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Dec 18 09 9:37 PM
Dec 19 09 10:10 AM
Though considered old (he was 27) for flight training, Mitchell arranged for him to be sent to
flight school at Issoudun. Upon completion of training, he was retained at Issoudun as an engineering officer due to his mechanical skills. Permitted to
fly during his off hours, he was prevented from entering combat. After locating a suitable replacement for himself, he applied to Major Carl Spaatz for permission to join the newest US fighter unit, the 94th Aero Squadron. This request was granted and Rickenbacker arrived at the front in April
Flying his first mission on April 6, 1918, in company with veteran Major Raoul Lufbery,
Rickenbacker would go on to log over 300 combat hours in the air. During this early period, the 94th occasionally encountered the famed "Flying
Circus" of the "Red Baron," Manfred von Richthofen. On April 26, while flying a Nieuport 28, Rickenbacker scored his first victory when
he brought down a German Pfalz. He achieved the status of ace on
May 30 after downing two Germans in one day. In August the 94th transitioned to the newer, stronger SPAD
In 1927, he purchased the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Operating the track until 1945, he introduced banked curves and significantly upgraded the
Continuing his connection to aviation, Rickenbacker bought Eastern Air Lines in 1938.
Negotiating with the federal government to purchase air mail routes, he revolutionized how commercial airlines operated. During his tenure with Eastern
he oversaw the company's growth from a small carrier to one that was influential on the national level. On February 26, 1941, Rickenbacker was
nearly killed when the Eastern DC-3 on which he was flying crashed outside Atlanta. Suffering numerous broken bones, a paralyzed hand, and an expelled
left eye, he spent months in the hospital but made a full recovery.When America's WWI Ace of Aces Edward Rickenbacker became president of Eastern
Air Lines, he said: "I will always keep in mind that I am in the greatest business in the world... and I can serve humanity more completely in my
line of endeavor than in any other."
With the outbreak of World War II, Rickenbacker volunteered his services to the government. At the request of Secretary of War
Henry L. Stimson, Rickenbacker visited various Allied bases in Europe to assess their operations. Impressed by his findings, Stimson dispatched him to
the Pacific on a similar tour as well as to deliver a secret message to General Douglas MacArthur. En route, his plane went down in the Pacific. Adrift
for 24 days, Rickenbacker led the survivors in catching food and water until they were rescued.
In 1943, Rickenbacker requested permission to travel to the Soviet Union to aid with their
American-built aircraft and to assess their military capabilities. This was granted and he reached Russia via Africa, China, and India. While he
successfully accomplished his mission, the trip is best remembered for his error in alerting the Soviets to the secret B-29 Superfortress project.
1916, he had progressed to designing effective ship control-mechanisms which provided remote-control from the bridge of a ship to its main engines. The U.S.
Navy incorporated a modified version of this control on some of its major ships. Herr stayed with
Westinghouse and his career grew with the company. From 1920-30, he ran the South Philadelphia works. His death came three years later, in 1933, due to a
sarcoma of the lung.
1939 - A
movie premiere audience premiered on TV. Station W2XBS in New York City presented the festivities being held in front of the Capitol Theatre. Bean Grauer was
Master of Ceremonies for the event which marked the New York debut of "Gone With The Wind". W2XBS, an experimental station, became WNBT, which
became WNBC-TV. "Gone With The Wind" became even more famous. 1971 -
Dec 20 09 10:17 AM
Great White Way is a nickname for a section of Broadway
in the Midtown section of the New York City borough of Manhattan, specifically the portion that encompasses the Theatre District, between 42nd and 53rd
Streets. Broadway, as the name implies, is a wide avenue in New York City, which runs the full length
of Manhattan and continues into the Bronx. It is the oldest north-south main thoroughfare in the city, dating to the first New Amsterdam settlement.
The name Broadway is the English literal translation of the
name, Breede weg. A stretch of Broadway is famous as the pinnacle of the American theater
industry. Broadway runs the length of Manhattan Island, from Bowling
Green at the south, to Inwood at the northern tip
of the island. South of Columbus
Circle, it is a one-way southbound street.
Broadway was originally the Wickquasgeck Trail, carved into the brush land of Manhattan by its Native American inhabitants. Nearly a mile of Broadway was illuminated in 1880
by Brush arc
lamps, making it among the first electrically lighted streets in the United
One famous stretch near Times
Square, where Broadway crosses Seventh Avenue in midtown Manhattan, is the
home of many Broadway theatres, housing an ever-changing array of commercial, large-scale plays,
particularly musicals. This area of Manhattan is often called the Theater District or the Great
White Way, a nickname originating in the headline "Found on the Great White Way" in the February 3, 1902 edition of the New York Evening Telegram. The
journalistic sobriquet was inspired by the millions of lights on theater marquees and
billboard advertisements that illuminate the area.
1606 - The "Susan Constant," "Godspeed" and "Discovery" set
sail from London. Their landing at Jamestown, VA, was the start of the first permanent English settlement in America.
1699 - Peter the Great ordered that the Russian New Year be changed from September 1 to January 1.
1803 - The United States Senate ratified a treaty that included the Louisiana Territories from France
for $15 million. The transfer was completed with formal ceremonies in New Orleans.
1820 - The state of Missouri enacted legislation to tax bachelors between the ages of 21-50 for being unmarried. The tax was $1 a
1860 - South Carolina
became the first state to secede from the American Union.
1864 - Confederate forces evacuated Savannah, GA as Union Gen. William T. Sherman continued his "March to the Sea."
