On This Day

What Happened in December 1951

Historical Events

  • Dec 1 17th Heisman Trophy Award: Dick Kazmaier, Princeton (HB)

Music Premiere

Dec 1 Benjamin Britten's opera "Billy Budd" premieres in London

  • Dec 1 Golden Gate Bridge closes due to high winds
  • Dec 1 Legendary Australian cricket fast bowler Ray Lindwall takes his 100th Test wicket when he bowls West Indian spinner Sonny Ramadhin in the 2nd Test in Sydney; Australia wins by 7 wickets
  • Dec 2 "Borscht Capades" closes at Royale Theater NYC after 90 performances
  • Dec 2 Philadelphia Eagles set NFL record of 25 1st-downs rushing in 35-21 win over Washington Redskins at Griffith Stadium

Sports History

Dec 2 Future Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Don Hutson has his #14 jersey retired by the Green Bay Packers; first number retired in franchise history

  • Dec 2 16th Iron Bowl: Alabama beats Auburn 25-7 in Birmingham
  • Dec 4 Superheated gasses roll down Mount Catarman, Philippines, killing 500 people
  • Dec 4 Mir Waiz Maulvi Muhammad Yusouf is appointed President of Azad Kashmir Government
  • Dec 8 "Tree Grows in Brooklyn" closes at Alvin Theater NYC after 267 performances
  • Dec 8 AL alters its restrictions on night games, adopting NL's suspended game rule & lifting its ban on lights for Sunday games
  • Dec 9 West German voters approve merger of 3 states to form Baden-Wurttemberg

Sports History

Dec 11 Joe DiMaggio announces his retirement from baseball

  • Dec 11 "The Wild Side of Life" single recorded by Hank Thompson and His Brazos Valley Boys (Billboard Song of the Year, 1952)
  • Dec 16 NBC premiere of "Dragnet" in black and white
  • Dec 17 Dutch Communist Party members forbidden to be civil servants
  • Dec 19 Nazi General Christiansen leaves Netherlands
  • Dec 20 Walter Zinn's Experimental Breeder Reactor I, the first nuclear reactor to produce electric power, goes live at the Argonne National Laboratory, USA
  • Dec 21 Pioneering telenovela "Sua Vida Me Pertence" premieres in Brazil
  • Dec 22 Australia cricket all out 82 v West Indies at Adelaide
  • Dec 23 Last Belgian communities get electricity
  • Dec 23 National Football League Championship, LA Memorial Coliseum: Los Angeles Rams beat Cleveland Browns, 24-17; first coast-to-coast televised NFL title game
  • Dec 24 1st opera commissioned for television - "Amahl and the Night Visitors" by Gian Carlo Menotti premieres on NBC with the NBC Opera Theater
  • Dec 24 United Kingdom of Libya gains independence from Italy via UN
  • Dec 25 West Indies wrap up 6 wicket defeat of Australia on first Christmas Day of Test cricket, the 3rd day of 3rd Test at the Adelaide Oval

Film Release

Dec 26 "The African Queen", directed by John Huston and based on the 1935 novel of the same name, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, is released in LA, California (Academy Awards Best Actor 1952)

  • Dec 28 Davis Cup Men's Tennis, White City, Sydney: Frank Sedgman outclasses Vic Seixas 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 in the deciding rubber as Australia beats US, 3-2 in Sydney to retain Cup
  • Dec 31 1st battery to convert radioactive energy to electricity announced

