Today's Holidays for December 26
Kwanzaa The seven-day festival celebrating African heritage begins. It was started in 1966 by social activist Maulana Karenga. Kwanzaa is Swahili for "first fruit." The seven candles represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination):, Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith).
Today's History Trivia for December 26
1996 JonBenét Murder The Ramsey's discover their daughter is missing and a three-page ransom note. Her body was later found in the wine cellar. Trace DNA taken from her clothes was found to belong to an unknown male. This case is still unsolved.
1991 Soviet Union Dissolved Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union declares the independence of the former Soviet republics and created the Commonwealth of Independent State. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev had resigned the day before and handed over its powers, including the Soviet nuclear missile launching codes, Russian President Boris Yeltsin.
1919 Curse of the Bambino Babe Ruth is sold by the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees, beginning 86-year Curse of the Bambino. Prior to this, the Red Sox had been one of the most successful baseball teams, winning the first World Series and five World Series titles. After the sale they went without a title for decades, as the Yankees became one of the most successful teams in North American professional sports.
1862 Largest U.S. Mass Execution Thirty-eight Dakota Indians are hanged. Upset with their treatment by the U.S. government, the Dakota (also known as Sioux) had attacked settlements throughout the Minnesota River valley, killing over 800 men, women, and children. The ensuing battles between the Dakota and the U.S. Army ended with the expulsion of the Indians and the abolishment of their reservations. Thirty-eight of captured fighters were hanged.
1967 Magical Mystery Tour by the Beatles is first broadcast, on BBC-TV, later released in the U.S. as a movie.
1931 First musical play to win a Pulitzer George Gershwin's Of Thee I Sing opens in New York City.
1908 First black heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson becomes champ when he KO's Tommy Burns.
1865 First coffee percolator is patented, by inventor James H. Nason.
Today's Birthdays for December 26
1890 Robert LeRoy Ripley d. 1949 American cartoonist. Created Believe-It-or-Not (1918) and "Odditoriums" to house his unusual collection of oddities. Note: He claimed his birthday was December 25, even though it was actually December 26 - Believe It or Not.
1974 Tiffany Brissette American actress. TV: Small Wonder (Vicki the robot).
1939 Phil Spector American music producer, "Tycoon of Teen," developed the "Wall of Sound" recording technique. In 2009, he was convicted of the 2003 shooting death of Lana Clarkson in his home. Music: You've Lost the Lovin' Feeling (producer/co-writer. It is the most played song in the U.S.).
1927 Alan King d. 2004 (Irwin Alan Kniberg), American comedian. Known for his numerous appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show.
1921 Steve Allen d. 2000 American comedian, songwriter. TV: The Tonight Show (1954, creator and its first host).
1914 Richard Widmark d. 2008 American actor. Film: Kiss of Death (1947) and Madigan (1968).
1891 Henry Miller d. 1980 American novelist. Writings: Tropic of Cancer (1931) and Tropic of Capricorn (1939).
1837 George Dewey d. 1917 American naval officer, noted for his spectacular defeat of the Spanish at Manilla Bay during the Spanish-American War (1898). He was the first U.S. admiral (1899).
1738 Thomas Nelson, Jr d. 1789 American patriot. Signer of the Declaration of Independence, governor of Virginia (1781).
Deaths for December 26
2005 Vincent Schiavelli b. 1948 American actor. Film: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982, Mr. Vargas the biology teacher), Ghost (1990, the sad-eyed subway ghost). TV: The Corner Bar (Peter Panama, the first sustained gay character on network American TV). Known as "the man with the sad eyes," his distinctive looks were due to Marfan syndrome.
2005 Bud Blake b. 1918 (Julian W. Blake), American cartoonist. Creator of Tiger.
2000 Jason Robards, Jr b. 1922 American Oscar-Tony-Emmy-winning actor. Film: All the President's Men (1976, Oscar) and Julia (1977, Oscar).
1993 Jeff Morrow b. 1907 (Irving Morrow), American actor. Film: The Robe (1953, black-hearted centurion), This Island Earth (1955, Exeter the alien), and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956, the scientist).
1993 Dave Beck b. 1894 American labor leader, Teamsters president (1952-57). In 1957 he was accused of misusing $300,000 in union funds and was convicted of embezzling $1,900 from the sale of a union-owned Cadillac. In 1958 he was convicted of federal income tax evasion, but it was overturned. In 1959 he was convicted of filing a false tax return. He served 2½ years in prison and was eventually pardoned by the Washington state governor and Pres. Ford. He was selected by Seattle as "Maritime Man of the Year" (1984).
1986 Elsa Lanchester b. 1902 (Elizabeth Sullivan), English singer, actress. Film: The Bride of Frankenstein (1935, the blushing bride).
1974 Jack Benny b. 1894 (Benjamin Kubelsky), American comedian, famed for his violin concertos.
1931 Melvil Dewey b. 1851 American librarian, creator of the Dewey Decimal System (1876).
1831 Stephen Girard b. 1750 French philanthropist, founder of Girard College at Philadelphia and for whom Girard, Ohio is named..
418 Saint Zosimus b. ???? Greek-born religious leader, 41st Pope (417-418).
268 Saint Dionysius b. ???? religious leader, 25th Pope (259-268).