Fun Facts for Today – February 26

February 26

It’s Carnival Day


1797 The Bank of England issues the first one-pound and two-pound notes
1815 Napoleon escapes from the island of Elba; he then began his second conquest of France
1863 President Abraham Lincoln signs the National Banking Act into law that established a system of national charters for banks
1870 New York City’s first pneumatic-powered subway line was opened to the public
1907 The US Congress raised their own pay to $7500
1919 Congress approved An Act to Establish the Lafayette National Park at Mt. Desert Island on the coast of Maine; the park, expanded and renamed Acadia National Park in 1929, was the first national park east of the Mississippi
1919 The Grand Canyon was established as a National Park by an act of the US Congress
1935 The Luftwaffe is reformed
1935 The feasibility of radar (RAdio Detection And Ranging) was demonstrated to Air Ministry officials at Daventry, England, by Robert Watson-Watt, a Scottish physicist
1938 The delightful screwball comedy A Slight Case of Murder starring Edward G. Robinson opens in the US
1944 Chuck Jones’ Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears opens in the US
1952 United Kingdom Prime Minister Winston Churchill announces that his nation has an atomic bomb
1955 Billboard reported that the 45rpm single format was outselling the 78s for the first time
1956 Sylvia Plath meets Ted Hughes: “The one man in the room who was as big as his poems, huge…. I screamed in myself, thinking oh, to give myself crashing, fighting, to you.”
1966 The first Saturn 1B rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral, FL on an unmanned suborbital test flight in the Apollo moon program
1971 Secretary-General U Thant signs United Nations proclamation of the vernal equinox as Earth Day
1987 Capitol Records released the first four Beatles albums on CD
1988 John Waters’ campy Hairspray, starring Divine, Sonny Bono, Mink Stole, and Ricki Lake, opened in US theaters
1988 Jean-Claude Van Damme’s break-out film Bloodsport opens in the US
1991 Tim Berners-Lee introduces WorldWideWeb, the first web browser
1992 The Yankee Atomic Electric Company’s nuclear reactor was permanently shut down due to reactor vessel embrittlement, after more than 31 years of service
1993 In New York City, a truck bomb parked below the North Tower of the World Trade Center goes off, killing six and injuring over a thousand
1993 Robert Rodriguez’s directoral debut El Mariachi opens in the US
1995 Grand opening ceremonies begin for Disneyland’s newest attraction, Indiana Jones Adventure
1995 The United Kingdom’s oldest investment banking firm, Barings Bank collapses after a securities broker, Nick Leeson, loses $1.4 billion by speculating on the Singapore International Monetary Exchange using futures contracts
2001 The Taliban destroy two giant Buddha statues in Bamyan, Afghanistan
2006 The world’s estimated population reaches 6.5 billion

1564 Christopher Marlowe, English dramatist, poet, and translator of the Elizabethan era
1802 Victor Hugo, poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights campaigner, and perhaps the most influential exponent of the Romantic movement in France (Les Misérables, The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
1829 Levi Strauss, inventor and manufacturer of jeans, he was one of the best-known beneficiaries of California’s gold rush economic boom
1846 William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, soldier, bison hunter and showman who was one of the most colorful figures of the Old West
1852 John Harvey Kellogg, physician and health-food pioneer whose development of dry breakfast cereals was largely responsible for the creation of the flaked-cereal industry
1866 Herbert Henry Dow, pioneer in the American chemical industry and founder of the Dow Chemical Company
1887 William Frawley, actor (I Love Lucy, The Lemon Drop Kid, Professor Beware, The Farmer’s Daughter)
1907 Dub Taylor, character actor (appeared in dozens of B-westerns in the 1940’s and 50’s, The Shakiest Gun in the West, The Wild Bunch, Junior Bonner)
1908 Tex Avery, director-animator who created the cartoon characters Daffy Duck, Droopy, Screwy Squirrel and Chilly Willy and coined the phrase “What’s up Doc?”
1914 Robert Alda, Tony Award-winning actor (Guys and Dolls, Imitation of Life, The Squeeze)
1916 Jackie Gleason, comedian-actor-director-writer-composer (The Honeymooners, The Hustler, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Smokey and the Bandit)
1920 Tony Randall, Emmy Award-winning actor (The Odd Couple, Mister Peepers, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao)
1921 Betty Hutton, singer-dancer-actress (Annie Get Your Gun, The Perils of Pauline, The Greatest Show on Earth)
1928 Fats Domino, R&B and rock and roll pianist and singer-songwriter (“Ain’t That a Shame”, “Blueberry Hill”, “I’m Walkin'”)
1932 Johnny Cash, Grammy Award-winning American country singer-songwriter who is widely considered to be one of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century

1903 Richard Jordan Gatling, inventor, whose Gatling gun was first successful machine gun, a crank-operated, rapid-fire multibarrel design combining reliability, high firing rate and ease of loading into a single device, dies at 84
1930 Mary Whiton Calkins, educator and psychologist, she was the first American woman to attain distinction in these fields of study, dies at 66
1994 Bill Hicks, influential stand-up comedian, dies of pancreatic cancer at 32
1997 David Doyle, character actor (Charlie’s Angels,Paper Lion, Capricorn One), dies at 67

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