The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre lasted eight minutes. Several members of the George (“Bugs”) Moran gang were killed that day, February 14, 1929, along with a man in the garage who looked like Moran. Moran himself escaped the massacre to die a natural death of lung cancer on February 25, 1957.
The abbreviation eg., standing for the Latin exempli gratia, or “for the sake of example,” means exactly that, a series of examples: “large dogs, e.g., Saint Bernards and Great Danes.” The abbreviation i.e., standing for id est, or “that is,” explains the subject you have mentioned: “large dogs, i.e., those over 3 feet tall and…
There have been four Madison Square Gardens, but only the first two were on Madison Square, at Madison Avenue and East Twenty-sixth Street. The first arena, originally a railroad depot, was given the name Madison Square Garden in 1879. The second was designed by Stanford White and built in 1890. The third, located between Forty-ninth…
Lolita was twelve when Humbert Humbert first met her.
The dog, memorialized in a bas-relief in New York’s Central Park and celebrated in dozens of Johnny Carson’s skits, actually existed and was a hero in his day. Balto led a dog-sled expedition through 600 miles of Arctic terrain to deliver an antitoxin needed to save the residents of Nome, Alaska, during a 1925 diphtheria…
Meals had long been offered in taverns, cook-shops, and coffeehouses. The first place known as a restaurant was the Champ d’Oiseau, which opened in Paris in 1765. At the entrance was the Latin motto Venite ad me, omn e qui stomacho laboratis, et ego restaurabo vos, or “Come to me, anybody whose stomach groans, and…
Central Park in New York first opened to the public in October 1858.
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…
Geishas are not necessarily prostitutes. A geisha is a member of a professional class of Japanese women who provide entertaining company for men, particularly businessmen. Some geishas sing, dance, or play instruments; most are skilled only at conversation.
The cinematographer on Jonathan Demme’s movies was usually Tak Fujimoto. He was the cinematographer on the following Demme films: Caged Heat (1974) Crazy Mama (1975) Last Embrace (1979) Melvin and Howard (1980) Swing Shift (1984) Something Wild (1986) Married to the Mob (1988) The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
What was the name of the club where Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) played on “I Love Lucy” (CBS, 1951-57)?
The club where Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) played on “I Love Lucy” was in New York, he played at the Tropicana. When the family moved to Connecticut, he started his own club, the Ricky Ricardo Babaloo Club.
The first part of Nikolai Gogol’s Dead Souls is recognized as a comic masterpiece, but the second part never saw the light of day. Convinced by the radical priest Father Matthew Konstantinovsky that literature was sinful, Gogol (1809-52) burned the manuscript of Part Two in 1852. He died a few days later.
Mexico’s best-known author Carlos Fuentes (The Death of Artemio Cruz, 1962; The Old Gringo, 1985) first began writing in English, but has since switched to his native language, Spanish.
In cable TV language, a dedicated channel is a channel that offers only one kind of programming, weather, rock music, home shopping.
Ernie Bilko (Phil Silvers) served in the army in “The Phil Silvers Show,” which ran from 1955 to 1959.
Jim Henson and the Muppets made their national TV debut in 1957 on “The Tonight Show” (NBC, 1954), hosted then by Steve Allen. Kermit (only one year old at the time) sang “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Face” to a monster who ate its own face and tried to eat Kermit’s as well.
The assassin of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, James Earl Ray, was arrested by Scotland Yard detectives at a London airport on June 8, 1968. Ray had shot King on April 4, 1968.
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.
Robert DeNiro had a bit part as a gypsy cabdriver in Jennifer On My Mind (1971) before Taxi Driver.
The first personal ad might well have been a matrimonial advertisement that appeared in a British publication called the Collection for the Improvement of Husbandry and Trade on July 19, 1695. The ad read: A Gentleman about 30 Years of Age, that says he has a Very Good Estate, would willingly Match Himself to some…
The United Kingdom of Great Britain was formed in 1707, when England, Scotland, and Wales were united by the Act of Union. But the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was not formed until 1801. In 1945, 24 years after most of Ireland had won its independence, Great Britain’s official name became the United…
The Beatles had several names. In the late 1950s, John Lennon and Paul McCartney formed a band to play “skiffle” music in local Liverpool clubs. They first called themselves the Quarrymen, then tried several other names: Johnny and the Moondogs, the Moonshiners, Long John and the Silver Beatles. By 1960, however, they settled on the…
The Variety headline “Stix Nix Hix Pix” refers to the idea that small-town residents do not like movies about small-town life.
