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Leasing News is a web site that posts information, news, and
entertainment for the commercial bank, finance and leasing industry

##### Extra ########

What a Shocker for Christmas!

Clay Stephens, Warren Capital, Novato, California, who recently died at 72 years old, accused of running a $23 million Ponzi scheme,
similar to HL Capital run by John Otto.

Full story in Santa Rosa The Press Democrat

##### Full edition follows #####

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas from the Leasing News staff and
advisory board to you and your family.  Happy Holidays!
- Christopher “Kit” Menkin, Publisher

Today's Equipment Leasing Headlines

Kit’s Salvation Army Kettle
  Classified Ads---Sales
New Hires---Promotions in the Leasing Industry
  Leasing Industry Ads---Help Wanted
Why I Became a CLP
 Theresa Kabot, CLP, BPB
Letters?---We get eMail!
 (News and Reactions to News)
  Leasing Portals
   (Business to Business including Finance/Leasing)
    Aggregate Funding Sources
     (On Line: connects lessees, lessors, and vendors)
Downside of Medallion Financial Only Just Beginning
   by James F. Hickman,
Mortgage Rates Moves Mute, Mixed
    Thin Inventory of Homes to Blame?
Special Christmas Edition:  Remember the Night, Elf
Meet Me in St. Louis, A Christmas Story, Die Hard
   by Leasing News Film/DVD Reviewer Ferdinando Croce
  Labrador Retriever/Pointer Mix
   Charlotte, North Carolina Adopt a Dog
    Serenity Prayer
News Briefs---
U.S. Economy Grew 5% in Third Quarter,
  Its Fastest Rate in More Than a Decade
The boom is here:
 ---the economy just grew 5 percent, and it’s not going to stop
Census: Florida surpasses NY in population
 How To Yield/Boost Air Lease From 0.5% To 16.7% Using Options
  T-Mobile to refund customers $90M in settlement
   Yellen’s First Year at Fed: A Remarkably Steady Course

Broker/Funder/Industry Lists | Features (writer's columns)
Top Ten Stories Chosen by Readers | Top Stories last six months (Be Careful of Doing Business)
Leasing News Icon for Android Mobile Device

You May have Missed---
   SparkPeople--Live Healthier and Longer
    Sports Briefs---
      California Nuts Brief---
       "Gimme that Wine"    
          This Day in American History
           Daily Puzzle
               Weather, USA or specific area
                 Traffic Live----

######## surrounding the article denotes it is a “press release” and was not written by Leasing News nor information verified, but from the source noted. When an article is signed by the writer, it is considered a “by line.” It reflects the opinion and research of the writer.

Please send Leasing News to a colleague and ask them to join
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Kit’s Salvation Army Kettle

To help out battered women shelters, homeless shelters, drug and
alcohol shelters (separate men and women), disaster relief, PG&E
relief, food, travel relief, fires, earthquakes, to help others, where
93% goes to people in need, not “administrative costs.”

$6,460 Raised to Date—Thank You, Donors

Thrift Stores and the Kettle Drive Once a Year
support the Salvation Army

Thank You Donors

Jeffrey Allard Larry Armstrong Carol Baker
Brent Baron Paul Bent Bruce Cady
Brian Carey Ben Carlile Edward Castagna
John Caulfield Richard Cohen Dale Davis
Rob Day Shawn Halladay Larry Hartmann
Randy Haug Don & Bonnie Dulmage Jim Lahti
Theresa Kabot,CLP Sam Khedkar Jule Kreyling
Bruce Kropschot Vern Laney Allan Levine
Chip Lupacchino Bruce Lurie Barry Marks
Cliff McKenzie Paul Menzel,CLP Dean Morrison
Gerald Oestreich PFSC Klaus Pache
Susan Robert Dean Rubin Jeffrey Rudin
David Silverman Bob Stephan Bob Teichman,CLP
Gary Trebels Terry Waggoner Paul Weiss
Rosanne Wilson Rick Wilbur Edward Winston
Robert VanHellemont Annoymous


(Please click on kettle to learn more)

Let’s Set a Record for 2014!


Classified Ads---Sales

(These ads are “free” to those seeking employment
or looking to improve their position)

Work Remotely
Business Development - Are you looking to enter/increase your Healthcare lending? Let me identify and qualify healthcare (all verticals) vendors, distributors, and end users who utilize leasing/financing as a tool to sell equipment for you. Many years experience - contact Mitchell Utz at or 
(215) 460-4483.

Free Posting for those seeking employment in Leasing:

All “free” categories “job wanted” ads:



New Hires---Promotions in the Leasing Industry


Stuart M. Christhilf, IV was promoted from Principal to Partner at Pamlico Capital, Charlotte, N.C. He joined the firm in 2003. Previously, he was Vice President, Wachovia Securities (2000–2002); Associate/Analyst, First Union Securities (1996–2000). Mr. Christhilf’s current board affiliations include ATX Networks, Securadyne Systems, TekLinks Inc. and Valued Relationships. Representative prior boards include Bell Sports, CPG International, Crosman Group and GreatAmerica Leasing. Education: Washington and Lee University. BS with Special Attainments in Commerce, Business Administration (1992–1996). Chartered Financial Analyst (2003). Loyola High School

Richard Hersel was hired as Business Development Manager at TimePayment Corp., Thousand Oaks, California. Previously, he was DMR Sales Manager, NovaStor (June 2013–November 2014); Business Development Manager, Indymac Bank (May 2003–June 2013). Education: Hope International University, Bachelor's Degree, Human Development ((2014–2016 (expected))

Melissa Scheu was hired as Funding manager at Ascentium Capital, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Previously, she was Funding Manager, Direct Capital Corporation (February 2014-December 2014); Assistant School Director, Empire Beauty Schools (February 2013–February 2014); Bartender, Paddy's American Grille (October 2010–February 2013).

Eric J. Wilkins was promoted from Principal to Partner at Pamlico Capital, Charlotte, North Carolina. He joined the firm September, 2006. Previously, he was Associate, DLJ Merchant Banking Partners (July 2003–June 2006). "He focuses on companies in the Business & Technology Services sector with an emphasis on opportunities within the software and Internet industries...He currently serves on the boards of CLEARLINK Technologies, T2 Systems, and DAXKO. Education: Columbia University. Columbia Business School,
MBA (2001–2003). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1993–1997).


Leasing Industry Help Wanted


Why I Became a CLP

Theresa Kabot, CLP, BPB
K2 Funding
Kabot Commercial Leasing LLC

The CLP designation has played a major role in my development as an equipment leasing and financing professional by providing a well-rounded education, a path for continuing education and introducing me to opportunities that have helped me to grow both professionally and personally.

Groundwork: My career in equipment leasing began at a Colonial Pacific Leasing, Portland, Oregon, when I was 21 years old, where the president of the company Jim Merrilees, CLP, instilled a corporate culture entrenched in training and cross-training as well as professional development and self-improvement. Classes and ongoing courses were offered through the company as well as via outsourced educational agencies. The topics ranged from building and improving customer service and front-line leadership, to train the trainer and Dun and Bradstreet’s credit and financial analysis course.

