Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Western allies and Russia at 2:41 A.M., French time, on Monday, May 7, 1945. In the United States, this was 8:41 P.M., Eastern Wartime, on Sunday, May 6, 1945. Japan unconditionally surrendered through a note delivered to the U.S. State Department at 6:10 P.M. on Tuesday, August 14, 1945.
Alexander Graham Bell first displayed his electric telephone in 1876 at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Moliere’s real name was Jean Baptiste Poquelin. Among the French playwright’s works are Tartuffe (1664) and The Misanthrope (1666).
The average credit card holder in the U.S. owes $2,317 on credit cards, according to the Nilson Report, Santa Monica, California. About 60 percent of American adults own at least one credit card.
Genesis 4:13-15 explains that the mark was placed on Cain to protect him from anyone who might want to kill him in retaliation for his murder of Abel. The mark was not itself meant as a punishment.
The sheep at the White House were part of the war effort. In 1917, during World War I, President Wilson arranged for a small flock of sheep to graze on the White House lawn, thus freeing up the regular gardeners for military service. Although the sheep began eating more of the White House grounds than…
The Black Maria, built in 1893 by Thomas Alva Edison, near his laboratories in West Orange, New Jersey, was the world’s first film studio. Films were shot there for Edison’s peepshow-style kinetoscope viewer.
Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles were credited with the screenplay for Citizen Kane (1940).
More than 36 percent of the nation’s net worth (assets minus debts) was held by the top one percent of households in 1989, up from below 20 percent in 1979, according to a 1992 study. The study shows that the wealthiest few increased their share of the nation’s total wealth as much during the Reagan…
Yes, Jodie Foster has starred in a TV series. During the 1974-75 season, she played Addie Pray on “Paper Moon,” an ABC sitcom based on the 1972 Peter Bogdanovich movie.
In addition to being a sign of contentment, it is a signal, a homing call that cats learn early. At first, they feel only the vibrations of a purr when their mother cat uses it to bring them to feed. Later, cats learn to use it to indicate fear and distress as well as pleasure.
The name Swift gave to his race of rational horses in Gulliver’s Travels is spelt Houyhnhnms. Their subjects, a race of nasty human-like creatures, had an easier name: Yahoos.
Sophia Smith (1796-1870) founded the Smith College for women. After receiving an inheritance upon the death of her brother, a wealthy stockbroker, she was advised by a clergyman to use the money to begin an institution of higher education for women. Plans were drawn up in 1868, and in 1871, Smith College was founded.
The last picture show in The Last Picture Show (1971) was Red River (1948). The name of the theater was The Royal.
Charles Laughton played Captain Kidd twice, in Captain Kidd (1945) and in Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952).
According to median income figures for 1990, women with four years of college make 72 percent of what their male counterparts make. Women who are high school graduates make 67 percent of what their male counterparts make.
There were two film versions of Holiday. The 1930 film featured Ann Harding as Linda Se-ton and Robert Ames as John Case, the roles taken by Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant in the 1938 version. Edward Everett Horton played the same role in both films, Nick Potter.
At the end of The Invisible Man (1933), when the invisible, naked man runs through the snow, the police spot him by his footprints, but his footprints are those of shoes instead of bare feet.
Archibald Macleish (1892-1982) said, “A poem should not mean/But be” in Ars Poetica.
Was it the “Chicago Seven” or the “Chicago Eight” who were tried for inciting a riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention?
They began as the “Eight” but were reduced to the “Seven” when defendant Bobby Seale’s case was declared a mistrial. Tried in 1969-70 for crossing state lines to riot and conspiring to use interstate commerce to induce rioting at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, the remaining seven were: Rennie Davis David Dellinger John Froines…
Eighty men, aboard 16 B-25 Mitchell bombers, took part in Doolittle’s 1942 raid on Tokyo on April 18, 1942. Launched from the carrier USS Hornet, the planes bombed five Japanese cities: Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe, Nagoya, and Osaka. The raid rattled the Japanese and boosted American morale at a time when Japan seemed invincible.
The earliest use of flashback in Western literature was in Homer’s Odyssey. Most of Odysseus’s adventures are recounted in a flashback set within a larger narrative frame. Odysseus tells his story at the court of the Phaeacians.
Natty Bumppo’s Indian sidekick was Chingachgook. He appears in Cooper’s The Deer-slayer (1841), The Last of the Mohicans (1826), The Pathfinder (1840), and The Pioneers (1823).
