• On Dec. 25, 1884, Mr. Layne Hall of Silver Creek, N.Y., is born. At his death on Nov. 20, 1990, he had a valid driver’s license. He was 105 years old, making him the oldest legal driver ever.
• On Dec. 28, 1895, the world’s first commercial movie screening takes place at the Grand Cafe in Paris. French siblings Louis and Auguste Lumiere screened a series of short scenes from everyday French life, and charged admission.
• On Dec. 23, 1912, Keystone Pictures releases its first “Keystone Kop” movie, “Hoffmeyer’s Release.” The Keystone Kops films were silent, black-andwhite movies starring a crew of bumbling policemen who bumped into and fell over each other in a frenetic sequence of slapstick gags.
• On Dec. 24, 1923, President Calvin Coolidge touches a button and lights up the first national Christmas tree to grace the White House grounds. The tree was also the first to be decorated with electric lights. The tradition has been repeated with every administration since then.
• 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. At that time, captive gorillas often never learned parenting skills from their own parents in the wild, so the Columbus Zoo built Colo a nursery, and she was reared by zookeepers. Colo is still alive today.
• On Dec. 26, 1966, the first day of the first Kwanzaa is celebrated in Los Angeles. The seven-day holiday, which has strong African roots, was designed as a celebration of African American family, community and culture.
• On Dec. 27, 1979, in an attempt to stabilize the turbulent political situation in Afghanistan, the Soviet Union sends 75,000 troops to enforce the installation of Babrak Karmal as the new leader of the nation. The new government and the Soviet presence, however, had little success. The Soviet intervention cost Russia dearly. The seemingly endless civil war in Afghanistan resulted in thousands of Soviet dead and untold monetary costs.
(c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.