On This Day Alert

On this day in 1957, machines at the Wham-O toy company rolled out the first batch of their aerodynamic plastic discs-now known to millions of fans all over the world as Frisbees. Wham-O had acquired the rights to manufacture what was then known as the "Pluto Platter in 1955. Learn More

On this day in 1840, under the leadership of British statesman Edward G. Wakefield, the first British colonists to New Zealand arrive at Port Nicholson on Auckland Island. Originally part of the Australian colony of New South Wales, New Zealand became a separate colony in 1841 and was made self-governing in 1852. Learn More

On this day in 1976, the first Concordes with commercial passengers simultaneously take flight from London's Heathrow Airport and Orly Airport outside Paris. The London flight was headed to Bahrain in the Persian Gulf, and the Paris to Rio de Janeiro via Senegal in West Africa. At their cruising speeds, the innovative Concordes flew well over the sound barrier at 1,350 miles an hour, cutting air travel time by more than half. Learn More

On this day in 1841, China ceded the island of Hong Kong to the British with the signing of the Chuenpi Convention, an agreement seeking an end to the first Anglo-Chinese conflict. Britain invaded China to crush opposition to its interference in the country's economic and political affairs. One of Britain's first acts of the war was to occupy Hong Kong, a sparsely inhabited island off the coast of southeast China. Learn More

On this day in 1953, a prototype Chevrolet Corvette sports car makes its debut at General Motors' (GM) Motorama auto show at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. The Corvette, named for a fast type of naval warship, would eventually become an iconic American muscle car and remains in production today. Learn More

On this day in 1605, Miguel de Cervantes' El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha, better known as Don Quixote, is published. The book is considered by many to be the first modern novel as well as one of the greatest novels of all time. The protagonist is a minor noble, Alonso Quixano, whose obsessive reading of chivalric romances drives him mad. He adopts the name Don Quixote and, along with his squire Sancho Panza, roams around La Mancha, a central region of Spain, taking on a number of challenges which exist entirely in his mind. Learn More

On this day in 2009, a potential disaster turned into a heroic display of skill and composure when Captain Chesley Burnett Sullenberger III safely landed the plane he was piloting on New York City's Hudson River after a bird strike caused its engines to fail. David Paterson, governor of New York at the time, dubbed the incident the "miracle on the Hudson." Sullenberger, a former fighter pilot with decades of flying experience, received a slew of honors for his actions, including an invitation to Barack Obama's presidential inauguration and resolutions of praise from the U.S. Congress. Learn More

On this day in 1970, Diana Ross and the Supremes performed their final concert. They were the most successful American pop group of the 1960s-a group whose 12 #1 hits in the first full decade of the rock and roll era places them behind only Elvis and the Beatles in terms of chart dominance. They helped define the very sound of the 60s, but like fellow icons the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel, they came apart in the first year of the 70s. The curtain closed for good at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Learn More

On this day in 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. Learn More

On this day in 1901, a drilling derrick at Spindletop Hill near Beaumont, Texas, produced an enormous gusher of crude oil, coating the landscape for hundreds of feet and signaling the advent of the American oil industry. The geyser was discovered at a depth of over 1,000 feet, flowed at an initial rate of approximately 100,000 barrels a day and took nine days to cap. Learn More

On this day in 2001, Apple launches iTunes, a media player that revolutionized the way people consumed digital media. Bill Kincaid and Jeff Robbin, two former Apple employees, developed an MP3 player called SoundJam MP in the late 1990s. In 2000, Apple re-hired them and their partner, Dave Heller, to work on a similar player that would come standard with Apple computers. The first version of iTunes debuted early the next year, on the cusp of a new era in digital entertainment. Learn More

On this day in 1946, what Elvis Presley really wanted for his 11th birthday was a rifle or a bicycle. Instead, Elvis's highly protective mother, Gladys, took him to the Tupelo Hardware Store and bought a gift that would change the course of history: a $6.95 guitar. Learn More

