Events - December 8
1940 - The Chicago Bears shut out the Washington Redskins b-i-g t-i-m-e. The final score: Chicago 73, Washington 0.
1941 - Ray Eberle and The Modernaires teamed with the Glenn Miller Orchestra to record "Moonlight Cocktail" on Bluebird Records. By April 1942, the song was a solid hit.
1949 - One of America’s classic Broadway plays, and later, a major motion picture, debuted. "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" began its long run at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City. Carol Channing starred in the musical and charmed audiences with the show’s songs such as her trademark signature, "Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend".
1956 - The Olympic games, which had opened Nov 22, closed this day at Melbourne, Australia. ‘The Friendly Games’, as this Olympiics came to be known, was Australia’s first attempt at hosting the Olympics and left “an enduring legacy not only for Melbourne and Australia but for the Olympic movement itself.”
1961 - "Surfin’", The Beach Boys first record, was released on Candix Records. It became a local hit in Los Angeles but only made it to #75 nationally. The surfin’ music craze didn’t take hold across America for another year. By the time "Surfin’ Safari" entered the Top 40 (September 1962), though, The Beach Boys were ridin’ a wave of popularity that continues today even though The Beach Boys have become The Beach Men.
1962 - Striking workers of the International Typographical Union closed nine New York City newspapers. The strike lasted 114 days, ending on April 1, 1963. A total of 5,700,000 readers were affected by the shutdown. It made people turn on radio and TV, of course.
1963 - Florence Henderson and Jose Ferrer co-starred in "The Girl Who Came to Supper" on Broadway. The production, however, only lasted for 112 shows.
1963 - Frank Sinatra Jr. was kidnapped in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. He was set free three days later after his father paid a $240,000 ransom with no questions asked. Three men were eventually caught, convicted and imprisoned for the crime.
1965 - Lauren Bacall opened in "Cactus Flower" on Broadway. The show also starred Barry Nelson. The production was awarded Best Play honors and ran for 1,234 performances.
1979 - Styx "Babe" hit #1 in the U.S. It stayed there for two weeks, before being knocked out of the coveted spot by Rupert Holmes’ "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)".
1980 - John Lennon was shot and killed on this day in 1980 as he stood outside of his New York City apartment house, the Dakota. The deranged, obsessed ‘fan’ was quickly apprehended by others gathered at the scene. A several-days vigil by hundreds of mourning fans is remembered as candles flickered and the song "Give Peace a Chance" was heard -- a continuing tribute to the musician and songwriter of a generation. John Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, together with New York’s officials, set up a permanent memorial to her husband: a section of Central Park, opposite The Dakota, named Strawberry Fields.
1986 - Santa Claus was really TV’s Ed McMahon (at least at the White House). Johnny Carson’s straight man arrived in D.C. for a Christmas bash. He and First Lady Nancy Reagan exchanged kisses and, according to Ed, “She gave me a kiss, and I gave her a Hershey.” Always the pitchman, that McMahon guy was. At least it wasn’t Alpo ... or Budweiser.
1995 - "Father of the Bride - Part II" opened in the U.S. The sequel to "Father of the Bride" stars Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Martin Short, George Newbern and Kieran Culkin. And, as one moviegoer put it, “This film is proof that sequels should never be made to comedies.”
1997 - A $25 billion deal: Swiss Bank and Union Bank of Switzerland announced a plan to form a single bank with assets of well over half a trillion dollars. The combined group would be called the United Bank of Switzerland and would become the world’s biggest money manager.
2000 - Movies debuting in the U.S.: "Dungeons and Dragons" (“This is no game.”), starring Justin Whalin, Zoe Mclellan and Jeremy Irons; "Proof of Life": “Suspense, suspense. Russell Crowe excellent and mesmerizing, Meg (Ryan) grew for this one ... big time, epic adventure.”; and "Vertical Limit" (“The Mountain Will Decide.”), starring Chris O’Donnell, Bill Paxton and Robin Tunney.
