1787 - Delaware, the First State, was first to ratify the proposed U.S. Constitution and was the first state admitted to the Union (on this day). Also known as the Diamond State, Delaware is the smallest Southern state and the second smallest of all 50 states. “So what,” you say. “We want to know what the Delaware state bird is!” Ye of little faith. That was coming next. The Delaware state bird is the blue hen chicken. And, in case you wanted to know even more, the capital of Delaware is Dover and the peach blossom is the state flower.
1842 - The New York Philharmonic Society gave its first public concert, performing works of Beethoven. The conductor that historical day was Ureli Corelli Hill. The New York Philharmonic is the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States and one of the oldest in the world.
1925 - Swimmer Johnny Weissmuller set a world record in the 150-yard freestyle with a time of 1 minute, 25 and 2/5 seconds -- in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Johnny went on to fame swinging from vines as ‘King of the Jungle’, Tarzan, in movies.
1926 - The household refrigerator, operating on gas, was patented. No, not by what you might think of as a major appliance manufacturer. The refrigerator was patented by the Electrolux Servel Corporation. Name sound familiar? Yep -- the vacuum cleaner people.
1935 - Byron Haines, a halfback for the University of Washington, scored all the points as the Huskies defeated Southern California, 6-2. He scored all the points for his team -- and the other team as well. He was responsible for Washington’s touchdown and he was pushed over the goal line giving USC a safety.
1941 - December 7, 1941 is remembered as “a date which will live in infamy”: Pearl Harbor Day. Thousands of lives were lost, a major portion of America’s Pacific fleet was in pieces and the U.S. was catapulted into war in the Pacific. Today, at the onshore "USS Arizona" Memorial Visitor Center, we can see displays of World War II naval history and wartime Hawaii; and view a film about the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. A ferry shuttles back and forth between the visitor center and the memorial where one can actually stand right above the "Arizona". In fact, the rusted remains of the "Arizona" are clearly visible under the waters of Pearl Harbor. The memorial to the 1,100 men, entombed forever within the sunken, once mighty, battleship, straddles the "USS Arizona". One wall of the structure bears their names.
1948 - NBC presented the "Horace Heidt Youth Opportunity Program" for the first time. The talent show earned Dick Contino, an accordionist, the $5,000 prize as the program’s first national winner. Over the years Heidt gave some big stars their big starts: Art Carney, Frankie Carle, Gordon MacRae, the King Sisters, Alvino Rey, Ken Berry, Frank DeVol, Dick Contino, Al Hirt, Fred Lowrey, Ronnie Kemper, Larry Cotton, Donna and her Don Juans, Ollie O'Toole and many others.
1948 - The man referred to as the Babe Ruth of cricket retired in Australia. His name was Donald Bradman. Wisden, cricket’s authoritative almanac, named Sir Donald as the best cricketer of the 20th century. In 52 Test matches from 1928 to 1948, he scored 6,996 runs at an average of 99.94.
1952 - "My Little Margie", starring Gale Storm and Charles Farrell, made its debut on CBS radio. The TV version of the popular show had begun on June 16, 1952. "My Little Margie" stayed on radio for three years. Miss Storm got a show of her own called "The Gale Storm Show". She also recorded several hit songs, including "I Hear You Knocking" and "Ivory Tower" between 1955-57.
1955 - Robert Sarnoff was elected president/CEO of NBC. Sarnoff was promoted to put NBC on the road to economic self-sufficiency, replacing the rather flamboyant (and big spending) president/CEO Pat Weaver.
1957 - Singer Pat Boone was at the top of the pop charts for the first of six weeks with "April Love". His other number one hits included "Ain’t That a Shame", "I Almost Lost My Mind", "Don’t Forbid Me" and "Love Letters in the Sand". See what wearing white buck shoes and drinking lots of milk can do for you?
1963 - Instant replay was used for the first time during the Army-Navy game. CBS-TV used the new video technique over and over and over and over and over again.
1968 - The great grandson of Mr. M. Dodd, who had borrowed a volume on diseases from the University of Cincinnati Medical Library in 1823, was assessed the largest library fine ever -- $2,646. No charges were pressed, but the great grandson was placed on detention for 12 years, 5 months and 23 days -- in the library, of course.
