• On Dec. 19, 1732, Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia first publishes “Poor Richard’s Almanack,” a book filled with proverbs preaching industry and prudence. It became one of the most popular publications in Colonial America and was published continuously for 25 years.
• On Dec. 18, 1912, two skulls that appear to belong to a primitive hominid and ancestor of man are discovered in England. In 1953, the fraud was exposed after the remains were found to be only 600 years old, not up to a million years old as claimed.
• On Dec. 21, 1967, “The Graduate” opens. The film was an uneasy exploration of what it meant to be young and adrift at a time of extraordinary upheaval. It made a star out of Dustin Hoffman, as well as his car, an Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider.
• On Dec. 22, 1956, a baby gorilla named Colo is born at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, becoming the first-ever gorilla born in captivity. Colo went on to become a mother, grandmother and in 1996, a great-grandmother. She died at age 60 in January 2017.
• On Dec. 24, 1979, the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan with three divisions of 8,500 men each. The tide of the war turned with the 1987 introduction of U.S. shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles. The last Soviet soldier left in 1989.
• On Dec. 20, 1989, Michael Moore’s documentary “Roger & Me” opens in theaters. The film chronicled Moore’s unsuccessful attempts to meet Roger B. Smith, the head of General Motors, which had closed 11 factories in Flint, Michigan.
• On Dec. 23, 2009, Richard Heene, who told authorities his 6-year-old son Falcon had floated off in a helium balloon, is sentenced to 90 days in jail. The boy was found hiding at home. The hoax had been staged to help the family get a reality TV show. (c) 2017 King Features