1892 - Alexander T. Brown and George Stillman patented the
1928 - Mail delivery by dog sled began in Lewiston, ME. 1st international dogsled mail leaves Minot, Maine for Montreal, Que
1938 - Vladimir Kosma Zworykin patented the iconoscope television system.
1945 Germany Nuremburg Trials
At Nuremburg, Nazi doctors and soldiers were charged with cruel and bizarre torture of concentration camp prisoners. Experiments such as shooting
poison bullets through the prisoners' legs and oxygen deprivation of prisoners were only a few of the atrocities that were committed. Seven hundred and
fifty thousand SS soldiers faced criminal charges for their participation in torturing victims.
1957 U.S.A. Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley receives his draft notice for the United States Army on December 20th.
1963 - The Berlin Wall was opened for the first time to West Berliners. It was only for the holiday season. It
closed again on January 6, 1964.
1968 U.S.A. Zodiac Killer
The Zodiac killer's first attributable murders David Arthur Faraday, 17, and Betty Lou Jensen, 16 are found shot and killed in Benicia,
California. The Zodiac killer taunted the police during his crimes by writing to newspapers with cryptograms and identifying himself as the Zodiac Killer. He
claimed 37 murders but police files indicate 5 murders. Because of his taunts and having never been bought to justice his murders have been described as
"The Perfect Crime"
1973 - The Spanish premier Carrero Blanco was assassinated in Madrid.
1978 Saudi Arabia Oil Price Increase
The word of the Saudi Arabian Oil Minister was questioned when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries raised oil prices by 14.5%
instead of the promised 5-10%. Stock markets were down and the government of Jimmy Carter was seen as ineffectual as the energy crisis escalated.
1987 - More than 3,000 people were killed when the Dona Paz, a Philippine passenger ship, collided
with the tanker Vector off Mindoro island, setting off a double explosion.
1987 West Germany US Dollar
The depreciation of the American dollar had made U.S. good like cars much more popular in West Germany and other nations. Helmut Becker, a German
automobile salesman said that two years before he could not sell any U.S. cars, however this year he sold 115 and he expects that will double in 1988.
1989 - General Noriega, Panama's former dictator, was overthrown by a United States invasion force invited by the new
civilian government. The project was known as Operation Just Cause.
1991 - Oliver Stone's "JFK" opened in the U.S.
cotton yarn spun on U.S. made machines
In 1790, the first successful cotton spinning machines built using American resources began production of cotton
yarn in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Samuel
Slater was first in the U.S. to reliably duplicate British cotton spinning machines. Slater had emigrated
secretly from England (1789) with details of Richard Arkwight's machines memorized while an apprentice in a mill. His partner, who supplied the capital, was Moses Brown, a
Rhode Island manufacturer, who needed to replace deteriorating English equipment. This success led to more expansion. They opened another new
mill in Jul 1793 on the Blackstone River. A new dam provided water power. This is Samuel Slater Day in Mass., to recognize the beginnings
of America's own textile industry
In 1879, Thomas A. Edison privately demonstrated his incandescent light at Menlo Park, New Jersey. He had invented the lamp on 21 Oct
1879 after 13 months of experimentation to discover a suitable material for the filament. He found carbonized cotton filaments could operate for 40 hours in
a vacuum inside a glass bulb. When the first public demonstration was given at Menlo Park on 31 Dec 1879, the Pennsylvania Railroad Company ran special
trains there to enable the public to view the demonstration
Harvey S. Firestone
Born 20 Dec 1868; died 7 Feb 1938.
Harvey S(amuel) Firestone was an American industrialist who developed straight-side pneumatic tyres used on the Model T Fords. In his early career, from
1893, he had made his living selling buggies in Detroit, Michigan. Subsequently he moved to Akron, Ohio, and started the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in
1900. His success grew when, in 1906, he teamed up with Henry Ford to provide tyres for his popular Model T cars. By the late 1930's, nearly a quarter of
all tyres being used in the United States were made by Firestone. His innovations in the industry changed the design and production of pneumatic tyres,
including nonskid tyre treads, low-pressure balloon tyres, and farm
Pneumatic tire patent
In 1892, the first U.S. patent issued for a pneumatic automobile tire that could readily and easily be detached or mounted to the rim of
a wheel. The inventors were Alexander T. Brown and George Stillman of Syracuse, New York (No. 488494). They claimed as their improvement a wheel with an
exterior grooved rim with flanges to retain a tire with an inflatable tube. Peripheral metal bands embedded in the tire are designed to form a bead that will
be forced by air pressure upon inflation to be seated and retained in the grooved rim. Thus no permanent connection between the tire and the wheel is
necessary, and no tools for tightening are required, other than those used for inflation.
1933 - The film "Flying Down to Rio" was first shown in New
1946 - The Frank Capra film "It's A Wonderful Life"
had a preview showing for charity at New York City's Globe Theatre, a day before its "official" world premiere. James Stewart and Donna Reed
star in the film.
