‘TWAS THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS

Yesterday may have been Christmas, but heaven only knows the exact date of Christ’s birth (Christmas wasn’t celebrated on December 25 until the 4th century A.D.). So, here it is the day after Christmas, which is a lull of a day following as full of a day as there is all year, and I’ve decided to find out who (of note) actually was born on December 25. Why? Not why they were born on that day (presumably, something naughty and nice happened one night nine months previously), but — why do I bother? Because inquiring minds want to know, that’s why….and my readers, being wise men and women, have inquiring minds (I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt).

Believe It or Not, Robert Ripley was born on Christmas day (in 1890). If you’re a lover of trivia, you can thank Robert Ripley for making it a popular pursuit even before you were born. Ripley was a cartoonist and amateur anthropologist who created Believe It or Not! as a panel series in Randolph Hearst’s King Features Syndicate in 1929. A year later, Ripley famously expanded into other media, including radio and short films such as this 1930 Vitaphone curio (it’s a hoot!):

Can’t get enough of his wonderful stuff? Then tune in January 6th to the PBS series American Experience (here’s a half-minute preview):

Ripley was voted the most popular man in America by the New York Times in the 1930s, a decade in which he opened (in six cities) museums called Odditoriums. He died 1n 1949 and is buried, appropriately enough, in Oddfellows Lawn Cemetery, Santa Rosa, CA.

Other notables who were born on Christmas day include Clara Barton, American Red Cross founder (1821); Kid Ory, legendary early New Orleans jazzman (1886); Humphrey (we’ll always have Casablanca) Bogart (1899); and Cab Calloway, jazz band leader (1907).

And while we’re at it, since Christmas both giveth and taketh away, here are some notable December 25th deaths: Charlie Chaplin (died 1977); two Martins, Billy (1989) and Dean (1995); and the Godfather of Soul, James Brown (2006).

And with that, I believe I’ll call it a day.

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8 comments on “‘TWAS THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS

  1. Joseph Nebus says:

    Oh, I thought Jack Benny was also a Christmas baby but, of course, his was Valentine’s Day. I should’ve remembered that.

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    • mistermuse says:

      Sometimes sources don’t agree on such things.. The first site I checked in researching Dec. 25 birthdays had Isaac Newton born on Dec. 25, 1642; another had Jan 4, 1643….so I checked more sites, and continued to find the same discrepancy. Not knowing which to believe, I didn’t include him in this posting.

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  2. arekhill1 says:

    I remember knowing a kid in my extreme youth who was born on Christmas Day. He was regarded by we contemporaries with pity and horror, because he only got presents once a year. Sure, his parents pretended to give him gifts for both the holiday and his b-day, but he, (and we) were always sure he got short-shrifted.

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  3. ladysighs says:

    I liked the video of Believe It or Not…..especially the girl who could speak fast. 🙂

    Like

  4. Don Frankel says:

    Okay I don’t believe it. What are they going to do? I mean what is the not here?

    I loved this stuff as a kid. They have a Ripley’s in Times Square.

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  5. mistermuse says:

    Lucky for you, Ripley’s isn’t a fundamentalist religion – not believing it would be a hell of a bad way to go.
    Very interesting that they have a Ripley’s in Times Square. Not that I’ll ever see it, but I hope it’s not a fast food joint.

    Like

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