Fun Facts for Today

May 26

It’s Sally Ride Day and National Blueberry Cheesecake Day


1232 Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition: The Pope sends the first Inquisition team to Aragon, Spain
1521 The Edict of Worms outlaws the German church reformer Martin Luther and his followers, called Lutherans, by imposing on them the Ban of the Holy Roman Empire
1828 The mysterious feral child Kaspar Hauser is discovered wandering the streets of Nuremberg
1830 The Indian Removal Act is passed by the US Congress; it is signed into law by President Andrew Jackson two days later
1857 Dred Scott is emancipated by the Blow family, his original owners
1861 Postmaster General Blair announced the end of postal connection with South
1864 Montana is organized as a United States territory
1868The impeachment trial of US President Andrew Johnson ends; the Senate falls one vote short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict him of high crimes and misdemeanors
1869 Boston University is chartered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
1889 Opening of the first Eiffel Tower elevator to the public
1896 James Dunham murders six people in Campbell, CA
1896 The Wall Street Journal begins publishing the Dow Jones Industrial Average
1906 Vauxhall Bridge is opened in London
1908 Shortly after 4:00 am, the first major Middle East oil strike was made at Masjid-i-Suleiman, Persia; the rights to the resource are quickly acquired by the United Kingdom
1913 Emily Duncan becomes the Britain’s first woman magistrate
1913 The Actors’ Equity Association was organized in NYC
1927 Ford Motor Company manufactured its 15 millionth Model T automobile
1931 A microfilm camera was patented by New York City banker, George L. McCarthy
1938 House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC) is established
1940 In France, Allied forces begin a massive evacuation from Dunkirk
1948 The all-white National Party, under Daniel Malan, wins South Africa’s general elections; the party immediately begins instituting its policy of apartheid, or racial segregation
1948 The US Congress passes Public Law 557 which permanently establishes the Civil Air Patrol as an auxiliary of the United States Air Force
1966 British Guiana gains independence, becoming Guyana
1969 John Lennon and Yoko Ono begin their second Bed-In for Peace at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal
1969 The Apollo 10 astronauts returned to Earth after a successful eight-day dress rehearsal for the first manned moon landing
1972 The British state-owned travel firm Thomas Cook & Son is sold to a consortium of private businesses headed by the Midland Bank
1974 In London, 1,000 people needed medical treatment and a 14-year-old girl died when a crowd lost control at a David Cassidy concert
1979 John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd leave Saturday Night Live
1981 Satya Pal Asija was the first in the US to receive a patent for computer software for his computer program Swift-Answer (an acronym for “Special Word Indexed Full Text Alpha Numeric Storage With Easy Retrieval”) that allows users to retrieve narrative information from computers in a human-like manner
1986 The European Community adopts the European flag
1992 Charles Geschke, co-founder of Adobe Systems, Inc. was kidnapped at gunpoint from the Adobe parking lot in Mountain View, CA for $650,000 and is held hostage in a rented house in Hollister, CA; the FBI rescues him four days later
1998 The US Supreme Court rules that most of Ellis Island, former gateway for immigrants to America and now a museum, belongs to New Jersey, not New York
2004 The New York Times publishes an admission of journalistic failings, claiming that its flawed reporting and lack of skepticism towards sources during the buildup to the 2003 war in Iraq helped promote the belief that Iraq possessed large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction
2004 US Army veteran Terry Nichols is found guilty of 161 state murder charges for helping carry out the Oklahoma City bombing
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand opens in US theaters

