There are more physicians in the USSR than anywhere else. The United States holds top honors for psychiatrists, psychologists, and dentists.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The Continental Baths, where Manilow joined Midler in 1970, were located in the basement of the Ansonia Hotel between West Seventy-third and Seventy-fourth Streets in New York City. The club closed several years ago.
The Russian Bloody Sunday was January 9, 1905, when a workers’ march on the czar’s Winter Palace was cut down by cossacks. About a thousand people were killed or wounded; the event sparked the Revolution of 1905. The Irish Bloody Sunday took place on January 30, 1972, when British soldiers shot and killed 13 Catholics … Read more
“I Love Lucy” ran for six seasons, from October 15, 1951, to June 24, 1957.
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 … Read more
There were four film versions of Batman in 1989. There was Batman, a 15-chapter Columbia serial in 1943, with Lewis Wilson in the title role. Then came Batman and Robin, another Columbia serial in 1949, starring Robert Lowery. In 1966, 20th Century-Fox released a feature film called Batman based on the television series and starring … Read more
The largest, though not the tallest office building was the World Trade Center in New York City. Each of its twin towers contained 4.37 million square feet of space.
364 gifts were mentioned in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.
Named by the studio, not the Brothers Grimm, the Seven Dwarfs were: Bashful Doc Dopey Grumpy Happy Sleepy and Sneezy.
Pianist and wit Oscar Levant (1906-1972) made the claim after Doris Day became known for her virginal sex farces with Rock Hudson.
Shirley Temple, aged five, was presented a miniature Oscar statuette “in grateful recognition of her outstanding contributions to screen entertainment during the year 1934 for such films as Stand Up and Cheer, Little Miss Marker, and Bright Eyes.
The character Bugs Bunny was created in 1936 by a group of artists at Warner Bros., including Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng. The original sketches, however, were submitted by a Warner story man Ben (“Bugs”) Hardaway. He marked the drawings “Bugs Bunny.” The rest is history.
The medieval term the four humors refers to what were thought to be the primary bodily fluids: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. These represented a human’s four basic temperaments: sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, and melancholic. The idea remained popular into the Elizabethan Age.
Ten-year-old Tatum O’Neal won an Oscar in 1973, for Best Supporting Actress in Peter Bogdanovich’s Paper Moon.
First Base. Who Second Base. What Third Base. I Don’t Know Shortstop. I Don’t Give a Darn (I Don’t Care) Catcher. Today Pitcher. Tomorrow Left Field. Why Center Field. Because Right Field. Not mentioned in the routine
No, Mount Rushmore is not the largest sculpture in the world. The prize goes to the sculpture of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Thomas (“Stonewall”) Jackson that covers 1.33 acres on the face of Stone Mountain near Atlanta, Georgia. It was created between September 12, 1963, and March 3, 1972.
Ben-Hur with 11 Oscars was the biggest winner in 1989.
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, … Read more
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 … Read more
Basil Rathbone played Sherlock Holmes in fourteen films. The first was The Hound of the Baskervilles in 1939. The last was Dressed to Kill in 1946.
Spock’s parents in Star Trek were Sarek, a Vulcan ambassador, and Amanda, a human being.
Erle Stanley Gardner wrote 75 “case of the” books, beginning with The Case of the Velvet Claws in 1933 and ending with The Case of the Troubled Trustee in 1965. Erle Stanley Gardner died in 1970.
Gargoyles, the grotesque statues that decorate medieval cathedrals, and the medieval-influenced architecture of some universities, are not merely decorative. A gargoyle is technically a waterspout that projects from a roof gutter to throw rainwater clear of a building. The term is applied more loosely to any grotesquely carved figure.
The modern ballroom tango appeared about 1880 in Argentina. It combined the old tango of Spain, a light-spirited variety of flamenco, with the milonga, a fast, hot Argentine dance. At first considered low-class, the new tango was all the rage in fashionable circles by 1915.
