350th day of 2010 - 15 remaining
Thursday, December 16, 2010

On this day in 1901, the famous story, Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter, was printed for the first time, complete with Potter’s watercolor illustrations.

Ms. Potter had come up with the Peter Rabbit concept eight years earlier when she sent a story, told in pen and ink drawings, to a five-year-old who was sick in bed. The first story about the ill-behaved rabbit was meant to cheer up the little boy.

Of course, all good little boys and girls remember that Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail were the good little bunnies who went down the lane to gather blackberries. But Peter, who was very naughty, ran straight to Mr. McGregor’s garden, and squeezed through the gate. First he ate some lettuce and some French beans; and then he ate some radishes ... and he got too fat ... and Mr. McGregor is coming ... and we gotta get out of this garden ... and it’s getting late ... we will have to finish this later.

Peter Rabbit aka The Tale of Peter Rabbit has been a bedtime favorite ever since. In fact, children throughout the world continue to enjoy the first and 22 more tales about the cotton-tailed bunny and his friends.

Events December 16

1773 - Although no finger sandwiches or petits fours were served, it was some tea party! Colonial patriots, disguised as Indians, were the honored guests. They provided the entertainment too, as they dumped some 350 chests of tea into Boston Harbor. Their action was a protestation of taxation without representation and the monopoly granted the East India Company (among other complaints against the British regime). The patriots secretly boarded three British ships in the harbor, dumping the ships’ cargo into the sea ... an event known forever more as the Boston Tea Party.

1893 - Anton Dvorak attended the first performance of his New World Symphony at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

1903 - Women ushers were employed for the first time at the Majestic Theatre in New York City. The Majestic was built by the Pabst Brewing Company in 1903 as part of an entertainment complex. It was renamed the Park in 1911; renamed the Cosmopolitan in 1922; and renamed the International in 1944; it was used as an NBC TV studio from 1949 until its demolition in 1954.

1905 - Sime Silverman published the first issue of Variety, the weekly show biz magazine. The first issue was 16 pages in length and sold for a nickel. Variety and Daily Variety are still going strong.

1912 - The first postage stamp to depict an airplane was issued. It was a 20-cent parcel-post stamp.

1920 - One of the most powerful earthquakes of all time occurred in Kansu province, China. Estimated at over 8 points on the Richter scale it killed 180,000 people.

1929 - Walt Disney went corporate on this day. The partnership of Walt Disney Studios was incorporated and renamed Walt Disney Productions, Limited; Disney Film Recording Company, Ltd. was created as a subsidiary of Walt Disney Productions; Walt and Roy Disney set up Walt Disney Enterprises for handling Disney merchandising; and Liled Realty & Investment Company was created to own real estate used by the other two Disney corporations.

1940 - Bob Crosby and his Bobcats backed up brother Bing as New San Antonio Rose was recorded on Decca Records.

1944 - The Battle of the Bulge, the final major German counteroffensive of World War II, began. Initially, the Nazi commanders were able to thrust deep into Allied territory in North and East Belgium, a 75-mile front, choosing a time when foggy, rainy weather prevailed. The Allies were taken by surprise, but recovered and repulsed the Nazi offensive by January 1945.

1950 - U.S. President Harry Truman proclaimed a national state of emergency in order to fight “Communist imperialism.”

1951 - NBC-TV debuted “Dum-de-dum-dum. Dum-de-dum-dum-daa.” Dragnet made it to TV, in a special preview, on Chesterfield Sound Off Time. The Jack Webb (Sgt. Joe Friday) police drama opened its official TV run on January 3, 1952. Trivia factoid: Sgt. Friday’s boss in this preview was played by Raymond Burr (later of Perry Mason and Ironside fame).

1956 - Cardinal Francis Spellman, Archbishop of New York, denounced the movie Baby Doll. Spellman said Catholics would be committing a sin if they went to see the film, an adaptation (by the playwright) of a Tennessee Williams play. Director Elia Kazan said, “Cardinal Spellman had the filthiest mind of anybody. He made a dirty picture out of it.”

1960 - Lucille Ball took a respite from her weekly TV series to star in the Broadway production of Wildcat, which opened at the Alvin Theatre in New York City. The show ran for 171 performances.

1960 - A United Air Lines DC-8 and a TWA Super Constellation collided in fog over over Staten Island and crashed in Brooklyn, New York. All 128 people aboard both planes were killed along with six others on the ground.

1965 - Pioneer 6, a 140-pound spacecraft, was launched into solar orbit. The spacecraft was designed to last six months but wound up lasting much, much longer. Pioneer 6 had circled the sun 35 times and had traveled 18 billion miles as of Dec 1995. There was a successful contact of Pioneer 6 for about two hours on Dec 8, 2000 to commemorate its 35th anniversary.

