Today's History Trivia for December 4
1971 Smoke On The Water The Montreux Casino, Switzerland, burns to the ground during a set by Frank Zappa. The group Deep Purple, who were recording there at the time, immortalized the event on their next album. "Some stupid with a flare gun burned the place to the ground…"
1981 Falcon Crest debuts on CBS.
1974 Brightest fireball ever photographically recorded 10,000 times brighter than a full moon, by Dr. Zdenek Ceplecha, Czechoslovakia.
1843 Manila paper is patented.
1154 First English pope Nicholas Breakspear is elected assuming the name Adrian IV.
963 Pope John XII The leader of the Roman Catholic Church is temporarily deposed by the Roman Council for his wrongdoings. He is reputed to have gambled and run a brothel.
Today's Birthdays for December 4
1964 Marisa Tomei American Oscar-winning actress. Film: My Cousin Vinny (1992, Oscar).
1949 Jeff Bridges American actor. Film: The Last Picture Show (1971) and The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989).
1944 Dennis Wilson d. 1983 American singer, with The Beach Boys. Music: Surfin' USA (1963), I Get Around (1964, #1), Help Me Rhonda, (1965, #1), and Good Vibrations (1966, #1). He drowned while swimming in Marina Del Rey, California; he should have stayed on the beach.
1944 Chris Hillman American musician, with The Byrds. Music: Mr. Tambourine Man (1965, #1) and Turn! Turn! Turn! (1966).
1940 Gary Gilmore d. 1977 American criminal. He was executed by a Utah firing squad, the first execution in the U.S. since 1967. In 1976, Gilmore robbed and murdered gas station employee Max Jensen. The next evening, he robbed and murdered motel manager Bennie Bushnell. Both men had complied with his demands. While disposing of the pistol used in the killings, Gilmore accidentally shot himself in his right hand, leaving a trail of blood to the service garage where he had left his truck. He was witnessed by a mechanic hiding the gun in the bushes. Gilmore's cousin turned him in to police after he phoned her asking for bandages and painkillers for his injured hand.
1937 Max Baer Jr American actor. TV: The Beverly Hillbillies (Jethro and his twin sister Jethrine).
1934 Victor French d. 1989 American actor. TV: Little House on the Prairie (Isaiah Edwards) and Highway to Heaven (Mark Gordman).
1921 Deanna Durbin d. 2013 (Edna Mae Durbin), Canadian Oscar-winning actress, singer. Movies: Three Smart Girls (1936, the success of which helped save Universal Studios from bankruptcy). In 1947, she was the highest-paid woman in the United States. Her fan club was the world's largest during her active years.
1915 Eddie Heywood, Jr d. 1989 American jazz pianist. Composed Canadian Sunset.
1912 Gregory "Pappy" Boyington d. 1988 American World War II flying ace. His book Baa Baa Black Sheep (1958) chronicled his days with the Flying Tigers and the The Black Sheep squadrons.
Generalissimo Francisco Franco Bahamonde
Spanish dictator (1939-75). With the help of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy he overthrew the democratically elected Second Republic during the Spanish Civil War. However, he declined Hitler's request to join the Axis - choosing to remain mostly neutral during World War II. He claimed to have 26,000 political prisoners locked up and banned all religions except Catholicism.
???? Jethro Bodine fictional character on the TV show The Beverly Hillbillies, as played by Max Baer, Jr.
Deaths for December 4
1993 Frank Zappa b. 1940 (Francis Vincent Zappa Jr.), American Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, leader of The Mothers of Invention. Music: Yellow Snow (1974), Valley Girl (1982), and Jazz From Hell (1987, Grammy).
1993 Frank Sturgis b. 1924 (Frank Angelo Fiorini), American private investigator. He was one of the five Watergate burglars (1972) whose capture led to the resignation of U.S. President Richard Nixon. He served 14 months in prison for his part.
1984 John C. Rock b. 1890 American physician. He and Mirian Menkin achieved the first in vitro fertilization of a human ovum (1944) and he co-developed the birth control pill (1956).
1980 Stella Walsh b. 1911 (Stanislawa Walasiewicz), Polish-born Olympic gold medal winner (1932) and the first woman to run the 100-yard dash in under 11 seconds (10.8 sec., 1930). She received more than 5,000 medals and awards. After her death, it was found that she possessed male genitalia and had a mix of male and female chromosomes and characteristics.
1973 Alfred Carl Fuller b. 1885 Canadian-born American businessman, "The Fuller Brush Man." He founded the Fuller Brush Co. (1906) utilizing door-to-door salesman.
1967 Bert Lahr b. 1895 (Irving Lahrheim), American actor. Film: The Wizard of Oz (1939, the Cowardly Lion).
1945 Thomas Hunt Morgan b. 1866 American zoologist. He won a 1933 Nobel Prize for his discovery of the chromosome's role in heredity.
1848 Joseph Mohr b. 1792 Austrian clergyman. He wrote the words to Silent Night, Holy Night (1818). Source: An Almanac of the Christian Church
1732 John Gay b. 1685 English poet. Best known for The Beggar's Opera (1727).
1334 John XXII b. 1249 (Jacques d'Euse), 196th Pope (1316-34), in 1317 he prohibited the practice of alchemy.
1131 Omar Khayyam b. 1048 Persian poet and mathematician. First to solve the general cubic equation of the third degree (1070). He calculated the length of the year as 365.2422 days (1074. The modern estimate is 365.242189 days).