On This Day

What Happened in December 1936

Historical Events

  • Dec 1 2nd Heisman Trophy Award: Larry Kelley, Yale (E)
  • Dec 1 Bell Labs tests coaxial cable for TV use
  • Dec 1 EW Brundin & FF Lyon obtain patent on soilless culture of plants
  • Dec 5 CFL Grey Cup, Varsity Stadium, Toronto: Sarnia Imperials defeat Ottawa Rough Riders, 26-20 for their 2nd Championship
  • Dec 5 Armenian SSR, Azerbaijan SSR, Georgian SSR, Kazakh SSR & Kirghiz SSR becomes constituent republics of Soviet Union
  • Dec 8 Anastasio Somoza García elected President of Nicaragua
  • Dec 8 NAACP files suit to equalize salaries of black & white teachers
  • Dec 9 AL OKs night baseball for St Louis

Sports History

Dec 9 Australia all out for 58 v England, Bradman out for a duck

  • Dec 10 Stockholm: physicist PBJ Debije receives Nobel prize for chemistry

Nobel Prize

Dec 10 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Carlos Saavedra Lamas for mediating end to Chaco War between Paraguay and Bolivia, 1st Latin American to win

Radio History

Dec 11 Edward VIII announces in a radio broadcast that he is abdicating the British throne to marry Wallis Simpson

Declaration of War

Dec 12 Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek declares war on Japan

  • Dec 12 1937 NFL Draft: Sam Francis from University of Nebraska first pick by Philadelphia Eagles

NFL Championship

Dec 13 National Football League Championship, Polo Grounds, NYC: Green Bay Packers beat Boston Redskins, 21-6; Packers 4th title; Redskins move to Washington, D.C. for 1937 season

  • Dec 15 KVL-AM in Seattle Washington changes call letters to KEEN (now KING)
  • Dec 16 John Monks and Fred Finklehoff's play "Brother Rat" premieres in New York City
  • Dec 17 Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen & dummy Charlie McCarthy, appear on TV
  • Dec 18 Queensland cricket all out for 49 v Vic, Fleetwood-Smith 7-17
  • Dec 18 Su-Lin, 1st giant panda to come to US from China, arrives in San Francisco
  • Dec 21 Bradman's 2nd consecutive Test Cricket duck! Australia all out for 80
  • Dec 22 1st common carrier license issued by ICC, Scranton, Pa
  • Dec 23 Colombia becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty
  • Dec 24 1st radioactive isotope medicine administered in Berkeley, California
  • Dec 25 Belgian bishops condemn fascism & communism
  • Dec 25 Ron Hamence scores 104 for SA v Queensland before 4,865
  • Dec 26 Israel's Philarmonic Orchestra forms
  • Dec 30 United Auto Workers stage 1st sit-down strike, at Fisher Body Plant

Film & TV History

Dec 30 Beginning of the "feud" between comedians Fred Allen and Jack Benny on Allen's "Town Hall Tonight" show


