1. 1992: John Gotti gets sentenced to life in prison
It was on this date in 1992 that notorious mob boss John Gotti was sentenced to life in prison after he was found guilty on 14 counts of racketeering and conspiracy to commit murder. Gotti had been on trial multiple times throughout the 80’s but always seemed slip away with no more than a slap on the wrists. He had taken over as head of the powerful Gambino Family in 1985 after Paul Castellano, the former boss, had been murdered outside a Manhattan steak house. Gotti was eventually indicted for his involvement in Castellano’s murder.
Just shy of his 10th year of incarceration, Gotti passed away due to throat cancer on June 10, 2002.
2. 1989: Batman is released
The summer of 1989 would see the start of a trend that has now become a standard, the summer blockbuster movie. After months of advertising, Tim Burton released his version of Batman in theaters worldwide on this date and it was a box office smash hit. The film grossed more than $100 million in just ten days. There was controversy regarding the casting of Michael Keaton versus the leading men of Hollywood such as Ford, Costner and Gibson. Burton wanted to used a somewhat unknown actor for the part and after working with Keaton on Beetlejuice he felt it was a perfect fit. Keaton ended up doing a fantastic job and Jack Nicholson playing the Joker might be one of the best villain characters of all time. This version of Batman went on to start a long list of different versions of the story including the sequel that also starred Keaton, Batman Returns.
3. 1931: Record set for solo flight around the world
On this day in 1931 Wiley Post and his Navigator, Harold Gatty, take off from Roosevelt airfield in an attempt to break the record for flight around the world with a solo pilot. The two would leave Long Island New York in a single engine Lockheed 5C Vega that went by the name Winnie Mae after the daughter of a close friend of Post. They would make multiple stops along the way for gas or repairs, once in Nome Alaska to repair the propeller. Stops would include Berlin, Moscow, Fairbanks, Edmonton and Cleveland. Post would take the Winnie Mae up into the stratosphere where he could ride the jet stream and reach speeds up to 340mph. Just 8 days, 15 hours and 51 minutes after they had taken off, the Winnie Mae landed at the Roosevelt airfield in record time. It was reported that the total distance traveled was 15,474 miles. Post and the Winnie Mae would continue to fly up using the jet streams providing critical test data for the development of bigger and better aircraft until he went down in a crash near Point Barrow Alaska in 1935.