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5 Things You Didn't Know About Saturday Night Live_3

On October 11, 1975, Chevy Chase belted out the very first "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" and kicked off one of the most iconic TV shows in American history.  Here are five things you didn't know about Saturday Night Live...

The Show Was Developed Because Johnny Carson Wanted More Vacation Time

Back in 1974, Johnny Carson hosted "The Tonight Show," and it was a huge moneymaker for NBC. At the time, the network aired reruns of the late-night talk show on the weekends, but Carson requested that NBC save his reruns for his vacation days instead. To fill that weekend slot, NBC asked Lorne Michaels, a producer, actor, and writer to come up with an idea for a new show. Debuting on October 11, 1975, his creation quickly developed a cult following, eventually becoming a mainstream hit.

Chevy Chase Was the First to Say an Iconic Phrase From the Show

Chevy Chase was the first person to say “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” at the opening of the show. The comedian said he tried to deliver the line the way Don Pardo, the radio and television announcer, would have done it. Chase’s last appearance on the show was in 2015 for its 40th-anniversary special.

Darrell Hammond Has Said The Show's Opening Line The Most

Darrell Hammond holds the record at SNL by saying the “Live from New York” catchphrase 70 times. He also held the record for the longest consecutive tenure of any SNL cast member in the show's history (14 seasons), until he was surpassed by Kenan Thompson in 2017. Hammond was a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1995 to 2009, and was popular for his many impressions. His impression of President Bill Clinton is currently the most frequent SNL impression of all time, appearing in 87 sketches over 14 years in the cast and numerous cameos.

Alec Baldwin Has Hosted the Show the Most Times

Alec Baldwin has hosted the show 17 times, with his first appearance as host on April 21, 1990. Although he does a large number of impressions, he has appeared as Donald Trump in cameos on the show since October 1, 2016. Other stars who have hosted the show at least 12 times include Tom Hanks, John Goodman, and Steve Martin.

The Show Originally Had a Different Name

 Lorne Michaels originally wanted to call the show “Saturday Night Live,” but the name was already taken by the ABC show "Saturday Night Live With Howard Cosell."  So the show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title "NBC's Saturday Night". After the cancellation of the Cosell show, NBC purchased the rights to the name in 1976 and officially adopted the new title on March 26, 1977.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About Robert E. Lee

On this day in 1870, General Robert E. Lee, the commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, died at his home in Lexington, Virginia. Here are five things you probably didn’t know about Robert E. Lee.

Lee Was Offered The Command of Both Armies

Lee was a West Point graduate, made a career out of the Army, and was respected by many. President Abraham Lincoln offered Lee the position of commander for the Union forces. He was also offered a high rank in the Confederate Army. In the end, he chose the latter. When he turned down the Union position, he stated that he could not engage in war against his homeland of Virginia. And, since Virginia had democratically decided to leave, he felt compelled to join their cause.

He Married George Washington's Great-Granddaughter

Robert E. Lee might have fought for the South, but you can't get much more American than marrying George Washington's great-granddaughter (which he did). Lee’s family left Stratford Hall in Westmoreland County and moved to Alexandria, Virginia, a short distance from Mount Vernon, which was owned by George Washington Parke Custis, the former president’s step-grandson. Parke Custis had one daughter, the vivacious Mary, who stood to inherit the estate, and Lee married her in 1831. The couple had seven children, with six surviving their father.

He Had a Perfect Record at West Point

With little money for his education, Robert E. Lee went to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for a military education.  In 1829, he graduated second in his class, and – in a true feat – he graduated with no demerits during his four years at the academy. He is only one of two cadets who never had a single demerit. Following graduation, he entered the Engineer Corps but went back to West Point to serve as its superintendent in 1852.

His Estate Became Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington was the 1,100-acre property that Lee’s wife had inherited through her father, George Washington Parke Custis, and both of her parents were buried there. After the Lees abandoned the property at the start of the Civil War, the U.S. Army seized the estate to defend Washington, D.C. The property was basically confiscated during the war, and the Lee family continued to wrangle with the government about the estate as late as 1882 when it had already been established as Arlington National Cemetery.

