The original cheese comes from the city of Gouda in the western Netherlands, chartered in 1272.
Tom London (1883-1963), who appeared in more than 2,000 movies, beginning with The Great Train Robbery in 1903. For many years, he was a leading man at Universal; later in his career, he specialized as a B-western sheriff. His last film was The Lone Texan 1959).
The designation of “best boy” refers to an assistant or apprentice to the gaffer (chief electrician) or key grip (head handyman).
Lieutenant Harry Burnett of the Queen’s Own Corps of Guides was responsible for soldiers wearing khaki today. In December 1846, the English officer was told to develop a “mud-colored” uniform that would camouflage soldiers in dusty surroundings. By early 1847, Burnett had clothed his troops in the light-colored uniform named khaki, which comes from the … Read more
It took Leonardo da Vinci four years (1503-1507) to paint the Mona Lisa. This was long enough for his patron, Francesco del Giocondo, to get impatient. Giocondo had commissioned the portrait of his third wife, Lisa, but enough was enough. Giocondo refused to pay for the unfinished portrait, and Leonardo sold it to the king … Read more
Bananas did not come from South America. Bananas first grew in tropical Asia and were eaten by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Banana plants were transported from the Canary Islands off northwest Africa to the Americas soon after the New World was discovered.
Five, the most Tonys won by any actor or actress. The awards were for her dramatic performances in the following plays: I Am a Camera (1952) The Lark (1956) Forty Carats (1969) The Last of Mrs. Lincoln (1973) The Belle of Amherst (1977)
Singer Frank Sinatra is known as the Chairman of the Board. Former New York Yankee pitcher Whitey Ford also earned the appellation.
Botticelli’s real name was Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi (c. 1444-1510). The Florentine painter’s nickname, Botticelli, meant “little barrel” and was presumably a reference to his girth. Sandro Botticelli was an Italian painter of the Florentine school during the Early Renaissance and was famous for the masterworks Primavera (c. 1482) and The Birth of Venus (c. … Read more
Michael Joe Jackson, born August 29, 1958, was eleven when “I Want You Back” was released in November 1969 and sold 2 million copies in its first six weeks.
The term liberal arts arose in the Middle Ages from the Latin artes liberales. It refers to the seven branches of learning: logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy, and grammar. The number seven derives from a quote in Proverbs 9:1: ‘Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn our her seven pillars.”
Born Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry in 1902, the black actor Stepin Fetchit got his stage name from a racehorse on which he bet and won a large sum of money. The name has since become a term of derision among blacks for someone subservient to whites. Fetchit died in 1985.
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 … Read more
Actually, both art and music lay claim to the rake’s progress. The English artist William Hogarth began a series of eight satirical paintings entitled The Rake’s Progress in 1732. Hogarth engraved the series three years later. In the twentieth century, Igor Stravinsky wrote a three-act opera called The Rake’s Progress, his last neoclassical work. Based … Read more
In Scottish auld lang sync literally means “old long ago.”
The baroque style dominated European art in the seventeenth century. To an art historian, it connotes vigorous movement, emotional intensity, and a sense of balance (not art that is excessive and florid, the popular meaning of the word baroque). The rococo style flourished in the eighteenth century, after the baroque period; it is characterized by … Read more
Groundhog Day is observed in February because of latitude. German immigrants to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, brought an older version of Groundhog Day to America, one in which badgers predict the weather. The immigrants discovered that, in the United States, groundhogs are easier to find. At the latitude of Punxsutawney, a groundhog emerges from hibernation in February.
Arbor Day is a holiday for planting trees and was first observed on April 10, 1872, in Nebraska. It is now usually observed on the last Friday in April.
Sean Connery, George Lazenby, David Niven, Roger Moore, and Timothy Dalton have played the character James Bond.
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 … Read more
In the Republic of China, Taiwan, they observe Constitution Day, a national holiday on December 25.
Alexander Calder made his first unpowered mobiles in 1934. They were pieces of tin suspended on thin wires or cords, and responding to the faintest air currents. But before then, beginning in 1931, he had made constructions activated by hand or by motor power. These became known as mobiles, while Calder’s non-moving constructions became known … Read more
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 … Read more
There are four: monogamy, polygyny, polyandry, and group marriage. Monogamy is one wife, one husband. Polygyny is one husband, several wives. Polyandry is one wife, several husbands. Group marriage is several wives, several husbands. Group marriage is by far the rarest and has never been the prevailing form of marriage in any known society.
