Today's History Trivia for December 17
1903 Wright Brothers The Wright brothers have their first controlled, powered, heavier-than-air flight. Orville flies their plane for 12 seconds near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Later that day, his brother Wilbur flew for 59 seconds.
1989 The Simpsons debuts on FOX.
1971 James Bond Diamonds Are Forever premiers in the U.S., 7th in the James Bond series, it starred Sean Connery as 007.
1969 Tiny Tim Marries Miss Vicky Tiny Tim marries 17-year-old Victoria May Budinger live on The Tonight Show. This was the highest-rated talk show episode ever up to then, drawing over 40 million viewers. Tiny Tim was known for his falsetto/ukulele version of Tip Toe Thru' The Tulips With Me.
1933 First National Football League championship The Chicago Bears beat the New York Giants 23-21.
1862 Civil War - Expulsion of Jews Union army Major-General Ulysses S. Grant orders the expulsion of all Jews in his military district, comprising areas of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky. He believed the Jews were involved in the black market trading of Southern cotton. Under pressure from Jewish community leaders, members of Congress, the press, and President Lincoln, he revoked this order the following January. Grant later claimed the order was written by a subordinate and he had issued it without reading it.
1790 Ancient Aztec stone calendar is discovered in Mexico City. This 25-ton 52-year-cycle calendar is believed to have been carved in 1479.
1623 "Trial by jury" is established by the Colony of Plymouth.
1538 Henry VIII Pope Paul III excommunicates the King of England Henry the VIII from the Catholic Church. Henry had begun destroying religious shrines of saints.
Today's Birthdays for December 17
1936 Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio), 266th Pope (2013-). Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere, and the first non-European pope since 741.
1953 Barry Livingston American actor. TV: My Three Sons (Ernie).
1946 Eugene Levy Canadian Emmy-winning comedian. TV: SCTV.
1939 Eddie Kendricks d. 1992 American singer, with the Temptations, the most successful male vocal group of the 1960s and '70s, My Girl (1965, #1).
1937 John Kennedy Toole d. 1969 American author. Writings: A Confederacy of Dunces (written in 1963, but not published until 11 years after he committed suicide), which won the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
1930 Bob Guccione d. 2010 (Robert Charles Joseph Edward Sabatini Guccione), American publisher. Founder of Penthouse (1965) and Omni (1978).
1908 Willard Frank Libby d. 1980 American Nobel-winning chemist, inventor of radiocarbon dating (1949).
1903 Erskine Caldwell d. 1987 American author. Writings: Tobacco Road (1932) and God's Little Acre (1933).
1894 Arthur Fiedler d. 1979 American conductor, with the Boston Pops Orchestra. He is the world's best-selling classical artist (50,000,000 records) and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1977).
1817 William Allen Miller d. 1870 English scientist. He performed the first trustworthy chemical analysis of stars.
1778 Sir Humphry Davy d. 1829 English scientist, discovered the effects of inhaling laughing gas (1799), discovered potassium, sodium (1807), barium, strontium, calcium (1808), the first electric light (1808), and invented the safety lamp for miners (1815).
1734 William Floyd d. 1821 American politician, signer of the Declaration of Independence.
1493 Paracelsus d. 1541 Swiss physician, alchemist. He was one of the first to recognize that illnesses had specific causes that could be treated, as opposed to the then-current belief that they were caused by the imbalance of body fluids.
Deaths for December 17
2016 Louis Harris b. 1921 American public opinion analyst. He conducted The Harris Poll, one of the best-known polls of his time.
2011 Kim Jong-il b. circa 1941 North Korean Supreme Leader (1994-2011). It is claimed that his birth was foretold by a swallow, the appearance of a double rainbow over Mount Paekdu, and a new star in the heavens.
2010 Captain Beefheart b. 1941 (Don Van Vliet), American singer. He appeared regularly on TV as a child prodigy, especially noted for his clay sculpting. Music: Trout Mask Replica.
2005 Jack Anderson b. 1922 American Pulitzer-winning columnist. Writings: Washington Merry-Go-Round (Pulitzer, 1972). He was credited for breaking the Iran-Contra affair and a CIA-Mafia plot to kill Fidel Castro.
2003 Mary Ann Jackson b. 1923 American actress, one of The Little Rascals (older sister of Wheezer). She appeared in 32 Our Gang films (1928-31).
1999 Rex Allen b. 1920 American singing cowboy, "The Arizona Cowboy," actor, and narrator of numerous Walt Disney nature films.
1999 Grover Washington Jr b. 1943 American saxophonist. Music: Just the Two of Us (1981, #2). He was one of the most commercially successful jazz musicians of the '70s and '80s.
1992 Dana Andrews b. 1909 American actor. Film: Laura (1944) and Night of the Demon (1957, which is referenced in the opening song of The Rocky Horror Picture Show). TV: Bright Promise (Tom Boswell).
1962 Thomas Mitchell b. 1892 American Oscar-Tony-Emmy-winning actor. Broadway: Hazel Flagg (1953, Tony). Film: Stagecoach (1939, Oscar) and Gone With the Wind (1939, Scarlett O'Hara's father).
1916 Grigori Rasputin b. 1871 Russian mystic, monk. Known as the Mad Monk, he held a hypnotic influence over the Russian emperor and emperess, Nicholas II and Alexandra. Notoriously corrupt, he was killed by Russian noblemen.
1907 First Baron Kelvin b. 1824 (William Thomson), British scientist, inventor. He developed the Kelvin temperature scale (1848), based on the temperature of absolute zero.
1830 Simon Bolivar b. 1783 Venezuelan general, "The Liberator." He led revolutions that freed Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela from Spanish rule.
1823 Oliver Pollock b. 1737 Irish-born American businessman, creator of the '$' symbol (1778). He helped to finance the American Revolution in the West.
1187 Gregory VIII b. ???? religious leader, 173rd Pope (Oct. - Dec. 1187).