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December 11

Events - December 11
1719 - The first display of the Northern Lights was recorded in America. The sighting was made in New England on this day. The report said that a mysterious face seemed to appear in the atmosphere; and, since most aurora borealis displays occur in September and October and again in March and April, this is very strange, indeed! The green, red, and frost-white light displays occur most frequently when there is a great deal of sunspot activity.

1816 - The Hoosier state, Indiana, entered the United States of America as the 19th state. The nickname, meaning rustic, is not a good decription of Indianapolis, the major metropolis that is its capital. However, much of the state is still farmland, and the little state flower, the peony, grows in many Hoosier front yards. The cardinal, the state bird, is also the state bird of each of the states (except Michigan) that border Indiana: Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio.

1844 - Dr. Horace Wells of Hartford, CT had a tooth extracted. Ouch! But wait. He became the first to receive an anesthetic for this dental procedure. Ah, muth bether, Dothtuh.

1882 - The Bijou Theatre in Boston, MA became the first theatre to be lighted by electricity.

1919 - The kind citizens of Enterprise, Alabama dedicated the first known monument to an insect! The town turned out to honor the boll weevil; the evil weevil that destroyed cotton plants. However, by forcing folks to diversify their crops, the farmers wound up tripling their income. Thus, the tribute to those bugs.

1939 - Betty Grable and her famous legs were featured on the cover of "LIFE" magazine. Legend has it that she didn’t care much for the picture, but it became an international symbol of ‘back home’ for those at war.

1939 - Marlene Dietrich recorded "Falling In Love Again" -- on the Decca label.

1944 - "The Chesterfield Supper Club" debuted on NBC radio. Perry Como, Jo Stafford and many other stars of the day shared the spotlight on the 15-minute show that aired five nights a week. The show was sponsored by Chesterfield cigarettes.

1946 - John D. Rockefeller, Jr. offered up a six-block area of land in New York City for use as world headquarters of the United Nations. The offer was accepted the following day. No one connected with the United Nations has been able to make a decision that quickly since.

1951 - Joe DiMaggio announced his retirement from baseball. Joltin’ Joe played only for the New York Yankees during his 13-year career. His lifetime batting average was .325; and his streak of 56 games batted safely in, still stands as a record. Joe’s two brothers, Vince and Dom, were also major-league players.

1952 - An audience of 70,000 people watched from 31 theatres as Richard Tucker starred in "Carmen". The event was the first pay-TV production of an opera. Ticket prices ranged from $1.20 to $7.20.

1967 - The French prototype Concorde 001 was rolled out in Toulouse, France (the British 002 prototype was not quite finished in Bristol). The joint British-French venture and the world’s first supersonic airliner, took two more years of testing and fine-tuning the powerful engines before it made its maiden flight.

1973 - Karen and Richard Carpenter received a gold record for their single, "Top of the World".

1973 - Ron Santo was traded to the Chicago White Sox from crosstown rivals, the Chicago Cubs. Santo became the first major-league baseball player to invoke the rule which permits 10-year veterans of a club to refuse to be traded. He turned down a trade to the California Angels.

1976 - Al Stewart debuted on the "Billboard" "Hot 100" with "Year of the Cat". It peaked at #8, but not until March 1977.

1981 - It was Muhammad Ali’s 61st -- and last -- fight. He lost to future champ Trevor Berbick.

1982 - Toni Basil reached the #1 one position on the pop music charts for the first time, with her single, "Mickey". The chorus: “Hey Mickey, you’re so fine, you’re so fine, you blow my mind, hey Mickey, hey Mickey.” Romantic, huh?

1983 - "Noises Off", a London play, opened at the Atkinson Theatre in New York City. The three-act play was described by critics as “an outrageous slapstick comedy of utter chaos.”

1985 - The most expensive non-oil acquisition in U.S. history took place. General Electric Company agreed to buy RCA Corporation for $6.3 billion. The conglomerate would bring in about $39 billion in revenues. The deal also included NBC radio and TV.

