1810 - The first interracial, title boxing bout was staged at Copthall Common in England. An American, Tom Molineaux, lost to Tom Cribb on a fluke punch. The fight went 40 rounds!
1817 - Mississippi, the state with the same name as the mighty river that borders it, and the 20th state, entered the USA this day. Although the Indian word, Mississippi, translates to ‘father of waters’, Mississippi’s nickname is the Magnolia State. Not so coincidentally, the state flower is the magnolia. The mockingbirds sitting on the branches of the magnolia trees are the state birds. Jackson, one of the largest cities in the state is also the state capital. Now, class, how were we taught to remember how to spell this state? All together now: M-i-s, s-i-s, s-i-p-p-i; or M-i-s-s, i-s-s, i- p-p-i; or M-i-crooked letter-crooked letter-i, crooked letter-crooked letter-i, humpback-humpback-i.
1896 - Intercollegiate basketball was played for the first time as Wesleyan University defeated Yale, 4-3, in New Haven, Connecticut.
1896 - Each year on the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, the prizes bearing his name are awarded “to those persons who shall have contributed most materially to the benefit of mankind during the year immediately preceding.” Alfred Bernhard Nobel died on this day and the first of the Nobel Prizes was presented in 1901 according to instructions in his will. Nobel chose this method to ease his conscience after inventing the deadly explosive, dynamite. One of the richest men in the world, he also felt it would be wrong to leave his fortune to relatives. “Inherited wealth is a misfortune which merely serves to dull man’s faculties.”
1910 - Tenor Enrico Caruso and conductor Arturo Toscanini were featured at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City for the world premiere of Puccini’s "The Girl of the Golden West".
1927 - For the first time, famed radio announcer George Hay introduced the "WSM Barn Dance" as "The Grand Ole Opry". The show’s title may have changed but it remained the home of country music.
1930 - Duke Ellington and his orchestra recorded the haunting "Mood Indigo" on Victor Records. It became one of the Duke’s most famous standards.
1930 - Adolph Rupp’s Kentucky Wildcats defeated Georgetown College, 67-19. It was the first time Rupp coached Kentucky and he wowed the crowd on hand with a fast break style of basketball that was practically unheard of at the time. Rupp continued to coach at Kentucky for 44 years, winning 874 games and earning four national titles. The sports arena where the Wildcats play is named after Rupp.
1949 - Fats Domino recorded his first sides for Imperial Records. The legend from New Orleans recorded "The Fat Man", one of the earliest rock and roll records. The title also turned into Domino’s nickname and stayed with him through his years of success. For those with a burning desire to know, Fats’ real name is Antoine. "The Fat Man", incidentally, is thought to have been a million-seller, but that can’t be verified.
1950 - Dr. Ralph Bunche became the first black to receive a Nobel Peace Prize. He was undersecretary of the U.N. at the time.
1953 - With an investment of $7,600, Hugh Hefner published the first "Playboy" magazine. There is no date printed on the first issue -- now a collector’s item. The reason, according to Hef, is that he doubted anyone would expect a second issue to be printed. Included in this first issue: A classic, nude, calendar photo of actress Marilyn Monroe.
1953 - Harry Belafonte debuted on Broadway in "Almanac" at the Imperial Theatre. Critics hailed Belafonte’s performance as “electrifyingly sincere.” Also starring in the show: Hermione Gingold, Billy DeWolfe, Polly Bergen and Orson Bean.
1955 - "The Big Surprise" on NBC-TV awarded the largest amount of money given away on television. Mrs. Ethel Park Richardson of Los Angeles, CA may have needed an armored truck to carry away her $100,000 in cash.
1964 - Rev. Martin Luther King became a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace. He was the youngest person to have won the award.
1966 - The Beach Boys made a one-week stop at the top of the "Billboard" Hot 100 as "Good Vibrations" made it to #1. It was the third #1 hit the group scored. The others were "I Get Around" and "Help Me, Rhonda".
1967 - Otis Redding and four members of the Bar-Kays (Otis’ backup group) were killed in the crash of a private plane near Madison, Wisconsin. Redding was 26 years old. His signature song, "(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay" was recorded three days before his death. It was #1 for four weeks beginning February 10, 1968. Redding was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. The Bar-Kays biggest hit was in July, 1967: "Soul Finger". James Alexander, bass player for the group, was not on the plane. Ben Cauley, trumpet player, survived the crash. The group played for a time with various new members.
