Events - December 26
---- - Boxing Day had its origins in England and is always celebrated on this day (except when December 26th falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the official holiday is moved to Monday) with government offices and many businesses closed. Folks throughout Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada celebrate Boxing Day with family, friends, food, fun and friendship.
1865 - James H. Mason of Franklin, MA patented the coffee percolator that makes coffee good to the last drop! Mason would have loved all the coffee houses that have popped up throughout the world over the past few years. He’d probably be sitting at home inventing an espressolator or a cap-perc-uccino for next Christmas.
1902 - Oscar ‘Battling’ Nelson hit the canvas five times in a bout in Hot Springs, SD. That’s not the worst of it. Battling’s opponent, Christy Williams, saw little birdies and ate the canvas 42 times! Wow! That’s a record for knockdowns.
1931 - George Gershwin’s musical, "Of Thee I Sing", opened at the Music Box Theatre in New York City. The show became the first American musical to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize.
1939 - W.C. Handy of Memphis, TN one of the legendary blues composers of all time, recorded the classic "St. Louis Blues". W.C. and his band recorded in New York for Varsity Records. Handy was one of the first to use the flat third and seventh notes in his compositions, known in the music world as ‘blue’ notes. On another note, the music awards for blues artists’ are called the W.C. Handy National Blues Awards. Now you know where they got that title.
1947 - A monster snowstorm hit New York City, dumping up to 26 inches of snow on the Big Apple. It became the worst snowstorm in the city’s history, surpassing the snowfall totals from the Blizzard of 1888, which had 22 inches of the white stuff.
1952 - "Big Sister" was heard for the last time on CBS radio. The show had been on the air for 17 years. "Big Sister" was the ongoing story of Sue Evans Miller and her relationship with her big sister, Ruth Evans. Actresses who played big sister Ruth over the years: Alice Frost, Nancy Marshall, Marjorie Anderson, Mercedes McCambridge. Little Sister Sue was played by Haila Stoddard, Dorothy McGuire, Peggy Conklin and Fran Carlon.
1954 - One of radio’s most popular programs, "The Shadow", lurked around the airwaves for the last time. Vigilante crime-fighter Lamont Cranston battled greed and corruption since 1930. “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows....”
1963 - Capitol Records rushed to release its first single by the Fab Four, otherwise known as The Beatles. "I Want to Hold Your Hand", backed with "I Saw Her Standing There", reached #1 on February 1, 1964. The flood of music by John, Paul, George and Ringo had started the British Invasion; changing contemporary music forever.
1964 - More Beatles news: The Fab Four got their sixth #1 hit song since February 1, as "I Feel Fine" became the top tune this day. The first five #1 hits by The Beatles were: "I Want to Hold Your Hand", "She Loves You", "Can’t Buy Me Love", "Love Me Do" and "A Hard Day’s Night".
1967 - A sad day for jazz fans, as the Dave Brubeck Quartet formally disbanded after sax man Paul Desmond left the group. Desmond was a fixture with the quartet for 16 years and can be heard on all the immortal Brubeck standards, including "Take Five".
1972 - Harry S Truman, 33rd president of the United States, died in Kansas City, Missouri, at the age of 88. Truman’s wife, Bess, died on October 18, 1982. They are buried side by side in the Harry S Truman Library courtyard in Independence, MO.
1981 - AC/DC’s album, "For Those About to Rock We Salute You" was #1 in the U.S. for the first of three weeks. The tracks on the album were: "For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)", "Put the Finger on You", "Let’s Get It Up", "Inject the Venom", "Snowballed", "Evil Walks", "C.O.D.", "Breaking the Rules", "Night of the Long Knives" and "Spellbound".
1982 - The Man of the Year in "TIME" magazine was a non-human for the first time. A computer received the honors as 1982’s “greatest influence for good or evil.”
