On This Day

Historical Events in December 1956

  • Dec 1 "Candide" opens at Martin Beck Theater NYC for 73 performances
  • Dec 1 Algerian-born French long-distance runner Alain Mimoun wins the men's marathon in 2:25:00.0 at the Melbourne Olympics; first time runners follow painted line
  • Dec 1 Frank Robinson (NL) & Luis Aparicio (AL) voted Rookie of the Year
  • Dec 1 Indonesian VP Mohammed Hatta resigns
  • Dec 1 21st Iron Bowl: Auburn beats Alabama 34-7 in Birmingham
  • Dec 1 In front of 100,000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, a US Army baseball team beats an Australian all-star team, 11–5 in an Olympic exhibition game; Sergeant Vance Sutton belts a grand slam for Army
  • Dec 1 US men's 4 x 100m relay team of Thane Baker, Leamon King, Bobby Morrow & Ira Murchison sets world record 39.60s to win the gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics; Morrow's 3rd gold medal of the Games
  • Dec 1 Australian women's 4 x 100m relay team of Norma Croker, Betty Cuthbert, Fleur Mellor & Shirley Strickland de la Hunty run world record 44.65 to win the gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics; Cuthbert's 3rd gold of the Games
  • Dec 1 American Mildred McDaniel jumps world record 1.76m to win the women's high jump gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics; Briton Thelma Hopkins and Russian Mariya Pisareva dead-heat for silver (1.67m)
  • Dec 1 Hungarian boxer László Papp wins his 3rd straight Olympic gold medal when he beats future Hall of Famer José Torres representing the US on points in the light-middleweight final at the Melbourne Olympics
  • Dec 1 Legendary Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser sets world record 1:02.0 to win the women's 100m freestyle at the Melbourne Olympics; first of Fraser's 3 consecutive gold medals in the event

OlympicsOlympic Gold

Dec 1 Led by future Basketball Hall of Famers Bill Russell and K.C. Jones, the US wins it's 4th consecutive Olympic gold medal with an 89-55 victory over the Soviet Union at the Melbourne Games

Basketball Player Bill Russell
Basketball Player
Bill Russell
  • Dec 1 Romanian canoeist Leon Rotman wins the men's C-1,000m gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics; claims the singles double after also winning the C-1 10,000m gold
  • Dec 1 Gert Fredriksson of Sweden wins his 3rd consecutive K-1 1,000m canoeing gold medal by 2.5s from Igor Pissarov of the Soviet Union at the Melbourne Olympics; also wins K-1 10,000m gold

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 2 Fidel Castro lands with "Granma" on coast of Cuba

Cuban Revolutionary and President Fidel Castro
Cuban Revolutionary and President
Fidel Castro
  • Dec 3 Britain and France pull troops out of Egypt

  • Dec 3 KFSA (now KFSM) TV channel 5 in Ft Smith, AR (CBS) 1st broadcast

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 3 Basketball icon Wilt Chamberlain makes his much anticipated varsity debut; scores 52 points and grabs 31 rebounds, breaking both all-time Kansas records in an 87–69 win against Northwestern

NBA Legend Wilt Chamberlain
NBA Legend
Wilt Chamberlain
  • Dec 3 Australian 4 x 200m freestyle relay team of Kevin O'Halloran, John Devitt, Murray Rose & Jon Henricks swim world record 8:23.6 to take the gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics; Rose's 2nd of 3 gold at the Games
  • Dec 4 22nd Heisman Trophy Award: Paul Hornung, Notre Dame (QB)
  • Dec 4 Australian swimmer Murray Rose sets world record 4:27.3 to claim the 400m gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics; Rose later also wins 1,500m gold
  • Dec 4 American diver Pat McCormick wins the 3m springboard gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics with 142.46 points; later wraps up the women's double when she takes the 10m platform gold
  • Dec 5 Thornton Wilder's "Matchmaker" premieres in NYC
  • Dec 5 17 year old British swimmer Judy Grinham and American Carin Cone both swim world record 1:12.9 in the women's 100m backstroke at the Melbourne Olympics; Grinham is awarded gold medal
  • Dec 5 Soviet artistic gymnast Larisa Latynina wins the women's vault and ties for gold in the floor exercise section at the Melbourne Olympics; later takes gold total to 4 with teams and individual all-round titles
  • Dec 5 Danish sailer Paul Elvstrøm wins the Finn class gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics; his 2nd straight Finn gold and 3rd consecutive Olympic gold in sailing
  • Dec 6 "Happy Hunting" opens at Majestic Theater NYC for 413 performances

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 6 Nelson Mandela & 156 others arrested for political activities in South Africa