The 32,000-ton liner the Lusitania sunk by a German submarine on May 6, 1915, was British. Of the 1,200 passengers who lost their lives, 128 were Americans, a fact that aroused strong anti-German feeling in the U.S.
Harold Lloyd, whose best-known movie is Safety Last (1923), was the “King of Daredevil Comedy”.
The apple of one’s eye is the pupil, which was likened to an apple because, in the ninth century, it was believed to be a solid round mass.
The members of the secret brotherhood formed in 1848 exhibited their paintings anonymously with the signature PRB. The founding members were Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, and John Everett Millais, who were rebelling against the unimaginative academic art of their day. Though the PRB (unmasked in 1850) had a profound influence on Western painting,…
The official PGA record for the longest golf drive is 406 yards by Jack L. Hamm on July 12, 1986.
David Leisure was the pathological liar in the 1980s Isuzu car commercials. He has also appeared on the TV sitcom “Empty Nest” (NBC, 1988).
The annual Tulip Time Festival, featuring Dutch food, entertainment, and parades, has been held during mid-May in this mostly Dutch-American community since 1929. Former Presidents Ford, Reagan, and Bush have all taken part in the festivities.
Charles Kuralt’s “On the Road” feature has appeared on “The CBS Evening News” since October 1967.
The Fugitive’s name (“The Fugitive,” ABC, 1963-67) was Dr. Richard Kimble, played by David Janssen.
In medieval times, the philosophers’ stone was the substance that alchemists claimed would turn base metals into gold. The great search for the stone laid the groundwork for the development of the science of chemistry.
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 practice, which takes place before the home team comes to bat, became popular in 1860 because the number seven is considered lucky.
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.
While hanging may have occurred earlier in U.S. history, the practice of lynching was probably started by Colonel William Lynch of Virginia in the 1780s. Lynch organized a vigilante band aimed at ridding Pittsylvania County of its bad element. An 1836 editorial by Edgar Allan Poe discusses Lynch’s career.
“Radar” O’Reilly’s real name in the 1970 film and 1972-83 CBS TV series “M*A*S*H*” was Walter. Gary Burghoff played the character in both TV and film.
The name of the “Love Boat” on the TV series was the Pacific Princess, with Captain Merrill Stubing (Gavin MacLeod) at the helm.
The official name of the Wobblies is The Industrial Workers of the World, or IWW. Founded in Chicago in 1905 and composed mostly of unskilled workers, the union advocated direct action to further the cause of worker control of the means of production. Their aim was to create “one big union” for all workers.
“Marcus Welby, M.D.” (ABC, 1969-76) was the top-rated TV program in 1970.
In 1959, Glen Raven Mills of North Carolina brought out PantiLegs, the first pantyhose. Allen Grant, president of Glen Raven, got the idea when his wife Ethel complained about the discomfort of nylon stockings and garter belts.
Carrie (1976) featured John Travolta. Cat’s Eye (1985) featured James Woods? Creepshow (1982) featured Stephen King. Here the author played a farmer who was slowly covered with green fungus.
Ann Sheridan was “The Oomph Girl”. Veronica Lake was “The Peekaboo Girl”. Lizabeth Scott was “The Threat”.
The American writer Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) reached her fourth year at Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1901, but failed several courses and dropped out. After she moved to Paris, her salon served as a gathering place for artists and writers in the 1920s. The author of such novels as The Moviegoer (1961), Walker Percy received…
“News on the March.” was the newsreel that recaps Kane’s life in Citizen Kane.
A 1 carat diamond weighs 200 milligrams, or 3.086 grains troy. The measurement originally represented the weight of a seed of the carob tree.
Yes, there is a connection between the Avon Lady and Shakespeare’s hometown Stratford-upon-Avon. In 1896 in New York City, D. H. McConnell abandoned door-to-door book selling and formed the California Perfume Company, which marketed scents the same way. His company expanded and McConnell built a factory in Suffern, New York. On the 50th anniversary of…
You need two teams with four players each and horses for all of them in a polo game. The aim is to drive a wooden ball down a grass field and between two goalposts.
As depicted in some spy movies, the president would not press a button; he would make a phone call. To begin a nuclear attack, the president telephones the commander in chief at the Strategic Air Command in Omaha, Nebraska; several officers at SAC would verify the president’s orders. Once verified, instructions would go to bomber…
The rum ration was an allotment of the liquor apportioned daily to members of the British navy. The practice, introduced in 1731, was discontinued on August 1, 1970.
