On This Day

What Happened in December 1968

Historical Events

  • Dec 1 "Promises Promises" opens at Shubert Theater NYC for 1281 performances
  • Dec 1 Burt Bacharach and Hal David's musical "Promises, Promises", based on the 1960 Billy Wider film "The Apartment", opens at Shubert Theatre, NYC; runs for 1,281 performances, wins a Grammy and 2 Tony Awards
  • Dec 1 Gonzalo Barrios, Venezuelan presidential candidate
  • Dec 3 MLB Rules Committee adopts a series of changes designed to increase amount of offensive run production; decreases strike zone size and lowers height of pitcher's mound from 15" to 10"; changes are successful
  • Dec 3 NBC Elvis comeback special airs
  • Dec 4 Following a civil rights march in Dungannon, Northern Ireland, there is a violent clash between Loyalists and those who are taking part in the march
  • Dec 5 Rolling Stones release "Beggar's Banquet" LP

Sports History

Dec 5 Future Hockey Hall of Fame center Phil Esposito of the Boston Bruins scores 2 goals in his goaltender brother Tony's (also HOF) NHL debut for the Montreal Canadiens; 2-2 tie

  • Dec 6 Baseball dismisses Commissioner William Eckert after 3 years
  • Dec 6 PBA National Championship won by Wayne Zahn
  • Dec 6 WKID (WSCV) TV channel 51 in Fort Lauderdale, FL (IND) 1st broadcast
  • Dec 7 Orbiting Astronomical Observatory 2 launched into Earth orbit
  • Dec 7 Richard Dodd returns a library book his great grandfather took out in 1823 from the University of Cincinnati
  • Dec 9 KRNE TV channel 12 in Merriman, NB (PBS) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 9 NLS (a system for which hypertext and the computer mouse were developed) is publicly demonstrated for the first time in San Francisco.

Film & TV History

Dec 9 Terence O'Neill, Northern Ireland Prime Minister, makes a television appeal for moderate opinion in what became known as the 'Ulster stands at the Crossroads' speech

  • Dec 9 The Derry Citizen's Action Committee (DCAC) calls for a halt to all marches and protests for a period of one month

Boxing Title Fight

Dec 10 Joe Frazier beats Oscar Bonavena in 15 for heavyweight boxing title

  • Dec 10 Japan's biggest heist, the still-unsolved "300 million yen robbery", occurs in Tokyo.
  • Dec 11 KECC (now KECY) TV channel 9 in El Centro, CA (CBS) 1st broadcast
  • Dec 11 US Soccer Football Association refuses to let NASL disband
  • Dec 11 Northern Ireland Prime Minister Terence O'Neill sacks Home Affairs Minister, William Craig

Sports History

Dec 12 Arthur Ashe becomes 1st black to be ranked #1 in tennis

  • Dec 12 Rolling Stones film TV show "Rock 'n Roll Circus"- never aired
  • Dec 12 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • Dec 12 Northern Ireland Prime Minister Terence O'Neill receives overwhelming support from Unionist Members of Parliament (MPs) at Stormont
  • Dec 13 Brazilian President Da Costa e Silva issues Ato Institucional Número Cinco degree

NHL Record

Dec 14 Bobby Orr scores first career hat trick (vs Chicago Blackhawks)

  • Dec 16 KFIZ TV channel 34 in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin begins broadcasting
  • Dec 16 Official revocation of the Edict of Expulsion of Jews from Spain at Second Vatican Council

Film Premiere

Dec 16 Musical-fantasy film "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", co-written by Roald Dahl and director Ken Hughes, starring Dick Van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes, with songs by Sherman and Sherman, premieres at the Odeon Leicester Square theater, London

