1787 - Pennsylvania was ratifed on this day as the second of the United States of America. Also one of the original 13 colonies, Pennsylvania is geographically located in the keystone position in relation to the other 12 colonies, earning the nickname, the Keystone State. The state capital is Harrisburg, a city almost midway between Pennsylvaniaís two most well-known cites, Pittsburgh in Western Pennsylvania and Philadelphia in the east. Philadelphia is also where the first Continental Congress met and where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Not so famous is the state bird, the ruffed grouse and the state flower, the mountain laurel.
1850 - "Wide, Wide World", the novel by Elizabeth Wetherell (whose real name was Susan Warner), was published on this day. The book was called a bestseller by many folks; the first bestseller in America. There were 14 editions printed during the first two years of publication.
1897 - "The Katzenjammer Kids" (Hans and Fritz) appeared for the first time in "The New York Journal". The Rudolph Dirks comic strip became one of the most durable ever produced.
1899 - George Grant of Boston, MA patented the golf tee. Fore!
1900 - Charles M. Schwab formed the United States Steel Corporation; bringing together John Pierpont Morgan and Andrew Carnegie to create one of the richest and most powerful companies in the world. Is it the same Charles M. Schwab of private investment fame? Yes ... along with his son, in fact.
1937 - The Federal Communications Commission was a bit upset with NBC radio. The FCC scolded the radio network for a skit that starred Mae West. The satirical routine was based on the biblical tale of Adam and Eve and, well, it got a bit out of hand. So, following its scolding by the FCC, NBC banned Miss West from its airwaves for 15 years.
1959 - At 22 years and 104 days of age, Bruce McLaren became the youngest driver to win a Grand Prix race as he earned first place at Sebring, Florida.
1961 - Former big band singer (with Kay Kyser) Mike Douglas began a variety TV show from Cleveland. The show became most successful when KYW-TV moved from Cleveland to Philadelphia. Then, when the Douglas show left Philly for Hollywood, it folded. All things considered, it was a successful syndication effort, nationally, for Westinghouse Productions.
1963 - "John Fitzgerald Kennedy - A Memorial Album" became the fastest-selling record of all time when 4 million copies of the disk, each selling for 99 cents, were sold in six days -- between December 7-12. The memorial tribute was recorded November 22, the day President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.
1980 - Oil tycoon Armand Hammer bought a notebook of writings by Leonardo da Vinci for $5.28 million at auction in London. It was the highest price ever paid for a manuscript. It was 36 pages long and dated back to 1508.
1980 - The U.S. Congress amended the Copyright Act in 1980 to explicitly recognize that computer programs were protected as literary works.
1983 - Footballís Jim Brown showed up in "Sports Illustrated" again. This time, he was not on the cover as in September, 1960, but inside the magazine -- a record span of more than 23 years between spreads, as they say in the publishing biz.
1984 - The group known as Band Aid -- 38 of Britainís top rock musicians -- recorded "Do They Know Itís Christmas?" for Ethiopian famine victims. Despite the best of intentions, much of the food raised never got to the starving Ethiopians. In fact, much of it was found rotting on docks, not fit for human consumption. More than a Band-Aid was needed to fix that political mess.
1986 - James ĎBonecrusherí Smith became the first college graduate to win the world heavyweight boxing crown. ďIf I only had a bwain...,Ē he said, as he beat the brains out of Tim Witherspoon so badly, poor Tim couldnít count to ten. ďOne, duh. Eight. Six. Duh. Iím out.Ē
1986 - The LA Lakers beat the Boston Celtics, 117-110, to become the first visiting team to win at the old Boston Garden since December, 1985 -- a streak of 48 straight wins for the Celtics.
1992 - The soundtrack from the movie "The Bodyguard" was the #1 album in the U.S. A smash, as they say, it was number one for twenty weeks. The track listing: "I Will Always Love You", "I Have Nothing", "Iím Every Woman", "Run to You", "Queen of the Night", "Jesus Loves Me", all by Whitney Houston; "Even If My Heart Would Break", by Kenny G & Aaron Neville; "Someday (Iím Coming Back)", by Lisa Stansfield; "Itís Gonna Be a Lovely Day", by The S.O.U.L S.Y.S.T.E.M.; "Peace, Love And Understanding (What's So Funny íBout)", by Curtis Stigers; "Theme from The Bodyguard", by Alan Silvestri; and "Trust in Me", by Joe Cocker featuring Sass Jordan.
