December 21

In 1937, the animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Hollywood. The film was produced by Walt Disney, released by RKO Radio Pictures, and is the first full-length animated feature film. The film earned $8 million during its initial release, a record for a sound film at that time. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was re-released several more times and is one of the top ten earning films of all-time, adjusted for inflation. The film won an honorary Oscar at the 11th Academy Awards and is ranked in the American Film Institute’s list of the 110 Greatest American Films.

 

Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. The death toll was 270 people, including 11 people on the ground. The flight originated in Frankfurt, Germany and was destined for Detroit via JFK. The investigation of the cause of the explosion took three years to complete and a suitcase with a radio-cassette player was believed to contain the explosive device. In November 1991 arrest warrants were issued for two Libyan nationals, and in 1999, Libyan leader Gaddafi turned over the two men who were put on trial with only one of them found guilty. In 2003, Gaddafi accepted responsibility for the explosion and paid compensation to the families of the victims, but maintained that he had never given orders for the bombing. One hundred eighty-nine of the victims were Americans.

 

The end of the world was supposed to take place in 2012 according to some who believed that the end-date of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar predicted the event. The apocalypse did not occur, although many Internet sites went along with the prediction. The Discovery Channel was criticized for several quasi-documentaries about the event. One poll revealed that about 8% of adults felt some anxiety about the possible event.

 

Birthdays Today

 

1915Werner von Trapp, Austrian-American singer (d. 2007)

1918Kurt Waldheim, Austrian colonel and politician, 9th President of Austria (d. 2007)

1922Paul Winchell, American ventriloquist and voice actor (d. 2005)

1926Joe Paterno, American football player and coach (d. 2012)

1935Phil Donahue, American talk show host and producer

1937Jane Fonda, American actress and activist

1940Frank Zappa, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (The Mothers of Invention) (d. 1993)

1948Samuel L. Jackson, American actor and producer

1954Chris Evert, American tennis player and coach

1957Ray Romano, American actor, producer, and screenwriter

1959Florence Griffith Joyner, American sprinter (d. 1998)

 

Larry Moskal began his career as a Social Studies teacher in 1971. He graduated from the University of Buffalo with degrees in history and education. Larry taught Social Studies for the Ken-Ton School system, a suburban school system north of Buffalo, New York until 2005, and then taught and was the Dean of Students at San Miguel High School in Tucson. At Ken-Ton, he pioneered several online courses for high school students. In the 1980s, he spent three years teaching in Colombia, South America and spent four years at Lewiston-Porter High School. He currently is the PowerSchool Administrator for San Miguel accomplishing his work over the Internet.