Today in History: December 7

Photo number AS17-148-22727 (above) was taken by the crew of Apollo 17—Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans and Harrison Schmitt—at 5:39 a.m. EST on this date in 1972. Soon after NASA released it for publication, it acquired a nickname: “The Blue Marble,” and it is one of the most frequently reproduced photos in history.

Apollo 17 had been launched about five hours earlier from the Kennedy Space Center and was in a parking orbit about 28,000 miles from Earth. About an hour later, the craft left that orbit and continued to the Moon. Apollo 17 remains the last manned mission to the Moon, the last manned mission to travel beyond a low Earth orbit.

* * * *
Today is National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. It is estimated that at most there are 2000 veterans still alive who were at Pearl Harbor 75 years ago today, when the U.S. base was attacked; five men who were on board the USS Arizona are still alive. (Only 200 or so individuals escaped the Arizona.)

* * * *
Until the election of 1848, American voters cast their ballots throughout the month of November in election years.

The Presidential elections that concluded on December 7 are: the election of 1796, in which John Adams was elected; 1808, in which James Madison was elected; and 1836, in which Martin Van Buren (not of the Van Buren Boys) was elected.

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Otis Redding recorded a new song he wrote with guitarist/producer Steve Cropper titled “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” at the Stax Studios in Mempis, Tennessee, on this date in 1967.

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Rube Goldberg died on this date in 1970. Thornton Wilder died in 1975 on this date. Robert Graves died on this date in 1985. In 1975, the author of Good-Bye to All That and The White Goddess was interviewed on Thames Television:

Harry Morgan died five years ago today.

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Willa Cather was born in this date in 1873. Representative Hamilton Fish III was born on this date in 1888. Louis Prima was born in this date in 1910. Eli Wallach was born 101 years ago today. Ted Knight was born on this date in 1923. Harry Chapin was born on this date in 1942.

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Noam Chomsky is 88 today. Ellen Burstyn is 84 today. Johnny Bench is 69 today. Tom Waits is 67 today. Tom Waits presents information in advance of his Glitter and Doom tour in 2008 (if you know how this clip ends, don’t spoil it for the others):

Larry Bird is 60 today. Sara Bareilles is 37.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


  1. loisajay · December 7, 2016

    Ha! I had never seen that Tom Waits clip before. Oh, Otis Redding……


  2. Southern by Design · December 7, 2016

    I do so enjoy the history of space exploration 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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