Tuesday, December 28, 2004
1763: John Molson (left) is born in Lincolnshire, England. At age 23, he will have the apparently insane idea of building a beer brewery in Montreal, a place where everybody drinks wine. He will become enormously successful, selling his brew at 5¢ a bottle. He will go on to found Canada’s first steamship company, be president of its first bank, pay 25 percent of the cost of its first railroad, and build its first true theater. A CBC poll of Canadians will later rank him as the 92d greatest Canadian, only sixty-odd places behind wrestler Bret "Hitman" Hart.
1846: Iowa enters the Union as the 22nd state.
1869: William Finley Semple of Mt. Vernon, Ohio, receives a patent for an improved chewing gum made from rubber, chalk, powdered licorice root, and charcoal. It is not a success. The first successful, flavored chewing gum, "Black Jack" will be made a year later by somebody else.
1912: The first municipally owned street cars go into operation in San Francisco. The city is now the only place in the world that operates cable cars.
1922: Stanley Martin Lieber, a cousin of the owner of little Timely Comics, is born in New York City. As "Stan Lee" he will in 1963 invent a character who will star in two of the 15 highest-grossing films in world history: The Amazing Spider-Man (left, in difficulties).
1941: Facing wartime shortages of tea from India, Lipton Tea cancels The Helen Hayes Theater on CBS radio.
1964: That great sweeping epic of Russia, Dr. Zhivago, begins filming on location—in Spain.
1981: Warner-Elektra-Atlantic Records boosts the price of a 45-rpm single to $1.98. Other companies follow suit. The 45 quickly becomes obsolete. Coincidence?