1950 - "Harvey," starring James Stewart, premieres in NY
1967 - "Graduate," starring Dustin Hoffman
and Anne Bancroft, premieres
1995 - "Nixon" opened in U.S. theatres. The film starred Anthony Hopkins as Richard M., Joan Allen as
the president's wife, Pat, Powers Boothe as Alexander Haig, Ed Harris as E. Howard Hunt, Bob Hoskins as J. Edgar Hoover, E.G. Marshall as John Mitchell,
David Paymer as Ronald Ziegler, David Hyde Pierce as John Dean, Paul Sorvino as Henry Kissinger, Mary Steenburgen as Hannah Nixon, J.T. Walsh as John
Ehrlichman, and James Woods played H.R. Haldeman. 1996 - Movies that opened in the U.S.: "Ghosts of Mississippi" ("In 1963, civil rights leader Medgar Evers
was gunned down in front of his wife and children. In 1994, the time was right for justice."), with Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg, James Woods and Craig
T. Nelson; "My Fellow Americans" ("A comedy about life, liberty and the pursuit of two ex-presidents."), starring Jack Lemmon and James
Garner; and "One Fine Day" ("She was having a perfectly bad day... Then he came along and spoiled it."), with Michelle Pfeiffer and
1932 - Al Jolson recorded
"April Showers" on Brunswick Records. 1949 -
Harry Belafonte had his second session with Capitol Records. Included in the session were "Whispering" and
"Farewell to Arms". With eight tunes then recorded and little enthusiasm from record buyers, Capitol decided to part company with Belafonte by not
renewing the singer's contract. He went to RCA Victor in April, 1952 and the rest is musical history. Day-O!
1952 - Jimmy Boyd reached the #1 spot on the record charts
with the Christmas song of the year, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus". 1969 - Peter, Paul and Mary's "Leaving on a Jet Plane" reaches #1
1973 - Singer Bobby Darin died following open-heart surgery at the age of 37. He left a legacy of memories in
rock 'n' roll and pop tunes, as well as on television and in movies (even an Oscar nomination for his role in "Captain Newman, M.D."). The
story of Darin being groomed to replace Frank Sinatra at Capitol Records is absolutely true. Unfortunately, Capitol didn't think the grooming was going
so well, and withheld many of Darin's songs for many years; releasing them in a compilation CD in 1995. Good stuff to listen to: "Splish
Splash", "Queen of the Hop", "Dream Lover", "Mack the Knife", "Beyond the Sea", "If I Were a
Carpenter", etc. At the end, Darin, who had recorded for Atco, Capitol and Atlantic Records had just begun recording for Motown.
1974 - George Harrison releases his "Dark Horse" album in the United Kingdom
1975 - Paul Simon's "50 Ways to leave Your
Lover" jumped on U.S. singles charts. It hit number one (for three weeks) Feb 7, 1976. For you trivia fans out there, this is Paul Simon's only #1
single (so far). "Just slip out the back, Jack; Make a new plan, Stan; You don't need to be coy, Roy; Just get yourself free..."
1986 - The Bangles' "Walk like an Egyptian" moved to the top of
the "Billboard" "Hot 100". It was #1 for three weeks. "Foreign types with the hookah pipes say; Ay oh whey oh, ay oh whey oh; Walk
like an Egyptian..."
Chart Toppers - December 20
I Can Dream, Can't I? - The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (vocal: Jack Leonard)
Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Gene Autry
White Christmas - Bing Crosby
Mule Train - Tennessee Ernie Ford
Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley
Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Helms
At the Hop - Danny & The Juniors
My Special Angel - Bobby Helms
Turn! Turn! Turn! - The Byrds
Over and Over - The Dave Clark Five
I Got You (I Feel Good) - James Brown
Make the World Go Away - Eddy Arnold
The Most Beautiful Girl - Charlie Rich
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John
Time in a Bottle - Jim Croce
Amazing Love - Charley Pride
Physical - Olivia Newton-John
Waiting for a Girl like You - Foreigner
Let's Groove - Earth, Wind & Fire
All Roads Lead to You - Steve Wariner
We Didn't Start the Fire - Billy Joel
Another Day in Paradise - Phil Collins
Don't Know Much - Linda Ronstadt (featuring Aaron Neville)
Two Dozen Roses - Shenandoah
getting closer (we just got about a foot of snow)
Dec 20 09 10:22 AM
Dec 20 09 10:34 AM
The original recording by Jimmy Boyd
reached number one on the Billboard charts in 1952, and on the Cash Box magazine chart at the beginning of the following year. The song was commissioned
by Neiman Marcus to promote the
store's Christmas card for the year, which featured an original sketch by artist Perry Barlow, who drew for The New Yorker for many decades.
Jimmy Boyd's record was condemned by the Roman Catholic Church in Boston when it was released on the grounds it mixed kissing with Christmas.
Boyd, age thirteen, was photographed meeting with the Archdiocese to explain the song. After the meeting, the ban was lifted.
Boyd was only 13 years old when he recorded this song. Mitch Miller at Columbia Records had him record the song, which was written
by Tommie Connor. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
When this was released in 1953, some people thought it was a little too risqué, the thought of a married woman, possibly having an affair.
A closer listen implies that Santa Claus is actually the child's father, but this didn't stop radio stations in some cities, including Boston, from
banning it when it came out. Columbia Records appealed to the Council of Churches to clear the song where it was banned. The tactic worked,
and it became a Christmas favorite. (thanks, Jeff - Boston, MA)
Boyd died on March 7, 2009 at age 70. With Frankie Laine, he had a hit in 1953 with "Tell Me A Story," and then moved on to acting,
he appeared in the movie Inherit The Wind and the TV show, Bachelor Father. In the early '60s, he was married for 2 years to Yvonne Craig,
who played Batgirl on TV.