1984 - House Speaker Tip O’Neill was selected to receive the J. Fred Muggs Award, given by "TV Guide" for TV goofs and blunders. The Speaker of the House earned the uncoveted prize when he ordered cameras from CSPAN to pan the almost empty House of Representatives while Republicans were making rip-roaring speeches. For those who don’t remember, J. Fred Muggs was the rascally, but cute, chimpanzee that wreaked havoc on the "Today" show back in the 1950s. The network thought it would be nice to have a cuddly chimp liven things up for a pretty boring Dave Garroway. Unfortunately, Garroway hated J. Fred Muggs; the chimp knew it and proceeded to terrorize the entire show for quite some time, until Garroway threatened to quit the show. J. Fred was soon history.
1986 - Doug Jarvis, age 31, set a National Hockey League record as he skated in his 916th consecutive game. It was a record that started in 1974. Doug holds the individual record for most consecutive games played (964).
1986 - TV’s longest-running drama was seen for the last time. "Search for Tomorrow" ended its 35-year run on television. The program, seen on CBS, included show veterans, Wayne Rogers, Jill Clayburgh, Morgan Fairchild and Don Knotts.
1990 - Garry Kasparov beat Anatoly Karpov to retain the world chess championship. This was Karpov’s second attempt at regaining the championship from Kasparov. He had lost the title to Kasparov in 1985 and had tried to get it back in 1987.
1990 - U.S. Census Bureau officials reported that the U.S. population stood at 249,632,692 people.
1996 - Six-year-old beauty pageant princess JonBenet Ramsey was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family’s Boulder, Colorado home. Her mother, Patricia Ramsey, phoned police early on the day after Christmas to report that she had found a ransom note demanding $118,000 for JonBenet’s safe return. Eight hours later, JonBenet’s father, John, found his daughter’s body. Days of investigation turned into weeks, weeks into months, months into years -- and the murder remains unsolved.
Birthdays - December 26
1716 - Thomas Gray (poet: Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard: “The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”; also: “...where ignorance is bliss/’Tis folly to be wise.”; died July 30, 1771)
1785 - Laurent Clerc (first deaf teacher in U.S.: helped establish American School for the Deaf in Connecticut; died July 18, 1869)
1837 - George Dewey (Admiral of the Navy: Spanish-American War: hero of Manila: “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley.”; died Jan 16, 1917)
1893 - Mao Tse-Tung (Zedong) (communist-revolutionist: founding father of the People’s Republic of China; died Sep 9, 1976)
1914 - Richard Widmark (actor: Judgment at Nuremberg, Murder on the Orient Express, The Halls of Montezuma, How the West was Won, The Alamo, Against All Odds, True Colors; died Mar 24, 2008)
1921 - Steve Allen (comedian, author, musician, composer, TV host: The Tonight Show, The Steve Allen Show; films: The Benny Goodman Story, cameo with wife Jayne Meadows: Casino; died Oct 30, 2000)
1924 - Frank Broyles (football: University of Arkansas Athletic Director; sportscaster, analyst)
1927 - Alan King (Irwin Kniberg) (comedian, TV panelist: Hollywood Squares; producer, actor: The Anderson Tapes, Author! Author!, Casino; Las Vegas performer; died May 9, 2004)
1930 - Donald Moffat (actor: Trapped in Paradise, Clear and Present Danger, Tales of the City, The Bonfire of the Vanities, The Bourne Identity, The Best of Times, The Right Stuff, The Long Days of Summer, Winter Kills, Mary White, Showdown, Rachel, Rachel)
