Today In History...
In 1903 The first Christmas Club payment is made, to the Carlisle Trust Company Company in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
In 1913 The first drive-in gasoline station opens in Pittsburgh, PA.
In 1918 Iceland becomes an independent state under the Danish crown.
In 1919 Lady Astor is sworn in as the first female member of British Parliament.
In 1929 Bingo is invented by Edwin S. Lowe.
In 1934 Sergi M. Kirov, a collaborator of Josef Stalin, is assassinated at the Leningrad party headquarters.
In 1939 Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer makes his first appearance in a Montgomery Ward advertising brochure.
In 1942 During World War II, nationwide gasoline rationing goes into effect in the United States.
In 1943 President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin conclude their Tehran conference during World War II.
In 1955 Rosa Parks, a black woman, is arrested for refusing to move to the back of a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, sparking a year-long boycott of the buses by blacks.
In 1956 The New York Stock Exchange begins selling stock on installments.
In 1959 First color photograph of Earth taken from outer space.
In 1959 The International Antarctic Treaty is signed in Washington, DC, setting aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve.
In 1965 An airlift of refugees from Cuba to the U.S. begins, in which thousands of Cubans were allowed to leave their homeland.
In 1967 Queen Elizabeth inaugurates the 98-inch Isaac Newton telescope.
In 1969 U.S. government holds its first draft lottery since World War II.
In 1973 David Ben-Gurion, the founding father of Israel and its first prime minister, dies in Tel Aviv at age 87.
In 1978 President Jimmy Carter adds 56 million acres of Alaskan land to U.S. parks.
In 1981 180 people are killed when a chartered Yugoslav DC9 jetliner slams into a mountain while approaching Ajaccio Airport in Corsica.
In 1982 Miguel de la Madrid is inaugurated as president of Mexico.
In 1983 Former Environmental Protection Agency official Rita M. Lavelle is convicted of perjury and trying to obstruct a congressional inquiry.
In 1984 Doug Flutie wins the Heisman Trophy at Boston College.
In 1986 President Ronald Reagan said he would welcome the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the Iran-Contra affair, if such a move were recommended by the Justice Department.
In 1987 NASA announces that 4 companies (Boeing Aerospace, McDonnell Douglas Astronautics, GE's Astro-Space Division and Rocketdyne) had been awarded contracts to help build a space station.
In 1988 In the Soviet Union, the Supreme Soviet votes itself out of existence in favor of a new Congress of People's Deputies.
In 1988 Carlos Salinas de Gortari is sworn in as president of Mexico.
In 1989 A remote-controlled Boeing 720 jetliner is deliberately crashed into California's Mojave Desert to test an anti-flame fuel additive that proved disappointing.
In 1989 Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev meets with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
In 1989 Dissident elements in the Philippine military launch an unsuccessful coup against Corazon Aquino's government.
In 1989 East Germany's Parliament abolish the Communist Party's constitutional guarantee of supremacy.
In 1990 British and French workers digging the Channel Tunnel between their countries finally meet after knocking out a passage in a service tunnel large enough to walk through and shake hands.
In 1991 Ukrainians vote overwhelmingly for independence from the Soviet Union.
In 1992 Russian President Boris Yeltsin survives an impeachment attempt by hard-liners at the opening of the Russian Congress.
In 1992 In Mineola, NY, Amy Fisher is sentenced to 5-15 years in prison for shooting and seriously wounding Mary Jo Buttafuoco.
In 1993 Eighteen people are killed when a Northwest Airlink commuter plane crashed in Minnesota.
In 1994 Former TV evangelist Jim Bakker completes his prison term.
In 1995 Former Barings trader Nick Leeson admits to fraud and forgery after being accused of breaking Britain's oldest merchant bank with $1.38 billion in debts from a bungled trading scheme. He is sentenced to six and a half years in prison.
In 1995 NATO chooses Spanish Foreign Minister Javier Solana to be its new secretary general.
In 1996 The Arab League holds an emergency meeting in Cairo, after which it warned Israel that peace efforts would be endangered if Israel insisted on expanding Jewish settlements.
In 1997 14-year-old Michael Carneal opens fire at a morning prayer group at a high school in West Paducah, KY, killing three students and injuring five. He later pleaded guilty but mentally ill.
In 1998 Exxon agrees to buy Mobil for $73.7 billion in a deal that would create world's largest corporation.
In 1998 Cuba's Communist Party recommends that December 25 be re-established as an annual holiday.
In 2000 Vicente Fox is inaugurated as Mexico's president.
In 2001 Two suicide bombers blow themselves up in back-to-back explosions at a downtown Jerusalem pedestrian mall, killing 11.
In 2002 Russia wins its first Davis Cup title by rallying to beat defending champion France, 3-2.
In 2003 U.S. Rep. Bill Janklow goes on trial in Flandreau, SD, charged with manslaughter in the death of a motorcyclist who'd collided with his automobile. (Janklow was convicted and served 100 days in jail.)
In 2004 Tom Brokaw signs off for the last time as principal anchor of the "NBC Nightly News." He was succeeded by Brian Williams.