On This Day January 28

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1915 – The American merchant ship William P. Frye becomes the first casualty of World War I as a German cruiser opens fire and sinks the vessel. Despite apologies from the German government, the attack sparks outrage in the U.S.

1922 – Ninety-eight guests are killed, 133 others are injured when the roof of Washington, D.C.’s Knickerbocker Theatre collapses under the weight of a heavy snowfall. The disaster ranks as one of Washington’s worst, and the “Knickerbocker Snowstorm,” as it is known, still holds the record for Washington’s single greatest snowfall.

1958 – The interlocking stud-and-tube plastic Lego brick is patented by Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, whose father founded the Lego toy company (“Lego,” from the Danish term “leg godt,” meaning “play well”). The colorful bricks have covered playroom floors for generations. In fact, it’s estimated that Lego has since produced the equivalent of 62 bricks for every human being on the planet.

1964 – The State Department accuses the Soviet Union of shooting down an unarmed Air Force trainer jet over East Germany, killing its three occupants.

1986 – A nation watches in horror as Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-51-L) explodes 73 seconds into flight, killing teacher Christa McAuliffe — who was to have been the first civilian in space — and fellow crew members Dick Scobee, Michael Smith, Judith Resnick, Ellison Onizuka, Ronald McNair and Gregory Jarvis.

1997 – Four apartheid-era police officers, appearing before a tribunal in South Africa, admit to the 1977 killing of Stephen Biko, a leader of the South African “Black consciousness” movement.

On This Day January 24

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On This Day December 2

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On This Day November 25

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On This Day October 15

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Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

On This Day October 10

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Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1956 – Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender,” from the movie of the same name, debuts on the pop chart, reaching No. 1 a month later. It is an adaptation of the Civil War-era tune “Aura Lee or The Maid with Golden Hair.”

1960 – The novelty song “Mr. Custer,” by Larry Verne, begins a week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1970 – “Cracklin’ Rosie” gives Neil Diamond his first ride to the top of the singles chart, where it holds for a week.

1979 – “The Rose,” starring Bette Midler as a self-destructive 1960s rock star, premieres in Los Angeles. The movie, based on the life of rock legend Janis Joplin, goes on to receive four Oscar nominations, including Best Actress in a Leading Role (Midler, in her screen debut).

1981 – The Diana Ross-Lionel Richie duet, “Endless Love,” concludes its nine-week reign over the singles chart.

1987 – “Here I Go Again,” by British rockers Whitesnake, spends a week on top of the Billboard Hot 100.

1988 – U2 release “Rattle and Hum,” a companion to the movie of the same name. The album contains live performances from the band’s successful 1987-88 “The Joshua Tree” tour, as well as additional songs recorded at the historic Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.

1992 – Boyz II Men are in the middle of an epic 13-week domination of the singles chart with their Grammy-winning smash, “End of the Road.”

2009 – The Black Eyed Peas begin the final week of a marathon 14-week hold on the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100 with “I Gotta Feeling.” The song goes on to capture a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

On this Day July 1

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1963 – The U.S. Postal Service introduces the five-digit Zone Improvement Plan (ZIP) code to make mail delivery more efficient. A cartoon character named Mr. ZIP is used to help market it.

1979 – After the boombox, music becomes even more portable as Sony rolls out the Walkman, originally called the “Sound-About.” It retails for $200.

1984 – The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) institutes the PG-13 rating, strongly recommending parental guidance for moviegoers age 13 or younger. Red Dawn, starring Patrick Swayze, is the first movie to receive that rating.

1991 – “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, premieres.

1992 – “A League of Their Own,” starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell and directed by Penny Marshall, opens in theaters.

1997 – Actor Robert Mitchum, best remembered for his roles in such films as “The Story of G.I. Joe,” “Crossfire,” “Out of the Past,” “The Night of the Hunter” and “Cape Fear,” dies at 79.

1997 – At the stroke of midnight, Hong Kong reverts back to Chinese rule in a ceremony attended by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Prince Charles of Wales, Chinese President Jiang Zemin and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

2004 – Legendary actor and Oscar winner Marlon Brando, best remembered for performances in “On the Waterfront,” “The Godfather,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Viva Zapata!,” “Julius Caesar,” ““The Wild One,” “Last Tango in Paris,” and “Apocalypse Now,” dies at the age of 80.