ABC News: The Day It Happened

ABC Premiered Jan 01, 1974 Special


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Episode Guide


  • Season 1
    • 1960 Presidential Debate: John F. Kennedy versus Richard Nixon
    • Chernobyl Disaster
      Chernobyl Disaster
      Episode 20
      The Chernobyl disaster is the worst nuclear power plant accident ever in history. On April 26th, 1986, during a systems test unexpected power surges forced personnel to begin shutting down the malfunctioning reactor. In doing so, additional power surges began to occur, resulting in catastrophic explosions, fire, and a huge release of radioactive waves into the surrounding areas. The radioactive plume drifted over much of western Soviet Union and parts of Europe. This disaster continues to effect those living in parts of Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia.moreless
    • The Northeast Blackout of 2003
      The Northeast Blackout of 2003 was a colossal power outage affecting approximately 10 million in Ontario and an additional 45 million people across eight of the United States, including Vermont, New York, Ohio, New Jersey, Michigan, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. With the power outage lasting past nightfall, people in urban areas were able to see orbiting satellites and the Milky Way without the interference of normal light pollution.moreless
    • New York City Blackout of 1977
    • Black Monday Market Crash
      Black Monday refers to Monday, October 19th, 1987 when stock markets around the world began to crash for no apparent reason. The crash began in the east in the Hong Kong markets and quickly spread west to the United States. The Dow Jones dropped over 500 points this day in history. While the recourse after the crash was shaky, 1987, 1988, and 1989 all saw gains year over year in wealth despite concerns that Black Monday was the beginning of a 1930s type depression.moreless
    • Three Mile Island Accident
    • The Death of Princess Diana
      Diana, the Princess of Wales, had been divorced from Prince Charles for just a year. She was dating Dodi Al-Fayed, the son of Egyptian billionaire and owner of the British department store Harrods, Mohamed Al-Fayed, when a Paris weekend took a tragic turn. An automobile accident claimed their lives and that of a chauffer who was later found to have been drinking before taking the wheel. ABC News takes you back to August 31, 1997, during the Labor Day holiday weekend in the United States, when the world first heard reports of a car accident involving Princess Diana. Coverage picks up six days later, as the whole world mourned and Princess Diana's funeral procession made its way through the crowds lining the streets of London. Peter Jennings and Barbara Walters cover the events of the day with commentary from royal biographers Sarah Bradford and Andrew Morton. It culminated with the funeral service at Westminster Abby.moreless
    • The Columbine Shootings
      It started with gunshots in the schoolyard just before lunchtime, and then the carnage moved inside. For more than four hours on that fateful day, Columbine High School near Littleton, Colorado was a killing ground. Two students murdered 13 people and wounded another 33 with gunfire and pipebombs before taking their own lives. The motives of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold remain a mystery, although investigators have formed theories based on what was found in the killers' homes and on their personal computers. The words "psychopath" and "depression" figure prominently in the experts' findings. ABC News takes you back to April 20, 1999. Interviews with several of the students in the school at the time of the shooting bring to life the horror of that day.moreless
    • The Stock Market Crash of 1987
    • Death In Waco
      Death In Waco
      Episode 12
    • The Oklahoma City Bombing
    • The Assassination of President Kennedy
    • President Nixon Resigns
      ABC News takes you back to the political moment that defined a generation, with legendary newsmen Howard K. Smith and Harry Reasoner. The Watergate scandal had unraveled for years in front a country becoming more and more disillusioned with its leadership. On Aug. 8, 1974, it peaked when President Nixon appeared on national television and resigned from office and with that brought an end to years of speculation and intrigue.moreless
    • Start of the 1991 Gulf War
      It happened without hesitation or delay. The deadline for Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait passed, and the United States immediately began its attack. Travel back to January 17 1991, to the start of the Gulf War -- an event that shaped modern history. ABC News shows you the first moments when a normal newscast quickly became a defining moment in American history.moreless
    • The Shooting of President Reagan
      No one knew the president had been shot. The pictures on the TV showed Press Secretary James Brady face down in a pool of blood and President Reagan being pushed into his car. ABC News takes you back to March 30, 1981, for up-to-the-minute revelations of the true horror and intent of another assassination attempt, and the joy and relief at its failure.moreless
    • Munich Olympics - Black September Hostage Situation
      With a war raging in Vietnam and tensions rising in the Middle East, the 1972 Olympic Games promised hope and unity in a troubled time until a group called Black September captured and killed 11 Israeli athletes. It started as a hostage situation in the Olympic village and ended in a shoot-out between the Palestinian terror group and West German police. ABC News takes you back to September, 5, 1972, with exclusive interviews with members of Israeli team that narrowly escaped and reporting from Peter Jennings inside the Olympic village.moreless
    • Assassination of Robert Kennedy
      Months before the 1968 presidential election and five years after the country was rocked by the assassination of his brother, Robert F. Kennedy was fatally wounded while campaigning in Los Angeles. Sirhan B. Sirhan, a Palestinian national, took responsibility for the shooting, citing Kennedy's support for Israel during the Six Day War. ABC News brings you back to June 5, 1968, with the first pictures of the shooting and an interview with a bullet-riddled bystander.moreless
    • O.J. Simpson Car Chase
      They were the murders that rocked America -- Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman found slain in the middle of the night. Days later, football legend O.J.. Simpson went, very publicly, on the lam when charged with their killings. On June 17, 1994,"The Juice" led police on a slow speed chase, creating one of the most iconic spectacles in recent history. ABC News covered the flight of the white Ford Bronco for hours with Peter Jennings interviewing famed announcer and longtime O.J. friend Al Michaels.moreless
    • Royal Wedding: Prince Charles and Lady Diana
      On July 29, 1981, an estimated 750 million people tuned in to see the heir to Britain's throne wed the 20-year-old former kindergarten teacher in St Paul's Cathedral. The fairy-tale courtship of Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles sparked worldwide interest in the royal family. ABC News' Peter Jennings and Barbara Walters bring you back to the culmination of years of speculation and intrigue, when Diana walked down the aisle in front of 3,500 invitees, trailing a 25-foot train to become the people's princess.moreless
    • Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster
      On Jan. 28, 1986 seven astronauts died aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger. Millions watched as the Challenger took off, carrying six NASA specialists and one school teacher -- a woman who had captured national attention with her devotion to her students and to science. Seventy-three seconds later, a seal failure caused the orbiter to break apart. ABC News brings you back to the day the tragedy happened.moreless
    • The Fall of the Berlin Wall
      On November 9, 1989 after nearly three decades of separation, East and West Berliners breeched the wall that forced them apart. As East Germany's Communist leadership opened the gates, crowds clamored atop the wall, tearing chunks away from the iconic image of the iron curtain. Join Diane Sawyer and Sam Donaldson for coverage from the day it happened -- including a live interview with President Reagan.moreless