Dec 20 09 11:00 AM
Dec 20 09 2:43 PM
With his Atco contract Darin approached Brunswick Records with "Early In the
Morning." Brunswick was impressed, but as Darin was still under contract, the song was released by the Ding Dongs. New York deejays liked the the record
and Atco soon discovered the deception. Brunswick was forced to turn over the masters to Atco which released the record as by the Rinky Dinks. Brunswick had
Buddy Holly cover it. After television appearances on "The Dick Clark Show" and "The Perry Como Show" Darin's version edged out
Holly's in sales..
That June Atco released "Splish Splash" the final single under Darin's
contract.The song had been recorded the previous April and allegedly had been composed in ten minutes. It sold a million copies. "Queen of the Hop"
and "Plain Jane," two similar singles followed. �"Queen of the Hop" was another million seller. "Dream Lover" was released in March, 1959. The song was built on a Latin dance
rhythm, a shuffle beat called cha-lypso. The song was a subtle move from simplistic rock and roll structure to songs designed to appeal to an older audience.
"Dream Lover" was his third million seller.� Darin's next song "Mack the Knife" relied heavily on the stylized vocal inflections
developed by Frank Sinatra. the song sold two million copies and topped the charts for months. "Mack the Knife' won a Grammy Award as Record of the
Year and Darin was voted Best New Artist.
Brash, outspoken, and ambitious ( he said he wanted to be "bigger than
Sinatra"), Darin was a man in a hurry. He suggested the reason was he was certain he would die at an early age from a congenital heart defect. Darin made
several movies, beginning in 1960� with Come September. He would later marry his leading lady Sandra Dee. He received an Oscar nomination for his work
in the 1963 film Capt. Newman M.D. He appeared in another eight films including State Fair (1962).
Darin died during heart surgery to repair a faulty heart valve on December 20, 1973. His
body was donated to the UCLA Medical Center for research purposes.
Bobby Darin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
Dec 21 09 8:18 AM
Direct observation of the solstice by amateurs is difficult because the sun moves too slowly at either solstice to determine its specific
day, let alone its instant. Knowledge of when the event occurs has only recently been facilitated to near its instant according to precise astronomical data tracking. It is not possible to detect
the actual instant of the solstice (by definition, one can not observe that an object has stopped moving until one makes a second observation in time
showing that it has not moved further from the preceding spot, or that it has moved in the opposite direction). Further, to be precise to a single day one
must be able to observe a change in azimuth or elevation less than or equal to about 1/60th of the angular diameter of the sun. Observing that it occurred within a two day period is easier,
requiring an observation precision of only about 1/16th of the angular diameter of the sun. Thus, many observations are of the day of the solstice rather
than the instant. This is often done by watching the sunrise and sunset or vice versa or using an astronomically aligned instrument that allows a ray of light to
cast on a certain point around that time.
Fears about a harsh economic slowdown and continuing weakness in corporate earnings sent U.S. stocks sliding, with the Dow Jones industrials
giving up more than 260 points, dropping to 10,318.93. The Nasdaq hit its low for the year, falling 178.93 (or 7 percent) to 2,332.78. "Investors are
seeing a confirmation from the Fed that the economy is very weak and that earnings are going to be pretty poor and that assistance from the Fed is not going
to be right away," said A.C. Moore, chief investment strategist for Dunvegan Associates in Santa Barbara, CA. (The Fed [Federal Reserve System Board]
did respond in 2001, dropping interest rates eleven times, pushing rates to the lowest level since 1961.)
Dec 21 09 11:10 AM
Dec 21 09 11:15 AM
Dec 22 09 8:58 AM
Dec 23 09 9:02 AM
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
'Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!'
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound,
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
and laying his finger aside of his nose,
and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
and away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight,
'Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.
Of Hope's USO shows in World War II, writer John Steinbeck, who was then working as a war correspondent, wrote in
A 1997 act of Congress signed by President
Clinton named Hope an "Honorary Veteran." He remarked, "I've been given many awards in my lifetime - but to be
numbered among the men and women I admire most - is the greatest honor I have ever received."
Dec 24 09 8:32 AM
In 1875, Macy took on two partners: Robert M1877 from.
Valentine; and Abiel T. La Forge, and Macy died just two years later in
In 1893, R. H. Macy & Co. was acquired by Isidor Straus and his brother, Nathan Straus, who had previously held a license to
sell china and other goods in the Macy's store. Isidor Straus later perished in the sinking of the RMS Titanic. In 1902, the flagship store moved uptown
to Herald Square at 34th Street and Broadway. Although the Herald Square store initially consisted of just one building, it expanded through new construction,
eventually occupying almost the entire block bounded by 7th Avenue on the west, Broadway on the east, 34th Street on the south and 35th Street on the
north. Exceptions are the small, pre-existing building on the corner of 34th and Broadway, which carries Macy's famous shopping bag sign under an
agreement allowing the Macy's sign, and small pre-existing building on the corner of 35th and 7th.
The company produces the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, a well known parade which has been held on the streets of New York City annually since 1924. The company also sponsors the city's annual Fourth of
July fireworks display, which began in 1976.
1828 - William Burke who, with his partner William Hare, dug up the dead and murdered to sell
the corpses for dissection, went on trial in Edinburgh.
1851 - A fire devastated the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, destroying about 35,000 volumes.
1865 - Several veterans of the Confederate Army formed a private social club in Pulaski, TN, called the Ku Klux Klan.
1867 - "Oh by gosh by golly!" Is it that time already? It was Christmas Eve that R.H. Macy's
department store in New York City remained open until midnight to catch last-minute shoppers. The store took in a record $6,000, giving itself a very Merry
1906 - Reginald A. Fessenden became the first person to broadcast a music program over radio,
from Brant Rock, MA.
