Events - December 18
1787 - This is the day when New Jersey was counted as the third state to enter the United States of America. Where is old Jersey, you ask? Well, in 1664, when the British colonized the area, they named New Jersey after Jersey, one of the British Channel Islands. New Jersey’s many truck farms, orchards and flower gardens gave the state its nickname: The Garden State. Trenton, the capital of New Jersey, and once the capital of the new nation, was the locale of Washington’s famous Revolutionary war victory. He turned the tide when he led his forces across the Delaware River at Trenton. The New Jersey state flower is the purple violet, the state bird, the eastern goldfinch, and the state motto: "Liberty and Prosperity."
1796 - On this day the "Monitor" of Baltimore, Maryland was published as the first Sunday newspaper. There were no comics, incidentally, as they hadn’t been invented yet. And there was no color. And there wasn’t much in sports coverage, as the Orioles weren’t invented yet. And there were no Colts and, certainly, no Ravens.
1862 - The first orthopedic hospital was organized -- in New York City. It was called the Hospital for Ruptured and Crippled. It hurts just to say it.
1865 - “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, save as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist in the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” With these words, slavery was abolished in the United States. On this day a proclamation by the U.S. Secretary of State announced the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution had been ratified by the legislatures of twenty-seven of the thirty-six states. Actual ratification was completed on December 6, but news travelled slowly in those days.
1920 - Conductor Arturo Toscanini made his first recording for Victor Records in Camden, New Jersey.
1934 - Willie Smith sang with Jimmy Lunceford and his orchestra on "Rhythm is Our Business" on Decca Records (serial number 369).
1935 - A $1 silver certificate was issued. It was the first currency to depict the front and back sides of the Great Seal of the United States.
1936 - Su Lin arrived in San Francisco, California. She was the first giant panda to come to the U.S. from China. The bear was sold to the Brookfield Zoo for $8,750.
1942 - Beau Jack defeated Tippy Larkin in New York City. Beau beat Tippy to a pulp to win the New York Lightweight Boxing Championship.
1944 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the army’s removal of Japanese-Americans from the West Coast early in 1942 was constitutional at the time it was carried out, but that citizens must be permitted to return to their homes when their loyalty to U.S. was established. The tribunal acted in two cases. It upheld constitutionality of the removal program by a 6 to 3 decision, and was unanimous in holding that loyal citizens should be released. The ruling came one day after the war department announced that loyal citizens of Japanese ancestry would be permitted to return to their former homes after 33 months of enforced absence in relocation centers.
1953 - WPTZ in Philadelphia, PA presented a Felso commercial, marking the first color telecast seen on a local station. What’s Felso? We remember it well. Felso was a laundry detergent.
1956 - One of America’s great panel shows debuted on CBS-TV. Bud Collyer, bow tie and all, hosted "To Tell the Truth". The program enjoyed a 10-year run and made even bigger stars of panelists: Phyllis Newman, Orson Bean, Kitty Carlisle (Hart), Sam Levinson, Tom Poston, Milt Kamen and Bess Myerson. The announcer: Johnny Olson. The show was a Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Production.
1957 - Shippingport Atomic Power Station, Pennsylvania was the first commercial central electric-generating station in the United States to use nuclear energy. It started producing juice this day, feeding electricity into the grid for the Pittsburgh area. On December 2, 1977, the first U.S. light water breeder reactor went to full power at Shippingport. (The power station was taken out of service October 1, 1982.)
1961 - The Tokens celebrated their first #1 hit single. "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" ("Wimoweh" for you purists) was a chart topper for four weeks in a row.
1963 - Australia's Ron Clarke set a world record. He ran 10,000 meters in 28 minutes, 15.6 seconds.
1965 - "Gemini VII" splashed down in the western Atlantic Ocean with command pilot Frank Borman and pilot Jim Lovell Jr. on board. They had blasted off Dec 4 on a mission of physiological testing and spacecraft performance evaluation.
1972 - Helen Reddy received a gold record for the song that became an anthem for women’s liberation, "I Am Woman". The song had reached number one on December 9, 1972.
1975 - Rod Stewart announced that he was leaving the group, Faces, and was going solo in a deal with Warner Brothers.
1982 - Daryl Hall and John Oates reached the #1 spot on the music charts for the fifth time with "Maneater". The song stayed in the top spot for four weeks, making it Hall and Oates’ most popular hit.
1984 - Christopher Guest of "Saturday Night Live" and actress Jamie Lee Curtis were married in the Los Angeles home of comedian Rob Reiner this day.
