Fun Facts for Today

June 26

It’s Beautician’s Day and Forgiveness Day and National Chocolate Pudding Day


1284 According to legend, the Pied Piper of Hamelin, Germany, lures away 130 children
1483 In a royal drama later told by Shakespeare, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, takes the crown of England as Richard III, following the death of King Edward IV and the imprisonment of the young Edward V
1498 The bristle toothbrush was invented in China
1712 The first smallpox inoculations in America were given in Boston by Dr. Zabdiel Boylston when a smallpox epidemic struck Boston
1819 The first US patent for a velocipede, a predecessor of the bicycle, was issued to William K. Clarkson Jr. of New York
1858 China and Britain sign the Treaty of Tianjin, bringing a temporary end to the Second Opium War
1870 In Atlantic City, New Jersey, the world’s first oceanside boardwalk is completed
1886 Henri Moissan isolated the element fluorine for the first time, after many unsuccessful attempts
1894 The first US patent for a gasoline-driven automobile was issued to Karl Benz of Germany
1900 Surgeon-General George M. Sternberg formed a commission to fight against the cause and spread of the deadly yellow fever disease
1925 The Gold Rush, Charlie Chaplin’s epic comedy set in Alaska, opens in US movie theaters
1927 The Cyclone roller coaster opens on Coney Island
1931 William Powell and Carole Lombard marry
1933 “The Kraft Music Hall” premiered on the NBC Radio Network
1934 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Federal Credit Union Act, which establishes credit unions
1937 Mary Pickford and Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers wed
1947 The Ghost and Mrs. Muir starring Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney opens in US movie theaters
1948 The Western allies start an airlift to Berlin after the Soviet Union has blockaded West Berlin
1949 Fred Allen’s final broadcast of his popular radio program with special guest and “feud” target, Jack Benny
1959 The Saint Lawrence Seaway opens, opening North America’s Great Lakes to ocean-going ships
1963 John Lennon and Paul McCartney compose “She Loves You” at their hotel room in Newcastle-upon-Tyne
1963 President John F. Kennedy is received enthusiastically by the residents of West Berlin, divided from the eastern half of the city by the Berlin Wall, when he tells them, “Ich bin ein Berliner”
1964 Ernest Borgnine and Ethel Merman are married; they would divorce one year later
1964 The Beatles album “A Hard Day’s Night” is released in the US
1974 The Universal Product Code is scanned for the first time to sell a package of Wrigley’s chewing gum at the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, OH
1976 The CN tower in Toronto, Canada, the world’s tallest self-supporting structure, opened to the public; at a height of 1815 feet 5 inches it is the tallest free-standing structure in the world
1977 Elvis Presley’s final concert took place at Market Square Arena, Indianapolis
1979 Muhammad Ali retires
1981 Four very different movies open in US theaters – Stripes, Dragonslayer, For Your Eyes Only and The Great Muppet Caper
1987 “What is your major malfunction, numbnuts?” Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket opens in US movie theaters
1989 Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith wed for the second time; they would divorce in 1996
1996 Irish Journalist Veronica Guerin is shot in her car while in traffic in the outskirts of Dublin
2000 The completion of a working draft reference DNA sequence of the human genome was announced at the White House by President Bill Clinton, and representatives from the Human Genome Project and the private company Celera Genomics
2003 The US Supreme Court rules that sodomy laws are unconstitutional in Lawrence v. Texas
2006 Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride officially re-opens to guests with the characters Captain Jack Sparrow and Barbosa added to the attraction
2006 The Republic of Montenegro becomes the 192nd member of the United Nations

1824 Lord Kelvin (William Thomson), influential physicist, mathematician and engineer who has been described as a Newton of his era; the name he made for himself was more than just a temperature scale for his activities ranged from being the brains behind the laying of a transatlantic telephone cable, to attempting to calculate the age of the earth from its rate of cooling
1898 Willy Messerschmitt, aircraft engineer and designer; in 1944 he produced the Me262 fighter, the first jet plane flown in combat
1902 William P. Lear, self-taught electrical engineer who is best known for the Lear Jet Corporation he founded, the world’s first mass-producer of business jet aircraft
1904 Peter Lorre, actor (M, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, Arsenic and Old Lace, Silk Stockings, The Comedy of Terrors)
1909 Wolfgang “Woolie” Reitherman, Walt Disney director and animator – one of Disney’s “nine old men” (One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, The Jungle Book, The Rescuers)
1910 Roy J. Plunkett, chemist and inventor of Teflon
1914 Lyman Spitzer, Jr., astrophysicist who advanced knowledge of physical processes in interstellar space and pioneered efforts to harness nuclear fusion as a clean energy source
1928 Yoshiro NakaMats, inventor who holds over 3,000 patents, making him the world’s most prolific inventor; his inventions include the floppy disk, the CD and digital watch
1945 Dwight York (also known as Dr. Malachi Z. York), author, black supremacist leader, musician, and convicted child molester, who founded various esoteric fraternal orders and black nationalist groups collectively referred to as Nuwaubians
1955 Gedde Watanabe, actor (Sixteen Candles, Volunteers, Gung Ho, That Thing You Do!, ER)
1956 Chris Isaak, rock musician, songwriter and occasional actor (“Wicked Game,” “Somebody’s Crying,” “Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing”)
1959 Mark McKinney, writer and actor (Slings & Arrows, The Kids in the Hall, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Superstar)
1970 Chris O’Donnell, actor (The Three Musketeers, Circle of Friends, Batman & Robin, Vertical Limit, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl)
1970 Sean Hayes, Emmy Award-winning actor (Will & Grace, The Bucket List, The Cat in the Hat, Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss)
1980 Jason Schwartzman, actor (Rushmore, Slackers, I Heart Huckabees, Bewitched, The Darjeeling Limited, The Fantastic Mr. Fox)

1541 Francisco Pizarro González, 1st Marqués de los Atabillos, conquistador, conqueror of the Inca Empire and founder of Lima, the modern-day capital of Peru is assassinated in Peru at 65
1834 Sir Gilbert Blane, physician who, when head of the Navy Medical Board, required a diet including lemon juice on navy vessels, which virtually eliminating scurvy and its significant lost manpower due to sickness of sailors; he also improved sanitary conditions in the Navy by providing supplies of soap and medicines, and was involved with designing rules that were precursors to modern quarantine conditions, dies at 85
2001 Soccer, canine actor who became famous portraying the talking dog Wishbone in the PBS TV series of the same name, dies at 13
2003 Strom Thurmond, Senator from South Carolina (December 24, 1954 – April 4, 1956, November 7, 1956 – January 3, 2003), 103rd Governor of South Carolina (1947-1951), President pro tempore of the United States Senate (1981-87, 1985-2001); he supported racial segregation with the longest filibuster ever conducted by a single Senator, speaking for 24 hours and 18 minutes in an unsuccessful attempt to derail the Civil Rights Act of 1957, dies at 100
2003 Sir Dennis Thatcher MBE, businessman, and the husband of the former British Prime Minister, Baroness Thatcher, dies at 88
2005 Richard Whiteley, OBE DL, television presenter and journalist who was most famous for his 23-year stint as presenter of Countdown, a letters and numbers arrangement game show broadcast daily, dies at 61
2007 Liz Claiborne, fashion designer and entrepreneur who was the first woman to become chairperson and CEO of a Fortune 500 company, dies at 78

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