On this day in 1927, the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team traveled 48 miles west from Chicago to play their first game in Hinckley, Illinois. The Globetrotters were the creation of Abe Saperstein of Chicago, who took over coaching duties for a team of African-American players originally known as the Savoy Big Five (after the famous Chicago ballroom where they played their early games). At a time when only whites were allowed to play on professional basketball teams, Saperstein decided to promote his new team's racial makeup by naming them after Harlem, the famous African-American neighborhood of New York City. Learn More

On this day in 1838, Samuel Morse's telegraph system is demonstrated for the first time at the Speedwell Iron Works in Morristown, New Jersey. The telegraph, a device which used electric impulses to transmit encoded messages over a wire, would eventually revolutionize long-distance communication, reaching the height of its popularity in the 1920s and 1930s. Learn More

On this day in 1997, Director James Cameron's epic drama Titanic, the story of the real-life luxury ocean liner that struck an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage in 1912, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,500 passengers and crew, opens in theaters. Titanic catapulted its young stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet to international fame and won 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Music (for the song "My Heart Will Go On," sung by Celine Dion). The film also immortalized the line "I'm the king of the world!"-which Cameron famously repeated during the Oscar ceremony, as he picked up his gold statuette for Best Director. Learn More

On this day in 1961, The Tokens' released "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" which went on to become not just a #1 song on this day in 1961, but one of the most-covered, most successful pop songs of all time. The origin of the song can be traced to Johannesburg, South Africa, where in 1938, a group of Zulu singers and dancers called Solomon Linda and the Evening Birds stepped into the first recording studio ever set up in sub-Saharan Africa and recorded a song called "Mbube"-Zulu for "the lion." Learn More

On this day in 2003, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the final film in the trilogy based on the best-selling fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, opened in theaters. The film was a huge box-office success and won 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, for Peter Jackson. The Lord of the Rings trilogy became one of the highest-grossing franchises in movie history, netting billions of dollars worldwide in box-office proceeds and related merchandise. Learn More

On this day in 1773, a group of Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians board three British tea ships and dump 342 chests of tea into the harbor. The midnight raid, popularly known as the "Boston Tea Party," was in protest of the British Parliament's Tea Act of 1773, a bill designed to save the faltering East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and granting it a virtual monopoly on the American tea trade. The low tax allowed the East India Company to undercut even tea smuggled into America by Dutch traders, and many colonists viewed the act as another example of taxation tyranny. Learn More

On this day in 1925, Dick Van Dyke, the quintessential "nice guy" actor who would become known for his performances in such movie classics as Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, as well as the popular 1960s TV sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show, is born in West Plains, Missouri. Learn More

On this day in 1980, American oil tycoon Armand Hammer paid $5,126,000 at auction for a notebook containing writings by the legendary artist Leonardo da Vinci. The manuscript, written around 1508, was one of some 30 similar books da Vinci produced during his lifetime on a variety of subjects. It contained 72 loose pages featuring some 300 notes and detailed drawings, all relating to the common theme of water and how it moved. Learn More

On this day in 1978, half a dozen masked robbers raided the Lufthansa Airlines cargo building at JFK Airport in New York, making off with more than $5 million in cash ($21 million in today's dollars) and almost $1 million in jewelry. To this day, the Lufthansa heist, as it is known, is considered one of the greatest in U.S. history. Learn More

On this day in 2009, a 3-D science-fiction epic helmed by "Titanic" director James Cameron, makes its world debut in London and goes on to become one of the highest-grossing movies in history. Starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver, the box-office mega-hit was praised for its state-of-the-art technology and earned nine Academy Award nominations, including best picture and best director. Learn More

On this day in 1983, Scarface opens in theaters. It stars Al Pacino as a Cuban refugee who becomes a Miami crime boss. Directed by Brian De Palma from a screenplay by Oliver Stone, Scarface co-starred Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Robert Loggia. The film was loosely based on a 1932 gangster film of the same name, directed by Howard Hawks and reportedly inspired in part by the real-life mobster Al "Scarface" Capone. Though De Palma's Scarface received mixed reviews upon its initial release and was criticized for its violence, it proved to be a success at the box-office and went on to achieve pop-culture status. Learn More

