Fun Facts for Today

May 30

It’s Water a Flower Day and Memorial Day (traditional)


1416 The Council of Constance, called by the Emperor Sigismund, a supporter of Antipope John XXIII, burns Jerome of Prague following a trial for heresy
1431 In Rouen, France, 19-year-old Joan of Arc is burned at the stake
1536 King Henry VIII of England marries Jane Seymour, a lady-in-waiting to his first two wives
1539 Hernando de Soto, the Spanish explorer, landed in Florida with 600 soldiers to search for gold
1588 The last ship of the Spanish Armada sets sail from Lisbon heading for the English Channel
1642 From this date all honors granted by Charles I are retrospectively annulled by Parliament
1783 The Pennsylvania Evening Post and Daily Advertiser is the first daily newspaper to be published in the United States
1806 Andrew Jackson kills Charles Dickinson in a duel after the man had accused Jackson’s wife of bigamy
1814 The First Treaty of Paris is signed returning French borders to their 1792 extent. Napoleon I of France is exiled to Elba on the same day
1821 A fire hose of cotton web lined with rubber was patented by James Boyd of Boston, MA
1832 The Rideau Canal in eastern Ontario is first opened
1848 An early US patent for an ice cream freezer was issued to William G. Young of Baltimore, MD
1854 The Kansas-Nebraska Act becomes law establishing the US territories of Nebraska and Kansas
1854 Elisha Graves Otis unveiled his invention, the safety elevator at the New York World’s Fair
1868 Memorial Day (then known as “Decoration Day”) is observed in the United States for the first time
1879 New York City’s Gilmores Garden is renamed Madison Square Garden by William Vanderbilt and is opened to the public at 26th Street and Madison Avenue
1898 Morris William Travers, an English chemist, while working with Sir Willam Ramsay in London, discovered the element krypton; the name derives from the Greek word for “hidden”
1911 At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the first Indianapolis 500 ends with Ray Harroun becoming the first winner of the 500-mile auto race in his Marmon Wasp
1922 In Washington, D.C., the Lincoln Memorial is dedicated
1935 Babe Ruth plays in his last baseball game, in the uniform of the Boston Braves
1941 Blood and Sand starring Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, Rita Hayworth and Anthony Quinn opens in US movie theaters
1943 Dr. Josef Mengele arrived at Auschwitz as research assistant to Dr. Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer
1959 The first experimental hovercraft, the SR.N1 made its first trip at Cowes on the Isle of Wight
1966 The Beatles single “Paperback Writer”/”Rain”, is released in the US as a double A side
1967 Site preparation begins in Florida on the Walt Disney World project, requiring swamp drainage, clearing of land, and removal of trees
1967 At the Ascot Park in Gardena, CA daredevil Evel Knievel jumps his motorcycle over 16 cars lined-up in a row
1969 The Beatles single “The Ballad of John and Yoko”/”Old Brown Shoe” is released in the UK
1971 The US space probe Mariner 9 was launched on its mission to Mars; it becomes the first artificial satellite of another planet when it orbits Mars the following November
1982 Spain becomes the 16th member of NATO and the first nation to enter the alliance since West Germany’s admission in 1955
1987 North American Philips Company introduced the compact disc video (CD-V), a 4-3/4 inch CD-sized implementation of the earlier Laser Vision format
1997 Child molester Jesse K. Timmendequas was convicted in Trenton, NJ of raping and strangling a 7-year-old neighbor, Megan Kanka; the 1994 murder inspired “Megan’s Law,” requiring that communities be notified when sex offenders move in
2003 The final flight of an Air France Concorde takes place
2003 Peter Jennings was sworn in as a US citizen
2008 The movie Sex and the City, based on the popular HBO series, opens in US movie theaters

