Monday, December 17, 2012
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On December 17 in

1777 France recognized American independence.

1830 South American patriot Simon Bolivar died in Colombia.

1903 Wilbur and Orville Wright of Dayton, Ohio, conducted the first successful manned powered-airplane flights near Kitty Hawk, N.C., using their experimental craft, the Wright Flyer.

1944 The U.S. Army announced it was ending its policy of excluding Japanese-Americans from the West Coast.

1957 The United States successfully test-fired the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time.

1979 In a case that aggravated racial tensions, Arthur McDuffie, a black insurance executive, was fatally injured after leading police on a chase with his motorcycle in Miami. (Four white police officers accused of beating McDuffie were later acquitted, sparking riots.)

In The Star

Dec. 17, 1937, in The Star: Congressman Lister Hill, who’s seeking the Democratic Party nomination to run for U.S. Senate, will make three speeches in Calhoun County three days from now. He’ll be in Piedmont late morning, Jacksonville mid-afternoon and in Anniston in the evening. Also this date: An editorial on “The Danger of Dope” states, “most common of the habit-forming ‘weeds’ today is marihuana,” which is “often sold to school children, as are other drugging concoctions which stupefy the brain, make beasts of gentlemen and murderers of the meek.”

Dec. 17, 1987, in The Star: Two Anniston High School seniors were recently given an insider’s view of the American political process at the Youth Congressional Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. Allyson Lee and Coke Williams were selected by Anniston High School Principal John Toland and guidance counselor Marti Warren to attend the conference, which was held from Nov. 10-15. Miss Lee is president of the AHS student Senate and Williams is senior class president.

Birthdays of Monday, Dec. 17:

Actor Ernie Hudson is 67.
Political commentator Chris Matthews is 67.
Comedian-actor Eugene Levy is 66.
Actor Bill Pullman is 59.
Actor Barry Livingston is 59.
Country singer Sharon White is 59.
Producer-director-writer Peter Farrelly is 56.
Pop singer Sarah Dallin (Bananarama) is 51.
Country musician Tim Chewning is 50.
Country singer Tracy Byrd is 46.
Country musician Duane Propes is 46.
Actress Laurie Holden is 43.
Actor Sean Patrick Thomas is 42.
Actor Giovanni Ribisi is 38.
Actress Milla Jovovich is 37.
Singer Bree Sharp is 37.
Actress Jennifer Carpenter is 33.
Actor-singer Nat Wolff is 18.

TV listings

DreamWorks Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury, 7 p.m. on Fox: Based on the hit animated film How to Train Your Dragon, this new special returns to the villagers of Berk as they prepare for the winter holidays. As the festivities approach, the dragons make a sudden mass exodus, leaving Hiccup, Astrid, Stoick and the rest of the gang saddened by the loss of their winged friends.

Gossip Girl, 7 p.m. on CW: After six seasons, Serena (Blake Lively) and her high-living Upper East Side friends and relatives bid farewell with the two-hour series finale, in which we can expect Gossip Girl to be identified, once and for all.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, 7 p.m. on ABC: This new episode follows the story of James and Devonda Friday, a North Carolina couple who adopted all five siblings rather than see them split up. Their modest ranch home was too small to house their now-bursting family, so Ty and his crew step in to give them a specious new residence for the holidays.

Movie: A Christmas Carol, 7 p.m. on AMC: George C. Scott brings all his famous crustiness to the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in this 1984 adaptation of the Charles Dickens' classic. In fact, it almost seems like typecasting when he faces off against the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future before they change him for the better.

Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas, 7:30 p.m. on Fox: This holiday special, based on the Ice Age films, finds the Arctic herd busily decorating for the holidays. In his rush to help, Sid destroys Manny's favorite decorations. Manny is so upset that he convinces Sid he is now on Santa's naughty list. Joined by Crash, Eddie and Peaches, Sid takes off for the North Pole to plead his case to Santa.

Movie: Happiness Is a Warm Blanket Charlie Brown, 8 p.m. on Fox: This animated "Peanuts" special finds the gang trying to help Linus break away from his childhood security blanket. The stakes are high as Linus learns his grandmother is coming to visit, and he must decide whether or not to dispose of his most cherished possession.

1600 Penn, 8:31 p.m. on NBC: Television's newest take on the White House gets a "sneak preview" prior to its official Jan. 10 premiere. Bill Pullman has played president before (Independence Day), but he puts a comedic spin on the Oval Office as a chief executive whose family affairs are as critical to him as affairs of state.

Hawaii Five-0, 9 p.m. on CBS: Forever a favorite of Star Trek fans as Mr. Sulu, George Takei — also a popular Internet presence these days — guest stars as Chin's (Daniel Dae Kim) uncle in this new episode. Fabulous.

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