Lee Was Buried Without Shoes

After the war, Lee was not arrested but he lost his right to vote. He accepted an offer to become the president of Washington College in 1865 and remained so till his death. Lee suffered a stroke on September 28, 1870 and died 2 weeks later due to the effects of pneumonia. Due to heavy rains, the only undamaged coffin that could be found for him was a little short and hence he was buried without his shoes.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Navy_3

On October 13, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the construction of the first American naval force—the precursor to the United States Navy. Here are 5 facts you probably did not know about America’s maritime branch of the military...

George Washington Was The Father of The Navy

Despite having virtually no experience at sea, George Washington was a huge early proponent of the Navy, believing among other things that it would disrupt British supply lines.  He used his authority as commander in chief of the Army to convert a small flotilla of fishing schooners into warships. The first of these, named Hannah after the wife of its owner, departed the Massachusetts coast in September 1775—over a month before the Continental Congress, upon being apprised of Washington’s activities, officially established the Navy. The Hannah has since entered into lore as the Navy’s founding vessel.  Washington’s small flotilla managed to capture 55 British ships by the time it dissolved in 1777.

After the Revolutionary War, The Navy Was Disbanded

The Americans were down to two warships when France joined the battle against Britain’s Royal Navy. In September 1781, French ships took control of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, which led to the British surrender at the Battle of Yorktown on October 19 and the end of the war. With money tight and no clear reason to maintain them, the Continental Navy’s remaining ships were then sold or given away following the war.

The Navy Was Brought Back Largely To Fight Pirates

Since the Royal Navy was no longer present, Barbary pirates from North Africa began attacking American merchant ships. In 1785 and 1793, American sailors were seized by the pirates and imprisoned, which forced the United States to pay for their release. In 1794, the Navy was revived with the construction of six warships, which included the USS Constitution, better known as Old Ironsides.

The Navy Produced 6 Future Presidents During World War II

There were no presidents with Navy service under their belt until after World War II when John F. Kennedy, who piloted a torpedo boat, was elected. Lyndon B. Johnson was briefly stationed in New Zealand and Australia despite being a sitting member of Congress; Richard Nixon supervised air cargo operations; Gerald Ford served as an aircraft carrier’s assistant navigator and was nearly swept overboard in a typhoon; Jimmy Carter attended the Naval Academy (and became a submariner after the war); and George H.W. Bush flew 58 combat missions, including one in which he was shot down over the Pacific. In fact, from 1961 to 1993, the only non-Navy man to become president was Ronald Reagan.

Many Famous People Served In The Navy

Before being one of the most famous leading men on the Silver Screen, Humphrey Bogart joined the US Navy to serve during World War I. While on assignment as a military police officer, Humphrey was struck in the mouth which left him with his trademark scar and lisp. Other famous men that served in the Navy include Neil Armstrong, Johnny Carson, Tony Curtis, Paul Newman, Henry Fonda, and Roger Staubach just to name a few. Stanley Kirk Burell, better known as MC Hammer served in the Navy for three years as an Aviation Storekeeper before his musical career took off.  

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5 Things You Didn't Know About Sherlock Holmes

On October 14, 1892, “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” by Arthur Conan Doyle, was published.  The book was a compilation of stories that Doyle had been publishing in magazines since 1887. Here are 5 things you probably didn’t know about Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes Was Originally Going To Be Called Sherrinford

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was reported to have used the name Sherrinford for his detective but changed the name with a slight alteration to Sherlock, naming the character after a cricket player named Francis Shacklock. Doyle himself was a cricket player with the Marylebone Cricket Club and played in many first-class matches between 1899 and 1907. It seems appropriate somehow because Baker Street is located in London’s Marylebone district.

Doyle’s First Novel Featuring Sherlock Holmes Was a Failure

The first Sherlock Holmes novel was something of a flop. The detective made his debut in the novel “A Study in Scarlet” written by a 27-year-old Doyle in just three weeks. Doyle’s was inspired by Dr. Joseph Bell, a real-life lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, who could diagnose his patients just by seeing them, which is reminiscent of the much later television serious about the brilliant physician in “House.” Although many publishers rejected Doyle’s first novel, it was eventually published in a paperback magazine called Beeton’s Christmas Annual.

