Today In History...
In 1903 The first Christmas Club payment was made to the Carlisle Trust Company Company in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
In 1913 The first drive-in gasoline station opened in Pittsburgh, PA.
In 1918 Iceland became an independent state under the Danish crown.
In 1919 Lady Astor was sworn in as the first female member of the British Parliament.
In 1929 Bingo was invented by Edwin S. Lowe.
In 1934 Sergi M. Kirov, a collaborator of Josef Stalin, was assassinated at the Leningrad party headquarters.
In 1939 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer made his first appearance in a Montgomery Ward advertising brochure.
In 1942 During World War II, nationwide gasoline rationing was enacted in the United States.
In 1943 President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet leader Josef Stalin concluded their Tehran conference during World War II.
In 1955 Rosa Parks, a black woman, was 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 began selling stock in installments.
In 1959 First color photograph of Earth was taken from outer space.
In 1959 The International Antarctic Treaty was signed in Washington, DC, setting aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve.
In 1965 An airlift of refugees from Cuba to the U.S. began, in which thousands of Cubans were allowed to leave their homeland.
In 1967 Queen Elizabeth inaugurated the 98-inch Isaac Newton telescope.
In 1969 U.S. government held its first draft lottery since World War II.
In 1973 David Ben-Gurion, the founding father of Israel and its first prime minister, died in Tel Aviv at age 87.
In 1978 President Jimmy Carter added 56 million acres of Alaskan land to U.S. parks.
In 1981 180 people were killed when a chartered Yugoslav DC9 jetliner slammed into a mountain while approaching Ajaccio Airport in Corsica.
In 1982 Miguel de la Madrid was inaugurated as president of Mexico.
In 1983 Former Environmental Protection Agency official Rita M. Lavelle was convicted of perjury and trying to obstruct a congressional inquiry.
In 1984 Doug Flutie won 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 announced 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 voted itself out of existence in favor of a new Congress of People's Deputies.
In 1988 Carlos Salinas de Gortari was sworn in as president of Mexico.
In 1989 A remote-controlled Boeing 720 jetliner deliberately crashed into California's Mojave Desert to test an anti-flame fuel additive that proved disappointing.
In 1989 Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev met with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
In 1989 Dissident elements in the Philippine military launched an unsuccessful coup against Corazon Aquino's government.
In 1989 East Germany's Parliament abolished the Communist Party's constitutional guarantee of supremacy.
In 1990 British and French workers digging the Channel Tunnel between their countries finally met after knocking out a passage in a service tunnel large enough to walk through and shake hands.
In 1991 Ukrainians voted overwhelmingly for independence from the Soviet Union.
In 1992 Russian President Boris Yeltsin survived an impeachment attempt by hard-liners at the opening of the Russian Congress.
In 1992 In Mineola, NY, Amy Fisher was sentenced to 5-15 years in prison for shooting and seriously wounding Mary Jo Buttafuoco.
In 1993 Eighteen people were killed when a Northwest Airlink commuter plane crashed in Minnesota.
In 1994 Former TV evangelist Jim Bakker completed his prison term.
In 1995 Former Barings trader Nick Leeson admitted 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 chose Spanish Foreign Minister Javier Solana as its new secretary general.
In 1996 The Arab League held 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 was mentally ill.
In 1998 Exxon agreed to buy Mobil for $73.7 billion in a deal that would create the world's largest corporation.
In 1998 Cuba's Communist Party recommended that December 25 be re-established as an annual holiday.
In 2000 Vicente Fox was inaugurated as Mexico's president.
In 2001 Two suicide bombers blew themselves up in back-to-back explosions at a downtown Jerusalem pedestrian mall, killing 11.
In 2002 Russia won its first Davis Cup title by rallying to beat defending champion France 3-2.
In 2003 U.S. Rep. Bill Janklow went 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 signed off for the last time as principal anchor of the "NBC Nightly News." He was succeeded by Brian Williams.