“The Guiding Light” (CBS, 1952) was the daytime TV drama which the rock group the B-52s once performed on.
The Princess slept on 20 mattresses and 20 eiderdowns (fluffy featherbeds), between 2 of which was placed a single pea.
In Ronald Reagan’s first job after college, the future president (served 198189) broadcasted play-by-play accounts of major league baseball games from Station WHO in Des Moines, Iowa.
The line about “make him an offer he can’t refuse” appears three times in The Godfather (1972): • “My father made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.” Michael (Al Pacino) tells Kay (Diane Keaton) about Vito’s (Marlon Brando’s) threats against a bandleader. • “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Vito tells Johnny…
Harvey Milk (1930-78) was the first openly homosexual candidate to be elected to San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. An advocate of gay rights and urban issues, Milk was elected in 1977, representing the Castro district. He was assassinated, with Mayor George Moscone, by a former supervisor on November 27, 1978.
Andrew Jackson, president from 1829 to 1837 was nicknamed “Old Hickory”. He received the nickname during the War of 1812 because of his tough physical and personal character. Andrew Jackson was called the ‘farmer from Tennessee” because he made his home there and had helped frame its state constitution. However, his birthplace was not in…
“The Man Trap,” televised as a “sneak preview” on September 8, 1966, was the first episode of “Star Trek” to be televised. The episode dealt with a creature on planet M-113 who lives on salt sucked from humans.
The period known as Franklin Roosevelt’s Hundred Days, which represented the first session of the first New Deal Congress, lasted from March 9 to June 16, 1933. It was a time of intense legislative activity aimed at reversing the effects of the Great Depression.
The male advice columnist Miss Lonelyhearts wrote for the New York Post-Dispatch in Nathanael West’s Miss Lonelyhearts (1946).
Columbus did not realize he had discovered a new continent that would be named America, but Amerigo Vespucci, who explored the New World between 1497 and 1504, did. German mapmaker Martin Waldseemuller first applied the name to the new continent on a map published in 1507.
What was the name of the man who played El Exigente in Savarin Coffee commercials in the 1960s and 1970s?
The name of the man who played El Exigente in Savarin Coffee commercials in the 1960s and 1970s was Carlos Montalban, brother of actor Ricardo Montalban. Born in 1904, he died in 1991.
Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles were credited with the screenplay for Citizen Kane (1940).
Seventy-five percent of the population of New Yorkers in 1930 consisted of foreigners and their children. Italians and Eastern European Jews were the largest groups.
In descending order, the top five are: 1. New Jersey. 96 2. New York. 63 3. Pennsylvania. 61 4. Michigan. 58 5. California. 48
When was the starting point of the 20-year period described by Jane Addams in Twenty Years at Hull-House?
The score of years described by Jane Addams in Twenty Years at Hull-House began in 1889 when Addams (1860-1935) and her friend Ellen Starr moved into an old mansion in a poor neighborhood of Chicago. Hull-House became a center for social and political activism. In 1910, Addams published her autobiography, Twenty Years at Hull-House. She…
The source of the popular Disney film One Hundred and One Dalmatians was Dodie Smith’s 1956 novel.
John Keats wrote as his own epitaph, “Here lies one whose name was writ in water”, he died at the age of twenty-five, believing his art would not be remembered.
Norman Mailer has been married six times.
Winston Churchill won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for The Second World War.
The largest animal ever seen alive was a 113.5-foot, 170-ton female blue whale. The whale is able to reach such large size because water helps support its weight.
None. Hector’s parents, Priam and Hecuba, are both human.
Born in 1930, the French philosopher, critic, and founder of deconstructionism Jacques Derrida teaches at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris. Born in 1930, the French philosopher, critic, and founder of deconstructionism teaches at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris.
