30 Facts About 2017’s Most Googled Movies

Clay Enos - © 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Ratpac-Dune Entertainment LLC
Clay Enos - © 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Ratpac-Dune Entertainment LLC

From Beauty and the Beast to Baby Driver, 2017 was a big year for movies. And going by Google’s 2017 Year In Search lists, film lovers were hungry for as much information as they could find on killer clowns, superheroes, wonder women, and baby drivers. Here are 30 things you might not have known about the most Googled movies of 2017.

1. FOR DIRECTOR PATTY JENKINS, WONDER WOMAN WAS A DREAM PROJECT.

Director Patty Jenkins has long wanted to make a big-screen version of Wonder Woman. Following the success of her Oscar-winning feature directorial debut, Monster (2003), Jenkins was clear about what she wanted her next project to be: “I want to make Wonder Woman,” she told anyone who asked. “Everybody knew I wanted to make a superhero movie.”

In 2005, she was presented with a script for Wonder Woman and the opportunity to direct, but Jenkins was pregnant with her son at the time and couldn’t fathom leaving a newborn at home to go off to make a movie—even if it was her dream project. “When I’m on a movie, I’m unavailable, everyday for a year and a half,” Jenkins told Entertainment Weekly. “You can’t do that with a little baby. Somebody might be able to do it, but not me.” Fortunately, though it was in development, the project never got off the ground, and it eventually landed back in Jenkins’s lap. “Part of the reason I’m in such a good mood is this is the movie I’ve wanted to make my entire life,” said. “I feel so grateful that I get to be able to do this.”

2. FILMMAKERS HAD TO GET CREATIVE TO HIDE GAL GADOT’S PREGNANCY.

Speaking of pregnancy and superheroes: In November 2016, Gal Gadot had to slip back into her Wonder Woman suit in order to film some reshoots for the movie. There was just one hitch: She was five months pregnant. In order to hide her pregnancy from the cameras, and make sure the new footage matched the original footage, the production team had to get creative. Essentially, they covered her stomach with a piece of bright green cloth that they could use to digitally alter her appearance in post-production. “On close-up I looked very much like Wonder Woman,” Gadot told Entertainment Weekly. “On wide shots I looked very funny, like Wonder Woman pregnant with Kermit the Frog.”

3. IT BROKE ALL SORTS OF HORROR BOX OFFICE RECORDS.

Brooke Palmer - © 2016 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Andy Muschietti’s big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s It was undoubtedly one of the summer’s most anticipated movies, and the box office numbers proved it. In addition to posting the biggest opening weekend of any horror movie in history (it raked in $123,403,419), it also ousted The Sixth Sense from the top spot as the highest grossing horror/supernatural movie of all time.

4. BILL SKARSGÅRD SCARED THE HELL OUT OF HIS YOUNG CO-STARS.

In order to up the fear factor in the scenes between Bill Skarsgård, who played Pennywise, and the kid members of The Losers Club in It, director Andy Muschetti kept Skarsgård away from his young co-stars until it was time to film. As such, “Pennywise was this looming force they knew was coming but hadn’t seen yet,” Skarsgård told The New York Times. “That built an excitement in the kids you could feel when they saw him for the first time. They were probably a bit scared.”

5. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST AND LA LA LAND COULD HAVE BEEN VERY DIFFERENT MOVIES.

La La Land and Beauty and the Beast were two of the most highly anticipated movies in recent years, but they both could have looked a lot different. Emma Watson was offered the role of Mia in La La Land (the same part that earned Emma Stone her first Oscar), but ultimately passed in order to make Beauty and the Beast. “I knew I had horse training, I knew I had dancing, I knew I had three months of singing ahead of me, and I knew I had to be in London to really do that,” Watson said. “And [Beauty and the Beast] wasn’t a movie I could just kind of parachute into. I knew I had to do the work, and I had to be where I had to be. So scheduling conflict-wise, it just didn’t work out.”

At the same time, La La Land’s Ryan Gosling passed on playing the Beast so that he could make La La Land. (And everyone lived happily ever after.)

