Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald were known by the nicknames “The Singing Capon” and “The Iron Butterfly”.
The United Nations occupied four sites, three of them in New York. The first regular session of the General Assembly was held in October 1945 at Central Hall in London. The United Nations then moved to Hunter College in the Bronx, before establishing interim headquarters at Lake Success on Long Island in August 1946. The … Read more
There are more physicians in the USSR than anywhere else. The United States holds top honors for psychiatrists, psychologists, and dentists.
Father Ambrosio, of Madrid is the name of the title character in The Monk. He kills two women who turn out to be his mother, Elvira, and his sister, Antonia, in the 1795 novel by Matthew Lewis. Father Ambrosio, of Madrid. He kills two women who turn out to be his mother, Elvira, and his … Read more
Japanese star Toshiro Mifune played Sinbad in The Lost World of Sinbad (1963).
Boston was the first American city to be admitted to the National Hockey League, in 1924. The Boston Bruins won their first Stanley Cup Championship in 1929 and have won it five times since then (1939, 1941, 1970, 1972, 1990).
The first situation comedy on television was a live show called “Mary Kay and Johnny” (1947-50, Dumont). Forerunner to I Love Lucy, the live show concerned the adventurous life of New York newlyweds Johnny and Mary Kay Stearns. The couple’s real-life newborn son was worked into the show in 1948.
No comets, novae, or supernovae are recorded for 6 B.C., the estimated year of Christ’s birth. But there was one odd celestial event that stargazing Wise Men might have observed and thought to be the Star of Bethlehem. Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn came close together in a small triangle, as they do once every 805 … Read more
Marilyn Chambers’ face was featured on a box of Ivory Snow, before she starred in Behind the Green Door (1972).
The Massachusetts militiamen won the Battle of Lexington and Concord when they forced the British to retreat from Concord back to Boston. This was the first battle of the War of Independence The British were trying to confiscate colonial arms from a depot at Concord. The battle, which took place on the night of April … Read more
Acute appendicitis overcame the former Erich Weiss known as Harry Houdini on October 31, 1926, Halloween. He was 52 years old.
A 1979 New York study revealed that only 3.4 percent of state parolees were returned to prison for committing new crimes. 8.5 percent were returned for parole violations. Thirty percent of ex-prisoners, however, were sent back to prison within five years of their release.
Wheat, the food base of Western civilization, is by far the most widely grown plant. It has been cultivated for more than 7,000 years in every continent except Antarctica.
The television series Howdy Doody ran from 1947 to 1960.
Rocky Lane, a cowboy movie hero whose films included: King of the Mounties, Red Gulch Renegades, and Silver City Kid. On at least one occasion, George Burns also supplied Mr. Ed’s voice.
The most complete treatment is the Argonautica by third-century poet Apollonius of Rhodes.
Dodgers was an abbreviation for trolley dodgers. The term developed during the early to mid-twentieth century, when trolley cars were common sights in urban areas such as Brooklyn. To be a trolley dodger meant that you were able to slip through traffic. The players on the field needed the same kind of agility.
The practice of using economic means to achieve foreign policy goals is known as “dollar diplomacy”. It was first associated with President William Howard Taft (served 1909-13) and his Secretary of State Philander C. Knox.
William Powell played Florenz Ziegfeld twice: in The Great Ziegfeld (1936), and in Ziegfeld Follies (1945).
“Winner Take All” (CBS, 1948-51, NBC, 1952) was the first Mark Goodson-Bill Todman TV game show production. Other Goodson-Todman hits have included “Beat the Clock,” “I’ve Got a Secret,” “To Tell the Truth,” “Password,” “The Match Game,” and “What’s My Line.”
Operation Torch was the Allied invasion of French North Africa beginning on November 8, 1942. Assault troops, almost all American, captured Morocco and Algiers with mostly British naval support.
There are eight geographic locations that have been named after Queen Victoria: Victoria, Australia. The smallest, most densely populated state in Australia. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The largest city on Vancouver Island. Victoria Falls. On the Zambezi River at the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Victoria Island. A large island in the Arctic Ocean off … Read more
Constance Good played Maya Angelou in the TV movie based on her memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” (CBS, 1979).
