Dec 4, 1981. This nighttime serial was set in California wine country and originally focused on Angela Channing’s determined efforts to gain control of the Falcon Crest vineyard and winery; later in the nine-year run the emphasis turned to crime. Famous actors who were a part of the cast at one time or another include Jane Wyman, Lorenzo Lamas, Cliff Robertson, Lana Turner, Gina Lollobrigida, Parker Stevenson, Anne Archer, Apollonia, Cesar Romero, Morgan Fairchild, Ken Olin and Mary Ann Mobley. In the season finale, Angela received Falcon Crest and everyone was happy.
Dec 4. On this day, traditionally the feast day of St. Barbara, a young girl places a twig from a cherry tree in a glass of water. If it blooms by Christmas Eve, she is certain to marry the following year. Because the narratives of her life and martyrdom are legendary, St. Barbara was dropped from the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints in 1970.
Image: A Greek Orthodox icon of Saint Barbara.
On 4 December 1786, the first organized agricultural movement, the National Grange, was founded.
Dec 5, 1933. Prohibition ended with the repeal of the 18th Amendment, as the 21st Amendment was ratified. Congress proposed repeal of the 18th Amendment ( the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors, within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof, for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.) Feb 20, 1933. By Dec 5, 1933, the repeal amendment had been ratified by the required 36 states and went into effect immediately as the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution.
Dec 5, 1955. The American Federation of Labor and the Congressof Industrial Organizations joined together in 1955, following 20 years of rivalry, to become the nations leading advocate for trade unions.
Dec 5, 1839. Born at New Rumley, OH, Custer was a cavalry officer in the US Civil War whose courage and leadership brought him admiration and fame. He later spent ten years on the Great Plains fighting in the Indian Wars and leading a successful Black Hills expedition in 1874 to find gold. During a campaign to move the Lakota Sioux onto reservations to make way for the gold rush, Custer attacked an encampment of Sioux and Cheyenneon June 25, 1876. Outnumbered, he and about 215 of his men were quickly killed at the Battle of Little Bighorn now considered one of the biggest military fiascoes in US history.
Dec 5, 1955. Rosa Parks was arrested at Montgomery, AL, for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. In support of Parks,and to protest the arrest, the black community of Montgomery organized a boycott of the bus system. The boycott lasted from Dec 5, 1955, to Dec 20, 1956, when a US Supreme Court ruling was implemented at Montgomery, integrating the public transportation system.
Image courtesy of the US Postal Museum
Dec 5, 1901. Animator, filmmaker, theme park developer, born at Chicago, IL. Disney died at Los Angeles, CA, Dec 15, 1966.
Dec 6, 1865. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, abolishing slavery in the US. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, save as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. This amendment was proclaimed Dec 18, 1865. The 13th, 14th and 15th amendments are considered the Civil War Amendments.
Dec 6, 1920. With his innovative and forever intuitive sound as both a pianist and composer, Dave Brubeck became one of the biggest stars of American jazz in the 1950s and 60s, at a time when rock and roll wasthe dominant force in popular music. Legendary records like his 1955 Columbia debut Brubeck Time and the ambitious Time Out (1959) featuring the hitTake Five and the first million-selling jazz album remain as hallmarks of jazz, and document how Brubeck and his collaborators defined the contours of American cool. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, he was also the first modern jazz musician to be featured on the cover of Time magazine. Born at Concord, CA, Brubeck died Dec 5, 2012, at Norwalk, CT.
Dec 6. One of the most venerated saints of both Eastern and Western Christian churches, of whose life little is known, except that he was Bishop of Myra (in what is todays Turkey) in the fourth century, and that from early times he has been especially noted for his charity. Santa Claus and the presentation of gifts is said to derive from St. Nicholas.
Dec 6, 1917. More than 1,650 people were killed at Halifax when the Norwegian ship Imo plowed into the French munitions ship Mont Blanc.Mont Blanc was loaded with 4,000 tons of TNT, 2,300 tons of picric acid, 61 tons of other explosives and a deck of highly flammable benzene, which ignited and touched off an explosion. In addition to those killed, 1,028 were injured. A tidal wave caused by the explosion washed much of the city out to sea.
