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 October 2

History Highlights

1835 – Mounting tensions between Mexico and Texas lead to violence when Mexican soldiers attempt to disarm the people of Gonzales, sparking the Texan war for independence. The battle flag used by the Texans at the Battle of Gonzales gained recognition as the “Come and Take It” flag, referring to a small cannon that Mexican forces tried to repossess.

1919 – President Woodrow Wilson, who had just cut short a cross-country speaking tour to promote formation of the League of Nations (a precursor to the United Nations), suffers a massive stroke, which leaves him partially paralyzed on the left side of his body. The stroke is kept a secret from the public, but forces Wilson to abandon his campaign for the League and weakens his presidency.

1950 – The first Peanuts comic strip, created by Charles Schulz, is published in seven newspapers across the U.S. Schulz originally called his strip “L’il Folks,” but United Features Syndicate changed the name.

1959 – “The Twilight Zone,” created and hosted by Rod Serling, premieres with an episode called “Where Is Everybody?” starring Earl Holliman. The black & white sci-fi series runs for five seasons.

1967 – Thurgood Marshall, the first African American U.S. Supreme Court justice, is sworn in to office.

1985 – Actor Rock Hudson becomes the first high-profile celebrity to die of complications from AIDS. Hudson’s death, at the age of 59, raises public awareness of the epidemic, which until that time had been ignored by many in the mainstream as a “gay plague.”

2006 – A 32-year-old milk truck driver enters the West Nickel Mines Amish School in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, and fatally shoots five female students and wounds five more before taking his own life. The gunman, Charles Carl Roberts IV, had no criminal history or record of mental illness.

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Every Picture Tells a Story

Rod Stewart

American Fool

John Cougar (Mellencamp)

The Art and Making of Peanuts Animation

Charles Solomon

The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia

Steven Rubin

American Pie

Don McLean

Fields of Gold: The Best of Sting 1984-1994

Sting

On this Day June 28

History Highlights

1836 – Fourth U.S. President James Madison, drafter of the Constitution, recorder of the Constitutional Convention and author of the “Federalist Papers,” dies on his tobacco plantation in Virginia.

1953 – Workers at a Chevrolet plant in Flint, Michigan, begin building the first Corvette, a two-seater sports car that quickly becomes an American automotive icon. It rolls off the assembly line two days later. Only 300 Corvettes were built for the 1953 model year — all Polo white with red upholstery.

1969 – A police raid of the Stonewall Inn — a gay club located on New York City’s Christopher Street — turns violent as patrons and local sympathizers begin rioting against police officers. The clashes become a watershed moment in the struggle for gay rights in the U.S. In 2016, the Stonewall Inn was designated as the first national monument honoring the LGBTQ movement. The monument covers 7.7 acres, including nearby Christopher Park.

1975 – One of television’s most successful writers, “The Twilight Zone” creator Rod Serling dies of a heart attack at the age of 50. During his career, Serling racked up more Emmy Awards for dramatic writing than anyone in history. He also won a Golden Globe and Peabody Award for productions other than “The Twilight Zone.”

1997 – Boxing fans are horrified as Mike Tyson bites both of Evander Holyfield’s ears in the third round of their heavyweight rematch. The attack leads to his disqualification from the match and suspension from boxing.

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Greatest Hits: The Best of Henry Mancini

Henry Mancini

Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy

Elton John

The Stonewall Reader

New York Public Library

The Twilight Zone, Season 1

Rod Serling

Fried Green Tomatoes

Starring Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, Mary Stuart Masterson and Mary-Louise Parker, and directed by Jon Avnet

Say Anything

Starring John Cusack, Ione Skye and John Mahoney, and directed by Cameron Crowe