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 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 October 13

History Highlights

1792 – The cornerstone is laid for a presidential residence in the newly designated capital city of Washington. Eight years later, John Adams becomes the first U.S. president to reside in the executive mansion, which is referred to as the White House beginning in 1812 because of its white-gray sandstone exterior.

1943 – With World War II raging, the government of Italy declares war on Nazi Germany, its former Axis partner, and joins the battle on the side of the Allies.

1967 – The Anaheim Amigos lose to the Oakland Oaks, 134-129, in the inaugural game of the American Basketball Association (ABA). In its first season, the ABA consists of 11 teams. In 1976, the ABA merges with the National Basketball Association (NBA), with only four teams remaining intact: the Americans (later renamed the New Jersey Nets), the Spurs, the Nuggets and the Pacers. 

1974 – TV host Ed Sullivan, who introduced American viewers to Elvis Presley and The Beatles, among other up-and-coming entertainers, dies of cancer at the age of 73.

1977 – Four Palestinians hijack a Lufthansa passenger jet and demand the release of 11 imprisoned members of Germany’s Baader-Meinhof terrorist group, also known as the Red Army Faction.

1999 – A Colorado grand jury investigating the highly publicized case of murdered child beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey is dismissed, and the Boulder County district attorney announces no indictments will be made due to insufficient evidence.

2010 – Thirty-three miners are rescued after being trapped half a mile below ground for more than two months in a northern Chile mine collapse. The miners survive longer than anyone else trapped underground in recorded history. Their rescue is described in one media account as “a feat of engineering and a triumph of faith.”

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Off The Wall

Michael Jackson

The Woman in Red - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Stevie Wonder

The White House: The President's Home in Photographs and History

Betty C. Monkman

Impresario: The Life and Times of Ed Sullivan

James Maguire

Deep Down Dark

Héctor Tobar

The Essential Paul Simon

Paul Simon

Borat

Starring Sacha Baron Cohen and directed by Larry Charles