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Friday, November 26, 2004

Today in history—November 26

1504: Isabella I ("the Catholic"), queen of Castile and Aragon, who financed Columbus’s venture to the Indies, dies.

1607: Preacher John Harvard is born; he will leave his wealth to found the university that bears his name.

1872: The Great Diamond Hoax, one of the greatest commercial cons of all time, is exposed.  The entertaining story is here.

Carrier_1 1876: The Father of the Sun Belt, engineer Willis Haviland Carrier (left) is born.  He will go on to invent air conditioning.  His motto?  "I fish only for edible fish, and hunt only for edible game, even in the laboratory."

1913: Jesse Lasky forms the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company in partnership with his brother-in-law, Samuel Goldfish (later Goldwyn) and his friend Cecil B. DeMille; the company, after many mergers, will eventually become better-known as Paramount.

1962: Four boys from Liverpool hold their first recording session under the new name "Beatles."

1974: Tightwad Oakland A’s owner Charlie Finley and star pitcher Jim "Catfish" Hunter go to arbitration.

1984: The owner of the New Orleans Saints puts the football team on the block for $75 million.

1985: Former President Nixon signs a record-breaking contract with Random House, which gives him a $3 million advance for his autobiography.

1990: One of the biggest deals of the great "Japan Inc." period comes when Matsushita Electric buys the MCA film studio for $6.6 billion.

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