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December 15: ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

December 15, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle History
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ON THIS DAY IN 1918, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “PARIS (A.P.) — This is a greater night in Paris than armistice night. The city is ablaze with illuminations, the boulevards are thronged with crowds, dancing and singing and throwing confetti. The Place de la Concorde has been turned into a great dancing pavilion, where American soldiers are favorite partners. America is the predominating word here tonight. President [Woodrow] and Mrs. Wilson made their entry into Paris this morning, greeted by well-nigh half the populace not only of the city but of the surrounding districts. They were attended by President Poincare, Premier Clemenceau and others among the most eminent figures of France. Flowers were dropped around their carriage, airplanes winged overhead, guns sounded. But observers were impressed with something more than the magnitude and beauty of the reception by some quality of warmth that made it different from the visits to Paris recently made by the sovereigns of the Allied nations. The imagination and interest of France has been stirred by the president of the United States as by no other leader beyond the borders.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1929, the Eagle reported, “The brazen evasion of jury service by influential citizens with ‘pull’ has reached the proportions of a public scandal. Not only do the big merchants and corporation executives slide out of their civic duty on skids well-greased with politics but they can, and do, have their employees excused whenever they receive a jury notice. Replying to a questionnaire of the Eagle, Edward Ward McMahon, prominent Brooklyn attorney with offices in Manhattan, wrote: ‘Lawyers are invariably asked by their clients to have them excused and everyone connected with a political party can tell you that at the beginning of every month they have innumerable applications from citizens who are called as jurors from various courts in the city to be excused. Legal excuses are not offered and the only reason given is that these citizens do not want to serve. The favor of having a juror excused is asked of the judge, of the clerk of the court or the commissioner of jurors. This practice has grown to such an extent that the average businessman does not take seriously a summons to serve on a jury.’”

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News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

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ON THIS DAY IN 1945, the Eagle reported, “The long smoldering battle over charges of ‘chaos’ in the city school system today may lead to a full-dress state investigation. Taking unprecedented action, the Board of Regents yesterday directed State Education Commissioner George D. Stoddard to examine both sides of the case and decide whether a regular investigation is necessary. If Dr. Stoddard decides on such a course, it will be the first time in local school history that the state has probed the New York City education setup. Dr. Stoddard was told specifically to study two documents. One is the petition of Frank E. Karelsen Jr., who resigned as chairman of the Board of Education’s Advisory Committee on Human Relations, asking Governor [Thomas] Dewey for a ‘cleanup’ of city schools. The other is the 95-page reply to Mr. Karelsen’s charges submitted to the Regents Wednesday by Mary Dillon, president of the Board of Education. The Regents will meet in Albany Jan. 18 to take action on Commissioner Stoddard’s recommendation. A full-scale probe would require additional funds from the Legislature. Regents Chancellor William J. Wallen pointed out yesterday that ‘many of the problems raised are solely within the power’ of the Board of Education.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1954, the Eagle reported, “Donna Reed, who grabbed off an Academy Award for her performance in ‘From Here to Eternity,’ finally dips her foot into TV tomorrow night when she makes her debut on Ford Theater’s ‘Portrait of Lydia.’ For some time, Donna was unable to make any TV appearances due to her film commitments to the major picture studios, but the prejudice against the film stars appearing on video is rapidly breaking down. More and more of the actors have become aware of the enormous publicity — and not inconsiderable prestige — that follows a successful appearance on television.”

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Adam Brody
Charles Sykes/Invision/AP
Garrett Wang
Lieven L. Litaer/Wikimedia

NOTABLE PEOPLE BORN ON THIS DAY include Pro Football Hall of Famer Billy Shaw, who was born in 1938; former Supremes member Cindy Birdsong, who was born in 1939; Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dave Clark, who was born in 1939; former baseball manager Jim Leyland, who was born in 1944; drumming legend Carmine Appice, who was born in Brooklyn in 1946; former N.Y. Mets manager Art Howe, who was born in 1946; “Miami Vice” star Don Johnson, who was born in 1949; Fuzztones singer Rudi Protrudi, who was born in 1952; theater and film director Julie Taymor, who was born in 1952; “The Legend of Billie Jean” star Helen Slater, who was born in 1963; former N.Y. Knicks player David Wingate, who was born in 1963; “Star Trek: Voyager” star Garrett Wang, who was born in 1968; “Stargate SG-1” star Michael Shanks, who was born in 1970; “The O.C.” star Adam Brody, who was born in 1979; and “Downton Abbey” star Michelle Dockery, who was born in 1981.

Michael Shanks
Lionel Cironneau/AP

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LAW OF THE LAND: The first 10 amendments to the Constitution — known as the Bill of Rights — became effective on this day in 1791 following ratification by Virginia. The anniversary of ratification and effect is observed as Bill of Rights Day.

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POP THE CORK: The 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution became effective on this day in 1933. It repealed the 18th Amendment, which instituted a nationwide prohibition on alcohol beginning in 1919. It is the only amendment to the Constitution that repeals another amendment.

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Special thanks to “Chase’s Calendar of Events” and Brooklyn Public Library.

 

Quotable:

“My formula for success is rise early, work late, and strike oil.”

— industrialist J. Paul Getty, who was born on this day in 1892


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