On This Day February 25

History Highlights

1870 – Hiram Rhodes Revels, a Republican from Natchez, Mississippi, is sworn into the U.S. Senate, becoming the first African American ever to sit in Congress. He is assigned to serve on the Committee on Education and Labor and the Committee on the District of Columbia.

1916 – German troops seize Fort Douaumont, the most formidable of the forts guarding the walled city of Verdun, France, four days after launching their initial attack. The Battle of Verdun becomes the longest and bloodiest conflict of World War I, lasting 10 months and resulting in over 700,000 casualties.

1950 – The TV comedy “Your Show of Shows,” hosted by Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, premieres, eventually helping launch the successful entertainment careers of Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Woody Allen and others.

1964 – Twenty-two-year-old Cassius Clay (who later changes his name to Muhammad Ali) stuns odds-makers by dethroning world heavyweight boxing champ Sonny Liston in a seventh-round technical knockout in Miami Beach.

1984 – A massive explosion, triggered when gasoline from a ruptured pipeline ignited, levels a shantytown outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, killing at least 500 people — mostly young children. However, investigators speculate that the actual death toll may have been closer to 700 since many bodies were incinerated in the intense blaze.

1986 – President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines flees the nation after 20 years of rule. Corazon Aquino becomes that nation’s first woman president. 

2004 – “The Passion of the Christ,” Mel Gibson’s controversial film about the final hours of Jesus of Nazareth’s life, opens in U.S. theaters, starring  Jim Caviezel as Jesus. It receives three Oscar nominations.

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Christopher Cross

Christopher Cross

1984

Van Halen

Black is Best: The Riddle of Cassius Clay

Jack Olsen

Diary of a Dictator -- Ferdinand & Imelda: The Last Days of Camelot

William C. Rempel

Deep Impact

Starring Robert Duvall, Tea Leoni and Elijah Wood, and directed by Mimi Leder

The Social Network

Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake and Armie Hammer, and directed by David Fincher

On This Day January 8

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Rubber Soul

The Beatles

H2O

Hall & Oates

Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered

Dianne Hales

Launching the War on Poverty: An Oral History

Michael L. Gillette

Elvis: The Beginning

Elvis Presley

A Brief History of Time

Stephen Hawking

On This Day November 30

History Highlights

1965 – Consumer advocate Ralph Nader publishes “Unsafe at Any Speed,” a book that singles out the Chevy Corvair while criticizing U.S. auto safety standards. It immediately becomes a bestseller and prompts passage of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, seat belt laws in 49 states (all but New Hampshire) and other highway safety initiatives.

1967 – Senator Eugene McCarthy, who advocated for a negotiated end to the Vietnam War, declares that he will challenge President Lyndon Johnson for the Democratic Party nomination. However, four months later, Johnson announces that he is not seeking re-election.

1971 – The made-for-television movie “Brian’s Song” premieres on ABC, starring James Caan as Brian Piccolo, the Chicago Bears running back who is stricken with terminal cancer, and Billy Dee Williams as his teammate, Gale Sayers. It leaves audiences sobbing with its compelling portrayal of the strong friendship the two athletes form. The movie captures five Emmy Awards.

1977 – After nearly four decades with CBS News, anchor Eric Sevareid retires. Sevareid was among a group of elite war correspondents hired by legendary CBS journalist Edward R. Murrow, and nicknamed “Murrow’s Boys.” He was the first to report the Fall of Paris when the city was captured by the Germans in World War II.

1993 – President Bill Clinton signs the Brady Bill into law, requiring a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases and background checks of prospective buyers.

Celebrity Birthdays

1835 – Author Mark Twain, a.k.a. Samuel Clemens, best known for his classic American novels “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” (d. 1910)

1874 – Winston Churchill, the British leader who guided Great Britain and the Allies through the crisis of World War II, is born in Oxfordshire, England. (d. 1965) 

1918 – Actor Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (“77 Sunset Strip,” “The F.B.I.”) (d. 2014)

1927 – Emmy-winning actor Robert Guillaume, best known for his role as the butler in the ABC sitcom “Benson”

1929 – Legendary TV host and producer Dick Clark, born Richard Wagstaff Clark, who is credited with such popular shows as “American Bandstand,” “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” “The $25,000 Pyramid” and “TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes,” among others. (d. 2012)

1937 – Emmy-winning director-producer Ridley Scott (“Alien,” “Blade Runner,” “Thelma & Louise,” “Gladiator,” “Black Hawk Down,” “American Gangster,” “The Martian”)

1947 – Tony-winning playwright, screenwriter and director David Mamet (“The Verdict,” “Glengarry Glen Ross,” “Wag the Dog,” “Ronin”)

1952 – Emmy and Tony-winning actor Mandy Patinkin (“Yentl,” “The Princess Bride,” “Dick Tracy,” “The Adventures of Elmo In Grouchland,” “Chicago Hope,” “Criminal Minds”)

1955 – Rock singer-guitarist Billy Idol, born William Albert Michael Broad (“Rebel Yell,” “Eyes Without a Face,” “Rock the Cradle of Love”)

1965 – Emmy-winning actor, director and comedian Ben Stiller (“Reality Bites,” “There’s Something About Mary,” “Zoolander,” the “Meet the Parents” trilogy, “DodgeBall,” “Tropic Thunder,” the “Madagascar” series, the “Night at the Museum” trilogy, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”)

1978 – Singer and “American Idol” alum Clay Aiken, born Clayton Holmes Grissom

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The Best Of Diana Ross & The Supremes: The Millennium Collection

Diana Ross & The Supremes

Thriller

Michael Jackson

Unsafe At Any Speed

Ralph Nader

Brian's Song

Starring James Caan, Billy Dee Williams and Jack Warden, and directed by Buzz Kulik

The Princess Bride

Starring Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin and Chris Sarandon, and directed by Rob Reiner

Night at the Museum

Starring Ben Stiller, Carla Gugino and Dick Van Dyke, and directed by Shawn Levy

On This Day October 31

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People

Barbra Streisand

Bad

Michael Jackson

The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero

William Kalush

Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween

Lisa Morton

Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News

Dan Rather

Uncle Buck

Starring John Candy and Amy Madigan, and directed by John Hughes

On This Day September 11

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The John Lennon Letters

John Lennon and Hunter Davies

The Best of Donnie Osmond: The Millennium Collection

Donny Osmond

Get Smart

Starring Don Adams and Barbara Feldon

9/11 - The Filmmakers' Commemorative Edition

Directed by the Naudet brothers

Sideways

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

Your Songs

Harry Connick, Jr.

On this Day May 9

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The Definitive Collection

Louis Armstrong

The Best of The Guess Who

The Guess Who

Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure

Admiral Richard E. Byrd

The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution

Jonathan Eig

Terms of Endearment

Starring Debra Winger, Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson and directed by James L. Brooks

The Essential Billy Joel

Billy Joel