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On This Day Alert | Aspen Xchange

On This Day Alert

World Cancer Day, annual observance held on February 4 that is intended to increase global awareness of cancer. World Cancer Day originated in 2000 at the first World Summit Against Cancer, which was held in Paris. At this meeting, leaders of government agencies and cancer organizations from around the world signed the Charter of Paris Against Cancer, a document containing 10 articles that outlined a cooperative global commitment to improving the quality of life of cancer patients and to the continued investment in and advancement of cancer research, prevention, and treatment.
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On February 2, 1887, Groundhog Day, featuring a rodent meteorologist, is celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on this day and sees its shadow, it gets scared and runs back into its burrow, predicting six more weeks of winter weather; no shadow means an early spring.
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On February 1, 1893, America’s First Movie Studio, Thomas Edison’s Black Maria was opened. The Black Maria movie production studio was located in West Orange, New Jersey. But, Black Maria did not produce for the big screen. It was still the times of the so-called kinetoscope, a one person viewing machine, where only one person was able to watch the movie through a peephole viewer window at the top of the device.
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The film stars Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa / Black Panther. Boseman made his first appearance as the character in Captain America: Civil War in 2016. Many critics considered it to be one of the best films set in the MCU and noted its cultural significance, with organizations including the National Board of Review and American Film Institute naming it one of the top 10 films of 2018. The film received numerous awards and nominations, with seven nominations at the 91st Academy Awards including Best Picture, with wins for Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, and Best Production Design. Black Panther is the first superhero film to receive a Best Picture nomination and the first MCU film to win an Academy Award.
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The Eiffel Tower was named after its master engineer, Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built this iconic structure. Situated on Champ de Mars, the massive wrought iron lattice tower dominates the French capital city. At the time, many of the country's leading intellectuals and architects criticized the Tower for its lifeless design. However, it has since become one of the most famous and recognizable architectural icons of the world.
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On January 27, 1965, the Shelby GT 350, a version of a Ford Mustang sports car developed by the American auto racer and car designer Carroll Shelby, is launched. The Shelby GT 350, which featured a 306 horsepower V-8 engine, remained in production through the end of the 1960s and today is a valuable collector’s item.
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On January 25, 1905, at the Premier Mine in Pretoria, South Africa, a 3,106-carat diamond is discovered during a routine inspection by the mine’s superintendent. Weighing 1.33 pounds, and christened the “Cullinan,” it was the largest diamond ever found.
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During the CBS broadcast of Super Bowl XVIII, Apple premiered its “1984” commercial to a mass audience introducing Macintosh computers. The commercial is considered to be a masterpiece in advertising. Most interpret the commercial’s unnamed heroine as representing the coming of the Macintosh and a computing revolution. She wears a white tank top with a drawing of a Macintosh as she runs from guards to save humanity from conformity and Big Brother.
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When "Saturday Night Fever", starring John Travolta, was released in December 1977, few could have expected the cultural phenomenon it would become. The soundtrack by British band the Bee Gees was an enormous hit: its songs, including "Stayin' Alive", "How Deep Is Your Love" and "Night Fever", epitomized the disco era and the album spent 24 consecutive weeks at No. 1.
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Known for his powerful, distinctive, gritty and soulful voice, sartorial elegance and for combining soul, jazz, rock, pop, reggae and blues, Palmer found success both in his solo career and with the Power Station, and had Top 10 songs in both the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1980s. Three of his hit singles, "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On", "Addicted to Love" and "Simply Irresistible", were accompanied with stylish music videos directed by British fashion photographer Terence Donovan. Palmer received a number of awards throughout his career, including two Grammy Awards for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance, an MTV Video Music Award and two Brit Award nominations for Best British Male Solo Artist.
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On January 18, 1964, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” debuted on the Hot 100 Singles Chart at #45. The Beatles’ impact in America cannot be overstated: When the song hit #1 two weeks’ later on February 1, 1964, it became the first of seven #1 singles they achieved in a one-year period, launching both Beatlemania and the British Invasion.
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On January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia. King received a doctorate degree in theology and in 1955 helped organize the first major protest of the African American civil rights movement. The peaceful protests he led throughout the American South were often met with violence, but King and his followers persisted, and the movement gained momentum. A powerful orator, King appealed to Christian and American ideals.
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On January 13, 1128, Pope Honorius II grants a papal sanction to the military order known as the Knights Templar, declaring it to be an army of God. Led by the Frenchman Hughes de Payens, the Knights Templar organization was founded in 1118. Its self-imposed mission was to protect Christian pilgrims on their way to and from the Holy Land during the Crusades, the series of military expeditions aimed at defeating Muslims in Palestine. For a while, the Templars had only nine members, mostly due to their rigid rules. In addition to having noble birth, the knights were required to take strict vows of poverty, obedience and chastity. In 1127, new promotional efforts convinced many more noblemen to join the order, gradually increasing its size and influence.
