Fun Facts for Today – January 31

January 31

It’s National Popcorn Day and Child Labor Day



1606 Gunpowder Plot: Guy Fawkes is executed for his plotting against Parliament and James I of England.

1747 The first venereal diseases clinic opens at London Lock Hospital.
1846 After the Milwaukee Bridge War, Juneautown and Kilbourntown unified as the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
1848 John C. Fremont court-martialed on grounds of mutiny and disobeying orders.
1849 Corn Laws are abolished in the United Kingdom (following legislation in 1846).
1862 Alvan Graham Clark discovers the white dwarf star Sirius B, a companion of Sirius, through an eighteen inch telescope at Northwestern University.
1865 American Civil War: Confederate General Robert E. Lee becomes general-in-chief.
1876 The United States orders all Native Americans to move into reservations.
1917 World War I: Germany announces its U-boats will engage in unrestricted submarine warfare.
1918 A series of accidental collisions on a misty Scottish night leads to the loss of two Royal Navy submarines with over a hundred lives, and damage to another five British warships.
1919 The Battle of George Square takes place in Glasgow, Scotland.
1929 The Soviet Union exiles Leon Trotsky.
1930 3M begins marketing Scotch Tape.
1943 German Field Marshall Friedrich Paulus surrenders to the Soviets at Stalingrad, followed 2 days later by the remainder of his Sixth Army, ending one of World War II’s fiercest battles.
1944 World War II: American forces land on Kwajalein Atoll and other islands in the Japanese-held Marshall Islands.
1944 World War II: During Anzio campaign 1st Ranger Battalion (Darby’s Rangers) is destroyed behind enemy lines in a heavily outnumbered encounter at Battle of Cisterna, Italy.
1945 US Army private Eddie Slovik is executed for desertion, the first such execution of an American soldier since the Civil War.
1946 Yugoslavia’s new constitution, modeling the Soviet Union, establishes six constituent republics (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia).
1950 President Harry S. Truman announces a program to develop the hydrogen bomb.
1957 Martin Landau and Barbara Bain are married; they would divorce in 1993
1957 Eight people on the ground in Pacoima, California are killed following the mid-air collision between a Douglas DC-7 airliner and a Northrop F-89 Scorpion fighter jet.
1958 Explorer program: Explorer 1 – The first successful launch of an American satellite into orbit.
1958 James Van Allen discovers the Van Allen radiation belt.
1961 Project Mercury: Mercury-Redstone 2 – Ham the Chimp travels into outer space.
1966 The Soviet Union launches the unmanned Luna 9 spacecraft as part of the Luna program.
1968 Viet Cong attack the United States embassy in Saigon, and other attacks, in the early morning hours, later grouped together as the Tet Offensive.
1970 A Saskatchewan Court convicts 17-year-old hippie David Milgaard of murder; he is sentenced to life in prison. He spent 23 years in jail until April 14, 1992 when DNA evidence proved him innocent of all charges.
1971 Apollo program: Apollo 14 Mission – Astronauts Alan Shepard, Stuart Roosa, and Edgar Mitchell, aboard a Saturn V, lift off for a mission to the Fra Mauro Highlands on the Moon.
1990 The first McDonald’s in the Soviet Union opens in Moscow.
1995 President Bill Clinton authorizes a $20 billion loan to Mexico to stabilize its economy.
2000 Alaska Airlines flight 261 MD-83, experiencing horizontal stabilizer problems, crashes in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Point Mugu, California, killing all 88 persons aboard.
2001 In the Netherlands a Scottish court convicts a Libyan and acquits another for their part in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 which crashed into Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.
2007 Suspects are arrested in Birmingham in the UK, accused of plotting the kidnap, holding and eventual beheading of a serving Muslim British soldier in Iraq.


1797 Franz Schubert, Austrian composer (d. 1828)
1872 Zane Grey, American Western writer (d. 1939)
1881 Anna Pavlova, Russian ballerina (d. 1931)
1892 Eddie Cantor, American actor and singer (d. 1964)
1902 Tallulah Bankhead, American actress (d. 1968)
1919 Jackie Robinson, American baseball player, and the first black player in Major League Baseball
1921 John Agar, American actor
1921 Carol Channing, American actress and singer
1921 Mario Lanza, American singer (d. 1959)
1923 Norman Mailer, American writer and journalist
1929 Jean Simmons, English actress
1934 James Franciscus, American actor
1937 Philip Glass, American composer
1937 Suzanne Pleshette, American actress
1941 Jessica Walter, American actress
1942 Derek Jarman, British director and writer
1944 Charlie Musselwhite, American musician
1947 Jonathan Banks, American actor
1947 Nolan Ryan, American baseball player
1956 John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten, English singer (Sex Pistols, Public Image Ltd.)
1959 Anthony LaPaglia, Australian actor
1959 Kelly Lynch, American actress
1960 Grant Morrison, British comic author
1961 Lloyd Cole, British singer
1970 Minnie Driver, British actress
1981 Justin Timberlake, American singer
1983 James Sutton, British television actor



1606 Guy Fawkes – Gunpowder Plot conspirators
1606 Ambrose Rokewood – Gunpowder Plot conspirators
1606 Thomas Wintour – Gunpowder Plot conspirators
1686 Jean Mairet, French dramatist
1720 Thomas Grey, 2nd Earl of Stamford, English privy councillor
1788 Charles Edward Stuart, the exiled Jacobite claimant to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland
1933 John Galsworthy, English writer, Nobel laureate
1945 Eddie Slovik, American soldier
1954 Edwin Howard Armstrong, American electrical engineer and inventor of the FM radio
1955 John Mott, American YMCA leader, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
1956 A. A. Milne, English author
1969 Meher Baba, Indian guru (b. 1894)
1974 Samuel Goldwyn, Polish-born film studio executive
1989 William Stephenson, Canadian spymaster
2000 Gil Kane, Latvian-born comic book writer
2001 Gordon R. Dickson, Canadian writer
2006 Moira Shearer, Scottish actress (The Red Shoes) and ballerina
2007 Molly Ivins, American political columnist and author

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