1985 - "Beverly Hills Cop" became the top movie grosser of the year with $229.9 million in tickets sold. "Back to the Future", with Michael J. Fox, was second, followed by "Rambo: First Blood, Part 2", starring Sylvester Stallone, gunning its way into third place.
1992 - Kim Young-sam was elected South Korea’s president. Kim’s victory returned the Korean presidency to a democratically-elected civilian president for the first time since the military coup d’etat of 1961.
1993 - Julio Cesar Chavez retained his WBC super lightweight title with a five-round victory over Britain’s Andy Holligan. It was the 27th time Chavez fought for a title without a loss since 1984, breaking Joe Louis’ record of 26.
1997 - A unique bridge-and-tunnel expressway across Tokyo Bay opened. The Trans-Tokyo Bay Motorway was named the Tokyo Bay Aqualine, a toll highway that spans the narrowest gap of Tokyo Bay. It opened to traffic this day, after 31 years of studies and construction at a total cost of 1.44 trillion yen (some $10.8 billion at the time). The 15-kilometer (9.3-mile) expressway, connecting Kisarazu City of Chiba Prefecture and Kawasaki City of Kanagawa Prefecture, makes it possible to make a round-trip of the bay by car. Of the total length, 4.4 kilometers (2.7 miles) from the Kisarazu side is a bridge and 9.5 kilometers (5.9 miles) from the Kawasaki side is an undersea tunnel, which is the world’s longest undersea tunnel, running 60 meters (197 feet) deep under the surface of the water.
1998 - These movies opened in the U.S.: "Little Voice", with Jane Horrocks, Ewan Mcgregor, Brenda Blethyn and Michael Caine; "The Prince of Egypt", starring the voices of Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, Michelle Pfeiffer, six original songs by Stephen Schwartz and a score by composer Hans Zimmer; "Shakespeare in Love", which grabbed Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Gwyneth Paltrow), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Judi Dench), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Martin Childs & Jill Quertier), Best Costume Design (Sandy Powell), Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score (Stephen Warbeck), Best Picture (Donna Gigliotti, Marc Norman, David Parfitt, Harvey Weinstein & Edward Zwick), and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Marc Norman & Tom Stoppard); "Velvet Goldmine", starring Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Ewan Mcgregor, Christian Bale and Toni Collette; and "You’ve Got Mail", with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
Birthdays - December 18
1778 - Joseph Grimaldi (clown: ‘greatest clown in history’, ‘king of pantomime’: Joey the Clown; singer, dancer, acrobat; died May 31, 1837)
1870 - Saki (Hector Hugh Munro) (author: The Rise of the Russian Empire, Reginald, The Chronicles of Clovis, Beasts & Super-beasts, The Square Egg; killed in WWI in France Nov 13, 1916)
1879 - Paul Klee (artist: abstractionist: Twittering Machine; died June 29, 1940)
1886 - Ty (Tyrus Raymond) Cobb (‘The Georgia Peach’: baseball: Detroit Tigers [World Series: 1907-1909/American League MVP: 1911], Philadelphia Athletics; played in 3,000+ games [1905-1928]; .367 batting average; died July 17, 1961)
1904 - George Stevens (Academy Award-winning director: A Place in the Sun , Giant ; died Mar 8, 1975)
1907 - Christopher Fry (Harris) (poet, dramatist: The Boy with a Cart, A Phoenix Too Frequent, The Lady’s Not for Burning; died June 30, 2005)
1910 - Abe (Abram Solman Borowitz) Burrows (Tony Award-winning director and playwright: How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying ; died May 17, 1985)
1913 - Lynn Bari (Marjorie Schuyler Fisher) (actress: The Young Runaways, Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops, Sunny Side of the Street, The Bridge of San Luis Rey; died Nov 20, 1989)
1913 - Willy Brandt (Herbert Frahm) (Nobel Peace Prize-winner ; Chancellor of West Germany; died Oct 8, 1992)
1916 - Betty (Ruth Elizabeth) Grable (the original ‘Pinup Girl’: actress: Whoopee!, Hold ’Em Jail, Probation, The Gay Divorcee, Follow the Fleet, College Swing, Down Argentine Way, Tin Pan Alley, Moon Over Miami, Song of the Islands, Springtime in the Rockies, Sweet Rosie O’Grady; her famous legs were insured by Lloyds of London for somewhere between a quarter million and a million dollars; died July 2, 1973)
