On This Day February 12

History Highlights

1909 – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is founded. It is America’s oldest, largest and most widely recognized grassroots-based civil rights organization. 

1976 – Oscar-nominated actor Sal Mineo (“Rebel Without a Cause,” “Giant,” “Exodus,” ” The Longest Day”) is stabbed to death outside his West Hollywood apartment at the age of 37. It takes authorities more than two years to arrest Lionel Williams, who is convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison.

1986 – After spending eight years in Soviet prisons and labor camps, human rights activist Anatoly (Natan) Scharansky is released.  Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan brokered the amnesty deal at a summit meeting three months earlier.

1999 – The five-week impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton comes to an end, with the Senate voting to acquit Clinton on both articles of impeachment: perjury and obstruction of justice.

2002 – Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic goes on trial at The Hague, Netherlands, on charges of genocide and war crimes in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo. The trial drags on for four years until Milosevic is found dead of a heart attack in his prison cell at the age of 64. 

2008 – Struggling auto giant General Motors (GM) attempts to cut costs by offering buyouts to all 74,000 of its U.S. hourly employees represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.

2008 – Hollywood’s longest work stoppage since 1988 ends when members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) overwhelmingly vote to go back to work following a 100-day walkout. The strike crippled the production of countless TV shows and cost the California economy more than $2 billion. It also gave rise to more reality TV programming that required little or no scripting.

Celebrity Birthdays

1809 – Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. president (d. 1865)

1809 – Scientist Charles Darwin, who laid the foundations for the theory of evolution in his book, “The Origin of Species”  (d. 1882)

1915 – Radio announcer-turned-actor and singer Lorne Greene, best know as Ben Cartwright in the TV western “Bonanza,” and Commander Adama in the sci-fi TV series “Battlestar Galactica” (d. 1987)

1923 – Director-producer Franco Zeffirelli, known for his Shakespeare film adaptations, including “The Taming of the Shrew” and “Romeo and Juliet” (d. 2019)

1934 – Five-time NBA Most Valuable Player and 12-time All-Star Bill Russell, who led the Boston Celtics to 11 championships from 1957 to 1969

1938 – Best-selling author Judy Blume, known for her children’s books and young-adult novels, including “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” and “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” 

1952 – Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and former Doobies Brothers vocalist Michael McDonald 

1956 – Actor, comedian and former talk show host Arsenio Hall 

1968 – Actor Josh Brolin (“The Goonies,” “No Country For Old Men,” “W,” “Milk,” “Men in Black 3,” “Hail, Caesar!”, “Deadpool 2”, “Avengers: Infinity War”, “Once Upon A Deadpool”, “Avengers: Endgame”, ) 

1980 – Actress Christina Ricci (“The Addams Family,” “Casper,” “The Ice Storm,” “The Opposite of Sex,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Monster,” “Pan Am”) 

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The McGuire Sisters Greatest Hits

The McGuire Sisters

A Star Is Born

Barbra Streisand & Kris Kristofferson

Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement

Patricia Sullivan

The Writers: A History of American Screenwriters and Their Guild

Miranda J. Banks

The Addams Family

Starring Christopher Lloyd, Christina Ricci and Anjelica Huston, and directed by Barry Sonnenfeld

The Origin of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition

Charles Darwin

On This Day November 24

Musical Milestones

1950 – The musical comedy “Guys and Dolls” premieres on Broadway at the 46th Street Theatre. Two years later, it spawns a film adaptation starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. 

1962 – The Four Seasons, featuring Frankie Valli, are in the second week of a five-week run as Billboard chart-toppers with “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”

1966 – The Beatles gather in a studio for the first time since wrapping up their U.S. summer concert tour and spend the entire day recording John Lennon’s “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

1972 – Don Kirshner’s “Rock Concert” TV show debuts, featuring Chuck Berry, Blood, Sweat & Tears and Alice Cooper.

1973 – Ringo Starr’s “Photograph” begins a week as the No. 1 single.

1979 – The Barbra Streisand-Donna Summer duet “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)” kicks off two weeks as a No. 1 single.

1984 – “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” by Wham!, rules the Billboard Hot 100.

1991 – Queen frontman Freddie Mercury dies of complications from AIDS exactly one day after publicly disclosing that he is HIV positive. He was 45 years old.

1997 – Johnny Rotten of The Sex Pistols is the defendant in an episode of TV’s “Judge Judy.” The case is a wrongful termination suit brought on by his former drummer, which Rotten wins.

2007 – Jay-Z climbs to the top of the Billboard album chart with “American Gangster,” his 10th chart-topping album. This ties the rapper to 2nd place with Elvis Presley for the most No. 1 albums. Only The Beatles have had more, with 19. 

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Don Kirshner: The Man with the Golden Ear

Rich Podolsky

The Very Best of Freddie Mercury Solo: Lover Of Life, Singer Of Songs

Freddie Mercury

The Last Master Outlaw: How He Outfoxed the FBI Six Times But Not A Cold Case Team

Thomas J. Colbert and Tom Szollosi

The Last Days of Letterman

Scott Ryan

Scott Joplin Piano Rags

Joshua Rifkin

The Big O: My Life, My Times, My Game

Oscar P. Robertson

On this Day July 21

History Highlights

1861 – In the first major clash of the Civil War, the Battle of Bull Run, a large Union force under General Irvin McDowell is routed by a Confederate army led by General Pierre G.T. Beauregard.