1967 - The Lemon Pipers released Green Tambourine on an unsuspecting psychedelic world this day. The tune made #1 on February 3, 1968. Far out, man!

1971 - Melanie (Safka) received a gold record for the single, Brand New Key, about roller skates and love and stuff like that. This one made it to #1 on Christmas Day, 1971.

1971 - Don McLean’s eight-minute-plus (8:32) version of American Pie was released. It became one of the longest songs with some of the most confusing (pick your favorite interpretation) lyrics to ever hit the pop charts. It was a disc jockey favorite since there were few songs long enough for potty breaks at the time. American Pie hit #1 on January 15, 1972.

1972 - The Miami Dolphins became the first NFL team to go unbeaten and untied in a 14-game regular season. The Dolphins beat the Baltimore Colts to earn the honor. Larry King, incidentally, did color for the Dolphins that year on radio. Now you know.

1972 - Paul McCartney’s single, Hi, Hi, Hi, was released. It peaked at #10 on the top tune tabulation (February 3, 1973).

1973 - Jim Brown’s single-season rushing record in the NFL was smashed by O.J. Simpson. Brown rushed for 1,863 yards, while ‘The Juice’ ran for 2,003 yards.

1976 - U.S. President Jimmy Carter nominated Andrew Young as Ambassador to the United Nations.

1980 - U.S. President-elect Ronald Reagan chose General Alexander Haig as his secretary of state.

1985 - The Dow Jones Industrial Average Closed at 1553.10, doubling its 1982 low. August 12, 1982 had seen the bottom of the market and the bull market began the following day (Friday the 13th) taking it to the 1553.10 level on this day.

1987 - South Korea held its first direct presidential election in 16 years, choosing the government’s handpicked candidate, Roh Tae-Woo.

1990 - The Reverend Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected president of Haiti in that nation's first fully free vote since the 1986 fall of the Duvalier regime. It was an up and down career for the Roman Catholic priest. Aristide was overthrown by the military in 1991 -- but restored to power in 1994.

1991 - An Egyptian ferry, the Salem Express, carrying 569 passengers, sank in Red Sea off the coast of Safaga, Egypt, after hitting a coral reef. Some 460 people were believed to have drowned.

1995 - Mike Tyson KO’d Buster Mathis Jr. in the third round at Philadelphia, PA. It was Tyson’s 37th knockout.

1996 - Chip maker Intel announced the world’s fastest computer -- capable of 1 trillion operations per second.

1997 - The highest wind speed ever measured -- an unverified 236 mph -- was recorded at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam as Typhoon Paka slammed into the Pacific island.

1998 - American writer William Gaddis died at the age of 75. His work included A Frolic of His Own.

1999 - Days of torrential rains and mudslides in Caracas and surrounding states in Venezuela left tens of thousands of people dead, missing or homeless (150,000 were forced to flee).

2000 - President-elect George Bush (II) chose retired General Colin Powell to become the 65th U.S. Secretary of State. Powell was the first African American to hold that post.

2001 - After nine weeks of fighting, Afghan militia leaders claimed control of the last mountain bastion of Osama BIN Laden’s al-Qaida fighters, but BIN Laden himself was nowhere to be seen.

2002 - Canada ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 treaty indended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

2003 - U.S. President George Bush (II) signed into law the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM Act). The law allowed consumers to choose to stop unsolicited spam from a sender.

2003 - Robert Lorne Stanfield, 89, former leader of the Canadian Tories, died. Stanfield led the Progressive Conservatives from 1967 to 1976.

2003 - A fire at Denmark’s North Sea Museum destroyed much of the building housing Europe’s largest aquarium.

2004 - Abstract painter Agnes Martin died at 92 years of age in Taos, NM. “Artwork is a representation of our devotion to life,” Martin once wrote. “The enormous pitfall is devotion to oneself instead of to life. All works that are self-devoted are absolutely ineffective.”

2005 - The Family Stone opened in the U.S. The romantic comedy stars Claire Danes, Tyrone Giordano, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Dermot Mulroney, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Elizabeth Reaser, Paul Schneider, Brian J. White and Luke Wilson.

2005 - Senator John McCain persuaded U.S. President George Bush (II) to accept a ban on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees. The White House accepted a ban proposed in legislation by McCain, a former navy pilot who was held and tortured for five years during the Vietnam War.

2006 - U.S. company Westinghouse Electric won a two-year battle for a nuclear power deal with China, edging out French and Russian rivals. The contract was estimated to be worth $8 billion.

