50 Random Facts List #173

1Paul Lieberstein

Paul Lieberstein, also known as Toby from The Office, was a writer for the first five seasons of King of the Hill.


2. After Ronald Reagan watched the movie WarGames he asked “Could something like this really happen?” to his chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a week later the general returned and said, “Mr. President, the problem is much worse than you think.”


3. The Neanderthal dental plaque shows that there was no such thing as a typical Paleo diet. Some ate mostly meat, while some others were entirely vegetarian.


4. Viking military tactics succeeded mainly because they disregarded the conventional battlefield tactics, methods, and customs of the time. They ignored unspoken rules, like not attacking holy sites. To the contrary Vikings intentionally targeted religious sites for their vulnerability and wealth.


5. A photographer took pictures of a street mime in Central Park in 1974 and 35 years later discovered it was Robin Williams before he was famous.


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6Jim Thorpe

Someone stole Jim Thorpe's shoes just before he competed in the Olympic decathlon. Wearing mismatched shoes (one from the garbage), he went on to win the gold medal, setting a record that stood for almost 20 years.


7. Despite Mac and Dick McDonald having already franchised 6 restaurants before meeting Ray Kroc, Ray considers himself the founder. He even falsely claims in his autobiography that his franchise was the first McDonald’s ever opened.


8. In 1974, Elvis Presley expressed interest in covering Dolly Parton's “I will always love you”. She was initially thrilled about the proposal, however, when she found out she would have to sign over half of the royalties to Elvis, she refused.


9. There are grapes flavored like cotton candy. David Cain created the unique flavor through plant breeding in 2011. He bred 1,000 plants before perfecting the cotton candy flavor.


10. Pinhead actor Doug Bradley became so adept at applying and removing his prosthetic makeup that he was given an Assistant Make-up Artist credit on some Hellraiser films.


11Mae C. Jemison

Mae C. Jemison is not only the first African-American woman to go to space, but she also served in the Peace Corps, appeared on Star Trek, is a dancer, and holds nine honorary doctorates in science, engineering, letters, and the humanities.


12. A man named James Richardson spent 21 years in jail after he was falsely convicted of murdering his 7 children who died after eating a poisoned lunch. Among the facts that were concealed by the prosecution; it was the babysitter who had served the poisoned meal and who was a convicted murderer on parole for poisoning her husband. James was exonerated in 1989.


13. The founder of Tootsie Rolls, Leo Hirshfield, committed suicide after being ousted from his own company. He'd created it to be an affordable chocolate-tasting candy that would not melt in the heat. He named them after his daughter Clara "Tootsie" Hirshfield.


14. Jim Carrey had to be taught CIA torture coping techniques to endure the make-up process for How the Grinch Stole Christmas.


15. In 2011, a Philadelphia man named Steve Carter found out he was a missing child. Carter, who was adopted at the age of 4, found an age-progression image that looked similar to him, on a missing children’s website. He discovered he had been kidnapped by his birth mother and placed in an orphanage. His biological father had reported him missing over three decades earlier.


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16Randy Savage

Macho Man Randy Savage's first wrestling character was called "The Spider", based off of Spider-Man. He would later star as the villain wrestler "Bone Saw" in The Amazing Spiderman movie.


17. In 1910, a Spanish shepherd named José María Grimaldos López went missing. Rumour spread he’d been murdered. Two men confessed to his murder under torture by the Civil Guard and served 12 years in prison before being pardoned in 1925. In 1926, it was discovered the shepherd had been living in a nearby town the entire time.


18. In 2007, Keira Knightley was awarded £3,000 ($6,000) in damages from a lawsuit against Daily Mail for publishing an article about her having anorexia nervosa and added another £3,000 to this amount to donate to Beat, a charity for those who suffer mental illness and eating disorders.


19. Between 1933 and 1941, the Chinese city of Shanghai accepted unconditionally over 18,000 Jewish people escaping Europe during World War 2. This was more than Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and British India combined.


20. Frances Kelsey, the physician who refused to allow the deadly drug Thalidomide from entering circulation into the US in the 1960s, saved numerous American infants from disfiguration and birth defects.


21John Burns

In 1863, John Burns, who a resident of Gettysburg Pennsylvania, at the age of 70 insisted on joining the Union line with his outdated flintlock rifle. He shot a Confederate officer from his horse, fought with the Iron Brigade, was wounded several times, duped Confederate doctors into mending him, and snuck home.


22. More than 90% of consumers have thrown away food because of mistaken safety fears over date labels. The dates printed on food are not intended to communicate safety information, instead, they signal the manufacturer's estimate of how long that food will taste its best.


23. When astronauts vote from space, they list their address as "low-Earth orbit" in their absentee ballots.


24. As of January 2019, actor Val Kilmer (Top Gun, Batman Forever) has been fighting throat cancer and had a procedure on his trachea that has reduced his voice to a rasp.


25. A train dispatcher named Patrick Vincent Coleman died saving hundreds of lives during the Halifax Explosion. His final message was “Hold up the train. Ammunition ship afire in harbor making for Pier 6 and will explode. Guess this will be my last message. Good-bye, boys.”

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