Fun Facts for Today – January 19

January 19

It’s National Popcorn Day



1419 Rouen surrenders to Henry V of England completing his reconquest of Normandy
1788 Second group of ships of the First Fleet arrives at Botany Bay
1825 The first US patent for food storage in cans – to “preserve animal substances in tin” – was issued to Ezra Daggett and his nephew, Thomas Kensett of New York City
1829 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust Part 1 premieres
1853 Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Il Trovatore premieres in Rome
1883 The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires, built by Thomas Edison, begins service at Roselle, NJ
1894 Professor James Dewar exhibited several properties of liquid air, and produced solid air, at the Friday meeting of the Royal Institution
1903 The first Transatlantic Radio broadcast took place between King Edward VII and President Theodore Roosevelt who spoke with one another in a coded radio transmission between Cape Cod, MA and Cornwall, England
1904 Thomas A. Edison was issued a patent for an “Electrical Automobile” designed with a driving motor that may be conveniently and effectively utilized for the purpose of charging the batteries
1911 French winegrowers, outraged by the passing off of white wine as champagne, sack the Perrier cellars at Epernay, destroying thousands of bottles of wine
1915 The neon tube sign is patented by George Claude
1915 The first Zeppelins used in German bombing raids on Britain attacked Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn
1915 The first significant movie version of Alice in Wonderland is released in the US
1920 The US Senate votes against joining the League of Nations
1935 Coopers Inc. sells the world’s first briefs
1937 Howard Hughes sets a new air record by flying from Los Angeles to New York City in 7 hours, 28 minutes, 25 seconds
1940 You Nazty Spy! starring The Three Stooges and was the first Hollywood film to spoof Adolf Hitler, is released in the US
1945 Soviet forces liberate the ghetto of ?ód?; out of 230,000 inhabitants in 1940, less than 900 had survived Nazi occupation
1949 Cuba recognizes Israel
1953 “Lucy Goes to the Hospital” for the birth of Little Ricky, a TV event of such enormity that 68% of all US televisions were tuned to the I Love Lucy episode
1955 “Scrabble” debuts on board game market
1966 Indira Gandhi is elected as India’s third Prime Minister
1967 Lesley Gore appeared as Catwoman’s henchgirl, Pussycat, on TV’s Batman in the episode “That Darn Catwoman!”
1975 Britain and the Irish Republican Army announce their first direct negotiations since guerrilla activity started in Northern Ireland five years earlier
1977 President Gerald Ford pardons Iva Toguri D’Aquino (AKA “Tokyo Rose”)
1978 The last Volkswagen Beetle made in Germany leaves VW’s plant in Emden
1981 US and Iranian officials sign an agreement to release 52 American hostages after 14 months of captivity
1981 Buffy Anne Summers is born, according to Joss Whedon
1983 Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie is arrested in Bolivia


