Historical Events in December 1968

  • Dec 1 "Promises Promises" opens at Shubert Theater NYC for 1281 performances

Music Premiere

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 Elvis Presley's Comeback Special airs on NBC, his 1st live performance in seven years, re-launching his singing career
  • 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 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

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 5 Rolling Stones release "Beggar's Banquet" LP
  • 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
  • Dec 10 Japan's biggest heist, the still-unsolved "300 million yen robbery", occurs in Tokyo.

Boxing Title Fight

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

  • Dec 11 KECC (now KECY) TV channel 9 in El Centro, CA (CBS) 1st broadcast
  • Dec 11 Northern Ireland Prime Minister Terence O'Neill sacks Home Affairs Minister, William Craig
  • Dec 11 US Soccer Football Association refuses to let NASL disband

Sports History

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

  • Dec 12 Northern Ireland Prime Minister Terence O'Neill receives overwhelming support from Unionist Members of Parliament (MPs) at Stormont
  • Dec 12 Rolling Stones film TV show "Rock 'n Roll Circus"- never aired
  • Dec 12 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • 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

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 16 Official revocation of the Edict of Expulsion of Jews from Spain at Second Vatican Council
  • 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 18 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh, Semipalitinsk USSR
  • Dec 19 WCWB (now WMGT) TV channel 41 in Macon, GA (NBC) begins broadcasting
  • 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]
  • 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 The Zodiac Killer murders teenagers Betty Lou Jenson and David Faraday while on their first date together in Vallejo, California [1]

Historic Expedition

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 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 24 WATU (now WAGT) TV channel 26 in Augusta, GA (CBS) begins broadcasting
  • 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 25 Frank Borman's Christmas reading while orbiting the Moon
  • Dec 26 Arab terrorists in Athens fire on El Al plane, kills 1
  • 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 26 Jay Allens "Forty Carats" premieres in NYC
  • Dec 26 Led Zeppelin's concert debut in Denver as opener for Vanilla Fudge
  • 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

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 29 Israeli commandos destroy 13 Lebanese airplanes
  • Dec 29 NFL Championship, Cleveland Municipal Stadium: Baltimore Colts shutout Cleveland Browns, 34-0
  • 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