December History, Trivia and Fun Facts
December was originally the 10th month in the Roman calendar. The period of January and February didn't really count as months, and the Roman calendar was based on a 304 day year, based on the approximate lunar month of 29 1/2 days.
The inventor of the 304 day calendar was Romulus, twin brother of Remus - the same Romulus and Remus who founded Rome aroung 800 B.C
Traditional December Information
Egg Nog Month
Fruit Cake Month
Write To A Friend Month
"I heard a bird sing in the dark of December
A magical thing and sweet to remember.
'We are nearer to Spring than we were in September,'
I heard a bird sing in the dark of December."
- Oliver Herford, I Heard a Bird Sing
"How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon.
December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has
flewn. How did it get so late so soon?"
"A long December and there's reason to believe
"My favorite traditional Christmas movie that I like to
watch is All Quiet on the Western Front. It's just not December
without that movie in my house."
"God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in
"As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded
by december's bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there
are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people
to whom we are worth the same."
"Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
Its too early. I never eat december snowflakes. I always wait
"All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey
"The gardening season officially begins on January 1st,
and ends on December 31."
MOST people were conceived in December!
The Winter Solstice, also known as Midwinter, occurs around December 21 or 22 each year in the Northern hemisphere, and June 20 or 21 in the Southern Hemisphere. It occurs on the shortest day or longest night of the year, sometimes said to astronomically mark the beginning or middle of a hemisphere's winter.
The word solstice derives from Latin, Winter Solstice meaning Sun set still in winter. Worldwide, interpretation of the event varies from culture to culture, but most hold a recognition of rebirth, involving festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations. Many cultures celebrate or celebrated a holiday near the winter solstice; examples of these include Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years, Pongal, Yalda and many other festivals of light.
The solstice itself may have remained a special moment of the annual cycle of the year since neolithic times. This is attested by physical remains in the layouts of late Neolithic and Bronze Age archeological sites like Stonehenge and New Grange in the British Isles. The primary axes of both of these monuments seem to have been carefully aligned on a sight-line framing the winter solstice sunrise (New Grange) and the winter solstice sunset (Stonehenge). The winter solstice may have been immensely important because communities were not assured to live through the winter, and had to be prepared during the previous nine months.
Starvation was common in winter between January to April, also
known as the famine months. In temperate climes, the midwinter
festival was the last feast celebration, before deep winter began.
Most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed
during the winter, so it was nearly the only time of year when
a supply of fresh meat was available. The majority of wine and
beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for
drinking at this time. The concentration of the observances were
not always on the day commencing at midnight or at dawn, but the
beginning of the pre-Romanized day, which falls on the previous
800 - Charlemagne judged the accusations against Pope Leo III in the Vatican, and decided in the Pope's favor.
1783 - The first manned voyage of a lighter-than-air hydrogen balloon left Paris carrying Professor Jacques Alexander Cesar Charles and Marie-Noel Robert to almost 500 feet and landed 28 miles away after about 2 hours in the air. 1841 - The first steamboat engine built in America for a screw-propelled vessel, designed by John Ericsson and built by Captain Sylvester Doolittle, installed on the ship Vandalia, was launched.
1885 - Invented by Charles Alderton, Dr Pepper was first served at the W.B. Morrison & Co. Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas.
1913 - The Ford Motor Company introduced the continuously moving assembly line, producing a complete automobile every two-and-a-half minutes. It was the first true "mass production" system.
1913 - The first U.S. drive-in automobile service 'filling station' opened at the traffic intersection of Baum Boulevard and St. Clair Street in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
1952 - The New York Daily News reported that Christine Jorgensen was the first case of sexual reassignment surgery.
1955 - Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama.
1958 - A fire at Our Lady of Angels School elementary school in Chicago killed 90 children.
1974 - Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 6231 crashed northwest of John F. Kennedy International Airport; also TWA Flight 514, another Boeing 727, crashed northwest of Dulles International Airport, killing all 92 people on board.
1989 - Christmas Vacation was released in theaters.
1990 - The Chunnel between England and France was connected and celebrated when and Englishman and Frenchmen broke their their respective sides. It was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II and the French president, François Mitterrand, in a ceremony held in Calais on May 6, 1994.
1991 - Britney Spears appeared on Star Search.
1992- The Young and The Restless aired the 5,000th episode. In honor of the event, The Price Is Right (also CBS) even featured Y&R themed showcases.
1994 - The Game Show Network, the 24-hour channel dedicated to game shows, made its debut
1994 - Home & Garden Television (HGTV) made its debut.
1996 - 25 Days Of Christmas began airing on The Family Channel.
1997 - 8 planets in our Solar System lined up from West to East beginning with Pluto, followed by Mercury, Mars, Venus, Neptune, Uranus, Jupiter, and Saturn, along with a crescent moon, in a rare alignment visible from Earth that lasted until December 8.
1763 - Dedication of the Touro Synagogue, in Newport, Rhode Island.
1804 - At Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor of the French.
1816 - The first US savings bank, the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society (PSFS), opened for business.
1823 - US President James Monroe introduced the Monroe Doctrine.
1877 - 1877, Louis-Paul Cailletet (1832-1913) became the first to liquify oxygen. He went on to liquify nitrogen, hydrogen, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and acetylene.
1927 - The Ford Motor Company unveiled it's second mass production model, the Ford Model A as its new automobile.
1939 - The New York Municipal Airport opened. It was renamed LaGuardia Airport, after the mayor who pushed it for construction, in 1953.
1942 - Enrico Fermi produced the first nuclear chain reaction, below Stagg Field at the University of Chicago.
1954 - The US Senate voted to condemn Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy for what it called "conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute." He was looking for communists within the government.
1961 - Cuban leader Fidel Castro declared that he was a Marxist/Leninist and that Cuba was going to adopt Communism.
1964 - Students stormed Sproul Hall on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley in a massive 'sit-in.'
1969 - On I Dream of Jeannie, Jeannie (Barbara Eden) became Mrs. Anthony Nelson.
1970 - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), proposed by President Richard Nixon, began operating. William Ruckelshaus was the first director.
1971 - The United Arab Emirates (UAE) formed as a federation from the seven emirates of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain.
1982 - University of Utah Medical Center performed the first implant of a permanent artificial heart in Barney Clark, designed by Robert Jarvik The Jarvik-7. It expended Barney's life by 16 weeks.
