Oprah Winfrey confronts author James Frey over lying


Year
2006
Month Day
January 26

On January 26, 2006, during a live broadcast of her daytime TV talk show, Oprah Winfrey confronts author James Frey about fabrications in “A Million Little Pieces,” his memoir about addiction and recovery, which she chose as an Oprah’s Book Club selection in September 2005.

“A Million Little Pieces,” published in 2003, was James Frey’s first book. In it, he describes in graphic detail his harrowing experiences with addictions to drugs and alcohol, and his time at a treatment center when he was in his early 20s. After Winfrey picked “A Million Little Pieces” for her popular on-air book club, which launched in 1996, the memoir climbed the best-sellers lists, following in the footsteps of many of the club’s previous selections. In October 2006, Frey appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to promote his book, which the talk show host had previously said she “couldn’t put down,” calling it “a gut-wrenching memoir that is raw and it’s so real…”

Then, in early January 2006, The Smoking Gun Web site published an expose claiming court records, police reports and interviews with a variety of sources showed that Frey had falsified and exaggerated parts of “A Million Little Pieces”–especially surrounding his criminal past and time spent in jail–in order to make his story more dramatic. On January 11, 2006, Frey and his mother appeared on “Larry King Live” to defend “A Million Little Pieces,” and Winfrey called in to the show to express support for the author. However, two weeks later, on January 26, when Frey appeared on Winfrey’s for a second time, he faced tough questioning from the talk show host, whose attitude toward him had changed. Winfrey began the live program by telling him, “It is difficult for me to talk to you because I feel really duped. But more importantly, I feel that you betrayed millions of readers.”

Frey admitted to Winfrey that he had altered and embellished details of his story, including the fact that he had been in jail for just several hours, not 87 days, as stated in his book. When Winfrey asked him about a particularly memorable incident from the book in which he wrote about having root canals without anesthesia, Frey conceded he couldn’t recall whether or not the dentist had used any Novocain. Winfrey also confronted the publisher of “A Million Little Pieces,” saying her staff had been contacted about possible inaccuracies in the book, only to be told that the publishing company stood by Frey’s story as a work of non-fiction. During the show, the publisher acknowledged that “A Million Little Pieces” had not been fact-checked.

Frey’s fabrications sparked a national debate over the definition of memoir. In the aftermath of the controversy, he was dropped by his literary agent, and his publisher settled a class-action lawsuit brought by readers who claimed they had been defrauded. Future editions of “A Million Little Pieces” included a note from Frey in which he admitted to altering parts of his story. However, the scandal did not signal the end of Frey’s career: He went on to publish novels including “Bright Shiny Morning” (2008) and “The Final Testament of the Holy Bible” (2011).

Source

Republic of India born


Year
1950
Month Day
January 26

On January 26, 1950, the Indian constitution takes effect, making the Republic of India the most populous democracy in the world.

Mohandas Gandhi struggled through decades of passive resistance before Britain finally accepted Indian independence. Self-rule had been promised during World War II, but after the war triangular negotiations between Gandhi, the British, and the Muslim League stalled over whether to partition India along religious lines. Eventually, Lord Mountbatten, the viceroy of India, forced through a compromise plan. On August 15, 1947, the former Mogul Empire was divided into the independent nations of India and Pakistan. Gandhi called the agreement the “noblest act of the British nation,” but religious strife between Hindus and Muslims soon marred his exhilaration. Hundreds of thousands died, including Gandhi, who was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic in January 1948 during a prayer vigil to an area of Muslim-Hindu violence.

Of Gandhi’s death, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said, “The light has gone out of our lives, and there is darkness everywhere.” However, Nehru, a leader of the Indian struggle for independence and Gandhi’s protege, persisted in his efforts to stabilize India, and by 1949 the religious violence began to subside. In late 1949, an Indian constitution was adopted, and on January 26, 1950, the Republic of India was born.

With universal adult franchise, Nehru hoped to overcome India’s “caste-ridden” society and promote greater gender equality. Elections were to be held at least every five years, and India’s government was modeled after the British parliamentary system. A president would hold the largely ceremonial post of head of state but would be given greater powers in times of emergency. The first president was Rajendra Prasad.

Nehru, who won his first of three subsequent elections in 1952, was faced with staggering challenges. A massively underdeveloped economy and overpopulation contributed to widespread poverty. Nehru also had to force the integration of the former princely states into the Indian union and suppress movements for greater autonomy in states like Punjab. 

