Retro History: December 21 – December 27

Retro Staff Comments

World News & the American Experience:

1968 – The Apollo 8 crew orbits the moon 10 times.  On Christmas Eve, they transmit a message to all mankind calling for “peace on earth.”

Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life Movie Poster

It’s A Wonderful Life movie poster

Movies & TV:

1932 – Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers appear in their first movie together, Flying Down To Rio.

1937 – Walt Disney releases Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  It is the first full-length animated movie with color and sound.

1946It’s A Wonderful Life, by Frank Capra, premieres.

1947Howdy Doody premieres on NBC-TV.

1953Dragnet, starring Jack Webb as Detective Joe Friday, becomes the first network program to be sponsored.

195420,000 Leagues Under the Sea is released.

1955 – The Lennon Sisters debut on The Lawrence Welk Show on ABC-TV.  They become regular guests, staying with the show until 1968.

1964 – Shooting begins on the pilot for Star Trek called “The Cage”.

Doctor Zhivago Movie Poster

Doctor Zhivago movie poster

1965Doctor Zhivago, directed by David Lean, premieres.

1969 – Diana Ross makes her final TV appearance as a Supreme on The Ed Sullivan Show.

1973The Exorcist, starring Linda Blair, premieres.

Music & Radio:

1954The Shadow, one of radio’s most popular programs, is broadcast for the last time.

1958 – Alvin and the Chipmunks have the top album, featuring “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)”.

1963 – “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “I Saw Her Standing There”, both by The Beatles, are released by Columbia Records.

Beach Boys Good Vibrations Single

Good Vibrations single by The Beach Boys

1966 – “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys reach gold record status.

1968 – Led Zeppelin starts their first concert tour in the US.

1968The Breakfast Club is broadcast for the last time on ABC radio, after 35 years on the air.

1980 – “Just Like Starting Over”, by John Lennon, stays at #1 for five weeks on the pop charts.  The song rose to the top spot after Lennon was murdered on December 8.

1981For Those About to Rock, We Salute You, AC/DC’s album, goes #1 in the U.S. for 3 weeks.

1984 – Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” single stays at the #1 spot for 6 weeks.

Born in the USA album cover1985Born In The USA (Bruce Springsteen’s seventh album) becomes the second longest lasting record in the top 10 at 79 weeks.  It passes Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and is second to The Sound of Music.

Arts & Entertainment:

1932 – Radio City Music Hall opens in New York City.

1950 – Cole Porter’s musical, Out of this World,” premiered in New York City.

Celebrity Headlines:

1933 – Shirley Temple signs a studio contract with Fox.  She is only 5 years old.


1943 – Baseball officials approve the motion that baseballs should be made of a synthetic rubber core.

Joe Dimaggio 1951 New York Yankees

Joe Dimaggio (1951)

1951 – Joe DiMaggio announces his retirement.

1951 – The first coast-to-coast televised football game takes place.  The LA Rams beat the Cleveland Browns 24-17.

Technology & Inventions:

1947 – John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain and William Shockley invent the transistor.  They will win the 1956 Nobel Prize in physics for their work.

Automobile News:

1951 – An automobile by Crosley is built with the steering wheel on the right-hand side of the car.  It would be used for mail delivery in Cincinnati, OH.

Famous Birthdays:

1937 – Jane Fonda, actress

1943 – Billie Jean King, tennis champion

1945 – Diane Sawyer

1946 – Susan Lucci, actress

1946 – Jimmy Buffett

1948 – Barbara Mandrell, singer

1949 – Sissy (Mary) Spacek, actress

1949 – Twins Maurice and Robin Gibb – Bee Gees

1954 – Chris Evert, tennis champion

Last updated: Dec 22, 2014
Filed under: This Week In History Tagged with: history, retro headlines