Today's Holidays for December 5
Krampusnacht (Krampus Night) The horned half-goat, half-demon comes out tonight to punish children who have misbehaved. Krampus is a companion of St. Nicholas and they sometimes travel together. This is celebrated primarily in Bavaria and Germany.
Today's History Trivia for December 5
1952 Great Smog of London A temperature inversion combined with windless conditions trapped a layer of airborne pollutants to form a thick layer of smog over the city. It lasted until December 9. The smog reduced visibility to just a few meters and due to the sulfur content smelled like rotten eggs. It is estimated that about 12,000 people died and 100,000 more were made ill by the smog's effects on the lungs. Most of the smog particles were from coal-burning fireplaces due to the cold weather. It is the worst air pollution event in the history of the United Kingdom and led to the 1956 Clean Air Act.
1848 California Gold Rush The rush begins after Pres. Polk announces the discovery of gold in California. Gold was discovered by James Marshall on Sutter's Mill the previous January. Over 300,000 people, known as "forty-niners," would go to California to seek their fortune.
1912 Panama Canal The U.S. acquires rights to the land for the Panama Canal .
1854 Topeka Kansas is founded.
1776 First American scholastic fraternity Phi Beta Kappa is founded at the College of William and Mary.
Today's Birthdays for December 5
1839 George Armstrong Custer d. 1876 American Civil War general. He was killed in the "Battle of Little Big Horn" along with his entire regiment, including two of his brothers. He graduated last in his West Point class (1861).
1782 Martin Van Buren d. 1862 8th U.S. President (1837-41), 8th U.S. Vice-President (1833-37), Secretary of State (1829-31), Governor of New York (1829), U.S. Senator (1821-28, New York). He was blamed for the depression of 1837, being called "Martin Van Ruin." He rejected Texas' admission to the Union, not wanting to upset the balance of free and slave states in the Missouri Compromise.
1963 André "Doctor Dré" Brown American radio personality, VJ. TV: Yo! MTV Raps (1989-95, co-host). Movies: Who's the Man? (1993). (note: not to be confused with rapper Dr. Dre)
1952 Krystyne Kolorful Canadian stripper. She is tied with Julia Gnuse (American) as the world's most tattooed woman with 95% of her body covered. She has spent an estimated $15,000 on her body art. Source: Guinness Book of World Records
1951 Morgan Brittany (Suzanne Cupito), American actress. TV: Dallas (Katherine Wentworth).
1947 Jim Messina American singer, with Buffalo Springfield, Loggins and Messina, and Poco.
1932 Little Richard (Richard Penniman), American singer. Music: Tutti Frutti (1955) and Good Golly Miss Molly (1958).
1927 Bhumibol Adulyadej d. 2016 King of Thailand (1946-2016). His wealth was estimated at US$30 billion.
1921 Alvy Moore d. 1997 America actor. TV: Green Acres (1965-71, county agent Hank Kimble, "Good morning, Mr. Douglas! Well, it's not a good morning… but it's not a bad morning either!").
1894 Philip Knight Wrigley d. 1977 U.S. chewing gum executive and owner of the Chicago Cubs.
1890 Fritz Lang d. 1976 Austrian-born film director. Film: Metropolis (1927), M (1931), and Fury (1936).
Deaths for December 5
2013 Nelson Mandela b. 1918 South African President, Nobel-winning civil rights leader. He spent 27 years in prison for fighting apartheid. He and F.W. de Klerk shared the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize. He also established the first black law partnership in South Africa.
1951 Shoeless Joe Jackson b. 1887 (Joseph Jefferson Jackson), American baseball player. He was banished for life from professional baseball for his alleged role in throwing the 1919 World Series. "Say it ain't so, Joe! Say it ain't so!"
1926 Claude Monet b. 1840 French impressionist painter, known of his landscapes using bright unmixed colors. In 1923 he had cataract surgery to restore his eyesight. The paintings done before surgery had a reddish tone, which is characteristic of the vision of cataract victims. After surgery his painting had a bluer tone.
1791 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart b. 1756 Austrian composer. He created over 600 compositions including The Marriage of Figaro (1786) and The Magic Flute (1791). Very little of his work was published during his lifetime.
2012 Dave Brubeck b. 1920 American jazz musician. Considered one of the foremost exponents of cool jazz. Music: Time Out (1959, one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time and contains the classic hit Take Five).
2010 Don Meredith b. 1938 American football quarterback, sportscaster, actor, Lipton tea lover.
2002 Roone Arledge b. 1931 American sports broadcasting pioneer, winner of 36 Emmys. TV: President of ABC Sports (1968-86) and President of ABC News (1977-98), creator of Monday Night Football, Wide World of Sports, 20/20, Prime Time Live, and Nightline.
1999 John Archer b. 1915 (Ralph Bowman), American actor. Film: I Saw What You Did (1965).
1983 Robert Aldrich b. 1918 American film director. Film: Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), The Dirty Dozen (1967), and The Longest Yard (1974).
1973 Sir Robert Watson-Watt b. 1892 British inventor. He is considered the inventor of RADAR (1935), although others had also done research on it. He was the first to create a working system.
1933 Alfred Hess b. 1875 American physician. He discovered that vitamin C could cure scurvy and that pasteurizing milk caused it lose ability to prevent scurvy in infants. He conducted studies by withholding orange juice from institutionalized infants until they developed hemorrhages as a result of scurvy (1914-20). He also showed that exposure to sunlight could cure children of rickets (1919).
1870 Alexandre Dumas b. 1802 (Dumas père), French author. Writings: The Three Musketeers (1844) and The Count of Monte Cristo (1845).
1848 Joseph Mohr b. 1792 Austrian clergyman. He wrote the words to Silent Night, Holy Night (1818). Source: An Almanac of the Christian Church
1560 Francis II b. 1544 King of France (1559-60). He married Mary, Queen of Scots (1558).