Fun Facts for Today

April 24

It’s Pig in a Blanket Day and Plumber’s Day


1792 “La Marseillaise,” is composed by Captain Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle on the occasion of France’s declaration of war on Austria; ironically, although De Lisle supported the monarchy, the song would be taken up by the revolutionary movement
1800 The US Library of Congress is established in the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.; it moves to its own quarters in 1897
1833 Jacob Ebert of Cadiz, Ohio, with George Dulty of Wheeling, West Virgina, patented the soda fountain
1877 Russia declares war on Ottoman Empire
1886 Petroleum was discovered in the Middle East; the first well to come in was on the Egyptian shore of the Red Sea
1888 The Eastman Kodak company was formed by inventor George Eastman to sell his revolutionary new easily-portable box camera
1898 Spain declares war on the US, ignoring an ultimatum to withdraw from Cuba
1907 Hersheypark, founded by Milton S. Hershey for the exclusive use of his employees, is opened
1913 The skyscraper Woolworth Building in New York City was opened
1915 Mass deportation of Armenians from Turkey begins
1916 Irish nationalists, rebelling against British rule, seize key buildings in Dublin and proclaim Ireland an independent republic in the Easter Rebellion
1934 The first pipeless organ was patented by Laurens Hammond
1936 Captain January starring Shirley Temple and Buddy Ebsen is released in the US
1942 Alfred Hitchcock’s Saboteur is released in the US
1953 Winston Churchill is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II
1962 MIT achieved the first transcontinental satellite relay of a television signal
1967 Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov dies in Soyuz 1, when the parachute fails to open; he is the first human to die during a space mission
1970 The People’s Republic of China became the fifth nation with a satellite in orbit with the launch of DFH-1
1970 Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane is invited to a White House party by Tricia Nixon; she shows up with Abbie Hoffman, who is on trial for conspiring to riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention and when Hoffman is turned away, Slick leaves with him
1980 Eight US servicemen die in Operation Eagle Claw as they attempt to end the Iran hostage crisis
1981 IBM introduces its first personal computer, the IBM PC; its enormous success soon leads competitors to clone the machine
1989 The All New Mickey Mouse Club debuts on the Disney Channel; the cast over the years will includes future stars such as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Keri Russell and members of NSYNC
1990 West and East Germany agree to merge their currency and economies in July; full political reunification occurs in October
1990 The Hubble Space Telescope is launched by the Space Shuttle Discovery
1990 Gruinard Island, Scotland, is officially declared free of anthrax after 48 years of quarantine
1992 The WWII picture A Midnight Clear starring Peter Berg, Kevin Dillon, Arye Gross, Ethan Hawke, Gary Sinise, Frank Whaley and John C. McGinley is released in the US
1993 An IRA bomb devastates the Bishopsgate area of City of London
2005 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is inaugurated as the 265th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church taking the name Pope Benedict XVI

1815 Anthony Trollope, novelist who also introduced the familiar red pillar boxes in Britain as street-side receptacles of letters for collection by the Post Office
1905 Robert Porter Allen, author and conservationist recognized for saving the whooping crane from extinction by discovering the nesting ground of the sole remaining flock near the Arctic Circle
1908 Marceline Day, actress (The Cameraman, The Wild Party, The Crusader)
1914 William Castle, director-producer-writer-actor (House on Haunted Hill, The Tingler, Mr. Sardonicus)
1922 J.D. Cannon, character actor (McCloud, Alias Smith and Jones, Raise the Titanic)
1928 Bruce Kirby, character actor (Columbo, Kojak, Throw Momma from the Train, L.A. Law)
1930 Richard Donner, producer-director (The Omen, Superman, Ladyhawke, Lethal Weapon, Maverick)
1934 Shirley MacLaine, Academy Award-winning actress (Terms of Endearment, Irma la Douce, The Apartment, Around the World in Eighty Days)
1936 Jill Ireland, actress (Carry on Nurse, The Valachi Papers, The Mechanic, Breakout)
1940 Sue Grafton, author of detective novels featuring Kinsey Millhone
1942 Barbra Streisand, Academy Award-winning actress and multiple Grammy Award-winning vocalist and songwriter
1953 Eric Bogosian, writer-actor (Talk Radio, SubUrbia, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, Blade: Trinity, Law & Order: Criminal Intent)
1954 Captain Sensible (Raymond Burns), musician (The Damned, Dead Men Walking)
1957 David J., musician (Bauhaus, The Sinister Ducks, Love and Rockets)
1968 Aidan Gillen, actor (Queer as Folk, The Wire, Lorna Doone, Circle of Friends)

1731 Daniel Defoe, writer, journalist, and spy, who gained enduring fame for his novel Robinson Crusoe; he is notable for being one of the earliest practitioners of the novel, helped popularize the genre in Britain and is even referred to as one of the founders, if not the founder, of the English novel, dies at 70
1900 Andrew Smith Hallidie, engineer and inventor of cable cars, as first used on the steep hills of San Francisco streets, dies at 64
1974 Bud Abbott, vaudevillian-actor-straight man to Lou Costello, dies at 78
1986 Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor and American wife of Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor, dies at 90
1988 Clifford D. Simak, science fiction Grand Master, three-time Hugo and one-time Nebula Award-winner (The Big Front Yard, Way Station, Grotto of the Dancing Deer), dies at 83
1997 Pat Paulsen, comedian, satirist and politician who ran for President of the United States in 1968, 1972, 1980, 1988, 1992, and 1996, dies at 69

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