Sherlock Holmes is The Most-Filmed Fictional Character.

Sherlock Holmes is the most-filmed human fictional character. Holmes has been portrayed in about 254 films over the years. The first film released, called Sherlock Holmes Baffled, was in 1900 and had a runtime of one minute.  Since his creation in 1887, Sherlock Holmes has been played by over 75 actors including Sir Christopher Lee, Charlton Heston, Peter O'Toole, Christopher Plummer, Peter Cook, Roger Moore, John Cleese, Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Downey Jr.

He Never Said "Elementary, My Dear Watson"

If anyone were asked what phrase Sherlock Holmes was famous for, their answer would probably be “Elementary, my dear Watson,” but he never said that in any of Doyle’s books. The quote can be attributed to a novel by P.G. Wodehouse called "Psmith, Journalist,"  which came out in 1915 and appears in several films. Although Holmes says ‘Elementary!’ and ‘my dear Watson’ at various points, he never put them together.

The Sherlock Holmes Museum Is And Isn’t At 221B Baker Street

Although the museum in London bears the official address ‘221B’ in line with the celebrated address from the stories, the museum’s building lies between 237 and 241 Baker Street, making it physically — if not officially — at number 239.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About I Love Lucy_6

On October 15, 1951, I Love Lucy premiered on television, and after its run, it remained one of the most popular reruns in television history. To mark this landmark event in TV history, here are 5 lesser-know facts you surely didn't know about one of the greatest sitcoms of all time...  

There Is a National I Love Lucy Day

October 15 is I Love Lucy Day. The unofficial holiday commemorates the day in 1951, when the show, starring real-life couple at that time, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, debuted on CBS. The holiday is held just for fun and to commemorate the show. I Love Lucy is the only show in television history that has never stopped broadcasting since airing its first episode in 1951. Reruns of the show have been popular around the world ever since the show ended on May 6, 1957.

A Ghost Told Lucille Ball to Take The Job

Prior to I Love Lucy, Lucille Ball was working in the movies. When she was offered the job, she was initially reluctant because she was concerned about the transition to television.  She needed some encouragement, which came in the form of a dream in which she saw her old friend Carole Lombard, who had died in a plane crash in 1942. In the dream, Lombard told her to go for it -- why not?? Ball said that was the moment when she knew she was making the right decision.

Smoking on Camera was a Necessity

I Love Lucy almost didn’t make it onto television because CBS had problems finding a sponsor for the series. At the last minute, the tobacco giant Philip Morris was secured as a sponsor for the show. The conditions of this were that the characters were seen smoking the Philip Morris brand of cigarettes and the name Philip Morris would be worked into the script as often as possible. Therefore, smoking was a necessity for the show to retain its sponsor.  Lucille Ball was a smoker, but she preferred Chesterfield cigarettes. In an effort to overcome this hurdle, Ball would have a stagehand that would empty packs of Philip Morris cigarettes and fill the package with Chesterfield cigarettes.

Vivian Vance Was Told to Keep Her Weight Up

There is a well-known tale about Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance that says Ball did not want to be upstaged by a co-star and that she purposefully had Vance's character of Ethel decked out in drab garb. Vivian Vance even claimed that she had a contract which stated that she must always weigh more than Lucille Ball. If Lucille ever put on weight, then Vivian would have to do the same. Although it was never confirmed that this was true, both Vivian and Lucille would often bring this up on talk shows and laugh about the situation.

The Show Was the First to Use the Three-Camera Format

The one-camera format, which had been common in most shows, forced directors to reshoot scenes from different angles and forced audiences to come up with almost-identical reactions to the same scenes over and over again. The three-camera format saved time by allowing the show to be shot from different angles, with the film stitched together. Legend has it that I Love Lucy pioneered the format which has become standard for so many sitcoms (in fact, it was the first to film in front of a live audience). The use of three cameras allowed them to shoot the scenes in sequence three different shots of each scene.

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5 Amazing Facts About The New York Mets

On October 16 1969, The New York Mets, previously one of the worst teams in the league, won the World Series beating the Baltimore Orioles 4 games to 1. Here are five facts you probably didn't know about the Amazing Mets...

