What Happened in December 1937

Historical Events

Historic Event

Dec 1 Japan recognizes Spain's Franco government

  • Dec 7 Dutch Minister Romme proclaims married women are forbidden to work

Contract of Interest

Dec 7 Red Sox acquire the contract of 19-year-old Ted Williams

  • Dec 7 Russian chess player Alexander Alekhine recaptures his final world title from Dutch grand master Max Euwe by a large margin (+10−4=11)
  • Dec 11 25th CFL Grey Cup, Varsity Stadium, Toronto: Toronto Argonauts claim their 4th Championship; beat Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 4-3
  • Dec 11 Italy withdraws from League of Nations
  • Dec 12 1938 NFL Draft: Corbett Davis from University of Indiana first pick by Cleveland Rams
  • Dec 12 Japanese aircraft shell & sink US gunboat Panay on Yangtze River in China. (Japan apologized & eventually paid US $2.2M in reparations)
  • Dec 12 National Football League Championship, Wrigley Field, Chicago: Washington Redskins beat Chicago Bears, 28-21
  • Dec 12 NBC & RCA sends 1st mobile-TV vans onto the streets of NY
  • Dec 13 Japanese troops conquer and plunder Nanjing (Nanjing Massacre)
  • Dec 16 Theodore Cole and Ralph Roe attempt to escape from American federal prison Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay; neither is ever seen again.
  • Dec 20 Australian cricket spin bowler Bill O'Reilly takes career best 9-41 for NSW in a Sheffield Shield match against South Australia at Adelaide Oval

Film Premiere

Dec 21 "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", the first full-length animated feature film and the earliest in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, premieres at the Carthay Circle Theatre, Los Angeles

  • Dec 21 Chicago Black Hawks left wing Paul Thompson becomes first player in NHL history to score a goal against his brother; scores on goaltender Cecil Thompson of the Boston Bruins with just 9 seconds left in regulation; Bruins win though, 2-1
  • Dec 21 O'Reilly completes 14-98 for cricket match, NSW v South Australia
  • Dec 22 Lincoln Tunnel, under the Hudson River, opens to traffic, connecting Weehawken, New Jersey to Midtown Manhattan, New York City
  • Dec 23 First flight of the Vickers Wellington bomber
  • Dec 24 Dutch government recognizes Italian king Emanuel III as emperor of Abyssinia

Radio Premiere

Dec 25 Arturo Toscanini conducts 1st "Symphony of the Air" concert over NBC Radio

  • Dec 25 Queensland all out for 93 v SA in front of 10,436
  • Dec 27 German immigration officials with no explanation bar Juan Carlos Zabala (Arg), 1932 Olympic marathon champion, from entering Germany

Radio History

Dec 27 Mae West performs Adam & Eve skit that gets her banned from NBC radio

  • Dec 28 Fascist Octavian Goga becomes Prime Minister of Romania
  • Dec 29 Constitution of Ireland (Irish: Bunreacht na hÉireann) is enacted and Irish free state is named Eire

Pro Wrestling

Dec 29 Lou Thesz beats Everett Marshall in St Louis, to win NWA World heavyweight title - youngest ever