1971 - William H. Rehnquist was confirmed by the Senate, 68-26, as U.S. Supreme Court Justice. He replaced Justice John Harlan who resigned in September 1971. Rehnquist joined the Court on January 7, 1972, the same day as Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr.
1977 - In only his second year of riding, Steve Cauthen became the first jockey to win $6-million in a single season. Cauthen was dubbed ‘The Six Million Dollar Kid’, and ‘Stevie Wonder’ by his admirers and was named 1977 Sportsman of the Year by "Sports Illustrated", the Associated Press, "ABC’s Wide World of Sports" and "The Sporting News".
1982 - Heavyweight Michael Dokes knocked out Mike Weaver at 1:03 of the first round to win the WBA heavyweight title in Las Vegas.
1986 - Exxon announced the sale of its Manhattan landmark, the 53-story Exxon Building, to a Japanese real estate developer. The price tag was $610 million.
1988 - Chicago’s "Look Away" was the #1 single in the U.S. It was one of three top-ten hits from the "Chicago 19" album (the others were "I Don’t Wanna Live Without Your Love" and "You’re Not Alone").
1991 - The U.S. Supreme Court struck down New York’s "Son of Sam Law" that forced criminals’ profits for selling their stories to be seized and given to their victims. The High Court held that the New York law was inconsistent with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
1991 - Alan Freed, the disc jockey credited with giving ‘Rock and Roll’ its name, was posthumously awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Freed died Jan 20, 1965.)
1994 - Kenny G’s "Miracles: The Holiday Album" was number one in the U.S. It became the best selling Christmas album in history, selling over 8 million albums as of 2000. The tracks: "Winter Wonderland", "White Christmas", "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", "Silent Night", "Greensleeves", "Miracles", "Little Drummer Boy", "The Chanukah Song", "Silver Bells", "Away in a Manger" and "Brahms Lullaby".
1999 - These flicks opened in the U.S.: "The Cider House Rules", starring Tobey Maguire, Charlize Theron and Michael Caine, who won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (John Irving won the Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published); "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo" (“He charges $10 but he’s willing to negotiate.”), with Rob Schneider, William Forsythe and Eddie Griffin; "The End of the Affair" (“The end was just the beginning.”), starring Ralph Fiennes, Julianne Moore and Stephen Rea; and "The Green Mile" (“Walk a mile you'll never forget.”), starring Tom Hanks, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt and Michael Clarke Duncan (this one was nominated for a bunch of Oscars.
Birthdays - December 10
1787 - Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (educator: founded first public school for deaf children [now the American School for the Deaf]; died Sep, 10 1851)
1830 - Emily Dickinson (poet: This is My letter to the World, If You Were Coming in the Fall, Some Keep the Sabbath Going to Church, Because I Could Not Stop for Death; died May 15, 1886)
1851 - Melvil Dewey (librarian: inventor of the Dewey Decimal System; died Dec 26, 1931)
1903 - Mary Norton (author: children’s books: Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Borrowers; died Aug 29, 1992)
1906 - Harold Adamson (lyricist: Time on My Hands, Daybreak; died Aug 17, 1980)
1911 - Chet (Chester Robert) Huntley (Emmy Award-winning newscaster: co-anchor [w/David Brinkley]: The Huntley-Brinkley Report [1958-1959, 1959-1960, 1960-1961, 1961-1962, 1962-1963, 1963-1964]; died Mar 20, 1974)
1913 - Morton Gould (Pulitzer Prize-winning composer: Stringmusic ; Fall River Legend, Billion Dollar Baby; film score: Delightfully Dangerous; died Feb 21, 1996)
1914 - Dorothy Lamour (Mary Leta Dorothy Slaton) (actress: Road to Singapore and other ‘Road’ movies with Bob Hope; The Love Goddesses, Pajama Party, Donovan’s Reef, The Greatest Show on Earth, The Hurricane; Miss New Orleans ; died Sep 22, 1996)
