Fun Facts for Today – February 22

February 22

It’s George Washington’s Birthday, Be Humble Day, Walking the Dog Day, AND International World Thinking Day!


1295BC The coronation of Ramses II; he is often regarded as Egypt’s greatest and most powerful pharaoh
1630 Popcorn was introduced to the English colonists by an Indian named Quadequina who brought it in deerskin bags as his contribution at their first Thanksgiving dinner
1819 The United States acquires Florida from Spain under an accord signed by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams and Spanish Minister Don Luis de Onis
1860 Organized baseball’s first game was played in San Francisco, CA
1862 Jefferson Davis is officially inaugurated for a six-year term as the President of the Confederate States of America in Richmond, VA
1865 Tennessee adopted a new constitution that abolished slavery
1876 John Hopkins University was established in Maryland
1879 F.W. Woolworth opens up his first five and dime store in Utica, NY
1886 The Times of London becomes the first British newspaper to institute a personal column on its classified page
1889 President Grover Cleveland signs a bill admitting North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Washington as US states
1892 Lady Windermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde, was first performed
1919 The first dog race track to use an imitation rabbit opened in Emeryville, CA
1923 The first successful chinchilla farm opened in Los Angeles, CA; it was the first farm of its kind in the US
1924 President Calvin Coolidge delivers the first presidential radio address from the White House
1934 Frank Capra’s romantic comedy It Happened One Night premieres in New York City
1935 The Little Colonel starring 6-year-old Shirley Temple opens in the US
1946 Dr. Selman Abraham Waksman announced his discovery of the antibiotic streptomycin, the first specific antibiotic effective against tuberculosis
1956 “Heartbreak Hotel” entered the music charts; this would be the first of many appearances on the charts for Elvis Presley
1959 Driver Lee Petty, in a 1959 Oldsmobile 88, wins the inaugural Daytona 500 motor race
1965 The Beatles and Eleanor Bron fly from London to Bahamas to film their second film, Help!
1980 The event dubbed “Miracle on Ice” occurred; the US Ice Hockey team defeated the team from the Soviet Union at the Winter Olympics
1984 A 12-year-old Houston boy known publicly only as “David,” who had spent most his life in a plastic bubble because he had no immunity to disease, died 15 days after being removed on February 7, 1984 from the bubble for a bone-marrow transplant
1986 MTV aired 22 hours of The Monkees TV episodes in celebration of their 20th anniversary
1987 The Wonderful World of Disney airs Parent Trap II starring Hayley Mills
1989 Milli Vanilli won a Grammy for Best New Artist
1996 Disney Online launches
1997 In Roslin, Scotland, scientists announce that an adult sheep named Dolly had been successfully cloned

