On This Day December 26

History Highlights

1898 – In a landmark moment for chemistry and physics, French scientists Pierre and Marie Curie publish a paper announcing their discovery of the element of radium (Ra). The groundbreaking discovery later garners the husband and wife team the Nobel Prize.

1946 – Mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel opens the Flamingo Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, aiming to establish a stylish and cosmopolitan gambling destination in the Nevada desert. Siegel closes the resort just two weeks later due to lackluster business, and the following June, he is killed in a mob hit. After undergoing multiple ownership changes through the years, the Flamingo is still in operation as the oldest casino on the Vegas Strip.

1966 – Kwanzaa is observed for the first time. The seven-day holiday with strong African roots was designed by Dr. Maulana Karenga, the chair of Black Studies at California State University at Long Beach, as a celebration of African American family, community and culture.

1972 – Harry S. Truman, the 33rd U.S. president, dies in Independence, Missouri at the age of 88.

1973 – “The Exorcist” opens in movie theaters across the U.S., terrifying audiences and establishing a new standard for the horror genre. Based on William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel of the same name, the Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning movie is about a girl, played by Linda Blair, that is possessed by an evil spirit.

1974 – Cancer claims the life of beloved comedian Jack Benny at the age of 80.

1982 – TIME magazine breaks from tradition when the magazine’s editors replace the annual “Man of the Year” cover story with “Machine of the Year” and profile the personal computer.

1996 – Six-year-old beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey is found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family’s Boulder, Colorado home. Her murder becomes the focus one of most intensive and publicized police investigations in U.S. history and remains unsolved to this day.

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All Things Must Pass

George Harrison

Super Fly

Curtis Mayfield

Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition

Keith A. Mayes

The Exorcist

Starring Linda Blair, Max von Sydow and Ellen Burstyn, and directed by William Friedkin

Tearing Down the Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector

Mick Brown

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

David Sedaris

On This Day December 19

History Highlights

1732 – Benjamin Franklin begins publishing “Poor Richard’s Almanack.” The book, filled with proverbs preaching industry and prudence, is published continuously for 25 years and becomes one of the most popular publications in colonial America, selling an average of 10,000 copies a year.

1843 – Charles Dickens publishes his Christmas classic, “A Christmas Carol.” Originally titled “A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas,” the first edition sells out by Christmas Eve. By the end of 1844, 13 editions had been released. The work continues to be printed and sold nearly 200 years later and has been adapted countless times for film, stage, opera and other media, including a video game.

1903 – New Yorkers celebrate the opening of the Williamsburg Bridge, the second and largest of three steel-frame suspension bridges crossing the East River.

1917 – The National Hockey League (NHL) opens its first season with two games. At the time, the league consists of five franchises: the Canadiens and the Wanderers (both of Montreal), the Ottawa Senators, the Quebec Bulldogs and the Toronto Arenas (known at the time as the Toronto Hockey Club).

1972 – NASA’S Apollo manned lunar-landing program ends as the last three astronauts to travel to the moon safely splash down in the Pacific Ocean. Apollo 17 had blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, 10 days earlier.

1984 – The British government signs an agreement to return Hong Kong to China in 1997.

1997 – Director James Cameron’s epic drama “Titanic” opens in U.S. theaters, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. The film becomes a box office smash and goes on to capture 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

1998 – President Bill Clinton is impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice by a divided House of Representatives, which recommends virtually along party lines that the Senate remove the nation’s 42d president from office. Clinton vows to finish his term.

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The Best of Diana Ross & The Supremes: The Millennium Collection

Diana Ross & The Supremes

Elton John

Elton John

Poor Richard's Almanac

by Benjamin Franklin

A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens

The Voice of the Sparrow: The Very Best of Edith Piaf

Édith Piaf

Brokeback Mountain

Starring Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal and Randy Quaid, and directed by Ang Lee

On This Day December 4

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Greatest Hits

The Byrds

The Ultimate Collection: Roy Orbison

Roy Orbison

United Nations: A History

Stanley Meisler

I Was a Pan Am Princess of the Sky

Fumiko Takahashi

The Big Lebowski

Starring Jeff Bridges, John Goodman and Julianne Moore, and directed by Joel Coen

My Cousin Vinny

Starring Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei and Fred Gwynne, and directed by Jonathan Lynn

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 October 16

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1

The Beatles

Every Picture Tells a Story

Rod Stewart

The Making of the Atomic Bomb

Richard Rhodes

Does America Need a Foreign Policy?

Henry Kissinger

Mystic River

Starring Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon and Laurence Fishburne, and directed by Clint Eastwood

Red Hot Chili Peppers Greatest Hits

Red Hot Chili Peppers

On this Day August 9

History Highlights

1936 – African American track star Jesse Owens captures his fourth Gold medal at the Berlin Olympic Games in the 4×100-meter relay. His relay team set a new world record of 39.8 seconds. In their strong showing in track and field, Owens and other African American athletes struck a publicity blow to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, who planned to use the international event to showcase supposed Aryan superiority.

