Category: Trivia

MORE CROWNED HEADS

July 23 in history:

Sarah Ferguson (“Fergie”) married into the British royal family on July 23rd, 1986.  Fergie’s marriage to Prince Andrew made her the Duchess of York.  Andrew and Sarah were married for 10 years.  Their daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, drew attention at the 2011 wedding of Prince William for their clothes, especially their designer hats.

Vanessa Williams had to stop wearing her royal headgear…the Miss America crown…on this date in 1984.  She was the first African-American contestant to be named Miss America, and the first to resign.  Williams was pressured to give up the title two months before the end of her reign because of publicity about nude photos of her, taken a year before she won the pageant.

On July 23rd of 1952, a revolution began in Egypt which led to the abdication of King Farouk I.

July 23rd was the birthday of Ethiopia’s last monarch, Emperor Haile Selassie (1892).  And it was the day that U.S. President U.S. Grant died in 1885.

CLEAVELAND ROCKS!

July 22 in history:

On July 22nd, 1796, a portion of land along Lake Erie was named “Cleaveland,” in honor of Gen. Moses Cleaveland, the head of the surveying party.  A printer later shortened the new city’s name to “Cleveland,” Ohio.

Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame includes the Eagles, whose drummer Don Henley was born on this date in 1947. Also born on July 22nd, actor David Spade (1964) from “Saturday Night Live” and “Just Shoot Me!”

The fatal shooting of bank robber and gangster John Dillinger happened on July 22nd, 1934 outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago.  Three government agents fired at the 31-year-old Dillinger.

TRAIN / MONKEYS

July 21 in history:

The first U.S. train robbery west of the Mississippi happened on July 21st, 1873, near Adair, Iowa.  The James-Younger Gang got away with about three thousand dollars from a safe and from the train’s passengers.

Tennessee schoolteacher John T. Scopes didn’t get away with violating state law by teaching evolution in class.  On July 21st, 1925, a jury in Dayton, Tennessee convicted Scopes at the “monkey trial” which featured defense attorney Clarence Darrow and prosecuting attorney William Jennings Bryan debating evolution and the Bible.  The trial was later dramatized in the play “Inherit the Wind.”

Spencer Tracy played the fictional version of Darrow in the original 1960 movie of “Inherit the Wind,” two years after starring in the film “The Old Man and the Sea,” based on an Ernest Hemingway novel.  Hemingway was born on this date in 1899. 

 

HIGHER AND HIGHER

July 20 in history:

July 20th of 1921 was the first day of regular air mail service between New York and San Francisco.

On this day in 1976, Viking I became the first spacecraft to land successfully on Mars.  The Viking landing occurred on the seventh anniversary of the first manned landing on the moon.  July 20th, 1969 was the day that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the lunar surface and left the first human footprints in the moon dust during the Apollo 11 mission.

Triviazoids creator Brad Williams with Josh Holloway on "Jimmy Kimmel Live"

Triviazoids creator Brad Williams with Josh Holloway on “Jimmy Kimmel Live”

Actor Josh Holloway was born on the day of the Apollo landing in 1969.  Holloway’s best-known character is a passenger on a fateful flight that crash-lands on an island.  He played Sawyer on the TV survival drama “Lost.”

Another actor well-known for a sci-fi series died on July 20th, 2005:  James Doohan, engineer Scotty of the Starship Enterprise on “Star Trek.”  Doohan’s ashes have been sent into space on more than one occasion.

And July 20th is the birthday of a man who went high places without being in an airplane or spacecraft:  Mount Everest conqueror Edmund Hillary (born 1919).

 

KENNEDY CONNECTIONS

July 19 in history:

On July 19th, 1969, Senator Edward Kennedy reported to police in Edgartown, Massachusetts, that he had been in a car accident the night before on Chappaquiddick Island.  He admitted to driving a car into a pond, and said he and others had failed to rescue passenger Mary Jo Kopechne from the car.  Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the accident scene. 

Thirty years later, on this date in 1999, police and the military were searching the waters off Martha’s Vineyard for a plane piloted by Senator Kennedy’s nephew, John F. Kennedy, Jr.  Kennedy, his wife Carolyn, and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette disappeared on July 15th in bad weather during a night flight to Martha’s Vineyard. 

July 19th was a happier day for the Kennedy family in 1986.  John Junior’s sister Caroline married Edwin Schlossberg on that day.

John and Caroline’s uncle, Sargent Shriver, was the running mate of Democratic nominee George McGovern in the November, 1972 presidential election.  McGovern was born July 19th, 1922.

HE DIDN’T START THE FIRE

July 18 in history:

The Great Fire of Rome began on this date in 64 A.D., lasting about a week.  Many accused Emperor Nero of starting the blaze for political reasons, but modern historians believe he was not responsible, and did not stand by while singing or playing on a musical instrument. 

A Titan rocket fired up in Florida on July 18th, 1966, sending the Gemini 10 spacecraft into orbit.  Astronauts John Young and Michael Collins orbited the Earth 43 times before landing three days later. 