1846 Peter Carl Fabergé, a Russian jeweler, best known for the famous Fabergé eggs, made in the style of genuine Easter eggs, but using precious metals and gemstones rather than more mundane materials
1852 Richard Julius Petri, physician and bacteriologist, remembered for his name given to the Petri dish
1859 Pierre-Marie-Félix Janet, psychopathologist and neurologist influential in bringing about in France and the United States a connection between academic psychology and the clinical treatment of mental illnesses
1896 Howard Hawks, writer, producer, director (The Dawn Patrol, Scarface, the Shame of the Nation, Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, Sergeant York, To Have and To Have Not, Rio Bravo)
1899 Irving Thalberg, Academy Award-winning American film producer during the early years of motion pictures who was called “The Boy Wonder” for his youth and his extraordinary ability to select the right scripts, choose the right actors, gather the best production staff, and make very profitable films
1902 Stepin Fetchit, remains the most controversial movie actor in American history (Stand Up and Cheer!, Zenobia, Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood)
1908 Mel Blanc, actor, voice characterizations, single-throatedly populating the vast majority of the Warner Bros. cartoon universe, including Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Foghorn Leghorn, Tweety, Sylvester, Road Runner, Speedy Gonzales, Marvin the Martian, Yosemite Sam, Pepe Le Pew, Tasmanian Devil, and many more
1909 Benny Goodman, jazz musician, clarinetist and bandleader, known as “King of Swing”, “Patriarch of the Clarinet”, “The Professor”, and “Swing’s Senior Statesman”
1909 Norris Bradbury, physicist who succeeded J. Robert Oppenheimer as director of the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory
1912 Julian Symons, author of over twenty-five detective and crime novels, poet, historian, and critic; President of Great Britain’s Detection Club, and recipient of the Grand Master Award of the Mystery Writers of America in 1982
1912 Hugh Griffith, Academy Award-winning actor (Ben-Hur, Tom Jones, Oliver!, The Fixer, The Last Remake of Beau Geste)
1916 Joseph William Kennedy, scientist, one of four co-discoverers of plutonium, (element 94) which was produced from uranium oxide bombarded with deuterons in a cyclotron at the University of California at Berkeley
1920 Franklin Schaffner, 3-time Emmy and Academy Award-winning director (Patton, The Boys from Brazil, Planet of the Apes, Papillon)
1922 Hal Clement (Harry Clement Stubbs), Science Fiction Grand Master (Mission of Gravity, Star Light, Heavy Planet)
1927 Clint Walker, actor (The Ten Commandments, Cheyenne, The Night of the Grizzly, The Dirty Dozen, Small Soldiers)
1934 Aleksey Arkhipovich Leonov, cosmonaut, the first man to climb out of a spacecraft in space
1936 Keir Dullea, actor (Bunny Lake Is Missing, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Starlost, Black Christmas, 2010: The Year We Make Contact)
1939 Michael J. Pollard, actor (Summer Magic, Bonnie and Clyde, Roxanne, Next of Kin, House of 1000 Corpses)
1945 Meredith MacRae, actress (Petticoat Junction, Bikini Beach, The Werewolf of Woodstock)
1948 Michael Piller, writer-producer (Simon & Simon, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Dead Zone, Legend, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager)
1951 Stephen Tobolowsky, character actor (The Philadelphia Experiment, Spaceballs, Bird on a Wire, Freaky Friday, Groundhog Day, Deadwood)
1953 Colm Meaney, actor (The Commitments, Under Siege, The Snapper, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Mystery, Alaska, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, Life on Mars)
1955 Topper Headon, musician (The Clash)
1957 Carrie Dobro, actress (Crusade, Babylon 5, Illicit Dreams)
1958 Ted McGinley, actor (Happy Days, Revenge of the Nerds, Dynasty, Married with Children, Hope & Faith)
1961 Harry Enfield, comedian, actor, writer (Spitting Image, Saturday Live, Harry Enfield’s Television Programme, Skins)
1964 Wynonna Judd, country music singer
1964 Mark A. Sheppard, character actor (Battlestar Galactica, Bionic Woman, Medium, 24, Firefly, Soldier of Fortune, Inc., In the Name of the Father)
1977 Rachael Stirling, actress (Maybe Baby, Tipping the Velvet, Marple: The Murder at the Vicarage)

1431 Joan of Arc, also known as “the Maid of Orleans,” was a 15th century virgin saint and national heroine of France, was burned at the stake for heresy at 19
1593 Christopher Marlowe, dramatist, poet, and translator of the Elizabethan era; he foremost Elizabethan tragedian before William Shakespeare, he is known for his magnificent blank verse, his overreaching protagonists, and his own untimely death whereby he is fatally stabbed with his own dagger at the age of 31
1744 Alexander Pope, generally regarded as the greatest English poet of the eighteenth century and is best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer, dies at 56
1778 Voltaire, author who popularized Isaac Newton’s work in France by arranging a translation of Principia Mathematica to which he added his own commentary, dies at 83
1892 Lewis Morris Rutherfurd, spectroscopist, astrophysicist and photographer who made the first telescopes designed for celestial photography, dies at 75
1912 Wilbur Wright, aviation pioneer, who with his brother Orville, invented the first powered airplane, Flyer, capable of sustained, controlled flight, dies of typhoid at 45
1960 Boris Pasternak, Nobel Prize-winning Russian poet and writer (Doctor Zhivago, My Sister Life), dies at 70
1964 Leo Szilard, physicist who, with Enrico Fermi, designed the first nuclear reactor that sustained nuclear chain reaction, dies at 66
1967 Claude Rains, actor (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Casablanca, Mr. Skeffington, Notorious, The Invisible Man, The Wolf Man), dies at 77
1994 Baron Marcel Bich, inventor who built his business empire by creating throwaway Bic pens, razors and lighters, dies at 79
2003 Mickie Most (Michael Peter Hayes), record producer, with a string of Number One singles with acts such as The Animals, Herman’s Hermits, Donovan, and Suzi Quatro, dies at 64

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