Saturnalia starts today.
It is an ancient Roman festival that was held in honor of the god Saturn.
Imagine, there's a holiday that the rulers of the known world couldn't control.
More about Saturnalia later (it figures in our Christmas story.)
December 17, 1959 -
Stanley Kramer film-version of Nevil Shute's drama, On The Beach, premiered worldwide on this date.
The U.S. Department of Defense and the United States Navy declined to cooperate in the production of this film, including access to a nuclear-powered submarine, which forced the film production to use a non-nuclear, diesel-electric Royal Navy submarine, HMS Andrew.
December 17, 1969 -
Tiny Tim married Miss Vicki on the Tonight Show on this date.
The event attracted between 40 and 50 million viewers.
December 17, 1982 -
Sydney Pollack's comedy take on gender roles, Tootsie, starring Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange and Bill Murray (in a howlingly funny supporting role) opened in general release in the US on this date.
Dustin Hoffman allegedly tried out his role as Dorothy by passing himself off as his daughter's Aunt Dorothy at her parent's evening at school. His performance was so strong he actually convinced the teachers present. They never suspected.
December 17, 1989 -
Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire, also known as The Simpsons Christmas Special, the first full-length episode of The Simpsons, premiered on this date.
There is no Blackboard or Couch gag in this episode's opening titles, owing to the holiday theme of the episode making the title sequence different.
Today's Christmas special: Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses!!!
Today in History:
December 17, 1843 (there is some controversy concerning this actual date) -
He got the idea for the book in late October of 1843, the story of the heartless Ebenezer Scrooge, who has so little Christmas spirit that he wants his assistant Bob Cratchit to work on Christmas Day.
Dickens struggled to finish the book in time for Christmas. He no longer had a publisher so he published the book himself, ordering illustrations, gilt-edged pages and a lavish red bound cover. He priced the book at a mere 5 shillings, in hopes of making it affordable to everyone. It was released within a week of Christmas and was a huge success, selling six thousand copies the first few days, and the demand was so great that it quickly went to second and third editions.
God bless us, everyone!!!
December 17, 1903 -
The TSA was waiting to go through their luggage.
December 17, 1927 -
U.S. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg suggested a worldwide pact renouncing war as an instrument of national policy on this date. Virtually all of the major powers of the world signed the Kellogg-Briand pact in Paris on August 27, 1928.
The peace achieved by the Kellogg-Briand Pact was an idyll like none other. It is still referred to as the happiest seven minutes in human history.
Ah, 1929, that sweet summer of human happiness!
But perhaps we do not give sufficient credit to the authors and signers of that ill-fated pact for their ironic sense.
It was thought up on the 238th birthday of Humphry Davy, the inventor of among other things, laughing gas.
December 17, 1969 -
The United States Air Force closed its Project 'Blue Book' by concluding there was no evidence of extraterrestrial spaceships behind thousands of UFO sightings.
Our Alien Overlords were briefly satisfied and decide not to destroy the Earth - for now.
December 17, 1977 -
Elvis Costello and The Attractions made a rare United States television debut on Saturday Night Live when Sid Vicious and the Sex Pistols failed to show up for the gig.
Producer Lorne Michaels refused to allow Costello to perform Radio, Radio because of the song's criticism of the broadcasting industry, but a few measures into Less than Zero, Costello halted his group and played the forbidden song .
Naughty, naughty Elvis
And so it goes.