2006 - Iraq’s army announced that it was welcoming all former members of Saddam Hussein’s army.

2007 - Morgan Stanley senior executive Stephen Roach said the U.S. was heading for a recession and the rest of the world would be ‘dead wrong’ to think it would not impact on growing Asian economies.

2007 - Spanish police said they had arrested 63 people across the country in five investigations into child pornography on the Internet.

2007 - Singer, songwriter Dan Fogelberg died at his home in Maine. He was 56 years old and had been battling prostate cancer. His hits Leader of the Band and Same Old Lang Syne helped define the ‘soft-rock’ era.

2008 - French authorities imposed a record fine of €575,000,000 ($785,000,000) on global steel giant ArcelorMittal and 10 other steel firms found guilty of price-fixing.

2008 - The U.S. Federal Reserve reduced its target for the federal funds rate to between zero and 0.25 percent, down from 1 percent, already the lowest target rate in a half century.

2009 - A Town Called Panic opened in U.S. theatres. The animated adventure comedy Features the voices of Stéphane Aubier, Jeanne Balibar, Nicolas Buysse, Véronique Dumont, Bruce Ellison, Christine Grulois and Frédéric Jannin.

2009 - The 76-acre CityCenter opened in Las Vegas, Nevad. The cost for this, the largest privately funded construction project in America, was some $8.5 billion.

Birthdays December 16

1770 - Ludwig van Beethoven
composer: although totally deaf, led orchestra in premiere performance of his Ninth Symphony; died Mar 26, 1827

1775 - Jane Austen
author: Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility; died July 18, 1817

1863 - George Santayana
philosopher/writer: Three Philosophical Poets, Character and Opinion of the United States, The Sense of Beauty, The Interpretations of Religion and Poetry, The Life of Reason, Scepticism and Animal Faith, Realms of Being, The Last Puritan; “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”; died Sep 26, 1952

1899 - Sir Noel (Peirce) Coward
actor: The Italian Job, Paris When It Sizzles, Hearts of the World; actor, director, composer, playwright: In Which We Serve; playwright: Brief Encounter, Bitter Sweet, Private Lives; died Mar 26, 1973

1900 - V.S. Pritchett
author: novels, short stories, biographies, essays, criticism; died Mar 20, 1997

1901 - Margaret Mead
anthropologist: studies of ancient people of the South Pacific; died Nov 15, 1978

1915 - Turk Murphy (Melvin Edward Alton Murphy)
trombonist: first to play jazz version of Mack the Knife; died May 30, 1987

1917 - Arthur C. Clarke
science fiction writer: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Islands in the Sky; died Mar 19, 2008

1917 - Murray Kempton
Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaperman; died May 5, 1997

1920 - George (Louis) Schaefer
director: The Man Upstairs, Children in the Crossfire, Deadly Game, Doctors’ Wives, The Tempest, Victoria Regina; died Sep 10, 1997

1928 - Bruce Ames
biochemist: cancer research: identifying agents damaging human DNA and the consequences for aging and cancer

1931 - Tom Brookshier
football: Philadelphia Eagles; sportscaster: CBS Sports

1931 - Shelby Singleton
record executive: SSS International record company, Plantation label: Harper Valley PTA; bought Sun Records [1969]; Shelby Singleton Music

1937 - Joyce Bulifant
actress: Thank Heaven, Diamonds, The Shining [1997], The Haircut, Airplane, Better Late Than Never, Little Women [1978]

1937 - Jim Glaser
singer: group: Tompall and the Glaser Brothers: backup for Marty Robbins’ El Paso; solo: The Man in the Mirror; songwriter: Woman, Woman

1938 - Liv Ullmann
actress: The Ox, The Rose Garden, Dangerous Moves, A Bridge Too Far, Scenes from a Marriage, The Emigrants, Persona

1939 - Wayne Connelly
hockey: NHL: Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Minnesota North Stars, Detroit Red Wings, SL Blues, Vancouver Canucks

1941 - Lesley Stahl
journalist: White House correspondent; reporter: CBS News, Face the Nation, 60 Minutes

1943 - Steven Bochco
Emmy Award-winning executive producer: Hill Street Blues [1980-1981, 1981-82, 1982-83, 1983-84], L.A. Law [1986-1987, 1988-1989]; N.Y.P.D. Blue, Cop Rock, Capitol Critters, A Fade to Black; writer: Ironside; story editor: Columbo

1943 - Anthony Hicks
musician: lead guitar, songwriter: group: The Hollies: Stop, Stop, Stop, The Air that I Breathe, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