1983 - The epic (nearly 14 minutes) music video for Michael Jackson's "Thriller" premiered.
1988 - The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! was released in theaters.
1993 - Drug lord Pablo Escobar was shot to death by police forces in Medellin, Colombia.
1997 - Good Will Hunting, starring and written by Matt Damon and Ben Afflec debuted in theaters.
2001 - Enron filed for bankruptcy.
2005 - Aeon Flux debuted in theaters.
2009 - Nidal Hasan with thirty-two counts of attempted premeditated murder at the Fort Hood shooting spree on November 5th. There has been a lot of debate on whether it was an act of terrorism or 'work place violence.'
1910 - The neon light was displayed for the first time at the Paris Motor Show at the Grand Palace. The lamp was developed by French inventor Georges Claude. Advertising neon signs started showing up in 1913, notably at the Paris Opera House. The most famous neon sign is probably the Las Vegas sign.
1919 - The Quebec Bridge over the Saint Lawrence River between Sainte-Foy (near Quebec City) and Lévis, Quebec opened.
1922 - The first public Technicolor motion picture film, The Toll of the Sea, was released at the Rialto Theatre, in New York City.
1927 - Putting Pants on Philip, the first Laurel and Hardy film, was released.
1947 - A Streetcar Named Desire opened on Broadway.
1960 - The musical Camelot debuted at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway.
1967 - 54 year-old Louis Washkansky received the first human heart transplant, led by Dr. Christian Barnard, at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. He lived for 18 days.
1976 - An assassination attempt was made on Bob Marley. Shot twice, he quickly recovered.
1979 - Eleven people were killed in a stampede at Cincinnati's Riverfront Coliseum prior to an appearance by The Who. "Festival Seating' was pretty much to blame - thousands of people has 'first come, first seated' tickets, and a sound check made many think the concert had already begun.
1984 - The Bhopal-Union Carbide disaster in India killed over 8,000 people, and injured hundreds of thousands.
1992 - The Greek oil tanker Aegean Sea, carrying 80,000 tons of crude oil, ran aground in a storm while approaching A Coruna, Spain, spilling most of the oil.
1994 - The Sony PlayStation was released in Japan.
1997 - 121 countries signed the treaty prohibiting manufacture and deployment of anti-personnel land mines in Ottawa, Canada. Notable exceptions were: The United States, People's Republic of China, and Russia.
1999 - The Mars Polar Lander crashed into the Martian surface.
2010 - The Black Swan was released in theaters.
2012 (Typhoon) At least 475 people were killed after Typhoon Bopha made landfall in the Philippines.
1791 - The first edition of The Observer, the world's first Sunday newspaper, was published in London.
1872 - The US ship Mary Celeste was found, in good condition, but with noone aboard, in the Atlantic Ocean.
1875 - New York City politician Boss Tweed escaped from prison.
1881 - The Los Angeles Times began publication.
1917 - "Shell Shock" was introduced as psychological trauma for war veterans.
1921 - The first Virginia Rappe manslaughter trial against Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle ended in a hung jury. (It was a horrible accident.)
1943 - Major League Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis announced that any club was free to employ black players.
1945 - The Senate approved the participation of the United States in the UN. The United Nations began several weeks earlier, on October 24, 1945.
1952 - Starting today, and over the course of the next several days, Smog (severe air pollution) killed over 4,000 people in London.
1954 - The first Burger King (Insta Burger King) opened in Miami, Florida, owned by James McLamore and David Edgerton.
1956 - The Million Dollar Quartet (Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash) got together at Sun Studio. The recordings were released in 1981 and 1990.
1973 - NASA's Pioneer 10 reached Jupiter.
1980 - Led Zeppelin officially disbanded, following the death of drummer John Bonham on September 25th.
1981 - Falcon Crest premiered on CBS.
1981 - You Can't Do That on Television premiered on Nickelodeon.
1981 - Reds premiered in theaters. Warren Beatty wrote, directed and starred in the film.
1991 - Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) ceased operations.
2009 - American Amanda Knox was convicted of murdering her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, in Italy
1854 - Aaron H. Allen of Boston, received U.S. patent# 12,017 for a folding chair as an "Improvement in Self-Adjusting Opera-Seat" for theatres or other public buildings. You have probably sat on his invention, if you have gone to a movie theater.
1873 - The Boston Belfry Murderer killed his first victim, Bridget Landregan.
1876 - A fire at the Brooklyn Theater killed 295 people and injured hundreds more.
1876 - The Stillson wrench was patented by Daniel Chapman Stillson. The device was the first practical pipe wrench, the design is still in use today. (Patent #184,993)
1933 - Prohibition ended, thanks to the 21st amendment Utah being the last state needed to ratify it.
1945 - Five U.S. Navy Avenger torpedo-bombers (Flight 19) went missing in the Bermuda Triangle after leaving Ft. Lauderdale Naval Air Station in Florida.
1969 - ARPANET (the first true internet) grew from ARPA (the U.S. Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency) when it connected to computer network nodes at four universities: the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, CA, U.C. Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah.
1984 - Beverly Hills Cop, starring Eddie Murphy, opened in theaters.
1986 - Heartbreak Ridge debuted in theaters.
1997 - Good Will Hunting was released in theaters.
2005 - In the UK, the Civil Partnership Act granted civil partnerships "which include same sex partnerships" in the United Kingdom with rights and responsibilities identical to civil marriage.
2007 - Juno debuted in theaters.
2008 - Frost Nixon debuted in theaters.
2008 - O.J. Simpson, who was acquitted for the well-known double murder in Los Angeles, was sentenced for up to thirty-three years in prison for robbing a pair of memorabilia dealers. He is eligible for parole in 2017.
1830 - The U.S. Naval Observatory, one of the oldest scientific agencies in the US, was established as the 'Depot of Charts and Instruments' in Washington, D.C.
1850 - Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-94) announced the invention the ophthalmoscope, to the Berlin Physical Society. It enabled doctors to see directly into a patient's eye.
1865 - The 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, officially ending the institution of slavery, was ratified.
1877 - Thomas Edison demonstrated the first sound recording, his reciting of 'Mary had a Little Lamb', at his Menlo Park, NJ Laboratory.
1883 - "Ladies' Home Journal" began publication.