The first American to orbit Earth, John Glenn, was born July 18th, 1921.  It’s also the birthday of actor James Brolin (1940), who played an astronaut forced to fake a landing on Mars in the movie “Capricorn One.”

On a 1958 episode of “The Red Skelton Show,” country bumpkin Clem Kadiddlehopper invented a satellite and launched it into space.  Clem was one of the recurring characters played by Skelton on his weekly TV series in the 1950s and ’60s, as well as Junior the Mean Widdle Kid and hobo Freddie the Freeloader.  Red Skelton was born on July 18th, 1913.

NAME THAT LEADER

July 17 in history:

During the First World War, when England was fighting against Germany, English King George V officially changed his family name from the German-sounding “Saxe Coburg and Gotha” to the more British-sounding “Windsor” on July 17th, 1917.

One year later, on July 17th of 1918, George’s relatives in the Russian royal family, the Romanovs, were executed by Bolshevik revolutionaries.  King George was a first cousin to both Czar Nicholas and Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm.

By 1945, Stalin was leader of Russia and the entire Soviet Union.  On July 17th of that year, he was meeting with U.S. President Harry Truman and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the Potsdam Conference, to decide the future of Nazi Germany after World War II.  During the three-week conference, Churchill was voted out of the Prime Minister’s office.  His successor, Clement Attlee, completed the Potsdam talks.

Germany would be led by chancellors after the two world wars.  The first female Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, was born on this date in 1954.


GET YOUR POPCORN!

July 16th in history:

Yankees slugger Joe di Maggio got three hits in four times at bat against the Cleveland Indians on July 16th, 1941, extending his record hitting streak to 56 games. The streak would end the next day in Cleveland.

Ohio native Neil Armstrong would become the first man to walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin were aboard the Apollo 11 spacecraft when it lifted off in a ball of fire from the Kennedy Space Center on this day in 1969.

The comedy “Ball of Fire” earned an Oscar nomination for Barbara Stanwyck, as did “Stella Dallas” and “Double Indemnity.” Stanwyck helped sell a lot of popcorn during a 60-year career in movies and TV. She was born on July 16th, 1907 — the same day and year as another person in the popcorn business, “gourmet popcorn” grower, Orville Redenbacher.

One of Barbara Stanwyck’s later movies was called “Jeopardy.” Will Ferrell played Alex Trebek in several “Celebrity Jeopardy” sketches during a seven-year run on “Saturday Night Live,” before starring in movies such as “Elf” and the “Anchorman” comedies. Ferrell, born on this day in 1967, performed with the Groundlings comedy group in Los Angeles, as did Sherri Stoner, born July 16th, 1965. Stoner has written movies and cartoon series, provided the voice of Slappy Squirrel on “Animaniacs,” and was a body model for Ariel in “The Little Mermaid” and Belle in “Beauty and the Beast.”

CONVENTIONAL WISDOM

July 15th in history:

The middle of July is a popular time for political parties to choose their presidential candidates.  President Harry Truman accepted the Democratic nomination on July 15th of 1948, and Jimmy Carter gave his acceptance speech during the 1976 Democratic convention on the 15th.  Bill Clinton won the nomination on July 15th, 1992 at the Democratic convention, and Republican Barry Goldwater was nominated on this day during the Republican convention in 1964.

Goldwater’s nomination happened on the 26th birthday of his son, Barry Goldwater Jr., who was born in Arizona and later served as a Republican Congressman from California for seven terms.  Another Arizona native, singer Linda Ronstadt, was born on July 15th of 1946.

Linda Ronstadt is famous for recording rock songs and Spanish-language albums.  A language barrier was broken on this date in 1799 when a rock known as the “Rosetta Stone” was discovered in Egypt.  The stone has the same message printed three times, in hieroglyphics and two other languages, allowing experts to translate Egyptian sign language.

Some folks might need a Rosetta stone to figure out abbreviations used in messages on Twitter (LOL). The internet service limiting messages (“tweets”) to 140 characters was launched July 15th, 2006.

DOWN WITH KINGS, UP WITH PRESIDENTS

July 14th in history:

Chancellor FordThe French celebrate July 14th as the day they began their revolution against royalty.  The Bastille prison in Paris was stormed by revolutionaries on this date in 1789.

France had a new king on this date in 1223:  Louis VIII.  He was 35 years old, and became king upon the death of his father, Philip II, who had reigned for 42 years.  Louis only held the throne for three years before he became ill and died.

A “King” who would rule the United States was born in Nebraska on this day in 1913.  He was born Leslie King Jr., but when his parents divorced and his mother remarried, Leslie was renamed after his stepfather:  Gerald Ford.  Mr. Ford had the shortest term of any U.S. president who did not die in office (less than three years), but he lived longer than any other president, until age 93.

July 14th is also the birthday of a Chancellor:  long-time NBC News anchor John Chancellor, born in 1927.  Chancellor began anchoring “NBC Nightly News” in 1970, when Chet Huntley retired from “The Huntley-Brinkley Report.”  He’s credited with originating the idea of using color-coded maps on network news coverage of presidential elections, starting in 1976, when NBC used blue to mark states won by Gerald Ford, and red for states won by Jimmy Carter.