Formulated in 1823 by President James Monroe and Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, the Monroe Doctrine warned that the U.S. would not tolerate new colonization of the Americas by European powers, while promising that the U.S. would not interfere with existing colonies or with European governments.
Spine-tailed swifts have been clocked at speeds of up to 220 miles per hour. Peregrine falcons have reached 217 miles per hour; racing pigeons, 100; migrating ducks, 60; and small birds, 30.
It took about two weeks to make an average “B” movie in the Golden Age of Hollywood in the 1930s-1940s. Or more precisely, between twelve to eighteen days.
Dave Forbes of the Boston Bruins hockey team was indicted for a crime committed during a match. He was alleged to have used aggressive force on an opponent. On July 18, 1975, his trial for criminal assault ended in a hung jury.
Al Pacino wanted $7 million for appearing in The Godfather Part III (1990), but settled for $5 million and points when director Francis Ford Coppola threatened to begin the movie with the funeral of Michael Corleone.
Goldie Hawn was a regular on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” (NBC, 1968-73) from 1968-70.
Barbra Streisand said, “I’m a bagel on a plate of onion rolls”, as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl (1968), comparing herself to perfect chorus-line hoofers.
Producer Michael Todd, who filled Around the World in 80 Days (1956) with forty-four cameo stars, adopted the word “cameo” as a cinematic term for walk-on parts for well-known people.
By crossing the Atlantic on May 20-21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh won the $25,000 award offered by a New York hotel owner.
A bestseller in its time, the 1931 “informal history” Only Yesterday by Frederick Lewis Allen was the first popular recreation of the Jazz Age and the 1920s. The book is still in print.
Clint Eastwood was elected mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, in 1986.
007 was the number of seconds left until the atomic bomb was set to explode in Fort Knox when Bond shut it off in the movie Goldfinger (1964).
In the eighteenth century, the best meat of any meal went to the men of the house and their friends. The women and children ate the umbles, the tongue and entrails, baked in an umble pie. In time, the dish went out of fashion, but the phrase took on a new life that it still…
The Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction was first awarded in 1962 to Theodore H. White for The Making of the President 1960.
On one side of the Bank War (1833-36) was President Andrew Jackson, who wanted to abolish the Second Bank of the United States. On the other side was the Second Bank’s president, Nicholas Biddle. Jackson vetoed the Second Bank’s early renewal in 1832 and withdrew all federal funds in 1833 In retaliation, Biddle contracted credit…
Veteran character actor George Tobias played Abner Kravitz on the TV series “Bewitched” (ABC, 1964-1972). Alice Pearce was the original Gladys Kravitz; Sandra Gould replaced her when Pearce died in 1966.
Santa’s reindeer were Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, and Blitzen. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, arguably the most famous reindeer of all, was a later creation.
“Think God.” was the slogan was used to promote God in the movie Oh, God, Book II.
There were two sets of twins: Bert and Nan and their younger siblings, Freddie and Flossie. The series about them began with The Bobbsey Twins (1904) by Laura Lee Hope.
The Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi first played the role onstage in the 1927 Broadway production of Dracula. It was adapted by Hamilton Deane and John Balderston from Bram Stoker’s novel. Lugosi became famous by playing Dracula in the 1931 movie version.
The TV special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” appeared first, in December 1964. “Charlie Brown” followed in 1965. Since then, both have appeared annually at Christmas time on CBS.
The 1921 site houses the Cyclorama of the Battle of Atlanta, a depiction of the Civil War battle for control of the Georgia railroad on July 22, 1864. The 1885-86 artwork blends an enormous circular painting with a three-dimensional model of the action. The painting is 358 feet in circumference and 42 feet tall. It…
Yvonne Craig played Batgirl on the TV series “Batman” (ABC, 1966-68). She appeared only in the second and final season. Batgirl’s real identity was Barbara Gordon, Police Commissioner Gordon’s daughter.
The English author of Middlemarch (1871-72), George Eliot was born Mary Ann Evans.