1884 - The Washington Monument was completed.
1906 - The first aerial photographs of Stonehenge were shown at the Society of Antiquaries. They were taken from a hydrogen balloon by 2nd Lieutenant Philip Sharpe of the Royal Engineers' Balloon Section.
1907 - The Monongah Coal Mine Disaster killed 361 coal miners. It was the worst mining disaster in American history.
1933 - A federal judge ruled that James Joyce's book, Ulysses, was not obscene
1947 - Everglades National Park in Florida was dedicated by President Harry S Truman. His "S" didn't stand for a name.
1957 - Vanguard rocket carrying the first US satellite blew up on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida. It rose about four feet and collapsed.
1964 - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer debuted on NBC. The holiday tradition moved to CBS in 1972
1969 - Meredith Hunter was killed by 'guards' at the Altamont Music Festival.
1991 - Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country was released in theaters.
2002 - Winona Ryder was sentenced to 36 months of probation and 480 hours of community service after stealing more than $5,500 worth of merchandise from a Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills, California. He also paid restitution and a fine.
1787 - Delaware became 'The First State' to ratify the US Constitution.
1869 - American outlaw Jesse James committed his first bank robbery in Gallatin, Missouri.
1909 - Leo Baekeland of Yonkers, New York, received the patents for a thermosetting artificial plastic which he called 'Bakelite' (patent #942,699)
1932 - The first gyro-stabilized ship to cross the Atlantic, the Conte di Savoia, arrived in New York City.
1941 - Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, USA attacked by Japan.
1946 - A fire at the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta killed 119 people.
1960 - Coronation Street, the longest running TV soap opera in the world, began, on Granada Television.
1982 - Murderer Charles Brooks, Jr. was the first criminal executed by lethal injection, in Texas.
1984 - City Heat & 201 debuted in theaters.
1988 (Earthquake) Armenia, killed more than 60,000 people, with over 500,000 homeless.
1990 - Edward Scissorhands was released in theaters.
1995 - The Galileo spacecraft arrived at the planet Jupiter on it's mission to study the planet and it's moons.
2001 - Ocean's Eleven, starring George Clooney, opened in theaters.
2002 - In Amsterdam, Netherlands, two Van Gogh paintings were stolen from the Van Gogh Museum. The two works were "View of the Sea st Scheveningen" and "Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen." They were found, along with the thieves shortly after the heist.
2007 - The Golden Compass debuted in theaters.
2008 - Leverage premiered on TNT.
1854 - Pope Pius IX proclaimed that the Immaculate Conception, was Roman Catholic dogma, stating that Mary was conceived without 'original sin.'
1881 - A fire at the Ring Theater in Vienna, Austria, killed over 600 people.
1896 - Lemon Squeezer patent (# 572,849) was issued to the Black-American inventor J.T. White.
1931 - AT&T gained the patent for coaxial cable (#1,835,031)
1941 - Almost everyone in the US congress voted to go to war with Japan. Montana's Jeanette Rankin was the only person to vote against it.
1941 - The Chinese government announced that they would back the allies, the U.S., and Great Britain against Germany, Italy and Japan.
1952 - On the CBS show 'I Love Lucy,' a pregnancy was acknowledged in a TV show for the first time, with the announcement that 'Me and my husband are about to have a blessed event.'
1980 - John Lennon was shot by Mark David Chapman
1982 - Sophie's Choice, starring Meryl Streep, opened in theaters.
1983 - England's House of Lords voted in favor of allowing cameras to broadcast live television proceedings from its chamber.
1993 - The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, Mexico and the United states, was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
1987 - Frank Vitkovic entered the Melbourne Queen Street Post Office and opened fire on customers and staff with a sawed-off shotgun, killing eight before killing himself. One of the earliest instances of 'going postal' also happened in Australia in 1926.
1989 - The War of the Roses debuted in theaters.
1994 - A new element (#111) was created, named unununium, symbol 'Uuu'
1995 - The Grateful Dead announced they were breaking up after 30 years, a few months after the death of bandmate Jerry Garcia.
2000 - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon debuted in theaters.
2004 - Blade: Trinity and Dungeons and Dragons debuted in theaters.
1907 - Christmas Seals, an outreach from the American Lung association, went on sale for the first time, in the Wilmington, Delaware, post office.
1958 - In Indianapolis, the John Birch Society formed.
1960 - Coronation Street debuted on the BBC.
1960 - The Sperry Rand Corporation demonstrated the UNIVAC 1107 computer; the first to use thin film magnetic technology. The secret was the few millionths of an inch of iron-nickel alloy.
1965 - A Charlie Brown Christmas premiered on CBS.
1975 - President Gerald R. Ford signed a $2.3 billion loan authorization to prevent New York City from having to default on it's debts.
1981 - Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner was shot dead. Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted of the murder.
1983 - Based on the 1932 film, Scarface, starring Al Pacino, was released in theaters.
1983 - Sudden Impact and Christine debuted in theaters.
1988 - Twins, Mississippi Burning and My Stepmother is an Alien were released in theaters.
1992 - England's : Prince Charles and Princess Diana formally announced their separation.
1993 - Astronauts aboard the space shuttle Endeavor completed repairs to the Hubble Space Telescope.
2005 - The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Memoirs of a Geisha and Brokeback Mountain debuted in theaters.
2009 - A Russian SLBM RSM-56 Bulava failed mid-flight causing a very unusual light formation over Norway.
1478 - Arte dell'Abbaco ("The Art of the Abacus"), the first teaching math book, was printed and distributed in Treviso, Italy. Author unknown.
1845 - British engineer Robert Thompson patented the first pneumatic (air pressured) tires.
1869 - Montana granted women the right to vote.
1899 - George Safford Parker was issued a US patent (#635,700) on his improved fountain pen.
1901 - The first Nobel Prizes were awarded. President Theodore 'Teddy' Roosevelt became the first person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
1948 - The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
1955 - The Mighty Mouse Playhouse began a long-standing "Saturday Morning Cartoon' tradition on ABC.
1963 - Frank Sinatra Jr. was kidnapped, then released after $250,000 ransom was paid. The kidnappers were all caught a few days later.
1964 - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize.
1965 - The Grateful Dead played their first concert, at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco.
1967 - Otis Redding and members of the Bar-Kays were killed in a Wisconsin plane crash.