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The series stared Adam West as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Burt Ward as Dick Grayson/Robin – two crime-fighting heroes who defend Gotham City from a variety of archvillains. The "Dynamic Duo" typically came to the aid of the Gotham City Police upon the latter being stumped by a supervillain. It was known for its camp style, upbeat theme music, and its intentionally humorous, simplistic morality.
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In 1921, a young surgeon named Frederick Banting and his assistant Charles Best figured out how to remove insulin from a dog’s pancreas. A short time later, the researchers, along with the help of colleagues J.B. Collip and John Macleod, went a step further and a more refined and pure form of insulin was developed. In January 1922, Leonard Thompson, a 14-year-old boy dying from diabetes in a Toronto hospital, became the first person to receive an injection of insulin. Within 24 hours, Leonard’s dangerously high blood glucose levels dropped to near-normal levels. Soon after, the medical firm Eli Lilly started large-scale production of insulin and it wasn’t long before there was enough insulin to supply the entire North American continent. In the decades to follow, manufacturers developed a variety of slower-acting insulins, the first introduced by Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals, Inc., in 1936.
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On Jan. 7, 1610, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei noticed three other points of light near the planet, at first believing them to be distant stars. He later observed a fourth star near the planet with the same unusual behavior. By Jan. 15, Galileo correctly concluded that they were not stars at all but moons orbiting around Jupiter, providing strong evidence for the Copernican theory that most celestial objects did not revolve around the Earth.
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The show was a success from the start, ultimately winning four Emmys. Meanwhile, as creators Tom Yohe and George Newall wrote in their official guide to the show, "various governmental and lobbyist groups requested cassettes of ‘I’m Just a Bill’ to use in their training programs for staffers. The University of Michigan Medical School and Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons called to ask for ‘Telegraph Line’ to help introduce the nervous system to first-year medical students."
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After ruling for less than one year, Edward VIII becomes the first English monarch to voluntarily abdicate the throne. He chose to abdicate after the British government, public, and the Church of England condemned his decision to marry the American divorcée Wallis Warfield Simpson. On the evening of December 11, he gave a radio address in which he explained, “I have found it impossible to carry on the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge the duties of king, as I would wish to do, without the help and support of the woman I love.”
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The actor Al Pacino stared as a Cuban refugee who becomes a Miami crime boss in Scarface, which opened in theaters on December 9, 1983. In Scarface, Pacino played Tony Montana, who arrives in Florida from Cuba in 1980 and eventually becomes wealthy from his involvement in the booming cocaine business.
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Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) is an American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California. It was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk with the goal of reducing space transportation costs to enable the colonization of Mars. SpaceX has developed several launch vehicles, the Starlink satellite constellation, the Dragon cargo spacecraft, and flown humans to the International Space Station on the SpaceX Dragon 2.
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At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appears out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault. The surprise attack struck a critical blow against the U.S. Pacific fleet and drew the United States irrevocably into World War II.
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On December 3, 1967, 53-year-old Louis Washkansky receives the first human heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. The revolutionary medical operation was performed by surgeon Christiaan Barnard.
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In Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned Napoleon I, the first Frenchman to hold the title of emperor in a thousand years. Pope Pius VII handed Napoleon the crown that the 35-year-old conqueror of Europe placed on his own head.
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Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, the British leader who guided Great Britain and the Allies through the crisis of World War II, is born at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England.
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On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, a groundbreaking scientific work by British naturalist Charles Darwin, is published in England. Darwin’s theory argued that organisms gradually evolve through a process he called “natural selection.”
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Brazilian soccer great Pele scores his 1,000th goal in a game against Vasco da Gama in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium. It was a major milestone in an illustrious career that included three World Cup championships.
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At exactly noon on this day, American and Canadian railroads begin using four continental time zones to end the confusion of dealing with thousands of local times. The bold move was emblematic of the power shared by the railroad companies.
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On November 16, 2001, the British author J.K. Rowling’s star creation—bespectacled boy wizard Harry Potter—makes his big-screen debut in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which opens in movie theaters across the United States. Based on the mega-best-selling fantasy novel of the same name, the film, which starred Daniel Radcliffe in the title role, went on to become one of the highest-grossing movies in history.
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On November 10, 1969, “Sesame Street,” a pioneering TV show that would teach generations of young children the alphabet and how to count, makes its broadcast debut. “Sesame Street,” with its memorable theme song (“Can you tell me how to get/How to get to Sesame Street”), went on to become the most widely viewed children’s program in the world. It has aired in more than 120 countries. Learn More

