,William the Conqueror was crowned king of England.
Gen. George Washington and his troops crossed theDelaware River for a surprise attack against Hessian forces atTrenton,N.J.
President Andrew Johnson granted an unconditionalpardon to all persons involved in the Southern rebellion thatresulted in the Civil War.
Conrad Hilton,founder of the hotel chain bearing hisname,was born in San Antonio,Territory of New Mexico.
Hirohito became emperor of Japan,succeeding hisfather,Emperor Yoshihito.
New York’s Metropolitan Opera broadcast an entire liveopera over radio for the ﬁrst time:“Hansel and Gretel”byEngelbert Humperdinck.
the NBC Symphony Orchestra,led for the ﬁrst time byconductor Arturo Toscanini,performed a Christmas concert fea-turing works by Vivaldi,Mozart and Brahms.
during World War II,Japan announced the surrender of the British-Canadian garrison at Hong Kong.
,the movie version of “To Kill a Mockingbird,”adaptedfrom the Harper Lee novel and starring Gregory Peck,opened inLos Angeles.
,ousted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu and hiswife,Elena,were executed following a popular uprising.
,Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev went on televi-sion to announce his resignation as the eighth and ﬁnal leader of a communist superpower that had already gone out of existence.
passengers aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 foiledan attempt to blow up the plane as it was landing in Detroit byseizing a man who tried to set off explosives in his underwear.Actor Dick Miller is 84. Author Anne Roiphe is 77. ActressHanna Schygulla is 69. Rhythm-and-blues singer John Edwards(The Spinners) is 68. Actor Gary Sandy is 67. Singer JimmyBuffett is 66. Pro and College Football Hall-of-Famer LarryCsonka is 66. Country singer Barbara Mandrell is 64. Actress SissySpacek is 63. Actress CCH Pounder is 60. Singer Annie Lennox is58. Reggae singer-musician Robin Campbell (UB40) is 58.Country singer Steve Wariner is 58. Singer Shane MacGowan (ThePogues,The Popes) is 55. The former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers,Christina Romer,is 54. Actress Klea Scott is44. Rock musician Noel Hogan (The Cranberries) is 41.
Asian toad stowaway getsnew home in South Africa
JOHANNESBURG — They say catshave nine lives. Now a Chinese toad has joined that club of wily survivors.South Africans are marveling at theendurance of a toad that got trapped in acargo shipment from China to CapeTown after jumping into a porcelain can-dlestick that was made there. SouthAfrican ofﬁcials reportedly planned toput down the creature,fearing it wouldcause harm as an invasive species if itwere let go in the wild.But the toad got a last-minute reprieve.Mango Airlines,a South African airline,transported the toad on Friday toJohannesburg for delivery to an animalsanctuary after ofﬁcials decided to ﬁnd away to let the globe-trotting toad live.The two-hour ﬂight was a breeze com-pared to the trip from China,an odysseyof many weeks and thousands of kilome-ters (miles) across the Indian Ocean.Airline spokesman Hein Kaiser saidthe toad got “ﬁrst-class treatment,”sit-ting in the cockpit in a transparent plasticcontainer with escort Brett Glasby,ananimal welfare inspector. There was evena mock ceremony in which the toad’sboarding pass was handed to Glasby.“He was the star of the show on theﬂight,”Kaiser said of the amphibiouspassenger. “I think every passengerstopped to have a look.”On landing in Johannesburg,the toad,dubbed Jack B Nimble,was brought outof his container for a celebrity-stylephoto call.Observers said the mottled brown toadseemed like a cool customer. “Prettychilled,”as Kaiser put it.It belongs to the Asian Gold Toadspecies,which breeds during monsoonseason. It is believed to have survived thetrip from China by hardening its skin toprevent it drying out and also slowing itsbreathing and heart rate,methods thathelp the species survive in times of drought.“We’ve had snakes in the importedtimber,scorpions in fruit. We were calledbecause it was right inside the candle-stick and we had to break it to get it out,”Glasby,the inspector,told The Star,aSouth African newspaper. “It was manu-factured in China and the box was notopened between China and the storehere,so we can deduce it has come allthe way from China.”
A huge collection of odd TV stuffneeds a home
LOS ANGELES — James Comisar isthe ﬁrst to acknowledge that more than afew have questioned his sanity for spend-ing the better part of 25 years collectingeverything from the costume GeorgeReeves wore in the 1950s TV show“Superman”to the entire set of “TheTonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.”Then there’s the pointy Spock earsLeonard Nimoy wore on “Star Trek”andthe guns Tony Soprano used to rub out amob rival in an episode of “TheSopranos.”“Along the way people thought I wasnuts in general for wanting to conserveKeith Partridge’s ﬂared pants from ‘ThePartridge Family,”’the good-natured for-mer TV writer says of the 1970s sitcomas he ambles through rows of costumes,props and what have you from the begin-nings of television to the present day.“But they really thought I needed apsychological workup,”Comisar,48,adds with a smile,“when they learned Iwas having museum curators take care of these pieces.”A museum is exactly where he wantsto put all 10,000 of his TV memorabiliaitems,everything from the hairpiece CarlReiner wore on the 1950s TV varietyprogram “Your Show of Shows”to thegun and badge Kiefer Sutherland ﬂashedon “24”a couple TV seasons ago.Finding one that could accommodatehis collection,which ﬁlls two sprawling,temperature-controlled warehouses,however,has sometimes been as hard asacquiring the boots Larry Hagman usedto stomp around in when he was J.R. on“Dallas.”(The show’s production com-pany ﬁnally coughed up a pair after plen-ty of pleading and cajoling.)Comisar is one of many people who,after a lifetime of collecting,begin torealize that if they can’t ﬁnd a permanenthome for their artifacts those objectscould easily end up on the trash heap of history.
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