Fun Facts for Today

June 29

It’s Waffle Iron Day and Camera Day


1613 The original Globe Theatre in London burns down accidentally when a cannon discharged during a performance of William Shakespeare’s Henry VIII sets fire to the building’s thatched roof
1916 For his role in seeking German help for the Easter Rebellion in Ireland, Irish nationalist and longtime British diplomat Sir Roger Casement is executed by Britain for treason
1863 George Custer is appointed as a US Union brigadier-general
1954 The US Atomic Energy Commission refuses to reinstate the security clearance of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb,” citing his past ties to Communists
1956 At the US Olympic Trials in Los Angeles, Glenn Davis breaks the 50-second barrier in the 400-meter hurdles on the same day that Charles Dumas becomes the first man to high jump seven feet
1956 The US Congress passes the Federal Highway Act, which provides for the construction of 68,000 km (42,500 mi) of interstate highways, based on a plan announced by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in June 1954
1956 The King and I starring Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr opens in US movie theaters
1979 The movies Meatballs and Moonraker opens in US theaters
1984 The movies Conan the Destroyer, Cannonball Run II and Bachelor Party all open in US theaters
1994 The first near-complete fossil of a pygmy mammoth skeleton was found in rapidly eroding sea cliffs on Santa Rosa Island, one of the Channel Islands of California
1995 The shuttle Atlantis and the Russian space station Mir docked, forming the largest man-made satellite ever to orbit the Earth
2005 Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are married
2006 Google Inc. introduced an online payment service to rival PayPal
2007 Apple Inc. released the iPhone for the United States market

1818 Pietro Angelo Secchi, Jesuit priest and astrophysicist, who made the first survey of the spectra of over 4000 stars and suggested that stars be classified according to their spectral type
1903 Alan Dower Blumlein, electronics engineer whose 128 patents contributed greatly in a wide field of electronics, including mono and stereo sound reproduction and sound recording, as well as high-definition radar, telephony and electrical measurements
1911 Bernard Herrmann, Academy Award-winning composer (The Devil and Daniel Webster, Citizen Kane, Anna and the King of Siam, Taxi Driver, Psycho)
1915 Ruth Warrick, actress (All My Children, Peyton Place, Song of the South, Citizen Kane)
1919 Slim Pickens, character actor (One-Eyed Jacks, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Major Dundee, The Flim-Flam Man, Blazing Saddles)
1920 Ray Harryhausen, Academy Award-winning American film producer and, most notably, a special effects creator most famous for his brand of stop-motion model animation (Mighty Joe Young, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, Jason and the Argonauts)
1944 Gary Busey, actor (The Buddy Holly Story, Lethal Weapon, Point Break, Under Siege, Predator 2, The Firm)
1948 Fred Grandy, Iowa congressman (1986-1995) and actor (The Love Boat, Blind Ambition, The Lincoln Conspiracy, Death Race 2000)

1852 Henry Clay, 9th United States Secretary of State (1825-1829), 8th, 10th & 13th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Senator from Kentucky (1806-1807, 1810-1811, 1831-1842, 1849-1852), member of the House of Representatives (1811-1814, 1815-1821, 1823-1825), dies at 75
1861 Elizabeth Barrett Browning, one of the most respected poets of the Victorian era; among her best known lyrics is Sonnets from the Portuguese, dies at 55
1933 Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle, director, writer, comedian, actor, film pioneer (Brewster’s Millions, Leap Year, The Butcher Boy), dies of a heart attack at 46
1940 Paul Klee , painter, dies at age 60, succumbing to the skin and muscle disease that forced him to adopt a simpler style in his final works
1967 Jayne Mansfield, actress and sexual icon of the 1950’s and 1960’s (Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, The Girl Can’t Help It) was killed at the age of 34 in a road accident
1975 Tim Buckley, experimental vocalist and musician who incorporated jazz, psychedelia, funk, soul, and avant-garde rock in a career spanning the late 1960s and early 1970s, dies of a heroin overdose at 28
1978 Bob Crane, actor (Hogan’s Heroes, Gus, Superdad), was murdered at 49
1982 Henry King, director whose career spanned half a century (Tol’able David, Sonny Boy, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Twelve O’Clock High, Carousel), dies at 96
1995 Lana Turner, actress (Falcon Crest, Imitation of Life, Peyton Place, The Bad and the Beautiful, The Three Musketeers), dies at 74
1997 William Hickey, busy character actor (Mousehunt, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Little Big Man, Prizzi’s Honor), dies at 69
2002 Rosemary Clooney, singer and actress, who is best remembered for singing traditional pop music in the 1940’s and 1950’s with songs like “Come On-a My House”, dies at 74
2003 Katharine Hepburn, 4-time Academy Award-winning actress (On Golden Pond, The Lion in Winter, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Morning Glory), dies at 96
2007 Joel Siegel, film critic for the ABC morning news show Good Morning America for over 25 years, dies at 63
2007 Fred Saberhagen, science fiction and fantasy fiction author most famous for his Berserker series of science fiction stories, dies at 77

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