1982 - 48 HRS, Ghandi, Airplane II: The Sequel, The Toy, The Verdict and Sophie's Choice debuted in theaters.
1984 - South African Bishop Desmond Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize.
1987 - Based on the comic books, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon premiered, in syndication.
1994 - Advertising executive Thomas Mosser of North Caldwell, NJ, was killed by a mail bomb sent by the Unabomber.
1994 - Palestinian Yasser Arafat, and Isrealis Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin received the Nobel Peace Prize.
1999 - The Green Mile and Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo were released in theaters.
2009 - Avatar, the biggest grossing film of all time, was released in theaters.
2010 - The Tourist, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Fighter were released in theaters.
1769 - Venetian Blinds were patented in London by Edward Bevan in England.
1844 - Dr. Horace Wells became the first person to have a tooth extracted after receiving an anesthetic (Nitrous Oxide) for the dental procedure, by Dr. John M. Riggs.
1882 - Boston's Bijou Theater had its first performance, the first American playhouse lit with electricity.
1911 - In Stockholm, Sweden, Marie Curie became the first person to be awarded a second Nobel prize.
1936 - Britain's King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson.
1941 - Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.
1946 - The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was founded.
1947 - The United Mine Workers union withdrew from the American Federation of Labor.
1964 - Singer Sam Cooke was shot and killed by the motel manager of the Hacienda Motel, where he was staying.
1967 - The Concorde, a British/French venture; the world's first supersonic airliner was unveiled in Toulouse, France.
1972 - Apollo XVII astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt landed on the moon for the final Apollo mission.
1980 - Hawaii-based Magnum, P.I. premiered on CBS.
1981 - Muhammad Ali fought his 61st and final fight to Trevor Berbick.
1985 - The Unabomber killed his first victim, Hugh Scrutton who was killed in his computer store when a mailed package exploded, in Sacramento, California.
1987 - Throw Momma From the Train, Empire of the Sun and Wall Street debuted in theaters.
1991 - Hook was released in theaters.
1992 - The Muppet Christmas Carol and A Few Good Men were released in theaters.
1997 - More than 150 countries agreed at a global warming conference in Kyoto, Japan, to control the Earth's global-warming "greenhouse gases."
2008 - Bernie Madoff was arrested for bilking clients for hundreds of millions of dollars.
2009 - The Lovely Bones was released in theaters.
2010 - The first customer delivery of a Nissan Leaf (an all-electric vehicle) was made at by a dealer at Petaluma, California.
1901 - Guglielmo Marconi sent the first Atlantic wireless (radio) transmission (three beeps) from Cornwall, England, to Newfoundland, Canada.
1913 - Stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris on August 11, 1911, Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece The Mona Lisa was recovered from Vincenzo Peruggia. He was sentenced to 14 months in jail.
1917 - Father Edward J. Flanagan founded Boy's Town in Omaha, Nebraska.
1925 - The Mo-Tel of San Luis Obispo, California (between Los Angeles to San Francisco) opened as the first motel. The word Motel is a combination of the words 'Motorist' and 'Hotel.'
1953 - Chuck Yeager established the speed record (,ach 2.5) record flying a Bell X-1A, a slightly larger, but much modified version of the Bell X-1
1967 - Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, starring Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Houghton, opened in theaters.
1980 - Leonardo da Vinci's Leicester Codex was sold to Armand Hammer for $5.12 million. Bill Gates later bought it from the Hammer Estate for 30.8 million in 1994.
1986 - The Golden Child, King King Lives and Three Amigos debuted in theaters.
1989 - 69 year-old Leona Helmsley, the "Queen of Mean", received a four-year prison sentence, along with750 hours of community service, and a $7.1 million tax fraud fine in New York.
2003 - Keiko the Orca (or killer whale), star of the "Free Willy" movies died in his home of Taknes fjord, in Norway.
2008 - The Day the Earth Stood Still and Gran Torino debuted in theaters.
2012 - 12/12/12/ The Concert for (Hurricane) Sandy Relief took place at Madison Square Garden.
1545 - The Council of Trent began; it was the planning of responding to the Protestant Movement, by the Catholic Church.
1928 - George Gershin's An American in Paris debuted in Carnegie Hall.
1962 - Relay I, the first U.S. communications satellite was launched.
1968 - Science magazine published the essay 'Tragedy of the Commons', by Garrett Hardin.
1985 - The Jewel of the Nile, A Chorus Line and Clue debuted in theaters.
1996 - Jerry Maguire, Mars Attacks! and The Preacher's Wife were released in theaters.
2000 - Al Gore conceded the presidential election to George W. Bush. A later investigation, counting the pivotal Florida votes, indicated that Bush did win the election, by a few hundred votes.
2002 - Star Trek: Nemesis debuted in theaters.
2003 - Saddam Hussein was captured near his hometown of Tikrit, Iraq.
2013 - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, American Hustle, Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas, and Saving Mr. Banks were released in theaters.
1656 - Imitation pearls were first manufactured by a Frenchman, named Jacquin.
1852 - Cullen Whipple, of Providence, R.I., patented (# 9477) his "Mechanism for Pointing and Threading Screw-Blanks in the Same Machine." Prior to that, screws were generally made with a flat tip. His machine made them pointy.
1900 - Max Planck demonstrated that energy can exhibit characteristics of physical matter, in certain situations, introducing quantum mechanics. Previously, energy was considered a form only in wavelengths.
1902 - The Commercial Pacific Cable Company laid the first Pacific telegraph cable, from San Francisco to Honolulu.
1911 - Norwegian Roald Amundsen became the first explorer to reach the South Pole.
1977 - Saturday Night Fever, starring John Travolta, opened in theaters.
1984 - Dune, Starman, 1984, A Passage to India and the Cotton Club debuted in theaters.
1986 - Voyager, the experimental aircraft piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California on the first non-stop, non-refueled flight around the world, in nine days.
1990 - Mermaids was released in theaters.
2001 Vanilla Sky Debuted in theaters.
2006 - King Kong debuted in theaters.
2007 - I Am Legend & Alvin and the Chipmunks debuted in theaters.
2012 - Adam Lanza entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut, and shot 26 people, and then himself. 20 children were killed in the attack.
2012 - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was released in theaters.