The Mets Hold The Record For Losing The Most Games in One Season

Well, you can't say the Mets didn't make an impression when they debuted; they just made the wrong impression. Their debut season in 1962 saw them lose a record-breaking 120 games. A few teams have come close to that number but haven't quite reached it. The good news for the Mets is that, while they hold the numerical record for the worst season, they don't hold the worst in terms of percentage. That goes to the Cleveland Spiders for their 1899 season.

They Hired Jesse Owens As A Running Coach

The Mets had such a rough start, management was determined to make players improve in any way they could. One tactic involved hiring track and field legend Jesse Owens as their running coach. He spent the 1965 season trying to help the team improve, but even his advice and regimen didn't help. The team still finished in last place.

Garth Brooks Tried Out For The Team

You have to hand it to country music star  Garth Brooks; he's definitely adventurous. He not only created another persona, Chris Gaines, to try to break into rock music, but he also tried out for the New York Mets. He joined the Mets for their 2000-season spring training. Unfortunately, he batted rather badly at 0-17. Understandably, the Mets declined to add him.  Though his participation was dismissed by some as a PR stunt, Brooks also tried out for the San Diego Padres in 1999 and the Kansas City Royals in 2004.

They Could Have Been Called The Bees

The Mets' full name is the New York Metropolitan Baseball Club, Inc., which is a rather nice name when you think about it. They almost didn't end up with that name, however. When the team was first formed, the owner, Joan Whitney Payson, tried to think of other names and came up with The Bees. Luckily, Payson and the team resorted to a write-in contest that landed on the Mets' current name.  Other suggestions from fans included the New York Addicts, the New York Slumlords, and the New York Muggers.

Their Mascot Has Been Threatened By The Secret Service

Mr. Met gets no respect. Not only does he have to deal with kids trying to hit him and with jealous boyfriends getting angry when he poses with their girlfriends for a picture, but the Secret Service got angry in 1997 when his costume kept setting off metal detectors. President Clinton was visiting, and while New York Police took the detector issues in stride, the Secret Service told the mascot that snipers would take him out if he tried anything. Back in 1979, the team's owners tried using a live mule instead of a costumed mascot, having the mule trot around the field. They ended up in last place, lost fans, and brought back Mr. Met.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Al Capone_2

On October 17, 1931, Al Capone was found guilty and sentenced to eleven years in federal prison for tax evasion. In honor of this, what would you call it? An anniversary?  Here are five things you probably didn't know about Chicago's famous mobster...

He Kidnapped Fats Waller

Whn jazz legend Fats Waller was just 21-years-old he was held at gun point and bundled into a limo after finishing a set at a Chicago club. Fearing for his life he was pleasantly surprised to discover that instead of being led to his death, he was in fact being forced to perform at Chicago mafia henchman Al Capone’s 27th birthday party. And what a party it was. It lasted for three days, with Fats sleeping at his piano between sets, and eventually going home with thousands of dollars in tips.

He Played In The Prison Band

Al took his love for jazz to the next level in jail. With years' worth of time and little to do in Alcatraz, Capone took up music, and played the banjo in the prison band ‘The Rock Islanders.’ Legend has it that current Alcatraz employees (the prison is now a museum open to the public) have reported hearing eerie banjo tunes coming from the cells.

His Custom Made Car Was Used to Protect FDR

Being one of the biggest mobsters of all time, Capone took some precautions to protect himself. One of the most notable was the construction of a custom made bulletproof car. It was a 1928 Cadillac Town Sedan fitted with 3,000 pounds of armor plating and 1-inch thick glass. One interesting modification made to the car is that the window glass contains a circular cutout to accommodate a machine gun muzzle. Once all his assets were seized, the car was recommissioned to become the official car of president Franklin D. Roosevelt. Its bulletproof build made it the perfect car for the president to use during WW2. The car was used to  drive FDR to his address in front of congress after the events of Pearl Harbor.

His Brother Was a Prohibition Agent

In one of the most shocking shows of sibling difference, Al Capone's brother worked as a prohibition officer. His older brother, James Vincenzo Capone worked against the very industry that made Capone so wealthy. He was the eldest in a family of nine children and a fan of actor William S. Hart. Eventually James moved, changing his name to Richard Hart, to disassociate himself with his brother.

