On This Day March 8

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1950 – The Volkswagen microbus (also known as the VW Type 2) goes into production, becoming an icon of America’s counter-culture movement as the vehicle of choice for hippies during the 1960s. 

1971 – Boxing titans Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier meet for the “Fight of the Century” before a crowd of more than 20,000 at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The showdown marks Ali’s return to the ring three and a-half years after his boxing license was revoked over his refusal to fight in the Vietnam War. Frazier wins by unanimous decision, retaining his heavyweight champion title and delivering Ali the first loss of his career.

1973 – Terrorists affiliated with the Irish Republican Army (IRA) set off two powerful car bombs in London, killing one person and injuring 243 others. Most of the suspects are arrested trying to leave Heathrow Airport. The blasts cause chaos not seen since World War II.

1983 – Addressing the National Association of Evangelicals convention in Florida, President Ronald Reagan publicly refers to the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” for the second time in his political career.

1993 – MTV airs the first episode of the animated series “Beavis and Butthead,” which goes on to become the network’s highest-rated series up to that point.

1999 – Baseball legend and cultural icon Joe DiMaggio (“The Yankee Clipper”), who devoted his entire 13-year Major League Baseball career as a New York Yankees center fielder, dies at the age of 84.

2014 – Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, loses contact with air traffic control less than an hour after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur then veers off course and vanishes. Most of the Boeing 777, and everyone on board, are never seen again.

On This Day December 21

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On This Day October 7

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1913 – The moving assembly line is introduced at Ford Motor Company’s  Highland Park factory outside Detroit. Henry Ford’s invention allowed workers to build a Model T from scratch in 84 steps, cutting production time from 12.5 hours to six hours, and a year later to just 93 minutes.

1968 – The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) adopts its film rating system. Movies are rated G for general audiences, M (which later becomes PG), R or X (for adults only).

1982 – “Cats” opens, becoming the longest-running production in Broadway history. The musical is based the T.S. Eliot’s 1939 collection of poems, “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” and features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

1985 – Four Palestinian terrorists hijack the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in the Mediterranean Sea. They kill a disabled American tourist, 69-year-old Leon Klinghoffer, and order his body thrown overboard with his wheelchair.

2001 – President George W. Bush announces that a U.S.-led coalition has begun attacks on Taliban-controlled Afghanistan with an intense bombing campaign by American and British forces. The campaign, in retaliation for terror attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. three weeks earlier (9/11), is known as Operation Enduring Freedom.

2003 – “Terminator” actor Arnold Schwarzenegger is elected governor of California, replacing Gray Davis — the first U.S. governor to be recalled by the public since 1921. Affectionately called “The Governator,” he is reelected in 2006.

On This Day September 16

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On This Day September 5

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1836 – Sam Houston is elected president of the Republic of Texas, which earned its independence from Mexico in a successful military rebellion.

1958 – Boris Pasternak’s romantic novel, “Doctor Zhivago,” is published in the United States. The book was banned in the Soviet Union, but goes on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958 and is the basis of the Oscar-winning 1965 movie starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie.

1966 – The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Telethon debuts. The live fundraiser was hosted every Labor Day weekend through 2011 by comedian Jerry Lewis. 

1972 – The world watches in horror as news unfolds about a massacre at the Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, where Palestinian terrorists murder 11 Israeli athletes. Many cite this tragedy as ushering in the modern age of terrorism.

1975 – An assassination attempt against President Gerald Ford in Sacramento, California is thwarted by a Secret Service agent who wrests a semi-automatic .45-caliber pistol from Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, a follower of cult leader Charles Manson. Fromme is paroled in 2009 after 34 years in prison.

1986 – A Pan Am flight from Bombay, India to New York (Pan Am Flight 73) is hijacked by four armed Palestinian men during a scheduled stop in Karachi, Pakistan. Twenty people are killed aboard the 747 jumbo jet — among them, flight attendant Neerja Bhanot, who is posthumously honored with India’s highest peacetime award for bravery for protecting many of the 360 survivors.

2006 – Katie Couric debuts as the first female solo anchor of a weekday network evening news broadcast, the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric,” and draws an audience of 13.6 million viewers. Couric, who served as co-host of NBC’s “Today” show from 1991 to 2006, succeeded longtime anchor Dan Rather.