On This Day January 28

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”). Bricks manufactured today remain compatible with the original ones.

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.

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The Best of The Monkees

The Monkees

We Are The World

U.S.A. For Africa

Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry

David Robertson and Bill Breen

Space Shuttle Disaster: The Tragic Mission of the Challenger

Henry M. Holden

M*A*S*H: The Complete Collection

Starring Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Harry Morgan, Mike Farrell, Loretta Swit and others

The Green Mile

Starring Tom Hanks, David Morse and Bonnie Hunt, and directed by Frank Darabont

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 25

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Carpenters: Gold / Greatest Hits

Carpenters

The Broadway Album

Barbra Streisand

John F. Kennedy: The American Presidents Series: The 35th President, 1961-1963

Alan Brinkley

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

Vincent Bugliosi

The Best of Etta James: The Millennium Collection

Etta James

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Starring William Vail and Paul A. Partain, and directed by Tobe Hooper

On This Day January 24

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A Cellarful of Noise

Brian Epstein and Martin Lewis

Hits Back

The Clash

Winston Churchill: A Life

John Keegan

Steve Jobs

Walter Isaacson

Marty

Starring Ernest Borgnine, Esther Minciotti and Augusta Ciolli, and directed by Delbert Man

The Blues Brothers

Starring John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and John Candy, and directed by John Landis

On This Day January 21

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Saturday Night Fever: Original Movie Soundtrack

Bee Gees, KC and the Sunshine Band, Kool & the Gang and other artists

21

Adele

Concorde

Christopher Orlebar

Felon for Peace: The Memoir of a Vietnam-Era Draft Resister

Jerry Elmer

Benny Hill Complete and Unadulterated: The Naughty Early Years, Set One - 1969-1971

Starring Benny Hill and Henry McGee

Thelma & Louise

Starring Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Harvey Keitel and Michael Madsen, and directed by Ridley Scott

On This Day January 7

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Dino: The Essential Dean Martin

Dean Martin

Dancing on the Ceiling

Lionel Richie

Telegraph, Telephone, and Wireless: How Telecom Changed the World

Bert Lundy

Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb

by Richard Rhodes

National Treasure

Starring Nicolas Cage, Jon Voight and Harvey Keitel, and directed by Jon Turteltaub

The Hurt Locker

Starring Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty, and directed by Kathryn Bigelow

On This Day December 26

History Highlights

1898 – In a landmark moment for chemistry and physics, French scientists Pierre and Marie Curie publish a paper announcing their discovery of the element of radium (Ra). The groundbreaking discovery later garners the husband and wife team the Nobel Prize.

1946 – Mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel opens the Flamingo Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, aiming to establish a stylish and cosmopolitan gambling destination in the Nevada desert. Siegel closes the resort just two weeks later due to lackluster business, and the following June, he is killed in a mob hit. After undergoing multiple ownership changes through the years, the Flamingo is still in operation as the oldest casino on the Vegas Strip.

1966 – Kwanzaa is observed for the first time. The seven-day holiday with strong African roots was designed by Dr. Maulana Karenga, the chair of Black Studies at California State University at Long Beach, as a celebration of African American family, community and culture.

1972 – Harry S. Truman, the 33rd U.S. president, dies in Independence, Missouri at the age of 88.

1973 – “The Exorcist” opens in movie theaters across the U.S., terrifying audiences and establishing a new standard for the horror genre. Based on William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel of the same name, the Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning movie is about a girl, played by Linda Blair, that is possessed by an evil spirit.

1974 – Cancer claims the life of beloved comedian Jack Benny at the age of 80.

1982 – TIME magazine breaks from tradition when the magazine’s editors replace the annual “Man of the Year” cover story with “Machine of the Year” and profile the personal computer.

1996 – Six-year-old beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey is found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family’s Boulder, Colorado home. Her murder becomes the focus one of most intensive and publicized police investigations in U.S. history and remains unsolved to this day.

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All Things Must Pass

George Harrison

Super Fly

Curtis Mayfield

Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition

Keith A. Mayes

The Exorcist

Starring Linda Blair, Max von Sydow and Ellen Burstyn, and directed by William Friedkin

Tearing Down the Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector

Mick Brown

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

David Sedaris

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 December 24

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Saturday Night Fever (The Original Movie Soundtrack)

Bee Gees, The Trammps, KC and the Sunshine Band and others

Thriller

Michael Jackson

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

Jeffrey Kluger

Bob Hope on TV: Thanks for the Video Memories

Wesley Hyatt

Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations

Peter Evans and Ava Gardner

Where Are the Children?

Mary Higgins Clark

On This Day December 23

History Highlights

1783 – Following the signing of the Treaty of Paris, General George Washington resigns as commander in chief of the Continental Army and retires to his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia.

1888 – Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, suffering from severe depression, uses a razor to sever part of his left ear. He later documents the event in a painting titled “Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear.” Over years, however, a variety of new theories have emerged about this incident.

1913 – President Woodrow Wilson signs the Federal Reserve Act into law establishing the Federal Reserve, which continues serving as the nation’s central banking system today and is responsible for executing monetary policy.

1947 – John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley with Bell Laboratories unveil their invention of the transistor, which revolutionizes communications and electronics.

1968 – The crew and captain of the American intelligence gathering ship USS Pueblo are released after 11 months imprisonment by the North Korean government.

1986 – Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager complete the first non-stop flight around the world without refueling. They set a new world record of 216 hours of continuous flying in the experimental aircraft Voyager.

1993 – The movie “Philadelphia,” starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, and directed by Jonathan Demme, opens in U.S. theaters. It is the first major Hollywood film to address the HIV/AIDS crisis and garners Hanks a Best Actor Oscar and Bruce Springsteen a Best Original Song Oscar for his track, “Streets of Philadelphia.”

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Sam Cooke: Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964

Sam Cooke

Magical Mystery Tour

The Beatles

Van Gogh: The Life

Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith

Philadelphia

Starring Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington and Antonio Banderas, and directed by Jonathan Demme

The Simpsons (Season 1)

Starring Harry Shearer, Dan Castellaneta, Albert Brooks and more

The Lost Boys

Starring Corey Feldman, Jami Gertz and Corey Haim, and directed by Joel Schumacher

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