TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1785, Jean-Pierre Blanchard and John Jeffries crossed the English Channel in a balloon.
In 1927, the first commercial trans-Atlantic telephone call was made between London and New York City.
In 1955, Marian Anderson made her debut at New York's Metropolitan Opera House, becoming the first African-American to perform there.
In 2015, gunmen killed 12 people at the Paris offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Millard Fillmore (1800-1874), 13th U.S. president; Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960), author; Francis Poulenc (1899-1963), composer; Charles Addams (1912-1988), cartoonist; Katie Couric (1957- ), TV news anchor; Rand Paul (1963- ), politician; Nicolas Cage (1964- ), actor; John Ondrasik aka Five for Fighting (1965- ), singer-songwriter; Jeremy Renner (1971- ), actor; John Rich (1974- ), singer-songwriter; Francisco Rodriguez (1982- ), baseball player; Jon Lester (1984- ), baseball player.
TODAY'S FACT: Millard Fillmore, who assumed the presidency in 1850 upon the death of Zachary Taylor, was the last president from the Whig party. Fillmore sought re-election in 1852, but the Whig party nominated Gen. Winfield Scott instead.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1927, the Harlem Globetrotters (who were actually from Chicago) played their first game in Hinckley, Illinois. The team didn't play a game in Harlem until 1968.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It's beyond me." -- Zora Neale Hurston, "How It Feels to Be Colored Me"
TODAY'S NUMBER: 2.5 hours -- length of the first balloon trip across the English Channel, which crossed at the channel's narrowest point (21 miles).
TODAY'S MOON: Between new moon (Jan. 5) and first quarter moon (Jan. 13).