1970 - Harry Reasoner, who had left CBS News weeks before, joined Howard K. Smith for "The ABC Evening News with Howard K. Smith and Harry Reasoner". The Smith-Reasoner team lasted almost five years.
1974 - "Kung Fu Fighting", by Carl Douglas, reached the #1 position on the pop charts. It stayed there for two weeks.
1984 - Michael Jackson was in Chicago to testify that the song, "The Girl is Mine", was exclusively his and he didn’t swipe the song, "Please Love Me Now". It was a copyright infringement case worth five million dollars. He won.
1995 - The U.S. spacecraft "Galileo" arrived at Jupiter and fired its main engine for 49 minutes to attain a successful orbit around Jupiter. The same day, Galileo's atmospheric probe plunged into Jupiter’s atmosphere, and relayed information on the structure and composition of the solar system’s largest planet.
1996 - Toni Braxton’s "Unbreak My Heart" was #1 on the "Billboard" "Hot 100". The hit, from her "Secrets" album, stayed at number one half-way thru Feb 1997.
Birthdays - December 7
1873 - Willa (Sibert) Cather (Pulitzer Prize-Winning author: One of Ours ; O Pioneers!, My Antonia, Death Comes for the Archbishop, Alexander’s Bridge; died Apr 24, 1947)
1879 - (Charles) Rudolf Friml (musician, composer: Rose Marie, Indian Love Call; died Nov 12, 1972)
1909 - Jacob Kainen (artist: lyrical and poetic abstractions; died Mar 19, 2001)
1910 - Rod Cameron (Nathan Roderick Cox) (actor: Midnight Auto Supply, Psychic Killer, Evel Knievel, The Last Movie, Northwest Mounted Police, Wake Island, State Trooper, City Detective; died Dec 21, 1983)
1911 - Louis Prima (musician: trumpet, bandleader: Louis Prima and His New Orleans Gang, Gleeby Rhythm Orchestra; songwriter: Sing, Sing, Sing, Christopher Columbus, It’s the Rhythm in Me, Sunday Kind of Love, Robin Hood, Bell-Bottom Trousers, Civilization, Oh, Babe; singer: [w/wife Keely Smith]: Just a Gigolo, That Old Black Magic, I Ain’t Got Nobody, I’ve Got You Under My Skin; solo: Wonderland by Night; voice of Orangutan: The Jungle Book; died Aug 24, 1978)
1915 - Eli Wallach (actor: Emmy Award-winning actor: The Poppy is Also a Flower [1966-67]; Our Family Honor, Too Much, Legacy of Lies, Mistress, The Two Jakes, The Godfather, Part 3, Tough Guys, Christopher Columbus, Sam’s Son, The Deep, Cinderella Liberty, MacKenna’s Gold, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The Tiger Makes Out, The Magnificent Seven, How the West was Won)
1923 - Ted Knight (Tadeus Wladyslaw Konopka) (Emmy Award-winning Actor: The Mary Tyler Moore Show [1972-73, 1975-76]; Too Close for Comfort, The Ted Knight Show; Caddyshack, Countdown, Psycho; died Aug 26, 1986)
1926 - Victor Kiam II (business executive: Lever Brothers, Playtex, Remington: chairman: “I liked it [electric shaver] so much, that I bought the company.”; NFL team owner: New England Patriots; died May 27, 2001)
1930 - Dan Sikes Jr. (golf: champ: Bay Hill Invitational: 1968; one of golf leaders who laid groundwork for Senior Tour in 1980)
1931 - Bobby Osborne (musician: mandolin, singer: duo: Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top, Up This Hill and Down, Tennessee Hound Dog, Georgia Pinewoods)
1932 - Ellen Burstyn (Edna Rae Gilhooley) (Academy Award-winning actress: Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore ; The Color of Evening, When a Man Loves a Woman, The Cemetery Club, Same Time Next Year, Harry and Tonto, The Exorcist, The Last Picture Show, The Ellen Burstyn Show, The Doctors)
1935 - Don (Donald Eugene) Cardwell (baseball: pitcher: Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, NY Mets [World Series: 1969], Atlanta Braves; died Jan 14, 2008)
1940 - Gerry Cheevers (Hockey Hall of Famer: Boston Bruins goalie: longest undefeated streak [32 games]; Stanley Cup winner [1970, 1972]; coach: Boston Bruins)