1985 - With the season still in progress, the Chicago Bears declared their intention to appear in and win the Super Bowl. Members of the team, known as Chicago Bears Shufflin’ Crew, released their "Superbowl Shuffle". The Bears went on to defeat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, 46-10. “You better start makin’ Your Superbowl plans. But don’t get ready or go to any trouble, Unless you practice The Superbowl Shuffle.”

1993 - Snoop Doggy Dogg’s "Doggystyle" was number one on U.S. album charts. The rest of the top five: 2-"Vs.", Pearl Jam; 3-"Music Box", Mariah Carey; 4-"The Spaghetti Incident?", Guns N' Roses; 5-"The Beavis & Butt-Head Experience", Various artists.

1997 - Negotiators from around the world (more than 150 countries) agreed on a package of measures that for the first time would legally obligate industrial countries to cut emissions of waste industrial (greenhouse) gases that scientists say are warming the Earth’s atmosphere.

1998 - Movies debuting in the U.S.: "Jack Frost" (“Jack Frost is getting a second chance to be the world’s coolest dad... if he doesn’t melt first.”), with Michael Keaton, Kelly Preston, Mark Addy and Joseph Cross; "Life is Beautiful"/"La Vita è Bella" (Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film), starring the Academy Award-winning Roberto Benigni (Best Actor), Nicoletta Braschi, Giustino Durano, Sergio Bustric, Giorgio Cantarini, Marisa Paredes; and "Star Trek: Insurrection" (“The Battle for Paradise Has Begun”), with Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Levar Burton, Michael Dorn and the rest of the crew of the "Enterprise".

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Birthdays - December 11
1803 - Hector Berlioz (musician, composer, major force in the development of musical form during the Romantic Era; died Mar 8, 1869)

1863 - Annie Jump Cannon (astronomer: discovered five stars; National Academy of Science Draper Medal-winner; died Apr 13, 1941)

1882 - Fiorello LaGuardia (‘Little Flower’: politician: NYC mayor [1933-1945]; LaGuardia Airport in NY bears his name; died Sep 20, 1947)

1904 - Marjorie (Henderson) Buell (cartoonist: Little Lulu; died May 30, 1993)

1905 - Gilbert Roland (Luis Antonio Damaso de Alonso) (actor: Barbarosa, Islands in the Stream, Cheyenne Autumn, Treasures of Pancho Villa, Thunder Bay, Captain Kidd, The Cisco Kid series; died May 15, 1994)

1912 - Carlo Ponti (producer, director: Marriage, Italian Style; died Jan 10, 2007)

1916 - (Damaso) Perez Prado (musician: piano, organ: Patricia, Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White, Mambo No. 5, Mambo No. 8; died Sep 14, 1989)

1918 - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (dissident Russian writer: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich; died Aug 3, 2008)

1926 - Willie Mae ‘Big Mama’ Thornton (blues singer: pre-Elvis version of Hound Dog; died July 25, 1984)

1930 - Jean-Louis Trintignant (actor: Trois Couleurs: Rouge, Is Paris Burning?, And God Created Woman, A Man and a Woman)

1931 - Rita Moreno (Rosita Alverio) (dancer, Academy Award-winning actress: West Side Story [1961]; The Wharf Rat, I Like It Like That, Portrait of a Showgirl, The Four Seasons, Anatomy of a Seduction, Carnal Knowledge, Summer and Smoke, The King and I, Singin’ in the Rain; Emmy Award-winning actress: The Muppet Show [1976-77], The Paper Palace, The Rockford Files [1/20/78])

1931 - Pierre Pilote (Hockey Hall of Famer: NHL: Chicago Black Hawks defenseman: Norris Trophy winner [1964, 1965, 1966], Toronto Maple Leafs)

1934 - (Arthur) Lee Maye (baseball: Milwaukee Braves, Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators, Chicago White Sox; died July 17, 2002)

1934 - Curtis Williams (singer: group: The Penguins: Earth Angel; died Aug 10, 1979)