He Hated The Nickname “Scarface”

Capone was known to lie about how he got the scars on the side of his face by saying he was wounded in the war, even though he was never in the military. It was the press that nicknamed him Scarface as he rose to prominence among area gangsters.  Capone got the scars on his face in 1917 while he was working at the Harvard Inn as a bouncer. Another criminal named Frank Galluccio became angry when Capone insulted his sister, Lena. Galluccio then slashed Capone with a knife three times across the face. As a result, Capone needed 80 stitches and ended up with his famous nickname. 

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Alaska

On this day in 1867, the U.S. formally took possession of Alaska after purchasing the territory from Russia.  Here are things you probably don’t know about the largest state in North America...

It reached 100 degrees in Alaska – Once

Over a hundred years ago, in 1914, Fort Yukon recorded an official temperature of 100 degrees, according to USA Today. Believe it or not, that mark of 100 degrees ties the all-time high temperature in the state of Hawaii. Not surprisingly, Alaska also holds the record for the lowest temperature ever observed in the United States. That bone-chilling figure of -79.8 degrees was recorded in the mountains of northern Alaska in 1971.

Japan Attacked Alaska During World War II

You thought Pearl Harbor was the only major attack on U.S. soil during World War II? Nope! The Japanese attacked Alaska during World War II. On June 6, 1942, the Japanese attacked Attu and Kiska, two of the Aleutian Islands, and held them for months, enslaving the small number of residents. American troops arrived to take back the islands, but they were woefully unprepared for the Alaskan climate. The ensuing battle lasted 15 days and resulted in the deaths of 2,650 Japanese and 549 Americans, a total higher than the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Most of Alaska is Inaccessible by Car

At least 75% of the state is unreachable by car. Instead, snowmobiles and bush planes are typically used for travel. Because many of the highways are only two lanes, there’s a law requiring drivers to pull over if at least five vehicles are behind them, to allow the faster traffic to pass. 

North America’s Strongest Earthquake Was in Alaska

A 9.2 earthquake struck Prince William Sound off the Alaska coast on March 27, 1964, and was the largest ever recorded in North America. It lasted more than four minutes and produced more than 10,000 aftershocks in the ensuing days. Approximately 130 people died from the resulting tsunamis in Alaska, Oregon and California. Anchorage was severely damaged, and some communities southeast of the city saw the land drop by up to eight feet.

The Purchase of Alaska Was a Real Bargain

Alaska is home to the country’s best real estate bargain In 1867, the United States bought Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million, which is a lot less than some celebrity homes these days. Some mocked the purchase because the land was considered worthless, so they called it “Seward’s Folly” after William Seward, the Secretary of State who brokered the deal. Those people who mocked it might have changed their minds if they had known gold and oil would be discovered years later, which produces billions in tax revenues each year.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Blockbuster

On October 19, 1985, the first Blockbuster video-rental store opened in Dallas, Texas. Blockbuster expanded rapidly, eventually becoming one of the world’s largest providers of in-home movies before eventually filing for bankruptcy in 2010. Here are 5 things you didn't know about Blockbuster...

The Collapse of the Oil Market Led to Blockbuster

David Cook, a Dallas entrepreneur, was approached by his wife about opening a video store when the oil market collapsed in 1985. Cook had been writing computer programs to manage inventory for big oil businesses, but a market collapse led to a stack of unpaid invoices. At the same time, the VHS rental market were becoming popular, and Cook thought a megastore with a large inventory might be profitable, so the first Blockbuster was born.

Blockbuster Made a Fortune on Late Fees

People are busy and don’t always do things on time, including returning their rented videos. In 2000, 16 percent, or $800 million, of the company’s revenue came from late fees. Although late fees were canceled in 2004, a customer bringing in a video over eight days late might end up paying the full purchase price.

Blockbuster Built an Amusement Park For Adults

The company’s real name was Blockbuster Entertainment with the thought of expanding its market outside of the video rental market.  "Blockbuster Block Party" opened in 1994 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which offered 60,000 square feet of motion simulator rides, movies, laser tag, and mazes which was for adults only. Although it was called a "miniature Disneyland on steroids” by the press, the entertainment center failed to capture the public’s attention.

