December 12, 1939: Douglas Fairbanks, dashing and athletic leading man of the silent era and co-founder of United Artists, dies of a heart attack at age 56.
December 14, 1939: Seventy-five years after General Sherman set it ablaze, the city of Atlanta is lit up again– for the world premiere of Gone with the Wind.
December 12, 1941: Lon Chaney Jr. (Article Tod Browning And Lon Chaney) follows in his father’s frightening footsteps, playing the title role in The Wolf Man (article: The Wolf Man vs. Dracula) and reviving Universal’s horror genre.
December 15, 1966: The most famous name in family entertainment, Walt Disney–animator, producer and multi-Oscar-winner–dies of a heart attack at age 65.
December 18, 1966: In defiance of the Production Code’s demands to excise certain scenes, MGM releases Michelangelo Antonioni‘s Blowup without a seal of approval.
December 12, 1972: Audiences flip for The Poseidon Adventure. Its success will lead to a rash of disaster films, many made by Poseidon producer Irwin Allen.
December 15, 1978: The Deer Hunter, Michael Cimino‘s Vietnam epic, opens, stunning audiences and eliciting controversy for its “Russian roulette” sequences.