1935 - Tom Brumley (musician: steel guitar: group: Buck Owens and the Buckaroos, Stone Canyon Band; died Feb 3, 2009)

1938 - Fred Cox (football: Minnesota Vikings: kicked field goals in 31 consecutive games [1968-70] - a record)

1940 - David Gates (musician: guitar, keyboard, singer: solo: Goodbye Girl; group: Bread: Make It With You, If, Baby I’m-A Want You, Diary, Aubrey)

1940 - Donna Mills (actress: Knots Landing, The Good Life, False Arrest, Curse of the Black Widow, Beyond the Bermuda Triangle, Play Misty for Me)

1941 - Larry Stallings (football: Georgia Tech, SL Cardinals LB)

1944 - Lynda Day George (actress: Young Warriors, Casino, Ants, The Barbary Coast, The Silent Force, Roots, Rich Man, Poor Man-Book I, Mission: Impossible)

1944 - Brenda Lee (Tarpley) (singer: I’m Sorry, All Alone Am I, I Want to Be Wanted, Sweet Nothin’s, That’s All You Gotta Do)

1945 - Earlie Thomas (football: NY Jets)

1947 - Teri Garr (actress: Ready to Wear, Dumb and Dumber, The Tale of the Frog Prince, Mr. Mom, Tootsie, The Black Stallion, Oh, God!, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Young Frankenstein, Pajama Party, Women of the House, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, Good Advice, The Girl with Something Extra)

1952 - Robert Cochran (skier: U.S. slalom champion [1969, 1970], downhill champion [1971, 1973], Alpine combined champion [1971, 1972], giant slalom champion [1971, 1974]; 1972 U.S. Olympic Ski Team)

1952 - Susan Seidelman (director: Desperately Seeking Susan, She-Devil, Making Mr. Right, Smithereens)

1953 - Bess Armstrong (actress: The Skateboard Kid, Jaws 3, Nothing in Common, Four Seasons, On Our Own, My So-Called Life, Married People)

1954 - Jermaine Jackson (singer: Daddy’s Home, Let’s Get Serious; group: The Jackson Five: I’ll be There; brother of Michael, Janet, La Toya, Tito, Randy, Marlon and Jackie)

1958 - Nikki Sixx (Frank Ferranno) (musician: bass: group: Motley Crue: LPs: Too Fast for Love, Theatre of Pain)

1966 - Gary Dourdan (actor: C.S.I, A Different World, Weekend at Bernie’s II, Alien: Resurrection, King of the World)

Those Were the Days: Current Issues

Chart Toppers - December 11
1948
Buttons and Bows - Dinah Shore
On a Slow Boat to China - The Kay Kaiser Orchestra (vocal: Harry Babbitt & Gloria Wood
A Little Bird Told Me - Evelyn Knight
One Has My Name (The Other Has My Heart) - Jimmy Wakely

1956
Singing the Blues - Guy Mitchell
A Rose and a Baby Ruth - George Hamilton IV
Rock-A-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody - Jerry Lewis
Singing the Blues - Marty Robbins

1964
Ringo - Lorne Greene
Mr. Lonely - Bobby Vinton
She’s Not There - The Zombies
Once a Day - Connie Smith

1972
I Am Woman - Helen Reddy
If You Don’t Know Me by Now - Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes
You Ought to Be with Me - Al Green
Got the All Overs for You (All Over Me) - Freddie Hart & The Heartbeats

1980
Lady - Kenny Rogers
More Than I Can Say - Leo Sayer
Another One Bites the Dust - Queen
Smoky Mountain Rain - Ronnie Milsap

1988
Look Away - Chicago
How Can I Fail? - Breathe
I Don’t Want Your Love - Duranduran
If You Ain’t Lovin’ (You Ain’t Livin’) - George Strait
Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end...


Comments/Corrections: TWtDfix@440int.com

Written and edited by Carol Williams and John Williams
Produced by John Williams


Those Were the Days, the Today in History feature
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