On This Day January 26

History Highlights

1788 –  Britain’s First Fleet sails into Sydney Harbor and begins the European colonization of Australia. The fledgling colony marks this event each year as Australia Day, however in recent years Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander have objected because they see the occasion as the beginning of the deliberate destruction of their people and culture.

1905 – A 3,106-carat diamond is discovered during a routine inspection at the Premier Mine in Pretoria, South Africa. Weighing 1.33 pounds,  it is the largest diamond ever found, and is named the Cullinan after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the owner of the mine.

1926 – Scottish inventor John Logie Baird gives the first public demonstration of a true television system (called a “televisor”) in London, launching a revolution in communication and entertainment.

1950 – The Republic of India is formed as the Indian constitution takes effect.

1961 – President John F. Kennedy appoints Janet Travell, 59, as his personal physician, making her the first woman in history to hold that post. 

1979 – The General Lee, a bright orange Dodge Charger with a Confederate flag on its roof, kicks up dust clouds as “The Dukes of Hazzard” premieres on CBS.

1988 – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” has its first Broadway performance at the Majestic Theatre. 

1998 – During one of the most memorable news conferences of his presidency, Bill Clinton tells reporters, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” Clinton later confesses that he did indeed have an “improper physical relationship” with Monica Lewinksky, a 24-year-old White House intern.

2005 – Condoleezza Rice assumes the post of U.S. Secretary of State two months after her nomination by President George W. Bush. She becomes the highest ranking African American woman ever to serve in a presidential cabinet.

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Photograph: The Very Best Of Ringo

Ringo Starr

Like A Virgin

Madonna

Dukes of Hazzard: Season 1

Starring Tom Wopat and John Schneider

The Phantom Of The Opera

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Cool Hand Luke

Starring Paul Newman, George Kennedy and J.D. Cannon, and directed by Stuart Rosenberg

The Right Stuff

Starring Scott Glenn, Ed Harris and Barbara Hershey, and directed by Philip Kaufman

On This Day January 3

History Highlights

1938 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his former law partner, Basil O’Connor, establish the March of Dimes (originally known as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis) to battle polio, the disease FDR contracted at the age of 39 that prevented him from ever walking on his own again.

1961 – The U.S. severs diplomatic relations with Cuba two years after Fidel Castro seized control of the island nation 90 miles off the coast of Florida.

1967 – Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who killed the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, dies of cancer in a Dallas hospital. The Texas Court of Appeals had recently overturned Ruby’s death sentence for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald and was scheduled to grant him a new trial.

1969 – Apollo 8 astronauts William Anders, Frank Borman and Jim Lovell grace the cover of TIME magazine as “Men of the Year” for becoming the first humans to orbit the moon. During their mission, the trio also captured the iconic “Earthrise” image of planet Earth hovering above the lunar surface. They were hailed for bringing a hopeful conclusion to 1968 — a year filled with social strife that included the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.

1990 – Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega surrenders to U.S. military troops to face charges of drug trafficking.

1993 – The Buffalo Bills stage the greatest comeback in NFL history. Backup quarterback Frank Reich leads the Bills to an improbable 41-38 overtime victory over the Houston Oilers in an AFC wild card playoff game that would forever be known to football fans as “The Comeback.” In Houston, however, it was referred to as “The Choke.”

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Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head

B.J. Thomas

Saturday Night

Bay City Rollers

March of Dimes

David W. Rose

Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon

Jeffrey Kluger

9 to 5

Starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton and Dabney Coleman, and directed by Corin Hughes

Lethal Weapon

Starring Mel Gibson, Danny Glover and Gary Busey, and directed by Richard Donner

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 September 26

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Abbey Road

The Beatles

I Will Always Love You: The Best Of Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

The JFK-Nixon Presidential Debates, 1960

Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon

Inside Gilligan's Island

Sherwood Schwartz

Grease

Starring John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John and Stockard Channing, and directed by Randal Kleiser

The Essential George Gershwin

George Gershwin and other artists

On this Day June 9

Musical Milestones

1958 – The hottest single in the U.S. is “The Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley. The novelty hit holds the No. 1 spot for six weeks.

1962 – “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” by Ray Charles, is in its second week as a No. 1 single. It retains the top spot for five weeks. Across the pond, the track hits the top of the U.K. singles chart that July and holds there for two weeks.

1972 – Elvis Presley plays his first concert in New York City — the first of four sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden. The performances are recorded for later release on the “Elvis As Recorded at Madison Square Garden” album.

1972 – One month after auditioning for Columbia Records, Bruce Springsteen is signed by the label and begins assembling his E Street Band. His debut album, “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.,” comes out in January 1973.

1979 – The Bee Gees reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the ninth time with “Love You Inside Out.” It becomes the sibling trio’s final chart-topper.

1984 – Cyndi Lauper begins a two-week run on top of the Billboard singles chart with “Time After Time,” off her debut album, “She’s So Unusual.” The track earns a Song of the Year Grammy nomination.

1990 – “Hold On,” by Wilson Phillips, clinches the top spot on the pop chart. The track goes on to win the Billboard Music Award for 1990 Hot 100 Single of the Year and is nominated for a Song of the Year Grammy.

1998 – The Ronettes (“Be My Baby,” “Walking In The Rain”) appear in court for their lawsuit against producer Phil Spector, whom they allege breached their 34-year-old contract by failing to pay royalties since 1963. Although The Ronettes win the case, the New York State Court of Appeals later overturns the decision, saying Spector had unconditional rights to their recordings.

2001 – Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mýa and Pink have the No. 1 single with their cover of Labelle’s 1974 smash, “Lady Marmalade.”

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Timeless: The All Time Greatest Hits

Bee Gees

She's So Unusual

Cyndi Lauper

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination

Neal Gabler

The Horse God Built: The Untold Story of Secretariat, the World's Greatest Racehorse

Lawrence Scanlan

Back to the Future

Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover, and directed by Robert Zemeckis

Edward Scissorhands

Starring Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder and Dianne Wiest, and directed by Tim Burton