A montage is the assembling together of images in a film, usually in quick succession, often dissolving into one another. It can be used to convey action and the passage of time, newspaper headlines and theater marquees flying by as a dancer rises to stardom, or, as in the work of Sergei Eisenstein, to evoke … Read more
The most common species of domesticated bird is the chicken. There are thought to be 3.5 billion chickens in the world, nearly one for every human.
Jim Henson and the Muppets were regulars on “Saturday Night Live” (NBC, 1975) in 1975-76.
Explorer John Cabot was Italian. Born Giovanni Caboto in Genoa, Italy (c. 1450), he sailed under the English flag. He appears to have reached Newfoundland in 1497, a year before Columbus reached the American mainland. Cabot was lost at sea in 1498.
Jack was the sadistic leader of the hunters in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Who is the overweight bespectacled boy? Piggy.
The Jewish spiritual movement was founded by Israel ben Eliezer, now better known as the Ba’al Shem Tov (Master of the Good Name). He was a healer and holy man who lived in the Ukraine (c. 1700-1760).
Subtle is the name of the shady character in the 1610 play The Alchemist by Ben Jonson. He works with two other unsavory characters, Face (a.k.a. Jeremy) and Dol Common.
The electric sign on 1 Times Square at 42nd Street in New York that displays headlines was installed in 1928. At that time, the building housed offices of the New York Times and was known as the Times Tower. It is now owned by several general and limited partners and runs headlines from New York … Read more
The 50 U.S. states, with their dates of admission to the Union, are listed below. The original 13 states are marked with an asterisk. Alabama-1819 Montana-1889 Alaska-1959 Nebraska-1867 Arizona-1912 Nevada-1864 Arkansas-1836 New Hampshire-1788* California-1850 New Jersey-1787* Colorado-1876 New Mexico-1912 Connecticut-1788* New York-1788* Delaware-1787* North Carolina-1789* Florida-1845 North Dakota-1889 Georgia-1788* Ohio-1803 Hawaii-1959 Oklahoma-1907 Idaho-1890 Oregon-1859 Illinois-1818 … Read more
To assess voters’ preferences in the 1824 presidential election, citizens were asked whom they preferred. This was the first public opinion poll. The results, published in the Harrisburg Pennsylvanian on July 24, 1824, gave Andrew Jackson a commanding lead over John Quincy Adams and all others. However, Adams won the election.
Directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg, E.T. The Extraterrestrial (1982) is the all-time money-making champ at $228.6 million. Star Wars (1977), directed by George Lucas, is in second place at $193.5 million. Either individually or together, Spielberg and Lucas have helped create seven of the top ten money-making movies.
Use of camouflage became standard practice in World War I. This was when airplanes were used to reconnoiter enemy encampments and to direct artillery fire. Armies found it necessary to camouflage uniforms, helmets, and equipment with the colors of leaves and brush.
The kingdom of Israel, formed in 930 B.C. by 10 of the original 12 Hebrew tribes, was conquered by the Assyrians in 721 B.C. Those 10 tribes were exiled and assimilated into other nations, and so vanished from history. The other two tribes, founders of the separate kingdom of Judah, lived on.
C. C. stands for Calvin Clifford in the 1960 film The Apartment. The character was played by Jack Lemmon.
The football conference that became the Big Ten, or the Western Conference, was formed in 1896 by the Universities of Chicago, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, along with Northwestern and Purdue universities. Iowa and Indiana joined in 1899 and Ohio State in 1912. The University of Chicago dropped out in 1946 after terminating its football … Read more
It was in 44 B.C. that Julius Caesar was assassinated. The date was March 15, the Ides of March.
About 20 percent of the earth is under permafrost. This means it has had a temperature below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for over two years. In Siberia, some sections of land are frozen to depths of 5,000 feet.
A scrivener is a copier of legal documents.
Audrey Hepburn played a cigarette girl in Laughter in Paradise (UK, 1951), starring Alastair Sim and Fay Compton.
Born in 1946 in Davenport, Iowa, Sue Lyon appeared from time to time in films such as The Night of the Iguana (1964), The Flim-Flam Man (1967), Tony Rome (1967), Evel Knievel (1971), and Alligator (1980). She was fifteen when she played Lolita, who is twelve in the book.
