Fun Facts for Today – March 6

March 6

It’s Dentist’s Day and National Frozen Food Day


1079 Omar Khayyám completes the Iranian calendar
1646 The first patent for any machine in the New World was issued by the Pilgrim Bay Colony to Joseph Jenkes
1808 At Harvard University, the first college orchestra was founded
1820 The Missouri Compromise is signed into law by President James Monroe; the compromise allows Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state, but makes the rest of the northern part of the Louisiana Purchase territory slavery-free
1831 Edgar Allen Poe is expelled from West Point
1834 The city of York in Upper Canada was incorporated as Toronto
1836 After a 13-day siege by an army of 3,000 Mexican troops, the 189 Texas volunteers defending the Alamo are defeated and the fort taken
1853 Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata opera debuted in Venice
1857 The US Supreme Court ruled in Dred Scott v. Sandford that Scott, a slave, was not a US citizen and could not sue for his freedom in federal court
1869 Dmitry Mendeleev published his first version of the periodic table of the elements
1886 America’s first alternating current power plant began operation in Great Barrington, MA; George Westinghouse demonstrated transmission at 500 volts for 4000 feet, with a step-down for lights in stores
1896 The first appearance of an auto on the streets in Detroit occurred when Charles Brady King drove his “Horseless Carriage” down one of its main streets; when his auto broke down, speculators responded by telling him to “get a horse”
1899 “Aspirin” was patented by Felix Hoffmann; he had successfully created a chemically pure and stable form of acetylsalicylic acid in 1897
1913 This date was written by Niels Bohr on his first paper describing his new ideas on atomic structure, and mailed to his mentor, Ernest Rutherford; it was one of three historic papers he wrote on this subject
1921 The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse starring Rudolph Valentino is released in the US
1921 The Nut starring Douglas Fairbanks (and featuring a cameo by Charlie Chaplin) is released in the US
1927 Fritz Lang’s Metropolis has its US premiere in New York City
1930 General Foods put the first individually packaged frozen foods – “Birds Eye Frosted Foods” – on sale in Springfield, MA
1942 Ernst Lubitsch’s classic Nazi spoof, To Be or Not to Be, opened in US theaters, starring Carole Lombard and Jack Benny
1950 Silly Putty was introduced as a toy by Peter Hodgson, a marketing consultant, who packaged one-ounce portions of the rubber-like material in plastic eggs
1951 The trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg on charges of conspiracy to commit espionage in relation to passing information on the American atomic bomb to the Soviet Union begins
1953 Georgy Maksimilianovich Malenkov succeeds Josef Stalin as Premier and First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
1957 Former British African colonies of the Gold Coast and Togoland became the independent state of Ghana
1959 Pioneer IV sent the furthest radio signal ever heard: 400,000 miles
1963 The film The Courtship of Eddie’s Father starring Glenn Ford, Shirley Jones, Stella Stevens and Ronny Jones has its US premiere in New York City
1964 Prophet Elijah Muhammad officially gives Cassius Clay the name Muhammad Ali meaning “beloved of Allah”
1970 Charles Manson released his album “Lie: The Love & Terror Cult” to finance his defense against murder charges
1973 John Lennon’s visa extension was canceled by the New York Office of the Immigration Department; it had been granted only five days before
1981 After 19 years presenting the CBS Evening News, Walter Cronkite signs off for the last time
1987 Richard Donner’s blockbuster Lethal Weapon starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover opens in the US
1997 Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II launched the first official royal Web site
1998 The Dude Abides! The Coen Brothes film The Big Lebowski opens in the US
2006 South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds signs a bill into legislation that would ban most abortions in the state

