The French author of Consuelo (1842), George Sand was born Amandine Lucie Aurore Dupin.
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.
The Hemingway novel The Garden of Eden, was published posthumously by Scribners in 1986.
Robert Frost wrote “good fences make good neighbors” in the 1914 poem “Mending Wall”: “And he likes having thought of it so well/He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’ “
The books in John Dos Passos’s U.S.A. trilogy are: The 42nd Parallel (1930) 1919 (1932) The Big Money (1936) The three were first published together in 1937.
Casey Stengel was born Charles Dillon Stengel in Kansas City, Missouri (c. 1890-1975). Stengel managed the New York Yankees from 1949 to 1960 and the Mets from 1962 to 1965.
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 Socialist Party of America was born in 1901 under the leadership of Eugene V. Debs. Instead of emphasizing state control of the economy, it advocated worker-protection laws, many of which later came to be enacted. Among the party’s goals were the reduction of hours in the workday, nationalization of railroads, and the creation of … Read more
It took David Kunst a little over four years, from June 10, 1970, to October 5, 1974, to walk around the world. One other man, George Schilling, claimed in an unconfirmed report to have accomplished the feat between June 1897 and June 1904.
The name of the lover in D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover was Oliver Mellors, gamekeeper for Lady Chatterley’s husband.
Ryan O’Neal was Rodney Harrington; Mia Farrow was Allison Mackenzie on “Peyton Place” (ABC, 1964-69).
Ogden Nash wrote the ditty in 1931. In 1968, he updated it: Candy is dandy But liquor is quicker. Pot is not.
Todd Haynes filmed the biography of Karen Carpenter entirely with dolls. His Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1989) was pulled from release due to legal action by the Carpenter family.
Henry David Thoreau wrote “That government is best which governs least”, in his essay, “Civil Disobedience” (1849).
The first black candidate to launch a major presidential campaign, Jesse Jackson ran twice for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. presidency, in 1984 and 1988.
The seven people killed in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger on January 28, 1986, 73 seconds after lift-off, were: Gregory B. Jarvis Christa McAuliffe Ronald E. McNair Ellison S. Onizuka Judith A. Resnick Francis R. Scobee Michael J. Smith
Charles Sherwood Stratton (1838-1883) was 3 feet, 4 inches tall when he died. The star of P. T. Barnum’s circus was better known as General Tom Thumb.
The three tallest buildings in the United States in the 1980s were: Sears Tower. 1,454 feet, 110 stories (Chicago) World Trade Center. 1,350 feet, 110 stories (New York) Empire State Building. 1,250 feet, 102 stories (New York)
Metro Pictures Corporation (founded 1915), Goldwyn Pictures Corporation (1917), and Louis B. Mayer Pictures (1918) merged to form MetroGoldwyn-Mayer. The three companies merged in 1924 under the control of Loew’s, Inc., the theater exhibition company.
Jonathan Swift first used the phrase “belles lettres” in Tatler 230 (1710): “The Traders in History and Politics, and the Belles Lettres.” In French the term means “beautiful letters, fine writing.” Swift added the pejorative connotation of light or trivial literature.
They were protesting the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, waged from 431 to 404 B.C. in Aristophanes’ comedy, Lysistrata. In the play, the women of Athens and Sparta refuse to have sex with their husbands until peace is made.
Michael Anderson directed Around the World in 80 Days. Mike Todd produced the movie. Victor Young wrote the score. The score won an Oscar. S. J. Perelman wrote the screenplay. John Farrow and James Poe were uncredited contributors.
Dylan Thomas died at age thirty-nine in 1953 in New York City after drinking eighteen straight whiskeys in a bar and lapsing into a coma.
The alligator is a subspecies of the crocodile, part of the family Crocodylidae. The alligator’s snout is rounded; the crocodile’s comes to a point. Both prefer shallow, swampy water, but the crocodile is generally more aggressive than the alligator. Incidentally, a crocodile, not an alligator, appears on the Izod Lacoste polo shirt.
On the TV series “Murder She Wrote” (CBS, 1984), Jessica Fletcher’s (Angela Lansbury’s) middle name was Beatrice.
The play’s author, George Bernard Shaw, who won an Oscar for his adaptation wrote the screenplay for the film Pygmalion.
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.