The abacus was probably invented by the Babylonians. It was refined and used by the Romans, Chinese, Arabs, Europeans, and Asians as late as the seventeenth century. It is still used, in various forms, in the Middle East and Japan.
Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837 to 1901, was the grand daughter of the King George III, who lost the American colonies. This makes Elizabeth II, Queen of England since 1952, George’s great-great-great-great grand daughter.
The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed twice. The first Temple was razed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The second was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70.
The U.S. Navy defines a boat as “a vessel that can be hauled aboard a ship.” In ordinary usage, however, large vessels are often called boats as well as ships.
Angora wool does not come from sheep. Angora is harvested from a domesticated rabbit of the same name. The wool is white, black, blue, or fawn. The rabbits are sheared every three months; each one yields about 12 ounces of wool annually. These rabbits first appeared in the eighteenth century in France.
Jessica Tandy is older than Hume Cronyn, by two years. Cronyn was born in 1911, Tandy in 1909.
Bobby Jones has achieved the feat of winning the grand slam. He did so as an amateur, before the present-day tournament requirements were instituted. He won the British Amateur tournament in Scotland on May 31, 1930. Next, on June 20, 1930, he won the British Open in Holyoke, England, with a four-round total of 291. … Read more
John Greenleaf Whittier describes the bravery of the fictional title character in his poem “Barbara Frietchie” (1863) who said, “Shoot, if you must, this old gray head”. The aged Frietchie displays a Union flag when Confederate troops march by. Stonewall Jackson forbids his troops to harm the old woman.
Yes. Roman emperor Caligula banned Homer’s works during his reign (37-41 A.D.) because they were said to promote unhealthy ideas about Greek freedom.
Abraham Lincoln was watching Our American Cousin, by Tom Taylor, on the evening of April 14, 1865. It was during this play when John Wilkes Booth entered Lincoln’s private box and fired his one-shot derringer. Lincoln’s bodyguard had stepped away for a drink of water.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a nonprofit organization for the advancement of the film art and industry that gives out the Academy Awards. It was founded in 1927. Membership is by invitation only.
The wooden chest that contained God’s laws as presented to Moses was taken on its last trip to Jerusalem by King David. Eventually King Solomon put it in the Temple. It disappeared when the Temple was destroyed in 586 B.C.
Voice expert June Foray provided the voice for Rocky the Flying Squirrel on “The Bullwinkle Show”. He also provided the voices on the show for Dudley Do-Right’s girlfriend Nell, and for others.
The the cab company on the TV series “Taxi” (ABC, 1978-83) was called The Sunshine Taxi Company, in New York City.
Aeschylus, the “father of Greek tragedy” (525-456 B.c.) wrote some 90 plays, but only 7 have survived. They are: The Suppliants The Oresteia The Persians Seven Against Thebes Prometheus Bound Agamemnon The Libation Bearers
Todt Hill, on Staten Island, at 426 feet is the highest natural elevation in the New York metropolitan area. In fact, it is the highest point on the eastern seaboard south of Maine. Cadillac Mountain in Maine is the highest point on the eastern seaboard.
The story of three sailors in On the Town (1949) on a twenty-four-hour leave in New York City was based on the ballet Fancy Free by Jerome Robbins. The movie starred Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Jules Munshin.
Rock group Duran Duran got its name from the science fiction movie Barbarella (1968). Duran Duran (the Concierge) was a character played by Milo O’Shea. The rock group Fine Young Cannibals got their name came from the movie soap opera All the Fine Young Cannibals (1960), directed by Michael Anderson and starring Robert Wagner and … Read more
In the “Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot” (1735), reference is made to “damning with faint praise”. In the satiric poem, Alexander Pope wrote: “Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,/And, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer.”
In Greek mythology, Chaos was the primal void that gave birth to Gaea (Earth), Tartarus (Infernal Regions), Eros (Love), Erebus (Darkness), and Nyx (Night).
Of the 22.4 million Hispanic-Americans counted in the 1990 census, more than 60 percent (13.5 million) are of Mexican heritage. Another 2.7 million are Puerto Rican, 1 million are Cuban, and the rest are “other.” All together, Hispanics, who can be of any race, account for 9 percent of the U.S. population.