Notre Dame holds the honor of the most winners of the Heisman Trophy, with seven Heisman Trophy winners: 1943—Angelo Bertelli, quarterback 1947—John Lujack, quarterback 1949—Leon Hart, end 1953—John Lattner, halfback 1956—Paul Hornung, quarterback 1964—John Huarte, quarterback 1987—Tim Brown, wide receiver
The unhappy Werther’s beloved in Goethe’s novel The Sorrows of Young Werther is Lotte.
The last poem of Lyrical Ballads is Wordsworth’s “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey.”
The Molly Maguires were a secret militant organization of Irish miners working in the Pennsylvania anthracite coal mines in the 19th century. They organized in 1854 to fight the mine operators. In 1875, a Pinkerton spy working for the owners infiltrated the group. That led to the conviction and hanging of 20 Molly Maguires on…
Robert Johnson, a pharmacist from Brooklyn, New York, and partner in a Brooklyn pharmaceutical supply firm invented the Band-Aid. They believed that individually sealed sterile bandages could drastically reduce the rate of hospital infections, which in some cases ran to 90 percent. By the mid-1800s, he and his brothers formed a pharmaceutical company that produced…
The capitals of the 50 states are: Alabama – Montgomery Alaska – Juneau Arizona – Phoenix Arkansas – Little Rock California – Sacramento Colorado – Denver Connecticut – Hartford Delaware – Dover Florida – Tallahassee Georgia – Atlanta Hawaii – Honolulu Idaho – Boise Illinois – Springfield Indiana – Indianapolis Iowa – Des Moines Kansas…
President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1904 corollary to the Monroe Doctrine said that the U.S. could itself intervene in Latin America to correct what it considered “chronic wrongdoing.”
As built by special-effects supervisor John Evans from a design by production designer Anton Furst, the Batmobile in Batman (1989) was about twenty feet long by eight feet wide. Its body was made of black fiberglass.
Jimmy Carter was the first president whom Sam Donaldson covered as ABC’s White House correspondent, beginning in 1977. By the time Carter’s term was over, the departing president wished two bad things on his successor: Menachem Begin and Sam Donaldson.
In his February 9, 1950, speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, Senator Joseph McCarthy brandished a list which he said contained the names of 205 communists, though the number fluctuated over time. For the next few years, McCarthy investigated State Department officials and others, relying on shaky charges and insinuation. He was finally brought down when…
What were the real names of the characters nicknamed “Tenspeed and Brown Shoe” on the TV series (ABC, 1980)?
Tenspeed was con artist E. L. Turner (Ben Vereen) and Brown Shoe was Lionel Whitney (Jeff Goldblum). The two ran a Los Angeles detective agency on the TV series “Tenspeed and Brown Shoe”.
The wall that ran through Berlin was 26.5 miles long. The Berlin Wall was put up on the night of August 12-13, 1961. Its function as a barrier between East and West Germany ended on November 9, 1989, when the East German government declared an end to restrictions on emigration and travel to the West.
For 41 years, under the reign of the Medicis, citizens of Florence, Italy, paid what we now know as an income tax. Called the Scala, the tax was instituted in 1451, supposedly on a progressive scale. The tax turned into an easy type of political blackmail, and as such it was repealed when the court…
The phrase passing the buck probably came into use in American poker games during the late nineteenth century. In 1872, Mark Twain wrote that players would pass an object, a buck, to remind them of who was to deal. It is also possible that buck is an old word for bet.
Who provided the voice for Rocky the Flying Squirrel on “The Bullwinkle Show” (ABC, NBC, 1959-1963)?
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 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…
The word “video” comes from the Latin word for “I see.”
The beverage we know as tea was originated in China around 2700 B.C. It became popular in England, Holland, and America by the early eighteenth century A.D. The British custom of afternoon tea was introduced about 1840 by the Duchess of Bedford. Iced tea was first introduced at the 1904 world’s fair, called the Louisiana…
The fat little man made of Michelin tires also known as the Michelin Man is named Bibendum. He can be seen on the covers of all Michelin travel guides.
The future U.S. president Bill Clinton was elected governor in 1978 at the age of 32, making him the youngest person to hold that office in Arkansas history. Two years later, he was voted out; he regained the governorship in 1982. Clinton became president in 1993.