  • Dec 18 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh, Semipalitinsk USSR
  • Dec 18 Musical-fantasy film "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", co-written by Roald Dahl and director Ken Hughes, starring Dick Van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes, with songs by Sherman and Sherman, premieres in NYC
  • Dec 19 WCWB (now WMGT) TV channel 41 in Macon, GA (NBC) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 20 The Zodiac Killer murders teenagers Betty Lou Jenson and David Faraday while on their first date together in Vallejo, California [1]
  • Dec 20 The People's Democracy (PD) announce that its members will undertake a protest march from Belfast to Derry beginning 1 January 1969
  • Dec 20 Learie Constantine becomes UK's first person of African descent to be named a life peer (to sit in the House of Lords) in the Crown's New Year's Honours list [1]

Historic Event

Dec 21 Apollo 8: 1st manned Moon voyage launched with Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders

  • Dec 21 David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash (Crosby, Stills & Nash) premiere together in California

#1 in the Charts

Dec 21 Glen Campbell's album "Wichita Lineman" goes to #1 in the US

  • Dec 23 1st US case of space motion sickness
  • Dec 23 82 members of US intelligence ship Pueblo released by North Korea
  • Dec 23 Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders become the 1st men to orbit the Moon
  • Dec 24 Apollo 8 astronauts read passages from Book of Genesis
  • Dec 24 WATU (now WAGT) TV channel 26 in Augusta, GA (CBS) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 24 Ballon d'Or: Manchester United's winger George Best wins award for best European football player ahead of teammate Bobby Charlton and Red Star Belgrade winger Dragan Džajić; first Northern Irish national to win the award
  • Dec 25 Frank Borman's Christmas reading while orbiting the Moon
  • Dec 25 42 Dalits are burned alive in Kilavenmani village, Tamil Nadu, India, a retaliation for a campaign for higher wages by Dalit labourers
  • Dec 26 Arab terrorists in Athens fire on El Al plane, kills 1
  • Dec 26 Jay Allens "Forty Carats" premieres in NYC
  • Dec 26 Led Zeppelin's concert debut in Denver as opener for Vanilla Fudge
  • Dec 26 Bruin Ted Green sets NHL penalty record of 3 minors, 2 majors & 2 game misconducts in a game against NY Rangers in NY's Madison Square Garden
  • Dec 27 Apollo 8 returns to Earth
  • Dec 27 China performs nuclear test at Lop Nor, PRC

Music History

Dec 28 100,000 attend Miami Pop Festival; performers included: The Jimi Hendrix Experience; The Mothers of Invention; Chuck Berry; John Lee Hooker; The Crazy World of Arthur Brown; and Blues Image,

  • Dec 28 57th Davis Cup: USA beats Australia in Adelaide (4-1)
  • Dec 28 Beatles' "White Album" goes #1 & stays #1 for 9 weeks
  • Dec 28 Israeli assault on Beirut Airport
  • Dec 28 KVOF (KUDO, now KWBB) TV channel 38 in San Francisco, California (IND) 1st broadcast
  • Dec 29 NFL Championship, Cleveland Municipal Stadium: Baltimore Colts shutout Cleveland Browns, 34-0
  • Dec 29 Israeli commandos destroy 13 Lebanese airplanes

Sports History

Dec 29 AFL Championship, Shea Stadium, NYC: New York Jets beat Oakland Raiders 27-23; Joe Namath 3 TD passes sparks Jets to win

  • Dec 30 -48°F (-44°C), Mazama & Winthrop, Washington (state record)

Music Recording

Dec 30 Frank Sinatra first records "My Way" with lyrics were written by Paul Anka and based on the French song "Comme d'habitude"

  • Dec 31 1st supersonic airliner flown (Russian TU-144)
  • Dec 31 NY Jets win AFL championship