On this day in 1989, East German officials opened the Berlin Wall, allowing travel from East to West Berlin. The following day, celebrating Germans began to tear the wall down. One of the ugliest and most infamous symbols of the Cold War was soon reduced to rubble that was quickly snatched up by souvenir hunters. The East German action followed a decision by Hungarian officials a few weeks earlier to open the border between Hungary and Austria. This effectively ended the purpose of the Berlin Wall, since East German citizens could now circumvent it by going through Hungary, into Austria, and thence into West Germany. Learn More

On this day in 1962, following the 1960 massacre of unarmed demonstrators at Sharpeville near Johannesburg, South Africa, in which 69 blacks were killed and over 180 were injured, the international movement to end apartheid gained wide support. However, few Western powers or South Africa’s other main trading partners favored a full economic or military embargo against the country. Nonetheless, opposition to apartheid within the U.N. grew, and in 1973 a U.N. resolution labeled apartheid a “crime against humanity.” In 1974, South Africa was suspended from the General Assembly. Learn More

On this day in 1994,  George Foreman, age 45, becomes boxing’s oldest heavyweight champion when he defeats 26-year-old Michael Moorer in the 10th round of their WBA fight in Las Vegas. More than 12,000 spectators at the MGM Grand Hotel watched Foreman dethrone Moorer, who went into the fight with a 35-0 record. Foreman dedicated his upset win to “all my buddies in the nursing home and all the guys in jail.” Learn More

On this day in 1990, Dances with Wolves, a film about an American Civil War-era soldier and a group of Sioux Indians that stars Kevin Costner and also marks his directorial debut, premieres in Los Angeles. The film, which opened across the United States on November 21, 1990, was a surprise box-office success and earned 12 Academy Award nominations, including Best Actor for Costner. Dances with Wolves took home seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, and solidified Costner’s place on Hollywood’s A-list. Learn More

On this day in 2014, One World Trade Center officially opens in Manhattan. The new tower, along with the rest of the World Trade Center complex, replaced the Twin Towers and surrounding complex, which were destroyed by terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The initial plans for the site were steeped in post-9/11 patriotic sentiment. Libeskind designed an asymmetrical tower that evoked the Statue of Liberty and stood at the same height as the original World Trade Center, topped with a spire rising to 1,776 feet. Pataki dubbed it the “Freedom Tower,” a name which became commonplace but had largely faded from use by the time One World Trade Center opened. Learn More

On this day in 1948, in the greatest upset in presidential election history, Democratic incumbent Harry S. Truman defeats his Republican challenger, Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York, by just over two million popular votes. In the days preceding the vote, political analysts and polls were so behind Dewey that on election night, long before all the votes were counted, the Chicago Tribune published an early edition with the banner headline “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.” Learn More

On this day in 1938, "The War of the Worlds"-Orson Welles's realistic radio dramatization of a Martian invasion of Earth-is broadcast on the radio. Welles was only 23 years old when his Mercury Theater company decided to update H.G. Wells' 19th-century science fiction novel The War of the Worlds for national radio. Despite his age, Welles had been in radio for several years, most notably as the voice of "The Shadow" in the hit mystery program of the same name. "War of the Worlds" was not planned as a radio hoax, and Welles had little idea of the havoc it would cause. Learn More

On this day in 1998, nearly four decades after he became the first American to orbit the Earth, Senator John Hershel Glenn, Jr., is launched into space again as a payload specialist aboard the space shuttle Discovery. At 77 years of age, Glenn was the oldest human ever to travel in space. During the nine-day mission, he served as part of a NASA study on health problems associated with aging. Learn More

On this day in 1965, construction is completed on the Gateway Arch, a spectacular 630-foot-high parabola of stainless steel marking the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial on the waterfront of St. Louis, Missouri. The Gateway Arch, designed by Finnish-born, American-educated architect Eero Saarinen, was erected to commemorate President Thomas Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and to celebrate St. Louis' central role in the rapid westward expansion that followed. Learn More