Blockbuster Could Have Bought Netflix

In 2000, the CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, met with Blockbuster to see if they wanted to purchase the company for $50 million. Although it isn’t surprising since Netflix was losing a lot of money then, Blockbuster turned them down. At the time, Blockbuster was making huge profits and couldn’t conceive how Netflix could add any value to their enormously successful business.  According to Forbes, Hastings was “laughed out of the room” for making the offer. 

The Name of the Last Video Rented Was Ironic

Blockbuster’s last video rental store closed its doors for the last time in November 2013. The last video rented was Seth Rogen's 2013 apocalyptic comedy "This Is the End". The company posted a photo of the moment on its Twitter page. And yes, the customer still had to return it.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About General Douglas MacArthur_3

On October 20, 1944, Douglas MacArthur returned with troops to the Philippines to wrest the country from its Japanese occupation, keeping his promise of “I shall return.” Here are 5 things you might not know about General MacArthur...

Both MacArthur And His Father Received Medals of Honor

They hold the honor of being the first father and son duo to receive this award.  Douglas MacArthur was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1942 for his outstanding leadership during the invasion of the Philippines during World War II. The general’s father, Arthur MacArthur Jr., had received the Medal of Honor at age 18 for his participation at the Battle of Missionary Ridge in 1863 during the Civil War. When Theodore Roosevelt posthumously received the Medal of Honor in 2001 for his service during the Spanish-American War, he and son Theodore Roosevelt Jr. became the second father-son pair to receive the award.

Only Two Other Cadets Surpassed His Performance at West Point

MacArthur’s mother was so intent on his doing well when he attended West Point that she moved there and lived in a hotel on the campus grounds while he attended school there. In 1903, he ended up graduating first out of a group of 94 cadets with 2,424 academic merits out of the maximum of 2,470. This score still stands as the third highest in the history of the academy. The highest scores are held by Charles Mason, a supreme court judge who lived in Iowa, and General Robert E. Lee, who led the Confederate troops during the Civil War. 

He Vomited on The Front Steps of The White House

In 1934, MacArthur and President Franklin Roosevelt got into a heated discussion in the White House Oval Office over Roosevelt’s proposed military cuts. The general later recounted that he “spoke recklessly and said something to the general effect that when we lost the next war, and an American boy, lying in the mud with an enemy bayonet through his belly and an enemy foot on his dying throat, spat out his last curse, I wanted the name not to be MacArthur, but Roosevelt.” Realizing he might have gone too far, MacArthur offered to resign his post, but Roosevelt refused.  Still nauseous from the confrontation, MacArthur got sick on the White House steps after leaving the meeting.

MacArthur Received a Ticker Tape Parade After His Firing.

On April 11, 1951, President Harry Truman relieved General MacArthur from his Korean War command for insubordination after the general publicly criticized the president’s conduct of the war. MacArthur, more popular than the president at the time, received a hero’s welcome upon his arrival back in the United States. On April 20, 1951, he was greeted in New York by a ticker-tape parade complete with cheering crowds and confetti. A day before, he had addressed Congress in a joint session and closed his speech with “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.”

A Football Trophy Is Awarded in His Name

MacArthur loved football even though he played shortstop for his school’s baseball team when he was in high school. He was the student manager for the military academy’s football team and one of the founders of the National Football Foundation, which since 1959 has awarded the MacArthur Bowl to the top college football team in the United States. The 25-pound silver trophy is shaped like a football stadium and features this quote from the general: “There is no substitute for victory."

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Old Ironsides_3

On October 21, 1797, the USS Constitution, better known as Old Ironsides, was launched into Boston Harbor, and would go on to become famous during the War of 1812. Here are five surprising facts you may not know about Old Ironsides...

It’s The US Navy’s Oldest Warship

The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned naval vessel that is still afloat. She was one of six original frigates that were constructed as a result of the Naval Act of 1794. President George Washington chose the name Constitution among a group of 10 names, which were submitted by Secretary of War Timothy Pickering for the six frigates. The Constitution was built in a shipyard in the north end of Boston, Massachusetts. Her initial mission was to protect American merchant shipping during the Quasi-War with France and to combat the Barbary pirates during the First Barbary War.