All employees were encouraged to learn, share knowledge, teach and offer creative solutions for how to do business better. Coursework and its completion were taken seriously and employees were formally recognized by the president for their accomplishments at regular company meetings. Having just graduated from college, this was my first introduction to the importance of continuing education and laid the groundwork which continues to be my foundation.

Personal Challenge: The examples set for me by leaders within the organization are how I initially learned about the Certified Lease Professional designation. When CLP first peaked my interest, certification required five years of industry experience therefore I was not eligible to sit for the exam until 1996.  (Today you can apply for an Associate after three years.)

Ironically, achieving the designation was no longer a factor in my advancement opportunities within a corporation as at this same time.  I had just stepped out on my own and started an equipment financing brokerage in Seattle. However upon reviewing the CLP course content and the body of knowledge, I realized that I still had much to learn and took it on as a personal challenge. That spring I applied to take the exam and began studying which included the mentor program where you can work closely with a private tutor who has already been down the path of preparation and knows the material. I am thankful for the time and guidance of my mentor Jim McCommon, CLP. I achieved my Certified Lease Professional designation on October 12th of 1996. What started out as a personal challenge ended up being far more valuable than I would have thought as the CLP designation was of great assistance in securing and maintaining banking and funding relationships for my new business.

Open Doors: The process of certification and continuing education did not stop as I have recertified every four years since, with my most recent recertification in October of 2012. Although reexamination is not required, recertification requires CLPs remain active in some aspect of the finance industry and participate in educational activities and seminars which could include involvement in associations like National Equipment Finance Associations (NEFA), National Association of Equipment Leasing Brokers (NAELB) and Equipment Leasing and Finance Association. Part of my recertification qualification over the years has included serving on the United Association of Equipment Leasing (now NEFA) Board of Directors in 2001 and 2002, participation in numerous NEFA and NAELB committees where my company currently maintains membership and as a past and current instructor for the Institute for Leasing Professionals.

In addition to membership and conference attendance, I can attest to the fact that being active on industry committees, serving as a director, teaching classes, participating on panels or making literary contributions to publications will connect you with a network of industry leaders and opportunities which contribute to the success of any growing company. The CLP designation opened doors for me in my entrepreneurial experience by lending additional credibility when dealing with investors, funding sources and customers.

If you are a CEO or manager looking for a way to groom your company’s future leaders or if you are looking for a way to enhance your own career advancement potential, whether it be in a corporate environment or as an enterprising business owner, I recommend CLP certification.

Previous “Why I Am a CLP



Letters?---We get eMail!
(News and Reactions to News)

(Mostly in Chronological Order when received)

"We are not taking any new broker business.

"85% of our business is direct. This has been working well for us.

"Last year we did $38 million in business, this year will be $50 million, next year we project $65 to $70, but all the growth is through marketing direct – vendor and end-user programs."

Christopher Enbom
CEO and Chairman,
Allegiant Partners Inc. dba
First Star Capital dba Clearview Financial


Top Leasing Executives on ELFA November Drop
in New Business -  Down 18%% from October to November

“Regarding comments from Mondays issue, referencing November December sales.

“Both months became shades of the 90's.We enjoyed huge increases more than we expected.

“We believe our consistent application of service and nonstop marketing continues to pay dividends in renewed growth and repeat business.

“We have found over our 28 years the best funding sources sit down with you, go through exactly what you do and how you acquire your deals. Once understood the partnership can and will grow. We don't want short term relationships .Our oldest

“Ongoing Funding relationship is still a partner with us since 1986. This source and others like them are truly comfortable with us enough to discuss marketing/sales efforts and help us work for them in a productive manner. Our lenders are equally responsible for our success. We welcome other productive lenders and the products they bring to share with us and other good Brokers.

“I think that next year sales will explode with new equipment needs as well as replacement needs.

“Wishing all a very good Holiday and a Happy New Year.”

Neil Roth EVP.
Key Credit Corp.


“It is great being back in the business after about a 10 year layoff. LinkedIn helped me rebuild my database in less than 6 months. A lot has changed, but a lot hasn’t.

“I came over to Great Western Bank 3 years ago and took over an Equipment Finance Group that had declining loan sales for the previous 3 years and the portfolio had fallen to $68 Million. In my first year, sales doubled to $36 million and the portfolio grew to $81 million. In the next year, we hit $54 million in sales and the portfolio topped $100 million. And, we did it with 2 fewer bankers. Great Western Bank has now gone public on the NYSE under ‘GWB’ and we have high expectations for the coming year. All this from a regional footprint in NE, IA, KS and MO.

“All The Best,”


Ed Shada
Vice President
Equipment Finance Group
Great Western Bank
Omaha, NE 68114


Sy Berger, Who Turned Boyhood Heroes Into Brilliant Rectangles, Dies at 91

“To those of us of a certain age, the impact of this man was enormous and likely will not get his due.

“Remember when a pack was a nickel, including the gum, and an entire box of 24 was a $1.20? Remember when we put the cards on the spokes of our bicycles to make them sound like a motorcycle? Remember flipping them?
Remember the Arnie Portacareros, Gair Allies, Reno Bertoias, Gus Zernials, and Zeke Bonuras that seemed to outnumber the Mantles, Mayses, Williams, and Musials by about 10-1?

“During the 1950s, when I started collecting baseball cards, there was no market for these now-bits of baseball nostalgia.  I have many friends whose mothers threw them all out as soon as they left for college.

“I was lucky.  On my return home from college as a freshman for Thanksgiving, 1964, my mother asked me to go to the basement and throw out a “bunch of stuff” that she had piled up near the door.    That bunch of stuff included all of my baseball cards, football cards, and my Lionel trains.  Fortunately, I saved them and still have them today.

“We did not know who Sy Berger was but in creating cards, he gave us a pastime that equaled the sports they involved.  I have wondered recently that with all the other diversions children have today, and with our generation passing on, will trading cards endure?

“It is not often that one can look over one’s life and consider that s/he had profound impact.  I may be biased because there are millions who could care less about trading cards, but it is fair to say for some of us, Sy Berger had that impact.”

Ralph Mango

(My mother threw out my baseball card collection when we moved to California. She also threw out my brothers complete collection of Mad Magazines from the very first one issued. Editor).


Carey Wilburn, Partner; Rick Wilbur, Managing Partner; Chelsea Wilbur - Partner and Documentation and Funding Contact

“We are moving.  As of Monday December 21, 2014 we will have some new digs.  Phone numbers will remain the same.

“Happy Holidays,”

Charter Capital


Can Lessors Rely on Electronic Signatures?
By Tom McCurnin Leasing News Legal Editor

“For background, one of the first projects I headed for comScore in 2011 was the pilot for the implementation of EchoSign through our Salesforce CRM platform.  It was during this research that I found the nearly universal acceptance of electronic signatures throughout the developed world as comScore does business globally.

