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: "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." -- Zora Neale Hurston, "Their Eyes Were Watching God"
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 first quarter moon (Jan. 2) and full moon (Jan. 10).