On this day: Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers first film

On this day in 1933 Fred Astaire's first film with Ginger Rogers, Flying Down to Rio, had its premiere. Picture: RKO
On this day in 1933 Fred Astaire's first film with Ginger Rogers, Flying Down to Rio, had its premiere. Picture: RKO
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EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries

20 DECEMBER

1560: First General Assembly of the Kirk met in Edinburgh.

1910: Tied result at general election – Liberals and Tories each with 272 seats. Herbert Asquith continued as prime minister.

1915: Ill-fated Gallipoli expedition was abandoned after ten months.

1922: Fourteen republics of Russia formed Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

1933: Fred Astaire’s first film with Ginger Rogers, Flying Down To Rio, was premiered in New York.

1952: USAF transport crashed in Washington state, killing 84. It was the world’s worst air disaster to that date.

1954: France sent 20,000 troops to Algeria.

1963: The Berlin Wall was opened for the first time since August, 1961, to allow West Berliners to visit relatives in the eastern sector for a day over Christmas.

1973: Spain’s prime minister, Luis Carrero Blanco, was killed by car bomb in Madrid.

1986: Up to 30,000 students marched for democracy through streets of Shanghai in China’s largest demonstration since era of Cultural Revolution.

1989: Another 12,000 American troops deployed to Panama joined same number already in place to confront the government of General Manuel Antonio Noriega.

1990: The last remaining pit in the Rhondda Valley in Wales closed.

1991: Robert Hawke, Australia’s prime minister for nearly nine years, was ousted from office by his former protege Paul Keating.

1994: The Law Lords forced the government to make a policy about-turn and give part-time workers the same rights as full-time workers.

1996: NeXT merged with Apple Computer, starting the path to Mac OS X.

1999: Macau was handed over to the People’s Republic of China by Portugal.

2004: A gang of thieves stole £26.5 million worth of currency from the Donegall Square West headquarters of Northern Bank in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

2007: Queen Elizabeth II became the oldest ever monarch of the UK, surpassing Queen Victoria, who lived for 81 years, seven months and 29 days.

2010: Media watchdog Ofcom announced that product placement on British television would be allowed for the first time from the start of 2011.

BIRTHDAYS

Jenny Agutter OBE actress, 62; Billy Bragg, singer and activist, 57; Ashley Cole, footballer, 34; Charles Denton, television and film producer, 77; Uri Geller, spoon bender and psychic, 68; Lord (Geoffrey) Howe of Aberavon, politician, 88; Jonah Hill, actor and comedian, 31; Ed de Goey, goalkeeper, 48; Robert Cavanah, Edinburgh-born actor, writer, director, producer, 49; Peter May, Glasgow-born screenwriter, novelist, crime writer, 63; Alan Parsons, audio engineer, songwriter, musician (Alan Parsons Project), 66; Stevie Wright, musician, 66; Jean Fergusson, actress, 70.

ANNIVERSARIES

Births: 1901 Robert Van de Graaff, physicist who designed and built high voltage generators; 1902 Prince George, Duke of Kent; 1906 Sir Dick Goldsmith White, head of MI5 and MI6; 1942 Bob Hayes, sprinter-turned-Anerican footballer, first man to win both Olympic gold and the Superbowl.

Deaths: 217AD Pope Zephyrinus; 1862 Robert Knox, Scottish zoologist, anatomist and doctor; 1916 William Walace Gilchrist, composer; 1968 John Steinbeck, author; 1996 Carl Sagan, physicist and astronomer; 2010 Brian Hanrahan, broadcaster; 2010 John Alldis, choral conductor.