Saturday, 10 December 2016

December 10, 2016

125 years ago

Born on this date
Harold Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis
. Governor General of Canada, 1946-1952. Field Marshal Alexander served with distiinction in both World Wars, and was Commander-in-Chief of British forces in the Middle East during World War II. He was created Viscount Alexander of Tunis and was appointed Governor General of Canada, a role in which he was popular and effective. Viscount Alexander returned to England in 1952 and was given a peerage in order to join the cabinet of Prime Minister Winston Churchill as Sedretary of Defense from 1952-1954. Earl Alexander died on June 16, 1969 at the age of 77. Alexander Circle in Edmonton, the street on which this blogger spent his earliest years, is named in his honour.

Nelly Sachs. German-born Swedish poet and playwright. Miss Sachs was Jewish, and fled Germany with her mother in 1940 when Nazi persecution of Jews in Germany increased. She was awarded the 1966 Nobel Prize in Literature "for her outstanding lyrical and dramatic writing, which interprets Israel's destiny with touching strength." Miss Sachs died on May 12, 1970 at the age of 78.

110 years ago

U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was awarded the 1906 the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the mediation of the Russo-Japanese War, becoming the first American to win a Nobel Prize.

100 years ago

Born on this date
Walt Arfons
. U.S. auto racing driver. Mr. Arfons, born Walter Stroud, was the older half-brother of Art Arfons, and the two of them were drag racers together in the 1950s. In 1960, Walt became the first man to drive a jet-engine dragster. He died on June 4, 2013 at the age of 96.

90 years ago

Died on this date
Nikola Pašić, 80
. Prime Minister of Serbia, 1891–1892, 1904–1905, 1906–1908, 1909–1911, 1912–1918; Prime Minister of Yugoslavia, 1918, 1921-1924, 1924-1926. Mr. Pašić led the People's Radical Party, and was the most important Serbian political figure of his time. He resigned as Prime Minister on April 8, 1926, and died of a heart attack eight days before his 81st birthday.

80 years ago

On the radio
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, starring Louis Hector and Harry West, on MBS
Tonight's episode: The Hound of the Baskervilles, Part 4

Died on this date
Luigi Pirandello, 69
. Italian writer. Mr. Pirandello wrote novels, short stories, and poems, but was best known for his plays. He was awarded the 1934 Nobel Prize in Literature for "his almost magical power to turn psychological analysis into good theatre."

King Edward VIII signed the Instrument of Abdication, to take effect the following day.

75 years ago

Died on this date
Colin Kelly, 26
. U.S. military aviator. Captain Kelly was a World War II B-17 Flying Fortress pilot who flew bombing runs against the Japanese Navy in the first days after the Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He was killed when his B-17 exploded, but before the explosion he had ordered his crew to bail out, earning him a posthumous Distinguished Service Cross.

The British Royal Navy capital ships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse were sunk by Imperial Japanese Navy torpedo bombers in the South China Sea near Malaya. Imperial Japanese forces under the command of General Masaharu Homma landed on the Philippine island of Luzon; U.S. bases and Manila suburbs were bombed, while the U.S. War Department reported that American bombers had sunk the Japanese battleship Haruna off northern Luzon. Japanese forces captured Kota Bharu, an air base on the east coast of northern Malaya. The British command claimed that U.K. troops had broken the siege of Tobruk, Libya. A Soviet communique reported that Elets, 225 miles south of Moscow in the Orel sector, had been recaptured. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the Defense Communications Board to take over or close any private radio facilities if deemed necessary by the Army or Navy. U.S. Attorney General Francis Biddle reported that 2,303 "enemy aliens"--1,291 Japanese, 865 Germans, and 147 Italians--had been arrested for internment. U.S. Office of Production Management Director General William Knudsen called for a 24-hour day, seven-day week in war industries in announcing a victory program in Washington. The OPM banned the sale of new tires for civilian use through December 22, 1941. Washington state police reported that fires in the form of arrows pointing toward Seattle had been found and extinguished the previous night.

U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull proposed before the governing board of the Pan American Union that a meeting of foreign ministers of the American republics be held in Rio de Janeiro in January 1942 to discuss hemispheric defense.

Politics and government
Louis St. Laurent was sworn in as Minister of Justice in the cabinet of Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King, succeeding the late Ernest Lapointe.

