Monday, December 20, 2004
Today in history—December 20
1606: Three little ships, the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery set sail from England to establish what will become the first permanent English settlement in the United States, at Jamestown.
1803: The Jefferson Administration costs John Kerry the 2004 presidential election by taking possession of the Louisiana Purchase from France. The U.S. ultimately gets the states of Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming, which will go 12-2 for Bush..
1868: Harvey Samuel Firestone, who will go on to found the rubber and tire company that bears his name, is born in Columbiana, Ohio. He begins making tires for Henry Ford’s new automobile business in 1904.
1881: Baseball executive Branch Rickey is born in Flat, Ohio. He will become a legendary baseball executive but is most often remembered as the man who signed Jackie Robinson (with Rickey, at left) to a contract.
1902: The pragmatist philosopher Sidney Hook is born in New York City.
1924: The U.S. Senate confirms Billings Learned Hand to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
1952: At Ye Olde Virginnie Restaurant in McKenney, Virginia, A.H. Zehmer gets high as a Georgia pine and agrees to sell the Ferguson farm to his sometime friend W.O. Lucy.
1954: The Buick company signs comedian Jackie Gleason to one of the largest entertainment contracts in history to that time, $6.1 million for 78 half-hour shows over two seasons.
1957: Yes, advertisements can be offers, if they’re specific enough, says the Minnesota Supreme Court in Lefkowitz v. Great Minneapolis Surplus Store.
1995: A really bad idea for a movie, Oliver Stone’s Nixon, opens. It closes a week or two later, grossing $13 million on a production budget of $44 million. People who like Nixon hate the movie, people who hate Nixon see no reason to spend two hours watching a movie about him.