6. DAN STEVENS SPENT THE BULK OF BEAUTY AND THE BEAST WEARING STILTS.

In order to help Dan Stevens cut an appropriately menacing figure as The Beast, he spent most of the movie walking around on stilts. “I was in a muscle suit on stilts covered in grey Lycra with dots on my face,” Stevens told Metro. “And every couple of weeks I would go into a booth—a kind of cage—they’d spray my face with UV paint, and 27 little cameras with UV light would capture what I was doing with my face in those scenes. And Emma would very graciously sit on the other side of this weird cage and we’d play all of the scenes whether they were arguing scenes, or waltzing scenes, and we’d gaze longingly at each other, just everything I could do with my face I did in that cage.”

7. JAMAL WOOLARD HAD SOME EXPERIENCE PLAYING CHRISTOPHER “BIGGIE SMALLS” WALLACE.

Playing The Notorious B.I.G. wasn’t a big stretch for Jamal Woolard in All Eyez on Me, Benny Boom’s Tupac Shakur biopic. Woolard made his big-screen debut starring as Biggie in 2009’s Notorious.

8. BABY DRIVER’S OPENING CAR CHASE WAS SHOT ON ONE OF ATLANTA’S BUSIEST HIGHWAYS.

The opening scene of Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver is a stellar piece of vehicular choreography, but it was no easy task to create. “The first chase is on the I-85, which is the main freeway in Atlanta, and you cannot shut down the I-85,” director Edgar Wright told Inverse. “That’s impossible, but what you can do is have a police motorcade, which is miles wide.” Because they couldn’t shut the road—which sees about 200,000 motorists per day—down, they had to plan their shot, and timing, very, very carefully.

“We were given a Sunday that didn’t have any ball games, and they said, ‘we’ve got 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. and then that’s it’—2 p.m. was a hard kick-off,’” Wright explained. “We had police cars on all lanes of the freeway, 50 stunts cars, actors and the camera cars, all in the middle of what is called The Bubble. This big flotilla of cars is going down the freeway at 70 miles an hour shooting, and sometimes the actors are in the car as well, and it’s insane.”

9. EDGAR WRIGHT HAD TO PERFORM A SCENE OVER THE PHONE TO GET MIKE MYERS’S PERMISSION TO USE THOSE AUSTIN POWERS MASKS.

In a comedic moment of miscommunication, Baby Driver’s gang of bank robbers pull off a job wearing Austin Powers masks when the original instruction to get Michael Myers (as in Halloween’s blank-faced serial killer) causes some confusion. According to the movie’s Blu-ray commentary, in order to receive permission to use those shagadelic disguises, Wright had to ask Mike Myers’s permission directly. He agreed, but asked Wright to perform the scene for him over the phone.

10. THE BIG SICK LANDED A SWEET DISTRIBUTION DEAL AT SUNDANCE.

Sarah Shatz - © WHILE YOU WERE COMATOSE, LLC

After making its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, Michael Showalter’s The Big Sick—based on a script by (and the real-life relationship of) Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon—became the subject of a major bidding war. Netflix was hot to buy the rights, but Nanjiani wanted the film to have a theatrical release. Eventually, they sold the film to Amazon for $12 million, one of the biggest deals ever brokered at the Park City fest.

11. CHRISTOPHER NOLAN ORIGINALLY PLANNED TO MAKE DUNKIRK AN EXPERIMENT IN IMPROVISATION.

Director Christopher Nolan first conceived of shooting Dunkirk without a script, and just improvising the dialogue as they went along. His wife, Emma Thomas, advised him against this approach. “Emma looked at me like I was a bit crazy and was like, ‘okay, that’s not really gonna work,’” Nolan said. Fortunately, Nolan listened.

12. THE DARK TOWER SPENT A LONG TIME IN DEVELOPMENT.

The Dark Tower, Nikolaj Arcel’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series of books, took several years to come together. Both J.J. Abrams and Ron Howard were attached to direct the film at different points during its development.

13. DAVID BOWIE WAS DENIS VILLENEUVE'S FIRST CHOICE FOR THE PART OF NIANDER WALLACE IN BLADE RUNNER 2049.

From the earliest days of his involvement in Blade Runner 2049, director Denis Villeneuve had his eye on David Bowie for the role of Niander Wallace. Unfortunately, the iconic rocker passed away before production began. The part eventually went to Jared Leto.