On this day in 1877, Thomas Edison recorded himself reciting "Mary had a little lamb". It was the first instance of recorded English verse, following the recording of the French folk song "Au clair de la lune" by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville in 1860. In 1927, Edison reenacted the recording, which still survives. Learn More

On this day in 1984, Eddie Murphy stars as the wisecracking Detective Axel Foley in the action-comedy Beverly Hills Cop. The movie marked the first major starring role for Murphy, who went on to become one of the top-grossing actors in Hollywood. In the film, Murphy played a police detective from Detroit who winds up in Beverly Hills, where he tracks a man believed responsible for the death of his friend. Learn More

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On this day in 1952, heavy smog began to hover over London, England. It persisted for five days, leading to the deaths of at least 4,000 people. The Great Smog of 1952 became so thick and dense that by December 7 there was virtually no sunlight and visibility was reduced to five yards in many places. Learn More

On this day in 1979, the last Pacer rolled off the assembly line at the American Motors Corporation (AMC) factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin. When the car first came on the market in 1975, it was a sensation, hailed as the car of the future. "When you buy any other car," ads said, "all you end up with is today's car. When you get a Pacer, you get a piece of tomorrow." By 1979, however, sales had faded considerably. Learn More

On this day in 1997, Good Will Hunting, a movie that will earn childhood friends Ben Affleck and Matt Damon a Best Screenplay Oscar and propel them to Hollywood stardom, premieres in Los Angeles. Before the success of Good Will Hunting, Damon and Affleck had achieved some notice in Hollywood but were far from household names. Learn More

On this day in 1942, Casablanca, a World War II-era drama starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, premieres in New York City; it will go on to become one of the most beloved Hollywood movies in history. In the film, Bogart played Rick Blaine, a former freedom fighter and the owner of a swanky North African nightclub, who is reunited with the beautiful, enigmatic Ilsa Lund (Bergman), the woman who loved and left him. Learn More

On this day in 1952, "The Mousetrap," a murder-mystery written by the novelist and playwright Agatha Christie, opens at the Ambassadors Theatre in London. The crowd-pleasing whodunit would go on to become the longest continuously running play in history, with more than 10 million people to date attending its more than 20,000 performances in London's West End. Learn More

On this day in 1995, Toy Story, an American computer-animated buddy comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios was released by Walt Disney Pictures. It was the first entirely computer-animated feature film, as well as the first feature film from Pixar. The movie cost $30 million to make and earned $373 million. Learn More

On this day in 1980, 350 million people around the world tune in to television's popular primetime drama "Dallas" to find out who shot J.R. Ewing, the character fans loved to hate. J.R. had been shot on the season-ending episode the previous March 21, which now stands as one of television's most famous cliffhangers. The plot twist inspired widespread media coverage and left America wondering "Who shot J.R.?" for the next eight months. The November 21 episode solved the mystery, identifying Kristin Shepard, J.R.'s wife's sister and his former mistress, as the culprit. Learn More

On this day in 1902, Geo Lefevre and Henri Desgrange Create Tour de France Bicycle Race. The race first occurred in 1903 to increase sales for the newspaper L'Auto and is currently run by the Amaury Sport Organization. The race has been held annually since its first edition in 1903 except when it was stopped for the two World Wars. As the Tour gained prominence and popularity, the race was lengthened and its reach began to extend around the globe. Participation expanded from a primarily French field, as riders from all over the world began to participate in the race each year. Learn More

On this day in 1975, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, a film about a group of patients at a mental institution, opens in theaters. Directed by Milos Forman and based on a 1962 novel of the same name by Ken Kesey, the film starred Jack Nicholson and was co-produced by the actor Michael Douglas. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest went on to become the first film in four decades to win in all five of the major Academy Award categories: Best Actor (Nicholson), Best Actress (Louise Fletcher, who played Nurse Ratched), Best Director, Best Screenplay (Adapted) and Best Picture. Learn More

