On this Day June 30

History Highlights

1859 – Frenchman Jean Francois Gravelet, a.k.a.  The Great Blondin, or Charles Blondin, becomes the first daredevil to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Thousands of spectators line the American and Canadian sides of the falls to observe the feat, which he  performs along an 1,100-foot-long tightrope suspended 160 feet above the raging waters of Niagara Gorge.

1934 – In what comes to be known as the Night of the Long Knives, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler orders a bloody purge of his own political party, assassinating hundreds of Nazis whom he believed had the potential to become political enemies in the future.

1936 – Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Gone with the Wind,” one of the best-selling novels of all time and the basis for the blockbuster 1939 movie, is published.

1971 – “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory,” a movie musical-fantasy starring Gene Wilder, opens in theaters. It’s an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1964 novel, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

1971 – Three Soviet cosmonauts who made up the crew of the world’s first space station are killed when their spacecraft, Soyuz 11, depressurizes during reentry to Earth’s atmosphere.

1974 – The July 4th scene from the movie “Jaws” is filmed on Martha’s Vineyard, with 400 screaming, panic-stricken extras in bathing suits running from the water multiple times until director Steven Spielberg gets the right take.

1993 – The legal thriller “The Firm,” directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Gene Hackman, opens in theaters. It’s based on the 1991 novel of the same name by John Grisham.

1995 – Director Ron Howard’s high-intensity drama “Apollo 13,” about NASA’s desperate efforts to bring the crew of Apollo 13 safely home after an explosion that denies them a moon landing, opens in U.S. theaters. Starring Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Ed Harris and Gary Sinise, the movie receives nine Oscar nominations and wins for Best Film Editing and Best Sound.

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The Very Best of Ray Charles

Ray Charles

Living In The Material World

George Harrison

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

Starring Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson and Peter Ostrum, and directed by Mel Stuart

Gone With the Wind

Margaret Mitchell

The Essential Lena Horne

Lena Horne

Undisputed Truth

Mike Tyson

On this Day June 24

History Highlights

1901 – The first major exhibition of Pablo Picasso’s artwork opens in Paris.

1947 – Pilot Kenneth Arnold reports seeing strange objects near Mount Rainier, Washington. He describes them as “saucers skipping across the water,” and so the term “flying saucers” is born.

1948 – The Soviet Union begins a blockade of Berlin. Allied forces respond with what would be known as the Berlin Airlift, flying in more than two million tons of supplies over the next year.

1953 – Jacqueline Bouvier and Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy publicly announce their engagement. They marry three months later in Newport, Rhode Island. Kennedy wins election as 35th U.S. president in 1960, and as first lady, Jackie, as she was known, makes restoration of the White House her first major project. 

1975 – Wind shear from thunderstorms is blamed for the crash of an Eastern Airlines 727 on final approach to New York’s JFK Airport that leaves 113 dead. The accident leads to the installation of low-level wind shear detectors at airports.

1993 – Yale University computer science professor David Gelernter is seriously injured while opening his mail when a padded envelope explodes in his hands. The bombing, along with 14 others since 1978 that killed three people and injured 23 others, was eventually linked to “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski.

1997 – U.S. Air Force officials release a 231-page report dismissing long-standing claims of an alien spacecraft crash in Roswell, New Mexico, almost exactly 50 years earlier.

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The Best of Sammy Davis, Jr. : The Millennium Collection

Sammy Davis, Jr.

Greatest Hits

Richard Marx

And They Called It Camelot

Stephanie Marie Thornton

UNABOMBER: How the FBI Broke Its Own Rules to Capture the Terrorist Ted Kaczynski

Jim Freeman

Truth

Jeff Beck

Robocop

Starring Peter WellerNancy Allen and Dan O’Herlihy, and directed by Paul Verhoeven

On this Day June 16

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A Perfect Haze: The Illustrated History of the Monterey International Pop Festival

Harvey Kubernik and Kenneth Kubernik

The Blues Brothers

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

Amusing the Million: Coney Island at the Turn of the Century

John F. Kasson

The People's Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century

Steven Watts

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

Starring Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson and Peter Ostrum, and directed by Mel Stuart

Lovely, Dark, Deep: Stories

Joyce Carol Oates

On this Day June 10

History Highlights

1692 – Bridget Bishop, the first Massachusetts Bay colonist to be tried in the Salem witch trials, is hanged after being found guilty of the practice of witchcraft.

1752 – Benjamin Franklin flies a kite during a thunderstorm and collects ambient electrical charge in a Leyden jar, enabling him to demonstrate the connection between lightning and electricity along with an understanding of positive and negative charges. His experiment leads to development of the lightning rod, which grounded buildings thereby helping prevent deadly fires.

1935 – Alcoholics Anonymous, also known as AA, is founded by two recovering alcoholics — Bill W., a New York stockbroker, and Dr. Bob S., an Ohio surgeon. Today, the organization continues to fulfill the pair’s original mission to help alcoholics stop drinking and stay sober.

1943 – Hungarian Laszlo Biro patents the ballpoint pen. In many languages, the word for ballpoint pen is “biro.”

1967 – In the Middle East, the Six-Day War ends when Israel and Syria agree to a U.N.-brokered ceasefire.

1980 – A letter written by imprisoned anti-apartheid crusader Nelson Mandela and smuggled out of Robben Island prison, is shared publicly by the African National Congress (ANC). The letter is a call to arms against apartheid.

2007 – An estimated 12 million viewers tune in to “Made in America” — the final episode of HBO’s critically acclaimed, award-winning Mob family drama, “The Sopranos,” starring James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, Lorraine Bracco and Steven Van Zandt.

Celebrity Birthdays

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Grease: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John and other artists

Ray

Starring Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington and Regina King, and directed by Taylor Hackford

Not God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous

Ernest Kurtz

The Sopranos: The Complete Series

Starring James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, Lorraine Bracco and Steven Van Zandt, and produced by David Chase

Gone With the Wind

Starring Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh and Leslie Howard, and directed by Victor Fleming

The Wizard of Oz

Starring Judy Garland, Ray Bolger and Frank Morgan, and directed by Victor Fleming