1732 George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army (1775-1783), first President of the United States (1789-1797)
1778 Rembrandt Peale, artist best known for his portraits of such prominent Americans as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson
1788 Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher whose metaphysical theory is the foundation of his influential writings on psychology, aesthetics, ethics, and politics
1857 Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout Movement
1857 Heinrich Hertz, physicist who was the first to broadcast and receive radio waves; his main work was on electromagnetic waves and he was also the first to discover the photoelectric effect. The unit of frequency – one cycle per second – is named after him.
1892 Edna St. Vincent Millay, lyrical poet and playwright and the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (The Harp-Weaver, and Other Poems)
1899 Dwight Frye, character actor (Dracula, Dangerous Female, Frankenstein, Drums of Fu Manchu)
1900 Luis Buñuel, screenwriter-director and father of cinematic Surrealism (Un chien andalou, Viridiana, Belle de jour)
1900 Paul Kollsman, engineer who invented the world’s first accurate barometric altimeter that became vital to aviation safety
1902 Fritz Strassmann, physical chemist who, with Otto Hahn and Lise Mietner, discovered neutron-induced nuclear fission in uranium and thereby opened the field of atomic energy used both in the atomic bomb for war and in nuclear reactors to produce electricity
1907 Robert Young, three-time Emmy Award-winning actor (Father Knows Best, Marcus Welby, M.D., The Canterville Ghost)
1907 Sheldon Leonard, three-time Emmy Award-winning director-producer (My World and Welcome to It, Make Room for Daddy, I, Spy)
1908 Sir John Mills, Academy Award-winning actor (Ryan’s Daughter, This Happy Breed, Swiss Family Robinson, The Quatermass Conclusion)
1918 Don Pardo, radio and TV announcer (Saturday Night Live, Jeopardy!)
1925 Edward Gorey, writer and artist noted for his macabre illustrated books; won a Tony Award for Best Costume Design in 1977 for Dracula
1926 Bud Yorking, three-time Emmy Award-winning director-scriptwriter (The Jack Benny Program, An Evening with Fred Astaire, Start the Revolution Without Me)
1926 Kenneth Williams, actor (The Hound of the Baskervilles (1978), Tommy the Toreador, over 30 Carry On films)
1928 Bruce Forsyth, actor (Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Star!, Strictly Come Dancing)
1928 Paul Dooley, actor (Breaking Away, Runaway Bride, Happy Texas, My Boyfriend’s Back)
1929 James Hong, actor (Chinatown, Blade Runner, Big Trouble in Little China, Tango & Cash)
1930 Marni Nixon, actress-singer who dubbed the singing of Deborah Kerr’s Anna in The King and I (1956), Natalie Wood’s Maria in West Side Story (1961), and Audrey Hepburn’s Eliza in My Fair Lady (1964)
1932 Edward “Ted” Kennedy, politician, Senator from Massachusetts (1962-present)
1944 Jonathan Demme, Academy Award-winning director (The Silence of the Lambs, Spalding Gray’s Swimming to Cambodia, Something Wild, Stop Making Sense)
1944 Tucker Smallwood, actor (Enterprise, Malcolm & Eddie, Space: Above and Beyond, The Sarah Silverman Program)
1950 Julie Walters, actress (Harry Potter, Becoming Jane, Calendar Girls, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4)
1950 Ellen Greene, actress (Pushing Daisies, The Professional, Pump up the Volume, Talk Radio, Little Shop of Horrors)
1953 Nigel Planer, actor-writer-comedian (The Young Ones, Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather, The Comic Strip Presents…, Filthy Rich & Catflap)
1959 Kyle MacLachlan, actor (Twin Peaks, Dune, Blue Velvet, Desperate Housewives)
1962 Steve Irwin, former director of the Australia Zoo in Queensland, Australia, and host of Animal Planet’s series Crocodile Hunter
1968 Jeri Ryan, actress (Shark, Boston Public, Star Trek: Voyager, Dark Skies)
1969 Thomas Jane, actor (The Punisher, The Thin Red Line, The Mist, Stander)
1974 James Blunt, singer-songwriter-musician (“You’re Beautiful”, “Goodbye My Lover”)
1975 Drew Barrymore, actress-producer-high school dropout (E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Cat’s Eye, Batman Forever, Ever After)

1512 Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer after whom North and South America are named, dies at age 57
1925 Sir Thomas Clifford Allbutt, physician, the inventor of the short clinical thermometer, dies at 88
1945 Sara Josephine Baker, physician who was a pioneer in public health and child welfare in the US, dies at 71
1976 Florence Ballard, singer and one of the original lead singers of The Supremes, dies at 32
1987 Andy Warhol, artist who was a central figure in the movement known as Pop art, dies at 58
1995 Ed Flanders, three-time Emmy Award-winning actor (St. Elsewhere, Harry S. Truman: Plain Speaking, A Moon for the Misbegotten), dies at 60
2002 Chuck Jones, Academy Award-winning director-animator (The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics, Duck Amuck, What’s Opera, Doc?, One Froggy Evening), dies at 89
2002 Daniel Pearl, American journalist who was kidnapped and murdered at the age of 38
2005 Simone Simon, actress (The Devil and Daniel Webster, Cat People), dies at 94

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