In his years of struggle against Britain, he always advocated nonviolence but as prime minister sometimes had to stray from this policy. He sent troops into the Portuguese enclaves of Goa and Daman and fought with China over Kashmir and Nepal. He died in 1964 and was succeeded by Lal Bahadur Shastri. Later, Nehru’s only child, Indira Gandhi, served four terms as a controversial prime minister of India.

Source

Tennessee passes nation’s first prohibition law


Year
1838
Month Day
January 26

The first Prohibition law in the history of the United States is passed in Tennessee, making it a misdemeanor to sell alcoholic beverages in taverns and stores. The bill stated that all persons convicted of retailing “spirituous liquors” would be fined at the “discretion of the court” and that the fines would be used in support of public schools.

The movement for the prohibition of alcohol began in the early 19th century, when Americans concerned about the adverse effects of drinking began forming temperance societies. By the late 19th century, several states and dozens of cities had enacted prohibition laws, and temperance groups had become a powerful political force, campaigning on the state level and calling for total national abstinence. In December 1917, Congress passed the 18th Amendment, commonly known as the Prohibition Amendment. It took effect in January 1919, following state ratification. 

Despite an often-vigorous effort by law-enforcement agencies, the federal government failed to prevent the large-scale distribution of alcoholic beverages, and organized crime flourished in America during the 1920s. In 1933, the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was passed and ratified, repealing Prohibition.

READ MORE: 10 Things You Should Know About Prohibition

Source

First European explorer reaches Brazil


Year
1500
Month Day
January 26

Spanish explorer Vicente Yanez Pinzon, who had commanded the Nina during Christopher Columbus’ first expedition to the New World, reaches the northeastern coast of Brazil during a voyage under his command. Pinzon’s journey produced the first recorded account of a European explorer sighting the Brazilian coast; though whether or not Brazil was previously known to Portuguese navigators is still in dispute.

Pinzon subsequently sailed down the Brazilian coast to the equator, where he briefly explored the mouth of the Amazon River. In the same year, Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvares Cabral claimed Brazil for Portugal, arguing that the territory fell into the Portuguese sphere of exploration as defined by the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas. However, little was done to support the claim until the 1530s, when the first permanent European settlements in Brazil were established at Sao Vicente in Sao Paulo by Portuguese colonists.

Source

Franco captures Barcelona


Year
1939
Month Day
January 26

During the Spanish Civil War, Barcelona, the Republican capital of Spain, falls to the Nationalist forces of General Francisco Franco.

In 1931, King Alfonso XIII approved elections to decide the government of Spain, and voters overwhelmingly chose to abolish the monarchy in favor of a liberal republic. Alfonso subsequently went into exile, and the Second Republic, initially dominated by middle-class liberals and moderate socialists, was proclaimed. During the first five years of the republic, organized labor and leftist radicals forced widespread liberal reforms as independence-minded Spanish regions such as Catalonia and the Basque provinces achieved virtual autonomy. The landed aristocracy, the church, and a large military clique increasingly employed violence in their opposition to the Second Republic, and in July 1936, General Francisco Franco led a right-wing army revolt in Morocco, which prompted the division of Spain into two key camps: the Nationalists and the Republicans.

Franco’s Nationalist forces rapidly overran much of the Republican-controlled areas in central and northern Spain, and Catalonia became a key Republican stronghold. During 1937, Franco unified the Nationalist forces under the command of the Falange, Spain’s fascist party, while the Republicans fell under the sway of the communists. Germany and Italy aided Franco with an abundance of planes, tanks, and arms, while the Soviet Union aided the Republican side. In addition, small numbers of communists and other radicals from France, the USSR, America, and elsewhere formed the International Brigades to aid the Republican cause. The most significant contribution of these foreign units was the successful defense of Madrid until the end of the war.

In June 1938, the Nationalists drove to the Mediterranean Sea and cut the Republicans’ territory in two. Later in the year, Franco mounted a major offensive against Catalonia. In January 1939, its capital, Barcelona, was captured, and soon after the rest of Catalonia fell. With their cause all but lost, the Republicans attempted to negotiate a peace, but Franco refused. On March 28, 1939, the victorious Nationalists entered Madrid, and the bloody Spanish Civil War came to an end. Up to a million lives were lost in the conflict, the most devastating in Spanish history.

