Fun Facts for Today

May 31

It’s National Macaroon Day and Save Your Hearing Day and World No Tobacco Day and Speak in Complete Sentences Day


1279BC Rameses II becomes pharaoh of Ancient Egypt
1578 The Catacombs of Rome were discovered by accident; a sepulchral chamber was opened by some laborers digging for pozzolana earth
1669 Citing poor eyesight, Samuel Pepys records the last event in his diary
1678 Tax protester Lady Godiva rides naked through Coventry
1759 The Province of Pennsylvania bans all theater productions
1775 Patriots in Charlotte, North Carolina adopt the Mecklenburg Resolutions urging the American Colonies to declare independence from Great Britain
1790 President George Washington signs the first US copyright act into law
1870 Professor Edward J. de Smedt patented sheet asphalt pavement
1879 The first electric railway opened at the Berlin Trades Exposition
1880 The first US national bicycle society was formed in Newport, RI; it was known as the League of American Wheelman
1884 A patent for “flaked cereal” was applied for by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg
1894 Joe and Myra Keaton are married
1894 The US Senate passed a resolution encouraging Hawaii to establish its own form of government without interference from the US
1909 The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) held its first conference
1913 The Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, authorizing direct election of United States Senators, is declared ratified
1916 The German and British navies clash in the Battle of Jutland, the largest naval battle of World War I
1921 Buster Keaton marries actress Natalie Talmadge
1927 The last Ford Model T rolls off the assembly line after a production run of 15,007,003 vehicles
1941 The first issue of Parade: The Weekly Picture Newspaper went on sale
1943 Archie was aired on the Mutual Broadcasting System for the first time
1952 Dwight D. Eisenhower retires from active service in the United States Army
1961 South Africa becomes an independent republic and withdraws from the Commonwealth of Nations
1976 The Who played at the Charlton Athletic Grounds in England and make the Guinness Book of World Records as the loudest rock band ever; their set measured 76,000 watts and 120 decibels
1977 The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System is completed
1990 The pilot episode of Seinfeld airs on NBC-TV
1994 The United States announces that it is no longer aiming long range nuclear missiles at the Soviet Union
2001 Microsoft released Office XP for Windows
2002 The Sum of All Fears starring Ben Affleck as Jack Ryan opens in US movie theaters
2003 Eric Rudolph, the longtime fugitive charged in the 1996 Olympic Park bombing and in attacks at an abortion clinic and a gay nightclub, is captured in Murphy, NC
2004 A foul-up during routine software update at the Royal Bank of Canada leads to a three-day misplacement of 10 million account balances
2005 W. Mark Felt admits in the magazine Vanity Fair published today that he is the anonymous source Deep Throat in the Watergate scandal

1819 Walt Whitman, poet, essayist, journalist, and humanist; his work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality
1894 Fred Allen, comedian whose absurdist, pointed radio show (1934–1949) made him one of the most popular and forward-looking humorists in the classic era of American radio
1898 Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, Protestant preacher and author (most notably of the controversial The Power of Positive Thinking)
1908 Don Ameche, Academy Award-winning actor (Cocoon, Coming to America, Heaven Can Wait, The Three Musketeers)
1922 Denholm Elliott, CBE, 3-time BAFTA Film Award and BAFTA TV Award-winning actor (Trading Places, A Private Function, Defence of the Realm, A Room with a View, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Brimstone & Treacle)
1930 Clint Eastwood, actor and 2-time Academy Award-winning director and producer (Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Rawhide, Kelly’s Heroes)
1934 Jim Hutton, actor (The Green Berets, The Adventures of Ellery Queen, Major Dundee, Walk Don’t Run)
1939 Terry Waite, CBE, humanitarian and author
1943 Sharon Gless, 2-time Emmy Award-winning actress (Cagney & Lacey, Burn Notice, Queer as Folk, Marcus Welby, M.D., Switch)
1943 Joe Namath, Football Hall of Fame quarterback; during his 13 years in the AFL and NFL he played for three division champions (the 1968 and 1969 AFL East Champion Jets and the 1977 NFC West Champion Rams), earned one league championship (1968 AFL Championship), and one world championship (Super Bowl III)
1948 John Bonham, drummer (Led Zepellin)
1949 Tom Berenger, actor (One Life to Live, Butch and Sundance: The Early Days, The Big Chill, Platoon, Major League, Rough Riders, October Road)
1950 Gregory Harrison, actor (Logan’s Run (TV), Trapper John, M.D., Falcon Crest)
1960 Chris Elliott, actor, comedian, and 4-time Emmy Award-winning writer (Late Night with David Letterman, There’s Something About Mary, Dilbert, Saturday Night Live)
1961 Lea Thompson, actress (Back to the Future, Caroline in the City, Jane Doe, Howard the Duck)
1965 Brooke Shields, actress (Pretty Baby, The Blue Lagoon, Freeway, Brenda Starr, Suddenly Susan)
1967 me
1976 Colin Farrell, actor (Ballykissangel, Minority Report, Daredevil, Alexander, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus)

1809 Joseph Haydn, one of the most prominent composers of the classical period, and is called by some the “Father of the Symphony” and “Father of the String Quartet”, dies at 77
1908 Sir John Evans, antiquarian, numismatist, and a founder of prehistoric archeology, dies at 84
1910 Elizabeth Blackwell, physician who is considered the first female doctor of medicine in modern times; she was the first woman to gain the M.D. degree from a medical school in the United States, dies at 89
1960 Walther Funk, Minister for Economic Affairs in Nazi Germany, dies at 69
1977 William Castle, director, producer, writer, actor (House on Haunted Hill, The Tingler, 13 Ghosts), dies at 63
1983 Jack Dempsey, boxer who held the world heavyweight title from 1919 to 1926; his aggressive style and punching power made him one of the most popular boxers in history, dies at 87
1993 Spuds Mackenzie (real name Honey Tree Evil Eye), advertising icon, dies at 10
1996 Timothy Leary, writer, psychologist, futurist, modern pioneer and advocate of psychedelic drug research and use, and one of the first people whose remains have been sent into space, dies at 75
2001 Arlene Francis, actress and game show panelist (What’s My Line?), dies at 93
2005 Jaime Mendoza-Nava, composer (Zorro (TV series), The Witchmaker, The Brotherhood of Satan, The Boys in Company C), dies at 79

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