Famous Birthdays

  • Dec 2 Peter Michael Braun, German composer, born in Wuppertal, Germany (d. 2019)
  • Dec 3 Mary Alice [Smith], American stage and screen actress (Fences - Tony Award, 1987; I'll Fly Away - Emmy Award, 1993; A Different World "Lettie"), born in Indianola, Mississippi (d. 2022) [some sources give birth year as 1941]
  • Dec 4 Larry Davis, American blues singer and guitarist, born in Kansas City, Missouri (d. 1994)
  • Dec 4 Freddy Cannon [Picariello], American rocker ("Palisades Park"), born in Revere, Massachusetts
  • Dec 5 James Lee Burke, American writer (Dave Robicheaux series), born in Houston, Texas
  • Dec 5 Robert Freeman, English photo-journalist and graphic designer (early Beatles album art and film posters), born in London (d. 2019) [1]
  • Dec 6 Kenneth Copeland, American televangelist (Kenneth Copeland Ministries), born in Lubbock, Texas
  • Dec 6 David Ossman, American writer and comedian (The Firesign Theatre), born in Santa Monica, California
  • Dec 7 Martha Layne Collins, American businesswoman and politician (56th Governor of Kentucky), born in Bagdad, Kentucky
  • Dec 7 Bo Belinsky, American baseball pitcher (no-hitter 1962; LA Angels), born in NYC, New York (d. 2001)
  • Dec 7 Arthur Jenkins, Jr., American jazz and pop session and touring keyboardist, composer, and arranger (Johnny Nash; Harry Belafonte; John Lennon; Roberta Flack), born in the Bronx, New York City (d. 2009)
  • Dec 7 Annette Strøyberg, Danish actress (Les Liaisons dangereuses (1959)), born in Rynkeby, Denmark (d. 2005) [some sources give birthday of 12/12]
  • Dec 8 David Carradine, American actor (Kung Fu, Mean Streets, Kill Bill V.1 & 2), born in Hollywood, California (d. 2009)
  • Dec 8 Peter Parfitt, English cricketer (fine England batsman of the 1960's), born in Billingford, Breckland, Norfolk, England
  • Dec 8 Buster Farrer, South African cricketer (South African Test batsman 1962-64), born in King William's Town, Cape Province, South Africa
  • Dec 8 Brad Jurjens, Estonian director (The Bank Job), born in Viljandi, Estonia
  • Dec 8 Malcolm Forsyth, South African-Canadian trombonist and composer (Atayoskewin), born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, (d. 2011)
  • Dec 10 Lu Liang-Huan, Taiwanese golfer (British Open 1971 runner-up), born in Taipei, Taiwan (d. 2022)
  • Dec 11 Hans van den Broek, Dutch politician (Minister of Foreign Affairs), born in Paris
  • Dec 11 Taku Yamasaki, Japanese politician (Minister of Construction), born in Dalian, Kwantung Leased Territory, China
  • Dec 12 Bengt Emil Johnson, Swedish author and composer, born in Saxdalen, Sweden (d. 2010)
  • Dec 12 Iolanda Balaș, Romanian high jumper (Olympic gold 1960), born in Timișoara, Romania (d. 2016)
  • Dec 12 Reggie Young, American session guitarist (The Memphis Boys), born in Caruthersville, Missouri (d. 2019) [1]
  • Dec 13 Karim Aga Khan, Imam of Nizari-Ismaili Shia Islam, born in Geneva, Switzerland
  • Dec 13 J. C. Martin, American baseball player, born in Axton, Virginia
  • Dec 14 Robert Alan Ridley Parker, American PhD/astronaut (STS-9, STS-35), born in NYC, New York
  • Dec 14 Carl Scheer, American basketball executive (general manager Denver Nuggets, LA Clippers, Charlotte Hornets; inventor NBA Slam Dunk Contest), born in Springfield, Massachusetts (d. 2019)
  • Dec 15 Eddie Palmieri, American Latin jazz pianist, bandleader, and composer (La Perfecta), born in New York City
  • Dec 15 Krzysztof Sadowski, Polish jazz pianist, Hammond organ player, and composer, born in Warsaw
  • Dec 16 Maurice Setters, English soccer wing half (West Bromwich Albion, Manchester United, Stoke City) and manager (Doncaster Rovers), born in Honiton, England (d. 2020)
  • Dec 16 Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Dec 17 Tommy Steele [Thomas Hicks], English pop singer, 1st British Rock and Roll star, born in London
  • Dec 17 Frank Martinus Arion [F Efraim M], Antilles, writer (Double Play)