1827 - The city of Boston, Massachusetts, the School Committee voted to require, effective 1 Mar 1828, that public school students show that they had been vaccinated against smallpox prior to school entrance. Certificates to the board of health were to be issued where necessary for free vaccination. This initiative came just three decades after Edward Jenner's discovery of a method to immunize against smallpox. The state of Massachusetts passed the first school vaccination law in 1855, followed by New York (1862) and Connecticut (1872). (source)
1836 - A fire destroyed the US Patent Office, erasing the records of most of the first 9,957 US patents' records.
1890 - Native American Sitting Bull (Tatanka Iyotake) was shot and killed by Indian police over a political misunderstanding.
1933 - The Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution repealed the Eighteenth Amendment, which prohibited the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol.
1939 - Gone with the Wind premiered at Loew's Grand Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, United States.
1944 - Bandleader Glenn Miller's plane disappeared over the English Channel. One of the largest pop stars of his day, he was the first of many who died in an airplane mishap.
1973 - The American Psychiatric Association voted 13-0 to remove homosexuality from its official list of psychiatric disorders.
1989 - Driving Miss Daisy debuted in theaters.
1993 - Schindler's List, starring Liam Neeson, opened in theaters.
1995 - Sense and Sensibility, Heat and Jumanji was released in theaters.
1999 - Vargas Tragedy, Venezuela
2000 - The Emperor's New Groove, What Women Want, Dude Where's My Car and Chocolat debuted in theaters.
2000 - Chernobyl nuclear plant was officially, permanently shut down in Ukraine, after the April 26, 1986 disaster.
2004 - Million Dollar Baby debuted in theaters.
2006 - The Pursuit of Happyness, Dreamgirls, Eragon and Charlotte's Web debuted in theaters.
2011 - Impractical Jokers premiered on TruTV
1773 - The Boston Tea Party. Massachusetts colonists, 'the Sons of Liberty,' disguised as Mohawk Indians board three British tea ships and dump 342 chests of tea into Boston harbor.
1811 (Earthquake) An 8.6 magnitude earthquake hit the United States, the largest in our history. The area affected included: Missouri, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Amazingly, no people were killed.
1835 - Great Fire of New York City. Over 600 buildings were destroyed.
1884 - The first US patent (#309,219) was issued for an automatic liquid vending machine to William H. Fruen of Minneapolis, MN. People could get a measured amount of a liquid for coin payment.
1893 - Czech composer Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 in E Minor "From the New World" was performed at Carnegie Hall. The music had African roots, and the piece greatly influenced the American musical landscape for the next century.
1912 -The world's first stamp to depict an airplane was issued in the US, available at Post Offices on January 1, 1912.
1920 (Earthquake) Haiyuan County, Ningxia, China
1944 - Attacking the Allies in northern France through northwestern Belgium, Hitler's army started the Operation Mist (aka Ardennes Offensive or the Battle of the Bulge).
1983 - Silkwood and Uncoom Valor debuted in theaters.
1988 - Rain Man, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Torch Song Trilogy were released in theaters.
1994 - Dumb and Dumber was released in theaters.
195 - The 'Euro" was officially named.
2010- CNN's Larry King Live aired the last original episode.
2011 - Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol were released in theaters.
1538 - Pope Paul III excommunicated England's Henry VIII.
1790 - The Aztec Stone ('Sun Stone') was excavated in the Zócalo, the main square of Mexico City. It is about 12 feet across and weighs about 24 tons.
1835 - The Great Fire of New York took place in New York City in 1835, destroying hundreds of buildings and killing two people.
1843 - Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol novella was published by Chapman and Hall. It is one of the most well-known books and stories of all time.
1880 -The Edison Electric Illuminating Company was incorporated to provide electric light to New York City.
1892 - First issue of Vogue magazine was published.
1903 - Orville piloted the gasoline-powered, propeller-driven biplane he made with his brother Wilbur, which stayed aloft for 12 seconds and covered 120 feet on its inaugural flight near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
1933 - The Chicago Bears beat the New York Giants 23-21 in the second NFL Championship game.
1957 - The United States successfully launched the first (Atlas) InterContinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
1969 - Tiny Tim married Miss Vicky (Victoria May Budinger) on The Tonight Show.
1969 - The United States Air Force closed its study of UFOs, Project Blue Book.
1979 - The first rocket automobile vehicle to break the sound barrier on land was driven by Stan Barrett who reached 739.7 mph (speed of sound: 761.2) on a 3-mile test-strip at Rogers Lake, Edwards Air Force Base, CA.
1982 - Tootsie and The Dark Crystal debuted in theaters.
1987 - Final Fantasy (I) was released in Japan.
1991 - Gilbert O'Sullivan's Alone Again (Naturally) was 'sampled' in Biz Markie's "Alone Again," and the United States Federal Court for the Southern District of New York agreed with the 70's artist that Biz needed to get permission to use his music in a very landmark case. That permission typically involves direct payment or a portion of the net profits today.
1993 - What's Eating Gilbert Grape, The Pelican Brief and Beethoven's 2nd were released in theaters.
1999 - Stuart Little was released in theaters.
2000 - In addition to a 17-0 victory by the San Francisco 49ers over the Chicago Bears, San Francisco's wide receiver Terrell Owens set a new NFL record of 20 catches in a single game.
2003 - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was released, and it went on to win 11 Oscars. Score eleven for the nerds! The Lord of the Rings Trilogy were first published in 1954/1955.
2004 - Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Aviator debuted in theaters.
2008 - The Wrestler debuted in theaters.
2011 - Yogi Bear was released in theaters.
2011 - Kim Jong Il, 'Beloved, Brilliant, Perfect, Wise, Unique and Dear' Leader and Father of the People of North Korea, Died. He was also referred to as the Superior Person, Sun of the Communist Future and The Shining Star of Paektu Mountain.
2011 - The Adventures of Tintin was released in theaters.
2014 - The United States and Cuba re-established diplomatic relations.
2014 - The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was released in US theaters
1787 - New Jersey became the 3rd state.
1839 - John William Draper took a daguerreotype of the moon, the first celestial photograph made in the US.
1865 - The 13th Amendment went into effect, abolishing slavery in the US.
1878 - Joseph Swan demonstrated his carbon filament electric light, almost a year before Edison.
