Fun Facts for Today – February 28

February 28

It’s Floral Design Day and Public Sleeping Day and National Tooth Fairy Day and National Chocolate Souffle Day


1749 Tom Jones by Henry Fielding is published
1784 John Wesley issues “Deed of Declaration” formally establishing the Methodist Church
1825 A treaty is signed between Britain and Russia settling the border between Canada and Alaska, then a Russian possession
1827 The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad became the first railroad incorporated for commercial transportation of people and freight
1850 The University of Utah opens in Salt Lake City
1854 The Republican Party forms in Ripon, WI due to opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act; the act, which became law on May 30, left the issue of slavery to the settlers of each state
1861 The US territory of Colorado was organized
1883 The first vaudeville theater opens in Boston, MA
1885 AT&T (American Telephone and Telegraph) was incorporated
1922 The United Kingdom accepts the independence of Egypt although it still retains control of the Suez Canal and the country’s defense
1933 A day after the Reichstag burned down, Adolf Hitler persuades President Hindenburg to sign a decree suspending guarantees of personal liberty, freedom of speech and the press, as well as the right of assembly
1935 Nylon was discovered by Dr. Wallace H. Carothers of DuPont
1953 In a Cambridge University laboratory, scientists James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick discovered the double-helix structure of DNA
1983 The final episode of M*A*S*H is broadcast in the USA, becoming the most watched television episode in history, with 106–125 million viewers in the US (estimate varies by source)
1986 Pretty in Pink opens in the US
1991 The first Gulf War ends
1993 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents raid the Branch Davidian church in Waco, Texas with a warrant to arrest the group’s leader David Koresh.; four ATF agents and five Davidians die in the initial raid, starting a 51-day standoff
1997 The North Hollywood shootout takes place
1998 Celine Dion’s single “My Heart Will Go On” hit #1 in the US
2002 It was announced that John Madden would be replacing Dennis Miller on Monday Night Football
2005 Filming begins at the Disney Studio in Burbank, CA for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
2006 Disney releases Lady and the Tramp on a 2-disc DVD (for the first time) to commemorate the animated feature’s 50th anniversary

1877 Henri-Édouard-Prosper Breuil, archaeologist especially noted as an authority on prehistoric cave paintings of Europe and Africa
1896 Philip Showalter Hench, physician who was one of the leaders in American rheumatology
1901 Linus Pauling, chemist who applied quantum mechanics to the study of molecular structures, particularly in connection with chemical bonding
1903 Vincente Minnelli, Academy Award-winning director ( Gigi, An American in Paris, The Bad and the Beautiful, Lust for Life)
1906 Bugsy Siegel, gangster
1907 Milton Caniff, cartoonist famous for the Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon comic strips
1915 Zero Mostel, actor ( The Electric Company, The Producers, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Panic in the Streets)
1923 Charles Durning, actor ( Dog Day Afternoon, The Muppet Movie, The Final Countdown, To Be or Not to Be)
1928 Sir Stanley Baker, actor ( Knights of the Round Table, Helen of Troy, Hell Drivers, Violent Playground)
1931 Gavin MacLeod, actor ( The Love Boat, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Kelly’s Heroes, McHale’s Navy)
1942 Brian Jones, musician (The Rolling Stones)
1947 Stephanie Beacham, actress ( Bad Girls, The Colbys, Dracula A.D. 1972, Troop Beverly Hills)
1948 Mercedes Ruehl, Academy Award-winning actress ( The Fisher King, Last Action Hero, Radio Days, Big)
1948 Mike Figgis, director-screenwriter ( Leaving Las Vegas, Stormy Monday)
1948 Bernadette Peters, two-time Tony Award-winning actress ( Song and Dance and Annie Get Your Gun)
1955 Gilbert Gottfried, stand-up comedian, actor and voice of the Aflac duck ( The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Aladdin, Doctor Dolittle (1998), Cyberchase)
1960 Dorothy Stratten, actress and Playboy Playmate ( Galaxina, They All Laughed)
1969 Robert Sean Leonard, actor ( House M.D., My Best Friend Is a Vampire, Dead Poets Society, Swing Kids, Much Ado About Nothing)
1976 Ali Larter, actress ( Heroes, Final Destination, Legally Blonde)

1916 Henry James, author and one of the founders and leaders of a school of realism in fiction ( The Portrait of a Lady, The Bostonians, The Wings of the Dove), dies at 72
1953 Eliezer Sukenik, archaeologist who established the date and provenance of the Dead Sea Scrolls, dies at 63
1968 Frankie Lymon, singer (“Why Do Fools Fall in Love”) died of a heroin overdose at 25
1977 Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson, actor ( The Jack Benny Program, Cabin in the Sky, Gone with the Wind), dies at 71
1993 Ruby Keeler, musical actress ( 42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933, Footlight Parade), dies at 83
1998 Dermot Morgan, BAFTA Award-winning comedic actor for his work on Father Ted , died of a heart attack at 45

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