Events - December 16
1773 - Although no finger sandwiches or petits fours were served, it was some tea party! Colonial patriots, disguised as Indians, were the honored guests. They provided the entertainment too, as they dumped some 350 chests of tea into Boston Harbor. Their action was a protestation of taxation without representation and the monopoly granted the East India Company (among other complaints against the British regime). The patriots secretly boarded three British ships in the harbor, dumping the ships’ cargo into the sea ... an event known forever more as the Boston Tea Party.
1893 - Anton Dvorak attended the first performance of his "New World Symphony" at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
1901 - The famous story, "Peter Rabbit", by Beatrix Potter, was printed for the first time, complete with Potter’s watercolor illustrations. Ms. Potter had come up with the Peter Rabbit concept eight years earlier when she sent a story, told in pen and ink drawings, to a five-year-old who was sick in bed. The first story about the ill-behaved rabbit was meant to cheer up the little boy. Of course, all good little boys and girls remember that Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail were the good little bunnies who went down the lane to gather blackberries. But Peter, who was very naughty, ran straight to Mr. McGregor’s garden, and squeezed through the gate. First he ate some lettuce and some French beans; and then he ate some radishes ... and he got too fat ... and Mr. McGregor is coming ... and we gotta get out of this garden ... and it’s getting late ... we will have to finish this later.
1903 - Women ushers were employed for the first time at the Majestic Theatre in New York City.
1905 - Sime Silverman published the first issue of "Variety", the weekly show biz magazine. The first issue was 16 pages in length and sold for a nickel. "Variety" and "Daily Variety" are still going strong.
1912 - The first postage stamp to depict an airplane was issued. It was a 20-cent parcel-post stamp.
1940 - Bob Crosby and his Bobcats backed up brother Bing as "New San Antonio Rose" was recorded on Decca Records.
1944 - The Battle of the Bulge, the final major German counteroffensive of World War II, began. Initially, the Nazi commanders were able to thrust deep into Allied territory in North and East Belgium, a 75-mile front, choosing a time when foggy, rainy weather prevailed. The Allies were taken by surprise, but recovered and repulsed the Nazi offensive by January 1945.
1951 - NBC-TV debuted “Dum-de-dum-dum. Dum-de-dum-dum-daa.” "Dragnet" made it to TV, in a special preview, on "Chesterfield Sound Off Time". The Jack Webb (Sgt. Joe Friday) police drama opened its official TV run on January 3, 1952. Trivia factoid: Sgt. Friday’s boss in this preview was played by Raymond Burr (later of Perry Mason and Ironside fame).
1960 - Lucille Ball took a respite from her weekly TV series to star in the Broadway production of "Wildcat", which opened at the Alvin Theatre in New York City. The show ran for 171 performances.
1967 - The Lemon Pipers released "Green Tambourine" on an unsuspecting psychedelic world this day. The tune made #1 on February 3, 1968. Far out, man!
1971 - Melanie (Safka) received a gold record for the single, "Brand New Key", about roller skates and love and stuff like that. This one made it to #1 on Christmas Day, 1971.
1971 - Don McLean’s eight-minute-plus (8:32) version of "American Pie" was released. It became one of the longest songs with some of the most confusing (pick your favorite interpretation) lyrics to ever hit the pop charts. It was a disc jockey favorite since there were few songs long enough for potty breaks at the time. "American Pie" hit #1 on January 15, 1972.
1972 - The Miami Dolphins became the first NFL team to go unbeaten and untied in a 14-game regular season. The Dolphins beat the Baltimore Colts to earn the honor. Larry King, incidentally, did color for the Dolphins that year on radio. Now you know.
1972 - Paul McCartney’s single, "Hi, Hi, Hi", was released. It peaked at #10 on the top tune tabulation (February 3, 1973).
1973 - Jim Brown’s single-season rushing record in the NFL was smashed by O.J. Simpson. Brown rushed for 1,863 yards, while ‘The Juice’ ran for 2,003 yards.
1985 - The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 1553.10. August 12, 1982 had seen the bottom of the bear market and the bull market began the following day (Friday the 13th) taking it to the 1553.10 level on this day.
1995 - Mike Tyson KO’d Buster Mathis Jr. in the third round at Philadelphia, PA. It was Tyson’s 37th knockout.
1999 - Days of torrential rains and mudslides in Caracas and surrounding states in Venezuela left tens of thousands of people dead, missing or homeless (150,000 were forced to flee).