Source

John Logie Baird demonstrates TV


Year
1926
Month Day
January 26

On January 26, 1926, John Logie Baird, a Scottish inventor, gives the first public demonstration of a true television system in London, launching a revolution in communication and entertainment. Baird’s invention, a pictorial-transmission machine he called a “televisor,” used mechanical rotating disks to scan moving images into electronic impulses. This information was then transmitted by cable to a screen where it showed up as a low-resolution pattern of light and dark. Baird’s first television program showed the heads of two ventriloquist dummies, which he operated in front of the camera apparatus out of view of the audience.

Baird based his television on the work of Paul Nipkow, a German scientist who patented his ideas for a complete television system in 1884. Nipkow likewise used a rotating disk with holes in it to scan images, but he never achieved more than the crudest of shadowy pictures. Various inventors worked to develop this idea, and Baird was the first to achieve easily discernible images. In 1928, Baird made the first overseas broadcast from London to New York over phone lines and in the same year demonstrated the first color television.

The first home television receiver was demonstrated in Schenectady, New York, in January 1928, and by May a station began occasional broadcasts to the handful of homes in the area that were given the General Electric-built machines. In 1932, the Radio Corporation of America demonstrated an all-electronic television using a cathode-ray tube in the receiver and the “iconoscope” camera tube developed by Russian-born physicist Vladimir Zworykin. These two inventions greatly improved picture quality.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) inaugurated regular high-definition public broadcasts in London in 1936. In delivering the broadcasts, Baird’s television system was in competition with one promoted by Marconi Electric and Musical Industries. Marconi’s television, which produced a 405-line picture–compared with Baird’s 240 lines–was clearly better, and in early 1937 the BBC adopted the Marconi system exclusively. Regular television broadcasts began in the United States in 1939, and permanent color broadcasts began in 1954.

Source

“The Dukes of Hazzard” premieres


Year
1979
Month Day
January 26

On January 26, 1979, “The Dukes of Hazzard,” a television comedy about two good-old-boy cousins in the rural South and their souped-up 1969 Dodge Charger known as the General Lee, debuts on CBS. The show, which originally aired for seven seasons, centered around cousins Bo Duke (John Schneider) and Luke Duke (Tom Wopat) and their ongoing efforts to elude their nemeses, the crooked county commissioner “Boss” Jefferson Davis Hogg (Sorrell Booke) and the bumbling Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane (James Best).

“The Dukes of Hazzard” was known for its car chases and stunts and the General Lee, which had an orange paint job, a Confederate flag across its roof and the numbers “01” on its welded-shut doors, became a star of the show. The General Lee also had a horn that played the first 12 notes of the song “Dixie.” Due to all the fast driving, jumps and crashes, it was common for several different General Lees to be used during the filming of each episode.

The General Lee also had a CB (Citizens Band) radio and Luke and Bo Duke’s CB nicknames or “handles” were Lost Sheep #1 and Lost Sheep #2, respectively. “The Dukes of Hazzard” (along with the 1977 trucking movie “Smokey and the Bandit”) helped promote the CB craze that swept America from the mid 1970s to the early 1980s.

Among the other cars featured on the show were Boss Hogg’s white Cadillac Deville convertible, Uncle Jesse Duke’s (Denver Pyle) Ford pickup truck and various tow trucks and vehicles belonging to Cooter Davenport (Ben Jones), the local mechanic. Bo and Luke’s short-shorts wearing cousin Daisy Duke (Catherine Bach) drove a yellow Plymouth Roadrunner with black stripes and later a Jeep with a golden eagle emblem on the hood and the word “Dixie” on the doors.

The final episode of “The Dukes of Hazzard” originally aired on August 16, 1985. The show spawned several TV specials and a 2005 movie starring Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott and Jessica Simpson.

Source

British settlement begins in Australia


Year
1788
Month Day
January 26

On January 26, 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip guides a fleet of 11 British ships carrying convicts to the colony of New South Wales, effectively founding Australia. After overcoming a period of hardship, the fledgling colony began to celebrate the anniversary of this date with great fanfare and it eventually became commemorated as Australia Day.