1914 - In World War I, the first air raid on Britain was made when a German airplane dropped a bomb on the
grounds of a rectory in Dover.
1922 - BBC sends 1st British radio play "Truth about Father Christmas"
1932 - Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart became the first woman to make a transcontinental flight when she landed at the Newark Airport in New Jersey after a 19 hour
flight from Los Angeles, CA.
1943 - U.S.
President Roosevelt appointed Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower supreme commander of Allied forces as part of Operation Overlord.
1944 - A German submarine torpedoed the Belgian transport ship S.S. Leopoldville with 2,235 soldiers
aboard. About 800 American soldiers died. The soldiers were crossing the English Channel to be reinforcements at the battle that become known as the Battle
of the Bulge.
1948 - Germany Berlin Airlift
As the number of aircraft needed to supply much needed supplies to Berlin since the Russian blockade increases, the risks of accidents is also
increased and Two American C47 transport planes and their crew paid for the increased risk when they crashed at 4.00 AM while returning from a drop in
1948 - The first completely solar-heated house became occupied in Dover, MA.
1951 - Libya achieved independence as the United Kingdom of Libya, under King Idris.
1964 - Shooting begins on "The Cage" the pilot for Star Trek
1965 - A meteorite landed on Leicestershire. It weighed about 100lbs.
1966 - Luna 13 landed on the moon.
1967 - Joe Namath (New York Jets) became the first NFL quarterback to pass for 4,000 yards.
1968 - The crew of the U.S. Navy ship, Pueblo, was released by North Korea. The Captain of the Pueblo, Commander Lloyd M. Bucher,
and 82 of his crew were held for 11 months after the ship was seized by North Korea because of suspected spying by the Americans.
1968 - Three astronauts, James A. Lovell, William Anders and Frank Borman, reached the moon. They orbited the
moon 10 times before coming back to Earth. Seven months later man first landed on the moon.
1979 - Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan in support of the country's Marxist government.
1981 - Reggie Jackson announced that he would join Gene Autry's California Angels for the 1982 season.
1985 - India Union Carbide Bhopal
A toxic leak at the Union Carbide factory on December 3rd has been blamed on a chain of human errors and mechanical safeguards failing. The leak
allowed a cloud of Toxic Methylene Chloride and 22 other toxic substances to escape, and over 3000 people were affected in the town who have sued Union
1992 - U.S.
President Bush pardoned former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and five others in the Iran-Contra scandal.
1993 - Michael Jackson
Police are investigating allegations of child abuse made against singer Michael Jackson by the father of one boy befriended by Mr Jackson. The
allegations against Michael Jackson include that the singer seduced the child and performed sex acts with him at his Neverland ranch in Santa Barbara.
1997 - Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as "Carlos the Jackal," was sentenced by a French court to life
in prison for the 1975 murders of two French investigators and a Lebanese national.
1997 - 1st time a Channukah candle is officially lit in Vatican City
1998 - At Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, a tourist was hit by a piece of flying metal while waiting to board a ride. The man's wife and a Disneyland employee
were also injured. Luan Phi Dawson died December 26th from his injuries.
1999 - Ivory Coast President Henri Konan Bédié was overthrown in a coup.
1999 - An Indian Airplines plane was seized during a flight from Katmandu, Nepal, to New Delhi. In Afghanistan,
the 150 hostages were freed on December 31 after India released three Kashmir militants from prison.
2000 - 36 minutes after the end of a game, both the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins were called back to the playing field. The teams had to play the
final 3 seconds of the game which the Dolphins had won 27-24. The end result did not change.
2000 - The "Texas 7," seven convicts that had escaped a Texas prison, robbed a sports store in Irving, TX.
The suspects killed Officer Aubrey Hawkins, stole $70,000, 25 weapons and clothing. The men had escaped on December 13.
Robert Parker Parrott
Died 24 Dec 1877 (born 5 Oct 1804)
U.S. inventor who developed the rifled cannon known as the Parrott gun, the most formidable cannon of its time. He graduated from West Point Military Academy (1824), and spent 12 years with the Army,
gaining ordinance experience. He was the army's inspector of ordinance at the private firm, West Point Foundry at Cold Spring when he retired from the
army to become its civilian superintendent (31 Oct 1836) for 41 years. He perfected and manufactured a 10 pounder rifled cannon. It used a projectile with an
encircling brass ring that expanded upon firing to fit the rifling grooves of the barrel. He patented both in 1861. Production of 20- and 30-pounder designs
followed. During the Civil War years, he developed the Parrott sight and fuze.
A bicycle with a back-pedal brake was patented by Daniel Stover and William Hance of Freeport, Ill. (No. 418,142) . Daniel Stover and
William Hance, of Freeport, Illinois, were up late putting together bicycles for their tiny tots when, lo and behold, they patented the back pedal brake! It
would later be known as the safety brake and became a standard feature on most brands of bikes. Today, we have 18 gears on a bike (more than on a big rig
truck!). We need two hands to use the brakes instead of just pedaling backwards with our feet. Ah, those were the days.
In 1893, Henry
Ford completed his first useful gas motor. He and his wife tested the small one-cylinder engine in their kitchen. At the time Ford
was chief steam engineer at the main Detroit Edison Company plant with responsibility for maintaining electric service in the city 24 hours a day. Because he
was on call at all times, he had no regular hours and could experiment to his heart's content. His wages barely paid for living expenses and for tools and
materials for his tinkering. But his wife was cooperative and did not complain but rather, encouraged him. A later version of that engine with two cylinders
powered Ford's first automobile, his Quadricycle, when it took its inaugural drive on 4 Jun 1896.
