birthdays: Woodrow Wilson, Robert Sessions, Earl "Fatha" Hines, Hildegarde Neff, Edgar Winter, Stan “The Man” Lee is 95, Martin Branner the creator of Winnie Winkle, Johnny Otis, Martin Milner (1-Adam-12), Lew Ayres, Lou Jacobi, Terri Garber, Denzel Washington is 63, Maggie Smith is 83, Sienna Miller is 36, animator Rick Farmiloe is 61
1895- THE BIRTHDAY OF CINEMA- In Paris at the Grande Cafe des Capucines the Lumiere brothers combined Edison's kinetoscope using George Eastman’s roll film with a magic lantern projector and showed a motion picture to an audience in a theater. Back in the U.S. Thomas Edison thought the idea of projecting film in a theater was foolish and would never catch on. They called their device a Cinematograph, hence the word Cinema is born. The screening included dancers and people leaving a factory but the biggest reaction out of the audience was from shots of waves crashing on a rocky beach. The audience in the front row jumped for fear of getting wet.
1897- Edmond Rostands famous play Cyrano de Bergerac premiered in Paris. There really lived a poet-duelist in the 1640’s named Cyrano de Bergerac-Servigan but little was known about him. Rostand created the hopelessly lovesick big nosed hero who helps another man romance his girlfriend Roxanne.
1928- Last recording of Ma Rainey, The Mother of the Blues.
1928- Louis Armstrong recorded West End Blues.
1944- On The Town, a musical written by Betty Comden & Adolf Green and young composer Leonard Bernstein premiered in NY.
1951- The British film A Christmas Carol with the memorable performance of Alastair Sim as Scrooge premiered in the USA.
1962- UPA’s Mr. Magoo’s Xmas Carol first premiered on TV.
1968- The Beatles White Album goes to number one on the pop charts.
1973-Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s book “The Gulag Archipelago” first published in Paris. The exposing of the Soviet prison camp and police system was a great success in the west. It gave the word for prison camp-“Gulag” into popular parlance.
1983- Dennis Wilson was the original drummer of the Beach Boys, but he had a pretty bad drinking and drug habit. He was once friendly with the Manson Family.
Taking time off from rehab for Christmas he and some friends sat on a yacht doing more drugs and booze near Marquesas Pier. Wilson recalled this very spot was where after breaking up with his first wife he threw her mementos overboard. He wondered if he could get them back and started “pearl-diving “i.e.-diving holding your breath without any scuba equipment. But being stoned, he miscalculated the depth and drowned.
Dennis Wilson was 37. Of all the Beach Boys he was the only one who liked to surf.
1987- The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles premiered.