1667 Abraham de Moivre, mathematician who was a pioneer in the development of analytic trigonometry and in the theory of probability
1826 Richard Christopher Carrington, astronomer who was the first to map the motions of sunspots and thus discover from them that the Sun rotates faster at the equator than near the poles (equatorial acceleration)
1853 John Wesley Hardin, Old West outlaw and deadly gunslinger who was rumored to be so mean he once shot a man for snoring
1886 Al Jolson, singer, actor known as “The World’s Greatest Entertainer” (The Jazz Singer, Hallelujah I’m a Bum, Swanee River)
1891 Paul Lukas, Academy Award-winning actor (Watch on the Rhine, The Casino Murder Case, Dodsworth, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Sol Madrid)
1893 Norma Talmadge, silent film actress and sister-in-law of Buster Keaton (Kiki, Camille, Smilin’ Through, The Dove)
1904 George Formby, comedian, actor, producer, singer (Get Cracking, He Snoops to Conquer)
1907 John Wayne (Marion Morrison), Academy Award-winning actor (True Grit, El Dorado, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Rio Bravo)
1908 Robert Morley, CBE, actor, writer (Marie Antoinette, The African Queen, Oscar Wilde, Murder at the Gallop, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, Theater of Blood)
1912 Jay Silverheels, Canadian Mohawk Indian actor best known for his appearances as the Lone Ranger’s friend Tonto (Captain from Castille, Key Largo, Broken Arrow, Walk the Proud Land, Alias Jessie James)
1913 Peter Cushing, actor (Moulin Rouge, The Curse of Frankenstein, Horror of Dracula, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Dr. Who and the Daleks, Star Wars)
1915 Sam Edwards, character actor (Bambi, Twelve O’Clock High, Flying Leathernecks, Dragnet, The Flight of the Grey Wolf)
1920 Peggy Lee, singer, songwriter and actress (Pete Kelly’s Blues, Stage Door Canteen, Lady and the Tramp, “Fever”)
1923 James Arness, actor (The Thing from Another World, Them!, Gunsmoke, How the West Was Won)
1923 Roy Dotrice, character actor (Nicholas and Alexandra, Amadeus, Beauty and the Beast, The Cutting Edge, Hellboy II: The Golden Army)
1928 Jack Kevorkian, also known as “Dr. Death”, he is a controversial pathologist who is most noted for publicly championing a terminal patient’s “right to die” and claims to have assisted at least 130 patients to that end
1948 Stevie Nicks, Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter, best known for her work with Fleetwood Mac and an extensive solo career, which collectively have produced over twenty Top 50 hits
1949 Hank Williams Jr., Emmy and Grammy Award-winning country singer-songwriter and musician
1949 Pam Grier, actress (Black Mama, White Mama, Scream Blacula Scream, Foxy Brown, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, Posse, Escape from L.A., Jackie Brown, The L Word)
1951 Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman to orbit the earth
1958 Howard Goodall, composer (QI theme, Mr. Bean’s Holiday, Black Adder, Red Dwarf, Not the Nine O’Clock News)
1962 Bobcat Goldthwaite, actor, comedian, director (Hot to Trot, Scrooged, Shakes the Clown, Hercules, Jimmy Kimmel Live!)
1966 Helena Bonham Carter, actress (Harry Potter, A Room with a View, Lady Jane, Fight Club, Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit)
1971 Matt Stone, writer, actor, composer and 2-time Emmy Award-winning producer (South Park, Team America: World Police)

0735 The Venerable Bede, theologian, historian and scholar whose writings established the use of BC and AD with dates; he applied a knowledge of astronomy for the purpose of calculating the correct date for Easter, dies at 63
1703 Samuel Pepys, naval administrator and Member of Parliament, who is now most famous for his detailed private diary that he kept during 1660–1669 which is one of the most important primary sources for the English Restoration period providing a combination of personal revelation and eyewitness accounts of great events, such as the Great Plague of London, the Second Dutch War and the Great Fire of London, dies at 70
1888 Ascanio Sobrero, chemist who discovered the explosive compound nitroglycerin by adding glycerine slowly to mixture of nitric and sulphuric acids, dies at 74
1943 Edsel Ford, president of Ford Motor Company (1919-43), he founded and named the Mercury division, and significantly strengthened Ford Motors’ overseas production. He was also responsible for the Lincoln Zephyr and Lincoln Continental, dies at 49
1979 George Brent, actor (Jezebel, The Corpse Came C.O.D., Lover Come Back, The Affairs of Susan), dies at 80
1996 Isadore “Friz” Freleng, 2-time Emmy and Academy Award-winning director (The Pink Phink, The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat, Halloween Is Grinch Night) whose colleagues at Warner Brothers based the character Yosemite Sam on him, dies at 89
1999 Waldo Semon, chemical engineer who invented plasticized PVC (vinyl), dies at 100
2003 Gerald S. Hawkins, radio-astronomer who used a computer to show that the stones and other archaeological features at Stonehenge formed a pattern of alignments with 12 major lunar and solar events, suggesting that it was used as a sort of neolithic observatory or astronomical calendar, dies at 75
2005 Eddie Albert, actor (Roman Holiday, Oklahoma!, The Longest Day, Green Acres, The Longest Yard, Escape to Witch Mountain, Airport ’79), dies at 99

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