First radio entertainment
In 1906, Reginald A. Fessenden gave what is generally considered to be the first broadcast of entertainment by radio, as part of the ongoing promotion of the new system using
his new alternator- transmitter. He had been working since 1898 on being able to transmit audio, not just dots-and-dashes, since 1898. Three days earlier, he
had demonstrated it to invited representatives from a number of organizations, among them was the American Telephone & Telegraph Company. Fessenden and
his financial backers dearly hoped AT&T would be so impressed it would buy the rights to the patents which covered the new system. The AT&T Co. found
it was was "admirably adapted to the transmission of news, music, etc." simultaneously to multiple locations, but decided that it was not yet
refined enough for commercial telephone service.
1927 Airplane Aviators
Aug. 24, 1927
Lloyd Bertaud ( Pilot ) and James Taylor ( Navigator ) have confirmed they plan to take off for Rome Tomorrow in their Fokker monoplane " Old Glory
", three airplanes and their aviators were due to make this historic flight but only Old Glory is ready. The Italian aviators who were also to make the
historic flight are not ready but the Italians have promised to give Old Glory a rousing reception when they arrive.
Also two other American Aviators are leaving Bristol in England in an attempt to circle the globe in less than 28 days which is the current record. The
current record was set using airplane, steamer and rail and the intrepid flyers are hoping to make the new record in less than 15 days. Captain Leslie
Hamilton and Colonel FF Mitchen will leave tomorrow.
At age 20, Fokker built his first plane, the Spin (Spider), the first Dutch-built plane to fly in his home country. Taking advantage of better opportunities in
Germany, he moved to Berlin where, in 1912, he founded his first company, Fokker Aeroplanbau, later moving to the Görries suburb just southwest of Schwerin, where the current company was
founded, as Fokker Aviatik GmbH, on February 22, 1912
In 1923 Anthony Fokker moved to the United
States, where he established an American branch of his company, the Atlantic Aircraft Corporation, in 1927 being
renamed Fokker Aircraft Corporation of America. In 1930 this company merged with General Motors Corporation and the
company's new name would be General Aviation Manufacturing Corporation (which in turn merged with North American Aviation and divested by GM in
1948). A year later, discontented at being totally subordinate to GM management, Fokker resigned. On December 23, 1939, Anthony Fokker died in New York
The film's basic idea - an animated romantic musical comedy about talking cats in France - had previously been used in the UPA animated feature Gay Purr-ee. Disney planned to release a sequel, The
Aristocats II, in December 2005, set to release in 2007, but production was cancelled in early 2006.
1944 - The Andrews Sisters starred in the debut of "The Andrews Sisters'
Eight-to-the-Bar Ranch" on ABC radio. Patty, Maxene and LaVerne ran a fictional dude ranch. George 'Gabby' Hayes was a regular guest along with
Vic Schoen's orchestra. The ranch stayed in operation until 1946.
1977 - The Bee Gees spent Christmas and New Year's Eve at the top of the music charts.
"How Deep is Your Love" became #1 this day and stayed that way for three weeks.
1988 - "Giving You the Best that I've Got", by Anita Baker, was #1 on U.S.
album charts for four weeks. The other albums in the top five that week: "Rattle and Hum" by U2; The soundtrack from "Cocktail";
"Appetite for Destruction" by Guns N' Roses; and Bon Jovi's "New Jersey".
1994 - Pearl Jam's album "Vitalogy" hit #1 for one week in the U.S. The other
top-five albums of the week were: "Miracles: The Holiday Album", by Kenny G; "Live at the BBC", by The Beatles; Mariah Carey's
"Merry Christmas"; and "II", by Boyz II Men.
Dec 24 09 1:19 PM
Born in McLellan in the Florida
Panhandle, Locklin grew up working in the cotton fields to supplement his family's low income. He began playing the guitar at the
age of nine during his recovery after being seriously injured by being hit by a school bus.
In 2006, he appeared on the PBS
special, Country Pop Legends in which he performed "Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On," and "Please Help Me I'm Falling".
Until his passing in 2009, he was the oldest living member of the Grand Ole
Opry at the age of 91. Locklin had recently released his 65th album, By the Grace of God, a collection of gospel songs.
He moved to Brewton, where he remained throughout his later years. He died there, at his house, in the early morning on March 8,
Dec 24 09 11:15 PM
Dec 24 09 11:26 PM
First I was in your post no.153 and took a few arrows out, the margin had one to many hot toddy's and was running wild, well wide anyway.
Gosh I didn't think Star Trek started that long ago, 1964, guess time really does fly?
Sure was some good songs back in 61, at least I thought so.
You give interesting info, course need time to read it, when I do I find things I never knew, wish I could remember them all.
Dec 24 09 11:47 PM
0001 - 1st Christmas, according to calendar-maker Dionysus Exiguus
0337 - Earliest possible date that Christmas was celebrated on Dec 25th
0352 - 1st definite date Christmas was celebrated on Dec 25th
Just when is Christmas Day, people ask? Is it really December 25? Actually it is; but it wasn't officially, until sometime between the years 337 and 352
A.D. This means that the date celebrated as the birth of Christ was not set until the time of Julius I, Bishop of Rome. To that time, the day known as
Christmas was celebrated on one of three dates in the first 352 years of the Julian calendar: January 6, March 29 and September 29. January 6th, the Day of
Epiphany, is still considered Christmas Day to many folks around the world; especially those who are Eastern Orthodox. Some of us receive gifts on both days,
some on January 1 -- right down the middle. Others celebrate for days, beginning December 6, 13th, 16th or 21st and ending on January 6th. You've heard of
the twelve days of Christmas? Well, it's not just a song! It's a schedule.