Dec 6, 1811. New Madrid, MO. Most prolonged series of earthquakes in US history occurred not in California, but in the Midwest. Lasted until Feb 12, 1812. There were few deaths because of the sparse population. These were the most severe earthquakes in the contiguous US; those higher on the Richter scale have all occurred in Alaska.
Dec 6. In appreciation, honor and remembrance of the accomplishments and sacrifices of miners. To provide a sober reminder of the risks that miners are routinely exposed to in their work and to set aside some time on this day for quiet contemplation to honor those brave miners who have perished in our mines. A National Miners Day resolution passed in the US Senate on Dec 3, 2009.
Dec 7, 1941. At 7: 55 AM (local time) Dec 7, 1941, a date that will live in infamy, nearly 200 Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, long considered the US Gibraltar of the Pacific. The raid,which lasted little more than one hour, left nearly 3,000 dead. Almost the entire US Pacific Fleet was at anchor there, and few ships escaped damage. Several were sunk or disabled, while 200 US aircraft on the ground were destroyed. The attack on Pearl Harbor brought about immediate US entry into WWII, a declaration of war being requested by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and approved by Congress Dec 8, 1941.
A holy day of obligation in the Roman Catholic church, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception honors the conception of the Virgin Mary byher mother Anne.
Dec 8, 1980. On this date deranged gunman Mark David Chapman shot and killed rock star John Lennon outside his apartment building as he returned from a recording session. The death of the former Beatle, who was an international peace activist, shocked the world.
Dec 8, 1991. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) ceased to exist, as the republics of Russia, Byelorussia and Ukraine signedan agreement at Minsk, Byelorussia, creating the Commonwealth of Independent States. The remaining republics, with the exception of Georgia, joined in the new commonwealth as it began the slow and arduous process of removing the yoke of Communism and dealing with strong separatist and nationalistic movements within the various republics.
The United States entered World War II with declarations of waron Japan on 8 December 1941. A declaration of war on Germany would follow on 11 December 1941.
Dec 9, 1960. One of the UKs longest-running television series, Coronation Street depicts the working-class denizens of a neighborhoodin Manchester, England. Created by Tony Warren, this soap is a cultural touchstone, and show story lines have been reported on the news. Its 7,000th episode aired Jan 28, 2009.
Dec 9, 1792. The first formal cremation of a human body in America took place near Charleston, SC. Henry Laurens, colonial statesman and signer of the Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War, in his will provided: I do solemnly enjoin it on my son, as an indispensable duty, that as soon as he conveniently can, after my decease, he cause my body tobe wrapped in twelve yards of tow cloth and burned until it be entirely consumed, and then, collecting my bones, deposit them wherever he may think proper. Laurens died Dec 8, 1792, at his plantation and was cremated there.
Dec 9, 1906. Born at New York, NY. When she retired from the US Navy at the age of 79, she was the oldest naval officer ever on active duty. She attained the rank of rear admiral and was a leader in the computer revolution, having developed the computer language COBOL. Grace Hopper died Jan 1, 1992, at Arlington, WV.
Dec 10, 1815. Born London, England, the only legitimate child of Romantic poet Lord Byron, Lovelace was an applied mathematician and author of the worlds first detailed description of a computer in her work Notes, which appended an article about friend/ mentor Charles Babbages Analytical Engine. She is hailed as the worlds first computer programmer for her work describing how to derive Bernoulli numbers on Babbages machine.Despite her significant contributions, she only signed her work with her initials so as not to upset societal norms. The contemporary Ada computer language is named for her. Lovelace died Nov 27, 1852, at Marylebone, England.
Human Rights Day is on 10 December each year, marking the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
Dec 10, 1898. Following the conclusion of the Spanish-AmericanWar in 1898, American and Spanish ambassadors met at Paris, France, to negotiate a treaty. Under the terms of this treaty, Spain granted the US the Philippine Islands and the islands of Guam and Puerto Rico and agreed towithdraw from Cuba. Senatorial debate over the treaty centered on the USsmove toward imperialism by acquiring the Philippines. A vote was taken Feb6, 1899, and the treaty passed by a one-vote margin. President William McKinley signed the treaty Feb 10, 1899.