• On Jan. 1, 45 B.C., New Year’s Day is celebrated on January 1 for the first time as the Julian calendar takes effect. Julius Caesar enlisted the aid of Sosigenes, an Alexandrian astronomer, who calculated a year to be 365 and 1/4 days.
• On Dec. 30, 1862, the U.S.S. Monitor sinks in a storm off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Just nine months earlier, the ship had been part of a revolution in naval warfare when the ironclad dueled to a standstill with the C.S.S. Virginia (Merrimack) off Hampton Roads, Virginia.
• On Dec. 28, 1895, the world’s first commercial movie screening takes place at the Grand Cafe in Paris. The film was a series of short scenes from everyday French life. Admission was charged for the first time.
• On Dec. 29, 1940, London suffers its most devastating air raid when German planes firebomb the city. The next day, a newspaper photo of St. Paul’s Cathedral standing undamaged amid the smoke and flames seemed to symbolize the capital’s unconquerable spirit.
• On Jan. 3, 1952, Sgt. Joe Friday’s police drama “Dragnet” comes to television. A popular radio series, it became one of the first TV series filmed in Hollywood, instead of New York, and began a long line of crime and police dramas.
• On Dec. 31, 1972, Roberto Clemente, future Hall of Fame baseball player, is killed when the cargo plane in which he is traveling crashes off Puerto Rico. Clemente was on his way to deliver relief supplies to Nicaragua following a devastating earthquake.
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