Fun Facts for Today – December 26

December 26

It’s Boxing Day in the Commonwealth of Nations and the First Day of Kwanzaa


1606 King Lear is first publically performed
1620 Elizabeth Báthory’s crimes are uncovered
1776 George Washington’s troops defeat the Hessians at the Battle of Trenton
1825 The Erie Canal opens
1878 In Philadelphia, a US store installs electric lights for the first time
1898 Marie and Pierre Curie announce the isolation of radium
1906 The Story of the Kelly Gang is released, widely considered to be the world’s first feature film
1913 Ambrose Bierce, accompanying Pancho Villa, writes his last letter before disappearing forever
1919 Babe Ruth sold to the Yankees
1924 Judy Garland, aged 2 and billed as “Baby Frances,” makes her show business debut
1928 Johnny Weissmuller announces his retirement from amateur swimming
1933 FM radio is patented
1941 Winston Churchill becomes the first British Prime Minister to address a joint meeting of Congress
1946 The Flamingo Hotel opens in Las Vegas
1954 The Shadow airs for the last time on radio
1955 RKO is the first film studio to announce the sale of its film library to television
1967 The BBC premieres The Beatles film Magical Mystery Tour
1968 Led Zeppelin makes their US concert debut in Denver as a support act for vanilla Fudge
1973 The Exorcist premieres
1991 The gun that Jack Ruby used to kill Lee Harvey Oswald sells for $220,000 in auction
1991 The Supreme Soviet of the USSR meets and formally dissolves the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics


1791 Charles Babbage, mathematician, philosopher, and mechanical engineer who originated the idea of a programmable computer
1891 Henry Miller, writer (Tropic of Cancer , Tropic of Capricorn )
1903 Elisha Cook Jr., actor (The Maltese Falcon , Shane )
1914 Richard Widmark, actor (Judgment at Nuremberg , Broken Lance )
1921 Steve Allen, comedian/writer/actor/musician (The Tonight Show , The Benny Goodman Story )
1927 Alan King, comedian/writer/actor (Casino , Rush Hour 2 )
1927 Denis Quilley, actor (Timeslip , Sweeney Todd )
1930 Donald Moffat, actor (The Right Stuff , The Thing )
1940 Phil Spector, music producer/murder suspect
1944 Jane Lapotaire, actress (Eleventh Hour , Lady Jane )
1945 John Walsh, anti-crime activist/TV personality (America’s Most Wanted )
1961 John Lynch, actor (Hardware , The Secret of Roan Inish )
1963 Lars Ulrich, musician (Metallica)


1909 Frederic Remington, artist, dies at 48
1931 Melvil Dewey, inventor of the Dewey decimal system, dies at 80
1957 Charles Pathé, film pioneer, dies at 94
1963 “Gorgeous” George Wagner, professional wrestler and TV personality, dies at 48
1972 Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States, dies at 88
1974 Jack Benny, vaudvillian/comedian/actor (To Be or Not to Be , The Jack Benny Program ), dies at 80
1977 Howard Hawks, film director/writer (Bringing up Baby , Rio Bravo ) dies at 81
1985 Dian Fossey, zoologist, dies at 53
1986 Elsa Lanchester, actress (Bride of Frankenstein , Witness for the Prosecution ) dies at 84
1999 Curtis Mayfield, musician/film composer (Superfly) dies at 57
2000 Jason Robards, Emmy, Tony and two-time Academy Award-winning actor (Johnny Got His Gun , All the President’s Men , Julia ) dies at 78
2001 Nigel Hawthorne, actor (Yes Minister , The Madness of King George ) dies at 72
2002 Herb Ritts, fashion photographer, dies at 50
2005 Vincent Schiavelli, actor/author (The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension , One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) dies at 57
2006 Gerald Ford, 38th President of the United States, dies at 93

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