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 May 14

History Highlights

1804 – The Lewis & Clark expedition leaves St. Louis, Missouri, on a mission to explore the Northwest from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. President Thomas Jefferson commissioned his private secretary Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, an army captain, to make the journey.

1904 – The Third Olympiad of the modern era, and the first Olympic Games to be held in the United States, opens in St. Louis, Missouri. However, it is far from the international affair of more recent deacdes. Only 12 countries attend, with Americans accounting for 523 of the 630 participating athletes.

1948 – British rule in Palestine comes to an end as the Jewish National Council proclaims the establishment of the State of Israel. Within hours, Arab forces attack the fledgling nation.

1955 – The Soviet Union and seven Eastern European countries sign a treaty establishing the Warsaw Pact, a mutual defense organization that puts the Soviets in command of the armed forces of its partners. The move is aimed at counterbalancing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Pact officially disbands in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union.

1969 – After nine years of production, the last Chevy Corvair rolls off the assembly line. That’s the rear-engine compact car that consumer advocate Ralph Nader took to task citing safety concerns.

1973 – Skylab, America’s first space station, is successfully launched on a mission to observe and photograph the sun as well as to study the biological effects of life in space.

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The Very Best of Leo Sayer

Leo Sayer

Ultimate Sinatra

Frank Sinatra

Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West

Stephen E. Ambrose

Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel

Anita Shapira

American Graffiti

Starring Richard Dreyfuss, Ronny Howard, Harrison Ford and Paul Le Mat, and directed by George Lucas

Elizabeth

Starring Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and Christopher Eccleston, and directed by Shekhar Kapur