FYI December 20, 2021

On This Day

1946 – The popular Christmas film It’s a Wonderful Life is first released in New York City.
It’s a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas fantasy drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra, based on the short story and booklet The Greatest Gift, which Philip Van Doren Stern self-published in 1943 and is in turn loosely based on the 1843 Charles Dickens novella A Christmas Carol.[4] The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his personal dreams, in order to help others in his community, and whose suicide attempt on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers). Clarence shows George how he has touched the lives of others and how different life would be for his wife Mary and his community of Bedford Falls if he had not been born.[4]

Theatrically, the film’s break-even point was $6.3 million, about twice the production cost, a figure it did not come close to achieving on its initial release. Because of the film’s disappointing sales, Capra was seen by some studios as having lost his ability to produce popular, financially successful films.[5] Although It’s a Wonderful Life initially received mixed reviews and was unsuccessful at the box office, it became a classic Christmas film after it was put into the public domain, which allowed it to be broadcast without licensing or royalty fees.[6]

It’s a Wonderful Life is considered one of the greatest films of all time. It was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and has been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films ever made.[7] It was No. 11 on the American Film Institute’s 1998 greatest movie list, No. 20 on its 2007 greatest movie list, and No. 1 on its list of the most inspirational American films of all time.[8] Capra revealed that it was his favorite among the films he directed and that he screened it for his family every Christmas season. It was one of Stewart’s favourite films.[9] In 1990, the film was designated as “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” and added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.



Born On This Day

1812 – Laura M. Hawley Thurston, American poet and educator (d. 1842)[15]
Laura M. Hawley Thurston (pen name, Viola; December 20, 1812 – July 21, 1842) was an American poet and educator. A prolific writer, most of her works were originally published in the Louisville Journal,[1] and in William D. Gallagher’s Hesperian. Among Indiana’s early poets, she was a contemporary of Amanda L. Ruter Dufour,[2] while among Kentucky poets, she was a friend of Amelia B. Welby.[3]

Early years and education

Laura M. Hawley was born in Norfolk, Connecticut, December 20, 1812.[4] She was the daughter of Earl P. Hawley, and Irene (Frisbie) Hawley.[5][6][7]

Her parents being in moderate circumstances, her early advantages for education were such only as were afforded by the common district school. When she became older, however, she found means to enter John P. Brace’s “Female Seminary,” in Hartford, where she continued her studies with unusual diligence and success, and secured the marked esteem of the principal and teachers.[6]


After leaving Brace’s Seminary, she was for a few years engaged as a teacher in New Milford, Connecticut and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and subsequently became an assistant in Brace’s Seminary. Here she remained until 1837, when, upon Brace’s recommendation, she left Connecticut to take charge of the Academy at New Albany, Indiana.[8][6]

In 1839, she married Franklin Thurston, a merchant of New Albany, at which time she resigned her position as school principal.[1][6] She was at this time a frequent contributor to the western papers and periodicals, usually over the signature of “Viola,” and soon won for herself the reputation of being one of the best female writers in the west. But in the midst of her growing fame, she died in New Albany on July 21, 1842.[8]




Carlos Marín Menchero (13 October 1968 – 19 December 2021) was a Spanish baritone and a member of the classical crossover group Il Divo, which has sold over 28 million records worldwide.[1]



By Colin Marshall, Open Culture: How Eating Kentucky Fried Chicken Became a Christmas Tradition in Japan
By Josh Jones, Open Culture: How Jean Renoir’s Great Anti-War Film Grand Illusion Became “Cinematographic Enemy Number One” to the Nazis
By MessyNessy, 13 Things I Found on the Internet Today (Vol. DLXXXII): J.R.R. Tolkien wrote and illustrated letters from Father Christmas to his kids every year from 1920 to 1943; Christmas dinner on the Apollo VIII (1968) as it headed to the moon; The National Christmas Museum, Saved; Be My Eyes, the App That Lets You Lend Your Eyes to a Blind Person; An Interview With An 87-Year-Old Farmer From 1929 and more ->
By Andrew Lawrence, The Guardian: The lawyer who tried faking his death, and the writer exposing his crime dynasty Mandy Matney kept a harsh spotlight trained on South Carolina’s Murdaugh family until they became impossible for anyone to ignore
The Marginalian by Maria Popova: The Loveliest Children’s Books of the Year

Today’s guest on Danger Close is Julian Rademeyer. Julian is an award-winning author, investigative journalist, and one of the world’s leading authorities on illicit wildlife trafficking.





By Kelli Foster, The Kitchn: Chicken Bacon Ranch Rice Casserole
By Rachel Brougham, Taste of Home: 25 Chocolate Chip Cookies You’re Not Baking (Yet!)
By Reid Singer, Smithsonian Magazine: A Culinary History of Panettone, the Italian and South American Christmas Treat The holiday pastry has been a multicultural phenomenon since the very beginning.




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