119 Amazing Facts for National Trivia Day
Here's a little-known fact: January 4 is National Trivia Day! Let's celebrate with some of our favorite facts, pulled from our Amazing Fact Generator and the @mental_floss Twitter account.
1. Oscar the Grouch used to be orange. Jim Henson decided to make him green before the second season of Sesame Street. How did Oscar explain the color change? He said he went on vacation to the very damp Swamp Mushy Muddy and turned green overnight.
2. On Good Friday in 1930, the BBC reported, "There is no news." Instead, they played piano music.
3. The 3 Musketeers bar was originally split into three pieces with three different flavors: vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. When the other flavors became harder to come by during World War II, Mars decided to go all chocolate.
4. Fredric Baur invented the Pringles can. When he passed away in 2008, his ashes were buried in one.
5. In the 1980s, Pablo Escobar's Medellin Cartel was spending $2,500 a month on rubber bands just to hold all their cash.
6. When he appeared on Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!, Bill Clinton correctly answered three questions about My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
7. Johnny Cash's "A Boy Named Sue" was penned by beloved children's author Shel Silverstein.
8. Ben & Jerry learned how to make ice cream by taking a $5 correspondence course offered by Penn State. (They decided to split one course.)
9. M&M's actually stands for "Mars & Murrie's," the last names of the candy's founders.
10. Carly Simon's dad is the Simon of Simon and Schuster. He co-founded the company.
11. When the mummy of Ramses II was sent to France in the mid-1970s, it was issued a passport. Ramses' occupation? "King (deceased)."
12. In 1939, Hitler's nephew wrote an article called "Why I Hate My Uncle." He came to the U.S., served in the Navy, and settled on Long Island.
13. In the 1970s, Mattel sold a doll called "Growing Up Skipper." Her breasts grew when her arm was turned.
14. Reno is farther west than Los Angeles.
15. A 1913 New York Times article on portmanteaus includes the word "alcoholiday," which describes leisure time spent drinking.
16. At Fatburger, you can order a "Hypocrite"—a veggie burger topped with crispy strips of bacon.
17. While many believe Hydrox cookies are an Oreo knock-off, Hydrox actually came first—in 1908, four years before the Oreo.
18. In 1999, Furbies were banned from the National Security Agency's Maryland headquarters because it was feared the toys might repeat national security secrets.
19. Bear Bryant was once asked to contribute $10 to help pay for a sportswriter's funeral. According to legend, he said, "Here's a twenty, bury two."
20. James Avery ("Uncle Phil" on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air) was the voice of Shredder on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.
21. Kool-Aid was originally marketed as "Fruit Smack."
22. Only female mosquitoes will bite you.
23. The archerfish knocks its insect prey out of over-hanging branches with a stream of spit.
24. There really was a Captain Morgan. He was a Welsh pirate who later became the lieutenant governor of Jamaica.
25. In 1961, Martha Stewart was selected as one of Glamour magazine's "Ten Best-Dressed College Girls."
26. As part of David Hasselhoff's divorce settlement, he kept possession of the nickname "Hoff" and the catchphrase "Don't Hassle the Hoff."
27. "Jay" used to be slang for "foolish person." So when a pedestrian ignored street signs, he was referred to as a "jaywalker."
28. Duncan Hines was a real person. He was a popular restaurant critic who also wrote a book of hotel recommendations.
29. The string on boxes of animal crackers was originally placed there so the container could be hung from a Christmas tree.
30. Alaska is the only state that can be typed on one row of keys. (Go ahead and try typing the other 49 states. We'll wait.)
31. At the 1905 wedding of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, President Teddy Roosevelt gave away the bride.
32. William Faulkner refused a dinner invitation from JFK's White House. "Why that’s a hundred miles away," he said. "That’s a long way to go just to eat."
33. In 1907, an ad campaign for Kellogg's Corn Flakes offered a free box of cereal to any woman who would wink at her grocer.
34. Why did the FBI call Ted Kaczynski "The Unabomber"? Because his early mail bombs were sent to universities (UN) & airlines (A).
