On This Day December 19
1979 – Elvis Presley’s personal physician, George Nichopoulos, is charged with ‘illegally and indiscriminately’ prescribing more than 12,000 uppers, downers and painkillers for the star during the 20 months preceding his untimely death.
2000 – Roebuck “Pops” Staples, gospel singer, songwriter, guitarist and founding member of the Staple Singers, dies at age 85. The group had hits including “I’ll Take You There,” “Respect Yourself” and “Let’s Do It Again” in the 1970s.
1732 – Benjamin Franklin begins publishing “Poor Richard’s Almanack.” The book, filled with proverbs preaching industry and prudence, is published continuously for 25 years and becomes one of the most popular publications in colonial America, selling an average of 10,000 copies a year.
1843 – Charles Dickens publishes his Christmas classic, “A Christmas Carol.” Originally titled “A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas,” the first edition sells out by Christmas Eve. By the end of 1844, 13 editions had been released. The work continues to be printed and sold nearly 200 years later and has been adapted countless times for film, stage, opera and other media, including a video game.
1917 – The National Hockey League (NHL) opens its first season with two games. At the time, the league consists of five franchises: the Canadiens and the Wanderers (both of Montreal), the Ottawa Senators, the Quebec Bulldogs and the Toronto Arenas (known at the time as the Toronto Hockey Club).
1972 – NASA’S Apollo manned lunar-landing program ends as the last three astronauts to travel to the moon safely splash down in the Pacific Ocean. Apollo 17 had blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, 10 days earlier.
1997 – Director James Cameron’s epic drama “Titanic” opens in U.S. theaters, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. The film becomes a box office smash and goes on to capture 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.
1998 – President Bill Clinton is impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice by a divided House of Representatives, which recommends virtually along party lines that the Senate remove the nation’s 42d president from office. Clinton vows to finish his term.