Famous Birthdays

  • Dec 1 Anders Holmertz, Swedish swimmer (4 x Olympic silver 200m, 1 x bronze 400m 1988-96), born in Motala, Sweden
  • Dec 1 Justin Chadwick, British actor and director (Bleak House), born in Salford, England
  • Dec 1 Sarah Fitz-Gerald, Australian squash player (World Open 1996-98, 2001-02, British Open 2001-02), born in Melbourne, Australia
  • Dec 2 Darryl Kile, American baseball pitcher (MLB All-Star 1993, 97, 2000; no-hitter 1993; Houston Astros), born in Garden Grove, California (d. 2002)
  • Dec 2 Elna Reinach, South African tennis player (US Open mixed doubles [with Patrick Galbraith] 1994), born in Pretoria, South Africa
  • Dec 2 Jiri Dopita, Czech ice hockey center (World C'ship gold 1996, 2000-01; Philadelphia Flyers), born in Šumperk, Czech Republic
  • Dec 2 Rena Sofer, American actress (Rocky-Loving, Lois Cerullo-General Hospital), born in Arcadia, California
  • Dec 2 Lucy Liu, American actress (Ally McBeal), born in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York
  • Dec 2 Nate Mendel, American bassist (Foo Fighters), born in Richland, Washington
  • Dec 2 David Batty, English soccer midfielder (42 caps; Leeds United, Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United), born in Leeds, England
  • Dec 3 Brendan Fraser, American actor (School Ties, 20 Bucks), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Dec 3 Kevin Telles, actor (Party Camp)
  • Dec 3 Montell Jordan [Barnett], American R&B singer, record producer ("This Is How We Do It"), and pastor, born in Los Angeles, California
  • Dec 4 Mike Barrowman, American swimmer (Olympic gold 200m breaststroke 1992, World C'ship gold 1991), born in Costa Mesa, California
  • Dec 5 Lisa Marie [Sliwa], American actress (Mars Attack), born in New Brunswick, New Jersey
  • Dec 5 Margaret Cho, American actress and comedienne (Face/Off), born in San Francisco, California
  • Dec 5 Rhett Hall, American NFL defensive tackle (Philadelphia Eagles), born in Morgan Hill, California
  • Dec 6 Karl Ove Knausgård, Norwegian author (My Struggle), born in Oslo, Norway
  • Dec 7 Keith Goganious, American NFL linebacker (Jacksonville Jaguars), born in Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Dec 7 Melissa Iverson, American rower (Olympics 1996), born in Anoka, Minnesota
  • Dec 7 Ricky Ervins, American NFL running back (SF 49ers), born in Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Dec 7 Tom Myslinski, American NFL guard (Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers), born in Rome, New York
  • Dec 7 Mark Geyer, Australian rugby league footballer, born in Granville, Australia
  • Dec 8 Bill Johnson, American football defensive tackle (St Louis Rams), born in Minnesota
  • Dec 8 Mike Mussina, American baseball pitcher (5-time MLB All Star), Williamsport, Pennsylvania
  • Dec 8 Michael Cole, American professional wrestling commentator, born in Syracuse, New York
  • Dec 9 Bill Johnson, NFL defensive linebacker (Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • Dec 9 Brent Price, NBA guard (Houston Rockets, Washington Bullets)
  • Dec 9 Kurt Angle, American 220 lbs freestyle wrestler (Olympic gold 1996), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Dec 9 Michael Foster, American drummer (Firehouse-Love of a Lifetime), born in Richmond, Virginia
  • Dec 10 Rob Davis, American NFL guard (Green Bay Packers-Super Bowl 31), born in Washington, D.C.
  • Dec 11 Derek Bell, American baseball outfielder (Houston Astros), born in Tampa, Florida
  • Dec 11 Mark Dailey, American 1.5k runner, born in Youngstown, Ohio
  • Dec 11 Emmanuelle Charpentier, French scientist, Director of Max Planck Institute (2020 Nobel Prize for Chemistry), born in Juvisy-sur-Orge, France
  • Dec 12 Chris Walsh, American NFL wide receiver (Minnesota Vikings; sues NFL over head injuries 2011), born in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Dec 12 Kurt Schulz, American football safety (Buffalo Bills), born in Wenatchee, Washington
  • Dec 12 Laurie Williams, West Indian cricketer (West Indian ODI all-rounder v NZ 1996), born in Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica (d. 2002)
