Fun Facts for Today – February 23

February 23

It’s International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day and Tennis Day

1445 Traditional date for the publication of the Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed from movable type
1792 The Humane Society of Massachusetts was incorporated
1821 The Philadelphia College of Apothecaries established the first pharmacy college
1836 The Siege of the Alamo begins
1847 US General Zachary Taylor was victorious over Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna in the Battle of Buena Vista
1870 Mississippi is formally readmitted to the Union
1886 Charles M. Hall completed his invention of aluminum
1893 Rudolf Diesel received a German patent for the diesel engine
1896 The Tootsie Roll was introduced by Leo Hirshfield
1903 Cuba leases Guantanamo Bay to the US “in perpetuity”
1904 For $10 million the United States gains control of the Panama Canal Zone
1905 The Rotary Club was founded in Chicago, IL
1919 The Fascist Party was formed in Italy by Benito Mussolini
1927 The Federal Radio Commission (later renamed the Federal Communications Commission) begins to regulate the use of radio frequencies
1940 Woody Guthrie writes one of his best-known songs, “This Land is Your Land”
1941 Plutonium was first produced and isolated by Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg
1945 During the Battle of Iwo Jima, a group of US Marines and a commonly forgotten US Navy Corpsman, reach the top of Mount Suribachi on the island and are photographed raising the American flag; the photo would later win a Pulitzer Prize
1954 The first mass inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine began in Pittsburgh, PA
1955 Davy Crockett At the Alamo, the third installment of the Davy Crockett trilogy, airs on ABC-TV’s Disneyland
1960 Wrecking crews began to demolish Ebbets Field, the venerable home of the Brooklyn Dodgers
1964 Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color airs the third and final episode of The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh
1964 Transmission of a third Ed Sullivan Show performance (recorded 9 February 1964); The Beatles become the first artists performing three times for the program
1965 Amicus Productions Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Donald Sutherland opens in the UK
1970 Ringo Starr guest starred on Laugh-In; it was his first solo TV appearance
1972 Elvis and Priscilla Presley separated
1984 President Ronald Reagan said about an unidentified aide: “They tell me I’m the most powerful man in the world. I don’t believe that. Over there in the White House someplace, there’s a fellow that puts a piece of paper on my desk every day that tells me what I’m going to be doing every 15 minutes. He’s the most powerful man in the world.”
1993 Gary Coleman won a $1,280,000 lawsuit against his parents
1998 Osama bin Laden publishes a fatwa declaring jihad against all Jews and Crusaders

1633 Samuel Pepys, English naval administrator and man of letters, posthumously famous as a diarist
1685 George Frideric Handel, Baroque composer who is famous for his operas, oratorios and concerti grossi; his most famous works are Messiah, Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks
1868 W.E.B. DuBois, civil rights activist, leader, Pan-Africanist, sociologist, educator, historian, writer, editor, poet, and scholar; his most significant written works are The Philadelphia Negro (1899), The Souls of Black Folk (1903), John Brown (1909), Black Reconstruction (1935), and Black Folk, Then and Now (1939)
1883 Victor Fleming, Academy Award-winning director (Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
1884 Casimir Funk, biochemist who coined the term “vitamine”
1899 Norman Taurog, Academy Award-winning director (Skippy, Boys Town, Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine)
1904 William L. Shirer, journalist and historian (The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, The Sinking of the Bismarck, The Collapse of the Third Republic)
1904 Terence Fisher, director best remembered for his work at Hammer Films (Dracula(1958), The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), The Devil Rides Out)
1915 Paul Tibbets, US Air Force retired Brigadier General and Pilot of B-29 “Enola Gay” over Hiroshima
1924 Allan MacLeod Cormack, physicist who formulated the mathematical algorithms that made possible the development of a powerful new diagnostic technique, the cross-sectional X-ray imaging process known as computerized axial tomography (CAT) scanning
1932 Majel Barrett Roddenberry, actress (Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry’s Earth: Final Conflict)
1940 Peter Fonda, actor (3:10 to Yuma, Ghost Rider, Easy Rider, The Trip)
1944 Bernard Cornwell OBE, historical novelist whose best known books feature the adventures of Richard Sharpe
1944 John Sandford, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling novelist best known for his Prey series of novels
1948 Doug Moench, comic book writer (Batman Elseworlds, Moon Knight)
1967 Tamsin Greig, actress (Black Books, Neverwhere, Green Wing, Shaun of the Dead)
1976 Kelly Macdonald, actress (Trainspotting, State of Play, Gosford Park, Finding Neverland, A Cock and Bull Story)
1983 Emily Blunt, actress (The Devil Wears Prada, Charlie Wilson’s War, The Jane Austen Book Club)
1994 Dakota Fanning, actress (War of the Worlds, Taken, Man on Fire)

1821 John Keats, poet (“Endymion”, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, “To Autumn”) dies of tuberculosis at 25
1848 John Quincy Adams, diplomat, politician, and the sixth President of the United States (1825–1829), dies at 80
1908 Friedrich von Esmarch, surgeon who was the first to introduce a first-aid kit and triage on the battlefield, dies at 85
1948 John Robert Gregg, inventor of a popular shorthand system named for him, dies at 80
1957 Dr. John F. Mahoney, physician who developed penicillin treatment of syphilis, dies at 67
1965 Stan Laurel, legendary comedic actor (Saps at Sea, Our Relations, Bonnie Scotland), dies at 74
1995 James Herriot (James Alfred Wight OBE), veterinary surgeon and writer best known for his semi-autobiographical stories, often referred to collectively as All Creatures Great and Small, a title used for the film and TV adaptations, dies at 78
2000 Ofra Haza, singer-actress (The Prince of Egypt, “Im Nin’Alu”), dies at 42

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