June 30th in history:
A large explosion occurred a few miles over Siberia on June 30th, 1908, flattening trees and causing other extensive damage. The object that exploded is thought to have been a comet or meteorite, and the blast might have been one thousand times as powerful as the atomic bomb blast at Hiroshima.
On this date in 1956, two passenger planes collided over the Grand Canyon, killing all 128 people aboard the TWA and United flights. The planes were flying around clouds, and the pilots apparently didn’t see each other until it was too late. Wreckage from the planes still remains in the canyon. (Ironic note for fans of “Airplane!”: the pilot of the United flight was named Capt. Shirley.)
And on June 30th, 1859, French acrobat Charles Blondin made the first of his famous tightrope walks across Niagara Falls.
June 29th in history:
William Shakespeare lost one of his favorite stages on June 29th, 1613, when the Globe Theater in London burned down. The fire was caused by a cannon that misfired during a performance of Shakespeare’s “Henry VIII”.
One of Juan Peron’s wives inspired a Broadway musical. Isabel Peron was not that wife, but she did succeed Juan as president of Argentina on this date in 1974, just two days before Juan died.
The composer who wrote the musicals “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” and “Guys and Dolls,” Frank Loesser, was born on June 29th, 1910. One year later, movie composer Bernard Herrmann was born. Herrmann is known for writing the scores for Citizen Kane, Vertigo, and especially Psycho.
June 28th in history:
England’s King Henry VIII was born on June 28th, 1491. Queen Victoria’s coronation took place on that same date in 1838.
Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated on June 28th, 1914, while riding in an open car in Sarajevo. They were shot several hours after someone else tried to bomb their car. Historians argue that the assassinations set off the First World War – which ended exactly five years later, June 28th, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.
The Versailles Palace became the home of the French royal court during the reign of King Louis XIV, who was played by Mel Brooks in his movie “History of the World, Part One.” Brooks, born on this date in 1926, has directed “Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein,” and “The Producers,” all featuring Gene Wilder, who also appeared in a satire of French royalty called “Start the Revolution Without Me.” Wilder appeared in three movies with his third wife, Gilda Radner, born on June 28th, 1946. Radner was best known for comic characters such as Lisa Loopner and Roseanne Roseannadanna on “Saturday Night Live.” Her death from ovarian cancer at age 42 inspired the formation of the cancer support organization Gilda’s Club.
Mike Tyson was trying to become king of the boxing world again on June 28th, 1997, when he fought WBA heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield. Tyson bit Holyfield’s ears during the third round of the title bout, and was disqualified, allowing Holyfield to keep the championship.
June 27th in history:
An Air France flight from Israel to Paris was hijacked to Entebbe Airport in Uganda on June 27th, 1976. Israeli forces carried out a raid to rescue the passengers and crew on July 4th. Within a year, two American TV movies were made about the rescue.
An unusual daytime soap opera debuted on this date in 1966. “Dark Shadows” ran for five years on ABC, featuring tales of ghosts, witches and a vampire named Barnabas Collins. On that same day in ’66, producer and director J.J. Abrams was born. Abrams, producer of the TV dramas “Alias,” “Lost,” and “Person of Interest,” also has directed “Star Trek” movies, and is the director of “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens”.
Captain Kirk and the rest of the “Star Trek” crew made their debut in the fall of 1966, when one of the most popular captains on TV was “Captain Kangaroo.” Bob Keeshan, who played Captain Kangaroo for more than 25 years, was born on this day in 1927.
June 26th in history:
The first portion of the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey, opened on June 26th, 1870.
At the Coney Island amusement park in New York, the “Cyclone” roller coaster operated for the first time on this date in 1927.
President Kennedy made a famous trip to Berlin on this day in 1963, where the West German audience cheered upon hearing Kennedy proclaim “Ich bin ein Berliner.”
Singer Terri Nunn was a “Berliner” in the ’70s and ’80s, as a member of the musical group Berlin. Nunn was born on June 26th of 1961 — the year the Berlin Wall was built. Nunn performed lead vocals on the Oscar-winning song “Take My Breath Away” from “Top Gun.” She also acted in the movie “Thank God It’s Friday,” which won the Oscar for Best Song in 1978 for Donna Summer’s “Last Dance.”
June 25th in history:
Two iconic celebrities who became famous in the 1970s died on this date in 2009. Farrah Fawcett, best known for “Charlie’s Angels” and a wildly popular swimsuit poster, was 62. She had publicly fought cancer for three years. Fawcett’s passing was the big TV news story of the day, until it was overshadowed by the sudden death of singer Michael Jackson at age 50. Doctors said Jackson died of cardiac arrest, just hours after rehearsing for a planned concert tour.
More than 60 million people bought Jackson’s 1982 album “Thriller,” featuring the duet “The Girl Is Mine” with Paul McCartney. On June 25th, 1967, McCartney and the rest of the Beatles performed live for a worldwide TV audience of 400 million. The program, called “Our World,” featured remote segments from all over the globe, but the highlight of the program was the Beatles singing “All You Need Is Love.”
For many years, the state of Virginia used the tourist slogan, “Virginia is for lovers.” On this date in 1788, Virginia became the 10th state in the Union.
June 24th in history:
On June 24th, 1497, English explorer John Cabot became the first European to reach Newfoundland since the Vikings.
An artist with an unusual visual style had his first art exhibition on this date in 1901. His name was Pablo Picasso.
It only took 50 years, but on June 24th, 1997, the Air Force issued a report on alleged alien sightings in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. The official report said the “aliens” actually were dummies. Many people continue to suspect a cover-up.
He wasn’t an alien – he was a “RoboCop.” Actor Peter Weller celebrates his birthday today (1947) – and so does his “RoboCop” co-star, Nancy Allen (1950).