  • Dec 12 Ray Ethridge, American football wide receiver (Baltimore Ravens), born in San Diego, California
  • Dec 12 Tatianna, Spanish singer (Baile Commigo, Chicad de Hoy), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Dec 12 Kate Humble, English television presenter, born in Wimbledon, London
  • Dec 12 Rory Kennedy, American documentary filmmaker, born in Washington, D.C.
  • Dec 13 Carlos Hasselbaink, Dutch soccer player (VVV/FC Utrecht/Haarlem), born in Paramaribo, Suriname
  • Dec 13 Shaun Stafford, American tennis star (1992 Taipei), born in Ocala, Florida
  • Dec 14 Noelle Beck, American actress (Trisha-Loving, Fletch Lives), born in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Dec 14 Cees Marbus, Dutch soccer player (Go Ahead Eagles), born in Noordwijk, Netherlands
  • Dec 14 Jamie Crysdale, CFL corner (Calgary Stampeders), born in Calgary, Alberta
  • Dec 15 Garrett Wang, American actor (Star Trek Voyager), born in Riverside, California
  • Dec 15 Javid Hussain, Indian film producer
  • Dec 15 Osama Ali Maher, Swedish politician
  • Dec 16 Darryll Lewis, American NFL cornerback, 1991-2001 (Houston/Tennessee Oilers, and 2 other teams), born in Bellflower, California
  • Dec 16 Paul Scherrer, American actor (Children of Corn II, Free Spirit), born in Rochester, New York
  • Dec 16 Wendy Doolan, Australian golfer (Evian Masters 2004), born in Sydney, New South Wales
  • Dec 16 Yannick Alléno, French chef, born in Puteaux, France
  • Dec 17 Curtis Pride, outfielder (Detroit Tigers), born in Washington, D.C.
  • Dec 17 Jeff[rey] Klepacki, Kearny NJ, rower (Olympics 1992, 96)
  • Dec 17 Andrey Golovatiuk, Russian politician
  • Dec 18 Aaron Craver, NFL running back (Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers)
  • Dec 18 Casper Van Dien, American actor (Starship Troopers), born in Milton, Florida
  • Dec 18 Alejandro Sanz, Spanish singer (Más), born in Madrid, Spain
  • Dec 18 Craig "muMS" Grant, American poet and actor (Oz), born in New York City
  • Dec 19 Jennifer Devine, rower (Olympics 1996), born in Portland, Oregon
  • Dec 20 Joe Cornish, British comedian, born in Westminster, United Kingdom
  • Dec 21 Anthony Lynn, NFL running back (Denver Broncos-Super Bowl 32), born in McKinney, Texas
  • Dec 21 Khrystyne Haje, American actress (Simone-Head of the Class), born in Santa Clara, California
  • Dec 22 Lauralee "Bug" Bell, American actress (Cricket-Young & Restless), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Dec 22 Dina Meyer, American film & television actress, born in Forest Hills, New York City
  • Dec 23 Quincy Jones III, Swedish-American musician, born in Wimbledon, London
  • Dec 24 Joe Scuderi, Australian cricketer (South Australian all-rounder), born in Ingham, Australia
  • Dec 24 Doyle Bramhall II, American guitarist, born in Texas
  • Dec 24 Marleen Renders, Belgian athlete, born in Diest, Belgium
  • Dec 24 Tariq Hussain, Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist (Splat; Brasstronaut), born in Cowansville, Quebec
  • Dec 25 Helena Christensen, Danish model & photographer (Inferno), born in Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Dec 26 Darren Barber, Canadian rower (Olympics 1996), born in Victoria, British Columbia
  • Dec 26 Mideon [Dennis Knight], American professional wrestler, born in Clearwater, Florida
  • Dec 26 Bill Lawrence, American TV producer, director and screenwriter (Scrubs, Ted Lasso), born in Ridgefield, Connecticut
  • Dec 27 Dean Palmer, infielder (Texas Rangers), born in Tallahassee, Florida
  • Dec 28 Darrick Brownlow, US NFL linebacker (Washington Redskins), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Dec 29 Carlo Ponti, Jr., Italian orchestral conductor and son of Carlo Ponti & Sophia Loren, born in Geneva, Switzerland
  • Dec 29 Darren Perry, American NFL free safety (Pittsburgh Steelers), born in Chesapeake, Virginia
  • Dec 29 James Mouton, American baseball outfielder (Houston Astros), born in Denver, Colorado
  • Dec 30 Kevin Dahl, Regina, NHL defenseman (Calgary Flames)
  • Dec 30 Sean Higgins, NBA guard/forward (Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trailblazers)
  • Dec 31 Gerry Dee, Canadian comedian & actor, born in Scarborough, Canada