35. That thing you use to dot your lowercase "i" is called a tittle.
36. The only number whose letters are in alphabetical order is 40 (f-o-r-t-y).
37. The little BIC pen logo guy has a name. It's BIC Boy. Sorry if that's a letdown.
38. Bono was born Paul David Hewson.
39. The Edge's name is David Howell Evans.
40. Male students at Brigham Young University need a doctor's note to grow a beard.
41. In 1991, Wayne Allwine, the voice of Mickey Mouse, married Russi Taylor—the voice of Minnie.
42. The Arkansas School for the Deaf's nickname is the Leopards.
43. Editor Bennett Cerf challenged Dr. Seuss to write a book using no more than 50 different words. The result? Green Eggs and Ham.
44. Norwegian skier Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset on why he didn't win gold at the 2010 Olympics: "I think I have seen too much porn in the last 14 days."
45. When asked why he chose the name Piggly Wiggly, founder Clarence Saunders said, "So people will ask that very question."
46. Obsessive nose picking is called Rhinotillexomania.
47. Jason Schwartzman's mom is Talia Shire.
48. The same person who sang "You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" was also the voice of Tony the Tiger (Thurl Ravenscroft).
49. Sorry, parents. According to NASA's FAQ page, "There are no plans at this time to send children into space."
50. When asked who owned the patent on the polio vaccine, Jonas Salk said, "Well, the people. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?"
51. The Q in Q-tips stands for quality. They were originally called Baby Gays.
52. A sequel called Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian was written but never produced.
53. After an online vote in 2011, Toyota announced that the official plural of Prius was Prii.
54. In his book, Dick Cheney says his yellow lab Dave was banned from Camp David for attacking President Bush's dog Barney.
55. Lyme disease is named after the town of Lyme, Connecticut, where several cases were identified in 1975.
56. At the 2010 Grammy Awards, Taylor Swift won more Grammys (4) than Elvis did his entire career (3).
57. When Coca-Cola announced the return of Coke's original formula in 1985, ABC News interrupted General Hospital to break the story.
58. The giant inflatable rat that shows up at union protests has a name—Scabby.
59. When the computer mouse was invented, it was called the "X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System."
60. The inventor of the AK-47 has said he wishes he'd invented something to help farmers instead — "for example a lawnmower."
61. The Vatican Bank is the world's only bank that allows ATM users to perform transactions in Latin.
62. The Procrastinators' Club of America newsletter is called Last Month's Newsletter.
63. Google search suggestions for "Does Santa Claus" include "exist," "live in Finland," "really exist," "have a dog" and "have an E at the end."
64. A milliHelen is the quantity of beauty required to launch just one ship.
65. The German word kummerspeck means excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon.
66. The sum of all the numbers on a roulette wheel is 666.
67. Only one McDonald's in the world has turquoise arches. Government officials in Sedona, Arizona, thought the yellow would look bad with the natural red rock of the city.
68. The Lebowski-inspired Church of the Latter-Day Dude says it has ordained over 100,000 Dudeist priests.
69. "Silver Bells" was called "Tinkle Bells" until co-composer Jay Livingston’s wife told him "tinkle" had another meaning.
70. Michael Jackson's 1988 autobiography Moonwalk was edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
71. How did Curious George get to America? He was captured in Africa by The Man With the Yellow Hat — with his yellow hat.
72. An urban legend claimed Zima was not detectable by a breathalyzer, boosting its popularity among the young and gullible.
73. On Saved by the Bell: The College Years, A.C. Slater learned his last name was actually Sanchez. His dad changed it to get into the military academy.
74. In the first Kentucky Derby in 1875, 13 of the 15 jockeys were black. Of the first 28 Derby winners, 15 were black.
75. Tim Tebow's sister Katie married Gannon Shepherd, a 6'8", 315-pound former defensive lineman from Duke who briefly played for the Jaguars.
76. Louie Anderson was originally cast as Balki's cousin on Perfect Strangers. After the unaired pilot, Mark Linn-Baker took over the role.
77. Belmont University offered a course this year called "Oh, Look, a Chicken! Embracing Distraction as a Way of Knowing."
78. Brenda Lee was only 13 when she recorded "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."
79. Dr. Ruth was trained as a sniper by the Israeli military.
80. Asperger syndrome is named for Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger, who described it in 1944. He called his patients "Little Professors."
