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 71, Bob Barker, Frederick Forrest is 78, Japanese Emperor Akihito is 81, France’s former First Lady Carla Bruni 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.
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 “Afternoon of a Faun” premiered in Paris.
1912- The Max Sennett short comedy “Hoffmeyer’s Release” premiered, the first comedy featuring the Keystone Cops.
1913- Young Italian Rudolph Valentino arrived in America to seek his fortune. He was so poor that after a year he sent his parents a photo of himself in a borrowed tuxedo to allay their fears. He worked as a nightclub dancer and gigolo until becoming a Hollywood film star in 1921.
1930- Young actress Betty Davis signed her first contract with Universal Studio.
1935- Walt Disney sent a detailed memo to art teacher Don Graham outlining his plans for retraining his animators to do realistic feature films.
1947- Two Bell laboratory scientists invent the Transistor. Nobody was quite sure what to do with the little thing until Texas Instruments invented the portable radio in 1954.