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December 21: ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

December 21, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle History
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ON THIS DAY IN 1913, Brooklyn Daily Eagle columnist Frederick Boyd Stevenson asked, “Where are you going to eat your Christmas dinner? If you were asked this question five, or even two or three years ago, you would have promptly answered, ‘Why, at home, of course.’ But you are not so sure of it now. The hotel and the restaurant are looming large in the gastronomic horizon of the Yuletide season. They tell me that fifty thousand Brooklyn people will eat their Christmas dinners in the hotels and restaurants of this borough and Manhattan. Well, I am not so sure of that, but if you look into some of the big hotels and restaurants over here, and on the other side of the river next Thursday, you will see a great many guests seated at the tables partaking of their Christmas cheer away from their homes. And a goodly number of these guests will be Brooklynites. You will see at the tables — not only the lonely guest who is stranded far from those who are nearest and dearest to him — but family groups, and these family groups will be enjoying themselves with the old-time Christmas spirit. A Brooklyn man told me the other day that his family has grown so large that the members of it had formed an association. They found it difficult to accommodate them all at one of the family houses, so they gathered on Christmas at a hotel and had a grand family reunion and jollification.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1918, the Eagle reported, “Representative Fiorello H. La Guardia, the aviator congressman, was the principal speaker last night at the monthly meeting of the Twelfth Assembly District Republican Club, held in Manual Training High School. Maj. La Guardia was in command of the American Aero Squadron on the Italian-Austrian front. He returned on furlough in October to engage in the campaign for re-election to his congressional seat. He decisively beat Scott Nearing, his Socialist opponent, at the polls. Representative La Guardia said: ‘We can truthfully say, in all modesty, that America won the war, but we must also admit that America could not have won the war if our Allies had not fought bravely from 1914 until 1917.’ Maj. La Guardia praised the work of successfully transporting overseas the big American army and the accomplishments of that army in France and Belgium. ‘The sole purpose of the League of Nations,’ he said, ‘is to avoid war. I do hope that at the Peace Conference there will be an expression of a united opinion and that the war will not have been fought in vain. America went over to Europe with the honest purpose of destroying a military machine and we must insist that no other nation can rebuild that machine.’”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1954, Eagle columnist Robert M. Grannis said, “I guess everyone remembers that telethon business where top stars in the entertainment world worked around the clock to raise money to cover the expenses of the American Olympic team abroad. A great part of the money pledged was never received and it struck me the whole thing was very sad and frustrating. It is no longer any secret that in 1956 Russia plans to invade the Melbourne games in force, eyeing the event as a great propaganda opportunity to place new emphasis on self-proclaimed superiority in everything. This one is the one to win and there is no reason why we shouldn’t. No one, not even a Commie, can argue with a stopwatch or a measuring tape and the figures will prove beyond a doubt which of the nations of the world produce the finest athletes. International competitive sports are a fine thing. They bid for goodwill and better understanding. Properly conducted and backed by unstinted enthusiasm, they speak of a desire for friendly rivalry and remind us that there are better things in life than A-bombs or H-bombs. The men and women who represent the United States by reason of their superior ability should not be cast in the role of beggars. Nor should there ever be any questions such as, ‘Is there enough money for uniforms,’ and ‘How about the passage cost and other expenses.’ It should not be necessary to hold special fundraising dinners or corny stunts where exhausted show people project their talents over the nation to wheedle a few dollars from the citizenry.”

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Samuel L. Jackson
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
Steven Yeun
John Salangsang/Invision/AP

NOTABLE PEOPLE BORN ON THIS DAY include talk show host Phil Donahue, who was born in 1935; Oscar-winning actress Jane Fonda, who was born in 1937; “Pulp Fiction” star Samuel L. Jackson, who was born in 1948; former N.Y. Mets outfielder Dave Kingman, who was born in 1948; film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was born in 1950; magician and mentalist Max Maven, who was born in 1950; International Tennis Hall of Famer Chris Evert, who was born in 1954; “Malcolm in the Middle” star Jane Kaczmarek, who was born in 1955; actor and comedian Ray Romano, who was born in 1957; former N.Y. Rangers right wing Joe Kocur, who was born in 1964; “NewsRadio” star Andy Dick, who was born in 1965; “24” star Kiefer Sutherland, who was born in 1966; “Before Sunrise” star Julie Delpy, who was born in 1969; and “The Walking Dead” star Steven Yeun, who was born in 1983.

Ray Romano
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

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DWARF STARS: “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” premiered on this day in 1937. America’s first full-length, animated feature film was a labor of love for Walt Disney and involved more than 750 artists and 1,500 colors in four years of development. It features the classic songs “Some Day My Prince Will Come” and “Whistle While You Work.” Disney received a special Oscar for the film, along with seven miniature Oscars.

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CHRISTMAS STARS: The first moon voyage was launched on this day in 1968. Apollo 8 orbited the moon on Dec. 24 and returned to Earth Dec. 27. Astronauts Frank Borman, James A. Lovell, Jr. and William A. Anders were the first men to see the side of the moon that faces away from Earth.

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

 

Quotable:

“Whenever I walk off the golf course, I thank God that I’m able to tell a joke. I thank God I’m good at something.”

— comedian Ray Romano, who was born on this day in 1957


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