Pope Francis

Dec 17 Pope Francis [Jorge Mario Bergoglio], Catholic Pope (2013-) 1st Jesuit pope, 1st from the Americas and 1st non-European pope since Syrian Gregory III in 741, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • Dec 18 Malcolm Kirk, English professional wrestler (d. 1987)
  • Dec 19 Marian McKnight, Miss America 1957
  • Dec 20 Judy Henske, American folk singer (High Flying Bird), born in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin (d. 2022)
  • Dec 21 Éric Gaudibert, Swiss composer, pianist, and teacher, born in Vevey, Switzerland (d. 2012)
  • Dec 22 Hector Elizondo, American actor (American Gigolo, Young Doctors in Love), born in NYC, New York
  • Dec 22 James Burke, British science historian and broadcaster (Connections), born in Derry, Northern Ireland
  • Dec 22 Wojciech Frykowski, Polish actor, born in Łódź, Poland (d. 1969)
  • Dec 23 Bobby Ross, NFL coach (San Diego Chargers), born in Richmond, Virginia
  • Dec 23 Claude Albert Coppens, Belgian pianist, born in Schaerbeek, Belgium
  • Dec 23 Frederic Forrest, American actor (The Rose, Lonesone Dove), born in Waxahachie, Texas
  • Dec 23 James Stacy [Maurice William Elias], American actor (Lancer), born in Los Angeles, California (d. 2016)
  • Dec 23 Willie Wood, American Pro Football Hall of Fame safety (Pro Bowl 1962, 64–70; Super Bowl 1967, 68; Green Bay Packers), born in Washington, D.C. (d. 2020)
  • Dec 25 Princess Alexandra [Christabel], The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, British royal family member (cousin of Queen Elizabeth II), born in Belgravia, London, England
  • Dec 25 Ismail Merchant, film producer (Merchant Ivory - Remains of the Day), born in Mumbai, India
  • Dec 26 Kitty Dukakis, substance abuser/wife of Michael (Gov-Mass)
  • Dec 27 Phil Sharpe, English cricket batsman (12 Tests, 1 x 100, 4 x 50, HS 111; Yorkshire CCC, Derbyshire CCC), born in Shipley, England (d. 2014)
  • Dec 27 Lee Grosscup, American football quarterback (NY Jets, NY Titans) and sportscaster (college football analyst ABC; Cal Berkeley), born in Santa Monica, California (d. 2020)
  • Dec 27 José Pérez Francés, Spanish road racing cyclist (Tour de France 1963 overall 3rd), born in Peñacastillo, Spain (d. 2021)
  • Dec 28 Jacques Mesrine, French criminal (d. 1979)
  • Dec 28 Lawrence Schiller, American journalist
  • Dec 28 Jack Ingram, American auto racer (NASCAR Busch Series champion 1982, 85), born in Asheville, North Carolina (d. 2021)

Ray Nitschke

Dec 29 Ray Nitschke, American NFL linebacker (Green Bay Packers), born in Elmwood Park, Illinois (d. 1998)

  • Dec 29 Vitaly Alexeyevich Godzyatsky, Soviet composer

Mary Tyler Moore

Dec 29 Mary Tyler Moore, American actress (The Dick Van Dyke Show; Mary Tyler Moore Show; Ordinary People), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2017)

  • Dec 29 Eduard Martsevich, Soviet-Russian actor and People's Artist of the RSFSR, born in Tbilisi, USSR (d. 2013)
  • Dec 31 Jerry Sturm, American football tackle (AFL All-Star 1964, 66; Denver Broncos, NO Saints), born in English, Indiana (d. 2020)

Famous Weddings

Billy Wilder

Dec 22 Filmmaker Billy Wilder (30) weds first wife Judith Coppicus

Wedding of Interest

Dec 24 Paleoanthropologist Mary Nicol (23) weds archaeologist Louis Leakey (33) in England

  • Dec 28 British best-selling romantic author Barbara Cartland (35) marries 2nd husband Hugh McCorquodale

Bronko Nagurski

Dec 28 Football player Bronko Nagurski (28) weds childhood sweetheart Eileen Kane in International Falls, Minnesota


Famous Deaths

  • Dec 2 John Ringling, American circus owner (b. 1866)
  • Dec 10 Luigi Pirandello, Italian writer (Six Characters in Search of An Author-Nobel 1934), dies at 69
  • Dec 10 Bobby Abel, English cricket batsman (13 Tests, 2 x 100, HS 132no; Surrey CCC), dies at 79
  • Dec 18 Andrija Mohorovičić, Austro-Hungarian-born Yugoslav seismologist (b. 1857)
  • Dec 20 Baron De Borchgrave, Belgian ambassador, murdered in Madrid
  • Dec 24 Dragutin Gorjanovic-Kramberger, Croatian paleontologist (discovery and descriptions of the Neandertal remains from the Huŝnjakova rock shelter at Krapina in northwestern Croatia), dies at 80
  • Dec 25 Pierre Maurice, Swiss composer, dies at 68
  • Dec 27 Hans von Seeckt, German general and advisor of Chiang Kai-shek, dies at 70
  • Dec 31 Miguel de Unamuno Jugo, Span philosopher/poet (Cancionero), dies at 72
  • Dec 31 William FA Ellison, Irish clergyman/astronomer, dies at 72