“Tom's admonition is well-stated and likely has been repeated often as we have adopted technology more pervasively.  It was also at this time that I was with my son-in-law in the Legend Suites at Yankee Stadium where he was presented the mortgage documents for his home in VA...on his iPhone...that he executed electronically.  The mortgage banker added protection that captured...with his consent....the cell phone number as proof that it was his device, and his statement that he in fact used it to sign the docs.”

Ralph Mango


Sales Make it Happen by Steve Chriest
Don't Send Ducks to Eagle School!

“Re:  ducks and eagles, an old adage to be sure.  When I assumed the role at AT&T Leasing Services in Pleasanton as VP-Sales, it was an underperforming unit that was driving our SVP crazy.  I contracted with a consulting firm to develop a battery of tests to determine the suitability, intellect, and drive of the entire sales team...some 20 across the country...for sales.  Over 40% were tested as unsuitable because...

1. Given the choice of being alone on a desert isle or having a hot time in the city of your choice, they chose the former.
2. Between reading a good book or playing a round of golf, they would rather read.
3. Do you prefer negotiating the entire deal or getting it to the point where the 'closer' nails it, they chose the former.

“You recall perhaps, the UC sociologist Harry Edwards, who has been on several sports-related shows and has had extensive parts in stories on the Niners.  The relationship began when the late Coach Bill Walsh, now a Hall of Famer, fresh off the first Super Bowl, contacted him with a request to interview Montana, Hacksaw, Lott, Cross, Solomon, etc., to learn their psychological make-up,  their intelligence, emotional balance, competitive drive....essentially to understand deeply what makes these leaders tick.  Then, Edwards developed a test designed to match future draftees’ and free agents’ responses against the template he developed with those guys.  Everyone who ever came through the Niners system when Eddie DeBartolo was running the operation, took those tests and were signed or not based upon them.  Years later, Eddie said it was the best $200K he ever spent.

“It is acknowledged sparingly that the NFL obsession with the Wunderlich is steeped in this 1980s project.”

Ralph P. Mango


Bode Ace Menkin Birthday

“That’s an impressive pal you have there!  And that pose is indicative of his gentle, sophisticated manner.  Our dogs do manage to put up with us as you say, without asking for very much in return.

“Thanks for the always interesting and informative updates and for that very special photo of a loyal, handsome friend.  By the way.....How did you come up with that great name? “

Warm Regards,

Herb Spanier
Sunbelt Lessors, Inc.

(Bode was named by Gretchen Gabriel, Sue's daughter; after Bode Miller, the wild World Cup alpine skier, who won the World Cup Champion in 2005, the year of Bode’s birth.  I added the middle name, Ace, after "Ace Reporter. " With his last name Menkin, he was then BAM!  Editor)


Leasing #102 by Mr. Terry Winders
Value of Term of Lease

“My first job in the industry was with Ingersoll-Rand Financial.  As a captive, we had a variety of IR equipment that took us into multiple construction and manufacturing related industries.

“Perhaps the most creative involved financing ski resorts that installed snow-making gear.  Involved were pumps, pipes, compressors, generators, and to get us into the one-stop business, chair lifts and grooming equipment.  We offered three and four payment, 60 month leases with $1 or 10% out as we did not want to be making collection calls to ski resorts in July!!  It was an easy sell because they never knew what the weather would be, but in a good season, they would be open from November to March.  If it was really good they may prepay the next season's payments as well. 

“We had great returns with minimum default rates, after the drought of 1976-78, and we also were comp'ed whenever we had to make inspection visits!!”

Ralph Mango


Couple shocked at 'dog lease' deal

“The story you found on the leased dog… too funny! Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving.”

Your leasing buddy, Tree

Theresa Kabot, CLP, BPB
K2 Funding
Kabot Commercial Leasing LLC


Many Report October Leasing Business Was Very Good
ELFA Reports New Business Down 12% from September

“Sorry Kit.  I was on vacation in Maui with my tribe.  Had a great time.  Our October was 11% above September in our small ticket side.  Since we fund one million dollars per day on average, the number of work days in the month make a difference.  Consequently, November will be a down month in production with an increase in pending backlog going into December. “

Paul J. Menzel, CLP
President & CEO Financial Pacific Leasing
doing business as
Umpqua Bank Equipment Leasing
& Finance is a subsidiary of Umpqua Bank


A Thanksgiving Prayer

“Thanks for publishing the Thanksgiving Prayer today. I plan to use in at my holiday meal tomorrow for 25 or so.

“I sincerely appreciate the fine work you do covering those articles that other Leasing journals do not, especially with perspective that has the right balance of business and humanity.

“Have a great holiday season and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2015.”

Regards, Marc
Marc Gingold | VP of Syndication, Fleet Advantage


“I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!  And I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year as well!

“Let me begin by saying how much I have enjoyed and appreciated Leasing News.  I, personally, have been a subscriber since the early 2000’s – when I had my own equipment finance advisory and brokerage firm – and have always found the information very relevant, informative, educational – and entertaining.”

Gavin Kemp
Vice President
Commercial Lender
Equipment Finance Specialist
Winona National Bank 


“Thank you for all the great news and information you send out.”

Curtis Fisher


“I was referred to this mailing by a co-worker and am very interested in being added to the mailing list. Let me know if there is anything you need on my end.

“All the best,”

Andre’ D. Williams
Inside Financial Sales Rep

(Will add you. Nothing else needs to be done, as you asked to be added. It's that simple. Welcome aboard. Editor)



Leasing Portals
(Business to Business including Finance/Leasing)

At the turn of the Century 2000, there were over a dozen “leasing portals.”  Today, there are only three. BizWiz states accounts start a $5.00 per month, and others may require a subscription or plan.

Today they are also offering all kinds of money connections, and not just leasing. Portals were the original internet browsers to find sources.

Today, Google, Yahoo, Bing, and many others provide these searches for free.

These three remain in business and therefore must be satisfying their users. 

((Please Click on Bulletin Board to learn more information))
(Leasing News provides this ad “gratis” as a means
to help support the growth of Lease Police)


Aggregate Funding Sources
(On Line: connects lessees, lessors, and vendors)

Only one left now, from an original over 30 at the turn of the century. CapitalRelay claims a current network of 736 brokers. A current network
of 119 lenders.


Downside of Medallion Financial Only Just Beginning
by James F. Hickman,

Medallion Financial Corporation (Medallion Financial) is at risk of financial ruin with $689 million in managed medallion loans or 53% of its entire managed loan portfolio ($480 million of direct exposure) at risk of being written-off, compared to book value of $278 million.

In the markets where longstanding caps on taxicab supply have been eliminated (Minneapolis, Milwaukee and San Diego), the price premium of secondary market medallions/permits over issuance cost (medallion values) have immediately dropped to near zero – the end game in all medallion markets. Prices are already plummeting in all markets as smartphone-based ride sharing companies rapidly gobble up market share and squeeze conventional taxicab economics.

Cities and states have been sympathetic to freer taxicab markets/accepting ride sharing on the grounds of fairness to drivers, consumer preference and the rule of law. Legal arguments for compensation to medallion owners for lost value have been rejected.

Loan-to-value for medallion loans provides false downside comfort when any excess collateral value above par currently is meaningless if medallion values go to zero.