1917 - Ossie Davis (writer, actor: A Raisin in the Sun, Grumpy Old Men, Evening Shade; died Feb 4, 2005)
1927 - Ramsey (William) Clark (U.S. Attorney General under President Lyndon Johnson [1967-1969])
1930 - Bill (William Joseph) ‘Moose’ Skowron (baseball: NY Yankees [World Series: 1955-1958, 1960-1962/all-star: 1957-1961], LA Dodgers [World Series: 1963], Chicago White Sox [all-star: 1965], Washington Senators, California Angels; died Apr 27, 2012)
1931 - Gene Shue (basketball: Univ. of Maryland, Golden State Warriors, Baltimore Bullets, Washington Bullets)
1938 - Bryan ‘Chas’ Chandler (musician: bass: group: Animals: House of the Rising Sun; manager: Jimi Hendrix, then Slade; died Jul 17, 1996)
1939 - Zoilo (Casanova Rodriguez) ‘Zorro’ Versalles (baseball: Washington Senators, Minnesota Twins [all-star: 1963, 1965/World Series: 1965/Baseball Writers’s MVP Award: American League: 1965], LA Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves; died June 9, 1995)
1941 - Sam Andrew (musician guitar: group: Big Brother and the Holding Company; died Feb 12, 2015)
1943 - Keith Richards (guitar: group: The Rolling Stones: Time is on My Side, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, Get Off of My Cloud, Start Me Up)
1946 - Greg Landry (football: Univ. of Massachusetts; Detroits Lions QB/QB coach)
1946 - Steven (Allan) Spielberg (Academy Award-winning director: Schindler’s List , Saving Private Ryan ; E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Indiana Jones series, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jurassic Park, The Color Purple, Shrek, Artificial Intelligence: AI; Oscar’s Irving G. Thalberg Award )
1948 - Len Garrett (football: Green Bay Packers)
1950 - Leonard Maltin (movie critic; author: Leonard Maltin’s TV Movies and Video Guide)
1951 - Doug Dennison (football: Dallas Cowboys)
1953 - Elliot Easton (Shapiro) (musician: guitar: group: The Cars: My Best Friend’s Girl, Just What I Needed, Let’s Go, You Might Think, Magic, Drive, Tonight She Comes)
1954 - Ray Liotta (actor: Unforgettable, Operation Dumbo Drop, Corrina, Corrina, Goodfellas, Field of Dreams, Dominck & Eugene, Something Wild, The Lonely Lady, Our Family Honor, Casablanca)
1963 - Charles Oakley (basketball: Virginia Union College, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks)
1963 - Brad Pitt (actor: 12 Monkeys, Seven, Legends of the Fall, A River Runs Through It, Thelma and Louise, Cutting Class, Head of the Class, Dallas, Twelve Monkeys, The Devil’s Own, Meet Joe Black, Fight Club, Ocean’s Eleven)
1964 - Steve Austin (pro wrestler/actor: WCW Saturday Night, King of the Ring, Survivor Series, WWF Judgement Day, Wrestlemania, Summerslam, Beyond the Mat, Hell Yeah, Armageddon, Royal Rumble, Lita: It Just Feels Right, Joplin: The Movie)
1968 - Casper Van Dien (actor: Tarzan and the Lost City, Beverly Hills, 90210, Beastmaster III: The Eye of Braxus, Starship Troopers, Sleepy Hollow, Titans)
1978 - Katie Holmes (actress: Dawson’s Creek, Wonder Boys, The Gift)
1980 - Christina Aguilera (singer: Genie in a Bottle, LP: What a Girl Wants; actress: MMC)
Chart Toppers - December 18
Civilization - Louis Prima
How Soon - Jack Owens
White Christmas - Bing Crosby
I’ll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms) - Eddy Arnold
I Hear You Knocking - Gale Storm
Love and Marriage - Frank Sinatra
Nuttin’ for Christmas - Barry Gordon
Sixteen Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford
Dominique - The Singing Nun
Louie Louie - The Kingsmen
Since I Fell for You - Lenny Welch
Love’s Gonna Live Here - Buck Owens
Family Affair - Sly & The Family Stone
Brand New Key - Melanie
An Old Fashioned Loved Song - Three Dog Night
Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’ - Charley Pride
Babe - Styx
Still - Commodores
Please Don’t Go - K.C. & The Sunshine Band
Happy Birthday Darlin’ - Conway Twitty
Faith - George Michael
Is This Love - Whitesnake
So Emotional -Whitney Houston
The Last One to Know - Reba McEntire
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.