On This Day October 26

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1881 – The Earp brothers face off against the Clanton-McLaury gang in a legendary shootout at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. The gunfight only lasts 30 seconds, but when the dust clears, Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers are dead, and Virgil and Morgan Earp and Doc Holliday are wounded.

1958 – The Jet Age begins as the first Boeing 707 commercial airliner, operated by Pan Am, takes off from New York’s Idlewild Airport (now JFK) and crosses the Atlantic to Paris-Le Bourget Airport on an 8.5-hour flight.

1970 – The “Doonesbury” comic strip, created by Garry Trudeau, premieres in 28 newspapers across the U.S.

1982 – “St. Elsewhere,” a drama set at the fictional St. Eligius Hospital in Boston, captivates viewers when it premieres on NBC. Then-unknown actors Denzel Washington and Howie Mandel co-star.

1984 – Surgeons place a baboon heart into the chest of Baby Fae (Stephanie Fae Beauclair), an infant with a heart defect that normally kills newborns within their first 10 days of life. The transplant keeps Baby Fae alive for 21 days.

1984 – Director James Cameron’s career-launching sci-fi action film, “The Terminator,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, opens in theaters. The movie is produced on a $6.4 million budget and grosses more than $78 million worldwide. It supercharges Schwarzenegger’s acting career, and “I’ll be back” becomes a popular catch-phrase.

2001 – President George W. Bush signs the Patriot Act, an anti-terrorism law drawn up in response to the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

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.

On this Day May 5

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1862 – During the Battle of Puebla, Mexican troops under General Ignacio Zaragoza — outnumbered three to one — defeat invading French forces. The historic event is marked each year with Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

1925 – Teacher John Scopes is arrested for violating the Butler Act, which prevents the teaching of evolution in Tennessee schools. He is later tried in the famous Scopes Monkey Trial.

1945 – One woman and five children are killed in rural Oregon while attempting to drag a Japanese balloon out the woods. The balloon was armed and exploded after the group began tampering with it. They were the first and only known American civilians killed in the continental U.S. during World War II.

1955 – The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) becomes a sovereign state when the U.S., France and Great Britain end their 10-year military occupation. The move clears the way for West Germany to rearm and become a full-fledged member of the western alliance against the Soviet Union.

1961 – Astronaut Alan Shepard becomes the first American to travel into outer space during a suborbital flight of 15 minutes aboard the Mercury capsule named Freedom 7.

1985 – President Ronald Reagan angers Jewish leaders and Holocaust survivors by visiting the Bitburg war cemetery in Germany, unaware that the cemetery houses the graves of 49 Nazi officers.

2002 – “Spider-Man” becomes first movie to top $100 million in an opening weekend. Directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire in the title role, the eagerly awaited comic book adaptation rakes in a staggering $114.8 million.