Fun Facts for Today

April 27

It’s National Prime Rib Day and Write an Old Friend Today Day and Tell a Story Day and Babe Ruth Day


1667 The blind, impoverished John Milton sells the copyright of Paradise Lost for £10
1773 The British Parliament passes the Tea Act, designed to save the British East India Company by granting it a monopoly on the North American tea trade
1805 US Marines attack shores of Tripoli
1810 Beethoven composes his famous piano piece, “Für Elise”
1828 London Zoological Gardens – Britain’s first scientific zoo – opened in Regent’s Park to the members of the Zoological Society of London
1840 Foundation stone for new Palace of Westminster, London, laid by wife of Sir Charles Barry
1861 President Abraham Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus
1871 The American Museum of Natural History opened to the public in New York City
1880 The first US patent for an electric hearing aid was issued to Francis D. Clarke and M.G. Foster
1887 George Thomas Morton performed the first US operation to remove an appendix, an appendectomy, saving the life of a 26-year-old man with appendicitis
1897 Grant’s Tomb was dedicated
1898 The first Weather Bureau kite was launched from Topeka, KS
1937 In the US, the first social security checks were distributed
1940 SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler orders establishment of Auschwitz concentration camp; first prisoners, mostly Poles, arrive in early June
1945 The Völkischer Beobachter, the newspaper of the Nazi Party, ceases publication
1947 Babe Ruth Day is celebrated at Yankee Stadium
1950 Following the institution of apartheid in 1948, South Africa passes the Group Areas Act, formally segregating the country’s racial groups
1956 Godzilla, King of the Monsters! is released in the US
1956 Rocky Marciano retired as undefeated world heavyweight boxing champion
1961 Sierra Leone gained independence from Great Britain
1962 The Day of the Triffids based on John Wyndham’s novel is released in the US
1964 The Beatles single “Love Me Do”/”P.S. I Love You” is released in the US
1964 John Lennon’s In His Own Write, a collection of funny poems and drawings, was published in the US
1965 “Pampers” were patented by R.C. Duncan
1971 The final episode of Green Acres aired on CBS-TV
1973 …And Now the Screaming Starts! starring Peter Cushing opens in the US
1973 Opryland opened in Nashville, TN
1976 David Bowie was detained on a train trip from Russia to Poland because he had Nazi books; the books were for research on a project
1978 Former Nixon aide John D. Ehrlichman is released from an Arizona prison after serving 18 months for Watergate-related crimes
1979 Love at First Bite starring George Hamilton and Richard Benjamin opens in the US
1980 Studio 54 in New York shut down
1981 Xerox PARC introduces the computer mouse
1981 Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach were married at the Registrar’s Office, Marylebone Road, London; Paul, Linda, George and Olivia attend
1982 The trial of John W. Hinckley, Jr., the attempted assassin of President Ronald Reagan, begins
1986 Captain Midnight (John R. MacDougall) hijacks HBO’s satellite and transmits his own message to HBO viewers
1987 The US Justice Department bars the Austrian President Kurt Waldheim from entering the US, saying he had aided in the deportation and execution of thousands of Jews and others as a German Army officer during World War II
1992 The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, comprising Serbia and Montenegro, is proclaimed
1994 The first democratic general election in South Africa, in which black citizens could vote
2005 Russian President Vladimir Putin became the first Kremlin leader to visit Israel
2006 In Fiji, Keith Richards was admitted to a hospital after he reportedly suffered a head injury when he fell out of a palm tree
2006 In New York, NY, construction began on the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower on the site of former World Trade Center

1737 Edward Gibbon, historian and Member of Parliament; his most important work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788
1759 Mary Wollstonecraft, writer, philosopher, and feminist; she wrote novels, treatises, a travel narrative, a history of the French Revolution, a conduct book, and a children’s book although she is best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in which she argues that women are not naturally inferior to men, but appear to be only because they lack education
1773 Josef Gottlieb Kölreuter, botanist who was a pioneer in the study of plant hybrids
1791 Samuel Morse, painter and inventor who is famous for developing the Morse Code and independently perfecting an electric telegraph
1946 Charles Joseph Van Depoele, inventor who was a pioneer in railway, electric lighting, and mining work, with more than 100 patents on electrical inventions
1822 Ulysses S. Grant, Union general in the Civil War and the 18th President of the United States (1869–1877)
1899 Walter Lantz, Academy Award honoree and animator who was responsible for the creation of the first Technicolor cartoon; he also introduced the cartoon characters Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Andy Panda, Chilly Willy, and Woody Woodpecker
1922 Jack Klugman, two-time Emmy Award-winning actor (The Odd Couple, The Defenders, Quincy M.E., Days of Wine and Roses)
1927 Coretta Scott King, civil rights activist and wife of Martin Luther King, Jr.
1932 Casey Kasem, Radio Hall of Fame DJ and actor (Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo, Scooby Doo, Where Are You!, Super Friends, Transformers)
1937 Sandy Dennis, Academy Award-winning actress (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Out of Towners, Up the Down Staircase)
1938 Earl Anthony, professional bowler, and the most prolific champion in professional bowling history, having amassed a total of 41 titles during his career
1939 Judy Carne, actress (Love on a Rooftop, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In)
1947 Pete Ham, musician (Badfinger)
1948 Kate Pierson, singer (The B-52’s)
1951 Paul Daniel “Ace” Frehley, musician (KISS)
1959 Sheena Easton, singer-actress (Miami Vice, TekWar: The Movie, Gargoyles)
1959 Marco Pirroni, musician (Adam and the Ants, Siouxsie and the Banshees)
1963 Russell T. Davies, BAFTA Award-winning producer and writer (Doctor Who, Children’s Ward, The Second Coming, Queer as Folk)

1521 Ferdinand Magellan, maritime explorer who is recognized as the first explorer to enter the Pacific from the eponymous Strait of Magellan, is killed in the Philippines at 41
1825 Dominique Vivant Denon, artist, archaeologist, and museum official who played an important role in the development of the Louvre collection, dies at 77
1882 Ralph Waldo Emerson, essayist and one of America’s most influential thinkers and writers, dies at 78 from the effects of a cold caught when he attended the funeral of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
1965 Edward R. Murrow, journalist, whose radio news broadcasts during World War II were eagerly followed by millions of listeners and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, dies at 57
1992 Gerard K. O’Neill, physicist who invented the colliding-beam storage ring and was a leading advocate of space colonization, dies at 64
1998 Carlos Castaneda, author (The Teachings of Don Juan), dies at 72
2000 Vicki Sue Robinson, singer (“Turn The Beat Around”), dies a 45
2002 George Alec Effinger, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning science fiction author (“Schrödinger’s Kitten”, A Fire in the Sun), dies at 55
2002 Ruth Handler, inventor who created the Barbie Doll in 1959, and Ken in 1961; she also co-founded the Mattel company in 1942, dies at 85

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