World News & the American Experience:
1968 – The Apollo 8 crew orbits the moon 10 times. On Christmas Eve, they transmit a message to all mankind calling for “peace on earth.”
Movies & TV:
1932 – Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers appear in their first movie together, Flying Down To Rio.
1937 – Walt Disney releases Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It is the first full-length animated movie with color and sound.
1946 – It’s A Wonderful Life, by Frank Capra, premieres.
1947 – Howdy Doody premieres on NBC-TV.
1953 – Dragnet, starring Jack Webb as Detective Joe Friday, becomes the first network program to be sponsored.
1954 – 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is released.
1955 – The Lennon Sisters debut on The Lawrence Welk Show on ABC-TV. They become regular guests, staying with the show until 1968.
1964 – Shooting begins on the pilot for Star Trek called “The Cage”.
1965 – Doctor Zhivago, directed by David Lean, premieres.
1969 – Diana Ross makes her final TV appearance as a Supreme on The Ed Sullivan Show.
1973 – The Exorcist, starring Linda Blair, premieres.
Music & Radio:
1954 – The Shadow, one of radio’s most popular programs, is broadcast for the last time.
1958 – Alvin and the Chipmunks have the top album, featuring “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)”.
1963 – “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “I Saw Her Standing There”, both by The Beatles, are released by Columbia Records.
1966 – “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys reach gold record status.
1968 – Led Zeppelin starts their first concert tour in the US.
1968 – The Breakfast Club is broadcast for the last time on ABC radio, after 35 years on the air.
1980 – “Just Like Starting Over”, by John Lennon, stays at #1 for five weeks on the pop charts. The song rose to the top spot after Lennon was murdered on December 8.
1981 – For Those About to Rock, We Salute You, AC/DC’s album, goes #1 in the U.S. for 3 weeks.
1984 – Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” single stays at the #1 spot for 6 weeks.
1985 – Born In The USA (Bruce Springsteen’s seventh album) becomes the second longest lasting record in the top 10 at 79 weeks. It passes Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and is second to The Sound of Music.
Arts & Entertainment:
1932 – Radio City Music Hall opens in New York City.
1950 – Cole Porter’s musical, Out of this World,” premiered in New York City.
1933 – Shirley Temple signs a studio contract with Fox. She is only 5 years old.
1943 – Baseball officials approve the motion that baseballs should be made of a synthetic rubber core.
1951 – Joe DiMaggio announces his retirement.
1951 – The first coast-to-coast televised football game takes place. The LA Rams beat the Cleveland Browns 24-17.
Technology & Inventions:
1947 – John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain and William Shockley invent the transistor. They will win the 1956 Nobel Prize in physics for their work.
1951 – An automobile by Crosley is built with the steering wheel on the right-hand side of the car. It would be used for mail delivery in Cincinnati, OH.
1937 – Jane Fonda, actress
1943 – Billie Jean King, tennis champion
1945 – Diane Sawyer
1946 – Susan Lucci, actress
1946 – Jimmy Buffett
1948 – Barbara Mandrell, singer
1949 – Sissy (Mary) Spacek, actress
1949 – Twins Maurice and Robin Gibb – Bee Gees
1954 – Chris Evert, tennis champion