Birthdays; Joseph Smith -Founder of Mormonism, Paul Hornung, Ruth Roman, Otto Soglow -cartoonist of 'the Little King', Frank Morgan (the Wizard of Oz actor) Jose Greco, Elizabeth Hartmann, Harry Guardino, Claudio Scimone, Vincent Sardi of Sardi’s restaurant in NY, Harry Shearer is 70, Bob Barker, Frederick Forrest is 77, Japanese Emperor Akihito is 80, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is 46
1823- SANTA CLAUS BORN. This day the poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" was published anonymously in The Troy Sentinel, a New York newspaper. . Several years after the authorship was claimed by a Bronx Bible teacher, the Reverend Clement Clarke Moore, and he was celebrated in his time as the father of Santa Claus until his death in 1863. In 2000 a literary-forensic specialist challenged Clement Moores authorship. He claimed an Revolutionary War veteran from Poughkeepsie named Major Henry Livingston actually wrote the poem. He uses as evidence the poetry style of Livingston being much closer to the anonymous poem than Rev Moores. But we may never know.
The poem completed the synthesis of English and Dutch folk traditions that were merging in New York into our modern concept of Santa. The Dutch Klaus-in-the-Cinders" or Kris Kringle was an elf who climbed down chimneys to give children toys. He merged with the British Father Christmas or Saint Nicholas who was a big fat jolly bishop with a white beard in a red suit.
In an 1859 reprint of the famous poem famed cartoonist Thomas Nast (who created the Republican elephant and Democratic donkey) drew the first likeness of Santa Claus. Because of residual rivalry from the Civil War claiming Santa was a Yankee or came from old Dixie, in 1867 Nast ended the argument by declaring Claus’s true address to be the North Pole. The likeness we all recognize was created by illustrator Haddon Sundblom for a Coca-Cola ad campaign in 1934.
1893- Humperdinck's opera "Hansel und Gretel" debuts in Weimar Germany.
1894- Claude DeBussey’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun” premiered in Paris.
1912- France’s leading literary magazine Nouvelle Revue Francaise rejected a new novel by an author named Marcel Proust “A La Recherche du Temps Perdu” “Remembrance of Things Past”.
1912- The Max Sennett short comedy “Hoffmeyer’s Release” premiered, the first comedy featuring the Keystone Cops.
1935- Walt Disney sent a detailed memo to art teacher Don Graham outlining his plans for retraining his animators to do realistic feature films.
circa-1935- This was the traditional day for Republic Pictures to fire all their employees and hire them back after New Years so they wouldn't have to pay them holiday pay. Republic billed itself on it’s business cards as The Friendly Studio.
1938- Disney’s short Mother Goose Goes Hollywood.
1954- Walt Disney’s live action Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea opened. Directed by Richard Fleischer, the son of Disney’s competitor Max Fleischer.