On this Day August 11

History Highlights

1934 – The first inmates, classified as “most dangerous,” arrive at the federal prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, joining a few dozen prisoners left over from the island’s days as a U.S. military prison.

1956 – Abstract artist Jackson Pollock dies in a drunk-driving car crash at the age of 44. 

1965 – Following the arrest of a young black motorist, the predominately black Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts erupts in riots that last six days and leave more than 30 people dead. 

1965 – The Ford Motor Company introduces the Bronco to compete with the Jeep CJ-5 and International Harvester Scout. 

1973 – “American Graffiti” opens in theaters. The coming-of-age film set in 1962 California was co-written and directed by George Lucas and stars Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard and Harrison Ford.

1984 – During a sound check before a Saturday radio broadcast, President Ronald Reagan jokingly says, “My fellow Americans. I’m pleased to announce that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” Reagan was unaware, however, that the feed was live. The Soviets, who find no humor in the remark, put their military on high alert.

2014 – Oscar-winning actor-comedian Robin Williams (“Mork and Mindy,” “The World According to Garp,” “Moscow on the Hudson,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Dead Poets Socity,” “Aladdin,”  “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “The Birdcage,” “Good Will Hunting”) dies by suicide at the age of 63. 

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The Very Best Of Neil Sedaka

Neil Sedaka

HELP! / The Beatles

The Beatles

Alcatraz #1259

William G. Baker

American Graffiti

Starring Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss and Harrison Ford, and directed by George Lucas

Roots: The Saga of an American Family

Alex Haley

Greatest Hits: Joe Jackson (Reissue)

Joe Jackson

On this Day June 11

History Highlights

1944 – Lieutenant John F. Kennedy receives the prestigious Navy and Marine Corps Medal in recognition of his heroic, life-saving actions as a gunboat pilot during World War II. Kennedy, who goes on to become America’s 35th president, also receives a Purple Heart for wounds sustained in battle. He is the only president to have earned either of those high honors.

1955 – Carnage at Le Mans, as an Austin-Healey and Mercedes-Benz collide, showering flaming wreckage onto spectators. Eighty-two people are killed and at least 100 injured in one of auto racing’s worst accidents.

1962 – Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin become the only prisoners to successfully escape from Alcatraz prison. No one ever saw or heard from them again, although there were multiple unconfirmed sightings over the years.

1967 – The Six-Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors ends with a United Nations-brokered ceasefire. That November, the U.N. Security Council adopts a resolution establishing a formula for Arab-Israeli peace whereby Israel would withdraw from territories occupied in the war in exchange for peace with its neighbors.

1963 – An outspoken opponent of school desegregation, Alabama Governor George Wallace physically blocks two African American students from entering the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. President John F. Kennedy responds by federalizing the Alabama National Guard and ordering troops to escort the students to their classes. Wallace then steps aside, but that evening, Kennedy delivers a national address about segregation regarded by many historians as one of the turning points in the civil rights movement.

1977 – MLK assassin James Earl Ray escapes from Brushy Mountain State Prison in Tennessee, but is recaptured three days later.

1979 – Cancer claims the life of screen legend John Wayne (“El Dorado,” “Rio Bravo,” “True Grit,” “The Comancheros”) at the age of 72.

1982 –  Steven Spielberg’s “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” opens in U.S. theaters and becomes a box office bonanza. The movie launches the career of actress Drew Barrymore, and in 1994, is selected for preservation in the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” 

1986 – “Bueller… Bueller…” The now-classic John Hughes film, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” starring Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck and Mia Sara, opens in U.S. theaters.

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Elv1s 30 #1 Hits

Elvis Presley

The Dark Side of the Moon

Pink Floyd

Kennedy and King: The President, the Pastor, and the Battle over Civil Rights

Steven E. Levingston

True Grit

Starring John Wayne, Glen Campbell and Kim Darby, and directed by Henry Hathaway

Young Frankenstein

Starring Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr and Madeline Kahn, and directed by Mel Brooks

House

Starring Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps, Jennifer Morrison and Jesse Spencer