Catherine the Great was alone on the morning of November 17, 1796, when she collapsed with a stroke. Earlier that morning, she had bid farewell to a lover, a twenty-seven-year old man. No horses were involved.
Songwriter and performer David Seville chose the names for the “stars” of his 1958 hit record. Simon and Alvin were named for two executives at Liberty Records, Simon Waronker and Al Bennett. Theodore was named for Ted Keep, the recording engineer.
The word vaudeville originally referred to a type of light, comedic song that originated in Vau-de-Vire in Normandy, France. It came to mean the whole program of songs, dances, comedy, and other acts once popular in theaters across America. Vaudeville was introduced to the United States in 1865 with the opening of the Opera House, … Read more
A bolero is a lively Spanish dance in 3/4 time with a strongly marked rhythm. The dancers perform intricate steps while keeping time with castanets. Maurice Ravel published a well-known orchestral version of the dance, Bolero, in 1928. A bolero is also a short jacket, perhaps first worn during performances of the dance.
U.N.C.L.E. was the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. Its nemesis, T.H.R.U.S.H., was the Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity. The television series, starring Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, ran from 1964 to 1967.
Fred Astaire. Frederick Austerlitz Bing Crosby. Harry Lillis Crosby Marlene Dietrich. Maria Magdalene von Losch W. C. Fields. William Claude Dukenfield Greta Garbo. Greta Gustafsson Judy Garland. Frances Gumm Cary Grant. Archibald Alexander Leach Boris Karloff William Henry Pratt John Wayne. Marion Michael Morrison
Easter Sunday always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after March 21, the vernal equinox. The holiday can occur any time between March 22 and April 25.
Walter Cronkite anchored “The CBS Evening News” from April 16, 1962, to March 6, 1981.
In the caves of France, archaeologists have found carved bones that appear to be wind and percussion instruments. These instruments date from about 25,000 to 20,000 B.C.
The most famous auto-destructive work of art was probably Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely’s Homage to New York, which blew itself up at the Museum of Modern Art in 1960. The work was meant to satirize modern technological civilization. Constructed of an old piano and other junk, the piece failed to operate as planned and caused … Read more
Burma. January 4 (1948) Greece. March 25 (1821) Cuba. May 20 (1902) Nigeria. October 1 (1960) Lebanon. November 22 (1943)
Superman is virtually invulnerable (with Kryptonite being his major weakness; its rays are fatal to him); he is superstrong, superfast, and supersmart; he can fly; he has heat vision, X-ray vision, telescopic vision, and microscopic vision; he has quick-freezing, gale-force breath; he has super sensitive hearing; and he can hold his breath for long periods.
Nouvelle Vague was the French New Wave of filmmakers who changed the face of French film in the late 1950s. The group included: Claude Chabrol, Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Eric Rohmer, and Jacques Rivette. They pioneered a freer, more personal cinematic style that rebelled against standard industry practices. Truffaut’s 400 Blows (1959) and Godard’s Breathless … Read more
Julia Ward Howe, women’s suffrage leader and author of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” made the first known suggestion for Mother’s Day in 1872. She saw it as a day dedicated to peace, to be celebrated on June 2. But it was Anna Jarvis of Grafton, West Virginia, who, in 1907, began campaigning for … Read more
The observance of May Day as a workers’ holiday began in 1890 in Europe. It celebrates the support of laborers’ demands for an eight-hour working day in the United States. The Soviet Union made it a national holiday, and it is observed as such in Socialist and Communist countries.
El Greco signed his paintings as Domenikos Theotokopoulos, his real name. The artist (c. 1541-1614) wrote the name in Greek characters, sometimes followed by Kres for “Cretan”, his national origin.
The 12-tone theory is music based on the serial ordering of all 12 pitches on the chromatic scale. the scale that includes both the black and white keys on the piano. (The diatonic scale of seven pitches includes only the white keys.) In the 12-tone system, developed by Austro-Hungarian composer Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) in the … Read more
British colonials from India brought pajamas to their home country about 1870, at which time they became popular. Women began wearing pajamas in the early years of the twentieth century, initially as garments for sleeping and later as lounge wear.
