On This Day March 13

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On This Day February 1

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On This Day October 11

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1793 – The death toll from a yellow fever outbreak in what was then the capital of the United States — Philadelphia — reaches 100. A cold front that arrives about two weeks later wipes out the city’s mosquito population, which reduces the number of casualties to 20 per day. But by the time the epidemic ends that November, more than 5,000 people had died.

1950 – CBS becomes the first television network to secure a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license to broadcast in color.

1968 – The first manned Apollo mission, Apollo 7, blasts off and transmits the first live TV signals from orbit. The crew orbits Earth 163 times during 10 days and 20 hours in space.

1975 – Late-night television turns edgy with the first broadcast of NBC’s “Saturday Night,” later renamed “Saturday Night Live” and known today as “SNL.” Original cast members include Laraine Newman, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris and Chevy Chase. Comedian George Carlin hosts Episode 1, with musical perfomances by Billy Preston and Janis Ian.

1986 – Following up on their successful November 1985 summit in Geneva, U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev meet in Reykjavik, Iceland, to continue disarmament talks. While negotiations break down, they pave the way for the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the Superpowers.

2002 – Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter wins the Nobel Peace Prize “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.”

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1962 – The Beatles make their first appearance on the U.K. singles chart with “Love Me Do,” which eventually peaks at No. 17. It performs better across the pond on the Billboard singles chart, where it reaches No. 1 on May 30, 1964.

1969 – The Archies wrap up four weeks as chart-toppers with “Sugar Sugar.”

1971 – John Lennon releases “Imagine,” which becomes an international anthem for peace and love and the most successful single of the former Beatle’s solo career. It peaks at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Shortly before his death in 1980, Lennon admitted that much of the song’s content came from his wife, Yoko Ono, and in 2017 she received a co-writing credit.

1975 – “Bad Blood” by Neil Sedaka, with backup vocals provided by Elton John, begins a three-week run as the No. 1 single.

1975 – “Born to Run” becomes Bruce Springsteen’s first Top 40 hit. The single only climbs as high as No. 23, but propels The Boss’s musical career into the stratosphere.

1986 – Janet Jackson scores her first No. 1 single with “When I Think of You,” off her “Control” album. The track holds the top spot for two weeks.

1997 – Elton John begins 14 weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with his musical tribute to the late Princess Diana, “Candle in the Wind.” The track is an updated version of John’s 1973 recording from the “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” album, which was a homage to screen siren Marilyn Monroe.

2003 – “Baby Boy,” by Beyoncé featuring Sean Paul, is in the second of nine weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100.

2008 – T.I. (a.k.a. Tip) is No. 1 on the pop chart with “Whatever You Like.”

On this Day August 18

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Celebrity Birthdays
Celebrity Birthdays

1927 – Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter

1933 – Director Roman Polanski, born Raimund Polanski, whose first American movie was 1968’s “Rosemary’s Baby”

1936 – Oscar-winning actor, director, producer and Sundance Film Festival founder Robert Redford (“Barefoot in the Park,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “The Candidate,” “The Way We Were,” “The Sting,” “All the President’s Men,” “Ordinary People,” “Out of Africa,” “Legal Eagles,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”)

1943 – Actor-comedian Martin Mull (“Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” “Fernwood 2 Night,” ” Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,” “Two and a Half Men”)

1952 – Actor Patrick Swayze (“Red Dawn,” “Uncommon Valor,” “Dirty Dancing,” “Ghost,” “Donnie Darko”) (d. 2009)

1957 – Actor-comedian Denis Leary (“True Crime,” the “Ice Age” movie series, “Rescue Me,” “Recount,” “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Draft Day,” “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll”)

1969 – Golden Globe-winning actor Christian Slater (“The Legend of Billie Jean,” “Heathers,” “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” “True Romance,” “Murder in the First,” “Mr. Robot”)

1969 – Oscar-winning actor-director Edward Norton (“Primal Fear,” “American History X,” “Fight Club,” “The Italian Job,” “The Illusionist,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel”)

1970 – Actor-director Malcolm-Jamal Warner, best known for his role as Theo Huxtable on the NBC sitcom “The Cosby Show”

1978 – Golden Globe-winning comedian, actor, musician and “SNL” alum Andy Samberg (“Hot Rod,” “I Love You, Man,” “That’s My Boy,” “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” the “Hotel Transylvania” movies, “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”)

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1962 – “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do,” by Neil Sedaka, is Billboard’s top-ranked single. 

1962 – Two days after firing Pete Best, The Beatles introduce new drummer Ringo Starr in time for a performance in Birkenhead, England. Starr was no stranger to the band, having stood in on several occasions in Hamburg and Liverpool, where he primarily played for Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.

1969 – Jimi Hendrix brings the Woodstock Music and Art Fair to a memorable close with one of the most powerful, searing renditions of “The Star Spangled Banner” ever recorded. While some believe that Hendrix improvised the electrified anthem on the spot, he had actually been experimenting with it for more than a year and would continue to play it until his untimely death in September 1970.

1973 – With “Touch Me in the Morning,” Diana Ross scores her second No. 1 single since leaving The Supremes.

1979 – “Good Times,” by Chic, tops the Billboard Hot 100. The disco standard is one of the most sampled tracks in music history, especially in hip hop. It is the band’s second No. 1 hit.

1984 – Ray Parker, Jr. continues to haunt the top spot on the pop chart with his theme from the movie “Ghostbusters.” The single spends three weeks at No. 1.

1990 – Mariah Carey is midway through a four-week run at No. 1 on the pop chart with “Vision of Love.”

2001 – Alicia Keys kicks off three weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Fallin,” which goes on to capture three Grammy Awards.

On this Day August 11

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1934 – The first inmates, classified as “most dangerous,” arrive at the federal prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, joining a few dozen prisoners left over from the island’s days as a U.S. military prison.

1956 – Abstract artist Jackson Pollock dies in a drunk-driving car crash at the age of 44. 

1965 – Following the arrest of a young black motorist, the predominately black Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts erupts in riots that last six days and leave more than 30 people dead. 

1965 – The Ford Motor Company introduces the Bronco to compete with the Jeep CJ-5 and International Harvester Scout. 

1973 – “American Graffiti” opens in theaters. The coming-of-age film set in 1962 California was co-written and directed by George Lucas and stars Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard and Harrison Ford.

1984 – During a sound check before a Saturday radio broadcast, President Ronald Reagan jokingly says, “My fellow Americans. I’m pleased to announce that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” Reagan was unaware, however, that the feed was live. The Soviets, who find no humor in the remark, put their military on high alert.

2014 – Oscar-winning actor-comedian Robin Williams (“Mork and Mindy,” “The World According to Garp,” “Moscow on the Hudson,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Dead Poets Socity,” “Aladdin,”  “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “The Birdcage,” “Good Will Hunting”) dies by suicide at the age of 63.