1. 1990: Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas debut
Martin Scorsese debuted his mafia masterpiece, GoodFellas, on this date in 1990 at theaters around the country. I must admit, this film ranks as one of my favorite movies of all time. Not only is there an incredible cast full of top notch actors like Joe Pesci, Robert De Niro, and Ray Liotta but the story told grabs hold of you from the second it starts and it’s a rollercoaster ride clear till the end. Based off the book Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family which is said to be the true life story of Henry Hill who was played by Ray Liotta. Henry was an Italian-born June 11,1943 in Brooklyn where the mobsters were the most respected men in the neighborhood. Every guy wanted to be one and every woman wanted to be with one according to the film. You follow Henry Hill on his path into the mob world where he starts to make a name for himself with a high ranking crime family. Along the way, he meets his hothead friend, Tommy DeVito, played by Joe Pesci, and “Jimmy the Gent” Conway played by Robert De Niro. However, henry had one weakness that his new family would kill him for, drugs. In those days, drugs were the ultimate “no-no” and if you got caught dealing them you would end up getting yourself “wacked”. In order to save his own skin, Henry turns FBI informant and becomes an open book revealing secrets that would put his former friends behind bars for the rest of their lives. Joe Pesci won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and when added to the rest of the awards won that night, Goodfellas went home with a total of six. It’s become a cult classic and is ranked up there with The Godfather as far as what a mob movie should be.
2. 1957: First underground nuclear explosion
Located about 65 miles north of Las Vegas sits a 1,375 square mile research center known as the Nevada Test Site or NTS. It was at this location that the first nuclear bomb was detonated where the fallout was fully contained underground on this date in 1957. Using a modified W-25 warhead that was just over two feet in diameter and 17 inches long, weighing in at 218 lbs, they managed to generate 1.7 kilotons of energy in the blast. It makes you wonder what’s going on out there that they have that much space underground to detonate and contain the fallout from a nuclear blast of that size. That test was referred to as Rainier and it was part of a series of 29 nuclear weapons and safety tests that took place at the NTS. These tests were all part of an operation known as Plumbbob and they all were completed in the few shorts months from May 28, 1957, to October 7, 1957.
3. 1995:The manifesto from the mind of the Unabomber published
After eluding the law enforcement for almost two decades the 35,000-word manifesto written by the Unabomber was published on this date in 1995 by the Washington Post. He had sent it to the New York Times in June and claimed the horrible bombings that had been happening on and off since 1978 would continue if it wasn’t published. Because FBI had very few leads as to the identity of who the serial bomber was, they decided to allow the manifesto of a madman to be released to the public. Their wish of somehow finding a connection was granted when David Kaczynski contacted the FBI after realizing that the manifesto had to of come from his brother, Theodore. Ted was not the madman that everyone had expected, he was a hermit and recluse, but he was actually brilliant to the point of being considered a genius. He had attended Harvard at just 16 years old after he had already earned his Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He then briefly took a job as an assistant professor at the coveted University of California Berkley before abruptly resigning in 1969. This is when he went out to Montana where he would remain isolated in a small cabin near the town of Lincoln. Ted was brilliant but also crazy. He sent numerous bombs through the US mail service that would lead to three casualties and as many as 23 others severely injured. He did this by using incredibly low-tech bombs. Basically, anything that you would find laying around your house is how many reports have described it. That’s one of the main things Kaczynski preached in his manifesto was his hate for anything and everything technology related. Ted Kaczynski would eventually agree to a plea bargain in January of 1998 that would sentence him to life in prison the crimes he committed over the past twenty years.