Fun Facts for Today

June 23

It’s National Columnists Day and National Pink Day and Take Your Dog to Work Day


1611 The mutinous crew of English explorer Henry Hudson, after a harsh winter with their ship frozen in Hudson Bay, puts Hudson and eight others adrift in a small boat; they are never seen again
1626 A large Codfish, split open at a Cambridge market, is found to contain a copy of a book of religious treatises by John Frith
1683 William Penn signs a friendship treaty with Lenni Lenape Indians in Pennsylvania
1713 French residents of Acadia given one year to declare allegiance to Britain or leave Nova Scotia, Canada
1775 The first American-made book was advertised in Philadelphia, PA; titled Impenetrable Secret, the book was printed and sold by Story and Humphreys
1794 Empress Catherine II grants Jews permission to settle in Kiev
1810 John Jacob Astor forms the Pacific Fur Company
1845 The Congress of the Republic of Texas agrees to join the United States, following the wishes of the republic’s leading figure, Sam Houston
1848 Workers riot in Paris; the photographer Thibault shoots some scenes, perhaps the first example of photo reportage
1860 The US Congress establishes the Government Printing Office
1868 Christopher Latham Sholes patents the first typewriter; because the keys would jam if the typist operated the machine too fast, a special keyboard was devised to make typing as slow as possible
1887 The Rocky Mountains Park Act becomes law in Canada, creating that nation’s first national park, Banff National Park
1888 Frederick Douglass is the first African-American nominated for US president
1894 International Olympic Committee is founded at the Sorbonne, Paris, at the initiative of Baron Pierre de Coubertin
1917 After Boston pitcher Babe Ruth is ejected for arguing the base on balls given to the first game’s first batter (and punches the umpire), reliever Ernie Shore retires 27 straight men and is credited with a perfect game
1926 The College Board administers the first SAT exam
1928 In Germany, a rocket-powered auto built by Opel was wrecked in a test after reaching a speed of 156 mph
1931 Aviators Wiley Post and Harold Gatty took off from New York on the first flight around the world in a single-engine plane
1938 The first “oceanarium” opened at Marineland in St. Augustine, FL
1938 The Civil Aeronautics Act is signed into law, forming the Civil Aeronautics Authority in the United States
1940 Adolf Hitler surveys newly defeated Paris in now occupied France
1941 Lithuanian Activist Front initiates Lithuanian 1941 independence from the Soviet Union; it lasted only briefly as the Nazis occupied Lithuania a few weeks later
1942 The first selections for the gas chamber at Auschwitz take place on a train load of Jews from Paris
1942 Germany’s latest fighter, a Focke-Wulf FW190 is captured intact when it mistakenly lands in Wales
1947 The United States Senate follows the United States House of Representatives in overriding President Harry S. Truman’s veto of the Taft-Hartley Act, which significantly restricts the ability of labor unions to organize
1956 Gamal Abdel Nasser is elected president of Egypt
1956 Disneyland’s Skyway to Fantasyland and Skyway to Tomorrowland begin transporting guests across the park
1958 The Dutch Reformed Church accepts women ministers
1959 Convicted Manhattan Project spy Klaus Fuchs is released after only nine years in prison and allowed to emigrate to Dresden, East Germany where he resumed a scientific career
1960 Japan signs security treaty with the US
1961 The Antarctic Treaty (signed December 1, 1959) comes into effect. It pledges the 12 signatory nations to nonpolitical, scientific investigation of the continent and bars any military activity
1962 Larry Doby retires from the Cleveland Indians to play in Japan
1963 At Disneyland, the Enchanted Tiki Room opens
1964 Blake Edward’s A Shot in the Dark starring Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau opens in US movie theaters
1964 Arthur Melin obtained a patent for the hula-hoop
1964 A US patent was issued to Jack S. Kilby for his invention of “Miniaturized Electronic Circuits” now known as integrated circuits, which he assigned to his employer, Texas Instruments, where he worked
1969 Warren E. Burger is sworn in as chief justice of the United States Supreme Court by retiring chief Earl Warren
1972 President Richard M. Nixon and White House chief of staff H. R. Haldeman are taped talking about using the Central Intelligence Agency to obstruct the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation into the Watergate break-ins
1976 Logan’s Runi> and Murder by Death open in US movie theaters
1980 David Letterman’s 90-minute daytime show premiered on NBC-TV, only to be canceled four months later
1982 A record low temperature of -117ºF. was recorded at the South Pole
1989 Tim Burton’s Batman starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson opens in US movie theaters
1990 Moldavia declares independence
1991 “Sonic the Hedgehog” is released for the Sega Genesis in North America

1859 Edouard Michelin, industrialist who, with his older brother André, founded Michelin Tire Company expanding the rubber company established by their grandfather
1894 Alfred Charles Kinsey, zoologist and student of human sexual behavior who wrote The Sexual Behavior of the Human Male
1902 Dr. Howard T. Engstrom, computer designer who promoted the first commercially available digital computer, the Univac
1912 Alan Turing, mathematician and logician who pioneered in the field of computer theory and who contributed important logical analysis of computer processes
1927 Bob Fosse, musical theater choreographer and director, and an Academy Award-winning film director (Cabaret); he won an unprecedented eight Tony Awards for choreography, as well as one for direction
1937 Nicholas Shackleton, geologist and paleoclimatologist who helped identify carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas
1940 Adam Faith, singer, actor and financial journalist (Beat Girl, Budgie, Stardust, McVicar, Love Hurts)
1940 Stuart Sutcliffe, painter and original bassist for The Beatles
1946 Ted Shackleford, actor (Knots Landing, Space Precinct, The Young and the Restless)
1947 Bryan Brown, actor (A Town Like Alice, The Thorn Birds, F/X, Gorillas in the Mist, Along Came Polly)
1953 Russell Mulcahy, director (Highlander, The Shadow, Tale of the Mummy, Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island, The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior)
1957 Frances McDormand, Academy Award-winning actress (Fargo, Mississippi Burning, Primal Fear, Short Cuts)
1964 Joss Whedon, Academy and Emmy Award-nominated and Hugo Award-winning writer, director, executive producer, creator and head writer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and Dollhouse
1972 Selma Blair, actress (Cruel Intentions, Legally Blonde, Hellboy, The Sweetest Thing, Kath and Kim)

1945 Simon Lake, inventor whose submarine, the Argonaut, was the first to make extensive open-sea operations and to salvage cargo from sunken vessels, dies at 78
1995 Jonas Salk, physician and medical researcher who developed the first safe and effective vaccine for poliomyelitis, dies at 80
1998 Maureen O’Sullivan, actress (Tarzan the Ape Man, The Thin Man, A Day at the Races, The Great Houdini, Peggy Sue Got Married, Hannah and Her Sisters), dies at 87
1999 Buster Merryfield, actor (Only Fools and Horses), dies at 78
2002 Alice Stewart epidemiologist who demonstrated the connection between foetal X-rays and childhood leukemia; her research demonstrated greater danger from X-rays and nuclear radiation than was at the time accepted by nuclear and health physics establishments, dies at 95
2006 Aaron Spelling, writer, actor and 2-time Emmy Award-winning producer (And the Band Played On, Day One, Dynasty, Family, The Mod Squad), dies at 83

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