1942 - Harry Chapin (songwriter, singer: Taxi, W-O-L-D, Cat’s in the Cradle; Recipient of Special Congressional Gold Medal: Worldwide Humanitarian for the Hungry, Needy and Homeless; killed in auto accident July 16, 1981)
1942 - Alex (Alexander) Johnson (baseball: Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, California Angels [all-star: 1970], Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, NY Yankees, Detroit Tigers)
1945 - Al Woodall (football: QB: Duke Univ, NY Jets)
1947 - Johnny (Lee) Bench (Baseball Hall of Famer: catcher: Cincinnati Reds [Rookie of the Year: 1968/all-star: 1968-1980, 1983] World Series: 1970, 1972, 1975, 1976]/Baseball Writers’ Award: 1970, 1972]; ten Gold Glove Awards; broadcaster: CBS radio)
1947 - Garry Unger (hockey: Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, SL Blues, Atlanta Flames, LA Kings, Edmonton Oilers)
1948 - James Keach (actor: Wildcats, Love Letters, Vacation, The Experts, Moving Violations, Comes a Horseman, The Razor’s Edge; director: The Stars Fell on Henrietta, A Passion for Justice: The Hazel Brannon Smith Story, Sunstroke, Praying Mantis, The Absolute Truth; married to actress Jane Seymour, son of actor Stacy Keach Sr., brother of actor Stacy Keach)
1949 - Tom Waits (singer: Shiver Me Timbers, Diamonds on My Windshield, Small Change, The Piano Has Been Drinking, Tom Traubert’s Blues, Burma Shave, Potter’s Field, Jersey Girl, LP: Foreign Affairs, Swordfishtrombone; songwriter: I Never Talk to Strangers; actor: Short Cuts, Paradise Alley, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Ironweed, The Cotton Club; playwright [w/wife, Kathleen Brennan]: Frank’s Wild Years)
1954 - Mike Nolan (singer: group: Bucks Fizz: Making Your Mind Up, Land of Make Believe, My Camera Never Lies, Now Those Days are Gone, If You Can’t Stand the Heat, You and Your Eyes So Blue)
1955 - Priscilla Barnes (actress: Mallrats, Licence to Kill, Time Machine, Delta Fox, Beyond Reason, Three’s Company, The American Girls)
1956 - Larry Bird (Basketball Hall of Famer: Boston Celtics: Rookie of the Year [1979-80]; NBA MVP [1984, 1985, 1986], AP Male Athlete of the Year , Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year )
1956 - Ozzie (Osvaldo Jose) Virgil (Jr.) (baseball: catcher: Philadelphia Phillies [World Series: 1983/all-star: 1985], Atlanta Braves [all-star: 1987], Toronto Blue Jays)
1966 - C. Thomas Howell (actor: Two Marriages, Hourglass, Payback, Breaking the Rules, A Tiger’s Tale, Soul Man, Tank, The Outsiders, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial; rodeo cowboy)
1978 - Shiri Appleby (actress: Roswell, ER, Blood Vows: The Story of a Mafia Wife, I Love You to Death, The Thirteenth Floor, A Time for Dancing)
Chart Toppers - December 7
The Trolley Song - The Pied Pipers
Dance with the Dolly - The Russ Morgan Orchestra (vocal: Al Jennings)
I’m Making Believe - Ella Fitzgerald & The Ink Spots
Smoke on the Water - Red Foley
Glow Worm - The Mills Brothers
Because You’re Mine - Mario Lanza
Why Don’t You Believe Me - Joni James
Back Street Affair - Webb Pierce
Are You Lonesome To-night? - Elvis Presley
Last Date - Floyd Cramer
Poetry in Motion - Johnny Tillotson
Wings of a Dove - Ferlin Husky
Love Child - Diana Ross & The Supremes
For Once in My Life - Stevie Wonder
I Heard It Through the Grapevine - Marvin Gaye
Stand By Your Man - Tammy Wynette
Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright) - Rod Stewart
The Rubberband Man - Spinners
You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show) - Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr.
Good Woman Blues - Mel Tillis
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go - Wham!
Out of Touch - Daryl Hall & John Oates
Better Be Good to Me - Tina Turner
Your Heart’s Not in It - Janie Fricke
Written and edited by Carol Williams and John Williams
Contributing writer: Joe Benson
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.