1995 - The International Olympic Committee announced that NBC had successfully bid a record $2.3 billion for the exclusive U.S. TV (broadcast and cable) rights to the 2004 and 2008 Summer Games and the 2006 Winter Games. $894 million was for the 2008 games alone. And the deal called for a 50-50 revenue sharing program with the IOC.
1997 - These films opened in U.S. theatres: "Amistad" (dir: Steven Spielberg), starring Morgan Freeman, Nigel Hawthorne Anthony Hopkins and Djimon Hounsou; "For Richer or Poorer" (dir: Bryan Spicer), with Tim Allen, Kirstie Alley, Jay O. Sanders and Michael Lerner; "Home Alone 3" (dir: Raja Gosnell), starring Alex D. Linz, Haviland Morris, Olek Krupa and Rya Kihlstedt; and "Scream 2" (dir: Wes Craven), with Neve Campball, Courteney Cox, Jerry O'connell and Liev Schreiber.
Birthdays - December 12
1745 - John Jay (statesman: 1st Chief Justice of U.S. Supreme Court [1789-1795]; co-author of the Federalist papers; died May 17, 1829)
1805 - William Lloyd Garrison (poet, journalist: editor: National Philanthropist; antislavery activist: publisher: The Liberator; died May 24, 1879)
1806 - Stand Watie (Indian Chief: Cherokee; signer of the Treaty of Echota; brigadier general: 1st Cherokee regiment for the Confederate Army during the U.S. Civil War; died Sep 9, 1871)
1821 - Gustave Flaubert (author: Madame Bovary; died May 8, 1880)
1893 - Edward G. Robinson (Emmanuel Goldenberg) (actor: Soylent Green, MacKennaís Gold, The Prize, Key Largo, Double Indemnity, Kid Galahad, Barbary Coast, Little Caesar, Scarlet Street; died Jan 26, 1973)
1913 - Winston Burdett (newscaster: CBS: ďI donít want to be quoted, and donít quote me that I donít want to be quoted.Ē; died May 19, 1993)
1915 - Frank (Francis Albert) Sinatra (ĎChairman of the Boardí, ĎOlí Blue Eyesí: singer: All or Nothing at All; Iíll Never Smile Again; In the Blue of the Evening; Iíll be Seeing You; Five Minutes More; The Loneliest Night of the Week; Iím a Fool to Want You; Iíve Got the World on a String; Iíve Got You Under My Skin; You Make Me Feel So Young; Strangers in the Night; Witchcraft; Thatís Life; New York, New York; My Way; 10 Grammy awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award; actor: On the Town; Guys and Dolls; Oceanís Eleven; Not As a Stranger; The Manchurian Candidate; None But the Brave; Young at Heart; The Tender Trap; High Society; Pal Joey; The Joker Is Wild; Special Oscar for The House I Live In, a short he made to promote racial and religious tolerance; an Oscar nomination for The Man with the Golden Arm, Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his performance in From Here to Eternity; plus the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1970; Emmy in 1965 for Outstanding Musical Special: Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music; President Ronald Reagan, presented Sinatra with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985; died of a heart attack, May 14, 1998 in Los Angeles, California)
1918 - Joe Williams (Joseph Goreed) (jazz singer: Every Day [I Have the Blues], Party Blues, Goiní to Chicago; sang with Count Basie: LP: Count Basie Swings, Joe Williams Sings; actor: The Bill Cosby Show; died Mar 29, 1999)
1923 - Bob Barker (TV game show host: The Price Is Right)
1924 - Ed Koch (politician: mayor: New York City; judge: TVís The Peopleís Court)
1927 - Honor Blackman (actress: Conspirator, Jason and the Argonauts, Goldfinger, Twinky, To the Devil a Daughter)
1929 - John (James) Osborne (Academy Award-winning playwright: Tom Jones ; The Entertainer, Look Back in Anger; Tony Award-winner: Luther ; died Dec 24, 1994)