On this day in 2006,  the last Ford Taurus rolls off the assembly line in Hapeville, Georgia. The keys to the silver car went to 85-year-old Truett Cathy, the founder of the Chick-fil-A fast-food franchise, who took it straight to his company's headquarters in Atlanta and added it to an elaborate display that included 19 other cars, including one of the earliest Fords. Learn More

On this day in 1881, the Earp brothers face off against the Clanton-McLaury gang in a legendary shootout at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. Sheriff John Behan of Cochise County, who witnessed the shootout, charged the Earps and Holliday with murder. A month later, however, a Tombstone judge found the men not guilty, ruling that they were "fully justified in committing these homicides." Learn More

On this day in 2001, IPod, the portable media player developed by Apple released for the company's Macintosh platform. A version for the Microsoft Corporation's Windows operating system was released in 2002. The small, sleekly designed player, coupled with its accompanying online music store, has been one of the most successful and revolutionary products of the 2000s. Learn More

On this day in 1962, In a televised speech of extraordinary gravity, President John F. Kennedy announces that U.S. spy planes have discovered Soviet missile bases in Cuba. These missile sites-under construction but nearing completion-housed medium-range missiles capable of striking a number of major cities in the United States, including Washington, D.C. Kennedy announced that he was ordering a naval "quarantine" of Cuba to prevent Soviet ships from transporting any more offensive weapons to the island and explained that the United States would not tolerate the existence of the missile sites currently in place. Learn More

On this day in 1959, on New York City's Fifth Avenue, thousands of people line up outside a bizarrely shaped white concrete building that resembled a giant upside-down cupcake. It was opening day at the new Guggenheim Museum, home to one of the world's top collections of contemporary art. Learn More

On this day in 1973, after 15 years of construction, the Sydney Opera House is dedicated by Queen Elizabeth II. The $80 million structure, designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon and funded by the profits of the Opera House Lotteries, was built on Bennelong Point, in Sydney, Australia. Famous for its geometric roof shells, the structure contains several large auditoriums and presents an average of 3,000 events a year to an estimated two million people. Learn More

On this day in 1923, Walt Disney and his brother Roy found the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio in Hollywood, California. The studio, now known as the Walt Disney Company, has had an oversized impact on the entertainment industry and is now one of the largest media companies in the world. Learn More

On this day in 1917, Mata Hari, the archetype of the seductive female spy, is executed for espionage by a French firing squad at Vincennes outside of Paris. She first came to Paris in 1905 and found fame as a performer of exotic Asian-inspired dances. She soon began touring all over Europe, telling the story of how she was born in a sacred Indian temple and taught ancient dances by a priestess who gave her the name Mata Hari, meaning "eye of the day" in Malay. In reality, Mata Hari was born in a small town in northern Holland in 1876, and her real name was Margaretha Geertruida Zelle. Learn More

On this day in 1947, U.S. Air Force Captain Chuck Yeager becomes the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound. Because of the secrecy of the project, Bell and Yeager's achievement was not announced until June 1948. Yeager continued to serve as a test pilot, and in 1953 he flew 1,650 miles per hour in an X-1A rocket plane. He retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1975 with the rank of brigadier general. Learn More

On this day in 1975, the man voted Entertainer of the Year by the Country Music Association of America one year earlier stood onstage at the CMA awards show to announce that year's winner of the Association's biggest award. But a funny thing happened when he opened the envelope and saw what was written inside. Instead of merely reading the name "John Denver" and stepping back from the podium, Charlie Rich reached into his pocket for a cigarette lighter and set the envelope on fire, right there onstage. Though the display shocked the live audience in attendance, John Denver himself was present only via satellite linkup, and he offered a gracious acceptance speech with no idea what had occurred. Learn More

On this day in 1492, After sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sights a Bahamian island, believing he has reached East Asia. His expedition went ashore the same day and claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, who sponsored his attempt to find a western ocean route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia. Learn More

On this day in 1992, 18-year-old Michelle Knapp is watching television in her parents' living room in Peekskill, New York when she hears a thunderous crash in the driveway. Alarmed, Knapp ran outside to investigate. What she found was startling, to say the least: a sizeable hole in the rear end of her car, an orange 1980 Chevy Malibu; a matching hole in the gravel driveway underneath the car; and in the hole, the culprit: what looked like an ordinary, bowling-ball-sized rock. It was extremely heavy for its size (it weighed about 28 pounds), shaped like a football and warm to the touch; also, it smelled vaguely of rotten eggs. The next day, a curator from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City confirmed that the object was a genuine meteorite. Learn More