  • Dec 29 Pan Am starts service between San Francisco and Auckland, New Zealand

Famous Birthdays

  • Dec 1 Gordon Crosse, British contemporary classical composer (Grace of Todd; Purgatory; Changes), and educator, born in Bury, England (d. 2021)
  • Dec 1 Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, Latvian politician, 6th President and 1st woman president of Latvia, born in Riga, Latvia
  • Dec 2 Brian Lumley, English sci-fi author (Compleat Crow, Psychomech), born in County Durham, England
  • Dec 2 Katherine Hoover, American flautist, composer (Eleni: A Greek Tragedy), teacher, and conductor, born in Elkins, West Virginia (d. 2018)
  • Dec 3 Binod Bihari Verma, Indian linguist
  • Dec 3 Bobby Allison, American Auto Racer (Winston Cup champion 1983; Daytona 500 1978, 82, 88), born in Miami, Florida
  • Dec 3 Bobby Boyd, American NFL cornerback (5 × All-Pro 1964–1968; NFL interceptions leader 1965; Baltimore Colts), born in Dallas, Texas (d. 2017)
  • Dec 3 Stephen Rubin, English attorney, shoe manufacturer (Reebok, Adidas)
  • Dec 4 Donnelly Rhodes, Canadian actor (Da Vinci's Inquest, Danger Bay), born in Winnipeg, Manitoba (d. 2018)
  • Dec 4 Max Baer Jr, American actor (Jethro-Beverly Hillbillies), born in Oakland, California
  • Dec 6 Alberto Spencer, Ecuadorian soccer forward (11 caps; 5 caps Uruguay; most goals in Copa Libertadores, 54 goals 1960-72), born in Ancón, Santa Elena, Ecuador (d. 2006)
  • Dec 7 Thad Cochran, American politician (U.S. Senator from Mississippi), born in Pontotoc, Mississippi (d. 2019)
  • Dec 8 Arne Næss Jr., Norwegian mountain climber and businessman, born in Germany (d. 2004)
  • Dec 8 James MacArthur, American actor (Danny Williams-Hawaii 5-0), born in Los Angeles, California (d. 2010)
  • Dec 8 Jan van Houwelingen, Dutch politician (Undersecretary of Defense (CDA), born in Leerdam, Netherlands (d. 2013)
  • Dec 9 Darwin Joston, American actor (Assault on Precinct 13), born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (d. 1998)
  • Dec 10 Don Bies, American golfer (The Tradition 1989), born in Cottonwood, Idaho
  • Dec 10 Don Sebesky, American orchestra leader (Jimmy Dean Show), born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey
  • Dec 11 (Bobbe) "Beegie" Adair (née Long), American jazz and Nashville-based session pianist, and educator, born in Cave City, Kentucky (d. 2022)
  • Dec 11 Adriaan Vlok, South African politician (Minister of Law & Order (1986-91), born in Sutherland, South Africa
  • Dec 11 Jim Harrison, American poet and novelist (Legends of the Fall), born in Grayling, Michigan (d. 2016)
  • Dec 12 Buford Pusser, American sheriff of McNairy County, Tennessee, born in Finger, Tennessee (d. 1974)
  • Dec 12 Connie Francis [Concetta Franconero], American singer and actress (Where the Boys Are), born in Newark, New Jersey
  • Dec 12 Philip Ledger, British organist, composer, conductor, and academic (King's College Cambridge), born in Bexhill-on-Sea, England (d. 2012)
  • Dec 13 Rob Houwer, Dutch director and producer and actor (OK, Professor Columbus), born in The Hague, Netherlands
  • Dec 15 John Sladek, American sci-fi author (Tik-Tok, Bugs), born in Waverly, Iowa (d. 2000)
  • Dec 15 Karen Morrow, American actress (The Boy in the Plastic bubble, Ladies' Man), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Dec 16 Bobby Porcelli, American Latin and Afro-Cuban jazz saxophone and flute player, born in New York City
  • Dec 16 Edward Ruscha, American artist (Pop Art), born in Omaha, Nebraska
  • Dec 16 Jim Glaser, American singer (Glaser Bros-Getting to Me Again), born in Spalding, Nebraska
  • Dec 16 Joe Farrell, American jazz saxophonist, born in Chicago Heights, Illinois, (d. 1986)
  • Dec 16 Joyce Bulifant, American actress (The Mary Tyler Moore Show - "Marie Slaughter"), born in Newport News, Virginia
  • Dec 17 Art Neville, American funk and R&B singer, keyboard player, and songwriter (Neville Brothers; The Funky Meters), born in New Orleans, Louisiana (d. 2019)
  • Dec 17 Calvin Waller, US Army general (d. 1996)
  • Dec 17 John Kennedy Toole, American novelist (d. 1969)
  • Dec 17 Kerry Packer, Australian businessman (d. 2005)
  • Dec 21 Donald F. Munson, American politician (Maryland State Senator, 1991-2011), born in Hagerstown, Maryland

Jane FondaJane Fonda (84 years old)

