On This Day January 12

History Highlights

1904 – Driving his “999” Arrow Racer, automotive pioneer Henry Ford sets a land speed record of 91.37 miles per hours on the frozen surface of Michigan’s Lake St. Clair.

1926 –  The two-man comedy series “Sam ‘n’ Henry” debuts on Chicago radio station WGN. Two years later, after changing its name to “Amos ‘n’ Andy,” the show becomes one of the most popular radio programs in American history.

1932 – Hattie Wyatt Caraway, an Arkansas Democrat, becomes the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate. 

1966 – The “Batman” television series debuts on ABC, starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Episodes feature acclaimed guest stars playing the various villains that battle Batman for supremacy over Gotham City. 

1969 – In the most celebrated performance of his prolific career, quarterback Joe Namath leads the New York Jets to a stunning 16-7 victory over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III in Miami. 

1971 – The groundbreaking sitcom “All in the Family” premieres on CBS, about a working-class Queens, New York family grappling with various social issues. It stars Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker, Jean Stapleton as his wife, Edith, Sally Struthers as their daughter, Gloria, and Rob Reiner as their son-in-law, Michael (“Meathead”). The show was the brainchild of acclaimed writer-producer Norman Lear. 

1981 – A three-hour television movie serves as ABC’s pilot for the prime-time soap opera “Dynasty,” starring John Forsythe as oil tycoon Blake Carrington, Linda Evans as his wife, Crystal, and Joan Collins as Alexis, Carrington’s scheming ex-wife and business rival.

2010 – A magnitude 7.0 earthquake devastates the Caribbean island nation of Haiti. The quake — the strongest to strike the region in more than 200 years — leaves about 250,000 people dead and some 895,000 Haitians homeless.

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You Don't Mess Around With Jim

Jim Croce

The Joker

The Steve Miller Band

Batman: The Complete First Season

Starring Adam West and Burt Ward

All in the Family: Complete First Season

Starring Jean Stapleton and Carroll O’Connor

The Call of the Wild

by Jack London

Cheers: Season 6

Starring Kirstie Alley, Ted Danson and Rhea Perlman

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