On This Day April 4

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1949 – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is established by the U.S. and 11 other Western nations.

1960 – William Wyler’s Technicolor epic ,”Ben-Hur,” sets an Academy Awards record when it sweeps 11 of the 12 categories for which it was nominated, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Charlton Heston).

1968 – A sniper shoots and kills civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 39, on the balcony of a Memphis, Tennessee motel. As word of the assassination spreads, riots erupt in cities across the U.S., and National Guard troops are deployed in Memphis and Washington, D.C. In 1991, the murder scene—the Lorraine Motel—is dedicated as part of the National Civil Rights Museum.

1969 – CBS cancels the most popular show on TV at the time, “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” because the brothers failed to submit their script to network executives to review before broadcast. 

1973 – A ribbon-cutting ceremony is held in New York’s Lower Manhattan to dedicate the original World Trade Center. At 110 stories each, 1 WTC, or the North Tower, and 2 WTC, the South Tower, would provide nearly 10 million square feet of office space. Reaching more than a quarter of a mile into the sky, the Twin Towers were the tallest buildings in New York City, and for a brief period, the tallest buildings in the world. 

1975 – At a time when most Americans are using typewriters, childhood friends and self-proclaimed computer geeks Bill Gates and Paul Allen establish Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Four years later, they relocate the business to Washington State and grow it into a major multinational technology corporation.

2007 – Radio shock jock Don Imus makes offensive remarks about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team on the air, creating a firestorm of criticism across the country. Imus apologizes and loses his job, but ultimately is able to salvage his career.

2013 – Acclaimed movie critic Roger Ebert, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV’s Sneak Previews program for 31 years, dies at the age of 70 after battling cancer.

On This Day March 28

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On This Day January 31

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1865 – The U.S. House of Representatives passes the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery in America. The measure is ratified by the states that December.

1949 – The first daytime soap opera premieres on NBC. It’s called “These Are My Children” and it runs just 15 minutes in length, airing weekdays at 5 p.m.

1950 – President Harry S. Truman announces plans to develop the hydrogen bomb. Two-and-a-half years later, the U.S. tests its first H-bomb at Eniwetok Atoll in the South Pacific. It generates a blast a thousand times stronger than the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan in World War II.

1958 – The first American satellite, Explorer I, launches into space.

1968 – As part of the Tet Offensive, a squad of Viet Cong guerillas attacks the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.

1971 – Apollo 14, piloted by astronauts Alan Shepard Jr., Edgar Mitchell and Stuart Roosa, successfully launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida on a manned mission to the moon.

1988 – “The Wonder Years” premieres on prime time TV. The coming-of-age tale set in the 1960s and 70s, stars Fred Savage. The last episode airs in the fall of 1993.

1990 – Los Angeles prosecutors announce that they will retry teacher Raymond Buckey, who was accused of molesting children at the McMartin Preschool in Manhattan Beach, California. The McMartin trials had already taken six years and cost more than $13.5 million without a single guilty verdict.

1990 – The first McDonald’s restaurant opens in Moscow.

On this Day July 1

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1963 – The U.S. Postal Service introduces the five-digit Zone Improvement Plan (ZIP) code to make mail delivery more efficient. A cartoon character named Mr. ZIP is used to help market it.

1979 – After the boombox, music becomes even more portable as Sony rolls out the Walkman, originally called the “Sound-About.” It retails for $200.

1984 – The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) institutes the PG-13 rating, strongly recommending parental guidance for moviegoers age 13 or younger. Red Dawn, starring Patrick Swayze, is the first movie to receive that rating.

1991 – “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, premieres. In this sequel to the original “The Terminator,” the Schwarzenegger character is transformed from villain to savior.

1992 – “A League of Their Own,” starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell and directed by Penny Marshall, opens in theaters.

1997 – Actor Robert Mitchum, best remembered for his roles in such films as “The Story of G.I. Joe,” “Crossfire,” “Out of the Past,” “The Night of the Hunter” and “Cape Fear,” dies at 79.

1997 – At the stroke of midnight, Hong Kong reverts back to Chinese rule in a ceremony attended by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Prince Charles of Wales, Chinese President Jiang Zemin and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

2004 – Legendary actor and Oscar winner Marlon Brando, best remembered for performances in “On the Waterfront,” “The Godfather,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Viva Zapata!,” “Julius Caesar,” ““The Wild One,” “Last Tango in Paris,” and “Apocalypse Now,” dies at the age of 80.