Fun Facts for Today

May 23

It’s World Turtle Day and National Taffy Day and Lucky Penny Day


1430 Joan of Arc is captured by the Burgundians while leading an army to relieve Compiègne; she was later sold to the English
1533 The marriage of England’s King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon was declared null and void
1536 Pope Paul III installed the Portuguese Inquisition
1568 Netherlands declared independence from Spain
1785 A letter from Benjamin Franklin documented his invention of his new bifocal glasses
1788 South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify the United States Constitution
1805 Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned King of Italy with the Iron Crown of Lombardy in the Cathedral of Milan
1827 The first nursery school in the US was established in New York City
1873 The Canadian Parliament establishes the North West Mounted Police, the forerunner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
1879 The first US veterinary school was established by Iowa State University
1895 The New York Public Library was created with an agreement that combined the city’s existing Astor and Lenox libraries
1900 Civil War hero Sgt. William H. Carney became the first African American to receive the Medal of Honor, 37 years after the Battle of Fort Wagner
1903 The European capital cities of Paris and Rome were linked by telephone for first time
1906 The Wright brothers are granted US patent number 821,393 for their “Flying-Machine”
1929 The first talking cartoon of Mickey Mouse, The Karnival Kid, was released
1934 The Thin Man starring William Powell and Myrna Loy premieres in the US
1940 R.V. Jones, a scientist with air intelligence, tells the government that intersecting radio beams could guide Luftwaffe bombers to their targets
1945 Lord Haw Haw, the nickname British announcer William Joyce on the English language propaganda radio program “Germany Calling” broadcast by Nazi German radio to audiences in Great Britain, was arrested at the Danish border
1959 Presbyterian church accepted women preachers
1960 Prime Minister of Israel David Ben-Gurion announces that Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann has been captured
1960 Radio station WRCA in New York changed its call letters back to WNBC
1962 In a first transplant of a human limb, a 12-year-old boy’s right arm was replaced by Drs. Donald A. Malt and J. McKhann at the Massachusetts General Hospital
1962 The National Basketball Association agreed to transfer the Philadelphia Warriors to San Francisco, CA; the team became the San Francisco Warriors (and later the Golden State Warriors)
1972 The Other, a movie that is still super creepy, premieres in the US
1977 The Supreme Court refused to hear the appeals of former Nixon White House aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman and former Attorney General John N. Mitchell in connection with their Watergate convictions
1980 Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall opens in the US
1983 Radio Moscow announcer Vladimir Danchev was taken off the air after praising Afghánistán Muslims who were resisting Russia
1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom opened in US theaters
1985 US engineer Thomas Patrick Cavanagh is sentenced to life in prison for attempting to sell stealth bomber secrets to the Soviet Union
1994 Funeral services were held at Arlington National Cemetery for former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
1995 The remains of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was demolished
1997 The Disneyland parade Light Magic debuts
1999 Gerry Bloch, at age 81, became the oldest climber to scale El Capitan in Yosemite National Park; he broke his own record that he set in 1986 when he was 68 years old
2004 Part of Paris Charles De Gaulle International Airport Terminal 2E collapses, killing five people and injuring three others