The scene of the newborn Christ, the Virgin Mary, and often shepherds and the Magi is familiar to most of us. The Nativity Scene was first represented in the fourth century, carved on early Christian Roman sarcophagi.
No. Originally, Little Ricky was played by a doll wrapped in a blanket. Later, two six-month-old twins, Richard and Ronald Simmons, took the part, followed by three-year-old twins Michael and Joseph Mayer. The last child to play Little Ricky was Richard Keith, whose real name was Keith Thibodeaux.
By 1940, when the Oscars ceremony was only a dozen years old, character actor Walter Brennan (18941974) had already won three Best Supporting Actor awards for his performances in Come and Get It (1936), Kentucky (1938), and The Westerner (1940). Katharine Hepburn has won four Academy Awards, for Best Actress. Ingrid Bergman won three, two … Read more
NBC’s “Meet the Press” has been running since November 20, 1947 and is the longest-running national television series. It celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1987.
Christmas Eve, December 24 was observed as Adam and Eve Day on the medieval church calendar. One element has survived from the medieval plays put on that day depicting Adam and Eve’s fall: the paradise tree, representing the tree that bore the forbidden fruit. The paradise tree, set up in many German households by 1561, … Read more
Construction of Saint Peter’s Basilica began in 1526 and was completed in 1626. It accommodates 50,000, a little less than Yankee Stadium, which seats 57,545. St. Peter’s Basilica is located within the Vatican City in Rome and has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world.
They were a group of Hollywood writers and artists who were blacklisted after their appearances before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1947 and 1948. HUAC was set up to investigate “the extent of Communist infiltration in the Hollywood motion picture industry.” It cited the following artists for contempt of Congress for their political … Read more
No, the 1931 hit by “As Time Goes By” Herman Hupfeld was first performed by Frances Williams in Everybody’s Welcome. Rudy Vallee recorded a hit version of the song, but its greatest popularity came from Casablanca.
Charlie Brown’s father was a Barber.
Kramdens and the Nortons lived at 328 Chauncey Street in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. Although the real Chauncey Street is located in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
It is a style of landscape painting that flourished in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Picturesque landscapes were somewhere between the beautiful and the sublime, not serene, not awe-inspiring, but irregular, pleasing to the eye, and full of interesting detail. Picturesque painters included the Englishman Thomas Girtin and the Frenchman Gaspard Dughet. The … Read more
In 1909, Gertie the Dinosaur, created by New York Journal cartoonist Winsor McKay, became the first cartoon shown in movie houses along with a regular feature.
The most widely sung song is “Happy Birthday to You,” which was adapted from “Good Morning to You!” by Mildred J. and Patty S. Hill.
Asia, by far is the most populous continent. Its population in 1989, including the Soviet Union’s, was estimated at 3.35 billion. The next most populous continent, Africa, had only 646 million people. Antarctica, the least populous continent, is virtually uninhabited.
The name for the artistic movement Dada was founded in Zurich in 1915 as a revolt against complacent art. It is drawn not from an artist or a technique but from the child’s word for a parent, dada, which in French, curiously, also means “hobbyhorse.” Whatever its origin, the name Dada is intended to be … Read more
W. S. Gilbert wrote the lyrics and Arthur Sullivan wrote the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.
Born Ernest Evans, Chubby Checker chose his stage name as an homage to Fats Domino.
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).
At least six actors have played Al Capone: Paul Muni, Rod Steiger, Neville Brand, Jason Robards, Ben Gazzara, and Robert DeNiro. Brand played him twice: in The Scarface Mob (1959) and Spin of a Coin (1962).
Yes, it’s true. Canadian Eskimos used igloos as temporary winter homes or camp dwellings. Igloos were usually made of blocks of hard-packed snow, but sometimes of sod, stone, or wood. Most Eskimos now live in more modern dwellings, but igloos can still be found in the area between the Mackenzie River delta and Labrador.
The Tower of Hercules, outside La Coruna, Spain is the oldest lighthouse still in use. The 185-foot-tall working lighthouse dates from the reign of the Roman emperor Traj an, A.D. 98-117.
The Keystone Company was the movie studio formed by Mack Sennett in 1912. The Kops appeared in a number of the studio’s more than 1,000 comedy shorts.
The Code Napoleon is the French civil code enacted in 1804 and introduced into areas then under French control. New Orleans, by that time, was under U.S. control, but the Louisiana state civil code of 1825 (still in effect, with modifications) was influenced by the French code. The Napoleonic Code covered everything from civil rights … Read more
Elvis Presley’s first number one hit was “Heartbreak Hotel” in February 1956. For 16 months following, he had a record, sometimes two, on the nation’s Top 10 list.