Birthdays - December 16
1770 - Ludwig van Beethoven (composer: although totally deaf, led orchestra in premiere performance of his Ninth Symphony; died Mar 26, 1827)
1775 - Jane Austen (author: Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility; died July 18, 1817)
1863 - George Santayana (philosopher/writer: Three Philosophical Poets, Character and Opinion of the United States, The Sense of Beauty, The Interpretations of Religion and Poetry, The Life of Reason, Scepticism and Animal Faith, Realms of Being, The Last Puritan; “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”; died Sep 26, 1952)
1899 - Sir Noel (Peirce) Coward (actor: The Italian Job, Paris When It Sizzles, Hearts of the World; actor, director, composer, playwright: In Which We Serve; playwright: Brief Encounter, Bitter Sweet, Private Lives; died Mar 26, 1973)
1900 - V.S. Pritchett (author: novels, short stories, biographies, essays, criticism; died Mar 20, 1997)
1901 - Margaret Mead (anthropologist: studies of ancient people of the South Pacific; died Nov 15, 1978)
1915 - Turk Murphy (Melvin Edward Alton Murphy) (trombonist: first to play jazz version of Mack the Knife; died May 30, 1987)
1917 - Arthur C. Clarke (science fiction writer: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Islands in the Sky; died Mar 19, 2008)
1917 - Murray Kempton (Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaperman; died May 5, 1997)
1920 - George (Louis) Schaefer (director: The Man Upstairs, Children in the Crossfire, Deadly Game, Doctors’ Wives, The Tempest, Victoria Regina; died Sep 10, 1997)
1928 - Bruce Ames (biochemist: cancer research: identifying agents damaging human DNA and the consequences for aging and cancer)
1931 - Tom Brookshier (football: Philadelphia Eagles; sportscaster: CBS Sports; died Jan 29, 2010)
1931 - Shelby Singleton (record executive: SSS International record company, Plantation label: Harper Valley PTA; bought Sun Records ; Shelby Singleton Music; died Oct 7, 2009)
1937 - Jim Glaser (singer: group: Tompall and the Glaser Brothers: backup for Marty Robbins’ El Paso; solo: The Man in the Mirror; songwriter: Woman, Woman)
1938 - Liv Ullmann (actress: The Ox, The Rose Garden, Dangerous Moves, A Bridge Too Far, Scenes from a Marriage, The Emigrants, Persona)
1939 - Wayne Connelly (hockey: NHL: Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Minnesota North Stars, Detroit Red Wings, SL Blues, Vancouver Canucks)
1941 - Lesley Stahl (journalist: White House correspondent; reporter: CBS News, Face the Nation, 60 Minutes)
1943 - Steven Bochco (Emmy Award-winning executive producer: Hill Street Blues [1980-1981, 1981-82, 1982-83, 1983-84], L.A. Law [1986-1987, 1988-1989]; N.Y.P.D. Blue, Cop Rock, Capitol Critters, A Fade to Black; writer: Ironside; story editor: Columbo)
1943 - Anthony Hicks (musician: lead guitar, songwriter: group: The Hollies: Stop, Stop, Stop, The Air that I Breathe, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother)
1946 - Benny Andersson (pianist, singer: groups: Hep Stars [Sweden’s Beatles]; Abba: I Have a Dream, Dancing Queen, Waterloo)
1947 - Ben (Bernard) Cross (actor: First Knight, The Criminal Mind, The Unholy, The Far Pavilions, Chariots of Fire, Dark Shadows)
1949 - Billy Gibbons (musician: guitar, singer: group: ZZ Top: Salt Lick, Jesus Just Left Chicago, La Grange, Tush, Gimme All Your Lovin’, Legs, Sharp Dressed Man, Sleeping Bag)
1951 - Mike (Michael Kendall) Flanagan (baseball: pitcher: Baltimore Orioles [all-star: 1978/World Series: 1979, 1983/Cy Young Award: 1979]; Toronto Blue Jays; died Aug 2, 2011)
1951 - Jean Fugett (football: Dallas Cowboys)
1959 - Alison La Placa (actress: The John Larroquette Show, Tom, Open House, The Jackie Thomas Show, Duet)
1961 - Sam Robards (actor: Artificial Intelligence: AI, Fandango, Spin City, American Beauty, Life as a House; son of actors Jason Robards and Lauren Bacall)
1962 - William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry (football: Chicago Bears defensive tackle: Super Bowl XX)
1963 - Benjamin Bratt (actor: Law & Order, Nasty Boys, Bright Angel, Demolition Man, The Next Best Thing, Red Planet, Miss Congeniality, Traffic, After the Storm)
1966 - Clifford Robinson (basketball: Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns)
1987 - Hallee Hirsh (actress: ER, Judging Amy, Taking Back Our Town, Gene Pool, Emma Brody)
Chart Toppers - December 16
It Might as Well Be Spring - The Sammy Kaye Orchestra (vocal: Billy Williams)
White Christmas - Bing Crosby
It’s Been a Long, Long Time - The Harry James Orchestra (vocal: Kitty Kallen)
Silver Dew on the Blue Grass Tonight - Bob Wills
Rags to Riches - Tony Bennett
White Christmas - Bing Crosby
Ricochet - Teresa Brewer
Caribbean - Mitchell Torok
Please Mr. Postman - The Marvelettes
The Twist - Chubby Checker
Walk on By - Leroy Van Dyke
Big Bad John - Jimmy Dean
Leaving on a Jet Plane - Peter, Paul & Mary
Someday We’ll Be Together - Diana Ross & The Supremes
Down on the Corner/Fortunate Son - Creedence Clearwater Revival
(I’m So) Afraid of Losing You Again - Charley Pride
You Light Up My Life - Debby Boone
How Deep is Your Love - Bee Gees
Blue Bayou - Linda Ronstadt
Here You Come Again - Dolly Parton
Broken Wings - Mr. Mister
Say You, Say Me - Lionel Richie
Party All the Time - Eddie Murphy
Nobody Falls Like a Fool - Earl Thomas Conley
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
No portion of these files may be reproduced without the express, written permission of 440 International Inc.