The hands in poker in order of value, from highest to lowest: Royal Flush Straight Flush Four of a Kind Full House Flush Straight Three of a Kind Two Pairs One Pair High Card (No Pair)
The birthplace of much of twentieth-century popular music was Tin Pan Alley. It was where songwriters plied their trade, actually had two locations, both in New York City. The first Tin Pan Alley section sprang up around Fourteenth Street; the second was in the Times Square area.
The official languages of Belgium are Flemish Dutch and French. The country is bounded by the North Sea, the Netherlands, West Germany, Luxembourg, and France.
John Wayne (1907-1979) has played the most leading roles. He had a leading role in all but 11 of his 153 movies. His career began with The Drop Kick in 1927 and ended with The Shootist in 1976.
Gypsies call themselves Rom, or “man.” Not knowing the origin of Rom, the English called them Gypsies (derived from Egyptians); the French, Bohemians; the Spanish, Flemish; and the Swedes, Tatars.
Eddie Cantor sang “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” on his radio show one week before Thanksgiving 1934. It was written in 1932 by Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots.
Linus and Lucy’s last name was Van Pelt.
February 2 is more than Groundhog Day for Christians, it is Candlemas, which commemorates the presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Candles are blessed and carried in a procession. In England, the feast is associated with Groundhog Day. If the weather is sunny on Candlemas, winter will remain; if cloudy, spring will come.
From ancient times, the color blue was considered a precaution against evil spirits, since blue was the color of the heavenly sky. Dressing a baby boy in blue protected him from the evil spirits who wanted to cause him harm. Since girls were considered inferior, it was assumed that evil spirits would not bother with … Read more
The Forbidden Planet was called Altair IV.
Over a 60-year period, groundhogs have been only 28 percent accurate in guessing when spring will start. This may be because their staying out of their burrows or rushing back into them has more to do with sexual desire or hunger than with weather or shadows.
Captain James T. Kirk’s middle name was Tiberius.
In the middle of the second century, Christians in Antioch were already celebrating Christ’s birth on that day. The day was not officially recognized by the Church as the date of Christ’s birth until A.D. 350. Why December 25? The day was formerly celebrated by worshippers of the god Mithra as the Dies Invicti Solis, … Read more
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.
Part of the reason for the orientation of buttons on clothing is custom. Men usually dressed themselves, and because most men are right-handed, buttoning from the right made sense. Women were more often dressed by maids, and maids found it easier to work from their right, the wearer’s left.
No, Jews outside of the United States do not display menorahs in their windows during Hanukkah. The menorah, the nine-branched candelabrum, is a traditional symbol of Hanukkah. However, displaying it in the window is largely an American custom.
Arabian philosopher and physician Avicenna introduced coffee as a beverage about A.D. 1000. He called the drink bunc; he believed it to be useful as a medicinal tonic. Not until about the sixteenth century did coffee become accepted as a social beverage in Arabia and Persia.
No, red M&M’s were never made with a carcinogenic dye. In 1976, M&M/Mars responded to publicity about the carcinogenic effects of red dye number 2 by taking red M&M’s off the market. However, red M&M’s were not made with red dye number 2: The company acted because people wrongly believed that the dye was being … Read more
While early American filmmakers refused to reveal the names of their players, fearing the actors would request more money, German filmgoers created celebrities. The first celebrity actress was Henny Porten, who first appeared in the movie Lohengrin (1907), directed by Oskar Messter. She was known only as the Messter Girl until 1909, when she played … Read more
Arthur de Lulli is named as the writer of the 1877 piano exercise. The name is actually a pseudonym for a sixteen-year-old girl named Euphemia Allen.
The blue note is a musical note, usually a flatted third or seventh, that gives a blues feeling to a song. The Blue Note is also the name of a popular nightclub in New York’s Greenwich Village.
