Fun Facts for Today – January 10

January 10

It’s Peculiar People Day



1776 Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense
1810 The marriage of Napoleon and Josephine is annulled
1845 Relative unknown Robert Browning writes a love letter to Elizabeth Barrett after she praises one of his poems in print
1861 Delegates to the Florida Convention in Tallahassee voted to secede from the United States of America
1863 London’s Metropolitan, the world’s first underground passenger railway, opened to fare-paying passengers
1888 A U.S. patent was issued for the railway signal to inventor A.B. Blackburn
1901 The first major discovery of oil in Texas was made at Spindletop
1911 The first photograph to be taken in the U.S. from an airplane was made
1920 The League of Nations holds its first meeting and ratifies the Treaty of Versailles ending World War I
1921 Zion City, IL bans smoking and jazz
1927 Fritz Lang’s Metropolis premieres in Germany
1929 Tintin, a comic book character created by Hergé, makes his debut
1946 The U.S. Army Project Diana team detected radar signals reflected off the moon’s surface
1946 The first General Assembly of the United Nations opens in London
1947 Stanford University reported the isolation of the polio virus
1949 RCA introduced the “single”, the 7-inch diameter 45 rpm record, in the U.S.
1969 The final issue of The Saturday Evening Post appeared after 147 years of publication
1980 The last broadcast of The Rockford Files on NBC
1999 The HBO television series The Sopranos debuts
2001 Wikipedia starts as part of Nupedia; it becomes a separate site five days later


1573 Simon Marius, astronomer, one of the earliest users of the telescope and the first in print to make mention the Andromeda nebula
1683 Nicolaus Steno, geologist and anatomist who first made unprecedented discoveries in anatomy, then established some of the most important principles of modern geology
1738 Ethan Allen, guerrilla leader
1843 Frank James, outlaw
1869 Grigori Rasputin, monk
1883 Francis X. Bushman, actor (Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, Hearts and Flowers)
1883 Elgin Lessley, cinematographer (Sherlock Jr., The Navigator, The Strong Man)
1883 Aleksei Nikolaevich Tolstoi, writer (Aelita, The Hyperboloid of Engineer Garin)
1904 Ray Bolger, actor (The Wizard of Oz, Four Jacks and a Jill)
1905 Paul Henreid, actor (Casablanca, Now, Voyager)
1908 Bernard Lee, actor (played M in the first eleven James Bond films)
1911 Norman George Heatley, who made penicillin practical by solving problems in the extraction of penicillin from its mould and paved the way for mass production
1917 Jerry Wexler, recording industry executive / record producer
1924 Max Roach, musician (“Straight No Chaser”)
1925 Peggy Evans, actress (School for Secrets, Calling Bulldog Drummond)
1927 Gisele MacKenzie, actress / singer (Your Hit Parade)
1927 Johnnie Ray, actor / singer (There’s No Business Like Show Business)
1930 Roy Disney, producer / brother of Walt
1936 Stephen Ambrose, controversial historian (Band of Brothers, Undaunted Courage)
1939 Sal Mineo, actor (Rebel Without a Cause, Giant)
1942 Walter Hill, director / writer / producer (The Warriors, Streets of Fire)
1943 Jim Croce, musician / songwriter (“Time in a Bottle,” “Bad Bad Leroy Brown”)
1944 Frank Sinatra Jr., singer / actor / son of Frank
1945 Rod Stewart, musician (The Jeff Beck Group, The Faces)
1948 Teresa Graves, actress (Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, Get Christie Love!)
1949 George Foreman, two-time World Heavyweight Boxing Champion
1949 Linda Lovelace, porn star (Deep Throat)
1953 Pat Benatar, four-time Grammy Award-winning musician (“Hit Me With Your Best Shot”, “Heartbreaker”)
1959 Fran Walsh, three-time Academy Award-winning producer / writer (The Lord of the Rings, The Frighteners)
1961 Evan Handler, actor (Californication, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip)
1967 Trini Alvarado, actress (The Frighteners, The Babe, Little Women)
1977 Bart, ursine actor (The Clan of the Cave Bear, White Fang, Legends of the Fall)


1778 Carolus Linnaeus, botanist and explorer who was the first to frame principles for defining genera and species of organisms and to create a uniform system for naming them, dies at 70
1850 William Reid Clanny, physician who invented one of the first safety lamps (1813) for use in coal mines, dies at 73
1862 Samuel Colt, inventor / founder of the Colt’s Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company, dies at 47
1864 Nicholas Joseph Callan, pioneering scientist in electrical science, who invented the induction coil (1836), dies at 64
1917 William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, frontiersman / showman / Medal of Honor recipient, dies at 70
1949 Erich Dagobert von Drygalski, geographer and glaciologist who discovered a volcano, free of ice, on the Antarctic continent, dies at 83
1961 Dashiell Hammett, writer (The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man), dies at 66
1970 Pavel Belyayev, cosmonaut who was pilot of the historic Voskhod 2 space mission, launched on March 18, 1965, dies at 44
1981 Richard Boone, actor (Have Gun – Will Travel, The Alamo), dies at 63
1982 Paul Lynde, comedian / actor (Bye Bye Birdie, Charlotte’s Web, Bewitched), dies at 55
1987 Marion Hutton, actress (Love Happy, In Society), dies at 67
1989 Valentin Petrovich Glushko, rocket scientist who was a pioneer developer of rocket engines, dies at 80
1997 Sheldon Leonard, actor / writer / director / producer (It’s a Wonderful Life, Zombies on Broadway), dies at 89
2000 Sam Jaffe, producer (Diplomaniacs, Born Free, Theater of Blood), dies at 100
2002 John Buscema, comic book artist (The Silver Surfer, The Amazing Spider-Man), dies at 74
2004 Spaulding Gray, actor / playwright (Swimming to Cambodia, Monster in a Box), commits suicide at 62
2007 Carlos Ponti, Academy Award-winning producer / husband of Sophia Loren (La Strada, Zabriskie Point, Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein), dies at 94
2008 Vampira [Maila Nurmi], actress (Plan 9 from Outer Space, The Beat Generation), dies at 86

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