Sunday, December 24, 2017

Smithers, do you hear what I hear?

Christmas is but a day away.

So, were you naughty or nice?

It really doesn't matter at this point, Santa knows the score.

December 24, 1940 -
George Cukor's
classic film-comedy The Philadelphia Story, starring Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and Jimmy Stewart premiered on this date.

Cary Grant demanded top billing and $100,000 salary--a huge amount at the time. As it turned out, however, he donated his entire earnings to the British War Relief Fund.

December 24, 1951 -
Gian Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors became a Christmas classic on this date.

The one surviving kinescope of this first production was thought to have been lost forever, accidentally destroyed by someone at NBC after it had been screened for an executive, but another copy was discovered at the Museum of Radio and Television, in New York.

December 24, 1953 -
Jack Webb's series Dragnet aired a special episode, The Big Little Jesus on this date.

The episode was network television's first half-hour color film. It was the only color show of the series. Those of you with very sharp eyes can tell with some prompting that this is not the color episode.

Sorry about that.

Kids, the earlier you go to bed, the sooner it'll be tomorrow.

Today in History:
December 24, 1818 -

The classic Christmas carol, Silent Night, was first performed on this date.

At St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorff, Austria, Franz Gruber, composed on his guitar the melody for Silent Night. The music was combined with the words from Joseph Mohr's poem, Stille Nacht.

December 24, 1826 -
On hearing that their Christmas celebrations had to be alcohol-free, several West Point cadets smuggled in a few jugs of whiskey. Their private party got out of hand, and the ensuing melee became known as The "Eggnog Riot".

Shots were fired, and an artillery unit had to be called in to calm things down. Among the participants was future President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis.

December 24, 1865 -
Southern white folks united together to form a service organization wherein they consort with other southern white folks on this date.

Members participate in festive cruciform fire ceremonies and lively negro butcherings.

By the 1920s membership in the Ku Klux Klan reaches an astonishing two 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 be married to his cousin, 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, 1955
The NORAD tracks Santa for the first time in what will become an annual Christmas Eve tradition,

thanks to a misprinted phone number in a Sear’s retail catalogue, on this date.

For the first several years, it was run by the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center.

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
announced that he has given up cigars on this date.

Santa finally sent Krampus his way last year.

You'd better hurry up and finish your shopping before I start explaining how the War of 1812 was resolved by the Treaty of Ghenet on this date in 1814 and yet the Battle of New Orleans took place on January 8, 1815, after the treaty was signed.

And so it goes.

While your wrapping your gifts, here's some Sinatra on the digital Victrola to put you in that holiday mood.



Jim H. said...

Thanks for posting about the Eggnog Riot. They named it that in part because Whiskey Rebellion was already taken. Happy New Year to all the researchers, writers, editors, and ad execs at Dr. Califari's Cabinet!

Kevin said...

Jim, a very Merry Christmas to you and your family!