Bud Westmore and Jack Kevan created the monster costume for Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954). Ben Chapman played the Gill-Man above water; swimming champion Ricou Browning played him underwater.
The word attic comes from Attica in ancient Greece. There, an attic was a certain kind of low story above the main floor. Over the centuries, however, attic has come to refer to any low space above the top floor of a building.
Much of the credit for the visual style of the TV series “Miami Vice”goes to art director Jeffrey Howard, who won an Emmy for his efforts in 1985.
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 … Read more
Famed for her shrewishness, the wife of the fifth-century B.C. Athenian philosopher Socrates was named Xantippe.
Charlton Heston did a voice-over as God in The Ten Commandments (1956). He also had an unbilled appearance as God in Almost an Angel (1990), starring Paul Hogan.
Sloan Wilson, author of The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, wrote A Summer Place.
Bette Davis said, “There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne” in Old Acquaintance (1943).
The names of the ghosts in Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw are Peter Quint and Miss Jessel, the former valet and governess at the estate called Bly.
The legendary Christian ruler Prester John was believed to have reigned in Asia beyond Persia and Armenia, under the humble title Presbyter or Prester, that is, priest. European Christians hoped Prester John would help them drive the Muslims out of the Holy Land. Explorers like Marco Polo went looking for him; at least one forged … Read more
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.
Tina Balser was the mad housewife in Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970). She was played by Carrie Snodgress in an Oscar-nominated performance. Her husband, Jonathan Balser, was played by Richard Benjamin.
Daryl Van Horne was the Devil as played by Jack Nicholson in The Witches of Eastwick (1987).
Pope John, Gregory, Benedict, and Clement, in that order. There have been 23 Johns (and 2 John Pauls), 16 Gregorys, 15 Benedicts, and 14 Clements.
James J. “Gene” Tunney sent Harrison “Jack” Dempsey against the ropes for the heavyweight boxing championship in 1926. Dempsey had held the title since 1919, when he defeated Jess Willard.
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.
Tess’s name before she becomes Tess of the d’Urbervilles is Tess Durbeyfield, daughter of Jack Durbeyfield, a carter. In the 1891 novel by Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, she eventually becomes the kept woman of Alec d’Urbervilles, a member of the well-to-do family for whom she is working.
The story “Wedding Preparations in the Country” (1907) by Franz Kafka seems to directly foreshadow Gregor Samsa’s plight, as a train passenger lying in bed imagines himself as a giant bug.
The Star-Spangled Banner was played in 1862 at a baseball game in Brooklyn at a field built by sports developer William Commeyer.
Located in Wyoming, Teapot Dome was one of two naval oil reserve sites improperly leased in 1922 to private oil companies by Albert B. Fall, President Harding’s secretary of the interior. After the scandal broke in 1923, Fall paid a heavy fine and served a year in prison for bribery. The other oil reserve site … Read more
No, James Cagney didn’t say “You dirty rat!” in any of his movies.
The National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) trade convention, held in January, is where you go to sell a TV show for syndication. There producers and distributors sell game shows, reruns, etc., to station managers and program directors.
The leeches in The African Queen (1951) were made of rubber. Designed by Cliff Richardson, they had small “blood sacs” and were stuck to Humphrey Bogart’s back with waterproof adhesive.
Frank Lloyd won the Oscar for Best Director at the 1933 Academy Awards, for Cavalcade. Capra did not win in 1933 for Lady for a Day, but he won the next year for It Happened One Night.
Henry Morton Stanley, a journalist, was commissioned by the New York Herald in 1871 to find the explorer David Livingstone, who had been missing for two years. Stanley trekked through Africa for six months before meeting Livingstone, the only other white man within 1,000 miles.
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.
What is left of the earth that is unexplored is approximately 140 million square miles of ocean floor. This is equal to two and a half times the surface area of the earth’s islands and continents.
The first news event to be televised was the nomination of Alfred E. Smith for the presidency in Albany, New York, on August 22, 1928. The program was transmitted by Schenectady’s WGY. The first regular news reports were 15-minute daily programs transmitted over New York’s WCBS and WNBT, beginning on July 1, 1941.
The Latin phrase et al., short for et alia (“and other things”) and et alii (“and other people”), is more specific than et cetera (“and the rest”). Only et al. can refer to people.