Near term write-down of $0.62/share expected to reflect current market Chicago medallions.

Earnings and cash flow are expected to plummet, dividend and share repurchases have exceeded operating cash flow for over three years requiring two equity offerings – expect dividend cut, elimination of share repurchase and near-term write-downs eventually accelerating into massive write-offs.

Full Report (24 pages):


Receivables Management LLC
John Kenny

• End of Lease Negotiations & Enforcement
• Fraud Investigation
• Credit Investigations
• Asset Searches
• Skip-tracing
• Third-party Commercial Collections

• (For Flat Fee or Commission Basis)

The Solution to Your Credit & Accounts Receivable Needs 
315-866-1167 |

(Leasing News provides this ad as a trade for investigations
and background information provided by John Kenny)



#### Press Release#############################

Mortgage Rate Moves Muted, Mixed
Thin Inventory of Homes to Blame? releases its latest Weekly Mortgage Rates Radar showing that average rates for popular mortgages moved just slightly in different directions this week, as they drift mostly sideways in the midst of the holiday season. The Weekly Mortgage Rates Radar reports the average rates and points offered by lenders for the two most popular types of mortgages, the conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and the conforming 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).

(Foster City, Calif.) - Rates on the most popular types of mortgages moved slightly in different directions this week, according to's Weekly Mortgage Rates Radar. The average rate for conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by two basis points (0.02 percent) to 3.93 percent, remaining at levels last seen in May 2013. Conforming 5/1 Hybrid ARM rates increased by two basis points, closing the Wednesday-to-Tuesday wraparound weekly survey at an average of 3.12 percent.

"Ongoing good news about the economy will eventually lift rates somewhat, but probably not until the calendar turns," said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of "There's not a lot of seasonality for mortgage rates, but slack demand for mortgage credit this time of year certainly helps to keep some downward pressure on them."

There was apparently slack demand for mortgages in November, as well. The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes declined by 6.1 percent during the month, with sales sliding to their lowest annualized pace since May 2014. Sales of new homes were softer last month, too, easing by 1.6 percent to a 438,000 annual rate.

"Buying a home isn't only about getting a great mortgage rate," adds Gumbinger. "You need to find a house you like, in a location that suits you and at a price you are willing to pay. This isn't always an easy task, and thin inventories of homes for sale at higher prices than last year may be giving some buyers pause. Of course, we're also out of the traditional homebuying season, and the recent softness in sales and lack of desirable homes to buy is likely to start to change as we move into 2015."

Average mortgage rates and points for conforming residential mortgages for the week ending December 23, according to

Conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage
-Average Rate:   3.93 percent
-Average Points: 0.14

Conforming 5/1-year adjustable-rate mortgage
-Average Rate:   3.12 percent
-Average Points: 0.09

Average mortgage rates and points for conforming residential mortgages for the previous week ending December 16 were, according to

Conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage
-Average Rate:   3.95 percent
-Average Points: 0.15

Conforming 5/1-year adjustable-rate mortgage
-Average Rate:   3.10 percent
-Average Points: 0.11

About is a trusted source of mortgage data, trends, news and analysis. Since 1979, HSH’s market research and commentary has helped homeowners, buyers and sellers make smart financial choices and save money on mortgage and home equity products., of Riverdale, N.J., is owned and operated by QuinStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ: QNST), one of the largest Internet marketing and media companies in the world. QuinStreet is committed to providing consumers and businesses with the information they need to research, find and select the products, services and brands that best meet their needs. The company is a leader in ethical marketing practice

##### Press Release ############################


Leasing News: Fernando’s View
By Fernando F. Croce
Special Christmas Edition

As the year draws to a close, it’s time once again to seek for the old and modern Yuletide classics waiting for you at Netflix. For cinema lovers who don’t want to wait until Christmas morning to unwrap their presents, here’s a batch of cinematic gifts to go with your mistletoe and eggnog.

Remember the Night (Mitchell Leisen, 1940): A far too little-remembered gem, this comedy-drama features the incomparable Barbara Stanwyck in one of her most heartwarming roles. Stanwyck plays Lee Leander, a troubled young woman caught shoplifting right before Christmas. Moved by her situation, her prosecutor (Fred MacMurray) arranges for her bail and decides to take her to her home for the holiday. When her bleak relationship with her mother is revealed, he convinces her to spend Christmas with his loving family instead, where the two of them begin falling in love. But will the upcoming trial tear apart the couple that the season has brought together? Directed by romantic specialist Mitchell Leisen and written by the great Preston Sturges, the movie is a beautifully crafted and emotional love story.

Meet Me in St. Louis(Vincente Minnelli, 1944): Arguably classical Hollywood's greatest director of musicals, Vincente Minnelli delivered one of his most beloved films with this exquisite evocation of turn-of-the-century Americana, in which he also met his future wife Judy Garland. Taking place over the course of the year 1904 in St. Louis, it chronicles the experiences of members of the Smith family. There's smitten middle daughter Esther (Garland), parents Anna (Mary Astor) and Alonzo (Leon Ames), and precocious youngest daughter Tootie (Margaret O'Brien, who won a Special Childer's Oscar for her performance). Affectionate, stylish, and filled with such unforgettable tunes as "The Trolley Song," "The Boy Next Door" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," this is a holiday treasure that even after several decades still leaves audiences with a glowing feeling.

A Christmas Story (Bob Clark, 1983): Another iconic Yuletide movie, Bob Clark’s charmer is known to play on TV for days on end during Christmas season marathons. It’s easy to see why. Depicting the holiday through the eyes of a precocious nine-year-old boy, it glows with nostalgia and bubbles with irresistible humor. All young Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) wants is to survive childhood and get a BB gun from Santa, but things rarely go as planned when your parents (Melinda Dillon and Darren McGavin, both wonderful) think pink bunny suits make good gifts. In a movie filled with classic scenes, none is more memorable (or funnier) than Ralphie’s visit to a very cranky department-store St. Nick.

Die Hard (John McTiernan, 1988): A list of holiday recommendations wouldn’t be complete without a bit of counterprogramming, so here’s some rip-roaring action to balance out the season’s sentimentality. Set in Christmastime, this popular blockbuster introduced audiences to wisecracking action hero John McClane (Bruce Willis, in a breakthrough role), a NYPD officer who finds himself trapped in a Los Angeles office building surrounded by international terrorists. Having originally planned to reunite with his wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), McClane must instead confront a group of ruthless assassins led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman). Using his wits as well as bullets, Willis created a new breed of blockbuster protagonist under John McTiernan’s dynamic direction. Several sequels have since followed, but none has quite the vitality of the original.

Elf (Jon Favreau, 2003): Before hitting pay-dirt with the “Iron Man” movies, Jon Favreau directed this popular, likable Christmas comedy. Will Ferrell stars as Buddy, an orphaned boy who’s raised by Santa Claus (Ed Asner) in the North Pole. As a grown-up, Buddy sets out to find out about his true identity, a mission that sends him to work at a company in the Empire State Building. As he learns about his real father (James Caan) and falls in love with a perky employee (Zooey Deschanel), Buddy becomes acquainted with the big city as well as his own emotional concerns. Making deft use of Ferrell’s trademark mix of physical ungainliness and sweet-natured enthusiasm, the movie is a funny and even touching ode to personal discovery.


