December 23 in history:


Two days before Christmas, eighteen-twenty-three
Folks first read this poem of holiday glee.

A verse called “A Visit from St. Nicholas” was first published in a Troy, N.Y., newspaper on this date in 1823.  The poem, also known as “‘Twas the night before Christmas,” was published anonymously.  Twenty years later, Columbia professor Clement Clarke Moore claimed authorship.  The story is credited with establishing the visual image of Santa Claus we know today, and with giving names to Santa’s reindeer, from Blitzen to Vixen.

It’s a red-letter day for a soap opera vixen,
Created by soap pioneer Agnes Nixon.

December 23rd is the birthday of Susan Lucci, who was 23 when she began playing Erica Kane shortly after the 1970 premiere of “All My Children.”  Lucci played the role for 41 years until the show was cancelled by ABC.  She became well-known for earning 21 Emmy nominations for the character…and winning just once, on her 19th try.

They’re not “all” my children…no, only two there.
But this brother and sister make an operatic pair.

A famous Grimm fairy tale about two lost children, a witch, and a gingerbread house was turned into an opera which premiered in Germany on December 23rd, 1893.  “Hansel and Gretel” was written by composer Engelbert Humperdinck (no, not the singer).  Women generally sing the role of Hansel, and when performed by boy choirs, boys play Gretel and the witch.


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