0800 - Charlemagne was crowned first Holy Roman Emperor in Rome by Pope Leo III.
1066 - William the Conqueror was crowned king of England.
1223 - St. Francis of Assisi assembled one of the first Nativity scenes, in Greccio, Italy.
1651 - Massachusettes General Court ordered a fine (five shillings) for "observing any such day as Christmas"
1758 - Halley's comet 1st sighted by Johann Georg Palitzsch during return
1760 - Juptier Hammon, New York slave, publishes poetry in "An Evening Throught
1776 - Gen. George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River for a surprise attack against Hessian forces at Trenton,
1868 - U.S. President Andrew Johnson granted an unconditional pardon to all persons involved in the Southern rebellion that resulted in the
1888 - 1st indoor baseball game played at fairgrounds in Philadelphia
1894 - The University of Chicago became the first Midwestern football team to play on the west coast. U.C. defeated Stanford, 24-4, in Palo
1900 - Small Pox Epidemic
In Kentucky a small pox epidemic was raging with hundreds of people stricken. The mortality rate was 20% and health
authorities demanded that every person in the state be vaccinated.
1914 - During World War I, British and German troops observed an unofficial truce and even playing football together on the Western Front.
Legendary/unofficial "Christmas Truce" takes place (British & Germans)
1923 - In Washington, D.C., during Calvin Coolidge's first Christmas as president, the first electrically_lit Christmas tree appeared in
the White House.
1926 - Hirohito became the emperor of Japan after the death of his father Emperor Taisho.
1930 - The Mt. Van Hoevenberg bobsled run at Lake Placid, New York opened to the public. It was the first bobsled track of international
specifications to open in the U.S.
1939 - "A Christmas Carol," by Charles Dickens, was read on CBS radio for the first time.
1941 - Hong Kong surrendered to the Japanese.
1942 - The longest, sponsored program in the history of broadcasting was heard on NBC radio's Blue network. The daylong "Victory
Parade's Christmas Party of Spotlight Bands" was heard over 142 radio stations. The marathon broadcast was sponsored by Coca-Cola.
1962 - The Department of Commerce Census Clock in Washington, DC, recorded the U.S. population on this day as 188,000,000.
1971 - The longest pro-football game to date finally ended when Garo Yepremian kicked a field goal in the second quarter of sudden death
overtime. The Miami Dolphins defeated Kansas City, 27-24. The total game time was 82 minutes and 40 seconds.
1979 - The USSR invaded Afghanistan in a bid to halt civil war and protect USSR interests.
1983 - 1st live telecast of Christmas Parade
1985 - Ending the year, hot hits included: Swatches, those trendy Swiss-made watches, and Cherry Coke, which grabbed about four percent of
the total beverage market after being reintroduced in the early spring. Back in the 1950s, there was a lot of Cherry Coke sipping; especially at the corner
1989 - Ousted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, were executed following a popular uprising.
1991 - Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev went on television to announce his resignation as leader of a Communist superpower that had
already gone out of existence.
1997 - For 1st time U.S. movie box office receipts pass $6 billion
1998 - Seven days into their journey, Richard Branson, Steve Fossett and Per Lindstrand of Sweden gave up their attempt to make the first
nonstop round-the-world balloon flight. They ditched near Hawaii.
1999 - Canada Truckers Work Hours
December 25th , 1999 : Statistics Canada made public a study on truckers which observed that one in five truckers worked 60 hours a week. Some truckers
manipulated their records and worked over 100 hours a week. New legislation would allow them to work 70 hours a week which is 14 hours a day.
2000 - Over 300 people were killed and dozens were injured by fire at a Christmas party in the Chinese city of Luoyang. The incident occurred
at the Dongdu Disco.
In 597, England adopted the Julian calendar. In the year 46 BC, Julius Caesar reformed the Roman calendar, changing the
number of days in the months to achieve a 365-day year. To keep the seasons aligned with the Julian calendar, Caesar added a leap day in every four years to
make a 366-day leap year. The present Gregorian calendar was proposed by Aloysius Lilius, a physician from Naples, to amend a remaining small error in the
Julian calendar by dropping a few days. Its use was decreed by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 and catholic countries began adopting it in Oct 1582. Other countries
followed eventually but at greatly different time periods later. In Great Britain and its Dominions, 2 Sep 1752 was followed by 14 Sep 1752.
In 1758, the predicted return of Halley's comet was first sighted by German farmer and amateur astronomer, Johann Georg Palitzsch, as a faint object in
Pisces. Edmund Halley had predicted in 1705 the return of the comet to the Earth's vicinity every 75.5 years. For the first time the scientific prediction
had been proven. Halley himself had died 16 years before this new event. Palitzsch also observed the 6 Jun 1761 transit of Venus, when he saw a black band
linking Venus and the Sun near the beginning and end of the transit ("black drop effect") and correctly interpreted this as evidence that Venus
possessed an atmosphere. He also measured the period of the variation of the brightness of the star Algol.
First US mastodon skeleton display
In 1801, the first complete skeleton of a mastodon found in the U.S., mounted in the "Mammoth Room" of
Peale's Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was opened for exhibition to the public. It was the museum's centrepiece and became an overnight success.