Labrador Retriever/Pointer Mix
Charlotte, North Carolina Adopt a Dog


House Trained
Current on Vaccinations

“Hadley is a 1.5 year old female who is thought to be a Retriever/Point mix. Hadley is full grown and weighs about 45 pounds. She has come a long way since her shelter days. Just a few months ago she weighed only 30 pounds and is now at a healthy weight. We don't know Hadley's exact breed, but the shelter where she was turned in had her listed as a Labrador Retriever mix. She certainly shows characteristics of a retriever, pointer or border collie.

“Hadley is a very loving and jolly dog. She is always happy and loving. She adores the other large dog in her foster home and loves playing with him. She has fun running and chasing him and likes to wrestle around in the dirt. Hadley also LOVES to play with balls. She will chase a ball and return it again and again until you tire out. Her new family must have a large and endless supply balls and be willing to throw them for her every day. An added benefit of playing ball with Hadley daily is that you will develop a strong throwing arm. Hadley does love one thing more than playing with a ball and that is going for a walk.

“Hadley is very interested in the other critters in the yard and will try to chase or point at them. She knows several commands like sit, walk with me, leave it, come, wait and knows to sit to get her food or put on a leash. She does well with learning by repetition.

“Hadley is working with a trainer and improving her obedience skills, her new family should plan to continue that training and work consistently with her every day. Hadley is very fond of other dogs but can take a little time to warm up to them. She also prefers rolling in the grass and wrestling with them rather than a quiet game of catch. Hadley is house and crate trained.

“She will do best in a home without small or timid pets and is probably better suited for a home without cats or small children.

“If you are interested in adopting Hadley visit.”

The Greater Charlotte SPCA does not own or operate a shelter facility.

Contact and Adoption Application


Adopt a Pet




News Briefs----

U.S. Economy Grew 5% in Third Quarter, Its Fastest Rate in More Than a Decade

The boom is here:
 ---the economy just grew 5 percent, and it’s not going to stop

Census: Florida surpasses NY in population

How To Yield/Boost Air Lease From 0.5% To 16.7% Using Options  

T-Mobile to refund customers $90M in settlement

Yellen’s First Year at Fed: A Remarkably Steady Course




--You May Have Missed It

Report: At least 60 journalists killed in 2014


SparkPeople--Live Healthier and Longer

3 Bittersweet Truths about Sweeteners
What the Research Really Says About High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Honey, and Aspartame


Football Poem

Not Just Defeat, It Was Annihilation

Tonight, there is no joy in the Broncos nation. That was not just defeat, it was annihilation. Many of us were witnesses to the devastation. It made Denver television viewers change the station.

Numerous Broncos fans must be wearing a frown. In four quarters, they scored one measly touchdown. It must be quiet in that big Colorado town. Things were bad enough to make the greenest grass turn brown.
Over the Broncos, a witch’s spell must have been cast. The gang was like a ship that sank very fast. It seems the team saved its worst game for last. On offense and defense, the men in orange were outclassed.

Along comes the addendum that nobody likes to hear: The Broncos will get it together and win next game.




Sports Briefs----

Broncos vs. Bengals: What we learned about Peyton Manning and Denver's defense Monday night

MVP Power Rankings: Peyton Manning Throws Away Candidacy Vs. Bengals

Aldon Smith: I wasn't drinking

Jim Harbaugh draws admirers with 'high-road' approach

Lowell Cohn: Jimmy, we hardly knew ya (w/video)--worth your time to read. Editor

Jerry Jones thinks Dallas Cowboys can compete for another Super Bowl title


California Nuts Briefs---

California ranks near top in federal, state, local government pay


“Gimme that Wine”

Chart: Chinese-owned chateaux in Bordeaux

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“The Essence of Wine” Earns a Spot on the New York Times Best Wine Books of 2014 List

Free Mobile Wine Program

Wine Prices by vintage

US/International Wine Events

Leasing News Wine & Spirits Page


This Day in American History

. . But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"
Clement C. Moore, "A Visit from St. Nicholas"

