August 12, 1990: Skeleton of Tyrannosaurus rex discovered
On this day in 1990, fossil hunter Susan Hendrickson discovers three huge bones jutting out of a cliff near Faith, South Dakota. They turn out to be part of the largest-ever Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever discovered, a 65 million-year-old specimen dubbed Sue, after its discoverer.
Aug 12, 1939: The Wizard of Oz movie musical premieres in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland and featuring words and music by E.Y. "Yip" Harburg and Harold Arlen, receives its world premiere in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, on this day in 1939.
The beloved characters and familiar plot points were mostly all there in the original children's book, from the Kansas farm girl in shiny slippers transported to Munchkin land by a terrible tornado, to the wicked witch, the brainless scarecrow, the heartless tin woodsman and the cowardly lion she encounters once she gets there. But what's missing, of course, from Frank Baum's bestselling novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, is the music that helped make those characters so beloved and those plot points so familiar. First published in 1900, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was adapted numerous times for the stage and screen and even set to music prior to 1939. It was that year's film adaptation, however, that earned Baum's work a permanent place not only in cinema history, but also in music history.
Aug 12, 1964: James Bond creator Ian Fleming dies
On this day in 1964, the British author and journalist Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, the world's most famous fictional spy, dies of a heart attack at age 56 in Kent, England. Fleming's series of novels about the debonair Agent 007, based in part on their dashing author's real-life experiences, spawned one of the most lucrative film franchises in history.
Aug 12, 1964: Great Train robber escapes from prison
On August 12, 1964, Charlie Wilson, part of the gang who pulled off the 1963 Great Train Robbery, one of the biggest heists of its kind, escapes from Winson Green Prison in Birmingham, England. Several men broke into the maximum-security facility to free Wilson, who remained on the loose until 1968.
Aug 12, 1938:
Hitler institutes the Mother's Cross
On this day in 1938, Adolf Hitler institutes the Mother's Cross, to encourage German women to have more children, to be awarded each year on August 12, Hitler's mother's birthday.