1935 - Abdul ‘Duke’ Fakir (singer: group: The Four Tops: Baby I Need Your Loving, I Can’t Help Myself, Reach Out I’ll Be There, Standing in the Shadows of Love, Seven Rooms of Gloom, Bernadette, Keeper of the Castle, Ain’t No Woman like the One I’ve Got, When She Was My Girl, Don’t Walk Away)
1936 - (James) Wayne Causey (baseball: Baltimore Orioles, KC Athletics, Chicago White Sox, Atlanta Braves, California Angels)
1939 - Phil Spector (‘Tycoon of Teen’: record company executive: originator of Wall of Sound; sang with The Teddy Bears; songwriter: To Know Him is to Love Him, Spanish Harlem)
1940 - Ray (Raymond Michael) Sadecki (baseball: pitcher: SL Cardinals [World Series: 1964], SF Giants, NY Mets [World Series: 1973], Atlanta Braves, KC Royals, Milwaukee Brewers; died Nov 17, 2014)
1945 - Joyce Jillson (actress: Slumber Party ’57, Superchick; died Oct 1, 2004)
1945 - John Walsh (TV host: America’s Most Wanted; actor: Wrongfully Accused)
1947 - Carlton (Ernest) ‘Pudge’ Fisk (Baseball Hall of Famer: catcher: Boston Red Sox [all-star: 1972-1974, 1976-1978, 1980/American League Rookie of the Year: 1972/World Series: 1975], Chicago White Sox [all-star: 1981, 1982, 1985, 1991)
1948 - Dave (David Martin) Rader (baseball: catcher: SF Giants, SL Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox)
1948 - Chris (Carroll Christopher) Chambliss (baseball: Cleveland Indians first baseman: American League Rookie of the Year , NY Yankees [World Series: 1976-1978/all-star: 1976], Atlanta Braves)
1953 - Charles Lane (director: Sidewalk Stories, True Identity)
1954 - Susan Butcher (dog sled racer: won Iditarod Trail race [1986, 1987, 1988, 1990], set record : 11 days, 1 hour, 53 minutes, 23 seconds; died Aug 5, 2006)
1954 - Ozzie (Osborne Earl) Smith (baseball: ‘The Wizard of Oz’: SD Padres [all-star: 1981], SL Cardinals [World Series: 1982, 1985, 1987/all-star: 1981-1992, 1994-1996]; National League Golden Glove winner [13: 1980-1992]; shortstop records: most years w/500 or more assists , most assists in a season [621: 1980], fewest errors in 150 or more games, most years  and most consecutive years  leading NL in fielding percentages)
1961 - Tahnee Welch (actress: Falcon Crest, Cocoon series, I Shot Andy Warhol, The Criminal Mind)
1963 - Lars Ulrich (musician: drums: group: Metallica: LPs: Kill ’Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, ...And Justice for All, Metallica or [Black Album], Load, Reload, Garage Inc.)
1968 - Dennis Knight (pro wrestler/actor: WWF Superstars of Wrestling, Wrestlemania XII, Royal Rumble, Summerslam, Sunday Night Heat, WWF Backlash, WWF Smackdown!)
Chart Toppers - December 26
How Soon - Jack Owens
Civilization - Louis Prima
Serenade of the Bells - The Sammy Kaye Orchestra (vocal: Don Cornell)
I’ll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms) - Eddy Arnold
I Hear You Knocking - Gale Storm
Memories are Made of This - Dean Martin
He - Al Hibler
Sixteen Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford
Dominique - The Singing Nun
Louie Louie - The Kingsmen
You Don’t Have to Be a Baby to Cry - The Caravelles
Love’s Gonna Live Here - Buck Owens
Family Affair - Sly & The Family Stone
Brand New Key - Melanie
An Old Fashioned Loved Song - Three Dog Night
Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’ - Charley Pride
Escape (The Pina Colada Song) - Rupert Holmes
Please Don’t Go - K.C. & The Sunshine Band
Send One Your Love - Stevie Wonder
Happy Birthday Darlin’ - Conway Twitty
Faith - George Michael
So Emotional - Whitney Houston
Got My Mind Set on You - George Harrison
Somewhere Tonight - Highway 101
Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end...
Written and edited by Carol Williams and John Williams
Produced by John Williams
Those Were the Days, the Today in History feature
from 440 International
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