A Motion Picture Industry Conference Committee was organized in Chicago by film producers, distributors, and exhibitors to coordinate action on taxation, advertising, and general practices.

The new U.S. freighter Oregon sank after colliding with a U.S. Navy ship south of Cape Cod; nine men drowned and eight were missing.

The Boxing Writers Association of New York awarded the Edward J. Neil Memorial Plaque to world heavyweight champion Joe Louis as the outstanding boxer of the year.

70 years ago

Died on this date
Damon Runyon, 66
. U.S. writer. Mr. Runyon, born Alfred Damon Runyan, covered baseball and boxing for Hearst newspapers for many years, but was probably best known for his short stories about colourful characters in New York City in the 1920s and '30s. The Broadway musical Guys and Dolls (1950) was based on two of his stories. Mr. Runyon was a heavy smoker who died of lung cancer.

Walter Johnson, 59. U.S. baseball pitcher and manager. Mr. Johnson, nicknamed "The Big Train," played with the Washington Nationals from 1907-1927, compiling a record of 417-279 with an earned run average of 2.17 in 802 games. His career total of 3,502 strikeouts was the major league record until 1983, and he remains the record holder with 110 shutouts. Mr. Johnson's career win total is second to Cy Young, and was a major factor in becoming one of the first five men--and the first pitcher--to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936. Mr. Johnson was also a dangerous hitter, batting .235 with 24 home runs and 255 runs batted in in 933 games. He managed the Nationals from 1929-1932 and the Cleveland Indians from 1933-1935, compiling a record of 529-432. Mr. Johnson died of a brain tumour.

CBS announced the development of a receiver capable of handling either black and white or colour images.

The U.S. Army Air Forces disclosed that their first rocket plane, the Bell XS-1, capable of 1,700 miles per hour at an altitude of 80,000 feet, had been successfully flown at Muroc Lake, California.

The Untied Nations General Assembly approved, despite Soviet opposition, a draft constitution for the International Refugee Organization.

U.S.S.R. Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov agreed in the UN General Assembly to a British proposal for creation of a veto-free international commission to inspect troops and armaments of all nations.

Politics and government
Allied commanders in Berlin approved the 14 new members of the city's council of aldermen.

General Motors President Charles Wilson, head of U.S. President Harry Truman's civil rights commission, proposed a five-point labour law program which would outlaw industry-wide bargaining and compulsory unionization as well as sympathy strikes and boycotts.

60 years ago

Died on this date
Grace Comiskey, 62
. U.S. baseball executive. Mrs. Comiskey became the first woman to serve as president of a major league baseball team when she succeeded in gaining control of the Chicago White Sox after the death of her husband Lou in 1940. Her daughter Dorothy served as team treasurer, and son Chuck became vice president, although Lou Comiskey, in his will, had left the team to Chuck in trust until he reached the age of 35, which wasn't due to happen until November 19, 1960. However, when Grace Comiskey died, she left Dorothy enough stock to control the franchise, with Chuck getting the rest, leading to court battles that dragged on for several years. On the diamond, the White Sox didn't show any improvement until Paul Richards was hired as manager in 1951, and they were a respectable team through the 1967 season.

People's Republic of China Premier Chou En-lai flew from New Delhi to Rangoon at the beginning of an 11-day visit to Burma.

Hungarian workers began a 48-hour general strike after the Budapest Central Workers Council refused to withdraw the strike call.

Economics and finance
The International Monetary Fund authorized the United Kingdom to draw up to $1.3 billion to bolster British dollar and gold reserves and ensure the value of the pound.

U.S. Attorney General Herbert Brownell announced that the Justice Department would put "primary emphasis...upon voluntary compliance" in the Supreme Court order against segregation in public transportation.