1892 - The premiere performance of The Nutcracker by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
1912 - Piltdown Man's skull was found in a gravel pit in Sussex, England. At first, it was believed to be the 'missing link' between man and early primates, but was later discovered to be a hoax.
1932 - The Chicago Bears defeated the Portsmouth Spartans (9-0) in the first NFL Championship Game.
1936 - The first giant panda in the US, Su-Lin, arrived in San Francisco from China.
1958 - Project SCORE, the world's first communications satellite, was launched.
1961 - Based on an African sing called 'Mbube' - The Lion Sleeps Tonight was the # 1 song on the billboard Charts. It is probably the most well-know doo-wop song of all time.
1968 - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was released. It was based on Ian Fleming's book of the same name.
1969 - On Her Majesty's Secret Service was released, starring George Lazenby as Agent 007, James Bond.
1977 - George and Kathleen Lutz purchased their new home at their home at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville New York. Their 28 day adventure in the home was dramatically portrayed in the 1977 book and 1979 film, The Amityville Horror.
1985 - Brazil was released in theaters.
1987 - Moonstruck, Broadcast News, Eddie Murphy Raw, *batteries not included, Overboard, Ironweed and Leonard Part 6 debuted in theaters.
1996 - The Oakland, California school board unanimously passed a resolution for the incorporating of Ebonics in the classroom.
1997 - Comedian Chris Farley died from a drug overdose, at the age of 33.
1997 - HTML 4.0 was published by the World Wide Web Consortium.
1998 - The Prince of Egypt and You've Got Mail were released in theaters.
2002 - The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers debuted in theaters.
2009 - Avatar and Nine were released in theaters.
2013 - A&E suspended Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson for comments he made regarding homosexuality and the civil rights era in an interview with GQ magazine. He was reinstated on December 27.
2013 - Her and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues were released in theaters.
1843 - Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol was published.
1871 - Samuel Clemens received a patent (# 121,992) for "An Improvement in Adjustable and Detachable Garment Straps", a type of cumberbun/belt.
1903 - The Williamsburg Bridge, was opened in New York City.
1907 - A coal mine explosion in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania, killed 239 workers; there was one survivor, Joseph Mapleton, in the Darr Mine Disaster.
1924 - The last Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost. the first 'Best Car in the World', was sold in London, England.
1930 - The first autogyro pilot to carry a passenger was Amelia Earhart, at Pitcairn Field, Willow Grove, PA.
1932 - BBC World Service began broadcasting as the BBC Empire Service.
1950 - Rose Marie Reid of Los Angeles, California, received a patent (#2,535,018) for a one-piece bathing suit "embodying a novel construction for causing it to snugly fit the body of a wearer in a flattering manner," using elastic fabric.
1974 -The Altair 8800 microcomputer was put on sale in the U.S. as a do-it-yourself computer kit, for $397.
1985 - Mary Lund of Minnesota became the first woman to receive a Jarvik VII artificial heart in Minneapolis.
1986 - Platoon and Little Shop of Horrors debuted in theaters.
1997 - Tomorrow Never Dies was released in theaters.
1997 - Titanic, now the second-largest grossing film to date, premiered in theaters.
1998 - President Bill Clinton was charged with lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice. Clinton, the second president in American history to be impeached, vowed to finish his term. His lie was about an affair with 21 year-old intern, Monica Lewinsky.
2001 - The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring debuted in theaters.
2005 - Deal Or No Deal premiered on NBC
2012 - Zero Dark Thirty, The Guilt Trip and Monsters Inc (3D) were released in theaters.
2014 - Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and Annie were released in theaters.
1880 - New York's Broadway was first lighted by electricity, built by Charles F. Brush, and became known as the "Great White Way."
1946 - It's a Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart, premiered in New York City.
1955 - Cardiff was declared the capital city of Wales, United Kingdom. It is alos the town where much of the action in the modern Doctor Who television show takes place.
1957 - Elvis Presley was drafted. He served between March 1958 and March 1960. His army serial number was 53 310 761.
1965 - ABC brought The Dating Game and Supermarket Sweep to daytime TV.
1985 - The Color Purple, Out of Africa and Enemy Mine were released in theaters.
1991 - Father of the Bride was released in theaters.
2002 - The Wild Thornberrys, Gangs of New York and Two Weeks Notice debuted in theaters.
2006 - Rocky Balboa debuted in theaters.
1913 - Arthur Wynne published his "word-cross", the first crossword puzzle, in the New York World.
1937 - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Walt Disney's first full-length (83 minutes), animated film opened in Los Angeles, CA, at the at the Carthay Circle Theatre.
1970 - Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley met at the White House. Elvis was there to help the government's war on drugs.
1975 - Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, better known as Carlos the Jackle, raided an OPEC meeting in Austria. Three people were killed in the attack.
1984 - Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo , Birdy, Johnny Dangerously and The Flamingo Kid debuted in theaters.
1985 - Pope John Paul II announced the institution of 'World Youth Day'.
1988 - Pan Am Flight 103 (London to New York) exploded in over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members aboard, as well as 11 Lockerbie residents on the ground. Libya admitted responsibility in 2003.
1989 - The United States sends troops into Panama to overthrow government of Manuel Noriega. Noriega surrendered on January 3, 1990.
1994 - Richie Rich was released in theaters.
1996 - NeXT merged with Apple Computer.
2001 - Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius debuted in theaters.
2001 - A Beautiful Mind, starring Russell Crowe had a limited release, the wide release of the film was January 4, 2002.
2007 - National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and P.S. I Love You debuted in theaters.
1666 - The French Academy of Sciences was founded.
1808 - Ludwig van Beethoven's "Fifth Symphony" (Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67) premiered. It is one of the most well known pieces of music of all time.
1882 - The first string of electric lights decorating a Christmas tree was created for his house by Edward H. Johnson,
1900 - Emil Jellinek, anAustrian racer, bought the first 'Mercedes' automobile.
1937 - The Lincoln Tunnel in New York opened to traffic. A second tube of the Lincoln Tunnel to the north of the first was opened on 1 Feb 1945, and a third tube was added south of the first on 25 May 1957.
1947 - The transistor was first demonstrated at Bell Laboratories.
1956 - Colo was born at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio. She was the first gorilla born in captivity.
1963 - The National Christmas Tree was not lit until December 22nd because of a national 30-day period of mourning following the assassination of President Kennedy.
