On This Day April 7

History Highlights

1776 – U.S. Navy Captain John Barry, commander of the warship Lexington, achieves the first American naval capture of a British vessel when he seizes the British warship HMS Edward off the coast of Virginia. The capture of the Edward and its cargo turns Barry into a national hero and boosts the morale of the Continental forces.

1948 – The United Nations establishes the World Health Organization (WHO) to promote “the highest possible level of health” around the globe. A major cornerstone of WHO is the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease. World Health Day is observed internationally every April 7.

1954 – President Dwight Eisenhower coins one of the most famous Cold War phrases when he suggests the fall of French Indochina to the communists could create a “domino effect” in Southeast Asia. The so-called “domino theory” guided U.S. strategy toward Vietnam for the next decade.

1961 – President John F. Kennedy lobbies Congress to fund the preservation of historic monuments in Egypt’s Nile Valley threatened by construction of the Aswan High Dam.

1969 – The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down laws prohibiting private possession of obscene material (Stanley v. Georgia). 

1970 – At the 42nd annual Academy Awards, screen legend John Wayne ropes his first and only Oscar: Best Actor for his role in the Western “True Grit.”

1978 – President Jimmy Carter cancels planned production of the neutron bomb.

1994 – Violence in Rwanda fuels the launch of what becomes the worst episode of genocide since World War II: the massacre of an estimated 500,000 to 1 million innocent civilian Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

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The Rolling Stones All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track

Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon

Make It Big

Wham!

John Barry: An American Hero in the Age of Sail

Tim McGrath

True Grit

Starring John Wayne, Glen Campbell and Kim Darby, and directed by Henry Hathaway

The Essential Billie Holiday: The Columbia Years

Billie Holiday

A Beautiful Mind

Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Ed Harris, and directed by Ron Howard

On this Day July 8

Musical Milestones

1957 – “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” by Elvis Presley begins a seven-week run on top of the singles chart. Two months earlier, Elvis was king of the pop chart with “All Shook Up,” which spent eight weeks at No. 1.

1958 – The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) awards the first official Gold album (for achieving sales of $1 million). It goes to the cast album for the stage production of “Oklahoma!” featuring Gordon MacRae. 

1967 – The Monkees begin a 29-date concert tour with The Jimi Hendrix Experience as the opening act. However, Hendrix is dropped after eight performances because the producers felt his act was not suitable for their “teeny-bopper” audiences.

1970 – “The Everly Brothers Show” starts an 11-week prime-time run on ABC- TV. 

1972 – Bill Withers scores the first and only No. 1 hit of his career when “Lean On Me” reaches the top of the pop chart. It holds that position for three weeks. 

1978 – Gerry Rafferty’s “City To City” reaches the top of the Billboard album chart, dethroning the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack which occupied that spot for nearly six months.

1989 – “Good Thing,” by Fine Young Cannibals, begins a week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The track is the second chart-topper from the band’s “The Raw & The Cooked” album. Three months earlier, “She Drives Me Crazy” claimed the top spot.

1995 – TLC flows to the top of the Billboard pop chart with “Waterfalls.” The song remains at No. 1 for seven weeks.

2000 – Enrique Iglesias begins his third and final week on top of the singles chart with “Be With You.”

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The Raw & The Cooked

Fine Young Cannibals

CrazySexyCool

TLC

Witness to Roswell: Unmasking the Government's Biggest Cover-Up

Thomas J. Carey and Donald R. Schmitt

Operation Overflight: A Memoir of the U-2 Incident

Francis Gary Powers

Footloose

Starring Kevin BaconLori Singer and John Lithgow, and directed by Herbert Ross

The Karate Kid

Starring Jaden SmithJackie Chan, and directed by Harald Zwart

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.

1989 – Writer-director Spike Lee’s celebrated third feature film, “Do the Right Thing” about racial tensions boiling over in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood on the hottest day of the year — opens in U.S. theaters. The movie receives Oscar nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Danny Aiello.

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

On this Day May 26

History Highlights

1897 – The first copies of the classic vampire novel “Dracula,” by Irish writer Bram Stoker, appear in London bookshops.

1927 – It’s the end of the road for Ford’s iconic Model T automobile. The 15 millionth and last Model T Ford rolls off a Detroit assembly line with Ford founder Henry Ford in the front passenger seat and his son, Edsel, behind the wheel. The touring car, with hand-stamped VIN 15000000, marked the symbolic end of the groundbreaking automobile’s 19-year production run.

1953 – The first 3-D sci-fi movie premieres in Los Angeles: “It Came from Outer Space,” based on a Ray Bradbury story.

1959 – Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches 12 perfect innings against the Milwaukee Braves before losing, 1-0, in the 13th. It’s the first time a pitcher throws more than nine perfect innings in major league history.

1969 – Apollo 10 returns to Earth after a successful eight-day test of all the components needed for the forthcoming first manned moon landing. During descent from its lunar orbit, the spacecraft sets a record for the fastest speed attained by a manned vehicle.

1972 – Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev and U.S. President Richard Nixon, meeting in Moscow, sign the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) agreements.

1977 – The so-called “human fly,” George Willig, scales the South Tower of New York City’s World Trade Center by attaching himself to a window washing track and walking straight to the top and into the custody of waiting police officers. It takes Willig three and a half hours to make the climb and costs him $1.10 in fines — one penny per floor.

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Power To The People: The Hits

John Lennon

They Only Come Out At Night

The Edgar Winter Group

It Came from Outer Space

Starring Richard Carlson, Barbara Rush and Charles Drake, and directed by Jack Arnold

The World Trade Center Remembered

Sonja Bullaty, Paul Goldberger and Angelo Lomeo 

Big Fish

Starring Ewan McGregor, Helena Bonham Carter, Albert Finney, Hailey Anne Nelson and Billy Crudup, and directed by Tim Burton

Greatest Hits

Lenny Kravitz