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Today in History

  • Today is Saturday, Dec. 4, the 338th day of 2021. There are 27 days left in the year. 

Today's Highlights in History: 

  • On Dec. 4, 1942, during World War II, U.S. bombers struck the Italian mainland for the first time with a raid on Naples. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the dismantling of the Works Progress Administration, which had been created to provide jobs during the Depression.

On this date: 

  • In 1783, Gen. George Washington bade farewell to his Continental Army officers at Fraunces Tavern in New York. 
  • In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson left Washington on a trip to France to attend the Versailles (vehr-SY') Peace Conference. 
  • In 1954, the first Burger King stand was opened in Miami by James McLamore and David Edgerton.
  • In 1956, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins gathered for the first and only time for a jam session at Sun Records in Memphis. 
  • In 1965, the United States launched Gemini 7 with Air Force Lt. Col. Frank Borman and Navy Cmdr. James A. Lovell aboard on a two-week mission. (While Gemini 7 was in orbit, its sister ship, Gemini 6A, was launched on Dec. 15 on a one-day mission; the two spacecraft were able to rendezvous within a foot of each other.) 
  • In 1967, actor-comedian Bert Lahr, who played the Cowardly Lion in "The Wizard of Oz," died in New York at age 72.
  • In 1978, San Francisco got its first female mayor as City Supervisor Dianne Feinstein (FYN'-styn) was named to replace the assassinated George Moscone (mahs-KOH'-nee).
  • In 1980, the bodies of four American churchwomen slain in El Salvador two days earlier were unearthed. (Five Salvadoran national guardsmen were later convicted of murdering nuns Ita Ford, Maura Clarke and Dorothy Kazel, and lay worker Jean Donovan.) 
  • In 1986, both houses of Congress moved to establish special committees to conduct their own investigations of the Iran-Contra affair. 
  • In 1992, President George H.W. Bush ordered American troops to lead a mercy mission to Somalia, threatening military action against warlords and gangs who were blocking food for starving millions. 
  • In 2000, in a pair of legal setbacks for Al Gore, a Florida state judge refused to overturn George W. Bush's certified victory in Florida and the U.S. Supreme Court set aside a ruling that had allowed manual recounts. 
  • In 2018, long lines of people wound through the Capitol Rotunda to view the casket of former President George H.W. Bush; former Sen. Bob Dole steadied himself out of his wheelchair to salute his old friend and one-time rival. 
  • Ten years ago: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's party hung onto its majority in Russia's parliamentary election, but faced accusations from opponents of rigging the vote. Rafael Nadal recovered from a terrible start and beat Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (0) to give Spain its fifth Davis Cup title. After going more than two years and 26 tournaments without a victory, Tiger Woods won the Chevron World Challenge. 
  • Five years ago: A North Carolina man armed with a rifle fired several shots inside Comet Ping Pong, a Washington, D.C., pizzeria, as he attempted to investigate an online conspiracy theory that prominent Democrats were harboring child sex slaves at the restaurant; no one was hurt, and the man surrendered to police. (He was later sentenced to four years in prison.) 
  • One year ago: The government reported that America's employers scaled back their hiring in November as the viral pandemic accelerated, adding 245,000 jobs in the fifth straight monthly slowdown. Actor David L. Lander, best known for playing Squiggy on the popular ABC comedy "Laverne & Shirley," died at 73 after a decades-long long battle with multiple sclerosis.

Today's Birthdays: Game show host Wink Martindale is 88. Pop singer Freddy Cannon is 85. Actor-producer Max Baer Jr. is 84. Actor Gemma Jones is 79. Rock musician Bob Mosley (Moby Grape) is 79. Singer-musician Chris Hillman is 77. Musician Terry Woods (The Pogues) is 74. Rock singer Southside Johnny Lyon is 73. Actor Jeff Bridges is 72. Rock musician Gary Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd; the Rossington Collins Band) is 70. Actor Patricia Wettig is 70. Actor Tony Todd is 67. Jazz singer Cassandra Wilson is 66. Country musician Brian Prout (Diamond Rio) is 66. Rock musician Bob Griffin (formerly with The BoDeans) is 62. Rock singer Vinnie Dombroski (Sponge) is 59. Actor Marisa Tomei is 57. Actor Chelsea Noble is 57. Actor-comedian Fred Armisen is 55. Rapper Jay-Z is 52. Actor Kevin Sussman is 51. Actor-model Tyra Banks is 48. Country singer Lila McCann is 40. Actor Lindsay Felton is 37. Actor Orlando Brown is 34. Actor Scarlett Estevez (TV: "Lucifer") is 14.