Christmas Eve, traditionally one present is exchanged in the evening in many Christian countries. Often all gift giving is done this evening with Church service the next day; however, in the United States, many of the Christian faith attend late evening or midnight mass. Easter is considered the major event, but the most popular of Christian observance is Christmas as a Feast of the Nativity, dating from the 4th century. Although Jesus' birth date is not known, the Western church selected December 25 for the feast, possible to counteract the non-Christian festivals of that approximate date. Many customs from non-Christian festivals (Roman Saturnalia, Mithraic sun's birthday, Teutonic yule, Druidic and other winter solstice rites) have been adopted as part of the Christmas celebration (lights, mistletoe, holly and ivy, holiday tree, wassailing and gift-giving, for example). Some Orthodox Churches celebrate Christmas on January 7th based on the “old calendar (Julian). Theophany, recognition of the divinity of Jesus, is observed on this date and on January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany, especially by the Eastern Orthodox Church, considered by history as the first organized Christian church.
    1777 - Kiritimati, also called Christmas Island, is discovered by Capt. Cook.
    1784 - The first Methodist bishop was Francis Asbury, who was appointed in 1784 by Thomas Coke, to whom the title really belonged. They were known as the joint bishops of the Church in North America. Bishop Asbury was elected by the first General Conference called the Christmas Conference, which met this date in 1784 in the Light Street church, Baltimore, MD. Asbury preached in myriad places: courthouses, public houses, tobacco houses, fields, public squares, wherever a crowd assembled to hear him. For the remainder of his life he rode an average of 6,000 miles each year, preaching virtually every day and conducting meetings and conferences. Under his direction, the church grew from 1,200 to 214,000 members and 700 ordained preachers. Among the men he ordained was Richard Allen in Philadelphia, the first black minister in the United States.
    1809 - Christopher “Kit” Carson’s birthday at Madison County, KY. American frontiersman, solider, trapper, guide and Indian agent.  My father Lawrence Menkin was writing the “Kit Carson” radio series, so when I was born, I received this name. My parents always called me “Kit.”
    1814 - The War of 1812 between America and Britain ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent.
    1818 – The Christmas carol "Silent Night" was composed by Franz Xaver Gruber and is first sung at St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, Austria.
    1826 – Egg Nog Riot at the US Military Academy at West Point began, wrapping up the following morning.
    1832 - The first hospital and asylum of African-Americans founded by whites was chartered in Savannah, GA, as the Georgia Infirmary for the Relief and Protection of Aged and Afflicted Negroes. The organizational meeting was held at the Exchange on January 15, 1833, and the first president was Richard F. Williams.
    1851 - A devastating fire at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., destroys about two-thirds of its 55,000 volumes, including most of Thomas Jefferson's personal library, sold to the institution in 1815.
    1860 - Joseph Jefferson's "Rip Van Winkle" premieres in NYC.       
    1865 - Several Confederate veterans formed Ku Klux Klan in Pulaski, TN.  The name combines the Greek word for circle (kyklos) with the Gaelic word clan. Nathan Bedford Forrest, a former Confederate cavalry general and slave trader, served as the KKK’s first grand wizard or leader-in-chief.  At first, the group focused as much on intimidating Northern “carpetbaggers” as on putting down the freed slaves. By 1869, however, the group regularly engaged in wanton destruction of property, assaults and murder, prompting Forrest to seek in vain to disband the organization. In 1871, a Republican-led Congress passed the Ku Klux Act, authorizing President Ulysses Grant to use military force to suppress the terrorist group.  Its white-hooded members advocated white supremacy, anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism, racism, homophobia, anti-Communism and a virulent form of nativism.
    1872 - Chicago, IL hit its all-time low of 23 below zero. Minneapolis dropped to 38 below zero and then rose only to -17.
    1889 - Daniel Stover and William Hance of Freeport, Illinois, were up late assembling bicycles for their children when they patented the back pedal brake. Later their invention would be known as the safety brake, becoming a standard feature on most bikes. Today, there are 18 gears on a bike, and we need two hands to brake instead of just pedaling backwards with our feet.
     1893-- Henry Ford completes his first useful gas motor.
    1905 - Birthday of Howard Hughes, the manufacturing magnate, Hollywood mogul, and record-setting aviator. Born in Houston, Hughes entered the business world at age seventeen, taking the reins of his family's Texas-based tool company after his father passed away. Movie producer who spent his later years as a recluse, after taking pain relieving drugs from an airplane crash. He died in an airplane en route from Acapulco, Mexico to Houston, April 5, 1976.    
    1906 - Canadian-born radio inventor Reginald A. Fessenden became the first person to broadcast a music program over radio. The program was transmitted from Brant Rock, Massachusetts. It featured a female vocalist and Fessenden himself playing "O Holy Night" on the violin. Fessenden made several fundamental discoveries in radio, including one -- the superheterodyne principle -- which is the basis for all modern broadcasting
    1920 - Enrico Caruso gives his last public performance, in NYC.
    1922 – Ava Gardner was born in Smithfield, NC.  She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for “Mogambo” (1953).  Gardner married Mickey Rooney in 1942. Largely due to Rooney's serial adultery, Gardner divorced him in 1943.  Gardner's second marriage was brief as well, to jazz musician and bandleader Artie Shaw, from 1945–46. Gardner's third and last marriage was to singer and actor Frank Sinatra, from 1951 to 1957. She would later say in her autobiography that he was the love of her life. Gardner used her considerable influence, particularly with Harry Cohn, to get Sinatra cast in his Oscar-winning role in “From Here to Eternity” (1953). That role and the award revitalized both Sinatra's acting and singing careers.  Gardner passed in 1990.
    1924 - Rhythm-and-blues singer Lee Dorsey was born in New Orleans. His hits in the 1960's, most of them produced by Allen Toussaint, included "Ya Ya," "Working in the Coal Mine" and "Ride Your Pony." Dorsey died in 1986.
    1927 - Birthday of Mary Higgins Clark, best-selling U.S. author of suspense novels. Her daughter also writes mystery novels. Originally a short story writer and crafter of radio scripts, she began a string of best selling suspense novels with “Where Are the Children?” (1975). Her slick style coupled with intricate plots carried through a dozen books such as “A Stranger is Watching” (1978), “The Cradle Will Fall” (1980), “Loves Music, Loves to Dance” (1991), “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” (1995), and “Moonlight Becomes You” (1996).
  1931 - Jazz pianist Raphael Homer "Ray" Bryant was born in Detroit, Michigan.  He is perhaps best known for "Monkey Business" and "Little Susie."  He died 2011 at the age 0f 79 in Queens, New York.
    1939 – As Nazi Germany continues its aggression across Europe, Pope Pius XII makes a Christmas Eve appeal for peace.
    1941 - Lionel Hampton cuts first big band session for Decca records.
    1941 – The first ships of Admiral Nagumo's Pearl Harbor fleet return to Japan.
    1942 - New York City had 26 inches of snow in 24 hours with up to 32 inches in the suburbs. The snowstorm killed 27, cost $8 million and brought the city to a standstill.
    1943 - President Roosevelt appointed Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower Supreme Commander of Allied Forces as part of Operation Overlord. Almost everyone had believed the position would go to American Chief of Staff George C. Marshall.
    1944 - The German Ardennes offensive is exhausted by the end of the day. The furthest advance has been achieved by elements of the German 5th Panzer Army. The 2nd Panzer Division has reached the outskirts of Dinant with the 116th Panzer Division on the right flank near Hotten and the Panzer Lehr Division on the left flank to the west of St. Hubert. American forces in Bastogne continue to resist; some 260 Allied transports drop supplies to the defenders. Allied fighter-bombers fly over 600 sorties in the Ardennes.