14. VILLENEUVE KNEW HE HAD BIG SHOES TO FILL, AND HE WAS OK WITH THAT.

The fact that he was rebooting one of the most iconic and inventive sci-fi films of all time was certainly not lost on Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve. "I know that every single fan will walk into the theater with a baseball bat,” he said. “I'm aware of that and I respect that, and it's okay with me because it's art. Art is risk, and I have to take risks. It's gonna be the biggest risk of my life but I'm okay with that. For me it's very exciting ... It's just so inspiring, I'm so inspired. I've been dreaming to do sci-fi since I was 10 years old, and I said 'no' to a lot of sequels. I couldn't say 'no' to Blade Runner 2049. I love it too much, so I said, 'Alright, I will do it and give everything I have to make it great.'"

15. CRITIC ARMOND WHITE RUINED GET OUT’S PERFECT ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE.

National Review film critic Armond White has developed somewhat of a reputation for his dissenting opinions. This is the man, after all, who gave a poor review to Toy Story 3, writing that: “Toy Story 3 is so besotted with brand names and product-placement that it stops being about the innocent pleasures of imagination—the usefulness of toys—and strictly celebrates consumerism.” So it was hardly surprising when he became the first critic to give a bad review to Jordan Peele’s Get Out, thus knocking its 100 percent fresh rate down to 99 percent. White’s problem with the film, which he called a “horror-comedy for Black History Month”? “In Get Out, just as Obama did, Peele exploits racial discomfort, irresponsibly playing racial grief and racist relief off against each other, subjecting imagination and identification to political sway,” White wrote.

16. A SINGLE CRITIC KILLED LADY BIRD'S PERFECT SCORE, TOO.

A24

Like Get Out, Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird held a 100 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes ... until critic Cole Smithey ruined it all, knocking the film from its perch as the site's best reviewed movie. Following an internet backlash, Smithey took to Twitter to explain himself:

17. THOR: RAGNAROK HAS A CONNECTION TO DEVO.

The music for Thor: Ragnarok was composed by Mark Mothersbaugh, who is the lead singer and keyboardist for Devo. Not only did he integrate musical pieces from earlier Marvel films into the movie, but he included the famous “Lonely Man” theme from the ‘70s Incredible Hulk TV show.

18. THE ROOM’S TOMMY WISEAU APPROVES OF "99.9 PERCENT" OF THE DISASTER ARTIST.

Justina Mintz - © 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

James Franco’s A-list retelling of indie filmmaker Tommy Wiseau’s so-bad-it’s-kind-of-good movie The Room has been getting lots of acclaim, including from the original film’s creator. When Franco asked Wiseau what he thought of the film after seeing it at SXSW. “I was like, ‘So, Tommy, what did you think of the movie?’ And he said, ‘I approve 99.9 percent,’” Franco told Entertainment Weekly. “And we were like, ‘What was the 0.1 percent?’ He said, ‘I think the lighting, in the beginning, a little off.’ [Laughs] I told Brandon [Trost, The Disaster Artist‘s cinematographer]. He was like, Yeah, maybe we should watch The Room, get some lighting pointers!”

19. JAMES GUNN HAD TO FIGHT TO KEEP ADAM WARLOCK’S POST-CREDIT CAMEO IN GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2.

James Gunn had to fight to keep Adam Warlock’s post-credit cameo in the movie, despite the character not showing up in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War. To get it cleared by Marvel, he promised the studio that he would confirm on Twitter that the character is not scheduled to appear in the third or fourth Avengers films, “Because I didn't want people to have false expectations of what they thought was going to happen with Adam.”

20. THE THREE MAIN FEMALE CHARACTERS IN HIDDEN FIGURES WORE VINTAGE UNDERGARMENTS, FOR AUTHENTICITY.

Twentieth Century Fox

To add an extra layer of authenticity to the costumes in Hidden Figures, the three main actresses wore vintage undergarments, including corsets and girdles. “That snatches you into a perfect stature,” Taraji P. Henson said. “You have no choice. Women back then carried themselves not as loosely as the women do today because they were strapped down and pinned down.”