1923 - Harold Gould (actor: Romero, Dream Chasers, Seems Like Old Times, Kenny Rogers as the Gambler, The Sting, Rhoda, Under One Roof, The Golden Girls, Spencer, Singer & Sons, He & She, The Feather and Father Gang; died Sep 11, 2010)
1924 - Ken Albers (bass singer: group: The Four Freshmen: LPs: And Five Trumpets, And Five Saxes, In Person, Voices in Love, And Five Guitars; died Apr 19, 2007)
1927 - Joe Olivier (musician: guitar: group: Bill Haley and His Comets [1957, 1958]; solo as Cappy Bianco; died Dec 25, 2001)
1928 - Dan Blocker (actor: Bonanza, Cimarron City, Come Blow Your Horn, Lady in Cement, Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County; died May 13, 1972)
1933 - Mako (Makoto Iwamatsu) (actor: Red Sun Rising, Sidekicks, Taking Care of Business, Pacific Heights, Kung Fu: The Movie, Conan the Destroyer, Sand Pebbles, Hawaiian Heat; died July 21, 2006)
1941 - Fionnula Flanagan (Emmy Award-winning actress: Rich Man, Poor Man [2/2/76], Money for Nothing, Youngblood, Picture of Dorian Gray, How the West was Won, Hard Copy)
1941 - Tommy Kirk (actor: Blood of Ghastly Horror, Village of the Giants, Pajama Party, Son of Flubber, The Absent-Minded Professor, The Swiss Family Robinson, The Shaggy Dog, Old Yeller, Bikini Beach)
1941 - Tommy Rettig (actor: Lassie, The Cobweb, River of No Return, The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T; died Feb 15, 1996)
1943 - Chad Stuart (musician: guitar, lyricist, singer: duo: Chad & Jeremy: Yesterday’s Gone, A Summer Song, Willow Weep for Me, If I Loved You, Before and After, I Don’t Wanna Lose You Baby, Distant Shores; emcee for The Smothers Brothers Show)
1944 - Steve (Steven) Renko (baseball: pitcher: Montreal Expos, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox, California Angels, KC Royals)
1944 - Tisha (Patricia) Sterling (actress: Killer Inside Me, Betrayal, Snatched, Powder Keg, Defiant, Coogan’s Bluff)
1946 - Christopher ‘Ace’ Kefford (musician: bass: group: The Move: Night of Fear, I Can Hear the Grass Grow, Flowers in the Rain, Fire Brigade, Blackberry Way)
1946 - Walter ‘Clyde’ Orange (musician: drums, singer: group: The Commodores: Machine Gun, Just to Be Close to You, Sweet Love, Easy, Sail On, Three Times a Lady, Still, Nightshift)
1947 - Bob Birdsell (hockey: WHL: Salt Lake Golden Eagles; CHL: Kansas City Blues, Amarillo Wranglers; AHL: Hershey Bears)
1948 - Jessica Cleaves (singer: group: Friends of Distinction: Grazing in the Grass)
1950 - Lloyd Neal (basketball: Portland Trailblazers)
1951 - Johnny Rodriguez (singer: Ridin’ My Thumb to Mexico)
1952 - Susan Dey (actress: The Partridge Family, L.A. Law, Love and War, Emerald Point N.A.S., Blue River, Sunset Limousine, Comeback Kid, First Love)
1953 - Dave Tipton (football: Western Illinois, New England Patriots DL)
1959 - Mark Aguirre (basketball: NBA Dallas Mavericks: led NBA in field goals [925 in 1983-84], Detroit Pistons: NBA Championship teams [1989, 1990])
1960 - Kenneth Branagh (actor: Henry V, Another Country, Othello, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Much Ado About Nothing, Look Back in Anger; autobiography: Beginning; cofounder: Renaissance Theater Company in England)
Chart Toppers - December 10
Near You - The Francis Craig Orchestra (vocal: Bob Lamm)
You Do - Dinah Shore
And Mimi - Dick Haymes
I’ll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms) - Eddy Arnold
Sixteen Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford
Memories are Made of This - Dean Martin
Nuttin’ for Christmas - Barry Gordon
Love, Love, Love - Webb Pierce
Dominique - The Singing Nun
Everybody - Tommy Roe
Louie Louie - The Kingsmen
Love’s Gonna Live Here - Buck Owens
Family Affair - Sly & The Family Stone
Have You Seen Her - Chi-Lites
Got to Be There - Michael Jackson
Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’ - Charley Pride
Babe - Styx
Still - Commodores
Please Don’t Go - K.C. & The Sunshine Band
I Cheated Me Right Out of You - Moe Bandy
Heaven is a Place on Earth - Belinda Carlisle
Faith - George Michael
Should’ve Known Better - Richard Marx
Somebody Lied - Ricky Van Shelton