December 20 in Pop Culture History
1803 – Although officially signed in April 1803, the French flag came down and the United States’ flag rose in New Orleans, completing the Louisiana Purchase.
1880 – New York’s Broadway was first lighted by electricity, built by Charles F. Brush, and became known as the “Great White Way.”
1946 – It’s a Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart, premiered in New York City.
1955 – Cardiff was declared the capital city of Wales, United Kingdom. It is also the city where much of the action in the modern Doctor Who television show takes place.
1957 – Elvis Presley was drafted. He served between March 1958 and March 1960. His army serial number was 53 310 761.
1965 – ABC brought The Dating Game and Supermarket Sweep to daytime TV.
1969 – #1 Hit December 20, 1969 – December 26, 1969: Peter, Paul & Mary – Leaving on a Jet Plane
1980 – The Announcerless NFL Game – NBC televised a game between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins without any announcers, relying on increased use of graphics (this was pre-CGI) and more detailed calls by the Orange Bowl’s Public Announcements. The Jets won, 24-17, but NBC never tried it again.
1981 – Dreamgirls (Broadway Musical) Opened on December 20, 1981 and Closed: August 11, 1985
1985 – The Color Purple, Out of Africa and Enemy Mine were released in theaters.
1987- The Doña Paz collision, the worst peacetime maritime disaster in history. The ship collided with an oil tanker and caught fire, with 4,386 fatalities. It was said that crew made no attempt to organize the passengers, and that the life jacket lockers had been locked.
1986 – #1 Hit December 20, 1986 – January 16, 1987: The Bangles – Walk Like An Egyptian
1991 – Father of the Bride was released in theaters.
2002 – The Wild Thornberrys, Gangs of New York and Two Weeks Notice debuted in theaters.
2006 – Rocky Balboa debuted in theaters.