Birthdays: Benjamin Disraeli, Josh Gibson- the Home Run King of the Negro Baseball Leagues, Pat Weaver-TV exec who created the Today Show and father of Sigourney Weaver, Frank Zappa, Dr. Kurt Waldheim, Florence Griffith Joyner, Chris Evert, Phil Roman, Jane Fonda is 80, Paul Winchell born Pinkus Wilchinski, Keifer Sutherland is 51, Samuel L. Jackson is 69, Ray Romano is 60, Jane Kaszmarek, Judy Delphy is 48, Jeffrey Katzenberg is 67
1913- THE BIRTHDAY OF THE CROSSWORD PUZZLE-The first Crossword Puzzle appeared in the New York World.
1914- The premiere of the first feature length film comedy- Tilly’s Punctured Romance, starring Marie Dressler, Mabel Normand and a young Charlie Chaplin.
1925- Sergei Eisenstein’s cinematic masterpiece Battleship Potemkin premiered in Moscow. The films pioneering use of montage and allegorical imagery intercut inspired a generation of filmmakers.
1933- Twentieth Century Fox signed 5 year old Shirley Temple to a seven year contract.
1937-Walt Disney's " Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" had its grand premiere at the Cathay Circle Theater. The first feature length American cartoon, it became the box office champ of 1938, earning 4 times more than any other film that year.
1940- Writer F. Scott Fitzgerald (44) died of a heart attack at Hollywood columnist Sheila Graham's house. She had just left the house to buy him some candy.
His last words were 'Hershey bars will be fine..."
1944- Walt Disney’s The Three Caballeros premiered in Mexico City. It opened in the US in February.
1968- The Apollo 8 spacecraft was launched to the Moon. Besides winning the Space Race, and doing the famous Christmas Night reading of Genesis from lunar orbit, Apollo 8 had one board one of the very first mini-computers. The Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) was one cubic foot in size, had stored memory of 5 bytes, a language (DSKY) and a digital display. It’s the forerunner of the personal computer.
1971- Richard William's animated TV special "A Christmas Carol" with Alastair Sim reprising his Scrooge.
1973- Ray Harryhausen’s The Golden Voyage of Sinbad premiered.
1979- Disney’s Sci-Fi flop The Black Hole opened in theaters.
1982- Thom Riley, one of the stars of the TV cop show ChiPS was busted for driving stoned on Quaaludes.