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Today in History: Monday, December 18, 2023

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Television and Radio
Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol,” featuring the voice of Jim Backus from “Gilligan’s Island”, first aired on NBC in 1962. This was the first animated Christmas special to be produced specifically for television…Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” debuted on CBS in 1966…Tom Brokaw made his final appearance as host of NBC’s “Today” in 1981…TV movie “A Very Brady Christmas” first aired on CBS in 1988. It became a massive ratings hit delivering a 25.1 household rating and a 39 share, and it led to short-lived dramedy “The Bradys” on CBS in 1990…CBS aired the “I Love Lucy Christmas Show” in 1989, which was the first time it was seen since its original broadcast since Dec. 24, 1956…”Life with Louie“, the Emmy-winning animated series about the childhood of comedian Louie Anderson, premiered as a Christmas special on Fox in 1994. It would later air in daytime and ran for three years.

“The Pink Panther” directed by Blake Edwards and starring Peter Sellers and David Niven opened in theaters in 1963. There are a total of 10 films in the series, with the most recent, “Son of the Pink Panther”, in 1993. There was also an animated TV series that aired for 11 seasons: on NBC from 1969 to 1978 on NBC; and on ABC from 1978 to 1980. And there was a syndicated version of the cartoon beginning in 1980…The first remake of “A Star Is Born”, starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, premiered in 1976…“A Christmas Carol” starring George C. Scott opened in 1984…Three notable films opened in 1987: Eddie Murphy‘s “Raw,” which featured the comedian’s raunchy stand-up act; romantic comedy “Overboard” starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell and directed by Garry Marshall; and, the Steven Spielberg-produced fantasy “Batteries Not Included“…The Nora Ephron-romantic comedy “You’ve Got Mail” starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan opened in 1998…“The Two Towers”, the second of the “Lord of the Rings” films was released in 2002. It grossed $926 million total worldwide…Also in 2002 was the opening of “The Hours”, based on the novel by Michael Cunningham and starring Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman…James Cameron’s “Avatar” starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver was released in 2009. It became the top-grossing film of all time.

Reaching No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart: “Maneater” by Daryl Hall and John Oates in 1982.

In 1997, “Saturday Night Live” alum Chris Farley passed away from a drug overdose in a downtown Chicago condominium. He was just 33 years old…The U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump in 2019 for abuse of power (230-197) and obstruction of Congress (229-198).

In 1932, the Chicago Bears defeated Portsmouth Spartans 9-0 in the first NFL Championship Game.

Celebrity Birthdays:
Guitarist Keith Richards is 80; film director Steven Spielberg is 77; film critic Leonard Maltin is 73; actor Brad Pitt is 60; former NBA forward Charles Oakley is 60; wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin is 59; actress Rachel Griffiths (“Brothers and Sisters”) is 54; actor Casper Van Dien (“Starship Troopers”) is 54; rapper Earl Simmons aka DMX is 52; singer-songwriter Sia is 47; “Dawson’s Creek” star Katie Holmes is 45; actor Josh Dallas (“Once Upon A Time”) is 45; singer Christina Aguilera is 43; singer-songwriter Billie Eilish is 22.

Did You Know?
The first film in the “Pink Panther” series derived its name from the eponymous pink diamond that has an enormous size and value. The diamond is called the “Pink Panther” because the flaw at its centre, when viewed closely, is said to resemble a leaping pink panther…“You’ve Got Mail” marked the third pairing of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, who previously appeared together in “Joe Versus the Volcano” in 1990 and “Sleepless” in Seattle” in 1993.