The massive bones had been discovered in Hudson River Valley of New York state, in the Spring of that year, described only as Incognitum ("unknown").
They were acquired by Charles Willson Peale who travelled there to supervise their excavation. The site was depicted in a well-known painting by Peale, whose
career included working as a portrait artist. Periodically, from then until now, additional complete skeletons of mammoths have been unearthed in the state of
Born 25 Dec 1763; died 23 Jan 1805.
French engineer who invented the semaphore visual telegraph. He began experimenting in 1790, trying various types of telegraph. An early trial used telescopes,
synchronised pendulum clocks and a large white board, painted black on the back, with which he succeeded in sending a message a few sentences long across a
16km (10mi) distance. To simplify construction, yet still easily visible to read from far away, he changed to using his semaphore telegraph in 1793. Smaller
indicators were pivoted at each end of large horizontal member. The two indicators could each be rotated to stand in any of eight equally spaced positions. By
setting them at different orientations, a set of corresponding codes was used to send a message.
Plays and Operas
1843 - 1st theatre matinee (Olympic Theatre, New York City)
1902 - Clyde Fitch' "Girl with Green Eyes," premieres in New York City
1905 - V Herbert/H Blossoms musical "Mlle Modiste," premieres in New York City
1911 - Edward Knoblock's "Kismet," premieres in New York City
1915 - Irving Berlin and Harry B Smith's musical premieres in New York City
1917 - The play "Why Marry?" opened at the Astor Theatre in New York City. "Why Marry?" was the first dramatic play to win a Pulitzer
1917 - Hirsch/Harbach's musical "Going Up," premieres in New York City
1923 - Imperial Theater opens at 249 W 45th St. New York City
1931 - Lawrence Tibbett was the featured vocalist as radio came to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. The first opera was
"Hansel und Gretel" and was heard on the NBC network of stations.
1934 - Samson Raphaelson's "Accent on Youth," premieres in New York City
1963 - Walt Disney's "The Sword in the Stone" is released
1964 - "Goldfinger" premieres in US
1990 - "Godfather III" premieres
1996 - These films debuted in the U.S.: "Michael", (drama, fantasy, comedy and
romance) with John Travolta, Andie MacDowell and William Hurt; and "The Portrait of a Lady" (the screen adaptation of the classic Henry James novel),
starring Nicole Kidman, John Malkovich, Barbara Hershey and Mary-Louise Parker.
1997 - These blockbusters had openings in the U.S.: "An American Werewolf in Paris"
("Things are about to get a little hairy."), with "Tom Everett
Scott and Julie Delpy"; "As Good as It Gets", starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt who won Academy Awards for their efforts; "Jackie
("Six players on the trail of a half a million in Cash. There's only one question... Who's playing who?"), with Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson,
Forster, Bridget Fonda and Robert Deniro; "Mr. Magoo" ("Look Out!"), starring Leslie Nielsen; and "The Postman", starring (and
directed by) Kevin
1950 - NBC-TV got Walt Disney to lend his creative genius to a one-hour special which marked the cartoonist's first jump into
1997 - Jerry Seinfeld says this is the final season of his TV show
1818 - "Silent Night" was performed for the first time, at the Church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorff, Austria.
1818 - Handel's Messiah, U.S. premieres in Boston
1830 - Hector Berlioz's "Symphony Fantastic," premieres
1896 - John Philip Sousa finally titled the melody "The Stars and Stripes Forever."
1896 - Getting a little tired of "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", "Merry Christmas Darling", "Jingle Bell
"Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" and all the rest? You are not alone. John Philip Sousa wrote the melody to
a song that had haunted him for days. On Christmas Day, that melody was finally titled, "The Stars and Stripes Forever".
Either that, or Mr. Sousa really thought it was the Fourth of July instead. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt, please.
1937 - Arturo Toscanini conducted the first broadcast of "Symphony of the Air" over NBC radio.
1993 - Mariah Carey had the #1 single in the U.S., "Hero", from the #1 album in the U.S., "Music Box". The single topped
the charts for four weeks. The album was up there for eight weeks.
1995 - Legendary singer/crooner, actor, comedian, and Rat-Pack member Dean Martin died at age 78 in Beverly Hills, California. On his tomb at
Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles are the words "EVERYBODY LOVES SOMEBODY SOMETIME".
Chart Toppers - December 25
The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole
White Christmas - Bing Crosby
Ole Buttermilk Sky - The Kay Kyser Orchestra (vocal: Mike Douglas & The Campus Kids)
Divorce Me C.O.D. - Merle Travis
White Christmas - Bing Crosby
Mr. Sandman - The Chordettes
Count Your Blessings - Eddie Fisher
More and More - Webb Pierce
Telstar - The Tornadoes
Limbo Rock - Chubby Checker
Go Away Little Girl - Steve Lawrence
Don't Let Me Cross Over - Carl Butler & Pearl (Dee Jones)
The Tears of a Clown - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
My Sweet Lord/Isn't It a Pity - George Harrison
One Less Bell to Answer - The 5th Dimension
Coal Miner's Daughter - Loretta Lynn
Le Freak - Chic
Too Much Heaven - Bee Gees
My Life - Billy Joel
The Gambler - Kenny Rogers
Walk Like an Egyptian - Bangles
Everybody Have Fun Tonight - Wang Chung
Notorious - Duran Duran
Too Much is Not Enough - Bellamy Brothers
Dec 25 09 11:12 PM
Dec 25 09 11:41 PM
Dec 25 09 11:46 PM
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