On this day, Aug. 12 ...

1939: The MGM movie musical "The Wizard of Oz," starring Judy Garland, has its world premiere at the Strand Theater in Oconomowoc, Wis., three days before opening in Hollywood.

Also on this day:

  • 1909: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home to the Indianapolis 500, first opens.
  • 1937: President Franklin D. Roosevelt nominates Hugo Black to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • 1944: During World War II, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., eldest son of Joseph and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, is killed with his co-pilot when their explosives-laden Navy plane blows up over England.
  • 1953: The Soviet Union conducts a secret test of its first hydrogen bomb.


  • 1981: IBM introduces its first personal computer, the model 5150, at a press conference in New York.

Air Disaster - Rescue workers search for survisors of the Japan Air Lines 747 jetliner that crashed Monday night, August 12, 1985 into a mountain in central Japan. The plane crashed into remote mountains making rescue efforts difficult. The AP-Photo shows rescue operations conducted by the Japan Self Defense Forces on August 13th. (AP-Photo)

  • 1985: The world's worst single-aircraft disaster occurs as a crippled Japan Airlines Boeing 747 on a domestic flight crashes into a mountain, killing 520 people. (Four people survive.)
  • 2004: New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey announces his resignation and acknowledges that he'd had an extramarital affair with another man.

June 23, 2011: Booking photo of James "Whitey" Bulger, who died Oct. 30, 2018, in a West Virginia prison after being sentenced in 2013 in Boston to spend the rest of his life in prison. ((U.S. Marshals Service via AP))

  • 2013: James "Whitey" Bulger, the feared Boston mob boss who became one of the nation's most-wanted fugitives, is convicted in a string of 11 killings and dozens of other gangland crimes, many of them committed while he was said to be an FBI informant. (Bulger is sentenced to life; he would be fatally beaten at a West Virginia prison in 2018, hours after being transferred from a facility in Florida.)
  • 2017: A car plows into a crowd of people peacefully protesting a white nationalist rally in the Virginia college town of Charlottesville, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and hurting more than a dozen others. (The attacker, James Alex Fields, would be sentenced to life in prison on 29 federal hate crime charges, and life plus 419 years on state charges.)