1925 – The so-called “Monkey Trial” ends with Tennessee high school biology teacher John Scopes found guilty of teaching evolution in class. He is fined $100.

1955 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower presents his “Open Skies” plan at the Geneva summit. It calls on the U.S. and Soviet Union to exchange maps showing the location of every military installation in their respective nations.

1961 – Astronaut Virgil “Gus” Grissom, piloting Liberty Bell 7, becomes the second American to go into space in a suborbital mission. 

1970 – After 11 years of construction, the Aswan High Dam across the Nile River in Egypt is completed.

1989 – Writer-director Spike Lee’s celebrated third feature film, “Do the Right Thing” about racial tensions boiling over in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood on the hottest day of the year — opens in U.S. theaters. The movie receives Oscar nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Danny Aiello.

2005 – Terrorists attempt to attack the London transit system with bombs planted on three subways and a bus, however none detonates completely. The plot comes two weeks after terrorists killed 52 people and wounded over 700 others in the largest attack on Great Britain since World War II.

2011 – NASA’s 30-year space shuttle program comes to an end with the early-morning landing of shuttle Atlantis (STS-135) at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The 13-day mission to the International Space Station was the 33rd for Atlantis and 135th for NASA’s shuttle fleet.

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20 Greatest Hits

The Coasters

Appetite for Destruction

Guns N’ Roses

The Scopes Monkey Trial

Randy Moore and William McComas

Liberty Bell 7: The Suborbital Mercury Flight of Virgil I. Grissom

Colin Burgess

The Old Man and the Sea

Ernest Hemingway

Good Will Hunting

Starring Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Minnie Driver, and directed by Gus Van Sant

On this Day July 10

History Highlights

1850 – Vice President Millard Fillmore is sworn in as the 13th U.S. president. President Zachary Taylor had died the day before of a severe intestinal ailment. Fillmore becomes only the second man to inherit the presidency due to death.

1925 – The so-called “Monkey Trial” begins with John Thomas Scopes, a young high school science teacher, accused of teaching evolution in violation of a Tennessee state law. 

1962 –  Swedish engineer Nils Bohlin receives a U.S. patent for the three-point, lap-and-shoulder vehicle seatbelt. It is considered one of the most significant safety innovations of all time.

1962 – NASA launches Telstar, the world’s first communications satellite, from Cape Canaveral. Two days later, the man-made orb relays the first transatlantic television signal from Maine to France.

1978 – The ABC News nightly “World News Tonight” broadcast premieres, featuring co-anchors Frank Reynolds in Washington, D.C., Max Robinson in Chicago and Peter Jennings in London. 

1985 – French secret service agents plant two bombs on the hull of the Rainbow Warrior, the flagship of international conservation group Greenpeace, and sink the vessel in Auckland Harbor New Zealand. One crew member is killed in the blast, which was aimed at stopping the Rainbow Warrior from a protest mission to a French nuclear test site in the South Pacific.

1992 – The Alaska court of appeals overturns the conviction of Joseph Hazelwood, former captain of the oil tanker Exxon Valdez, citing a federal statute that gave him immunity from prosecution for the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

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Tossin' and Turnin'

Bobby Lewis

Hot Rocks (1964-1971)

The Rolling Stones

The Scopes Monkey Trial: The History of 20th Century America’s Most Famous Court Case

Charles River Editors

Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist

Patrick Moore

Barney Miller, Season 1

Starring Hal Linden, Max Gail, Ron Glass, Abe Vigoda and Jack Soo

Entourage, Season 1

Starring Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara and Jeremy Piven

On this Day May 5

History Highlights

1862 – During the Battle of Puebla, Mexican troops under General Ignacio Zaragoza — outnumbered three to one — defeat invading French forces. The historic event is marked each year with Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

1925 – Teacher John Scopes is arrested for violating the Butler Act, which prevents the teaching of evolution in Tennessee schools. He is later tried in the famous Scopes Monkey Trial.

1945 – One woman and five children are killed in rural Oregon while attempting to drag a Japanese balloon out the woods. The balloon was armed and exploded after the group began tampering with it. They were the first and only known American civilians killed in the continental U.S. during World War II.

1955 – The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) becomes a sovereign state when the U.S., France and Great Britain end their 10-year military occupation. The move clears the way for West Germany to rearm and become a full-fledged member of the western alliance against the Soviet Union.

1961 – Astronaut Alan Shepard becomes the first American to travel into outer space during a suborbital flight of 15 minutes aboard the Mercury capsule named Freedom 7.

1985 – President Ronald Reagan angers Jewish leaders and Holocaust survivors by visiting the Bitburg war cemetery in Germany, unaware that the cemetery houses the graves of 49 Nazi officers.

2002 – “Spider-Man” becomes first movie to top $100 million in an opening weekend. Directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire in the title role, the eagerly awaited comic book adaptation rakes in a staggering $114.8 million.

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West Side Story (The Original Sound Track Recording)

Music by Leonard Bernstein; lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

20 Greatest Hits

The Shirelles

We Seven: By the Astronauts Themselves

Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Walter “Wally” Schirra, Alan Shepard and Donald “Deke” Slayton

A Religious Orgy in Tennessee:
A Reporter's Account of the Scopes Monkey Trial

H.L. Mencken

Witness for the Prosecution

Starring Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich and Charles Laughton, and directed by Billy Wilder

19

Adele