Anti-apartheid activist and South African President Nelson Mandela
Anti-apartheid activist and South African President
Nelson Mandela
  • Dec 6 Australian swimmer David Theile sets world record 1:02.2 to win the 100m backstroke gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics
  • Dec 6 Australian women's 4 × 100m freestyle relay team of Dawn Fraser, Faith Leech, Sandra Morgan & Lorraine Crapp swim world record 4:17.1 and beat powerful US team to win the gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics
  • Dec 6 Against the background of the Soviet invasion of Hungary the nations square off at the Melbourne Olympics in a famous water polo match; game called off with Hungary leading 4-0 and near riot halted by police; Hungary goes on to win gold medal
  • Dec 6 Randhir Singh Gentle scores the winner as India beats Pakistan, 1-0 in the Melbourne Olympics field hockey final to win it's 6th consecutive gold medal in the sport
  • Dec 6 German WWII prisoner of war Helmut Bantz and Soviet gymnast Valentin Muratov tie for the vault gold medal with 18.85 points at the Melbourne Olympics
  • Dec 6 Soviet gymnast Viktor Chukarin follows his parallel bars gold medal with the individual all-round title and teams gold at the Melbourne Olympics
  • Dec 7 Helen O'Connell joins Today Show panel
  • Dec 7 Australian swimmer Murray Rose claims his 3rd gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics when he wins the 1,500m in 17:58.9; also wins 400m & 4 x 200m relay

  • Dec 7 American diver Pat McCormick wraps up the women's double when she wins the 10m platform gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics with 84.85 points; also won the 3m springboard gold
  • Dec 7 Soviet artistic gymnast Larisa Latynina takes her gold medal tally to 4 at the Melbourne Olympics; wins teams and individual all-round titles having earlier won vault and floor exercise sections
  • Dec 8 1st test firing of Vanguard satellite program, TV-0
  • Dec 8 Guy Mitchell's "Singing the Blues" single goes #1 for 10 weeks
  • Dec 8 XVI Summer Olympic Games close in Melbourne, Australia; start of an Olympic tradition - amidst international tensions, athletes mingle together, parade into and around MCG arena for final appearance to close the Games
  • Dec 10 Establishment of MPLA in Angola
  • Dec 11 Anti-Russian demonstrations in Stettin & Wroclaw, Poland
  • Dec 12 Commencement of the Irish Republican Army's Border Campaign.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 13 Dodgers trade Jackie Robinson to Giants for pitcher Dick Littlefield & $35,000. Robinson will retire rather than be traded.

Baseball Player Jackie Robinson
Baseball Player
Jackie Robinson

Film release premierFilm Release

Dec 13 "Anastasia" comeback film for Ingrid Bergman is released in the US, role wins Bergman Academy Award for Best Actress.

  • Dec 14 Paul-Henri Spaak appointed secretary-general of NATO
  • Dec 15 Emergency crisis in North Ireland proclaimed after IRA strikes
  • Dec 15 KGW TV channel 8 in Portland, OR (NBC) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 15 WRAL TV channel 5 in Raleigh-Durham, NC (CBS) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 16 "Fanny" closes at Majestic Theater NYC after 888 performances
  • Dec 18 "To Tell the Truth" debuts on CBS-TV
  • Dec 18 Israeli flag hoisted on Mount Sinai
  • Dec 18 Japan admitted to UN
  • Dec 18 Phil Rizzuto signs as NY Yankee radio-TV announcer
  • Dec 18 Ballon d'Or: Blackpool & England winger Stanley Matthews wins inaugural award for best football player in Europe; beats Real Madrid pair Alfredo Di Stéfano & Raymond Kopa
  • Dec 20 Military coup under colonel Simbolon in Sumatra
  • Dec 20 Montgomery, Alabama removes race-based seat assignments on its buses

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 21 Martin Luther King Jr. and others sit in the new integrated bus

Civil Rights Activist Martin Luther King Jr.
Civil Rights Activist
Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Dec 22 "New Faces of 1956" closes at Barrymore Theater NYC after 221 performances
  • Dec 22 Last British & French troops leave Egypt
  • Dec 22 Colo is born, the first gorilla to be bred in captivity at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Columbus, Ohio
  • Dec 24 "I Love Lucy" Christmas show airs, never put in syndication
  • Dec 24 Ferdinand de Lesseps statue blown up in Port Said Egypt

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 25 Detroit's future Hockey Hall of Fame right wing Gordie Howe picks up a Xmas hat-trick & 3 assists in Red Wings' 8-1 win over NY Rangers; most points he scores in a single game in entire 26-year NHL career

Ice Hockey Legend Gordie Howe
Ice Hockey Legend
Gordie Howe
  • Dec 27 45th Davis Cup: Australia beats USA in Adelaide (5-0)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 27 Bill Sharman (Boston) ends NBA free throw streak of 55 games

NBA Guard Bill Sharman
NBA Guard
Bill Sharman
  • Dec 28 Miss Frances [Horwich], last Ding Dong School on NBC-TV
  • Dec 30 National Football League Championship, Yankee Stadium, NYC: New York Giants beat Chicago Bears, 47-7; Giants' 4th NFL title