    1944 - BIDDLE, MELVIN E., Medal of Honor
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company B, 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Place and date: Near Soy, Belgium, 23-24 December 1944. Entered service at: Anderson, Ind. Birth: Daleville, Ind. G.O. No. 95, 30 October 1945. Citation: He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy near Soy, Belgium, on 23 and 24 December 1944. Serving as lead scout during an attack to relieve the enemy-encircled town of Hotton, he aggressively penetrated a densely wooded area, advanced 400 yards until he came within range of intense enemy rifle fire, and within 20 yards of enemy positions killed 3 snipers with unerring marksmanship. Courageously continuing his advance an additional 200 yards, he discovered a hostile machinegun position and dispatched its 2 occupants. He then located the approximate position of a well-concealed enemy machinegun nest, and crawling forward threw hand grenades which killed two Germans and fatally wounded a third. After signaling his company to advance, he entered a determined line of enemy defense, coolly and deliberately shifted his position, and shot 3 more enemy soldiers. Undaunted by enemy fire, he crawled within 20 yards of a machinegun nest, tossed his last hand grenade into the position, and after the explosion charged the emplacement firing his rifle. When night fell, he scouted enemy positions alone for several hours and returned with valuable information which enabled our attacking infantry and armor to knock out 2 enemy tanks. At daybreak he again led the advance and, when flanking elements were pinned down by enemy fire, without hesitation made his way toward a hostile machinegun position and from a distance of 50 yards killed the crew and 2 supporting riflemen. The remainder of the enemy, finding themselves without automatic weapon support, fled panic stricken. Pfc. Biddle's intrepid courage and superb daring during his 20-hour action enabled his battalion to break the enemy grasp on Hotton with a minimum of casualties.
    1944 - *CASTLE, FREDERICK W. (Air Mission), Medal of Honor
Rank and organization: Brigadier General. Assistant Commander, 4th Bomber Wing, U.S. Army Air Corps. Place and date: Germany, 24 December 1944. Entered service at: Mountain Lake, N.J. Born: 14 October 1908, Manila P.I. G.O. No. 22, 28 February 1947. Citation: He was air commander and leader of more than 2,000 heavy bombers in a strike against German airfields on 24 December 1944. En route to the target, the failure of 1 engine forced him to relinquish his place at the head of the formation. In order not to endanger friendly troops on the ground below, he refused to jettison his bombs to gain speed maneuverability. His lagging, unescorted aircraft became the target of numerous enemy fighters which ripped the left wing with cannon shells. Set the oxygen system afire, and wounded 2 members of the crew. Repeated attacks started fires in 2 engines, leaving the Flying Fortress in imminent danger of exploding. Realizing the hopelessness of the situation, the bail-out order was given. Without regard for his personal safety he gallantly remained alone at the controls to afford all other crewmembers an opportunity to escape. Still another attack exploded gasoline tanks in the right wing, and the bomber plunged earthward. carrying Gen. Castle to his death. His intrepidity and willing sacrifice of his life to save members of the crew were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.
    1944 - *KEFURT, GUS, Medal of Honor
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company K, 15th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Bennwihr, France, 23-24 December 1944. Entered service at: Youngstown, Ohio. Birth: Greenville, Pa. Citation: He distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty on 23 and 24 December 1944, near Bennwihr, France. Early in the attack S/Sgt. Kefurt jumped through an opening in a wall to be confronted by about 15 Germans. Although outnumbered he opened fire, killing 10 and capturing the others. During a seesaw battle which developed he effectively adjusted artillery fire on an enemy tank close to his position although exposed to small arms fire. When night fell he maintained a 3-man outpost in the center of the town in the middle of the German positions and successfully fought off several hostile patrols attempting to penetrate our lines. Assuming command of his platoon the following morning he led it in hand-to-hand fighting through the town until blocked by a tank. Using rifle grenades he forced surrender of its crew and some supporting infantry. He then continued his attack from house to house against heavy machinegun and rifle fire. Advancing against a strongpoint that was holding up the company, his platoon was subjected to a strong counterattack and infiltration to its rear. Suffering heavy casualties in their exposed position the men remained there due to S/Sgt. Kefurt's personal example of bravery, determination and leadership. He constantly exposed himself to fire by going from man to man to direct fire. During this time he killed approximately 15 of the enemy at close range. Although severely wounded in the leg he refused first aid and immediately resumed fighting. When the forces to his rear were pushed back 3 hours later, he refused to be evacuated, but, during several more counterattacks moved painfully about under intense small arms and mortar fire, stiffening the resistance of his platoon by encouraging individual men and by his own fire until he was killed. As a result of S/Sgt. Kefurt's gallantry the position was maintained.
    1944 - Henry Vestine, guitarist for the blues-rock band Canned Heat, was born in Washington, D-C. Vestine joined Canned Heat in 1966 after playing with the Mothers of Invention. "On the Road Again" in 1968 and "Going Up the Country" in 1969 were Canned Heat's two biggest hits. Vestine left Canned Heat in mid-1969 to form a new band but returned the following year after the death of group member Al Wilson. Vestine departed Canned Heat for good in 1975. He died a couple of months ago in Paris.
    1944 - The Andrews Sisters debut their radio show, The Andrews Sisters' Eight-To-The-Bar Ranch” on the ABC network.
    1945 - Top Hits
“It Might as Well Be Spring” - The Sammy Kaye Orchestra (vocal: Billy Williams)
“White Christmas” - Bing Crosby
“It's Been a Long, Long Time” - The Harry James Orchestra (vocal: Kitty Kallen)
“Silver Dew on the Blue Grass Tonight” - Bob Wills
    1946 - Jimmy Buffett Birthday
    1948 - “The Perry Como Show” premiers on TV. Singer Perry Como hosted “The Chesterfield Supper Club” when it came to TV from radio. Also featured were the Mitchell Ayres Orchestra and the Fontane Sisters. When the show moved from NBC to CBS in 1950, announcer Frank Gallop was added. In 1955, Como moved back to NBC, and the show was retitled, “The Perry Como Show” during the 1955-59 seasons and then “The Kraft Music Hall” during 1959-63. The Ray Charles Singers and the Louis DaPron Dancers were featured. Como's theme song was “Dream Along with Me.”
    1948 - The first solar heated house was occupied at Dover, MA. The experiments were sponsored by Amelia Peabody, house designed by Eleanor Raymond, and the heating system developed by Dr. Maria Telkes. It was cheap and effective and promptly ignored by industry.
    1950 - In a major feat of naval arms, the U.S. amphibious fleet, Task Force 90, commanded by Rear Admiral James H. Doyle, completed evacuation of X Corps from Hungnam. Supported by the Seventh Fleet, commanded by Vice Admiral Arthur D. Struble aboard the battleship USS Missouri, TF 90 evacuated 105,000 U.S. and ROK Marines and soldiers, 17,500 vehicles, 350,000 tons of cargo and 91,000 Korean civilians in just over 190 ships. This enormously complex operation has been termed "Inchon in Reverse."
    1950 - In a daring helicopter rescue, the U.S. Air Force's 33rd Air Rescue Squadron snatched 35 U.S. and ROK soldiers from behind enemy lines.
    1950 - The Cleveland Browns defeated the Los Angeles Rams, 30-28, to win the NFL championship. The Browns claimed the title in the first year in the league after the demise of the All-American Football Conference.  The Rams, incidentally, had been the Cleveland Rams before they left for the West Coast after the 1945 season, and now are located in St. Louis.   
    1950 - Pianist Glenn Gould made his network broadcast debut on the C-B-C's "Sunday Morning Recital." The broadcast marked the beginning of what Gould called his love affair with the microphone. He gave up the concert stage in 1964 to concentrate on the possibilities of recording technology.
    1953 - Top Hits
“Ebb Tide” - The Frank Chacksfield Orchestra
“White Christmas” - Bing Crosby
“Ricochet” - Teresa Brewer
“Let Me Be the One” - Hank Locklin