1475 Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet and engineer who created two of the most influential works in fresco in the history of Western art: the scenes from Genesis on the ceiling and “The Last Judgment” on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Rome; later in life he designed the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in the same city
1619 Cyrano De Bergerac, dramatist and duelist who is now best remembered for the many works of fiction which have been woven around his life story
1806 Elizabeth Barrett Browning, one of the most respected poets of the Victorian era (Sonnets from the Portuguese, Aurora Leigh)
1879 Benton MacKaye, forester and conservationist and regional planner, who was as “father of the Appalachian Trail” was instrumental in creating a 2,000-mile footpath from Maine to Georgia
1882 Guy Kibbee, actor (Gold Diggers of 1933, Footlight Parade, Captain Blood, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington)
1905 Bob Wills, country musician, songwriter, and big band leader (“Ida Red”, “New San Antonio Rose”)
1906 Lou Costello, actor-comedian
1917 Frankie Howerd, comedic actor (The Ladykillers, Carry on Up the Jungle, Up Pompeii)
1917 Will Eisner, an acclaimed comics writer, artist and entrepreneur who is considered one of the most important contributors to the development of the medium and is known for the cartooning studio he founded; for his highly influential series The Spirit; for his use of comics as an instructional medium; for his leading role in establishing the graphic novel as a form of literature with his book A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories; and for his educational work about the medium as exemplified by his book Comics and Sequential Art
1920 Lewis Gilbert, director-screenwriter (Alfie, You Only Live Twice, Moonraker, The Spy Who Loved Me)
1923 Ed McMahon, actor-sidekick (The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, Star Search)
1927 Leroy Gordon Cooper Jr., one of the seven original astronauts in Project Mercury, the first manned-space effort by the US
1931 Hal Needham, Hollywood stuntman, actor and director (Smokey and the Bandit, Hooper, The Cannonball Run)
1937 Valentina Tereshkova, cosmonaut who was the first woman to fly in space, and is the only solo woman to do so
1942 Ben Murphy, actor (Alias Smith and Jones, Gemini Man, Yours, Mine and Ours) 1946 David Gilmour, musician (Pink Floyd)
1947 Rob Reiner, two-time Emmy Award-winning actor, director-producer (All in the Family, Stand By Me, The Princess Bride, This is Spinal Tap)
1958 Eddie Deezen, character actor (I Wanna Hold Your Hand, 1941, Grease, Kim Possible)
1959 Tom Arnold, actor-producer-writer (Roseanne, True Lies, McHale’s Navy, The Best Damn Sports Show Period)
1963 Suzanne Crough, actress (The Partridge Family)
1966 Alan Davies, actor-comedian (Jonathan Creek, Bob & Rose, Qi,The Brief)
1968 Moira Kelly, actress (One Tree Hill, The West Wing, The Lion King, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me)
1972 Shaquille O’Neal, professional basketball player, regarded as one of the most dominant in the history of the National Basketball Association; at 7 ft 1 in, 325 lb and US shoe size 23, he is famous for his physical stature
1981 Ellen Muth, actress (Dead Like Me, Dolores Claiborne)

1836 Davy Crockett, celebrated 19th-century American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier and politician; he represented Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives, served in the Texas Revolution, and died at the age of 49 at the Battle of the Alamo
1836 Jim Bowie, 19th-century American pioneer and soldier, played a prominent role in the Texas Revolution, culminating in his death at 39 at the Battle of the Alamo
1866 William Whewell, scientist, best known for his survey of the scientific method and for creating scientific words; a few of the words he created are “scientist” and “physicist” by analogy with the word “artist”, dies at 71
1888 Louisa May Alcott, novelist (Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s Boys), dies at 55
1900 Gottlieb Daimler, engineer and pioneer automobile manufacturer; he invented the first high-speed internal combustion engine, operating at up to 900 RPM and a carburetor to mix petrol fuel and air, dies at 65
1929 David Dunbar Buick, inventor and pioneer automobile manufacturer who invented the more powerful valve-in-head engine and the windshield, dies at 74
1932 John Philip Sousa, composer and conductor of the late Romantic era known particularly for American military marches(“The Liberty Bell”, “Semper Fidelis”), dies at 77
1951 Ivor Novello, actor-writer-songwriter (“Keep The Home Fires Burning”, The Lodger (1932), Bonnie Prince Charlie), dies at 67
1961 George Formby, comedian-singer-actor (Keep Your Seats, Please, Spare a Copper), dies at 56
1965 Margaret Dumont, brilliant straight woman in seven of the Marx Brothers’ films (The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, Duck Soup, A Night at the Opera), dies at 82
1970 William Hopper, actor (Perry Mason, 20 Million Miles to Earth, The Bad Seed), dies at 55
1973 Pearl S. Buck, prolific American writer who won a Nobel Prize in Literature (1938) and a Pulitzer Prize (The Good Earth), dies at 80
1982 Ayn Rand, novelist and philosopher (The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged), dies at 77
1985 Henry Wilcoxon, gloriously handsome actor-producer (Cleopatra, The Crusades, The Ten Commandments), dies at 78
2006 Dana Reeve, actress and wife of Christopher Reeve, dies at 44

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