1945 – Three days after the bombing of Hiroshima, the U.S. drops a second atomic bomb on Japan. This time the target is Nagasaki. The attack leads to Japan’s unconditional surrender and brings hostilities in World War II to a close. The combined attacks leave some 200,000 people dead and level both cities.

1969 – In one of the most horrifying crimes of the 1960s, members of Charles Manson’s cult, the Manson Family, murder five people in the Beverly Hills home of director Roman Polanski. Polanski’s pregnant wife, 26-year-old actress Sharon Tate, is among the victims.

1974 – Gerald Ford becomes the 38th U.S. president, taking the oath of office on the heels of the Richard Nixon resignation. 

1975 – The Louisiana Superdome opens and an exhibition game there sees the Houston Oilers trounce the hometown New Orleans Saints by a score of 31-7.

2010 – JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater quits his job in dramatic fashion after his flight lands at New York’s JFK International Airport. He gets on the public address system, swears at a passenger whom he claimed treated him rudely, grabs a beer and slides down the plane’s emergency chute onto the tarmac.

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The Ultimate Bee Gees

Bee Gees

American Beauty

Grateful Dead

The Fall of Japan: The Final Weeks of World War II in the Pacific

William Craig

Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson

Jeff Guinn

Working Girl

Starring Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver, and directed by Mike Nichols

I Will Always Love You: The Best Of Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

On this Day August 2

History Highlights

1776 – The official signing of the Declaration of Independence takes place on this day, not July 4 as widely believed. John Hancock, president of the Congress, signs the engrossed copy with a bold signature. The other delegates, following custom, sign beginning at the right with the signatures arranged by states from northernmost New Hampshire to southernmost Georgia.

1790 – The first U.S. census is taken. It determines that there are nearly 4 million citizens in the 16 states and Ohio Territory. The U.S. has taken a census every 10 years since then.

1934 – With the death of German President Paul von Hindenburg, Chancellor Adolf Hitler becomes absolute dictator of Germany under the title of Fuhrer (“Leader”).

1943 – Almost two decades before becoming U.S. president, John F. Kennedy is commander of a U.S. Navy patrol torpedo boat (PT-109) in the Solomon Islands that is rammed by a Japanese destroyer and sliced in half. Two crewmen are killed, but 11 survive due largely to Lt. Kennedy’s dramatic rescue efforts.

1985 – Wind gusts from a severe thunderstorm are blamed for the crash of Delta Airlines Flight 191, a Lockheed L-1011 jumbo jet, at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport that leaves 137 people dead. 

1990 – Iraqi troops invade Iraq’s tiny, oil-rich neighbor, Kuwait, quickly capturing Kuwait City and establishing a provincial government. The move leads to “Operation Desert Storm,” a massive U.S.-led military offensive aimed at ousting Iraqi forces to prevent further invasion into nearby Saudi Arabia. 

1992 – Jackie Joyner-Kersee becomes the first woman ever to win two consecutive Olympic gold medals in the heptathlon.

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One of These Nights

Eagles

Solitude / Solitaire

Peter Cetera

The American Census: A Social History, Second Edition

Margo J. Anderson

PT 109: An American Epic of War, Survival, and the Destiny of John F. Kennedy

William Doyle

Lawrence of Arabia

Starring Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn, and directed by David Lean

Avatar

Starring Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver, and directed by James Cameron

On this Day July 19

Musical Milestones

1966 – Wedding bells ring as legendary entertainer Frank Sinatra marries actress Mia Farrow. He’s 50, she’s 21. The marriage lasts just two years.

1969 – Zager and Evans are No. 1 on the pop chart with “In the Year 2525.”

1974 – The three-day Ozark Music Festival opens at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, Missouri, and draws a crowd estimated at 350,000 — bigger than the more famous Woodstock Festival. Acts include Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Blue Öyster Cult, Eagles, Aerosmith, America, Jefferson Starship, the Marshall Tucker Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Joe Walsh.

1975 – Paul McCartney and Wings reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Listen To What The Man Said.”

1980 – Billy Joel holds the top position of both the album and singles charts. His album, “Glass Houses,” contains his first and biggest No. 1 hit, “It’s Still Rock ’n’ Roll to Me.”

1986 – “Invisible Touch,” off the Genesis album of the same name, grabs hold of the top spot on the Billboard singles chart for a week. It is the band’s first and only U.S. No. 1.

1988 – A year before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Bruce Springsteen performs for more than 300,000 fans in East Berlin, saying “I’m not here for any government. I’ve come to play rock ‘n’ roll for you in the hope that one day all the barriers will be torn down.”