81. The term "lawn mullet" refers to a neatly manicured front yard with an unmowed mess in the back.
82. There was a long-lost fourth member of the Snap/Crackle/Pop gang. "Pow" represented Rice Krispies' explosive nutritional value.
83. QR codes have been popping up in cemeteries. When you scan a code on a gravestone, you can read an obituary and see photos of the deceased.
84. Judge Judy makes $45 million a year.
85. To prevent Baby Jesus theft, BrickHouse Security's "Saving Jesus" program offers a free GPS tracker for the star of your nativity scene.
87. After OutKast sang "Shake it like a Polaroid picture," Polaroid released this statement: "Shaking or waving can actually damage the image."
88. In 1983, before Sally Ride became the first American woman in space, a reporter asked, "Do you weep when things go wrong on the job?"
89. In Peanuts in 1968, Snoopy trained to become a champion arm-wrestler. In the end, he was disqualified for not having thumbs.
90. The female opossum has 13 nipples.
91. Mark Twain invented a board game called Mark Twain's Memory Builder: A Game for Acquiring and Retaining All Sorts of Facts and Dates.
92. About one in every 4 million lobsters is born with a rare genetic defect that turns it blue.
93. In France, the Ashton Kutcher/Natalie Portman movie No Strings Attached was called Sex Friends.
94. The famous "Heisman pose" is based on Ed Smith, a former NYU running back who modeled for the trophy’s sculptor in 1934.
95. For $45, the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing will sell you a 5-lb bag with $10,000 worth of shredded U.S. currency.
96. Before going with Blue Devils, Duke considered the nicknames Blue Eagles, Royal Blazes, Blue Warriors and Polar Bears.
97. At an NOAA conference in 1972, Roxcy Bolton proposed naming hurricanes after Senators instead of women. She also preferred "him-i-canes."
98. For one day in 1998, Topeka, Kansas, renamed itself "ToPikachu" to mark Pokemon's U.S. debut.
99. Horses can't vomit.
100. Before settling on the Seven Dwarfs we know today, Disney also considered Chesty, Tubby, Burpy, Deafy, Hickey, Wheezy, and Awful.
101. The 1975 Dictionary of American Slang defines "happy cabbage" as money to be spent "on entertainment or other self-satisfying things."
102. Herbert Hoover was Stanford's football team manager. At the first Stanford-Cal game in 1892, he forgot to bring the ball.
103. The unkempt Shaggy of Scooby-Doo fame has a rather proper real name—Norville Rogers.
104. From 1979-1985, G.E. Smith (of G.E. Smith and the Saturday Night Live Band) was the lead guitarist for Hall & Oates.
105. Hawaiian Punch was originally developed in 1934 as a tropical-flavored ice cream topping.
106. Andy's evil neighbor Sid from Toy Story returns briefly as the garbage man in Toy Story 3.
107. In the early stage version of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy’s faithful companion Toto was replaced by a cow named Imogene.
108. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spend $310 million on pet costumes last Halloween.
109. Jacuzzi is a brand name. You can also buy Jacuzzi toilets and mattresses.
110. During a 2004 episode of Sesame Street, Cookie Monster said that before he started eating cookies, his name was Sid.
111. The Corduroy Appreciation Club celebrated 11-11-11 as The Day That Most Resembles Corduroy.
112. Roger Ebert and Oprah Winfrey went on a couple dates in the mid-1980s. It was Roger who convinced her to syndicate her talk show.
113. Failed PEZ flavors include coffee, eucalyptus, menthol, and flower.
114. The word "PEZ" comes from the German word for peppermint—PfeffErminZ
115. The duffel bag gets its name from the town of Duffel, Belgium, where the cloth used in the bags was originally sold.
116. There's a Facebook group called "The Best Day of My Life Was When I Realized the Old Brewers Logo Was a Ball & Glove AND the Letters M & B."
117. In 1955, the New York State Labor Department ruled that "there is nothing inherently repulsive about a Van Dyke beard."
118. Hallmark now sells a line of "encouragement" cards you can send to people who've lost their job.
119. Tobias Fünke's "nevernude" condition on Arrested Development is real. It's called "gymnophobia" — the fear of nude bodies.