1866 The world’s first roller rink opens in Newport, Rhode Island.
1917 Comic-strip creator Dik Browne (Hi & Lois, Hagar The Horrible) is born. He dies in 1989.
1921 Author Alex Haley (Roots, The Autobiography Of Malcolm X) is born. He dies in 1992.
1933 Religious right evangelist Jerry Falwell is born. He dies in 2007.
1934 The first federal prisoners arrived at the island prison Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay.
1965 A clash between the California Highway Patrol and two young black men set off six days of rioting in the predominantly black Watts section of Los Angeles. In six days, 34 people were killed, over 1,000 injured, and there were damages of $200 million.
1966 At a Chicago press conference, John Lennon apologized for remarks he had made in a British newspaper several months earlier in which he said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ.
1972 Elvis and Priscilla Presley filed for divorce after less than five years of marriage.
1973 “Live And Let Die” by Wings peaks at Number Two on the pop chart, where it stays for three weeks.
1973 Made In Japan by Deep Purple peaks at Number Six on the album chart, where it stays for two weeks. That same day, Machine Head peaks at Number Seven on the album chart.
1979 Get The Knack by the Knack hits Number One on the album chart, where it stays for five weeks.
1984 During a voice test for a radio address, President Ronald Reagan made a joking comment that he had “signed legislation outlawing Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” The comments were picked up by TV news organizations and broadcast, causing an international uproar and debate over the use of “off-the-record” comments.
1984 “Sad Songs (Say So Much)” by Elton John peaks at Number Five on the pop chart.
1987 Actress Clara Peller (The “Where’s the beef?” lady from the Wendy’s commercials) dies at age 84.
1991 The Nickelodeon shows Doug, Rugrats, and Ren & Stimpy debut.
1992 The Mall of America, America’s biggest shopping mall, opened in Bloomington, Minnesota.
1994 Major league baseball players go on strike following the conclusion of that day’s games.
1994 Actor Peter Cushing (famous for his portrayals of Baron Frankenstein, Dr. Van Helsing, Sherlock Holmes, and Star Wars‘ Grand Moff Wilhuf Tarkin) dies at age 81.
1995 President Bill Clinton banned all U.S. nuclear tests.
2001 Singer-guitarist Dickey Betts is arrested and charged with misdemeanor domestic battery after punching his wife, Donna Marie Betts, in the face while she was driving. The incident report from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office quoted Betts as saying that he “did not know how the victim (Donna Betts) received her injury.”