Anne Francis played the female private detective “Honey West” during the 1965-66 season on ABC. Her pet ocelot was named Bruce.
Walter was the first name of the federal official named Nixon whom the U.S. Senate impeached. Walter L. Nixon, Jr., a judge of the U.S. District Court for Mississippi, was removed from office on November 3, 1989, after appearing before the Senate in its role as court of impeachment. President Richard Nixon resigned from office…
The first group, inducted in the 1936 Baseball Hall of Fame, consisted of Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, and Honus Wagner. Tyrus Raymond Cobb (1886-1961), “the Georgia Peach,” had played for the Detroit Tigers. Walter Perry Johnson (1887-1946) had pitched for the Washington Senators. Christopher Mathewson (1880-1925) had been a pitcher for…
The southern parts of present-day Arizona and New Mexico, were purchased from Mexico for $10 million in 1853. The deal was negotiated for the U.S. by railroad president James Gadsden.
Dinosaurs lived during the Mesozoic era, 225 million to 65 million years ago. By the end of that era, all Archosauria (or “ruling reptiles”), except crocodiles, had died.
In 1942, the theoretical physicist John V. Atanasoff and his assistant Clifford Berry built the first computer that successfully used vacuum tubes to do mathematical calculations. The machine was called the Atanasoff Berry Computer, or ABC.
Ian Carmichael was the original Lord Peter Wimsey on the PBS TV series. Edward Petherbridge has also played the role. The “Lord Peter Wimsey” stories originally aired on the BBC in Great Britain (1972-75, 1987) and have been carried by PBS on “Masterpiece Theatre” (1971) and “Mystery!” (1981).
The Virginian (1929) introduced the line, “If you want to call me that, smile”. Gary Cooper said it. Owen Wister, author of the novel The Virginian, phrased it as “When you call me that, smile!”
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.
Native to New Mexico and Arizona, both tribes, the Apache and Navajo, are members of the Athapascan language family. This language family also includes the Kiowa-Apache of the Southwest and several tribes in Alaska and western Canada.
The third Olympiad, held in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904 was the first Olympics held in the United States.
Who warned, “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white, separate and unequal”?
The warning “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white, separate and unequal” appeared in the 1968 report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, which was headed by Illinois governor Otto Kerner. President Johnson appointed Kerner to investigate the causes of over 100 ghetto riots that took place in the…
The term, the Baltimore chop came into vogue in 1890. It refers to a batted ball that bounces so high that it cannot be fielded successfully before the batter reaches first base. It is said to have been named for two Baltimore players, John McGraw and Willie (“Wee Willie”) Keeler, who often reached base this…
Emily Torchia, an MGM publicist in the Culver City office, came up with the slogan “Gable’s Back and Garson’s Got Him”. The slogan referred to Adventure (1945), Clark Gable’s first movie after his discharge from the army during World War II. The movie also starred Greer Gar-son. Torchia won a bonus of $250 for the…
Henry Shrapnel of England (1761-1842), an artillery officer, invented the so-called shrapnel. It was a round projectile filled with bullets and equipped with an explosive charge to scatter the shot. In later versions, fragments of the shell casing itself were found to be more deadly than the enclosed bullets. Shrapnel today refers to those fragments.
Twenty-nine: I Want to Hold Your There’s a Place Hand Why (with Tony Sher- She Loves You idan) Please Please Me P.S. I Love You I Saw Her Standing This Boy There Ain’t She Sweet My Bonnie (with Tony A Hard Day’s Night Sheridan) I Should Have Known From Me to You Better Twist and…
The deepest circle of Hell in Dante’s Inferno is the Ninth Circle. It is where betrayers of their family or country are frozen in ice. There, in the center of the earth, a three-headed Lucifer eats at Judas Iscariot and at Cassius and Brutus, betrayers of Julius Caesar.
Catherine Deneuve starred as Se’verine Se’rizy, prostitute by day, newlywed by night, in the film Belle de Jour (1967) by Luis Bufiuel.
Using the pseudonym Spectator, Frank E. Woods began the tradition in the June 1908 issue of the New York Dramatic Mirror. Six years later, the Chicago Tribune began the first regular publication of movie reviews. The first columnist was Jack Lawson; when he died shortly after the feature’s inauguration, Miss Audrie Alspaugh took over. Under…