Sunday, March 6, 2011

⅏Did You Know - These Random Facts? #12 - March

Did You Know?  For the month of
back in.....

  • 1770, The Boston Massacre:  On a cold snowy night  a mob of American colonists gathers at the Customs House in Boston and begins taunting the British soldiers guarding the building. The protesters, who called themselves Patriots, were protesting the occupation of their city by British troops, who were sent to Boston in 1768 to enforce unpopular taxation measures passed by a British parliament that lacked American representation.   British Captain Thomas Preston, the commanding officer at the Customs House, ordered his men to fix their bayonets and join the guard outside the building. The colonists responded by throwing snowballs and other objects at the British regulars, and Private Hugh Montgomery was hit, leading him to discharge his rifle at the crowd. The other soldiers began firing a moment later, and when the smoke cleared, five colonists were dead or dying. The deaths of the five men are regarded by some historians as the first fatalities in the American Revolutionary War.
  • 1896, Tootsie Rolls first appeared on U.S. store shelves.  Creator Leo Hirshfield named the treat after his daughter, Clara, whose nickname was Tootsie.  The candy has been part of the U.S. military rations since World War I.
  • 1900, Gottlieb Daimler, the German engineer who invented an early version of the internal combustion engine and founded an auto company bearing his name, dies at the age of 65.
  • 1929, David Dunbar Buick, the founder of the Buick Motor Company, (who was born in Scotland but later moved to Detroit, Michigan as a child), dies in relative obscurity and meager circumstances at the age of 74. In 1908, Buick's company became the foundation for the General Motors Corporation; however, by that time David Buick had sold his interest in the company.
  • 1936, Jim Clark, who will dominate Formula One (F1) racing in the mid-1960s and win two F1 world championships, is born in Scotland.
  • 1944, A train number 8017 stops in a tunnel near Salerno, Italy, and more than 500 people on board suffocate and die. Occurring in the midst of World War II, the details of this incident were not revealed at the time and remain somewhat murky. It was raining as the 8017 began to ascend the Galleria delle Amri tunnel pass just outside of Balvano. Almost immediately, it was forced to stop. There were conflicting reports as to why this happened: either the train was unable to pull the overloaded freight cars up the slope or the train stopped to wait for a train descending in the opposite direction. In any case, the train sat idling in the tunnel for more than 30 minutes. While this might not have posed a severe danger in some circumstances, the train's locomotives were burning low-grade coal substitutes because high-grade coal was hard to obtain during the war and the coal substitutes produced an excess of odorless and toxic carbon monoxide. Approximately 520 of the train's passengers were asphyxiated by the carbon monoxide as they sat in the train. The government, in the midst of an intense war effort, kept a lid on the story--it was barely reported at the time although it was one of the worst, and most unusual, rail disasters of the century.  
  • 1962, A Trans-African DC-7 crashes on takeoff in Douala, Cameroon.  A simple mechanical failure doomed the flight and its 111 passengers and crew. This was the first single-airplane disaster in history in which more than 100 people died.
  • 1966, A jet breaks apart in mid-air and plummets into Japan's Mount Fuji. All 124 people on board the aircraft were killed. The plane's pilot apparently flew close to the mountain in order to give the passengers a better view of it, and severe turbulence literally blew the plane apart.
  • 1969, Jim Morrison is charged with lewd behaviour at a Miami concert.  When Morrison first got word of the charges for lewd and lascivious behavior, indecent exposure, profanity, and drunkenness, he thought it was a practical joke. But he soon learned that Miami authorities were entirely serious. In fact, they later added an additional charge, simulated oral copulation on guitarist Robbie Krieger during the concert.  He was convicted and sentenced to six months in prison and a $500 fine. Morrison died in Paris before he could serve the sentence.
    Prince Charles, Diana and Sandro Pertini
    Pic by Wiki user Jaqen
  • 1974,  A DC-10 jet crashes into a forest outside of Paris, France, killing all 346 people on board.  The poor design of the plane, as well as negligent maintenance, contributed to the disaster.
  • 1981, Buckingham Palace announced the engagement of Charles, the Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer.  Almost 26 years later, their children, Prince William and Prince Harry, organized a charity concert to celebrate the life of their late mother on what would have been her 46th birthday.  Proceeds went to Diana's favorite charities, including the National AIDS Trust, the Leprosy Mission and the English National Ballet.
    Candy in September 1993
    at Ivor Wynne Stadium,
     Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
    Pic by Wiki user BetacommandBot
  • 1995, The larger-than-life comedic star John Candy dies suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 43.   At the time of his death, he was living near Durango, Mexico, while filming Wagons East, a Western comedy co-starring the comedian Richard Lewis.  Candy was a Canadian actor and comedian. He rose to fame as a member of the Toronto, Ontario branch of The Second City, its related Second City Television series, and in his role in comedy films such as Stripes, Splash, Cool Runnings, The Great Outdoors, and Uncle Buck. One of his most renowned onscreen performances was that of Del Griffith, the loquacious, on the move shower curtain ring salesman in the John Hughes comedy Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

 Resources:, various magazines

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