1997 – “I’ll Be Missing You,” by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112, is midway through an 11-week domination of the pop chart.

2003 – No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for a second straight week: “Crazy in Love,” by Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z. 

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Venus And Mars (Remastered)

Paul McCartney and Wings

Glass Houses

Billy Joel

Rocking The Wall: Bruce Springsteen: The Untold Story of a Concert in East Berlin That Changed the World

Erik Kirschbaum

Seneca Falls and the Origins of the Women's Rights Movement

Sally McMillen

Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival

Laurence Gonzales

Peggy Sue Got Married

Starring Kathleen TurnerNicolas CageJim Carrey, and directed by Francis Ford Coppola

The Imitation Game

Starring Benedict CumberbatchKeira Knightley andMatthew Goode, and directed by Morten Tyldum

On this Day July 12

History Highlights

1933 – Architect, engineer and philosopher Buckminster Fuller produces the first of three prototypes of the three-wheeled, multi-directional, rear-engine Dymaxion. The aerodynamic concept car could transport up to 11 passengers, got 30 miles to the gallon and reached a top speed of 90 miles per hour. However, a rollover accident during Dymaxion’s debut at the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago kills the driver, injures three passengers and scares off investors, ensuring that the vehicle never goes to market.

1960 – Way before the advent of the iPad, Xbox and PlayStation, Etch A Sketch is introduced to consumers by the Ohio Art Company. The distinctive red plastic drawing toy with two white knobs has since sold over 175 million units worldwide and was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York in 1998. 

1976 – The TV game show “Family Feud” premieres with host Richard Dawson. It is currently hosted by Steve Harvey.

1982 – After 60 years of production, the last Checker taxi cab rolls off a Kalamazoo, Michigan assembly line.

1984 – Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale becomes the first major-party candidate to choose a woman as a running mate when he announces his choice of Geraldine Ferraro. 

1990 – The quirky series “Northern Exposure,” starring Rob Morrow as a New York doctor transplanted to a tiny town in Alaska, premieres on CBS. 

1991 – John Singleton makes his directorial debut with the release of “Boyz N the Hood,” a drama about life in South Central Los Angeles. The movie stars two future Oscar winners — Cuba Gooding Jr. and Regina King — and two Oscar nominees who are Hollywood legends: Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne.

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Holding Back the Years

Simply Red

No Way Out [Explicit]

Puff Daddy & The Family

Toy Time!

Christopher Byrne

Boyz N The Hood

Starring Ice CubeCuba Gooding Jr.Morris Chestnut, Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne, and directed by John Singleton

Milton Berle: An Autobiography

Milton Berle

In Good Company

Starring Dennis QuaidTopher Grace and Scarlett Johansson, and directed by Paul Weitz

On this Day June 30

History Highlights

1859 – Frenchman Jean Francois Gravelet, a.k.a.  The Great Blondin, or Charles Blondin, becomes the first daredevil to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Thousands of spectators line the American and Canadian sides of the falls to observe the feat, which he  performs along an 1,100-foot-long tightrope suspended 160 feet above the raging waters of Niagara Gorge.

1934 – In what comes to be known as the Night of the Long Knives, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler orders a bloody purge of his own political party, assassinating hundreds of Nazis whom he believed had the potential to become political enemies in the future.

1936 – Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Gone with the Wind,” one of the best-selling novels of all time and the basis for the blockbuster 1939 movie, is published.

1971 – “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory,” a movie musical-fantasy starring Gene Wilder, opens in theaters. It’s an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1964 novel, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

1971 – Three Soviet cosmonauts who made up the crew of the world’s first space station are killed when their spacecraft, Soyuz 11, depressurizes during reentry to Earth’s atmosphere.

1974 – The July 4th scene from the movie “Jaws” is filmed on Martha’s Vineyard, with 400 screaming, panic-stricken extras in bathing suits running from the water multiple times until director Steven Spielberg gets the right take.

1993 – The legal thriller “The Firm,” directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Gene Hackman, opens in theaters. It’s based on the 1991 novel of the same name by John Grisham.

1995 – Director Ron Howard’s high-intensity drama “Apollo 13,” about NASA’s desperate efforts to bring the crew of Apollo 13 safely home after an explosion that denies them a moon landing, opens in U.S. theaters. Starring Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Ed Harris and Gary Sinise, the movie receives nine Oscar nominations and wins for Best Film Editing and Best Sound.

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The Very Best of Ray Charles

Ray Charles

Living In The Material World

George Harrison

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

Starring Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson and Peter Ostrum, and directed by Mel Stuart

Gone With the Wind

Margaret Mitchell

The Essential Lena Horne

Lena Horne

Undisputed Truth

Mike Tyson