On This Day February 20

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History Highlights
History Highlights

On This Day December 23

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1783 – Following the signing of the Treaty of Paris, General George Washington resigns as commander in chief of the Continental Army and retires to his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia.

1888 – Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, suffering from severe depression, uses a razor to sever part of his left ear. He later documents the event in a painting titled “Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear.” Over years, however, a variety of new theories have emerged about this incident.

1913 – President Woodrow Wilson signs the Federal Reserve Act into law establishing the Federal Reserve, which continues serving as the nation’s central banking system today and is responsible for executing monetary policy.

1947 – John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley with Bell Laboratories unveil their invention of the transistor, which revolutionizes communications and electronics.

1968 – The crew and captain of the American intelligence gathering ship USS Pueblo are released after 11 months imprisonment by the North Korean government.

1986 – Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager complete the first non-stop flight around the world without refueling. They set a new world record of 216 hours of continuous flying in the experimental aircraft Voyager.

1993 – The movie “Philadelphia,” starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, and directed by Jonathan Demme, opens in U.S. theaters. It is the first major Hollywood film to address the HIV/AIDS crisis and garners Hanks a Best Actor Oscar and Bruce Springsteen a Best Original Song Oscar for his track, “Streets of Philadelphia.”

On This Day December 4

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On This Day November 30

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Celebrity Birthdays
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

History Highlights
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.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

On This Day November 27

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On This Day October 5

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On This Day October 2

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1835 – Mounting tensions between Mexico and Texas lead to violence when Mexican soldiers attempt to disarm the people of Gonzales, sparking the Texan war for independence. The battle flag used by the Texans at the Battle of Gonzales gained recognition as the “Come and Take It” flag, referring to a small cannon that Mexican forces tried to repossess.

1919 – President Woodrow Wilson, who had just cut short a cross-country speaking tour to promote formation of the League of Nations (a precursor to the United Nations), suffers a massive stroke, which leaves him partially paralyzed on the left side of his body. The stroke is kept a secret from the public, but forces Wilson to abandon his campaign for the League and weakens his presidency.

1950 – The first Peanuts comic strip, created by Charles Schulz, is published in seven newspapers across the U.S. Schulz originally called his strip “L’il Folks,” but United Features Syndicate changed the name.

1959 – “The Twilight Zone,” created and hosted by Rod Serling, premieres with an episode called “Where Is Everybody?” starring Earl Holliman. The black & white sci-fi series runs for five seasons.

1967 – Thurgood Marshall, the first African American U.S. Supreme Court justice, is sworn in to office.

1985 – Actor Rock Hudson becomes the first high-profile celebrity to die of complications from AIDS. Hudson’s death, at the age of 59, raises public awareness of the epidemic, which until that time had been ignored by many in the mainstream as a “gay plague.”

2006 – A 32-year-old milk truck driver enters the West Nickel Mines Amish School in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, and fatally shoots five female students and wounds five more before taking his own life. The gunman, Charles Carl Roberts IV, had no criminal history or record of mental illness.

On This Day September 22

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1862 – President Abraham Lincoln issues a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation establishing January 1, 1863 as the date that more than three million slaves in the U.S. would be freed. While the proclamation only frees between 20,000 and 50,000 slaves within the 10 states still in rebellion, it provides the legal framework for the eventual emancipation of all others.

1953 – The world’s first four-level interchange (“Stack”) opens in Los Angeles at the intersection of the Harbor, Hollywood, Pasadena, and Santa Ana freeways. The Saturday Evening Post called it “a mad motorist’s dream.”

1975 – U.S. President Gerald Ford survives a second assassination attempt in less than three weeks while leaving a San Francisco hotel. Sara Jane Moore had aimed and was getting ready to fire the first shot when a bystander thwarted her plans.

1976 – “Charlie’s Angels” premieres on ABC with Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith and the late Farrah Fawcett as a trio of detectives working for their unseen boss, Charlie, who telephoned in their assignments. 

1980 – The Iran-Iraq War begins as Iraqi armed forces invade western Iran along the nations’ joint border. The conflict drags on for eight years.

1982 – “Family Ties” debuts on NBC, starring Michael J. Fox as Alex, the smart, conservative and financially driven teenage son of parents played by Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross. 

1994 – NBC introduces “Friends,” starring Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer and Matt Le Blanc. The sitcom becomes one of primetime TV’s most popular shows during a 10-season run.

On This Day September 18

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On This Day September 8

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1900 – A hurricane packing winds in excess of 130 miles per hour and a 15-foot storm surge slams into Galveston, Texas, devastating the island. Between 6,000 and 8,000 people are killed, making the hurricane the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history up to that time. Ten thousand survivors are left homeless.

1921 – Sixteen-year-old Margaret Gorman of Washington, D.C., is crowned the first Miss America at the end of a two-day pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. 

1966 – A television sci-fi phenom is born with the premiere of “Star Trek” on NBC. The series, consisting of 79 episodes over three seasons, stars William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock, first officer and science officer aboard the starship USS Enterprise. In the decades since the original series ended, “Star Trek” has spawned spin-offs, movies and conventions.

1974 – President Gerald Ford attempts to give closure to the Watergate scandal by granting his predecessor, Richard Nixon, a pardon for any crimes he may have committed or participated in while in office. 

1974 – Daredevil Evel Knievel survives a failed bid to leap the mile-wide chasm of the Snake River Canyon (Idaho) on his rocket-powered motorcycle.

1986 – “The Oprah Winfrey Show” debuts as the first talk show hosted by an African American woman. 

1994 – US Air Flight 427 crashes on approach to Pittsburgh International Airport. All 132 people on board the Boeing 737 are killed. A lengthy investigation concludes that the cause was a faulty rudder.

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