1736 James Watt, instrument maker and inventor whose steam engine contributed substantially to the Industrial Revolution
1798 Auguste Comte, French thinker who coined the term “sociology”
1807 Robert E. Lee, the most celebrated general of the Confederate forces during the Civil War
1809 Edgar Allan Poe, poet, short-story writer, editor, and literary critic, who is best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre and invented the detective-fiction genre (The Pit and the Pendulum, “The Raven”)
1813 Sir Henry Bessemer, inventor and engineer who developed the first process for manufacturing steel inexpensively
1837 William Williams Keen, physician who was the first brain surgeon in the US
1839 Paul Cézanne, artist and Post-Impressionist painter
1851 David Starr Jordan, naturalist, educator, and the foremost American ichthyologist of his time
1851 Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn, astronomer who used photography and statistical methods in determining the motions and spatial distribution of stars
1866 Harry Davenport, actor (Mr. Jarr series, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet)
1887 Alexander Woollcott, writer / playwright / Doyen of the Algonquin Round Table
1904 James Winston Watts, neurosurgeon, advocate and practitioner of psychosurgery, specifically the lobotomy; remembered for carrying out the unfortunate lobotomy of Rosemary Kennedy
1908 Ish Kabibble [M.A. Bogue], musician (Kay Kyser Band) / entertainer
1921 Patricia Highsmith, author (Strangers on a Train, The Talented Mr. Ripley)
1923 Jean Stapleton, actress (All in the Family, Damn Yankees!)
1926 Fritz Weaver, actor (Fail Safe, Day of the Dolphin, Marathon Man, The Maltese Bippy)
1930 Tippi Hedren, actress (Marnie, The Birds)
1932 Richard Lester, director (A Hard Day’s Night, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Bedsitting Room)
1939 Phil Everly, musician / songwriter (The Everly Brothers)
1940 Mike Reid, actor / comedian (EastEnders, Snatch)
1942 Michael Crawford, actor (How I Won the War, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em)
1943 Janis Joplin, singer / songwriter (“Me and Bobby McGee,” “Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)” “I Need a Man to Love”)
1944 M. Lee Goff, forensic entomologist who applies a knowledge of the anatomy, physiology, stages of development, and behavior of insects to legal matters, most often to murder investigations
1944 Shelley Fabares, actress (Coach, Spinout, Girl Happy, Clambake)
1946 Dolly Parton, multiple Grammy Award-winning musician / songwriter / actress (Nine to Five, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas)
1949 Robert Palmer, musician / songwriter (“Addicted To Love,” “Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor),” “Some Guys Have All the Luck”)
1953 Desi Arnaz Jr., actor / musician, who was ironically born the same day his mother gave birth to Little Ricky on TV
1954 Katey Sagal, actress (Married with Children, Futurama)
1955 Paul Rodriguez, actor / comedian (Rat Race, D.C. Cab, The World’s Fastest Indian)
1961 William Ragsdale, actor (Fright Night, Herman’s Head)
1969 Shawn Wayans, actor (The Wayans Bros., Scary Movie)


1547 Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey / poet, is beheaded after being convicted of high treason at 29
1876 George Julius Poulett Scrope, geologist, political economist and Member of Parliament, whose work helped disprove the Neptunist theory that all Earth’s rocks were of oceanic sedimentary origin, dies at 78
1878 Henri-Victor Regnault, chemist and physicist noted for his work on the properties of gases, dies at 67
1881 Auguste Mariette, archaeologist who conducted major excavations throughout Egypt, revealing much about the earlier periods of Egyptian history, dies at 59
1888 Heinrich Anton de Bary, botanist, a founder of modern mycology and plant pathology for his research into the roles of fungi and other agents in causing plant diseases, dies at 57
1904 George Francis Train, pioneer in street railways, dies at 74
1962 Harry “Snub” Pollard, character actor (Lonesome Luke series, Hollywood Cavalcade), dies at 72
1968 Gaetano Arturo Crocco, pioneer in aeronautics and space science who designed revolutionary airships and patented an early cyclic pitch design for helicopter rotors, dies at 90
1968 Sir Chester Beatty, mining engineer who perfected a method of extracting copper from low grade ore and was active in developing the copper deposits of central Africa, dies at 92
1987 Harry Keller, director / editor (Tammy and the Doctor, Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe), dies at 73
1997 James Dickey, poet / author (Deliverance), dies at 73
1998 Carl Perkins, musician / songwriter (“Blue Suede Shoes,” “Honey Don’t,” “”Matchbox”), dies at 65
2000 Hedy Lamarr, actress (Comrade X, Dishonored Lady, Samson and Delilah), dies at 85
2000 George Ledyard Stebbins, geneticist who was one of the leading evolutionary biologists, dies at 93
2006 Wilson Pickett, musician / songwriter (“Mustang Sally,” “In the Midnight Hour”), dies at 64
2006 Gary Downie, production manager / choreographer / longtime companion of John Nathan-Turner (Doctor Who, I, Claudius)
2007 Denny Doherty, musician (The Mamas and the Papas), dies at 66
2008 Suzanne Pleshette, actress (The Bob Newhart Show, The Ugly Dachshund), dies at 70

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