Famous Birthdays

  • Dec 1 Alexander Panayotov Aleksandrov, Bulgarian astronaut (Soyuz TM-5), born in Omurtag, Bulgaria
  • Dec 1 Jaco Pastorius, American jazz musician and bass guitarist (Weather Report; Word of Mouth), born in Norristown, Pennsylvania (d. 1987)
  • Dec 1 Treat Williams, American, actor (Flashpoint, Hair), born in Rowayton, Connecticut
  • Dec 3 Mike Stock, British songwriter and producer (Stock, Aitken & Waterman; Rick Astley; Bananarama; Kylie Minogue), born in Margate, Kent, England
  • Dec 3 Rick Mears, American auto racer (Indianapolis 500 1979, 84, 88, 91; Indycar series/World Series champion 1979, 81-82), born in Wichita, Kansas
  • Dec 3 Riki Choshu [Mitsuo Yoshida], Japanese pro wrestler (NJPW/All-Japan), born in Tokuyama, Yamaguchi, Japan
  • Dec 3 John and Greg Rice, American twin actors, born in West Palm Beach, Florida
  • Dec 3 Nicky Stevens [Helen Maria Thomas], Welsh pop singer (Brotherhood of Man - "Save Your Kisses For Me"), born in Carmarthen, Wales, U.K.
  • Dec 3 Kimberley Rew, British rock singer-songwriter and guitarist (Katrina and the Waves - "Walking on Sunshine"), born in Bristol, England
  • Dec 3 Chris Kimsey, British sound engineer and producer (Rolling Stones; Peter Frampton; Peter Tosh; Marillion), born in Battersea, London, England
  • Dec 4 Gary Rossington, American rock musician (Lynyrd Skynyrd; Rossington-Collins Band)), born in Jacksonville, Florida
  • Dec 4 Patricia Wettig, American actress (Nancy Weston-30 Something), born in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Dec 5 Morgan Brittany [Suzanne Cupito], American actress (Katherine-Dallas), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Dec 5 Tom Purtzer, American golfer (5 PGA Tour titles), born in Des Moines, Iowa
  • Dec 5 Anne-Mie van Kerckhoven, Belgian artist, born in Antwerp
  • Dec 6 Gerry Francis, English footballer and manager, born in Chiswick, London
  • Dec 7 Henk Temming, Dutch vocalist and keyboardist (Good Cause), born in Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Dec 8 Bill Bryson, American British author (Notes From a Small Island), born in Des Moines, Iowa
  • Dec 8 Jan Eggum, Norwegian singer-songwriter, born in Bergen, Norway
  • Dec 9 Dragan Pantelić, Serbian soccer goalkeeper (19 caps Yugoslavia; Radnički Niš, Bordeaux), born in Loznica, Serbia (d. 2021)
  • Dec 10 Johnny Rodriguez, American actor (Nashville Girl, La Bamba Party), born in Sabinal, Texas
  • Dec 10 Ellen Nikolaysen, Norwegian singer (You Made Me Feel I Could Fly), born in Oslo, Norway
  • Dec 10 Lary Fast, American keyboard and synthesizer player, and composer (Synergy; Peter Gabriel), born in Livingston, New Jersey
  • Dec 11 Robert Cochran, American skier (Olympics 1972), born in Claremont, New Hampshire
  • Dec 12 Caren Kaye, American actress (My Tutor, Blansky's Beauties), born in NYC, New York
  • Dec 12 Steven Alan Hawley, American NASA astronaut (STS 41-D, 61-C, 31, 82), born in Ottawa, Kansas
  • Dec 12 Richard Davidson, American psychologist, born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Dec 12 Anatoly Alyabyev, Russian biathlete (Olympic gold USSR 20km individual, 4 × 7.5km relay 1980), born in Danilkovo, Russia (d. 2022)
  • Dec 14 Jan Timman, Dutch chess player, born in Amsterdam
  • Dec 15 Joe Jordan, Scottish soccer forward (52 caps; Leeds, Manchester United) and manager (Bristol City, Hearts, Stoke City), born in Cleland, Scotland
  • Dec 15 Ken Knox, American singer-songwriter (Chairmen of the Board), born in Charleston, West Virginia
  • Dec 16 Robben Ford, American jazz, rock, and blues guitarist (L.A. Express; Yellowjackets), born in Woodlake, California
  • Dec 17 Tatyana Kazankina, USSR, middle distance runner (Olympic gold 1976)
  • Dec 17 Wanda Hutchinson, American pop-R&B singer (The Emotions - "So I Can Love You"; "Best Of My Love"), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Dec 18 Andy Thomas, Australian American astronaut (STS 77, STS 89/91), born in Adelaide, Australia
  • Dec 18 Candice Rialson, American actress (Chatterbox), born in Santa Monica, California
  • Dec 18 Pape Diouf, Senegalese journalist and football agent (president Olympique de Marseille 2005-09; first black president in Europe's top 6 leagues), born in Abéché, Chad (d. 2020)
  • Dec 19 Fred W Leslie, Ancon Panama, PhD/astronaut (STS 73)
  • Dec 20 Gilbert Montagné, French pop piano player and singer ("The Fool"), born in Paris, France
  • Dec 20 Peter May, Scottish novelist and scriptwriter, born in Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • Dec 21 Nick Gilder, English singer (Hot Child in the City), born in London
  • Dec 22 Charles de Lint, Canadian sci-fi author (Moonhear, Mulengro, Yarrow), born in Bussum, Netherlands
  • Dec 22 Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster, British peer and its 3rd richest person, born in Omagh, Northern Ireland (d. 2016)
  • Dec 22 Jan Stephenson, Australian golfer (3-time LPGA major winner; US Open 1983), born in Sydney, New South Wales
  • Dec 23 Johnny Contardo, American doo-wop singer (Sha Na Na, 1971-83), born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Dec 23 Anthony Phillips, English guitarist (Genesis, 1967-70), born in London, England
  • Dec 23 Doug Stegmeyer, American rock bassist (Billy Joel Band, 1976-87), born in Flushing, Queens, New York (d. 1995)
  • Dec 24 John D'Acquisto, American baseball player, born in San Diego, California
  • Dec 24 Tom "T-Bone" Wolk, American rock bassist (Hall & Oates), born in Yonkers, New York (d. 2010)
  • Dec 26 Richard Skinner, British DJ
  • Dec 27 Ernesto Zedillo, President of Mexico
  • Dec 28 Ken Pope, American NFL player, born in Galverton, Texas
  • Dec 28 Ian Buruma, Anglo-Dutch scholar and writer on Japan and the Far East.
  • Dec 28 Jacques Zimako, French soccer forward (13 caps; Saint-Étienne, Sochaux, Bastia), born in Lifou, New Caledonia (d. 2021)
  • Dec 29 Laurel Massé, American jazz and Celtic singer (Manhattan Transfer, 1972-79 - "Operator"), born in Holland, Michigan
  • Dec 29 Yvonne Elliman, American singer-songwriter and actress (Jesus Christ Superstar - "I Don't Know How to Love Him"), born in Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Dec 29 Georges Thurston, Canadian R&B and reggae musician and singer ( Boule Noire), born in Bedford, Quebec (d. 2007)
  • Dec 29 Nancy Darsch, American women's basketball coach (Ohio State Uni; assistant coach US Olympic gold 1984, 96; NY Liberty, Washington Mystics), born in Plymouth, Massachusetts (d. 2020)
  • Dec 30 Nancy LaMott, American singer, born in Midland, Michigan (d. 1995)
  • Dec 30 Doug Allder, English footballer
  • Dec 31 Fermin Goytisolo, American musician (KC & Sunshine Band - "Give It")
  • Dec 31 Michael Allen Bantom, American basketball player (Olympic silver 1972), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Dec 31 Tom Hamilton, American rock bassist (Aerosmith - "Dream On"), born in Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Dec 31 Jimmy Haslip, American jazz-fusion electric five-string bass player and record producer (The Yellowjackets, 1977-2012), born in The Bronx, NYC

