On this Day June 11

History Highlights

1944 – Lieutenant John F. Kennedy receives one of the Navy’s highest honor for gallantry for his heroic actions as a gunboat pilot during World War II. The future U.S. president also receives a Purple Heart for wounds sustained in battle.

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

On this Day June 10

History Highlights

1692 – Bridget Bishop, the first Massachusetts Bay colonist to be tried in the Salem witch trials, is hanged after being found guilty of the practice of witchcraft.

1752 – Benjamin Franklin flies a kite during a thunderstorm and collects ambient electrical charge in a Leyden jar, enabling him to demonstrate the connection between lightning and electricity along with an understanding of positive and negative charges. His experiment leads to development of the lightning rod, which grounded buildings thereby helping prevent deadly fires.

1935 – Alcoholics Anonymous, also known as AA, is founded by two recovering alcoholics — Bill W., a New York stockbroker, and Dr. Bob S., an Ohio surgeon. Today, the organization continues to fulfill the pair’s original mission to help alcoholics stop drinking and stay sober.

1943 – Hungarian Laszlo Biro patents the ballpoint pen. In many languages, the word for ballpoint pen is “biro.”

1967 – In the Middle East, the Six-Day War ends when Israel and Syria agree to a U.N.-brokered ceasefire.

1980 – A letter written by imprisoned anti-apartheid crusader Nelson Mandela and smuggled out of Robben Island prison, is shared publicly by the African National Congress (ANC). The letter is a call to arms against apartheid.

2007 – An estimated 12 million viewers tune in to “Made in America” — the final episode of HBO’s critically acclaimed, award-winning Mob family drama, “The Sopranos,” starring James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, Lorraine Bracco and Steven Van Zandt.

Celebrity Birthdays

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Grease: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John and other artists

Ray

Starring Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington and Regina King, and directed by Taylor Hackford

Not God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous

Ernest Kurtz

The Sopranos: The Complete Series

Starring James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, Lorraine Bracco and Steven Van Zandt, and produced by David Chase

Gone With the Wind

Starring Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh and Leslie Howard, and directed by Victor Fleming

The Wizard of Oz

Starring Judy Garland, Ray Bolger and Frank Morgan, and directed by Victor Fleming