On this day in 1957, bible-school dropout Jerry Lee Lewis laid down the definitive version of "Great Balls Of Fire," amidst a losing battle with his conscience and with the legendary Sam Phillips, head of Sun Records. It was hours into the "Great Balls Of Fire" session when Jerry Lee began arguing with Sam Phillips that the song was too sinful for him to record. As the two talked loudly over each other, Phillips pleaded with Lewis to believe that his music could actually be a force for moral good. Learn More

On this day in 2003, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger is elected governor of California, the most populous state in the nation with the world's fifth-largest economy. Despite his inexperience, Schwarzenegger came out on top in the 11-week campaign to replace Gray Davis, who had earlier become the first United States governor to be recalled by the people since 1921. Schwarzenegger was one of 135 candidates on the ballot, which included career politicians, other actors, and one adult-film star. Learn More

On this day in 1927, the Jazz Singer premiered at the Warner Theatre in New York. Starring Al Jolson, it was the first feature film with synchronised speech as well as music and sound effects. It revolutionised the motion-picture industry and marked the end of the silent-film era. Learn More

On this day in 1974, American Dave Kunst completes the first round-the-world journey on foot, taking four years and 21 pairs of shoes to complete the 14,500-mile journey across the land masses of four continents. He left his hometown of Waseca, Minnesota, on June 20, 1970. Near the end of his journey in 1974 he explained the reasons for his epic trek: "I was tired of Waseca, tired of my job, tired of a lot of little people who don't want to think, and tired of my wife." During the long journey, he took on sponsors and helped raise money for UNICEF. Learn More

On this day in 1967, Chief Justice Earl Warren swears in Thurgood Marshall, the first black justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. As chief counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the 1940s and '50s, Marshall was the architect and executor of the legal strategy that ended the era of official racial segregation. Learn More

On this day in 1889,  the Wyoming state convention approves a constitution that includes a provision granting women the right to vote. Formally admitted into the union the following year, Wyoming thus became the first state in the history of the nation to allow its female citizens to vote. That the isolated western state of Wyoming should be the first to accept women's suffrage was a surprise. Learn More

On this day in 1913, Rudolf Diesel, inventor of the engine that bears his name, disappears from the steamship Dresden while traveling from Antwerp, Belgium to Harwich, England. On October 10, a Belgian sailor aboard a North Sea steamer spotted a body floating in the water; upon further investigation, it turned out that the body was Diesel's. There was, and remains, a great deal of mystery surrounding his death: It was officially judged a suicide, but many people believed (and still believe) that Diesel was murdered. Learn More

On this day in 1928, Sir Alexander Fleming, a young bacteriologist, accidentally discovers one of the great developments of modern medicine. Having left a plate of staphylococcus bacteria uncovered, Fleming noticed that a mold that had fallen on the culture had killed many of the bacteria. He identified the mold as penicillium notatum, similar to the kind found on bread. Learn More

On this day in 1970, unwilling to rest as a one-hit wonder when its first big hit, The Monkees, went off the air in 1968, the television production company Screen Gems wasted no time in trying to repeat its success. On September 25, 1970, in the 8:30 p.m. time slot immediately following The Brady Bunch, ABC premiered a program that would give Screen Gems its second TV-to-pop-chart smash: The Partridge Family. Learn More

On this day in 1789, the Judiciary Act of 1789 is passed by Congress and signed by President George Washington, establishing the Supreme Court of the United States as a tribunal made up of six justices who were to serve on the court until death or retirement. That day, President Washington nominated John Jay to preside as chief justice, and John Rutledge, William Cushing, John Blair, Robert Harrison, and James Wilson to be associate justices. Learn More

On this day in 1933, a party of American geologists lands at the Persian Gulf port of Jubail in Saudi Arabia and begins its journey into the desert. That July, with the discovery of a massive oil field at Ghawar, Saudi King Abdel Aziz had granted the Standard Oil Company of California a concession to "explore and search for and drill and extract and manufacture and transport" petroleum and "kindred bituminous matter" in the country's vast Eastern Province; in turn, Standard Oil immediately dispatched the team of scientists to locate the most profitable spot for the company to begin its drilling. Learn More

On this day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issues a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which sets a date for the freedom of more than 3 million enslaved in the United States and recasts the Civil War as a fight against slavery. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, shortly after Lincoln's inauguration as America's 16th president, he maintained that the war was about restoring the Union and not about slavery. Learn More

