The Beatles hit No. 1 for the first time in America, tragedy strikes space shuttle Columbia, and Janet Jackson suffers a Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction," all on this day.
1814: Mayon Volcano in the Philippines erupts, killing around 1,200 people, the most devastating eruption of the volcano. The volcano belched ash and rock that eventually buried the town of Cagsawa. This church tower is what remains of the Cagsawa Church, which was buried by the eruption.
1851: English author Mary Shelley, best known for her Gothic novel "Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus," dies at the age of 53 in London, England, from what her physician suspected was a brain tumor.
1865: President Abraham Lincoln signs the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, a day after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to send it to the state legislatures for ratification. The amendment would be formally adopted when Georgia became the 27th of the then 36 states to ratify it on Dec. 6, 1865. Pictured is the amendment in the National Archives, bearing the Lincoln's signature.
1884: Under the guidance of primary editor James Murray (pictured), the first volume ("A to Ant") of the Oxford English Dictionary is published.
1893: Thomas Edison finishes construction of the first motion picture studio, the Black Maria in West Orange, N.J. The first films shot at the Black Maria, a tar-paper-covered, dark studio room with a retractable roof, included segments of magic shows, plays, vaudeville performances, acts from Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, various boxing matches and cockfights, and scantily-clad women.
1894: Film director and producer John Ford, best known for movies such as "Stagecoach," "The Searchers," "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" and "The Grapes of Wrath," is born John Martin Feeney in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Ford holds the record for most Best Director Oscars with four, including the 1941 Best Picture winner "How Green Was My Valley."
1896: Giacomo Puccini's opera "La Boheme" premieres in Turin, Italy.
1900: Eastman Kodak Co. introduces the $1 Brownie box camera. The cardboard camera would go on to popularize low-cost photography and introduce the concept of the snapshot.
1901: Actor Clark Gable, best known for his Oscar-nominated roles in "Gone with the Wind," "Mutiny on the Bounty" and "It Happened One Night," is born in Cadiz, Ohio. Gable, who won the Best Actor Oscar in 1935 for "It Happened One Night" (pictured), also appeared in such movies as "The Misfits," "Run Silent Run Deep" and "Saratoga."
1902: Writer and social activist Langston Hughes, one of the earliest innovators of the literary art form jazz poetry and a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance, is born in Joplin, Mo.
1920: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police begins operations. Here, a "mountie" is seen in Banff, Alberta, in 2010.
1931: Boris Yeltsin, the first president of the Russian Federation, is born in the Soviet Union village of Butka.
1937: Musician Don Everly (right), best known as half of the rock duo the Everly Brothers with his brother Phil, is born in Muhlenberg County, Ky. The Everlys are best known for hits such as "Wake Up Little Susie," "Cathy's Clown," "All I Have to Do Is Dream" and "Bye Bye Love."
1942: The U.S. Navy conducts the Marshalls-Gilberts raids, the first offensive action by the United States against Japanese forces in the Pacific Theater during World War II. The tactical airstrikes and naval artillery attacks targeted Imperial Japanese Navy garrisons in the Marshall and Gilbert Islands, causing minor damage. Although the raids had little long-term strategic impact, they did help lift the morale of the American public, still reeling from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
1942: Actor and writer Terry Jones, best known as a member of the Monty Python comedy team (seen here at the far left), is born in Colwyn Bay, North Wales, United Kingdom. Jones co-directed "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" with Terry Gilliam, and was sole director on two further Monty Python movies, "Life of Brian" and "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life."
1942: Voice of America, the official external radio and television service of the United States government, begins broadcasting with programs aimed at areas controlled by the Axis powers.
1946: Trygve Lie of Norway is picked to be the first United Nations secretary general.
1948: Singer-songwriter Rick James, who popularized funk music in the late 1970s and early 1980s thanks to hits such as "You and I," "Give It to Me Baby" and "Super Freak," is born in Buffalo, N.Y.