1978 - Full time businessman and part-time clown John Wayne Gacy confessed to kidnapping, torturing and killing several dozen young men.
1984 - Bernhard 'Bernie" Goetz shot several would-be muggers in a Manhattan, New York subway.
1989 - Tango & Cash, Born on the Fourth of July and Roger & Me were released in theaters.
1990 - Kindergarten Cop, Bonfire of the Vanities and Awakenings were released in theaters.
1995 - Cutthroat Island, Grumpier Old Men and Waiting to Exhale were released in theaters.
1999 - Man on the Moon was released in theaters.
2000 - O Brother Where Art Thou?, Miss Congeniality and The Family Man debuted in theaters.
2004 - Meet the Fockers and Phantom of the Opera were released in theaters.
2006 - Night At The Museum, Hotel Rwanda and The Good Shepard debuted in theaters.
2010 - Little Fockers and True Grit were released in theaters.
1888 - Suffering from severe depression, Vincent Van Gogh cut off the lower part of his left ear with a razor in Arles, France.
1913 - The Federal Reserve Act was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, creating the Federal Reserve System.
1947 - The transistor was first demonstrated by Walter H. Brattain and John Bardeen at Bell Laboratories.
1954 - Led by Dr. John P. Merrill, the first successful kidney transplant was carried out between identical twins at Peter Bent Hospital, Boston, Mass. The kidney was donated to Richard Herrick, 23, by his identical twin, Ronald.
1959 - Early rocker Chuck Berry was arrested for bringing a 14 year old girl from Mexico to Missouri.
1970 - The North Tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York, New York reached 1,368 feet, making it the tallest building in the world at that time.
1972 - NFL's "Immaculate Reception" - Franco Harris of the Pittsburgh Steelers grabbed a deflected pass from quarterback Terry Bradshaw to score a touchdown, winning the game for the Steelers 13-7 over the Oakland Raiders.
1986 - Experimental aircraft Voyager landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California, completing the first nonstop flight, just over nine hours, around the globe on a single load of fuel.
1988 - Working Girl, Beaches, Dangerous Liaisons, The Accidental Tourist and Hellbound: Hellraiser II were released in theaters.
1992 - Scent of a Woman was released in theaters.
1994 - Legends of the Fall and Nobody's Fool were released in theaters.
1997 - As Good As It Gets was released in theaters.
2009 - Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel was released in theaters.
2011 - We Bought A Zoo was released in theaters.
1814 - The War of 1812 ended between the British Empire and the United States.
1818 - "Silent Night" (music: Franz Xaver Gruber, lyrics: Joseph Mohr) premiered in the church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria.
1851 - A fire erupted at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., destroying about 35,000 books, including much of Thomas Jefferson's collection.
1865 - In Pulaski, Tennessee, a group of Confederate veterans formed the "Ku Klux Klan."
1889 - A bicycle with a back-pedal brake was patented (# 418,142) by Daniel Stover and William Hance of Freeport, Ill.
1914 - An unofficial 'cease fire' on the Western Front, the "Christmas truce" began. Both sides stopped fighting, shared gifts, and celebrated Christmas together. An estimated 100,000 British and German troops were involved.
1955 - The Lennon Sisters debuted on the Lawrence Welk Show (ABC)
1955 - NORAD Tracks Santa for the first time in what will become an annual Christmas Eve tradition, thanks to a misprinted phone number in a Sear's retail catalogue. For the first several years, it was run by the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center.
1968 - Apollo 8 broadcast to the Earth, and reported that there is a Santa Claus.
1972 - Entertainment Bob Hope gave his ninth (and final) Christmas show in Vietnam.
1973 - District of Columbia Home Rule Act was passed, giving residents of Washington DC the power to elect their own local government.
1993 - Tombstone and Philadelphia were released in theaters.
1997- Woody Allen married Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his former girlfriend Mia Farrow.
800 - Charlemagne was coronated as Holy Roman Emperor, in Rome.
1066 - William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy, was crowned king of England, at Westminster Abbey, London.
1643 - Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean, was found and named by English Captain William Mynors.
1776 - George Washington led a successful raid on the Hessian/British troops in Trenton, NJ. There are reports that the usually stoic future president made a request of the big-boned General Harry Knox: "shift that fat ass Harry, but slowly, or you'll swamp the damned boat."
1809 - The first US ovariotomy (the surgical removal of an ovarian tumor) was performed by Dr. Ephraim McDowell, in Danville, KY.
1815 - The Handel and Haydn Society gave its first performance in Boston, MA.
1868 - US President Andrew Johnson granted an unconditional pardon to all Civil War Confederate soldiers and officers.
1914 - German and British soldiers stopped firing late Christmas Eve, and started singing Christmas Carols. In the morning, they exited their trenches and walked towards the side of thier enemies shouting 'Merry Christmas.' Both sides stopped fighting, played football (soccer) and even exchanged token gifts.
1941 - Bing Crosby premiered 'White Christmas' on his weekly radio show.
1962 - To Kill a Mockingbird, a film based on the 1960 novel of the same name by Harper Lee, opened in theaters.
1987 - Good Morning, Vietnam debuted in theaters.
1990 - The Godfather Part III was released in theaters.
1992 - Chaplin and Hoffa were released in theaters.
1993 - Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Grumpy Old Men were released in theaters.
1996 - JonBenet Ramsey was murdered in her home.
1998 - Mighty Joe Young was released in theaters.
1999 - Galaxy Quest and The Talented Mr. Ripley were released in theaters.
2001 - Kate and Leopold and Ali debuted in theaters.
2003 - Cheaper by the Dozen debuted in theaters.
2007 - Aliens Vs. Predator - Requiem and The Bucket List debuted in theaters.
2008 - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Marley & Me, Valkyrie and Bedtime Stories debuted in theaters.
2009 - Sherlock Holms and It's Complicated were released in theaters.
2011 - War Horse was released in theaters.
2012 - Django Unchained, Les Miserables and Parental Guidance were released in theaters.
2013 - Lone Survivor, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Grudge Match and 47 Ronin were released in theaters.
2014 - The Interveiw, Selma, Unbroken, Into the Woods and American Sniper were released in theaters.
1610 - Countess Elizabeth Bathory had tortured and killed possibly hundreds young girls for over a dozen years. She believed eating flash and bathing in their blood would keep her youthful.
