

Starring Christopher Lloyd, Christina Ricci and Anjelica Huston, and directed by Barry Sonnenfeld

The Origin of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition

Charles Darwin

On This Day December 31

Musical Milestones

1966 – The Monkees swing to the top of the singles chart with “I’m a Believer” and hold on for seven weeks, finally yielding to The Buckinghams’ “Kind of a Drag” in mid-February.

1970 – Eight months after the The Beatles’ breakup and subsequent release of their last album, “Let It Be,” Paul McCartney files suit against bandmates John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr to officially dissolve their partnership.

1972 – Dick Clark begins a new holiday tradition as his first “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” concert is broadcast on ABC-TV, featuring performances by Three Dog Night and Al Green. Clark hosts the annual event for the next 32 years before turning the reins over to Ryan Seacrest.

1977 – “How Deep Is Your Love,” by the Bee Gees, is in the middle of three weeks as the No. 1 single. The song is part of the “Saturday Night Fever” movie soundtrack.

1983 – Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson are in the middle of a six-week domination of the pop chart with “Say Say Say.”

1985 – Former teen idol Ricky Nelson and six others are killed when their chartered plane crashes in Texas.

1988 – “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” by Poison, is in the midst of a three-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard single chart.

2005 – Mariah Carey begins a two-week hold on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Don’t Forget About Us.”

2015 – Grammy-winning R&B singer-songwriter Natalie Cole (“This Will Be,” “I’ve Got Love On My Mind,” “Miss You Like Crazy,” “Unforgettable”), daughter of legendary crooner and jazz pianist Nat King Cole, dies of congestive heart failure at the age of 65.

History Highlights

1781 – The first bank in the U.S. opens under the name The Bank of North America.

1862 – Nine months after engaging in the most famous naval battles in American history, the ironclad warship USS Monitor sinks in a storm off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Sixteen crewmen are killed. The Monitor had dueled to a standstill with another ironclad, the CSS Virginia (originally the CSS Merrimack), off Hampton Roads, Virginia on March 9, 1862.

1879 – Inventor Thomas Edison demonstrates his incandescent light bulb to the public for the first time.

1904 – The first New Year’s Eve celebration is held in New York’s Times Square — known then as Longacre Square — at the intersection of 7th Avenue, Broadway and 42nd Street in Manhattan. Three years later, in 1907, the tradition of the dropping ball is introduced.

1946 – President Harry Truman officially proclaims the end of hostilities in World War II.

1984 – Bernhard Goetz, the white man known as the “subway vigilante” after he shot four young black men on a New York City subway train, turns himself in to authorities in New Hampshire.

1999 – Days after Mikhail Gorbachev is re-elected head of the Soviet Communist Party, Boris Yeltsin, president of the Republic of Russia, stuns his country and the world by announcing his resignation six months before the end of his term. He turns control over to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, undercutting Gorbachev’s efforts to keep the struggling Soviet Union together. 

1999 – The United States officially turns control of the Panama Canal over to Panamanian authorities for the first time.

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The Best of The Monkees

The Monkees

Rick Nelson: Greatest Hits

Ricky Nelson

One Times Square: A Century of Change at the Crossroads of the World

Joe McKendry

The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World

Randall E. Stross

Patsy Cline: The Definitive Collection

Patsy Cline

The Silence of the Lambs

Starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, and directed by Jonathan Demme

Gandhi

Starring Ben Kingsley, Candice Bergen, Edward Fox, and directed by Richard Attenborough