1946 - Benny Andersson
pianist, singer: groups: Hep Stars [Sweden’s Beatles]; Abba: I Have a Dream, Dancing Queen, Waterloo

1946 - Terence Knox
actor: St. Elsewhere, Tour of Duty, Wild Michigan, An Ordinary Killer, At Face Value, University Blues, Stolen Innocence, Poisoned By Love: The Kern County Murders

1947 - Ben (Bernard) Cross
actor: First Knight, The Criminal Mind, The Unholy, The Far Pavilions, Chariots of Fire, Dark Shadows

1949 - Billy Gibbons
musician: guitar, singer: group: ZZ Top: Salt Lick, Jesus Just Left Chicago, La Grange, Tush, Gimme All Your Lovin’, Legs, Sharp Dressed Man, Sleeping Bag

1950 - Claudia Cohen
gossip columnist, TV reporter: Page Six [New York Post], I, Claudia [Daily News], Live With Regis and Kathie Lee, Live With Regis and Kelly; died June 15, 2007

1951 - Mike (Michael Kendall) Flanagan
baseball: pitcher: Baltimore Orioles [all-star: 1978/World Series: 1979, 1983/Cy Young Award: 1979]; Toronto Blue Jays

1951 - Jean Fugett
football: Dallas Cowboys

1959 - Alison La Placa
actress: The John Larroquette Show, Tom, Open House, The Jackie Thomas Show, Duet

1961 - Dale Hibbert
musician: bass guitar: group: The Smiths: Hand in Glove, The Charming Man, What Difference Does It Make?, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, William, It Was Really Nothing

1961 - Sam Robards
actor: Artificial Intelligence: AI, Fandango, Spin City, American Beauty, Life as a House; son of actors Jason Robards and Lauren Bacall

1962 - William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry
football: Chicago Bears defensive tackle: Super Bowl XX

1963 - Benjamin Bratt
actor: Law & Order, Nasty Boys, Bright Angel, Demolition Man, The Next Best Thing, Red Planet, Miss Congeniality, Traffic, After the Storm

1964 - Billy Ripken
baseball [second base]: Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers; brother of Cal Ripken, Jr; father was baseball player Cal Ripken, Sr

1966 - Clifford Robinson
basketball: Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns

1970 - Daniel Cosgrove
actor: Van Wilder, The Way She Moves, Valentine, Satan’s School for Girls, The Object of My Affection

1972 - Charles Gipson
baseball: Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Devil Rays

1973 - Kristie Boogert
tennis pro: 1994 French Open mixed doubles; 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney: silver medal in doubles

1975 - Jerome Pathon
football [wide receiver]: Univ of Washington; NFL: Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints

1976 - Matt Kinney
baseball [pitcher]: Minnesota Twins, Milwaukee Brewers, Kansas City Royals, San Francisco Giants

1977 - Eric Belanger
hockey: Los Angeles Kings, Atlanta Thrashers, Minnesota Wild

1981 - A.J. Allmendinger
car racing champ: Barber Dodge Pro Series [2002]; 2003 Champ Car Atlantic [2003]; 2004 Champ Car World Series Rookie of the Year

1987 - Hallee Hirsh
actress: ER, Judging Amy, Taking Back Our Town, Gene Pool, Emma Brody

Chart Toppers December 16

1951Sin (It’s No) - Eddy Howard
Slowpoke - Pee Wee King
Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Gene Autry
Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way - Carl Smith

1960Are You Lonesome To-night? - Elvis Presley
Last Date - Floyd Cramer
A Thousand Stars - Kathy Young with The Innocents
Wings of a Dove - Ferlin Husky

1969Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye - Steam
Leaving on a Jet Plane - Peter, Paul & Mary
Someday We’ll Be Together - Diana Ross and The Supremes
(I’m So) Afraid of Losing You Again - Charley Pride

1978You Don’t Bring Me Flowers - Barbra Streisand & Neil Diamond
Le Freak - Chic
Too Much Heaven - Bee Gees
The Gambler - Kenny Rogers

1987Faith - George Michael
Should’ve Known Better - Richard Marx
Is This Love - Whitesnake
The Last One to Know - Reba McEntire

1996Un-Break My Heart - Toni Braxton
Noboby - Keith Sweat featuring Athena Cage
Don’t Let Go (Love) - En Vogue
Little Bitty - Alan Jackson

2005Run It - Chris Brown
Because of You - Kelly Clarkson
Don’t Forget About Us - Mariah Carey
Come a Little Closer - Dierks Bentley

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Chart Topper December 16th, 1987...Is This Love - Whitesnake


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