Random Fact Sheet #274 – Uncovering Most Unexpected Facts: 40 Examples

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1Hello Ma Baby

Hello Ma Baby

The song "Hello Ma Baby" was nearly 60 years old when sung by the cartoon frog. It's the oldest known song to mention the telephone and the first about a man falling in love with a woman he never met via technology.

2. The scenes of Kazakhstan in Borat were shot in Glod, a tiny village in Romania. All the extras are villagers of Glod who got paid to be in the film and were told it was a documentary. They felt insulted by their portrayal, tried to sue the producers, and threatened to kill Borat for insulting them.

3. Major Pentagon officials once called Five Guys and requested them to break their no delivery rule. Not only did they refuse, the restaurant's founder also ordered a 22-foot banner saying "ABSOLUTELY NO DELIVERY" and hung it in front of the store. Business from Pentagon employees increased.

4. In May 1998, Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf beat Leonardo DiCaprio as People Magazine's Most Beautiful Person. As a joke write-in candidate, Hank was nominated en masse by fans of The Howard Stern Show as a chance to "violate People's expectations while still playing by its rules."

5. In 1960, debris from a failed American launch (Thor Able Star) fell on Cuba, killing one cow. Many Cubans demonstrated, with banners on cows reading "The Yankees are killing us without mercy" and "Eisenhower, you murdered one of my sisters". Cuba received $2 million in compensation, and the cow had a state funeral.

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6Bob Wian

Bob Wian

In the 1930s Bob Wian had a cushy job managing a restaurant but felt he didn't know the business fully. So he quit, got jobs as a dishwasher, fry cook, and then counter help. With that experience, he started the restaurant chain Bob's Big Boy, invented the double-decker burger, and became hugely successful.

7. When people act like Frankenstein's monster, they often stretch their arms out in front of them because of the 1943 movie Frankenstein Meets the Wolf-Man. In the movie, the monster is blinded and has to walk holding his hands in front of him.

8. Construction workers at the new World Trade Center site in NYC stumbled upon the hull of an 18th century Philadelphia sloop active in colonial-era Caribbean trade. Tree-ring scientists at Columbia University found that the wood used to build the ship were felled in 1773.

9. Cinnamon is made from the inner bark of laurel trees and used to be more valuable than gold.

10. Hasbro trademarked the smell of Play-Doh, and in order to do so, they had to explicitly define every nuance of the scent.

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11Carrie Chapman Catt

Carrie Chapman Catt

Carrie Chapman Catt, the women's suffrage leader of the early 20th century, had a special clause in her 1890 wedding prenuptial. It guaranteed her four months of free time every year, so she could campaign to get women the vote in the US.

12. The last duel in Canada was fought in 1873 over a woman. Upon turning and firing, one duelist fell to the ground. Both duelists unknowingly had blanks loaded in their guns by their seconds. The one-man who fell had fainted due to fear.

13. Thai last names are so long because Thai citizens are not legally allowed to have the same last name as anyone they are not related to.

14. A stretch of Route 66, between Albuquerque and Tijeras, will play "America the Beautiful" as you drive over added grooves in the road. If you drive the speed limit of 45 mph for the quarter-mile stretch, you can hear "America the Beautiful" play through the vibrations in your car's wheels.

15. The creator of chiropractic medicine, D.D. Palmer, had claimed that he had received his chiropractic knowledge from the spirit of a deceased physician named Jim Atkinson and believed chiropractic medicine was a moral obligation and a religious duty.

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16Robert McCulloch

Robert McCulloch

In 1968, US businessman Robert McCulloch bought London Bridge for $2,460,000 plus shipping costs of around $240,000 and moved it to the Arizona desert. Instead of applying the 11% import tax for granite, US customs declared the 137-year-old bridge to be an "antique" and therefore duty-free.

17. Every night the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence are lowered underground into a bomb-proof vault.

18. In Japan, it is a custom for a girl to ask for the second button from the boy’s jacket, if they like the boy. It is thought that the second button is close to the heart, meaning they ask for his heart.

19. Before the start of salt iodization in the 1920s, 47% of schoolchildren in Michigan had goiter and 30% of World War 1 draftees were medically disqualified due to this condition.

20. William Castle was a B-horror movies maker who allowed his audiences to get refunds if a movie was too scary. Many abused it, angering him. The abuse stopped when he made refund seekers go to a “Coward’s Corner” in the theater as a record screamed “Watch the chicken!” and a yellow light followed across the theater.

21Augustin Lesage

Augustin Lesage

In 1911, a 35-year-old French miner named Augustin Lesage began hearing voices in the dark that convinced him to become a painter. With no prior training, he became very successful and claimed the “spirit voices” guided every one of his 800 paintings.

22. The death of British author C.S. Lewis went largely unreported by news media because U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated less than an hour later.

23. During his tenure, Theodore Roosevelt had a lion, a coyote, a hyena, a black bear, and a zebra living on White House grounds at various times. Also, he shot 11397 creatures, including endangered animals. He also hired people, to find remains of a Mammoth, which he was successful in procuring.

24. Rod Serling got the idea for the Twilight Zone episode "I Shot an Arrow into the Air" from a conversation with a friend, to whom he paid $500 for the rights. More people would pitch episode ideas to Serling in person over the years, but none were ever produced.

25. In the winter, when it's too cold for the male bees to do their only job (mate) the lady bees kick them out of the hive, where they quickly die in the elements.

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