Fun Facts for Today – February 11

February 11

It’s Don’t Cry over Spilled Milk Day and Make a Friend Day and White T-Shirt Day


1531 Henry VIII of England is recognized as supreme head of the Church of England
1602 John Donne is thrown into prison for secretly marrying Sir George More’s daughter; also imprisoned are the man who married them and the man who gave away the bride
1752 The Pennsylvania Hospital, the first in America, opened in Philadelphia through the indefatigible efforts of Benjamin Franklin
1794 First session of United States Senate opens to the public
1805 Sacajawea gives birth to Jean-Baptist Charbonneau while leading the Lewis and Clark Expedition
1809 Robert Fulton patented his steamboat in the US
1861 United States House of Representatives unanimously passes a resolution guaranteeing noninterference with slavery in any state
1916 Bandelier National Monument was proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson. Located near Los Alamos, NM
1922 The use of insulin to treat diabetes in a dog was announced in their first paper published on the subject by the Canadian surgeon Frederick Banting and his assistant Charles Best
1928 The La-Z-Boy reclining chair was invented by Ed Shoemaker and his cousin Edward Knabusch
1929 The vatican declares itself separate from Italy
1929 Abel Gance’s silent masterpiece, Napoléon, receives its US premiere in New York City
1932 The Mickey Mouse short The Grocery Boy is released in the US
1936 Charlie Chaplin’s farewell to The Tramp, Modern Times, is released in the UK
1938 Disney’s Donald Duck cartoon Self Control is released in the US
1938 BBC Television produces the world’s first ever science fiction television program, an adaptation of a section of the Karel Capek play R.U.R., which coined the term “robot”
1939 The journal Nature published a theoretical paper on nuclear fission; the term was coined by the authors Lise Meitner and Otto Fritsch, her nephew
1941 First Gold record is presented to Glenn Miller for “Chattanooga Choo Choo”
1943 General Dwight David Eisenhower was selected to command the allied armies in Europe
1950 Mutiny on the Bunny starring Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam opens in the US
1954 The largest light bulb, rated at 75,000-watts, was lit at the Rockefeller Center in New York, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Edison’s first light bulb
1956 For his third appearance on CBS-TV Dorsey Brothers Stage Show, Elvis Presley is finally permitted to perform “Heartbreak Hotel”
1960 Host Jack Paar walked off The Tonight Show, when NBC-TV censors blocked a joke about a “water closet”
1963 The CIA Domestic Operations Division is created
1963 In just under ten hours, the Beatles record all ten tracks for their debut LP; John Lennon is suffereing with a cold and by the time the band gets to the last song of the session, “Twist and Shout,” his hoarseness is noticible but, nevertheless, they nail it in one take
1965 Ringo Starr marries Maureen Cox in London’s Caxton Hall Register Office, with manager Brian Epstein as best man
1967 The Monkees album “More of the Monkees” hits number one in the US
1970 Japan became the fourth country to put a satellite into orbit with the launch of Osumi 5
1970 Variety reported that Walt Disney had secretly taken its Song of the South movie out of circulation back in 1958
1970 Hammer Films Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed is released in the US
1972 At a concert in Tollworth, England, David Bowie performs as Ziggy Stardust for the first time
1973 The first release of American prisoners of war from Vietnam takes place
1978 The American bald eagle is put on the endangered species list
1978 The People’s Republic of China lifts a ban on works by Aristotle, Shakespeare and Dickens
1979 ABC airs their TV-movie Elvis starring Kurt Russell
1979 Islamic revolution of Iran achieved victory by leadership of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
1990 Nelson Mandela is released from prison after 27 years of incarceration
1994 The rBGH genetically engineered growth hormone for cows goes on sale to dairy farmers
2006 Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shoots Harry Whittington in the face while the two are hunting together