On this day in 1985,  a little-known actor named George Clooney makes his first appearance as a handyman on the popular TV sitcom The Facts of Life. Clooney appeared in 17 episodes of the show, which aired from 1979 to 1988 and chronicled the lives of a group of young women who meet at a fictional boarding school. Years later, he moved on to Hollywood superstardom in the hit TV medical drama ER and such films as The Perfect Storm, Ocean's Eleven, Michael Clayton, Up in the Air and Gravity. Learn More

On this day in 1973, future President Jimmy Carter files a report claiming he had seen a UFO in October 1969. During the presidential campaign of 1976, Carter proimised that if elected president he would encourage the government release of UFO information. After winning the presidency, Carter backed away from his pledge citing a threat to national security. Learn More

On this day in 1967, the Who ended an already explosive, nationally televised performance of "My Generation" with a literal bang that singed Pete Townshend's hair, left shrapnel in Keith Moon's arm and momentarily knocked The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour off the air. The explosion was caused by an excessive number of charges being placed by the bands drummer, Keith Moon, in his bass drum. Learn More

On this day in 1620, the Mayflower sails from Plymouth, England, bound for the New World with 102 passengers. The ship was headed for Virginia, where the colonists-half religious dissenters and half entrepreneurs-had been authorized to settle by the British crown. However, stormy weather and navigational errors forced the Mayflower off course, and on November 21 the "Pilgrims" reached Massachusetts, where they founded the first permanent European settlement in New England in late December. Learn More

On this day in 1962, the Four Seasons, led by Frankie Vallie, see their song "Sherry" reach #1 on the pop charts just 4 weeks after being released. The song, which had been written in just 15 minutes by keyboard player Bob Gaudio, would be followed by two more #1 hits. They would return to the top of the charts several times in the years that followed with their last appearance being in 1976. Learn More

On this day in 1814, Francis Scott Key pens a poem which is later set to music and in 1931 becomes America's national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner." The poem, originally titled "The Defence of Fort McHenry," was written after Key witnessed the Maryland fort being bombarded by the British during the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the sight of a lone U.S. flag still flying over Fort McHenry at daybreak. Learn More

On this day in 2001, At 8:45 a.m. on a clear Tuesday morning, an American Airlines Boeing 767 loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The impact left a gaping, burning hole near the 80th floor of the 110-story skyscraper, instantly killing hundreds of people and trapping hundreds more in higher floors. Learn More

On this day in 1991, Nirvana's landmark single, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was released with little fanfare. The song Nirvana's label and management hoped would be a hit off the band's forthcoming album, Nevermind, was "Come as You Are," which was set for release later in the fall. Kurt Cobain, had to be talked into even including "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on Nevermind. Learn More

On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress formally declares the name of the new nation to be the "United States" of America. This replaced the term "United Colonies," which had been in general use. In the Congressional declaration dated September 9, 1776, the delegates wrote, "That in all continental commissions, and other instruments, where, heretofore, the words 'United Colonies' have been used, the stile be altered for the future to the "United States." Learn More

On this day in 1664, Dutch Governor Peter Stuyvesant surrenders New Amsterdam, the capital of New Netherland, to an English naval squadron under Colonel Richard Nicolls. Stuyvesant had hoped to resist the English, but he was an unpopular ruler, and his Dutch subjects refused to rally around him. Following its capture, New Amsterdam's name was changed to New York, in honor of the Duke of York, who organized the mission. Learn More

On this day in 2002, Kelly Clarkson, a 20-year-old cocktail waitress from Texas, wins the first season of American Idol in a live television broadcast from Hollywood's Kodak Theater. Clarkson came out on top in the amateur singing contest over 23-year-old runner-up Justin Guarini after millions of viewers cast their votes for her by phone. She was awarded a recording contract and went on to sell millions of albums and establish a successful music career. Learn More

On this day in 1783, the American Revolution officially comes to an end when representatives of the United States, Great Britain, Spain and France sign the Treaty of Paris. The signing signified America's status as a free nation, as Britain formally recognized the independence of its 13 former American colonies, and the boundaries of the new republic were agreed upon: Florida north to the Great Lakes and the Atlantic coast west to the Mississippi River. Learn More

On this day in 1969, America's first automatic teller machine (ATM) makes its public debut, dispensing cash to customers at Chemical Bank in Rockville Center, New York. ATMs went on to revolutionize the banking industry, eliminating the need to visit a bank to conduct basic financial transactions. By the 1980s, these money machines had become widely popular and handled many of the functions previously performed by human tellers, such as check deposits and money transfers between accounts. Learn More