1699 John Bartram, explorer who is also regarded as the father of American botany, a subject he self-taught from the age of ten
1707 Carolus Linnaeus, botanist and explorer who was the first to frame principles for defining genera and species of organisms and to create a uniform system for naming them
1718 William Hunter, obstetrician, educator, and medical writer whose high standards of teaching and medical practice took obstetrics from the hands of the midwives and established it as an accepted branch of medicine
1734 Franz Anton Mesmer, physician whose system of therapeutics, known as mesmerism, was the forerunner of the modern practice of hypnotism
1883 Douglas Fairbanks, actor, screenwriter, director and producer, who became noted for his swashbuckling roles in silent films (The Black Pirate, The Mark of Zorro, The Three Musketeers, Robin Hood, The Thief of Bagdad)
1896 Felix Martin Julius Steiner, German Heer and Waffen-SS officer who served in both World War I and World War II; after WWII he imprisoned until 1948 and was cleared of all charges of War Crimes, he then wrote several apologist works
1910 Artie Shaw, jazz clarinetist, composer, and bandleader who is widely considered to be one of the greatest jazz musicians of his time
1910 Margaret Wise Brown, author of children’s literature (Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, The Little Island)
1910 Scatman Crothers (Benjamin Sherman Crothers), songwriter (“Dearest One”), actor, composer, singer, comedian, musician (Transformers, The Shining, Bronco Billy, The Super Globetrotters, The Cheap Detective, Silver Streak, The Shootist, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The AristoCats)
1917 Edward Lorentz, mathematician and meteorologist known for pointing out the “butterfly effect” whereby chaos theory predicts that “slightly differing initial states can evolve into considerably different states”
1919 Betty Garrett, singer, dancer and comic actress (Take Me Out to the Ball Game, On the Town, All in the Family, Laverne & Shirley)
1920 Sid Melton, character actor (Shadow of the Thin Man, On the Town, The Lemon Drop Kid, Lost Continent, Captain Midnight, Green Acres)
1921 James Blish, Hugo Award-winning author of fantasy and science fiction (A Case of Conscience, “Earthman Come Home”, Spock Must Die!)
1928 Rosemary Clooney, singer and actress (White Christmas, The Rosemary Clooney Show, Radioland Murders )
1928 Nigel Davenport, actor (Look Back in Anger, A Man for All Seasons, The Mind of Mr. Soames, Zulu Dawn, Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes)
1933 Joan Collins, actress (Dynasty, The Road to Hong Kong, Alfie Darling, Empire of the Ants, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas)
1933 Seabiscuit, champion thoroughbred race horse who was an unlikely champion and a symbol of hope to many US citizens during the Great Depression
1934 Robert A. Moog, pioneer of electronic music, best known as the inventor of the Moog synthesizer
1937 Charles Kimbrough, actor (The Seduction of Joe Tynan, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Murphy Brown, The Wedding Planner)
1954 Keith Campbell, embryologist who was the key member of a team of scientists at Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, Scotland that produced the first mammal clone, a lamb called Dolly, by nuclear transfer from an adult’s cell
1958 Drew Carey, comedian, actor, game show host (The Drew Carey Show, The Price is Right, Robots, Geppetto)
1959 Bob Mortimer, comedian, writer, actor (Vic Reeves Big Night Out, The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer, Bang, Bang, It’s Reeves and Mortimer, Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), Catterick, Popetown)
1974 Ken Jennings, holds the record for the longest winning streak on the game show Jeopardy!; he won 74 games before he was defeated with total winnings of $3,022,700 ($2,520,700 in winnings, a $2,000 consolation prize on his 75th appearance, and $500,000 in the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions)
1974 Jewel (Jewel Kilcher), singer, songwriter, actress, and poet (“You Were Meant For Me”, “Hands”, “Down So Long”)
1975 Kelly Monaco, actress, Playboy Playmate, first Dancing with the Stars champion (Baywatch, Port Charles, General Hospital, Idle Hands)

1701 Captain William Kidd, privateer, was hanged at 56
1868 Kit Carson, frontiersman, trapper, guide, dies at 58
1906 Henrik Ibsen, playwright of realistic drama who is often referred to as the “father of modern drama” (Ghosts, The Wild Duck, Hedda Gabler, The Master Builder, A Doll’s House, Peer Gynt), dies at 78
1934 Bonnie Parker, bank robber, accessory to kidnapping and murder, is shot to death by a posse of lawmen at 23
1934 Clyde Barrow, bank robber, kidnapper, safe cracker, murderer, is shot to death by a posse of lawmen at 25
1937 John D. Rockefeller, industrialist who revolutionized the petroleum industry and defined the structure of modern philanthropy, dies at 97
1945 Heinrich Himmler, high-ranking German Nazi shithead who as Reichsführer-SS oversaw all police and security forces including the Gestapo, as well as overseeing concentration camps, extermination camps, and Einsatzgruppen (death squads); he allegedly coordinated the killing of millions of Jews, many prisoners of war, and perhaps another three to four million Poles, communists, or other groups whom the Nazis deemed unworthy to live or simply ‘in the way’, including homosexuals, and those with physical and mental disabilities – commits suicide by swallowing a potassium cyanide capsule at 44
1949 William Webster Hansen physicist who contributed to the development of radar and is regarded as the founder of microwave technology, dies at 39
1960 Georges Claude, engineer, chemist, and inventor of the neon light, dies at 89
1983 George Bruns, composer-songwriter (“Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)”, The AristoCats, The Jungle Book, The Sword in the Stone, Davy Crockett and the River Pirates), dies at 68
1986 Sterling Hayden, actor (Prince Valiant, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, The Godfather, Nine to Five), dies at 70
1996 Patrick Cargill, actor (Top Secret, Help!, The Prisoner, Inspector Clouseau, Up Pompeii,Father Dear Father), dies at 77
2006 Lloyd Bentsen, Texas Senator (1971-1993), served in the House of Representatives (1949-1955), 69th Secretary of the Treasury, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, World War II veteran, dies at 85

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