1466 Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII of England
1657 Bernard Le Bovier, sieur de Fontenelle, scientist and author, whose Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds (1686), was one of the first works to present science for the lay reader
1766 Henry Fourdrinier, inventor of paper-making machinery known by his name
1786 James Cowles Prichard, physician and ethnologist who was among the first to argue that a single human species embraces all the world’s races
1800 William Henry Fox Talbot, mathematician, physicist, chemist who invented the negative-positive photographic process
1821 Auguste Mariette, archaeologist who conducted major excavations throughout Egypt, revealing much about the earlier periods of Egyptian history
1839 J. Willard Gibbs, mathematical physicist and chemist known for contributions to vector analysis and as one of the founders of physical chemistry
1847 Thomas Edison, inventor who, singly or jointly, held a world record 1,093 patents
1908 Sir Vivian Ernest Fuchs, geologist and explorer who initiated and led (with Sir Edmund Hillary) the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1957-58
1909 Joseph Mankiewicz, four-time Academy Award-winning director and screenwriter (All About Eve, A Letter to Three Wives, Sleuth, Cleopatra)
1915 Richard Hamming, mathematician who devised computer Hamming codes – error-detecting and correcting codes
1917 Sidney Sheldon, novelist and Academy Award-winning screenwriter, created TV’s I Dream of Jeannie (The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, Rage of Angels, The Other Side of Midnight)
1919 Eva Gabor, actress (Green Acres, Captain Kidd and the Slave Girl, Gigi)
1920 Billy Halop, actor (Dead End, Angels with Dirty Faces, They Made Me a Criminal)
1926 Leslie Nielsen, actor (Forbidden Planet, The Reluctant Astronaut, Airplane!)
1934 Tina Louise, actress (Gilligan’s Island, God’s Little Acre, The Wrecking Crew)
1935 Gene Vincent, musician (“Be-Bop-a-Lula”, “Race With The Devil”)
1936 Burt Reynolds, actor/director (Gunsmoke, Deliverance, The Longest Yard, Smokey and the Bandit)
1939 Jane Yolen, Caldecott Medal and Nebula Award-winning author (The Pit Dragon Trilogy, Briar Rose)
1969 Jennifer Aniston, actress (Friends, Leprechaun, Office Space, Iron Giant)

1650 René Descartes, mathematician, scientist, and “the father of modern philosophy” whose most famous quote is “I think, therefore I am” dies at 53
1868 Jean-Bernard-Léon Foucault, physicist whose Foucault Pendulum experimentally proved that the Earth rotates on its axis, dies at 48
1914 Alexander Ross Clarke, geodesist with the Army Ordnance Survey who made calculations of the size and shape of the Earth (the Clarke ellipsoid) were the first to approximate accepted modern values with respect to both polar flattening and equatorial radius, dies at 85
1925 Jean C. Havez, screenwriter (Safety Last!, Sherlock Jr., The Navigator), dies at 52
1931 Sir Charles Algernon Parsons, engineer whose invention of a multi-stage steam turbine revolutionized marine propulsion, dies at 76
1943 Bess Houdini, widow and stage assistant of Harry Houdini, dies at 68
1963 Sylvia Plath, writer (The Bell Jar), succeeds in committing suicide on her third try at 30
1969 Michael Reeves, writer/director (Witchfinder General, The Sorcerers) dies of an accidental barbiturate overdose at 25
1976 Alexander M. Lippisch, aerodynamicist whose designs of tailless and delta-winged aircraft in the 1920s and 1930s were important in the development of high-speed jet and rocket airplanes, dies at 81
1976 Lee J. Cobb, character actor (The Exorcist, The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing, Our Man Flint), dies at 64
1983 Nathan Kline, psychiatrist who is credited with founding the field of psychopharmacology, dies at 66
1985 Ben L. Abruzzo, balloonist who, with three crew mates, made the first transpacific balloon flight hat was also the longest nonstop balloon flight, dies at 54
1986 Frank Herbert, Hugo Award-winning author (The Dune saga, The Dragon in the Sea), dies at 65
1993 Robert William Holley, biochemist, who was a co-winner of the 1968 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine (with H. Gobind Khorana and Marshall W. Nirenberg) for research that helped to decipher the genetic code chemically and explain how the genetic information stored in the DNA of a cell controls the synthesis of proteins, the building blocks of cells, dies at 71
1994 Sir Vincent Wigglesworth, entomologist, who contributed in the study of insect physiology, dies at 94
1994 Sorrell Booke, actor (The Dukes of Hazzard, Freaky Friday, Slaughterhouse-Five), dies at 64
1996 Brian Daley, author who also wrote under the pseudonym “Jack McKinney” with James Luceno (Robotech, NPR adaptations of the Star Wars trilogy, The Adventures of Hobart Floyt and Alacrity Fitzhugh) dies at 48
1997 Barry Evans, actor (Doctor in the House, Doctor at Large, Mind Your Language), dies at 53
1998 Buddy the Dog, actor (Air Bud, Full House), dies of cancer at 10
2000 Roger Vadim, actor, director, writer, and producer (And God Created Woman, Barbarella), dies at 72
2002 Barry Foster, actor (The Family Way, Inspector Clouseau, Sweeney!, Frenzy, Van der Valk), dies at 74
2005 Jack L. Chalker, author (The Saga of the Well World series, The Watchers at the Well series, The Soul Rider series), dies at 60
2005 Samuel W. Alderson, physicist and engineer who invented the crash-test dummy, dies at 90
2006 Peter Benchley, writer (Jaws, The Island, The Beast, The Deep), dies at 65

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