The State of Tennessee, represented by prosecutor William Jennings Bryan, won its 1925 case against John Thomas Scopes in the Scopes trial. John Thomas Scopes was a high-school biology teacher charged with illegally teaching the theory of evolution. Despite the efforts of defense attorney Clarence Darrow, Scopes was convicted and fined $100. However, an appeals…
Rachel, Rachel (1968) was Paul Newman’s directorial debut. The movie starred his wife, Joanne Woodward.
Popularized in the 1960s by Roland Barthes and others, narratology is the study of narrative, linguistic or otherwise: myths, legends, novels, comic strips, stained-glass windows, psychological case studies. It employs methods drawn from structuralism, the study of the relations and functions of the internal elements of cultural phenomena.
The first Superbowl was held in 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Packers won, 35-10.
In The Last Picture Show (1972), the owner of the pool hall in Anarene, Texas, was played by veteran Western actor Ben Johnson. His performance for Sam the Lion earned him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
The phrase Swan Song refers to ancient legend. It was thought that the swan, silent throughout its life, sang aloud in its final minutes.
Don Corleone’s phone number in The Godfather (1972) was Long Beach 4-5620. Don’t bother calling it; a recording will tell you it’s not in service.
Yes. Guinness was head of the company that published the book when it was created by Sir Hugh Beaver, Norris McWhirter, and Ross McWhirter in September 1954. The first Guinness was published in August 1955.
Marilyn Monroe was thirty-six when she died. She was born on June 1, 1926, and died of a sleeping pill overdose on August 5, 1962.
What was the first in the series of films produced by Roger Corman that were inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe?
House of Usher (1960; aka The Fall of the House of Usher). Like most of the films in the series, which also included The Masque of the Red Death (1964) and The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), it starred Vincent Price.
Only two future presidents signed the Declaration of Independence, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. George Washington and James Madison were the only two to sign the Constitution.
Ellis Island in Upper New York Bay, named for its former owner Sam Ellis, operated as an immigration center from 1892 to 1943. It was a detention place for deportees until 1954. In 1965 it became part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. Following restoration of its Registry Room, the point of entry for…
At least two people have been hit by a meteorite. In September 1954, Mrs. Hewlett Hodges of Sylacauga, Alabama, was hit by a meteorite as she napped in her living room. The rock from space weighed about 10 pounds. In the late 1930s, a Japanese girl was also hit by a small meteorite.
In the evening, citizens of the Roman Empire constructed their beds by placing straw into a cloth sack. The straw had to be emptied every night to dry; therefore, the beds had to be remade every night. This practice continued until the fifteenth century, in some countries, even later.
The TV game show “The $64,000 Question” (CBS, 1955-58) cost only a small fraction of that to produce each week, about $15,000 per weekly episode. This was much cheaper than another top-rated half-hour show of the period, “The Jack Benny Show” (CBS, NBC, 1950-65), which cost $42,000 an episode.
Boz. Charles Dickens George Eliot. Mary Ann Evans George Orwell. Eric Arthur Blair Ellery Queen. Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee Stendhal. Marie-Henri Beyle Saki. Hector Hugh Munro Voltaire. Francois-Marie Arouet Maksim Gorki. Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov
During his first term (1861-65), Abraham Lincoln’s vice-president was Hannibal Hamlin of Maine. During his second term (1865), it was Andrew Johnson of North Carolina, who succeeded Lincoln upon his assassination.
Tiny Tim and Miss Vicky were married on “The Tonight Show” on December 17, 1969.
The seven Pontabee brothers in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) were: Adam (Howard Keel) Benjamin (Jeff Richards) Gideon (Russ Tanriblyn) Frank (Tommy Rall) Daniel (Marc Platt) Caleb (Matt Mattox) Ephraim (Jacques d’Amboise) The seven brides were: Milly (Jane Powell) Liza (Virginia Gibson) Dorcas (Julie Newmeyer [Newmar]) Alice (Nancy Kilgas) Sarah (Betty Can) Ruth (Ruta…
No, the word crap is derived from the first flush lavatory or toilet. Crapper’s Valveless Water Waste Preventor was developed in 1837 by English sanitary engineer Thomas Crapper.
Why Marry? by Jesse L. Williams won the first Pulitzer Prize in 1918.