Famous Weddings

Margaret Thatcher

Dec 13 Future British PM Margaret Roberts (26) weds businessman Denis Thatcher (36) at Wesley's Chapel in City Road, London

Mickey Mantle

Dec 23 MLB centerfielder Mickey Mantle (20) weds author Merlyn Mantle (19) in Commerce, Oklahoma


Famous Deaths

  • Dec 1 Felix Petyrek, Austrian composer, dies at 59
  • Dec 2 Manuel Ugarte, Argentine diplomat, politician, newspaper owner, and author, dies at 79
  • Dec 4 Pedro Salinas, Spanish writer (Generation of 1927), dies at 61
  • Dec 5 "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, American baseball outfielder, 1908-20 (Chicago White Sox, and two other teams; 1919 World Series "Black Sox" Scandal), dies from a heart attack at 64
  • Dec 5 Abanindranath Tagore, Indian writer (b. 1871)
  • Dec 6 J Edward Bromberg, Hungarian actor (The Mark of Zorro, Under 2 Flags), dies from a heart attack at 47
  • Dec 6 Harold Ross, American magazine editor and co-founded The New Yorker, dies at 59
  • Dec 8 Bobby Lowe, American baseball second baseman (first player to hit 4 HRs in one MLB game, 1894), dies at 86
  • Dec 10 Algernon Blackwood, English novelist (The Willows), dies at 82

Mildred Bailey

Dec 12 Mildred Bailey (née Rinker), American jazz singer known as "The Queen of Swing" ("Rockin' Chair"; "Please Be Kind"; "Darn That Dream"), dies of heart failure at 44

  • Dec 13 Selim Palmgren, Finnish pianist and composer (Daniel Hjort), dies at 73
  • Dec 14 Coretté Alefred [Hardy], American-Russian-Soviet jazz, spiritual and pop lyrical and dramatic soprano, dancer, and actress, dies at 70
  • Dec 15 Eric Drummond, British 1st Secretary-General of the League of Nations (1919-33), dies at 75
  • Dec 15 María Grever, Mexican-American composer ("What A Difference A Day Makes" / "Cuando vuelva a tu lado"), dies at 66
  • Dec 16 Dorothy Dix [Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer], American journalist and columnist, dies at 81
  • Dec 19 Barton Yarbrough, actor (Dragnet), dies at 51
  • Dec 22 Powell Weaver, American composer, dies at 61
  • Dec 23 Alfrēds Kalniņš, Latvian organist, composer (Baņuta), conductor, and pedagogue, dies at 72
  • Dec 23 Benito Lynch, Irish-Argentine writer (Palo Verde), dies at 66
  • Dec 25 Harry T Moore, Florida NAACP official, killed by bomb
  • Dec 31 Maxim M Litvinov [Meyer H Wallach], Russian diplomat, dies at 75
  • Dec 31 Philipp Abraham Kohnstamm, Dutch philosopher and physicist, dies at 76
  • Dec 31 H. Guy Bedwell, American thoroughbred trainer (North American champion in wins x 7; earnings 1918-19; first Triple Crown winner, Sir Barton), dies at 76