Australia, once known as New South Wales, was originally planned as a penal colony. In October 1786, the British government appointed Arthur Phillip captain of the HMS Sirius, and commissioned him to establish an agricultural work camp there for British convicts. With little idea of what he could expect from the mysterious and distant land, Phillip had great difficulty assembling the fleet that was to make the journey. His requests for more experienced farmers to assist the penal colony were repeatedly denied, and he was both poorly funded and outfitted. Nonetheless, accompanied by a small contingent of Marines and other officers, Phillip led his 1,000-strong party, of whom more than 700 were convicts, around Africa to the eastern side of Australia. In all, the voyage lasted eight months, claiming the deaths of some 30 men.

The first years of settlement were nearly disastrous. Cursed with poor soil, an unfamiliar climate and workers who were ignorant of farming, Phillip had great difficulty keeping the men alive. The colony was on the verge of outright starvation for several years, and the marines sent to keep order were not up to the task. Phillip, who proved to be a tough but fair-minded leader, persevered by appointing convicts to positions of responsibility and oversight. Floggings and hangings were commonplace, but so was egalitarianism. As Phillip said before leaving England: “In a new country there will be no slavery and hence no slaves.”

Though Phillip returned to England in 1792, the colony became prosperous by the turn of the 19th century. Feeling a new sense of patriotism, the men began to rally around January 26 as their founding day. Historian Manning Clarke noted that in 1808 the men observed the “anniversary of the foundation of the colony” with “drinking and merriment.”

In 1818, January 26 became an official holiday, marking the 30th anniversary of British settlement in Australia. As Australia became a sovereign nation, it became the national holiday known as Australia Day. In recent times, Australia Day has become increasingly controversial as it marks the start of when the continent’s indigenous people were gradually dispossessed of their land as white colonization spread across the continent.

Source

POW spends 2,000th day in captivity


Year
1970
Month Day
January 26

U.S. Navy Lt. Everett Alvarez Jr. spends his 2,000th day in captivity in Southeast Asia. First taken prisoner when his plane was shot down on August 5, 1964, he became the longest-held POW in U.S. history. Alvarez was downed over Hon Gai during the first bombing raids against North Vietnam in retaliation for the disputed attack on U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964.

Alvarez was released in 1973 after spending over eight years in captivity, the first six months as the only American prisoner in North Vietnam. From the first day of his captivity, he was shackled, isolated, nearly starved, and brutally tortured. Although he was among the more junior-rank prisoners of war, his courageous conduct under horrendous conditions and treatment helped establish the model emulated by the many other POWs that later joined him. After retirement from the Navy, he served as deputy director of the Peace Corps and deputy administrator of the Veterans Administration during the Reagan administration, before founding his own military consulting firm.

Source

Bears beat Patriots in Super Bowl XX


Year
1986
Month Day
January 26

On January 26, 1986, in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Chicago Bears score a Super Bowl record number of points to defeat the New England Patriots, 46-10, and win their first championship since 1963.

Led by Coach Mike Ditka, a tight end for the Bears during their last Super Bowl win, Chicago won 17 of 18 games to reach the championship match-up with the Patriots, who became only the fourth wild-card team in history to advance to the Super Bowl. After Tony Franklin kicked a 36-yard field goal only one minute and 19 seconds into the game, New England took the quickest lead in Super Bowl history. It was mostly downhill for the Patriots from there, as the Bears built a 23-3 lead by halftime, gaining a total of 236 yards, compared with New England’s minus 19. The young Patriots quarterback, Tony Eason, had zero completions in six passes, was sacked three times and fumbled once before being replaced by Steve Grogan near the end of the first half.

The mighty Bears defense made a crucial impact on the game, causing six Patriot turnovers (four of which led to touchdowns) and holding New England to a total of only seven rushing yards all game. The Bears were hot on offense as well, as quarterback Jim McMahon completed 12 of 20 passes for 256 yards and no interceptions. Defensive tackle William “The Refrigerator” Perry had one of the game’s most memorable moments, running in a one-yard touchdown and spiking the ball in celebration. The celebrated Chicago running back Walter Payton carried 22 times for 61 yards but did not score, the one disappointment in an otherwise triumphant game for the Bears.

When the game was over, the Bears had set a new NFL record for margin of victory (36 points), bettering the mark of 29 set by the Los Angeles Raiders when they beat the Washington Redskins 38-9 in Super Bowl XVIII. The Bears’ defensive end Richard Dent, who contributed one and a half of Chicago’s record seven sacks, was named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XX, becoming only the fourth defender to win the honor.

Source