Today's History Trivia for December 20
U.S. Invades Panama
The U.S. invades Panama overthrowing Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega. Noriega surrendered on January 3 and was subsequently sentenced to 40 years in prison on drug trafficking, racketeering, and money laundering charges. Noriega had previously been a U.S. ally and CIA informant.
The first confirmed victims of the California serial killer: David Arthur Faraday, 17, and Betty Lou Jensen, 16 are shot and killed. The couple were on their first date and parked at local lover's lane.
1946 It's a Wonderful Life Frank Cappra's Christmas classic starring James Stewart and Donna Reed premiers. Although it did poorly during its initial release, it is now one the most popular films in American cinema.
1924 Adolf Hitler Hitler is released from Landsberg Prison after serving almost nine months for high treason in the Beer Hall Putsch. During this time he wrote most of the first volume of Mein Kamph, which included Hitler's plans for transforming Germany into a society based on race.
1803 Louisiana Purchase France turns over New Orleans with a flag-raising ceremony in the Plaza de Armas (what is now Jackson Square). The U.S. had purchased 828,000 square miles of land from France for $15,000,000.
1993 Marine ban on marriage The Defense Department rejects a four-month-old Marine Corps proposal to stop accepting married enlistees after September 30, 1995.
1987 Ferry Disaster The deadliest peacetime maritime disaster in history occurs when Philippine-registered passenger ferry Doña Paz sinks after colliding with the oil tanker Vector. 4,386 people died with only 24 survivors. The oil from the tanker caused fires on both ships and in the water. The life jackets for the Doña Paz were locked up and unavailable for use. Only one apprentice member of the crew of the Doña Paz was monitoring the bridge while the other officers were either drinking beer or watching television in the crew's recreation quarters; the ship's captain was watching a movie in his cabin. The Vector was operating without a license and no lookout.
1962 The Osmonds The Osmonds make their debut on The Andy Williams Show, singing I'm a Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas.
1944 Dwight D. Eisenhower makes the rank of general in the Army.
1929 Lady Chatterly's Loves James A. DeLacy is given a $500 fine and sentenced to a month in jail for selling the book Lady Chatterly's Loves by D.H. Lawrence.
1880 Broadway lighted with electric arc lights invented by Charles F. Brush.
1870 First U.S. governor to be removed from office by impeachment Impeachment proceedings begin against North Carolina governor William Woods Holden. He was removed from office the following year. His impeachment stemmed from attempts to control the Ku Klux Klan using military force.
1860 Civil War South Carolina becomes the first state to secede from the Union.
Today's Birthdays for December 20
1946 Uri Geller Israeli-born psychic, clairvoyant. Famous for bending spoons.
1945 Peter Criss (Peter Crisscoula), American rock musician, the Catman of Kiss, Rock And Roll All Nite (1975).
1932 John Hillerman American Emmy-winning actor. TV: Magnum P.I. (Emmy, Higgins).
1922 Charita Bauer d. 1985 American Emmy-winning actress. TV and radio: The Guiding Light (Bert Bauer, which she played for 35 years).
1912 Sunshine Sammy Morrison d. 1989 (Ernest Fredric Morrison), American actor. He was the first African-American child film star and was the first African-American performer signed to a long-term Hollywood contract (1919). Film: The Little Rascals (Booker T.) and the East Side Kids (as Scruno) movies.
1907 Paul Francis Webster d. 1984 American Oscar-winning lyricist. Film: Calamity Jane (1953, Oscar), Love is a Many Splendored Thing (1955, Oscar), and The Sandpiper (1965, Oscar).
1902 Sidney Hook d. 1989 American author, political philosopher.
1902 Max Lerner d. 1992 Russian-born journalist, educator.
1898 Irene Dunne d. 1990 American actress. Film: Show Boat (1936) and I Remember Mama (1948).
1868 Harvey Samuel Firestone d. 1938 American rubber manufacturer, founded the Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. (1900).
Deaths for December 20
2001 Foster Brooks b. 1912 comic, "The Lovable Lush." TV: The drunk on Dean Martin's celebrity roasts. Quote: "I never drew a sober breath from Friday night to Monday. Eight years ago, I quit. Fellow made me a $10 bet I couldn't quit, and I haven't had a drink since. At the time I needed the $10." -Interview with the Los Angeles Times in 1972.
1996 Carl Edward Sagan b. 1934 American astronomer. He won the 1977 Pulitzer Prize for The Dragons of Eden. TV: Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.
1988 Max Robinson b. 1939 American newscaster, the first U.S. black network news anchor.
1976 Richard Joseph Daley b. 1902 American politician, mayor of Chicago (1955-76). After the 1968 race riots he commented "the police aren't here to create disorder, the police are here to preserve disorder." He ordered police to shoot to kill arsonists and to maim looters.
1975 William Lundigan b. 1914 American radio announcer, actor. He appeared in over 120 films. TV: Climax! (1954-56, host).
1973 Bobby Darin b. 1936 (Walden Robert Cassotto), American pop singer. Music: Splish Splash (1958) and Mack the Knife (1959).
1970 Max Lincoln Schuster b. 1897 Austrian-born American publisher, co-founder of the publishing house of Simon and Schuster (1924). Their first book was the world's first crossword puzzle book.
1968 John Ernst Steinbeck b. 1902 American Nobel-winning novelist. Writings: The Grapes of Wrath.
1849 William Miller b. 1782 American religious leader of the Second Adventists in America. He and his followers believed the world would end on Oct 22, 1844. Many supposedly gave away their earthly possessions in preparation for the event.
1046 Gregory VI b. ???? Italian religious leader, 148th Pope (1045-46).