The comic book industry began to regulate itself with the Comics Code Authority in 1954. Among other rules, it required that “Policemen, judges, government officials and respected institutions shall never be presented in such a way as to create disrespect for established authority,” and “In every instance good shall triumph over evil and the criminal … Read more
There are 13 stars, arrows, olive leaves, and olives in the Great Seal of the United States, symbolizing the original 13 colonies. The design of the seal was approved by Congress in 1782. As seen on the back of the dollar bill, the seal consists of an eagle holding olives and arrows in its talons, … Read more
The character Professor Henry Higgins in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion was based on a British scholar of phonetics and Old English named Henry Sweet. His works included History of English Sounds (1874).
The average time the 17th- and 18th-century peasants and laborers spent to pay off the debt incurred by their passage to America (about $100) was four years.
Walter Cronkite, anchor of the “CBS Evening News” could be heard intoning “And that’s the way it is . . .” from April 16, 1962, to March 6, 1981.
Daughters of Zeus, they were Greek goddesses of fertility, later associated with beauty and love, Aglaia (Brightness), Euphrosyne (Joyfulness), and Thalia (Bloom). Their collective name, Graces (they were also known as Chorites), referred to the gracious or pleasing appearance of fertile gardens and fields.
Hanukkah was first celebrated in 165 B.C. The word Hanukkah means Rededication. It refers to the cleansing and rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Maccabees after defeating their Syrian-Greek oppressors.
Yes, Typhoid Mary’s name was Mary Mallon (1870-1938). She was an institutional and household cook who spread the disease from house to house in the New York City area in the early twentieth century.
As of 1991, the top three leading NFL touchdown scorers are: Jim Brown-126 touchdowns Walter Payton-125 touchdowns John Riggins-116 touchdowns
In 1803, the U.S. Congress granted Lewis and Clark $2,500 for an expedition to explore the territory west of the Mississippi River. Selected by President Thomas Jefferson to lead the group of 50 people were Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Starting out from St. Louis, Missouri, the expedition crossed the Rockies and reached the Pacific … Read more
Werner Krauss played the title doctor in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919). Conrad Veidt played Cesare, the somnambulist controlled by Dr. Caligari.
At any given time on a clear night in a dark place with no obstructions on the horizon, 2,500 stars are visible to the naked eye.
Smiling is easier on the face than frowning. It takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 to frown.
Mike Ditka was the coach of the Chicago Bears for 11 seasons. He took over as coach in 1982 and was relieved of his position in January 1993, at the close of the 1992 season. He led the Bears to victory in the 1986 Super Bowl.
Cost-of-living raises, based on the U.S. cost-of-living index, were first negotiated into General Motors-United Auto Workers Union contracts in 1948.
In 1989, 76.9 percent of the U.S. population aged 25 and over has completed high school. Only 21.1 percent has completed college.
The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu (1929), starring Warner Oland, was the first Fu Manchu movie made as a sound feature.
Directors Roger Corman and George A. Romero appear in The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Jonathan Demme directed them.
The first American cookbook was the 1796 collection American Cookery by Amelia Simmons, whose pen name was “An American Orphan.” Four editions of the book appeared between 1796 and 1808.
Larry Hagman and Donna Mills, future stars of “Dallas” (CBS, 1978-91) and “Knots Landing” (CBS, 1979) played the married butler and cook for millionaire David Wayne in “The Good Life” (NBC, 1971-72).
The Body, a novella was the inspiration for the movie Stand by Me.
In World War II, over three times as many Americans died: 405,399, including 291,557 in battle and 113,842 from other causes. An additional 670,846 Americans received nonlethal wounds.
Jean Harlow said “Do you mind if I slip into something more comfortable?” in Hell’s Angels (1930).
In 1989, the United States was the fourth most populous country. The top five ran as follows: 1. China. 1.104 billion 2. India. 835 million 3. USSR. 289 million 4. United States. 248.8 million 5. Indonesia. 184.6 million
Thomas Hughes, English jurist wrote Tom Brown’s School Days. The book for boys tells of young Tom Brown’s adventures at Rugby. Hughes also wrote a sequel, Tom Brown at Oxford (1861).
River Phoenix’s brother is named Leaf; his sisters are Summer, Rainbow, and Liberty. All are actors.