    1953 – “Dragnet”, starring Jack Webb as Detective Joe Friday, became the first network television show to have a sponsor, Fatima cigarettes.
    1954 - Singer Johnny Ace accidentally killed himself while playing Russian roulette backstage at a Houston concert on Christmas Eve. Ace was well known for singing and playing piano with such Blues legends as Bobby Bland and B.B. King. He later signed with Duke Records and had a string of R&B hits, including "My Song", "Saving My Love", "Please Forgive Me", "Cross My Heart" and "The Clock", along with two more hits after his death, "Pledging My Love" and "Anymore". Cashbox Magazine had named Johnny Ace as its Most Promising New Artist earlier in the month.
    1955 - The Lennon Sisters debuted as "The Lawrence Welk Show’s” featured singers on ABC. In just a month they became regulars and remained on the show until 1968.
    1955 - The Weavers played Carnegie Hall in New York, ending three years on Senator Joseph McCarthy's blacklist because of their support of left-wing causes. Many of the groups in the folk music revival of the following decade were inspired by the Weavers' topical songs and fervent style.
    1956 – The “I Love Lucy Christmas Show” aired for the first time and was never syndicated.
    1958 – Bobby Darin released “Beyond the Sea” to follow up the smash hit “Mack the Knife”.
    1959 - The Philadelphia Orphan's Court gives Chubby Checker a raise in his weekly allowance from $150 to $200. The 19 year old singer (whose real name is Ernest Evans) has already put three songs, "The Class", "The Twist" and "The Hucklebuck" in the US Top Forty.
    1961 - The Tokens reached the top of the US charts with "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." An adaptation of a South African folk song, it first reached the best-seller lists in 1951 in a recording by the Weavers under the title "Winoweh" (WIN'-OH-WAY). Singer Robert John also had a hit with the song, again under the title "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," in 1971.
    1961- Top Hits
“The Lion Sleeps Tonight” - The Tokens
“Run to Him” - Bobby Vee
“The Twist” - Chubby Checker
“Walk on By” - Leroy Van Dyke
    1961 – The Houston Oilers defeated the San Diego Chargers, 10-3, in the American Football League championship.
    1962 – Designer Kate Spade was born in Kansas City.
    1963 - New York’s Idlewild Airport was renamed John F Kennedy International Airport in honor of the murdered President Kennedy.
    1963 - Memphis sets its all-time cold record with 13 below zero, two days after a heavy 14.3 inch snowstorm
    1965 - The Beatles earn yet another gold record for the album "Rubber Soul," just two-and-a-half weeks after its release. The record, which includes, "I've Just Seen a Face," "Norwegian Wood," "Girl," "Michelle," "In My Life" and "You Won't See Me," is seen by critics as a turning point in their career, marking their progression to a more serious brand of pop music.
    1966 - At a Christmas Eve taping session, Tommy James and The Shondells record "I Think We're Alone Now", which will go on to be the group's fourth number one song in the US, selling over a million copies.
    1967 - New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath passes for 343 yards in a 42-32 win at San Diego to become the first player to throw for 4,000 yards in a season (4,007).
    1968 - After their release from North Korea, the crew of the United States Navy ship, "Pueblo", walked across the Bridge of No Return between North and South Korea. The "Pueblo's" captain, Commander Lloyd M. Bucher, and 82 of his crew were held for 11 months after their ship was seized by North Korea as a suspected American spy vessel.
    1968 - The crew of Apollo 8 enters into orbit around the Moon, becoming the first humans to do so. They performed 10 lunar orbits and broadcast live TV pictures that became the famous Christmas Eve Broadcast, one of the most watched programs in history.
    1969 - Top Hits
Leaving on a Jet Plane - Peter, Paul & Mary
Someday We'll Be Together - Diana Ross & The Supremes
Down on the Corner/Fortunate Son - Creedence Clearwater Revival
(I'm So) Afraid of Losing You Again - Charley Pride
    1971 - Actor/Singer Ricky Martin, born Enrique Jose Martin, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
    1972 - Yoko Ono's first husband, Tony Cox, kidnaps their daughter Kyoko and heads for New York.
    1973 - District of Columbia Home Rule Act is passed, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to elect their own local government.
    1974 – TV host Ryan Seacrest was born in Dunwoody, GA.
    1974 - A supergroup of West Coast singer-songwriter royalty -- James Taylor, Carly Simon, Linda Ronstadt and Joni Mitchell -- spontaneously decide to go caroling door-to-door in the suburbs of Los Angeles.
    1975 - "Hotel California", The Eagles' sixth album and their first with Joe Walsh, goes Platinum and begins an eight-week run at the top of the Billboard album chart. It had sold over 16 million copies at the end of 2004.
    1977 - Top Hits
“How Deep is Your Love” - Bee Gees
“Blue Bayou” - Linda Ronstadt
“(Every Time I Turn Around) Back in Love Again” - L.T.D.
“Here You Come Again” - Dolly Parton
    1977 - The Bee Gees' “How Deep is Your Love” became Number 1 on the music charts, and stayed there for 3 weeks.
    1977 - Linda Ronstadt lived up to her nick-name of "Linda Photostat", by copying two more songs that had been hits for other artists. Both "Blue Bayou" (Roy Orbison in 1963) and "It's So Easy" (Buddy Holly in 1958) made it into Billboard's top five. Two other songs from the same "Simple Dreams" album, "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" and "Tumbling Dice" couldn't crack the top 30.
    1977 - "The Ghost to the Post:" Oakland Raiders tight end Dave Casper ("The Ghost") catches a 42-yard pass on a post pattern from QB Ken Stabler to set up the Raiders' tying field goal near the end of regulation (Raiders win in 2 OT)
    1978 - Bjorn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Faltskog, one of ABBA's two married singer/songwriter couples, announce their divorce after seven years. The other pair of lovers in the group, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, would divorce in 1981.
    1980 – Americans remember Iran hostages by shining lights for 417 seconds
    1981 - Reggie Jackson chose Christmas Eve to announce he was joining Gene Autry's California Angels for the 1982 season.
    1983 - A massive cold outbreak occurred. About 100 low temperature records were broken. Chicago set a new all-time cold record with 25 below. Dayton, OH reached 13 below.
    1985 – Top Hits
“Say You, Say Me” - Lionel Richie
“Party All the Time” - Eddie Murphy
“Alive & Kicking” - Simple Minds
“The Chair” - George Strait
     1985 - Stevie Wonder turned down an invitation from the White House in order to accept the key to the city of Detroit for recording "Don't Drive Drunk." During the ceremony, Wonder dedicated a moment of silence to the 258 American servicemen killed in a plane crash at Gander, Newfoundland.
    1988 - Franklin, TN is hit with a violent F4 tornado killing 1 person and injuring 7. Damage was estimated at $8 million.
    1989 - Fifty-seven cities in the south central and eastern U.S. reported record low temperatures for the date, including Elkins, WV, with a reading of 22 degrees below zero. Key West, FL equaled their record for December with a morning low of 44 degrees. The high of just 45 degrees at Miami, FL was an all-time record for that location. It smashed their previous record for the date by twenty degrees.
    1990 - 35 cities in the western U.S. reported record lows, 18 in Utah alone. Historic Farm in the Cache Valley reached -44, Roosevelt, UT reached 34 below, Milford, UT 33 below, Salt Lake City 7 below. Denver, CO concluded 85.5 hours at or below zero.
    1990 – Saddam Hussein says Israel will be Iraq's first target
    1992 - President George Bush pardoned Caspar Weinberger and five other Reagan aides involved in the Iran-Contra affair.
     1989 - Fifty-seven cities in the south central and eastern U.S. reported record low temperatures for the date, including Elkins, WV, with a reading of 22 degrees below zero. Key West FL equaled their record for December with a morning low of 44 degrees. The high of just 45 degrees at Miami FL was an all-time record for that location. It smashed their previous record for the date by twenty degrees.
1992 – President Bush, the first, pardons Caspar Weinberger for Iran-contra affair
    2002 - Laci Peterson was reported missing from her Modesto, Calif., home, by her husband, Scott, who was later convicted of murdering her and their unborn son.
    2009 - The Senate passed health care legislation, 60-39, in the chamber's first Christmas Eve vote since 1895.




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