Fun Facts for Today

April 29

It’s National Shrimp Scampi Day and Greenery Day


1429 Joan of Arc, a 17-year-old French peasant convinced she has a divine mission to expel the British from France, leads troops into the besieged city of Orléans
1699 The French Academy of Sciences held its first public meeting, in the Louvre
1813 The first US patent for rubber was issued to J.F. Hummel in Philadelphia, PA
1852 The first edition of Peter Roget’s Thesaurus was published
1861 Maryland’s House of Delegates votes not to secede from the Union
1873 The first US patent for a railroad coupler was issued to E.H. Janney of Alexandria, VA
1898 Funds for the first cancer laboratory in the US were appropriated in New York State
1903 A 30 million cubic-metre landslide kills 70 in Frank, Alberta, Canada
1916 The Easter rebellion in Ireland ended with the surrender of Irish nationalists
1933 The ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS film Diplomaniacs starring Wheeler and Woolsey is released in the US
1944 Dancing Romeo, the last Our Gang film, is released in the US
1945 The Dachau concentration camp is liberated by US troops
1945 The German Army in Italy unconditionally surrenders to the Allies
1949 The first fragments of the hominid Telanthropus were discovered in a limestone crevasse in Swartkhans, South Africa, by John Talbot Robinson; his find, which resembled homo erectus, was another of the semi-human forms that preceded man
1951 The still-very-creepy movie The Thing from Another World is released in the US
1953 The first US three-dimensional television telecast was made by KECA-TV in Los Angeles, CA
1957 At Disneyland, the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through attraction opens
1957 The first military nuclear power plant was dedicated in Fort Belvoir, VA
1961 ABC’s Wide World of Sports premiered
1971 Woody Allen’s film Bananas opened in the US
1983 Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Hunger are released in the US
1984 Britain announces that its administration of Hong Kong will cease in 1997, when it will return the colony to China
1986 Fire at the Central library of the City of Los Angeles Public Library, some 400,000 books and other items damaged or destroyed
1988 Eric Clapton filed for a divorce from Patti “Layla” Boyd-Harrison
1990 The demolition of the Berlin Wall begins near Brandenburg Gate
1992 One of the worst riots in US history erupts in Los Angeles, when a jury acquits four white police officers of beating black motorist Rodney King
1992 Paula Abdul and Emilio Estevez were married; they divorced two years later
1992 The Cosby Show aired the final episode of the NBC-TV series
1997 Ellen DeGeneres’ character “Ellen” came out as a lesbian on the ABC sitcom
1998 Brazil agreed to set aside about 62 million acres of the Amazon rain forest for conservation
2004 Oldsmobile builds its final car ending 107 years of production
2005 Apple releases Mac OS X v10.4
2005 The film The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is released in the US
2005 New Zealand’s first civil union takes place

1818 Alexander II, Emperor of the Russian Empire (1855-1881), Grand Duke of Finland and King of Poland until 1867 when it was annexed into the Russian Empire
1863 William Randolph Hearst, newspaper magnate who was elected two times to the U.S. House of Representatives; his life story was a source of inspiration for the lead character in Orson Welles’ classic film, Citizen Kane
1875 Rafael Sabatini, writer of novels of romance and adventure (Scaramouche, Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk, The Black Swan)
1893 Harold C. Urey, scientist awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1934 for his discovery of deuterium, the heavy form of hydrogen
1899 Duke Ellington, one of the most influential figures in jazz, if not in all American music; posthumous recognition of his work include a special award citation from the Pulitzer Prize Board
1901 Hirohito, 124th Emperor of Japan (1926-1988)
1908 Jack Williamson, Science Fiction Grand Master who won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards (Legion of Space Series, Humanoids Series, Lifeburst)
1909 Tom Ewell, actor (Adam’s Rib, The Seven Year Itch, The Girl Can’t Help It, State Fair)
1917 Celeste Holm, Academy Award-winning actress (Gentleman’s Agreement, All About Eve, The Snake Pit, Champagne for Caesar)
1936 Lane Smith, actor (Rooster Cogburn, Network, Frances, V: The Series, Son in Law, Lois and Clark)
1938 Klaus Voormann, artist, musician, and record producer known for his long association with the The Beatles, for whom he designed the cover of their album Revolver, as well as for being the bassist with the British Invasion group Manfred Mann
1945 Tammi Terrell, Grammy Award-nominated soul singer, most notable for her association with Motown and her duets with Marvin Gaye
1955 Kate Mulgrew, actress (Star Trek Voyager, The Black Donnellys, Ryan’s Hope, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, Mrs. Columbo)
1955 Jerry Seinfeld, comedian-actor-producer (Seinfeld, The Bee Movie)
1957 Daniel Day-Lewis, two-time Academy Award-winning actor (There Will Be Blood, My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown, The Bounty, A Room with a View)
1957 Michelle Pfeiffer, actress (Ladyhawke, Stardust, Dangerous Liaisons, A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
1958 Eve Plumb, actress (The Brady Bunch, All My Children, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka)
1960 Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning writer (The Terminal Experiment, Hominids, Mindscan)
1970 Uma Thurman, actress (The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Dangerous Liaisons, Pulp Fiction, Batman and Robin, The Avengers)
1970 Andre Agassi, one of only five male tennis players to have won all four Grand Slam singles events during his career and he is the only player in the open era to have won every Grand Slam singles title, to have won the Tennis Masters Cup, to have been part of a winning Davis Cup team, and to have won an Olympic gold medal; he won 17 ATP Masters Series tournaments, more than any other player
2003 Barbaro, thoroughbred that decisively won the 2006 Kentucky Derby but shattered his leg two weeks later, in the 2006 Preakness Stakes, ending his racing career and eventually leading to his death

1864 Abraham Gesner, chemist and geologist who pioneered the extraction of kerosene (which he named) by the dry distillation of asphalt rock, dies at 66
1937 Wallace Hume Carothers, chemist who developed nylon (1935), the first synthetic polymer fiber to be spun from a melt, dies at 41
1966 William Henry Eccles, physicist who pioneered in the development of radio communication, dies at 90
1967 Anthony Mann, film director (El Cid, The Glenn Miller Story, God’s Little Acre), dies at 60
1980 Alfred Hitchcock, film director who was nominated five times for an Academy Award but never won (Psycho, Rear Window, Spellbound, Lifeboat, Rebecca) dies at 80
1991 Ken Curtis, actor (Gunsmoke, Mister Roberts, The Searchers, The Killer Shrews), dies at 74

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