Birthdays - December 8
1765 - Eli Whitney (inventor: cotton gin and uniformity method of musket manufacturing: beginning of mass production; died Jan 8, 1825)
1861 - William Durant (auto manufacturer: cofounder of Chevrolet, founder of General Motors, Durant Motors; died Mar 18, 1947)
1886 - Diego Rivera (artist: politically controversial murals in Ministry of Education Building, National Palace and other government buildings in Mexico City; died Nov 24, 1957)
1894 - Elzie Segar (cartoonist: creator of Popeye; died Oct 13, 1938)
1894 - James Thurber (writer: New Yorker magazine; author: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, My World and Welcome to It, The Last Flower, Is Sex Necessary?; died Nov 2, 1961)
1903 - Adele Simpson (Smithline) (fashion designer: “She gave the postwar U.S. its own couture identity.”; died Aug 23, 1995)
1925 - Sammy Davis Jr. (entertainer: Sammy and Company, NBC Follies; singer: The Candy Man, What Kind of Fool Am I, Faraway Places, Hey There, Something’s Gotta Give, Love Me or Leave Me, That Old Black Magic, Mr. Wonderful, Too Close for Comfort; group: The Will Mastin Trio; actor: The Kid Who Loved Christmas, Cannonball Run series, Sweet Charity, A Man Called Adam, Robin and the 7 Hoods, The Three Penny Opera, Ocean’s 11, Porgy and Bess, Golden Boy, Mr. Wonderful, Rufus Jones for President; member: The Rat Pack; author: Why Me?; died May 16, 1990)
1925 - Hank (Henry Curtis) Thompson (baseball: SL Browns, NY Giants [World Series: 1951, 1954]; died Sep 30, 1969)
1928 - Jimmy Smith (Grammy Award-winning musician: modern jazz organist: LP: The Cat ; Walk on the Wild Side; died Sep 30, 1969)
1930 - Maximilian Schell (Academy Award-winning actor: Judgment at Nuremberg ; Little Odessa, Abraham, Stalin, The Freshman, Peter the Great, The Chosen, Julia, The Man in the Glass Booth, The Odessa File, Heidi, The Young Lions, Wiseguy; died Feb 1, 2014)
1933 - Flip (Clerow) Wilson (Emmy Award-winning comedy writer: The Flip Wilson Show with Lena Horne and Tony Randall [12/10/70]; comedian: Uptown Saturday Night, The Flip Wilson Show: Geraldine: “The Devil Made Me Do It!”, Charlie & Co.; TV emcee: People are Funny; died Nov 25, 1998)
1936 - David Carradine (actor: Karate Cop, Animal Instincts, Double Trouble, Future Zone, Night Children, Future Force, Warlords, The Bad Seed, Lone Wolf McQuade, The Long Riders, Gray Lady Down, Cannonball, Kung Fu: The Movie, North and South Book I & II, Shane, Kung Fu, Kung Fu-The Legend Continues; son of actor John Carradine, brother of actors Keith and Robert Carradine; died June 3, 2009)
1937 - James MacArthur (actor: Hawaii Five-O: Danno of “Book ’em, Danno”, Hang ’Em High, Spencer’s Mountain, The Interns, The Swiss Family Robinson; son of actress Helen Hayes; died Oct 28, 2010)
1939 - Gordon ‘Red’ Berenson (hockey: U. of Michigan; NHL: Montreal Canadiens, NY Rangers, SL Blues [shares NHL record for goals  made in one period [11/7/68], Detroit Red Wings; coach)
1939 - Jerry Butler (singer: For Your Precious Love, He Will Break Your Heart, Find Another Girl, I’m Telling You, Moon River, Never Give You Up, Hey Western Union Man, LP: Only the Strong Survive; group: The Impressions)
1939 - James Galway (musician: flute: LP: In Ireland)
1942 - Bobby Elliott (musician: drums: group: The Hollies: Searchin’, Stay, Just One Look, Here I Go Again, We’re Through, Yes I Will, I’m Alive, Look Through Any Window, I Can’t Let Go, Bus Stop, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, The Air That I Breathe)
1943 - Jim (James Douglas) Morrison (‘The Lizard King’: singer: group: The Doors: Light My Fire, Love Her Madly, Riders on the Storm, When the Music’s Over, People are Strange, Love Me Two Times, Touch Me; died July 3, 1971)
1943 - Mary Woronov (actress: Eating Raoul, Rock ’n’ Roll High School)
1946 - John Rubinstein (Tony Award-winning actor: Children of a Lesser God ; Crazy Like a Fox, Family, RoboCop the Series: The Future of Law Enforcement; composer: score: The Candidate)
1947 - Gregg Allman (musician: keyboards, guitar, singer: Midnight Rider; group: Allman Brothers Band: Ramblin’ Man; died May 27, 2017)
1950 - Tim (Timothy John) Foli (baseball: shortstop: NY Mets, Montreal Expos, SF Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates [World Series: 1979], California Angels, NY Yankees)
1952 - Greg Collins (football: Notre Dame, San Francisco 49ers LB)
1953 - Kim Basinger (actress: Ready to Wear, Wayne’s World 2, The Real McCoy, The Getaway, Final Analysis, Cool World, The Marrying Man, Batman, My Stepmother is an Alien, Blind Date, 9 1/2 Weeks, The Natural, Hard Country; former town owner: Braselton, GA)
1957 - Phil Collen (musician: guitar: group: Def Leppard: Photograph, Rock of Ages, Foolin’; group: Girl)
1964 - Teri Hatcher (actress: Desperate Housewives, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, The Love Boat, Karen’s Song, MacGyver, Heaven’s Prisoners, Straight Talk, The Cool Surface, Soapdish, Dead in the Water, Tango and Cash, The Big Picture)
1966 - Sinéad O’Connor (singer: Nothing Compares to You)
Chart Toppers - December 8
It’s Been a Long, Long Time - The Harry James Orchestra (vocal: Kitty Kallen)
That’s for Me - Dick Haymes
It Might as Well Be Spring - The Sammy Kaye Orchestra (vocal: Billy Williams)
It’s Been So Long Darling - Ernest Tubb
Rags to Riches - Tony Bennett
Many Times - Eddie Fisher
Vaya Con Dios - Les Paul & Mary Ford
There Stands the Glass - Webb Pierce
Please Mr. Postman - The Marvelettes
Goodbye Cruel World - James Darren
The Twist - Chubby Checker
Big Bad John - Jimmy Dean
Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye - Steam
Leaving on a Jet Plane - Peter, Paul & Mary
Down on the Corner/Fortunate Son - Creedence Clearwater Revival
Okie from Muskogee - Merle Haggard
You Light Up My Life - Debby Boone
Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue - Crystal Gayle
How Deep is Your Love - Bee Gees
Here You Come Again - Dolly Parton
Broken Wings - Mr. Mister
Never - Heart
Say You, Say Me - Lionel Richie
I Don’t Mind the Thorns (If You’re the Rose) - Lee Greenwood
Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end...
Written and edited by Carol Williams and John Williams
Produced by John Williams
Those Were the Days, the Today in History feature
from 440 International
No portion of these files may be reproduced without the express, written permission of 440 International Inc.