Copper In The Hull Was Forged By Paul Revere

Boston shipbuilder Edmund Hartt was responsible for the ship’s construction under the supervision of U.S. Navy Captain Samuel Nicholson. Paul Revere, whom you may remember from the American Revolution, forged the copper that was used on the hull of the ship. When the ship was first launched in 1797, she was so heavy it was difficult to get her into the water and took multiple attempts. The shipyard warned those near the harbor that launching could create a huge wave. Overall, the ship displaced 2,200 tons of water once it was out of dry dock. 

She Earned The Name “Old Ironsides” During The War Of 1812

The Constitution was made of wood, as was standard in the 1700s, but its construction was unusually thick, with three oak layers and copper sheathing among the ship's features. This tough-for-its-times hull was so strong that the cannonballs lobbed by the British frigate HMS Guerriere during the War of 1812 bounced off the sides of the oak-clad Constitution. Crew members allegedly shouted that the sides were made of iron. Many historians believe the press dubbed the ship “Old Ironsides” when reporting the account of the battle.

The Secretary Of The Navy Suggested Using The Ship For Target Practice

In 1905, Secretary of the Navy Charles Joseph Bonaparte came up with the idea of using the Constitution for target practice. He suggested towing her out to sea and shooting her until she sank. A businessman in Massachusetts offered to buy the ship for $10,000 instead. This spurred a public campaign that eventually forced Congress the following year to authorize $100,000 to restore the ship. She was turned into a museum ship and was opened to the public.

There’s A Lottery To Participate In The Ship’s Annual “Turnaround Cruise”

The USS Constitution is open to the public all year long. Every year it usually makes one “turnaround cruise.” The public is allowed to get on board the turnaround cruise, but they have to enter a lottery to earn a coveted ticket. The ship is towed into the harbor where it performs a drill and other demonstrations. While she has been heavily restored over the years, it’s estimated that 10-15 percent of the ship’s timber is original.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About The Vietnam War

On October 22, 1957, American forces suffered their first casualties in Vietnam when 13 Advisory Americans were wounded in three terrorist bombings. Here are 5 things you probably didn't know about the Vietnam War...

American Troops Used People Sniffers

One of the weirder tools used by the Americans during the Vietnam War was the "people sniffer", also know as Operation Snoopy. Northern troops on the Ho Chi Minh Trail were notoriously difficult to find, so the Americans used sensors to detect human sweat and urine. These sensors were deployed when troops wanted to find anyone who might be hiding. While they frequently turned up false results, leading to attacks on civilians and cattle, they did prove to be somewhat effective. The North Vietnamese Army eventually learned to hang buckets of mud mixed with urine from trees to throw off the sensors.

Americans Played Ghost Noises In The Jungle

One of the ways American troops would try to weaken North Vietnamese troops was to scare them into thinking they were surrounded by ghosts. American troops would play recordings that sounded like ghosts were haunting the area. This was called Operation Wandering Soul and was based on the Vietnamese belief that dead people needed to have a proper burial ritual or they would become wandering ghosts. Since many bodies didn’t get proper burials during the war, there would’ve been plenty of upset ghosts. The Americans preyed on this fear by playing ghost noises on hidden speakers in the jungles at night.

It Wasn't Technically A "War"

It looked like a war and affected people like a war would, so the battles that took place in Vietnam are referred to and treated as a war. At least, unofficially speaking. In official terms, the years of fighting and death are technically a conflict and not a war because the U.S. never officially declared war on Vietnam or any of the forces fighting there. This meant the war was technically a conflict, though neither side actually thought of it this way.

The Death Toll Was Almost Entirely Vietnamese

In the Vietnam War, 58,220 Americans died. By comparison, including both north and south, approximately 2 million Vietnamese civilians died. That doesn’t even include soldiers, which would add another approximately 1.35 million Vietnamese deaths. That puts Americans at less than 2% of the total deaths.

It’s Called The American War in Vietnam

Wars generally have names that distinguish them from other conflicts in the same country. The Americans refer to the war in Vietnam as the Vietnam War. For the Vietnamese, however, the war is called the American War (or, in full, the “War Against the Americans to Save the Nation”).

