While your wrapping your gifts, here a Christmas Jukebox to put you in that holiday mood.
December 24, 1940-
George Cukor's classic film-comedy The Philadelphia Story, starring Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, premiered on this date.
During the scene where James Stewart hiccups when drunk, you can see Cary Grant looking down and grinning. Since the hiccup wasn't scripted, Grant was on the verge of breaking out laughing and had to compose himself quickly.
December 24, 1951 -
Gian Carlo Menotti's 'Amahl and the Night Visitors' became a Christmas classic on this date.
It was the first opera written specifically for television, and premiered on NBC .
Today in History:
December 24, 1865 -
Southern whitefolk unite together to form a service organization wherein they consort with other southern whitefolk.
Members participate in festive cruciform fire ceremonies and lively negro butcherings.
By the 1920's membership in the Ku Klux Klan reaches an astonishing 2 million.
December 24, 1867 -
This was the first time that the R.H. Macy's department store in New York City remained open until midnight to catch last-minute shoppers.
Things never change.
December 24, 1914 -
World War I was only months old on Christmas Eve 1914 when an extraordinary unofficial truce occurred in many places along the Western Front. "We were all moved and felt quite melancholy," wrote one German soldier, "each of us taken up with his own thoughts of home." German and English troops, often less than one hundred yards from each other, set aside warfare to trade Christmas greetings and sing familiar carols in two languages (If you remember correctly, most of the major players in this war were more than just on a first name basis - they were all related to a minor German prince who happened to married to the Queen of England.)
The truce, probably observed by two-thirds of the British and German troops, ended with the holiday, but reasserted the basic decency of ordinary men like these British and German soldiers caught up in war.
December 24, 1954 -
Rock musician Johnny Ace plays a little .45 calibre solitaire (Russian Roulette) at City Auditorium in Houston after a concert.
He thought it would impress his girlfriend - perhaps it did.
December 24, 1968 -
Apollo VIII astronauts read passages from the Old Testament Book of Genesis and transmitting a message to all mankind calling for 'peace on earth', during a Christmas Eve television broadcast. The three astronauts, James A. Lovell, William Anders and Frank Borman (our friend with the messy space suit,) had reached the moon.
They would orbit the moon ten times, paving the way for the first Earthling to walk on the lunar surface some seven months down the road .
December 24, 1985 -
Fidel Castro announces that he has given up cigars.
Santa still leaves him a lump of coal in his stocking every Christmas.
Now get back to shlepping through the stores trying to find that last gift before I explain to you how the War of 1812 was resolved by the Treaty of Ghenet in 1814 and yet the Battle of New Orleans happened after the treaty was signed.
And so it goes