1865 - James H. Mason of Franklin, Mass., was issued a patent (# 51,741) for a coffee percolator.
1878 - The first electric lighting in an American store was installed at John Wanamaker's "Grand Depot" department store, Philadelphia, PA.
1906 - The world's first full-length feature film, Story of the Kelly Gang (about 70 minutes) was presented in the Town Hall at Melbourne, Australia.
1919 - Babe Ruth, of the Boston Red Sox, was sold to the New York Yankees by owner Harry Frazee, beginning the 'Curse of the Bambino', which lasted until 2004.
1946 - Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel opened The Pink Flamingo Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
1963 - The Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "I Saw Her Standing There" were released as singles in the US.
1966 - Maulana Karenga held the first Kwanzaa, in California.
1967 - A patent (# 3,359,678) was issued to Wham-O for their improvement of the Frisbee, an "aerodynamic toy to be thrown through the air in throwing games."
1973 - Based on William Peter Blatty's 1971 novel, The Exorcist, starring Linda Blair, was released in theaters.
1982 - The Man of the Year in Time magazine was the personal computer.
2004 (Earthquake & Tsunami) Northern Sumatra, Indonesia. A series of tsunamis killed more than 225,000 people in eleven countries with waves up to 100 feet high. It was the deadliest natural disaster in modern history.
1895 - "Stag" Lee Sheldon killed his friend Billy Lyons over a drunken political argument. Various version of the encounter have been sung about "Stagger Lee."
1904 - Peter Pan, by James Barrie, opened at the Duke of York's Theater in London.
1927 - Show Boat, considered to be the first American musical play, opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Broadway.
1932 - Built during the Great Depression, Radio City Music Hall, a modern Art Deco theater in New York City, opened.
1979 - Knots Landing premiered on CBS
1983 - Pope John Paul II visited Mehmet Ali Agca in prison and personally forgave him for shooting him in 1981, in St. Peter's Square.
1986 - Brighton Beach Memories debuted in theaters.
1991 - Fried Green Tomatoes and The Prince of Tides were released in theaters.
2002 - Chicago debuted in theaters.
2013 - August: Osage County was released in theaters.
1869 - The Knights of Labor, a labor union of tailors in Philadelphia, PA, held the first Labor Day.
1895 - Louis and Auguste Lumiere screened a series of short scenes from everyday French life (and charged admission for the viewing) at the Grand Cafe in Paris.
1908 (Earthquake & Tsunami) Messina, Italy.
1973 - The Endangered Species Act was passed in the United States.
1974 - Tom Baker made his first full appearance as the Fourth Doctor on Doctor Who.
1991 - Nine people were killed in a mini-riot at a hip-hop event promoted by Dwight "Heavy D" Myers and Sean "P Diddy" Combs. Over 3000 tickets were sold for the event, which had space for less than 2800 people.
1996 - E! True Hollywood Story has its debut episode.
2000 - Founded in 1872, retailer Montgomery Ward announced it was going out of business.
2001 - Black Hawk Down debuted in theaters.
1851 - The first American YMCA (Young Men's Christian association) opened in Boston, Massachusetts.
1890 - The US Cavalry killed 146 Sioux at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.
1896 - "Lava" soap was trademarked by William Waltke & Co. of St. Louis, Missouri.
1916 - James Joyce's book Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was published.
1927 - Krakatoa began a volcanic eruption on the seafloor. It had been quiet since its 1883 eruption.
1952 - The first transistor hearing aid went on sale, the model 1010, manufactured by the Sonotone Corporation
1959 - Physicist Richard Feynman gave a speech entitled "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom," which brought in the concept on nanotechnology.
1982 - Surround Sound was introduced for home use by Dolby.
1995 - Mr. Holland's Opus, Dead Man Walking and 12 Monkeys were released in theaters.
1916 - Grigory Efimovich Rasputin was murdered. He was a family friend and confidant of Russia's Czar Nicholas II and Czarina Alexandra.
1922- Russia, Belorussia, Ukraine, and the Transcaucasian Federation formed the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).
1948 - The Cole Porter Broadway musical, Kiss Me, Kate (1,077 performances), opened at the New Century Theatre. It was based on Shakespeare's play The Taming of the Shrew.
1953 - The Wild One, starring Marlon Brando was released.
1968 - The Gonzaga '68 bootleg was recorded at a western Washington State gym. The music was of the opening act, Vanilla Fudge, and was one of the earliest performances by Led Zeppelin. They were locally advertised as 'Len Zefflin.'
1993 - Israel and Vatican City establish diplomatic relations.
1994 - Anti-abortionist John Salvi III killed two people and injured five more at an abortion clinic in Brookline, Massachusetts.
1805 - The 'Calendar of Reason' had been introduced in France on November 24, 1793. It was abandoned, and the Gregorian calendar, which we still use today, replaced it.
1831 - Gramercy Park was presented to New York, New York.
1865 - "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude... shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction" was some of the phrasing in the 13th Amendment, eliminating Slavery in the US.
1870 - The 'Goodrich, Tew & Co' was formed as a partnership by B.F. Goodrich and his brother-in-law, Harvey W. Tew, and others in Akron, Ohio.
1879 - Thomas Edison demonstrated the incandescent light to the public for the first time, in Menlo Park, New Jersey.
1907 - The first New Year's Eve celebration is held in Longacre Square (now known as Times Square) in New York, New York.
1923 - The chimes of Big Ben were broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC.
1935 - The patent (# 2,026,082) was issued for the game of Monopoly, assigned to Parker Brothers, by Charles Darrow of Pennsylvania.
1938 - The "drunkometer," the first breath test for car drivers, was invented by Dr Rolla N. Harger of Indiana University School of Medicine.
1955 - General Motors became the first US corporation to make over $1 billion in a single year.
1956 - Bob Barker made his national debut on Truth or Consequences.
1972 - Roberto Clemente was killed, along with four others when the cargo plane in which he is traveling crashes off the coast of Puerto Rico.
1983 - AT&T 'Ma Bell' telephone system monopoly was broken up by the United States Government.
1985 - Singer Rick Nelson was killed in a plane crash in De Kalb, Texas.
1999 - The United States, in accordance with the Torrijos-Carter Treaties, officially handed over control of the Panama Canal to Panama.
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