On This Day December 25

History Highlights

1776 – General George Washington and 2,400 of his Continental Army troops cross the icy waters of the Delaware River for a surprise attack against Hessian forces at Trenton, New Jersey.

1914 – Gunfire is replaced with the sounds of Christmas carols as German troops serving in World War I lay down their weapons and break into song on Christmas morning. Russian, French and British troops do the same and even shake hands and exchange cigarettes with enemy soldiers along the eastern and western fronts during the Christmas Truce of 1914. 

1962 – “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a film based on the 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Harper Lee, opens in theaters, starring Gregory Peck, who wins a Best Actor Oscar for his performance as attorney Atticus Finch.

1973 – “The Sting,” starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford as a pair of 1930s grifters, premieres.

1977 – British director, producer and comedic actor Charlie Chaplin, an icon of the silent film era, dies at the age of 88.

1989 – Ousted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, are executed following a popular uprising.

1989 – Former New York Yankees manager Billy Martin dies in a traffic accident at the age of 61.

1991 – Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as president of the Soviet Union just days after 11 of the former Soviet republics establish the Commonwealth of Independent States.

1996 – Six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey is killed in her Boulder, Colorado, home. Her parents call police the following morning to report their daughter missing and discover a ransom note demanding $118,000. The girl’s body is found in the basement that afternoon. The crime becomes a national sensation that remains unsolved today.

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White Christmas

Bing Crosby

Dino The Essential Dean Martin

Dean Martin

Charlie Chaplin: A Brief Life

Peter Ackroyd

Billy Martin: Baseball's Flawed Genius

Bill Pennington

The Twilight Zone (Season 1)

Created by Rod Serling

Coal Miner's Daughter

Starring Sissy Spacek, Tommy Lee Jones and Levon Helm, and directed by Michael Apted

On This Day November 11

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The Best Of Donna Summer: The Millennium Collection

Donna Summer

Daydream

Mariah Carey

A World Undone: The Story of the Great War

G. J. Meyer

The Route 66 Photo Road Trip

Rick & Susan Sammon

The Devil Wears Prada

Starring Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt and Stanley Tucci, and directed by David Frankel

Catch Me If You Can

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks and Christopher Walken, and directed by Steven Spielberg

On this Day May 11

Musical Milestones

1959 – The instrumental “The Happy Organ,” by organist-pianist Dave ‘Baby’ Cortez, is the No. 1 single for a week and becomes a fixture at roller skating rinks across the U.S. Cortez makes one more trip to the Top-10 during his career: “Rinky Dink” in 1962.

1963 – Little Peggy March wraps up three weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 with “I Will Follow Him.”

1970 – The three-disk soundtrack to the Woodstock Festival is released and goes gold within two weeks.

1972 – John Lennon makes a guest appearance on “The Dick Cavett Show” and claims the FBI is tapping his phone.

1981 – Jamaican singer-songwriter and guitarist Bob Marley, who introduced international audiences to reggae music, dies of cancer at the age of 36. Marley is posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, and in 2001, receives a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

1985 – Madonna has the No. 1 single with “Crazy for You,” from the soundtrack to the movie “Vision Quest,” starring Matthew Modine and Linda Fiorentino. The track garners Madonna her first Grammy nomination in the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance category.

1991 – “Joyride,” by Swedish pop duo Roxette, is the No. 1 single for a week.

1996 – Mariah Carey begins her second and final week on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Always Be My Baby.”

2002 – Ashanti maintains her hold on the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Foolish.” The track remains a chart-topper for 10 weeks.

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Woodstock: Three Days of Peace & Music

Various musical artists, including Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, Richie Havens, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Jimi Hendrix and The Who

Legend: The Best of Bob Marley and The Wailers

Bob Marley and The Wailers

My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel

Ari Shavit

Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins

Garry Kasparov

The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí

Salvador Dalí

O' Brother, Where Art Thou?

Starring George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson, and directed by Joel Coen