On this day in 1883, at exactly noon American and Canadian railroads began 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. Even as late as the 1880s, most towns in the U.S. had their own local time, generally based on "high noon," or the time when the sun was at its highest point in the sky. Learn More

On this day in 2001, Microsoft released the Xbox gaming console. Developing the Xbox had been enormously expensive, and the cost of building each unit outweighed the sales price. Microsoft is said to have lost $4 billion on the initial Xbox, but its successors have sold over a hundred million units and continue to set the standard for entertainment systems. Learn More

On this day in 1851, Herman Melville's sixth book, Moby-Dick, was first published in London, in three volumes titled The Whale. Melville had promised his publisher an adventure story similar to his popular earlier works, but instead, Moby-Dick was a tragic epic, influenced in part by Melville's friend and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, neighbor, Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose novels include The Scarlet Letter. Moby-Dick is now considered a great classic of American literature and contains one of the most famous opening lines in fiction: "Call me Ishmael." Initially, though, the book about Captain Ahab and his quest to catch a giant white whale was a flop. Learn More

On this day in 1974, 28-year-old Karen Silkwood is killed in a car accident near Crescent, Oklahoma, north of Oklahoma City. Silkwood worked as a technician at a plutonium plant operated by the Kerr-McGee Corporation, and she had been critical of the plant's health and safety procedures. The night she died, she was on her way to a meeting with a union representative and a reporter for The New York Times, reportedly with a folder full of documents that proved that Kerr-McGee was acting negligently when it came to worker safety at the plant. However, no such folder was found in the wreckage of her car, lending credence to the theory that someone had forced her off the road to prevent her from telling what she knew. Learn More

On this day in 1954, Ellis Island, the gateway to America, shut its doors after processing more than 12 million immigrants since opening in 1892. Today, an estimated 40 percent of all Americans can trace their roots through Ellis Island, located in New York Harbor off the New Jersey coast and named for merchant Samuel Ellis, who owned the land in the 1770s. Learn More

On this day in 1978, a stuntman on the Georgia set of "The Dukes of Hazzard" launched the show's iconic automobile, a 1969 Dodge Charger named the General Lee, off a makeshift dirt ramp and over a police car. That jump, 16 feet high and 82 feet long (its landing totaled the car), made TV history. Although more than 300 different General Lees appeared in the series, which ran on CBS from 1979 until 1985, this first one was the only one to play a part in every episode: That jump over the squad car ran every week at the end of the show's opening credits. Learn More

On this day in 1991, basketball legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson stunned the world by announcing his sudden retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers, after testing positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. At the time, many Americans viewed AIDS as a gay white man's disease. Johnson (1959- ), who is African American and heterosexual, was one of the first sports stars to go public about his HIV-positive status. Learn More

On this day in 1962, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning South Africa's racist apartheid policies and calling on all its members to end economic and military relations with the country. In effect from 1948 to 1993, apartheid, which comes from the Afrikaans word for "apartness," was government-sanctioned racial segregation and political and economic discrimination against South Africa's non-white majority. Learn More

The 1992 match between former World Chess Champions Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky was billed as a World Chess Championship, but was unofficial. It was a rematch of the 1972 World Championship match. The match started in Sveti Stefan near Budva, an island off the coast of Montenegro. The match rules required a player to win ten games (draws not counting), with no adjournments. After a player had won five games, the match would take a 10-day recess and continue in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. In the match itself, Fischer won decisively with a score of 10-5. 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 1962, "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" released in theaters. Produced and directed by Robert Aldrich and starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. The plot concerns an aging former actress who holds her paraplegic ex-movie star sister captive in an old Hollywood mansion. The screenplay by Lukas Heller is based on the novel What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? by Henry Farrell. Upon the film's release, it was met with widespread critical and box office acclaim and was later nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one for Best Costume Design, Black and White. Learn More