1960: Four black students stage the first of the Greensboro sit-ins at a lunch counter inside a Woolworth's in Greensboro, N.C. After being refused service at the "whites only" counter and asked to leave, the four stayed at the counter until it closed. The next day, more than 20 black students came to the store to join the sit-in. The protests spread throughout North Carolina and then throughout the South before the Woolworth's department store chain changed its segregation policy in late July. Today, the segment of the counter where the first Greensboro sit-in took place is on display in the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
1961: The movie "The Misfits," starring Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift, and directed by John Huston, premieres in theaters. The movie would end up being the last for both Gable, who suffered a heart attack two days after filming ended and died 10 days later, and Monroe, who would die of an apparent drug overdose within a year and a half.
1964: Word leaks out that Indiana Gov. Matthew Welsh has banned the song "Louie Louie" by the Kingsmen as pornographic. Welsh had requested that the Indiana Broadcasters Association ban the song, then sitting at No. 6 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, from airplay on all radio stations in the state. The growing controversy around the song's garbled and unintelligible lyrics would spur its publisher to offer a $1,000 reward to anybody who could prove it contains obscene lyrics and cause the FBI to investigate the song.
1964: The Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand" hits No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, their first No. 1 song in America. It would hold the top spot for seven weeks before being replaced by another Beatles' song, "She Loves You."
1965: Martin Luther King Jr. and more than 700 demonstrators are arrested in Selma, Ala., during a protest march against discrimination in black voter registration. King would initially refuse bond in an attempt to raise awareness of the issue and remained in jail for four days.
1965: Actor Brandon Lee, the son of martial arts film star Bruce Lee and the star of the movies "Showdown in Little Tokyo," "Rapid Fire" and "The Crow," is born in Oakland, Calif. Lee's career would be cut short when he died at the age of 28 from an accidental shooting during filming of "The Crow" on March 31, 1993.
1966: Actor Buster Keaton, best known for his silent films featuring physical comedy, dies of lung cancer at the age of 70 in Los Angeles, Calif. Some of his best-known films include "The General," "Our Hospitality," "Sherlock, Jr." and "The Navigator."
1968: Singer and actress Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, is born in Memphis, Tenn. She's seen here, at right, with her mother in 2010.
1968: Actor and comedian Pauly Shore, the star of such 1990s films as "Encino Man," "Son in Law" and "Jury Duty," is born in Hollywood, Calif.
1969: Tommy James and the Shondells' "Crimson & Clover" hits No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.
1971: Actor Michael C. Hall, best known for his roles on the cable dramas "Six Feet Under" and "Dexter," is born in Raleigh, N.C.
1972: The first scientific hand-held calculator is introduced for $395 by Hewlett-Packard, named the HP-35 for having 35 keys. It was the first hand-held calculator able to perform logarithmic and trigonometric functions with one keystroke. The price was reduced several times, eventually to $195. By February 1975, when production of the model was discontinued, 300,000 of the calculators had been sold.
1974: The novel "Jaws" by Peter Benchley is published. Director Steven Spielberg would adapt the book into the 1975 movie of the same name, which became the prototypical summer blockbuster movie.
1975: Rapper Big Boi, best known as one half of the duo Outkast, is born Antwan André Patton in Savannah, Ga.
1976: American pathologist and biomedical researcher George Whipple, who shared the 1934 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries concerning liver therapy in cases of anemia, dies at the age of 97 in Rochester, N.Y.
1978: Film director Roman Polanski skips bail and flees the United States to France after earlier pleading guilty to charges of engaging in sex with a 13-year-old girl. Polanski was originally ordered to undergo 90 days of psychiatric evaluation at Chino State Prison, believing he would be put on probation at his final sentencing. When he learned the judge instead planned to sentence him to more jail time and possibly deport him, he fled on the day he was to be sentenced. Because Polanski (seen here in 2008) fled the country before final sentencing, the charges were not dismissed and still remain pending.
