On This Day October 25

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1962 – Tensions escalate between the United States and Soviet Union over the Cuban Missile Crisis. During a U.N. Security Council meeting, U.S. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson demands that his Soviet counterpart confirm whether his country is installing missiles in Cuba, saying, “I am prepared to wait for my answer until hell freezes over.”

1971 –  Sixteen years after Disneyland opens in Anaheim, California, the official dedication of Walt Disney World takes place in Orlando, Florida. Walt Disney’s brother, Roy O. Disney, and Mickey Mouse preside, followed by a grand opening parade through the Magic Kingdom. The celebration is taped for a special that airs on NBC four days later.

1982 – The sitcom “Newhart” premieres on CBS, starring Bob Newhart as an author and Vermont innkeeper.

1983 – The U.S. and its Caribbean allies invade Grenada just days after the island nation’s leader is killed in a coup.

1994 – In a case that garnered international attention, Susan Smith notifies South Carolina authorities that she was carjacked by a man who sped off with her two young boys still buckled in the back seat of her car. Nine days later, she confesses that she made up the story after driving her own car into a lake to drown the kids because she was having an affair with a man who did not want children. Smith is convicted of two counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

2002 – Golden Globe and Grammy-winning actor and singer Richard Harris, whose career spanned six decades and included starring roles in movies like “Camelot” and the “Harry Potter” series, dies of cancer at age 72. Harris had a 1968 hit single, “MacArthur Park,” which Donna Summer later covered.

On this Day August 27

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1883 – The most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history jolts Krakatoa (also known as Krakatau), a small, uninhabited volcanic island located west of Sumatra in Indonesia. The resulting explosions and tsunamis kill an estimated 36,000 people.

1953 – “Roman Holiday,” featuring Audrey Hepburn in her first starring movie role, premieres in New York City.

1955 – The first edition of “The Guinness Book of Records” is published in England as a resource for pub patrons to settle friendly disputes. By that Christmas, it becomes a British best-seller. Today, it is the leading international authority for certifying every conceivable world record, from longest mustache to most tattooed woman, and everything in between.

1962 – NASA launches the Mariner 2 space probe on a mission to fly by Venus and return data on the planet’s atmosphere, magnetic field, charged particle environment and mass.

1964 – Gracie Allen, who kept radio and TV audiences laughing for decades with comedy partner and husband George Burns, dies at age 69.

1966 – Sixty-five-year-old Francis Chichester sets sail from Plymouth, England aboard his yacht, Gipsy Moth IV, on the first solo around-the-world trip by sea. He completes the voyage nine months and one day later with only a single stop in Sydney, Australia, and is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

1984 – President Ronald Reagan announces the Teacher in Space Project to inspire students, honor teachers and spur interest in mathematics, science and space exploration. New Hampshire social studies teacher Christa McAuliffe is eventually selected out of 11,000 applicants to be the first teacher in space. Sadly, she is killed along with all her fellow crew members in the January 1986 explosion of the space shuttle Challenger 73 seconds after liftoff.

On this Day August 9

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History Highlights
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.

On this Day July 5

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On this Day June 19

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1865 – Union soldiers land in Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War has ended and that enslaved African Americans were now free. The announcement comes two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which took effect on January 1, 1863. Some historians blame the delay on poor communication of that era while others believe Texan slave owners intentionally withheld the information. June 19 is observed around the U.S. as Juneteenth. On June 17, 2021, it became a federal holiday.

1905 – The world’s first nickelodeon opens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and draws some 450 guests. The storefront theater boasted 96 seats and charged each patron a nickel.

1934 – Congress establishes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate broadcasting in the United States.

1953 –  Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were convicted of conspiring to pass U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviets, die in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in New York. Both deny wrongdoing and proclaim their innocence right up to the time of their execution. The Rosenbergs were the first American civilians executed for espionage during the Cold War.

1973 – In separate games, Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds and Willie Davis of the L.A. Dodgers achieve their 2,000th career hits.

1978 – Cartoonist Jim Davis introduces readers of 41 newspapers around the U.S. to a pleasantly plump, lazy, lasagna-loving cat named Garfield.

1981 – A caped superhero returns to U.S. movie theaters with the release of “Superman II,” starring Christopher Reeve as “The Man of Steel.”

2013 –  Actor James Gandolfini, best known for his role as crime boss Tony Soprano in the HBO series “The Sopranos,” dies of a heart attack at age 51 while vacationing in Italy.