On this day in 1991, the so-called "perfect storm" hit the North Atlantic producing remarkably large waves along the New England and Canadian coasts. Over the next several days, the storm spread its fury over the ocean off the coast of Canada. The fishing boat Andrea Gail and its six-member crew were lost in the storm. The disaster spawned the best-selling book The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger and a blockbuster Hollywood movie of the same name. 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. Learn More

On this day in 1886, The Statue of Liberty, a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States, is dedicated in New York Harbor by President Grover Cleveland. Originally known as "Liberty Enlightening the World," the statue was proposed by the French historian Edouard de Laboulaye to commemorate the Franco-American alliance during the American Revolution. Learn More

On this day in 1978, the original Halloween is released. Directed and scored by John Carpenter and starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis in her film debut.  It cost $300,000 to make and went on to gross $70 million, making it one of the most profitable independent films ever. Learn More

On this day in 2015, Adele's single "Hello" becomes the 1st song with more than a million downloads in its 1stweek. It would reach number one in almost every country it charted in, including the United Kingdom, where it became her second chart topper, following "Someone Like You", As of March 2019, the video for "Hello" is the 17th most viewed video on YouTube, having earned over 2.5 billion views. Learn More

On this day in 1962, in a televised speech, President John F. Kennedy announced that U.S. spy planes had 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. 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 lined 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 on 1988, Roseanne, a television sitcom about a blue-collar American family starring the comedienne Roseanne Barr, premiered on ABC. The show was considered groundbreaking for its realistic portrayal of a working-class family and the issues they faced. Barr's portrayal of the loud, abrasive, overweight Roseanne Conner was a sharp contrast to the stereotypical TV housewife in the mold of Leave It to Beaver's June Cleaver and The Brady Bunch's Carol Brady. Learn More

On this day in 1931, gangster Al Capone was sentenced to 11 years in prison for tax evasion and fined $80,000, signaling the downfall of one of the most notorious criminals of the 1920s and 1930s. Learn More

On this day in 1958, Chevrolet began to sell a car-truck hybrid that it calls the El Camino. Inspired by the Ford Ranchero, which had already been on the market for two years, the El Camino was a combination sedan-pickup truck built on the Impala body, with the same "cat's eye" taillights and dramatic rear fins. It was, ads trilled, "the most beautiful thing that ever shouldered a load!" "It rides and handles like a convertible," Chevy said, "yet hauls and hustles like the workingest thing on wheels." Learn More

On this day in 1989, 28-year-old Los Angeles King Wayne Gretzky breaks Gordie Howe's points record (1,850) in the final period of a game against the Edmonton Oilers. Gretzky's record-setting goal tied the game; in overtime he scored another, and the Kings won 5-4. Learn More

On this day in 1947, U.S. Air Force Captain Chuck Yeager became 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, Saturday Night Live (SNL), a topical comedy sketch show featuring Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Garrett Morris, Jane Curtin and Laraine Newman, makes its debut on NBC; it will go on to become the longest-running, highest-rated show on late-night television. Learn More

Perry's singing voice has garnered acclaim from prominent musical peers and publications; he has been dubbed "The Voice", a moniker originally coined by Jon Bon Jovi. Ranked no. 76 on Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Singers of All Time", Perry was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Journey on April 7, 2017. Learn More

Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the "Phantom of the Opera" won the 1986 Olivier Award and the 1988 Tony Award for Best Musical, and Michael Crawford (in the title role) won the Olivier and Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Musical. Its worldwide ticket sales are estimated at $5+ Billion. 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 1990 Beverly Hills, 90210, a TV drama about a group of teenagers living in upscale Beverly Hills, California, debuts on Fox; it will eventually become one of the top-rated shows on the new "fourth network," which launched in 1986. Learn More

On this day in 1950, Charles M. Schulz's comic strip, Peanuts, was printed for the first time in 9 newspapers around the U.S. It would run for the next 50 years in over 2,600 newspapers and be translated into 21 languages. Learn More

On this day in 1962, Johnny Carson takes over from Jack Paar as host of the late-night talk program The Tonight Show. Carson went on to host The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson for three decades, becoming one of the biggest figures in entertainment in the 20th century. Learn More

