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
200 Years 1818- the song Silent Night first sung at the Church of Saint Nicholas in Obernsdorf, Austria. Its lyrics were written by the minister named Josef Mohr set to 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- The conservative Republican 80thcongress overturned Pres. Harry Truman’s veto of the McCarren /Walters Immigration Act. It called for more strenuous screening of immigrants for Communist sympathies, but it also redistributed the quota system along more racist lines. Two thirds of the slots allowed for new immigrants to America went to England, Ireland and Germany, with the rest of the world getting one third.
The objectionable parts of the act were changed in 1965,…. they said.
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.
50 Years Ago 1968- Apollo 8 went into orbit around the Moon. Astronauts Jim Lovell, Frank Borman and William Anders become the first men to reach the moon and win the Space Race. They orbited but did not land, that was for Apollo 11 next year. Borman sent a message to Earth Christmas night by reading from Genesis as they sent back the first images of Earth, a little blue gem in a black cosmos: "And God said: Let there be Light, etc." To a world exhausted by the riots, wars, political polarization and assassinations of 1968, Apollo 8’s message ended the year on a positive note. That humans could still dream to be better than they were.
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.