1932 - Bob Pettit (Basketball Hall of Famer: St. Louis Hawks: Rookie of the Year [1954-1955], MVP Award [1956, 1959]; the first NBA player to score 20,000 points; NBA Silver Anniversary Team ; NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team )
1936 - Wally Dallenbach (auto racer: Fastest Ontario 100 Indy racer )
1938 - Connie Francis (Concetta Franconero) (singer: Stupid Cupid, Where the Boys Are, Lipstick on Your Collar, Iíll Follow the Boys, My Happiness, Whoís Sorry Now, Everybodyís Somebodyís Fool)
1940 - Shirley Englehorn (golf: winner: 1970 LPGA Championship)
1940 - Dionne Warwick (Grammy Award-winning singer: Do You Know the Way to San Jose , Iíll Never Fall in Love Again , Iíll Never Love This Way Again ; Then Came You [w/Spinners], Walk on By, I Say a Little Prayer, Promises, Promises, Anyone Who Had a Heart)
1941 - Terry Kirkman (musician: wind instruments, keyboards: group: The Association: Along Comes Mary, Cherish, Windy, Never My Love)
1942 - Mike Pindar (musician: keyboards: group: The Moody Blues: Nights in White Satin; solo: LP: Thomas from Mighty Oaks, The Promise, Hopes Dreams and Wishes)
1943 - Dickie Betts (musician: guitar: group: The Allman Brothers: Rambliní Man; solo: LP: Highway Call; group: Great Southern: LP: Dickie Betts and Great Southern, Atlanta Burning Down)
1943 - Grover Washington Jr. (musician: saxophone: Just the Two of Us [w/Bill Withers]; died Dec 17, 1999)
1945 - Ralph Garr (baseball: Atlanta Braves [all-star: 1974], Chicago White Sox, California Angels)
1946 - Clive Bunker (musician: drums: group: Jethro Tull: Living in the Past, Sweet Dream, Witchís Promise)
1949 - Paul Rodgers (musician: piano, vocals: Cut Loose; groups: Free, Bad Company, The Firm)
1952 - Rubin Carter (football: Denver Broncos defensive tackle: Super Bowl XII)
1952 - Cathy Rigby (gymnast: 1968 & 1972 U.S. Olympic Team, World Champion silver medalist ; TV commercials; actress: Peter Pan)
1953 - Rafael Septien (football: Dallas Cowboys kicker: Super Bowl XIII)
1956 - Ana Alicia (actress: Falcon Crest, Romero, Coward of the County)
1957 - Sheila E. (Escovedo) (musician: drums, singer: The Glamorous Life)
1959 - Paul Rutherford (singer: group: Frankie Goes to Hollywood: Relax!, Two Tribes, The Power of Love)
1962 - Tracy Austin (International Tennis Hall of Famer: US Open [and youngest] Singles champion [1979 and 1981]; youngest player to enter Wimbledon; AP Female Athlete of the Year [1979, 1981]; first siblings to win Wimbledon mixed doubles championship [w/brother John] )
1970 - Jennifer Connelly (actress: Mulholland Falls, The Rocketeer, Labyrinth, Once Upon a Time in America)
1975 - Mayim Bialik (actress: Blossom, Molloy)
1977 - Bridget Hall (supermodel: on over 60 International covers, listed in Forbes Magazine as one of the top ten moneymaking Supermodels of the world)
Chart Toppers - December 12
Mule Train - Frankie Laine
I Can Dream, Canít I? - The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (vocal: Jack Leonard)
Donít Cry, Joe - The Gordon Jenkins Orchestra (vocal: Betty Brewer)
Mule Train - Tennessee Ernie Ford
Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley
Raunchy - Bill Justis
Peggy Sue - Buddy Holly
My Special Angel - Bobby Helms
Turn! Turn! Turn! - The Byrds
Letís Hang On! - The 4 Seasons
I Got You (I Feel Good) - James Brown
Make the World Go Away - Eddy Arnold
Top of the World - Carpenters
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John
The Love I Lost - Harol Melvin & The Bluenotes
The Most Beautiful Girl - Charlie Rich
Physical - Olivia Newton-John
Waiting for a Girl like You - Foreigner
Every Little Thing She Does is Magic - The Police
Still Doiní Time - George Jones
We Didnít Start the Fire - Billy Joel
Another Day in Paradise - Phil Collins
Donít Know Much - Linda Ronstadt (featuring Aaron Neville)
If Tomorrow Never Comes - Garth Brooks