Thirty-nine half-hour episodes of “The Honeymooners” were filmed, usually referred to as the Classic 39. They were broadcast from October 1955 to September 1956. “The Honeymooners” appeared as a sketch on Jackie Gleason variety shows before and after that series. Reruns of the original 39 episodes continue to be shown.
Alphonso D’Abruzzo. Robert Alda Gladys Greene. Jean Arthur Albert Einstein. Albert Brooks Richard Jenkins. Richard Burton Tula Finklea. Cyd Charisse Lily Chauchoin. Claudette Colbert Declan McManus. Elvis Costello Alexandra Zuck. Sandra Dee Margarita Cansino. Rita Hayworth Krishna Bhanji. Ben Kingsley Laszlo Loewenstein. Peter Lorre Susan Tomaling. Susan Sarandon Michael Shalhoub. Omar Sharif Gordon Sumner. Sting
As of the early 1980s, the United States held the largest supply, with nearly 27 percent of the world’s uranium reserves. Other countries with large supplies were: Australia, with 18 percent; Sweden, with 16 percent; South Africa, with 15 percent; and Canada, with 9 percent.
About 700,000 people worldwide speak Basque. Most of them live in a narrow area of about 3,900 square miles in Spain and France. Basque is not Indo-European; it is the only remnant of the languages spoken in southwestern Europe before the region was Romanized.
Sergeant Joe Friday’s badge number on “Dragnet” was number 714.
The 1984 film Red Dawn, directed by John Milius, takes top honors for the most violent film on record. It contains 134 acts of violence per hour, or 2.23 per minute.
Thanksgiving was made a national holiday in 1863, after a concerted campaign by ladies’ magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale. That year, President Abraham Lincoln officially proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday, to be held on the last Thursday of November. In 1939, to stimulate the Depression economy, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the date of Thanksgiving … Read more
In days of old, tables were generally more crowded during mealtime and one’s elbows could get in the way of other diners. Today elbows are allowed on the table by certain etiquette authorities, but the general idea of keeping elbows away from dinnerware and other diners is still a good one.
The story of Cinderella has enjoyed 58 film productions, in cinematic and cartoon form, throughout the world. The first Cinderella movie was made in 1898.
A prima donna is simply the leading lady of an opera company. A diva, a “goddess,” is a legendary or highly celebrated leading lady.
According to Adam Smith (1723-1790), the “invisible hand” of economics is competition that regulates the marketplace. He first made this observation in An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776).
The formal name of the painting “Whistler’s Mother” is Arrangement in Gray and Black: Portrait of the Painter’s Mother, by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, 1872.
Glenn Miller was presented with a gold-covered master of his recording “Chattanooga Choo Choo” on his radio program of February 10, 1942. The record, released in conjunction with the 1941 movie Sun Valley Serenade, had climbed past the 1 million mark a few months after its release. The original 1949 Broadway cast recording of Oklahoma! … Read more
She was thirty-six when she retired, after making Two-Faced Woman in 1941. She never explained why she retired. She lived on Manhattan’s Upper East Side until her death in April 1990.
There were seven films by Hope, Crosby, and Lamour: Road to Singapore (1940) Road to Zanzibar (1941) Road to Morocco (1942) Road to Utopia (1946) Road to Rio (1947) Road to Bali (1953) Road to Hong Kong (1962)
A Harvard University student named Lothrop Withington, Jr., swallowed a 4-inch goldfish on a bet on March 3, 1939. The event was publicized in the Boston papers and soon created a new campus fad.
Christmas is associated with the Lord of Misrule. In medieval England, the Lord of Misrule was the leader of Christmas revelries.
Panama hats have always been made in Ecuador, where their manufacture helps to support the economy. They were once distributed through Panama.
As used by Tonto on the radio show “The Lone Ranger,” Kemo Sabe was intended to mean “faithful friend.” But in the Apache tongue it means “white shirt.” In Navajo it means “soggy shrub.”
There are no fixed rules that only royalty or noted public leaders may be interred in Westminster Abbey. The decision rests solely in the hands of the deans of the Abbey.
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.
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.
For the first 19 years of his life, George Washington (born in 1731) celebrated his birthday on February 11. After the British parliament replaced the Julian calendar with the Gregorian calendar (in 1752), Washington celebrated his birthday 11 days later, on February 22.