On This Day October 4

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On This Day April 4

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1949 – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is established by the U.S. and 11 other Western nations.

1960 – William Wyler’s Technicolor epic ,”Ben-Hur,” sets an Academy Awards record when it sweeps 11 of the 12 categories for which it was nominated, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Charlton Heston).

1968 – A sniper shoots and kills civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 39, on the balcony of a Memphis, Tennessee motel. As word of the assassination spreads, riots erupt in cities across the U.S., and National Guard troops are deployed in Memphis and Washington, D.C. In 1991, the murder scene—the Lorraine Motel—is dedicated as part of the National Civil Rights Museum.

1969 – CBS cancels the most popular show on TV at the time, “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” because the brothers failed to submit their script to network executives to review before broadcast. 

1973 – A ribbon-cutting ceremony is held in New York’s Lower Manhattan to dedicate the original World Trade Center. At 110 stories each, 1 WTC, or the North Tower, and 2 WTC, the South Tower, would provide nearly 10 million square feet of office space. Reaching more than a quarter of a mile into the sky, the Twin Towers were the tallest buildings in New York City, and for a brief period, the tallest buildings in the world. 

1975 – At a time when most Americans are using typewriters, childhood friends and self-proclaimed computer geeks Bill Gates and Paul Allen establish Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Four years later, they relocate the business to Washington State and grow it into a major multinational technology corporation.

2007 – Radio shock jock Don Imus makes offensive remarks about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team on the air, creating a firestorm of criticism across the country. Imus apologizes and loses his job, but ultimately is able to salvage his career.

2013 – Acclaimed movie critic Roger Ebert, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV’s Sneak Previews program for 31 years, dies at the age of 70 after battling cancer.

On This Day April 2

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History Highlights
History Highlights

On This Day March 19

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On This Day April 1

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1582 – This date marks the first known celebration of April Fool’s Day, also known in some circles as All Fools’ Day. In 1700, English pranksters begin to popularize the annual tradition of April Fools’ Day by playing practical jokes on one other.

1918 – Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) is founded through a merger of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). It takes its place beside the British navy and army as a separate military branch with its own ministry.

1946 – An undersea earthquake off the coast of Alaska triggers a massive tsunami that kills 159 people in Hawaii.

1963 – Two daytime dramas with a medical theme are launched by competing networks. ABC’s longest-running soap, “General Hospital,” premieres as the brainchild of the husband and wife writing team of Frank and Doris Hursley. And NBC broadcasts the first episode of “The Doctors,” which enjoys a nearly 30-year run until the network pulls the plug in 1982.

1970 – President Richard Nixon signs legislation banning cigarette commercials on radio and TV. The ban takes effect in January 1971. However, Big Tobacco soon realizes that the move would free funds to advertise in other media.

1972 – The first strike in Major League Baseball (MLB) history is triggered by the expiration of the league’s three-year pension agreement. The strike lasts 12 days and causes the cancellation of 86 games, throwing the season into flux.

1976 – Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne form Apple Computer, That July, they begin to sell the Apple I personal computer kits that were hand-built by Wozniak. Apple is incorporated in January 1977, but without Wayne, who sells his share of the company back to Jobs and Wozniak for $800.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1966 – The Troggs record “Wild Thing” at Regent Sound Studio in London. The track, recorded in one complete take (Take 2), climbs to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 that July and holds there for two weeks.

1972 – The band America gallops to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart with “A Horse with No Name,” the single that gave us such unique lyrics as “the heat was hot” and “there ain’t no one for to give you no pain.”

1978 – The Bee Gees hold at No. 1 on the singles chart with “Night Fever.”

1984 – One day before his 45th birthday, Marvin Gaye — considered one of Motown’s renaissance men — is fatally shot by his father after a violent argument. Gaye’s biggest hits include “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology),” “What’s Going On,” “Let’s Get It On” and “Sexual Healing.”

1989 – “Eternal Flame,” by The Bangles, is the No. 1 single. The track, off the girl group’s “Everything” album, also goes on to reach No. 1 on pop charts in eight other countries, including Australia and the U.K.

1995 – With the release of “Me Against the World,” Tupac Shakur becomes the first male solo artist to have a No. 1 album on the Billboard chart while in prison. The album goes on to become a hip-hop classic.

2000 – “Say My Name,’ by Destiny’s Child featuring  Beyoncé, begins its third and final week as a No. 1 single. 

2006 – Sean Paul grabs the top spot on the singles chart for a week with “Temperature.”

On This Day February 25

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1870 – Hiram Rhodes Revels, a Republican from Natchez, Mississippi, is sworn into the U.S. Senate, becoming the first African American ever to sit in Congress. He is assigned to serve on the Committee on Education and Labor and the Committee on the District of Columbia.

1916 – German troops seize Fort Douaumont, the most formidable of the forts guarding the walled city of Verdun, France, four days after launching their initial attack. The Battle of Verdun becomes the longest and bloodiest conflict of World War I, lasting 10 months and resulting in over 700,000 casualties.

1950 – The TV comedy “Your Show of Shows,” hosted by Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, premieres, eventually helping launch the successful entertainment careers of Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Woody Allen and others.

1964 – Twenty-two-year-old Cassius Clay (who later changes his name to Muhammad Ali) stuns odds-makers by dethroning world heavyweight boxing champ Sonny Liston in a seventh-round technical knockout in Miami Beach.

1984 – A massive explosion, triggered when gasoline from a ruptured pipeline ignited, levels a shantytown outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, killing at least 500 people — mostly young children. However, investigators speculate that the actual death toll may have been closer to 700 since many bodies were incinerated in the intense blaze.

1986 – President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines flees the nation after 20 years of rule. Corazon Aquino becomes that nation’s first woman president. 

2004 – “The Passion of the Christ,” Mel Gibson’s controversial film about the final hours of Jesus of Nazareth’s life, opens in U.S. theaters, starring  Jim Caviezel as Jesus. It receives three Oscar nominations.

On This Day January 25

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On This Day January 23

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1849 – Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first woman physician in U.S. history when she earns a medical degree from the all-male Geneva Medical College in upstate New York, graduating at the top of her class at the age of 28. Blackwell devotes her life to advocating for women in the healthcare professions and, in 1868, opens a women’s medical college in New York City.

1957 – The Wham-O toy company introduces the first aerodynamic plastic disc known as the Frisbee, and forever changes outdoor recreation. The disc was the creation of Walter Frederick Morrison, who originally named it the Pluto Platter.

1968 – North Korea seizes the U.S. intelligence-gathering ship USS Pueblo claiming it had violated North Korean territorial waters while spying. 

1973 – President Richard Nixon announces that a peace accord had been reached in Paris to end the Vietnam War.

1975 – The ABC sitcom “Barney Miller” debuts. It’s about an NYPD precinct captain played by Hal Linden, and the shenanigans he endures with his detectives.

1976 – Singer, actor, athlete and civil rights activist Paul Robeson dies at the age of 77. 

1977 – The miniseries “Roots,” based on the book by Alex Haley, debuts. It runs for eight consecutive nights on ABC Television and becomes the single most-watched program in American history, drawing about 100 million viewers.

1997 – One day after her unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate, Madeline Albright is sworn in as America’s first female Secretary of State by Vice President Al Gore.

On This Day January 22

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On This Day January 21

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