December 20, 1946 -
The Frank Capra film It's A Wonderful Life had a preview showing for charity at New York City's Globe Theatre, a day before its official premiere.
The film is regarded as a classic and is a staple of Christmas television around the world, although, due to its high production costs and stiff competition at the box office, financially, it was considered a flop.
Next time you get a chance to watch the film, notice what a truly strange little film it really is.
December 20, 1967 -
Mike Nichols' seminal '60s film, The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft, premiered on this date.
Dustin Hoffman was already set to play a role in Mel Brooks The Producers when the opportunity to audition for The Graduate came up. Deferentially, Hoffman asked Brooks' permission to audition for the part in the other film. Through his wife, Anne Bancroft, (already cast) Brooks was familiar with the story of The Graduate. He allowed Hoffman to audition, blithely confident he'd be found unsuitable for role of Mrs. Robinson's lover.
Today in History
December 20, 1802 -
The United States buys the Louisiana Territory from France.
The wisdom of this purchase was not fully appreciated at first but after Mardi Gras it was warmly embraced.
(It was not for nothing that Thomas Jefferson collected beads.)
December 20, 1879 -
Thomas Edison privately demonstrated light bulb to a rapt audience on this date at Menlo Park, N.J.
Unfortunately, it takes 27 of his assistants to lift the entire shed and turn it around to screw in the bulb and many believe the light will never take off.
December 20, 1892 -
According to Jules Verne, On October 2nd Phileas Fogg steps out of the Explorers Club in London, England and decides to take a little trip.
Due to the incompetence and laziness of transit workers, completes his trip on this date.
Adolf Hitler was released from prison on December 20, 1924, after serving less than a year against a five-year treason sentence. Hitler became a prolific author while in prison, where he penned the infamous political autobiography Mein Kampf. (How I Intend to Enslave or Kill Millions of People Immediately Upon My Release.)
He also outlined a series of children’s books which have sadly been lost to history as a result of his having chosen upon his release to pursue a path of demonic world conquest instead of pedagogical literature. One can only wonder what sort of success Hitler would have experienced with titles such as The Little Engine That Was Betrayed by Jewish Usurers, Where the Wild Things Are and How to Eliminate Them and Every Little Aryan Child’s Bedtime Book of Insidious Evil and Global Domination.
December 20, 1957 -
Elvis receives orders from the draft board to serve in the United States Army, which to his credit he does without complaint.
I should have warned you that you would have seen the bare chest of Evis.
December 20, 1997 -
Sotheby's auctions off the loincloth worn by Kirk Douglas in the 1960 film Spartacus for $2,990 on this date.
You can't get those at Robert Hall, aisle five.
7 more days of Hanukkah, 5 more shopping days until Christmas. (2 more shopping days until Festivus. Make sure you get your an unadorned aluminum pole before they run out.)
And so it goes