On this day in 1949, after 15 months and more than 250,000 flights, the Berlin Airlift officially comes to an end. The airlift was one of the greatest logistical feats in modern history and was one of the crucial events of the early Cold War. Learn More

On this day in 1938, President Franklin Roosevelt writes to German Chancellor Adolf Hitler regarding the threat of war in Europe. The German chancellor had been threatening to invade the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia and, in the letter, his second to Hitler in as many days, Roosevelt reiterated the need to find a peaceful resolution to the issue. Learn More

On this day in 1969, American television audiences hear the soon-to-be-famous opening lyrics "Here's the story of a lovely lady who was living with three very lovely girls..." as The Brady Bunch, a sitcom that will become an icon of American pop culture, airs for the first time. The show was panned by critics and, according to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, during "its entire network run, the series never reached the top ten ranks of the Nielsen ratings. Learn More

On this day in 1970, in the 8:30 p.m. time slot immediately following The Brady Bunch, ABC premiered "The Partridge Family". If the Beatles served as the inspiration for The Monkees, it was the real-life family act the Cowsills that inspired the show. Learn More

On this day in 1948, Motorcycle builder Soichiro Honda incorporates the Honda Motor Company in Hamamatsu, Japan. In the 1960s, the company achieved worldwide fame for its motorcycles, in particular its C100 Super Cub, which became the world's best-selling vehicle. Learn More

On this day in 1875, Billy the Kid is arrested for the first time after stealing a basket of laundry. He later broke out of jail and roamed the American West, eventually earning a reputation as an outlaw and murderer and a rap sheet that allegedly included 21 murders.  Learn More

On this day in 1973, in a highly publicized "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match, top women's player Billie Jean King, 29, beats Bobby Riggs, 55, a former No. 1 ranked men's player. Riggs, a self-proclaimed male chauvinist, had boasted that women were inferior, that they couldn't handle the pressure of the game and that even at his age he could beat any female player. The match was a huge media event, witnessed in person by over 30,000 spectators at the Houston Astrodome and by another 50 million TV viewers worldwide. Learn More

On this day in 1959, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev learned that he would not be allowed to visit Disneyland. Government authorities feared that the crowds would pose a safety hazard for the premier. Khrushchev exploded, yelling "And I say, I would very much like to go and see Disneyland. But then, we cannot guarantee your security, they say. Then what must I do? Commit suicide? What is it? Is there an epidemic of cholera there or something? Or have gangsters taken hold of the place that can destroy me?" Khrushchev left Los Angeles the next morning. Learn More

On this day in 1973, future President Jimmy Carter files a report with the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), claiming he had seen an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) in October 1969. Carter promised that, if elected president, he would encourage the government release "every piece of information" about UFOs available to the public and to scientists. After winning the presidency, though, Carter backed away from this pledge, saying that the release of some information might have "defense implications" and pose a threat to national security. Learn More

On this day in 1908, Buick Motor Company head William Crapo Durant spends $2,000 to incorporate General Motors in New Jersey. Durant, a high-school dropout, had made his fortune building horse-drawn carriages, and in fact he hated cars-he thought they were noisy, smelly, and dangerous. Nevertheless, the giant company he built would dominate the American auto industry for decades. Learn More


On this day in 2004, TV talk-show host Oprah Winfrey gives a brand-new Pontiac G-6 sedan, worth $28,500, to everyone in her studio audience: a total of 276 cars in all. Oprah had told her producers to fill the crowd with people who "desperately needed" the cars, and when she announced the prize mayhem-crying, screaming, delirium, fainting-broke out all around her. It was, as one media expert told a reporter, "one of the great promotional stunts in the history of television." Learn More

On this day in 1940, near Montignac, France, a collection of prehistoric cave paintings are discovered by four teenagers who stumbled upon the ancient artwork after following their dog down a narrow entrance into a cavern. The 15,000- to 17,000-year-old paintings, consisting mostly of animal representations, are among the finest examples of art from the Upper Paleolithic period. Learn More

