What Happened on June 20?

  • The world's first commercial telephone was installed. (1877) Alexander Graham Bell installed the phone service in Hamilton, Ontario in Canada. Bell, the inventor of the modern telephone, was given the patent in 1876. He refused to have a telephone in his study, however, saying it intruded on his work. Bell also was one of the founding members of the National Geographic Society.

  • Andrea Yates drowned her children. (2001) Yates drowned her five children in the bathtub in the family home in Houston, Texas. She ultimately was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sentenced to the North Texas State Hospital, a high-security mental hospital.

  • Lizzie Borden was found innocent. (1893) Borden was charged with murdering her father and step mother with an axe on August 4, 1892. Her trial is a well-known criminal trial in American culture, perhaps because it was one of the first well-known criminal trials where a person was accused of murdering her parents. No arrests were made after her acquittal.

  • Muhammad Ali was convicted of violating Selective Service laws. (1967) Ali refused to serve in the U.S. military, stating that it went against his religious beliefs and his opposition to the Vietnam War. The U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the conviction.

  • American cult flick Jaws was released in theaters. (1975) The book, based on a novel of the same name, brought in over $470 million US Dollars, which was the highest grossing movie of all time until Star Wars was released two years later. Jaws was the first movie to be released using the wide distribution model.

  • Bugsy Seigel was shot dead. (1947) Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, who was an American gangster and deeply involved in the development of Las Vegas, Nevada, was apparently shot on orders from a mob boss. The drive-by shooting never was solved and remains an open case.

  • Sammy Sosa hit home run number 600. (2007) Playing for the Texas Rangers, Sosa was the fifth player in the major league to hit 600 career home runs. Speculations of steroid abuse have surrounded Sosa.

  • Oil flowed for the first time in the Alaskan Pipeline. (1977) The trans-Alaska pipeline spanned some 800 miles (about 1,287 kilometers). In 2008, about 700,000 barrels per day flowed through the pipeline.

  • The White House went green, installing a solar-energy system. (1979) President Carter and his wife Rosalynn got atop the roof of the White House to celebrate the green energy installation. The solar-heating system cost $28,000 US Dollars. President Reagan removed the panels when he became president and put them in storage.

  • Samuel Morse got the patent for the telegraph. (1840) Morse, who contributed to the invention of the telegraph system, also co-invented Morse code.

  • Race riots started in Detroit. (1943) The riots lasted three days and 24 people died before control was imposed by Federal troops.

  • Nicole Kidman was born. (1967) Actress Nicole Kidman was born in Australia and is well known for such movies as Moulin Rouge, Batman Forever and The Hours, for which she won a Golden Globe, an Academy Award for Best Actress and a BAFTA Award. In 2003, her star was added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

  • John Goodman was born. (1952) An American actor, Goodman is well-known for his role on American television show Roseanne and such movies as Raising Arizona, Always, Coyote Ugly and O Brother, Where Art Thou? He has won comedy, Emmy, Golden Globe and People's Choice awards.

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