50 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Australia (Kent Music Report): Good Vibrations--The Beach Boys

#1 single in France: Les Playboys--Jacques Dutronc (2nd week at #1)

#1 single in Italy (FIMI): Bang Bang--Equipe 84 (3rd week at #1)

#1 single in West Germany (Media Control): Bend It--Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich (6th week at #1)

#1 single in the Netherlands (De Nederlandse Top 40): No Milk Today--Herman's Hermits (4th week at #1)

#1 single in the U.K. (New Musical Express): Green, Green Grass of Home--Tom Jones (2nd week at #1)

#1 single in the U.S.A. (Billboard): Good Vibrations--The Beach Boys

U.S.A. Top 10 (Cash Box)
1 Winchester Cathedral--The New Vaudeville Band (2nd week at #1)
2 Good Vibrations--The Beach Boys
3 You Keep Me Hangin' On--The Supremes
4 Devil with a Blue Dress On & Good Golly Miss Molly--Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels
5 Lady Godiva--Peter and Gordon
6 Mellow Yellow--Donovan
7 I'm Your Puppet--James and Bobby Purify
8 Born Free--Roger Williams
9 Stop Stop Stop--The Hollies
10 Poor Side of Town--Johnny Rivers

Singles entering the chart were (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone by the Monkees (#37); I've Passed This Way Before by Jimmy Ruffin (#65); Tell it to the Rain by the 4 Seasons (#67); Georgy Girl by the Seekers (#72); Goodnight My Love by the Happenings (#75); Where Will the Words Come From by Gary Lewis and the Playboys (#76); Snoopy vs. the Red Baron by the Royal Guardsmen (#79); The Girl that Stood Beside Me by Bobby Darin (#83); Stand by Me by Spyder Turner (#85); Karate by the Emperors (#87); (Open Up The Door) Let the Good Times In by Dean Martin (#88); Papa was Too by Joe Tex (#89); I'm Gonna Miss You by the Artistics (#90); Communication Breakdown by Roy Orbison (#96); Baby What I Mean by the Drifters (#97); Hello Hello by the Sopwith "Camel" (#98); You Got Me Hummin' by Sam and Dave (#99); and Wish Me a Rainbow by the Gunter Kallman Chorus (#100). (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone was the B-side of I'm a Believer, charting at #20. Georgy Girl was the title song of the movie.

40 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in New Zealand: Money, Money, Money--ABBA

#1 single in West Germany (Media Control): Daddy Cool--Boney M (12th week at #1)

#1 single in Switzerland: Daddy Cool--Boney M (9th week at #1)

The government of Québec dropped all charges against Montreal abortionist Henry Morgentaler, ending the controversial legal case.

30 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Sweden (Topplistan): The Way You Are--Agnetha Fältskog and Ola Håkansson (4th week at #1)

Died on this date
Susan Cabot, 59
. U.S. actress. Miss Cabot, born Harriet Shapiro, was known for her roles in movies directed by Roger Corman, such as Sorority Girl (1957); Viking Women and the Sea Serpent (1957); and The Wasp Woman (1959). She was beaten to death by her son Timothy Scott Roman.

Kate Wolf, 44. U.S. musician. Miss Wolf, born Kathryn Allen, was a folk singer and songwriter who performed in the band Wildwood Flower before embarking on a solo career. Her songs included Here in California and Love Still Remains. Miss Wolf died after a long battle with leukemia.

25 years ago

Died on this date
Tippy Larkin, 74
. U.S. boxer. Mr. Larkin, born Antonio Pilliteri, was world light welterweight champion in 1946, but vacated the title after just one defense because of his inability to maintain the weight. He compiled a record of 136-59-1-1 in a professional career spanning 1935-1952.

The Canadian Defense Department said that the Gulf War had cost Canada $690 million, below the $1 billion anticipated.

20 years ago

Died on this date
Faron Young, 64
. U.S. musician. Mr. Young was a country singer who had numerous hit singles from the early 1950s through the mid-1970s; his biggest hit, Hello Walls, reached #1 on the Billboard country chart and crossed over to reach #12 on the Hot 100 pop singles chart. Mr. Young's career declined in later years, and he became a heavy drinker and suffered from depression. He committed suicide by shooting himself. Mr. Young was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000.

Politics and government
The new Constitution of South Africa was promulgated by Nelson Mandela.

10 years ago

Died on this date
Augusto Pinochet, 91
. President of Chile, 1973-1990. General Pinochet led a military junta that overthrew President Salvador Allende in September 1973, and resigned after beginning the country's transition back to democracy. He was arrested in London in 1998 and charged with various human rights violations, but was returned to Chile in 2000 on grounds of ill health, and served time only in house arrest until his death, 15 days after his 91st birthday.

The largest anti-government protest in the history of Lebanon took place in downtown Beirut, where official agencies estimated the number of demonstrators at more than a million people.

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