Retro History: December 14 – December 20

Retro Staff Comments

World News & the American Experience:

1941 – Hitler takes complete command of the German Army.

1941 – The US Office of Censorship is created to control information pertaining to World War II.

1958 – The first radio broadcast from space occurs. It is President Eisenhower’s voice, saying, “To all mankind, America’s wish for Peace on Earth and Good Will to Men Everywhere.”

1963 – The Berlin Wall is opened for the first time, with 4,000 people crossing over to visit relatives during the holidays. It would close again on January 6, 1964.

Gone with the Wind

Gone with the Wind

Movies & TV:

1939Gone With the Wind premieres at Loew’s Grand Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia.

1944National Velvet, with Elizabeth Taylor, premieres.

1951Dragnet premieres on TV during “Chesterfield Sound Off Time”.

1954 – Walt Disney’s TV series, Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter, premieres.

1961Judgment At Nuremberg opens in New York City.

1964The Pink Panther cartoon series premieres.

1966 – Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas airs for first time on CBS.

The Graduate Movie Poster

The Graduate movie poster

1967The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman & Anne Bancroft premieres.

1969 – The Jackson Five appear on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time.

1971 Diamonds are Forever premieres in US.

1971 – Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange premieres.

1976Wonder Woman debuts on ABC.

1976A Star is Born, with Barbra Striesand, premieres.

1977Saturday Night Fever, with John Travolta, premieres in New York.

I Love Lucy Christmas Special

I Love Lucy Christmas Special

1989 – The I Love Lucy Christmas episode is broadcast for first time in over 30 years.

Music & Radio:

1949Captain Midnight is broadcast for the last time.

1952 – Jimmy Boyd reaches the #1 spot on the record charts with the Christmas song of the year, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”.

1955 – “Blue Suede Shoes”, by Carl Perkins, hits the top of the rock, country, and rhythm & blues charts.

1960Calendar Girl, by Neil Sedaka, is released on RCA Victor Records.

1960 – Frank Sinatra records “Ring-A-Ding-Ding” and “Let’s Fall in Love” with his very own record company, Reprise Records.

1962 – The Osmond Brothers debut on The Andy Williams Show.

1967 – Ian Anderson & Glenn Cornick formed the rock group Jethro Tull.

Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye

1968 – “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”, by Marvin Gaye, is at the top of the charts.

1969 – “Leaving on a Jet Plane”, by Peter, Paul & Mary, reachs #1.

1971 – One of the longest songs ever, Don McLean’s “American Pie”, is released with a play time of more than eight minutes.

1975 – Ron Wood joined the Rolling Stones.

1977 – Elvis Costello & The Attractions make their first US TV appearance on Saturday Night Live.

Arts & Entertainment:

1957The Music Man opens at Majestic Theater in New York City for 1,375 performances.

1981Dreamgirls opens at Imperial Theater New York City for 1,522 performances.

1985Jerry’s Girls opens at St James Theater in New York City.

Elvis Presley US Army Picture

Elvis Presley US Army Picture

Celebrity Headlines:

1957 – Elvis Presley is given draft notice to join the US Army for National Service.

1966 – Walt (Walter Elias) Disney dies in Burbank, California at the age of 65.

1973 – Singer Bobby Darin dies following open-heart surgery at the age of 37.

1985 – Sylvester Stallone marries Brigitte Nielson.


1953 – The Brooklyn Dodgers sign Sandy Koufax, age 19. He had only played 20 games in his life!

1973 – Sandy Hawley wins 500 races in a single year, the first jockey in history to do this.

1985 – Howard Cosell retires from television sports after 20 years with ABC.

Larry Bird

Larry Bird

1989 – Larry Bird (Celtics) begins an NBA free throw streak of 71 games.

Technology & Inventions:

1934 – New York Central Railroad introduces the first streamlined locomotive, nicknamed the Commodore Vanderbilt.

Automobile News:

1942 – Massachusetts issues the first US vehicular license plate tabs.

Famous Birthdays:

1943 – Keith Richards

1946 – Patty (Anna Marie) Duke

1946 – Steven (Allan) Spielberg

1949 – Bill (William Joseph) Buckner, baseball player

1949 – Don Johnson, actor

1957 – Kevin McHale (Basketball Hall of Famer: Boston Celtics)

1963 – Brad Pitt

1966 – Kiefer Sutherland

Last updated: Dec 15, 2014
Filed under: This Week In History Tagged with: history, retro headlines