The gypsies probably came from India. Romany, the Gypsy language, is Indic; but it is not known when or why the Gypsies left India. Living as aliens in every country, they reached Persia by A.D. 1000 and northwest Europe by the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
In 1921, the 320-pound silent comedy star and former Keystone Kop allegedly caused the death of a young starlet, Virginia Rappe, fiancee of the director of some of Arbuckle’s films. At a wild party in San Francisco, Rappe went into convulsions, supposedly the result of a sexual assault by Arbuckle. She died a few days … Read more
According to Pennsylvania Dutch and French tradition, Santa’s brother’s name is Bells Nichols. He visits every home on New Year’s Eve after the children are asleep, and if plates are set out for him, he fills them with cakes and cookies.
Art Deco got its name from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris in 1925. It became the dominant style of architecture and interior design in the 1920s and 1930s.
Dorothy’s last name in The Wizard of Oz is Gale.
Evergreen trees and wreaths have been used as symbols of eternal life since the ancient times of the Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. After the coming of Christianity, evergreens were still used in Scandinavia, to scare away the devil. In the Middle Ages, the Christmas tree, decorated with candles and wafers (symbols of Christ and the … Read more
In 1960, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries was founded to unify the members’ petroleum policies and regulate prices. The founding members were: Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. Since then, the following nations have also become members: Algeria, Ecuador, Gabon, Indonesia, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
Soft-shoe was one of two distinct styles of tap dancing developed in the late nineteenth century. Easy going and smooth, it required soft-soled shoes. In contrast, the fast, energetic buck-and-wing employed wooden soled shoes. The two styles merged by 1925, with metal taps added to the toes and heels.
Kosher pareve means food that is neutral. That is, fruits, vegetables, and eggs, and can be eaten with either meat or dairy products. The two other main categories of kosher food are mikhig (dairy) and fleishig (meat).
No. Batman has no superpowers. He is, however, the master of every known martial art and an accomplished scientist and detective.
Shakespeare used the word in King Lear to describe a devil, and Sir Walter Scott used it in Kenilworth to describe a young rascal. But the meaning Rodgers and Hammerstein intended, a talkative or dizzy person, arose in 1549, in a sermon by Bishop Hugh Latimer for King Edward VI. Latimer spelled the word flybbertgybe.
Seven actors have played Raymond Chandler’s detective Philip Marlowe. They are: Dick Powell, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Montgomery, George Montgomery, James Garner, Elliott Gould, and Robert Mitchum. Only Mitchum has played him more than once, in Farewell My Lovely (1975) and The Big Sleep (1978).
For the showgirls who appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies, enz Ziegfeld insisted on women with the following measurements: bust, 36 inches; waist, 26 inches; and hips, 38 inches. It is estimated that only 3,000 of the 200,000 applicants over the years met these requirements.
Christmas is abbreviated as Xmas because the Greek letter x is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ, Xristos. The word Xmas, meaning “Christ’s Mass,” was commonly used in Europe by the sixteenth century. It was not an attempt to take Christ out of Christmas.
The original members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization known as NATO formed in 1949 during the Soviet blockade of Berlin, were: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Greece and Turkey joined NATO in 1952; the Federal Republic of Germany in 1953; and … Read more
The first collaboration between George and Ira Gershwin was the Broadway musical Lady Be Good in 1924. It included the songs “Fascinating Rhythm” and “Oh Lady, Be Good.”
The Motion Picture Production Code, devised by the Motion Picture Association of America. It was nicknamed the Hays Code for the MPAA’s first director, Will H. Hays, and was adopted in 1930. The lengthy document, which was written to forestall government censorship of movies, was not dissolved by the MPAA until 1968.
The most number of kisses in a single film was one hundred twenty-seven in Don Juan (1926). Mary Astor and Estelle Taylor received the kisses from John B arrymore.
The news agency the Associated Press was organized in 1848.
Superman first appeared in Action Comics No. 1, June 1938. Batman first appeared in Detective Comics No. 27, May 1939.