Birthdays: Roman Emperor Servius Galba, English King John Lackland, Revolutionary Patriot Dr. Benjamin Rush, Kit Carson, Howard Hughes, Ava Gardner, Michael Curtiz, I.F. Stone, Robert Joffrey of the Joffrey Ballet, Mean Joe Green, John Matusak, Susan Lucci, Nicholas Meyer, Ricky Martin, animator Glen McQueen, Ryan Seacrest
1818-the song Silent Night first sung at the Church of Saint Nicholas in Obersdorf, Austria. Its lyrics were written by the minister named Josef Mohr and music by a teacher named Franz Gruber. Their church could not afford an organ, so this first singing of Silent Night was accompanied on a guitar.
1888- Vincent Van Gogh cuts off a piece of his left ear after an argument with fellow artist Paul Gaugin over the affections of a prostitute named Rachel. He sent his ear to the prostitute. She fainted. In 2009 historians theorized his ear was sliced off by Gaugin drunkenly waving an antique sword. The two men agreed to keep the secret to not get Gaugin in trouble.
1922- The BBC presented it’s first radio play:" The truth about Father Christmas."
1925- The London Evening News published a story “In which we are introduced to Winnie the Pooh, and some Bees.” By A.A. Milne. The first book of stories came out the following year.
1937- Disney short Lonesome Ghosts premiered.
1951- Gina Carlo Menotti’s opera "Amal and the Night Visitors" premiered on NBC TV..
1952- First draft script completed on the MGM film Terror Planet, changed to “ Forbidden Planet.”
1964- First day shooting on the “Cage” a pilot for a new TV show called Star Trek. Jeffrey Hunter was the first captain, later replaced by William Shatner when Hunter’s wife advised him to skip the series. She was worried he’d be typecast.
1966- Local New York City TV station WPIX premiered The Yule Log. They ran a loop of 6 minutes of a closeup of a log burning in a fireplace in Gracie Mansion. The loop ran from 11:00PM to 1:00AM with Christmas carols playing. It made the TV the symbolic family hearth. New Yorkers loved their kitschy Yule Log tradition, and when WPIX tried to replace it in 1989 hundreds of complaints forced them to put it back. The log was videotaped once more in 1970, and that’s been the film ever since.
1968- Twentieth Century Fox announced that legendary Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa had been fired from the production of TORA-TORA-TORA. Producer Darryl Zanuck’s original concept was the story of the Pearl Harbor attack told by Kurosawa from the Japanese side and David Lean from the American side. But Lean passed and Richard Fleischer stepped in. Japanese sections were directed by Kinji Fukusaku and Toshio Masuda, whose previous credit was The Green Slime.
1990- Tom Cruise married Nicole Kidman.