Famous Weddings

  • Dec 22 Julie Nixon weds Dwight David Eisenhower

Ina Garten

Dec 22 Author and cooking show host Ina Garten (20) weds dean Jeffrey Garten

Famous Divorces

Peter Sellers

Dec 18 Actor Peter Sellers (43) divorces actress Britt Ekland after 4 years of marriage

Famous Deaths

  • Dec 1 Hugo Haas, Czechoslovakian actor and director (Bait, Pick Up, 2 Smart People), dies of asthma at 66
  • Dec 1 Dario Moreno, Turkish-Jewish singer (b. 1921)
  • Dec 5 Fred Clark, American actor (Zotz, Auntie Mame), dies of liver ailment at 54
  • Dec 10 Karl Barth, Swiss theologist/minister (Kirchliche Dogma), dies at 82
  • Dec 10 Patsy Moran, actress (Children of the Wild), dies at 65

Thomas Merton

Dec 10 Thomas Merton, French-American Catholic writer and Trappist monk (7 Story Mountain), accidentally electrocuted by an electric fan at 53

  • Dec 10 George Forrest, Northern Irish politician, dies at 47
  • Dec 11 Nadine Riga, American actress, dies of cerebral hemorrhage at 59
  • Dec 12 Tallulah Bankhead, American stage and film actress (Lifeboat, They Knew What They Wanted), dies of pneumonia at 65
  • Dec 12 Walter Robins, cricketer (19 Tests for England 64 wkts), dies
  • Dec 13 Siegfried Reda, German church musician and composer, dies at 52
  • Dec 15 Jess Willard, American boxer (World heavyweight champion 1915-19), dies from heart failure at 86
  • Dec 15 Antonio J. Barrette, French Canadian politician, premier of Quebec, dies at 69
  • Dec 18 Joan Tabor, American actress (Teenage Millionaire), dies at 36 after accidentally overdosing on influenza medication
  • Dec 18 Sir John Layton Jarvis, English thoroughbred race horse trainer (9 x British Classic Races; 3 x British flat racing Champion Trainer), dies at 80
  • Dec 19 Norman Thomas, American socialist, pacifist and presidential candidate (1928-48), dies at 84
  • Dec 20 Max Brod, Czech-born Israeli composer, writer and biographer of Kafka, dies at 84

John Steinbeck

Dec 20 John Steinbeck, American author (Grapes of Wrath, Nobel Prize 1940, 1962), dies at 66

  • Dec 22 Louise Granville, entertainer, dies of influenza at 73
  • Dec 29 Austin Farrer, English theologian and philosopher (b. 1904)
  • Dec 30 Trygve Lie, Norwegian politician and 1st Secretary-General of the United Nations (1946-52), dies at 72
  • Dec 31 Carl Oscar Ahues, German International Chess Master (1950), dies at 85
  • Dec 31 George Louis Francis Lewis, composer, dies at 16
  • Dec 31 Sabin Drăgoi, Romanian composer, dies at 74