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5 Secrets You Probably Didn't Know About Johnny Carson

On October 23, 1925, Johnny Carson was born in Corning, Iowa and grew up to become one of television's most-loved TV personalities of the 20th century. Here are five secrets you probably didn't know about Johnny Carson...

Early in His Career, He Hosted a Game Show

Carson was picked to host the game show Who Do You Trust in the late 1950s, which is where he met Ed McMahon, who worked on the show as the announcer. It was a program where couples competed, and the man would be asked if he wanted to answer the question of whether his wife should. Carson spent a large part of the show interacting with the contestants, which helped land him the job on The Tonight Show after the retirement of Jack Paar.

Groucho Marx Introduced Carson as the New Host of the Show

On Carson’s first night as host of the show, replacing Jack Paar, he was introduced by legendary comedian Groucho Marx, age 72. Six years later, Marx honored Carson at a roast held at the Friars’ Club in New York. Guests appearing on Carson’s opening show were Tony Bennett, Joan Crawford, Rudy Vallee and a new comedy writer, Mel Brooks.

The Tonight Show Theme Has Lyrics

A lot of those instrumental TV themes that you grew up humming actually had lyrics. Among these were lyrics to the theme to Star Trek and the theme to the Tonight Show. Carson actually wrote the lyrics to that theme, and the music was by Paul Anka (who took one of his prior hits and reworked it for the show). While the lyrics were never used, Carson still got a good deal and received 50 percent of the royalties.

He Assisted Orson Welles In A Magic Act During World War II

In 1943, Carson, 18, went into the U.S. Navy where he was assigned work in communications decoding encrypted messages. He performed magic as a hobby, usually for shipmates, but was invited to perform as an assistant to Orson Welles during a performance to entertain the troops aboard the U.S.S. Pennsylvania. Welles was also assisted by his beautiful wife, Rita Hayworth, whom he cut in half during his magic act.

He Wrote Jokes For David Letterman's Show

Carson was known for criticizing other talk show hosts, except for David Letterman. Carson was a big fan of Letterman and started sending jokes to Dave after he (Carson) retired. He'd send them daily, and some would make it on air without crediting Carson. A former Tonight Show producer said that he thought Carson missed the monologue segment of his show and needed an outlet for the jokes he was still thinking up.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About The United Nations

On October 24, the world celebrates United Nations Day. The day marks the anniversary of the day in 1945 when the United Nations charter took effect. In honor of the United Nation's 75th birthday, here are five things you didn't know about the international organization..

Winston Churchill and FDR Came Up With The Name While Taking a Bath

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and had already developed the Atlantic Charter, but were struggling over what to name their new alliance. Churchill, who was known for thinking and writing in the tub, was taking a dip when FDR was wheeled in to propose that the organization be called the "United Nations."

Shirley Temple Held a Diplomatic Post at the U.N.

Following a successful career as a child actress adored by millions, Shirley Temple Black went to work for her country in 1969, when President Richard Nixon appointed her to the UN General Assembly. She later served as ambassador to Ghana by Gerald Ford and Czechoslovakia by George H.W. Bush. During World War II, FDR was quoted as saying, “As long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right.”

There Are Only Six Official Languages Recognized By The U.N.

The U.N. is made up of 193 member nations. This includes every independent nation in the world except for Vatican City. These nations represent populations around the world that speak hundreds of different languages. However, the U.N. has only six official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. When a representative of a country speaks at the U.N., he or she must either speak in one of the six official languages or provide interpretation from the language used into one of the six official languages. 

Diplomats Owe NYC Over $16 Million In Unpaid Parking Tickets

One of the perks to being part of the UN is its diplomatic immunity. Some diplomats take so much advantage of it that they refuse to pay their parking tickets. The Wall Street Journal reported that 180 countries have racked up debt due to unpaid parking tickets. Egypt is the largest offender -- accruing over $2 million in violations. Only 15 countries were found to not have these violations.

The United Nations Won an Oscar

In 1948, the United Nations won an Oscar at the Academy Awards for a short documentary titled “First Steps.” The film was ten minutes in duration and was about the treatment of children with disabilities and was produced for the Department of Social Affairs in the United Nations. 

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