On this day in 1987, the thriller Fatal Attraction, about a married man who has a fling with a woman who then becomes obsessed with him and stalks his family, premieres in U.S. theaters. Fatal Attraction, which starred Michael Douglas and Glenn Close, was a box-office hit and garnered six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress. Learn More

On this day in 1977, at Baumetes Prison in Marseille, France, Hamida Djandoubi, a Tunisian immigrant convicted of murder, becomes the last person executed by guillotine. The guillotine first gained fame during the French Revolution when physician and revolutionary Joseph-Ignace Guillotin won passage of a law requiring all death sentences to be carried out by "means of a machine." Decapitating machines had been used earlier in Ireland and England, and Guillotin and his supporters viewed these devices as more humane than other execution techniques, such as hanging or firing squad.  Learn More

On this day in 1957, "On the Road"  by Jack Kerouac is published. When the book was originally released, The New York Times hailed it as "the most beautifully executed, the clearest and the most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac himself named years ago as 'beat,' and whose principal avatar he is." In 1998, the Modern Library ranked On the Road 55th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. The novel was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. Learn More

On this day in 1972, U.S. swimmer Mark Spitz won his seventh gold medal at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. Spitz swam the fly leg of the 400-meter medley relay, and his team set a new world-record time of 3 minutes, 48.16 seconds. Remarkably, Spitz also established new world records in the six other events in which he won the gold. At the time, no other athlete had won so many gold medals at a single Olympiad. The record would stand until Michael Phelps took home eight gold medals at the Beijing Games in 2012. Learn More

On this day in 1783, the American Revolution officially came 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 2005, Hurricane Katrina makes landfall near New Orleans, Louisiana, as a Category 4 hurricane. Despite being only the third most powerful storm of the 2005 hurricane season, Katrina was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States. After briefly coming ashore in southern Florida on August 25 as a Category 1 hurricane, Katrina gained strength before slamming into the Gulf Coast on August 29th. Learn More

On this day in 1955, the first edition of "The Guinness Book of Records" is published in Great Britain; it quickly proves to be a hit. The inspiration for the record book can be traced to November 1951, when Sir Hugh Beaver, managing director of the Guinness Brewery  was on a hunting trip in Ireland. After failing to shoot a golden plover, Beaver and the members of his hunting party debated whether the creature was Europe's fastest game bird but were unable to locate a book with the answer. Learn More

On this day in 1978, Frankie Valli's "Grease"-reached the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. The two Grease numbers that preceded Frankie Valli's title tune as singles were the #1 hit "You're the One That I Want," a duet by the film's co-stars John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, and the #3 hit "Hopelessly Devoted to You," by Newton-John alone. Learn More

On this day in 1970, lead singer and primary songwriter Lou Reed played his last gig with the Velvet Underground at the famous Manhattan rock club Max's Kansas City. Arguably the most influential American band of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Velvet Underground had an impact on modern rock and roll that was well out of proportion to the popularity they achieved in their short-lived heyday. Learn More

On this day in 1864, the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick of Armies in the Field is adopted by 12 nations meeting in Geneva. The agreement, advocated by Swiss humanitarian Jean-Henri Dunant, called for nonpartisan care to the sick and wounded in times of war and provided for the neutrality of medical personnel. It also proposed the use of an international emblem to mark medical personnel and supplies. In honor of Dunant's nationality, a red cross on a white background-the Swiss flag in reverse-was chosen. Learn More

On this day in 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation admitting Hawaii into the Union as the 50th state. The president also issued an order for an American flag featuring 50 stars arranged in staggered rows: five six-star rows and four five-star rows. The new flag became official July 4, 1960. Learn More

On this day in 1920, seven men, including legendary all-around athlete and football star Jim Thorpe, met to organize a professional football league at the Jordan and Hupmobile Auto Showroom in Canton, Ohio. The meeting led to the creation of the American Professional Football Conference (APFC), the forerunner to the successful National Football League. Learn More