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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Today in history—December 21

1913: The New York World publishes the first "word-cross" puzzle developed by Englishman Arthur Wynne. The new puzzle is an immediate success, and the genre will later come to be known as "crossword" puzzles.

Tillie 1914: The first full-length, six-reel comedy feature film is released: Mack Sennett’s Tillie’s Punctured Romance (left), starring Charlie Chaplin, Mabel Normand, and Marie Dressler.

1937: Walt Disney gambles everything as the first full-length animated feature film, Snow White, opens at the Cathay Circle theater in Hollywood. The film, which cost $1.5 million, was dubbed "Disney’s Folly" by many, but Disney will have the last laugh.

1933: Fox studios signs a 5-year-old named Shirley Temple to a contract. The next year Stand Up and Cheer will make her an national phenomenon. She will make 44 films by the age of 12.

Skelly_wright 1949: President Truman appoints James Skelly Wright to the U.S. District Court in a recess appointment.

1950: Jeffrey Katzenberg, the "K" in the Dreamworks SKG film studios (Shrek 2), is born in New York City. "If you write a good script with a great premise, you'll have a big hit. If you write a bad script with a great premise you'll still make money. But if you write a great script with a bad premise, success is not likely."

1950: Lefty Frizzell’s If You’ve Got the Money, Honey, I’ve Got the Time tops the country music charts.

1979: The U.S. Congress approves $1.5 billion in loans to ailing Chrysler Corporation, allowing the company to stay in business long enough to eventually be acquired by Daimler Benz.

1988: The financial firm of Drexel Burnham Lambert agrees to a fine of $650 million for alleged securities violations.

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