Fun Facts for Today

June 30

It’s Meteor Day


1520 During the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs, Montezuma II is assassinated
1805 The US Congress organizes Michigan Territory
1839 Cinque leads a successful slave revolt on the ship Amistad
1859 French acrobat Charles Blondin, known as the Little Wonder, crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope
1864 President Abraham Lincoln grants Yosemite Valley to California for “public use, resort and recreation”
1879 The California Electric Light Company, was organized in San Francisco, becoming the first electric company in the US formed to produce and sell electricity
1882 Charles Guiteau is hanged in Washington, DC for the shooting death of President James Garfield
1886 Nineteen-year-old Arturo Toscanini makes an acclaimed conducting debut in Brazil as a substitute for the scheduled conductor of the opera Aïda
1894 The Tower Bridge across the River Thames in London was officially opened by the Prince of Wales
1896 The first US patent for an electric stove was patented by William.S. Hadaway, Jr. in New York City
1905 Albert Einstein publishes the article “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies”, where he introduces special relativity
1906 The United States Congress passes the Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drug Act
1908 The Tunguska impact event occurs in Siberia; the explosion was most likely caused by the air burst of a large meteoroid or comet fragment at an altitude of 3–6 miles above Earth’s surface
1910 The first trials in the US investigating the use of an airplane to drop bombs were conducted by pilot Glenn H. Curtiss
1921 President Warren Harding names former president William Howard Taft chief justice of the US Supreme Court
1934 In the “night of the long knives,” Adolf Hitler purges the National Socialist, or Nazi, party of its paramilitary stormtrooper wing, killing hundreds of the party’s most dedicated followers
1936 Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone with the Wind is published in the US
1946 The first US atomic bomb dropped from an airplane over water was named “Able,” a part of Operation Crossroads
1948 The telephone recording devices were first authorized for public use in the US; to comply with the Federal Communications Commission regulations, when the devices were being used, a periodic “beep” tone signal was used to advise those on the telephone line that their conversations were being recorded
1948 The transistor was demonstrated by its inventors, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, scientists at the Bell Telephone Laboratory in Murray Hill, NJ
1953 The first laminated fiberglass-body sport car to be produced in the U.S. was the Chevrolet Corvette made at a General Motors factory in Flint, MI
1960 Congo gains independence from Belgium
1962 Ray Stevens’ novelty song, “Ahab the Arab,” was released in the US
1971 A Soviet space mission ended in tragedy when three cosmonauts aboard Soyuz 11 were found dead inside their spacecraft after it had returned to Earth; the cosmonauts were G.T. Dobrovolsky, V.J. Patsayev, and V.N. Volkov and died during re-entry after a 24-day mission in space
1971 The 26th Amendment to the US Constitution, lowering the voting age to 18, is ratified as Ohio became the 38th state to approve it
1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory starring Gene Wilder opens in US movie theaters
1972 The first leap second day, one second was added to the world’s time in order to keep the super-accurate atomic clocks in step with the Earth’s rotation
1973 A solar eclipse, predicted as the longest for 1,000 years, was observed by British, French and American scientists aboard the French prototype Concorde 001 supersonic aircraft on a flight from Las Palmas, Canaries to Fort Lamy, Chad
1976 The Clint Eastwood film The Outlaw Josey Wales opens in US movie theaters
1978 Willie McCovey becomes the 12th member of the 500 home run club with a home run at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, GA
1990 East and West Germany merge their economies
1993 Disney acquires the independent film production house Miramax Films
1995 “Houston, we have a problem.” Apollo 13 opens in US movie theaters
1997 China resumes sovereignty over the city-state of Hong Kong, ending 156 years of British colonial rule
2004 Spider-Man 2 opens in US movie theaters
2005 Spain legalizes same-sex marriage

1906 Anthony Mann, film director (Winchester ’73, God’s Little Acre, Cimarron, El Cid)
1917 Susan Hayward, Academy Award-winning actress (I Want to Live!, Valley of the Dolls, Demetrius and the Gladiators, I Married a Witch)
1917 Lena Horne, iconic singer and actress (Cabin in the Sky, Stormy Weather, Till the Clouds Roll By, The Wiz)
1934 Harry Blackstone Jr., stage magician, author, and television performer who received the Magician of the Year Award in 1979 and 1985
1942 Robert Ballard, oceanographer most noted for his work in underwater archaeology; he is most famous for the discoveries of the wrecks of the RMS Titanic in 1985, the battleship Bismarck in 1989, the wreck of the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown in 1998 and the wreck of John F. Kennedy’s PT-109 in 2003
1959 Vincent D’Onofrio, brilliant actor (Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Five Minutes, Mr. Welles, The Break-Up, The Cell, Happy Accidents, The Thirteenth Floor, Men in Black, The Newton Boys, The Whole Wide World, Strange Days, Ed Wood, The Player, Ed Wood, JFK, The Blood of Heroes, Mystic Pizza, Adventures in Babysitting, Full Metal Jacket)
1971 Monica Potter, actress (Boston Legal, Along Came a Spider, Saw, Con Air)

1993 George “Spanky” McFarland, child actor best remembered for his Our Gang/Little Rascals short films, dies at 64
1995 Gale Gordon, character actor (Our Miss Brooks, Dennis the Menace, The Lucy Show, Here’s Lucy), dies at 89
2003 Buddy Hackett, nightclub comic, actor (God’s Little Acre, The Music Man, It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World), dies at 78
2003 Robert McCloskey, author and illustrator of children’s books (Make Way for Ducklings, Blueberries for Sal), dies at 88

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