Dec 21 American stage and screen Academy and Emmy Award-winning actress (Barbarella; Klute, 9 to 5), exercist (Jane Fonda's Workout), and political activist, born in NYC, New York

  • Dec 23 Karol Joseph Bobko, American Col USAF/astronaut (STS 6, STS 51D, STS 51J), born in NYC, New York
  • Dec 24 Félix Miéli Venerando, Brazilian football player, born in São Paulo, Brazil (d. 2012)
  • Dec 25 Noel Furlong, Irish businessman and poker player (World Series of Poker main event 1999), born in Dublin, Ireland (d. 2021)
  • Dec 25 O'Kelly Isley, singer (Isley Brothers - "Twist and Shout"), born in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Dec 26 Jay Heimowitz, American poker player
  • Dec 26 John Horton Conway, British mathematician (cellular automaton Game of Life), born in Liverpool, England (d. 2020)
  • Dec 28 Ratan Tata, Indian industrialist
  • Dec 29 Barbara Steele, English actress (Black Sunday, 8½), born in Birkenhead, Cheshire
  • Dec 30 (Noel) Paul Stookey, American singer, songwriter and musician (Peter, Paul, & Mary - "The Wedding Song (There Is Love)"), born in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Dec 30 Gordon Banks, English soccer goalkeeper (World Cup 1966, 73 England caps), born in Sheffield, England (d. 2019)
  • Dec 30 John Hartford [Harford] American country and bluegrass banjo player, fiddler, and singer-songwriter ("Gentle on My Mind"), born in New York City (d. 2001)
  • Dec 30 Tsisana Tatishvili, Georgian lyric-dramatic soprano, born in Tbilisi, Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic (d. 2017)

Anthony HopkinsAnthony Hopkins (84 years old)

Dec 31 Welsh actor (Elephant Man, QB VII, Magic, Bounty), born in Port Talbot, Glamorgan, Wales

  • Dec 31 Avram Hershko, Hungarian-born Israeli biochemist and Nobel laureate in Chemistry, born in Karcag, Hungary
  • Dec 31 Milutin Šoškić, Serbian soccer goalkeeper (50 caps Yugoslavia; FK Partizan, 1. FC Köln), born in Peja, Kosovo (d. 2022)
  • Dec 31 Nicolas Born, German writer, born in Duisburg (d. 1979)

Famous Divorces

Walter Lippmann

Dec 9 Writer Walter Lippmann (48) divorces first wife Faye Albertson after 20 years of marriage

Famous Deaths

  • Dec 3 Prosper Poullet, Belgian mayor, dies

Gustaf DalénGustaf Dalén (1869-1937)

Dec 9 Swedish physicist and industrialist (AGA, Nobel Prize in Physics 1912), dies at 68

  • Dec 12 Alfred Abel, actor (Dr Mabuse, Metropolis), dies at 57
  • Dec 17 Gerard Vissering, banker/president of Dutch Bank, dies at 72
  • Dec 18 Sandford Schultz, English cricket all-rounder (1 Test, 1 wicket, 20 runs; Cambridge University, Lancashire CCC), dies at 80

Erich LudendorffErich Ludendorff (1865-1937)

Dec 20 German general during World War I, dies of liver cancer at 72

Frank KelloggFrank Kellogg (1856-1937)

Dec 21 American politician and diplomat (US Secretary of State, 1925-29), tried to outlaw war (Kellogg–Briand Pact: Nobel Peace Prize, 1929), dies at 80

  • Dec 21 Ted Healy [Ernest Nash], American vaudeville, stage, and screen actor, comedian (Mad Love, San Francisco, Soup to Nuts), and developer of the Three Stooges, dies from complications of alcoholism at 41
  • Dec 22 Daito Kokushi, Zen founder of Daitokuji, dies in Kyoto at 55
  • Dec 26 Ivor Gurney, English composer and poet, dies of tuberculosis at 47

Maurice RavelMaurice Ravel (1875-1937)

Dec 28 French composer, pianist and conductor (Daphnis et Chloé; Boléro), dies at 62

  • Dec 29 Don Marquis, American author (b. 1878)