1979: Convicted bank robber Patty Hearst is released from prison after 22 months when her sentence is commuted by President Jimmy Carter. The newspaper heiress was kidnapped from a San Francisco apartment on Feb. 4, 1974, by the leftist group Symbionese Liberation Army. While initially their captive, she later announced she was joining the group of her own free will, took part in a bank robbery with them and spent a year on the FBI Most Wanted List. In 2001, she received a full pardon from President Bill Clinton.
1979: The Ayatollah Khomeini (lower right) is welcomed back to Tehran, Iran, after nearly 15 years of exile for his opposition to the last Shah. With Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi leaving for his own exile and his government overthrown by Khomeini's followers, Khomeini became the country's Supreme Leader, a position created in the constitution as the highest ranking political and religious authority of the nation, which he held until his death in 1989.
1982: The late-night talk show "Late Night With David Letterman" debuts.
1984: David Stern becomes NBA commissioner, succeeding Larry O'Brien. Stern, who joined the NBA in 1978 as general counsel and became the league's executive vice president in 1980, is credited with increasing the popularity of the NBA in the 1990s and 2000s.
1986: Lauren Conrad, best known for the MTV reality series "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County" and its spinoff, "The Hills," is born in Laguna Beach, Calif.
1993: Gary Bettman becomes the NHL's first commissioner, replacing Gil Stein, who served as the NHL's final president. Previously, Bettman had been a senior vice-president and general counsel to the NBA. Under Bettman, the NHL has seen rapid growth of league revenues and the expansion of the NHL's footprint across the United States. His time as commissioner has also seen three labor stoppages, including the 2004-05 lockout that canceled the entire season.
1994: Jeff Gillooly (center) pleads guilty in Portland, Ore., for his role in the attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan. Gillooly, Tonya Harding's ex-husband, struck a plea bargain under which he confessed to racketeering charges in exchange for testimony implicating Harding.
1998: Lillian E. Fishburne becomes the first black female to be promoted to rear admiral in the U.S. Navy.
1999: Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky gives a videotaped deposition for senators weighing impeachment charges against President Bill Clinton.
2002: Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who had been kidnapped on Jan. 23 in Karachi, Pakistan, is beheaded and mutilated by his captors. On May 16, Pearl's severed head and decomposed body were found cut into 10 pieces and buried in a shallow grave at Gadap, about 30 miles north of Karachi. In March 2007, at a closed military hearing in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said that he had personally beheaded Pearl.
2002: Actress Winona Ryder is charged with four felony counts stemming from a Dec. 12, 2001, shoplifting arrest at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, Calif. On Dec. 6, 2002, she would be convicted of grand theft, shoplifting and vandalism and be sentenced to three years of probation, 480 hours of community service and $10,000 worth of fines and restitution.
2003: Space shuttle Columbia disintegrates over Texas and Louisiana during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard. The accident was blamed on damage Columbia had sustained during launch when a piece of foam insulation the size of a small briefcase broke off from the shuttle's external tank and struck the edge of the left wing. The strike damaged the Columbia's thermal protection system, which shields the vehicle from the intense heat generated from atmospheric compression during re-entry. Major changes to shuttle operations, after missions resumed following more than two years later, included a thorough on-orbit inspection to determine how well the shuttle's thermal protection system had endured the ascent, and keeping a designated rescue mission at the ready in case irreparable damage was found.
2004: In what was later referred to as a "wardrobe malfunction," Janet Jackson's breast is briefly exposed by fellow performer Justin Timberlake during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston, Texas. The incident led to an immediate crackdown and widespread debate on perceived indecency in broadcasting, with the Federal Communications Commission, which had received more than 500,000 complaints from viewers, increasing the fine per indecency violation from $27,500 to $325,000 shortly after the event.
2012: TV host and producer Don Cornelius, best known as the creator of the dance and musical variety TV show "Soul Train," dies of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head at the age of 75. Cornelius, who had also hosted the show himself from 1971 through 1993, had been suffering from seizures during the last 15 years of his life, a complication of a 21-hour brain operation he underwent in 1982 to correct a congenital deformity in his cerebral arteries.
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