21. TREY EDWARD SHULTS WROTE IT COMES AT NIGHT JUST DAYS AFTER HIS FATHER’S DEATH.

In an interview with Den of Geek, Trey Edward Shults talked about how he wrote the script for It Comes at Night in just a couple of days following the death of his father, then revisited it a few years later to tweak it. “I would say that the final film is about 85 percent of what that first three days view was,” he said. “I’m not entirely sure, but it always really important to me, because it was stuff just coming out of me [at the time], stuff I didn’t fully understand even, that I went back and psychoanalyzed. But it was important for me to retain that, to convey the mood and tone and emotion of where I was at.”

22. JUSTICE LEAGUE COULD HAVE BEEN A GEORGE MILLER MOVIE.

In the mid-2000s, Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller had been in production on a Justice League movie, getting so far as to have a completed script, costumes designed, and most of the main cast assembled. A writers strike and the ongoing work of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy delayed and eventually shut down the movie just weeks before it was set to film.

23. DENZEL WASHINGTON AND VIOLA DAVIS WERE KNOWN FOR THEIR ROLES IN FENCES LONG BEFORE THE MOVIE ARRIVED.

David Lee/Paramount Pictures

Denzel Washington and Viola Davis starred in the 2010 Broadway revival of August Wilson’s Fences, and both won Tony Awards for their roles.

24. SABRETOOTH WAS SUPPOSED TO MAKE AN APPEARANCE IN LOGAN.

In one version of the script for Logan, longtime Wolverine foe Sabretooth was set to make an appearance during the casino scene, but his character was removed as the movie went through different drafts.

25. NAOMIE HARRIS HAD TO WORK FAST FOR MOONLIGHT.

Naomie Harris shot all of her scenes for Moonlight in just three days, in the middle of an international publicity tour for Spectre. All that work paid off; she received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

26. THE MUMMY'S STUNTS LEFT SEVERAL CREW MEMBERS SICK TO THEIR STOMACHS.

The Mummy's zero gravity plane crash stunt was shot in actual weightless conditions and took 64 takes, leaving many of the crew sick to their stomachs as a result.

27. AUDIENCES SEEMED PRETTY EXCITED FOR THE POWER RANGERS MOVIE.

Executives at Lionsgate had reason to be excited about the potentially huge audience for Power Rangers. The film's teaser trailer generated more than 150 million views within 48 hours of first dropping in October 2016.

28. ALIEN: COVENANT’S NEOMORPH WAS MODELED AFTER THE GOBLIN SHARK.

Even if you don’t know much about the nightmare-inducing goblin shark, its name sort of says it all. The animal is able to extend its teeth forward when attacking its prey in order to allow for a better grip, and to do more damage. It’s this creepy sea dweller that inspired the look of the Neomorph in Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant. "Some of those nature videos are so stomach-churning that they don't pay me enough to watch them," writer John Logan said. “But Ridley will see something to do with insects swarming, for example, which eventually finds its way into a movie. Usually there's some sort of grotesqueness we find interesting.”

29. SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING’S TOM HOLLAND IS VERY, VERY YOUNG.

Want to feel old? New Spider-Man Tom Holland wasn’t even born when Michael Keaton, who plays the movie’s villain The Vulture, was Batman in the early 1990s.

30. KENNETH BRANAGH'S MUSTACHE WAS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.

Twentieth Century Fox

Though Kenneth Branagh's remake of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express was met with mixed reviews, viewers and critics agreed that his mustache was spectacular. And it's a good thing—as getting that facial hair right was extremely important to Christie's family, who served as advisers on the film. "The first thing they asked in their creative meeting was, ‘What are you doing about the mustache?'" Branagh said. "There was no twinkle in the eye. I knew it was critical. This mustache is serious business."

The 10 Best Air Fryers on Amazon

Cosori/Amazon
Cosori/Amazon

When it comes to making food that’s delicious, quick, and easy, you can’t go wrong with an air fryer. They require only a fraction of the oil that traditional fryers do, so you get that same delicious, crispy texture of the fried foods you love while avoiding the extra calories and fat you don’t.

But with so many air fryers out there, it can be tough to choose the one that’ll work best for you. To make your life easier—and get you closer to that tasty piece of fried chicken—we’ve put together a list of some of Amazon’s top-rated air frying gadgets. Each of the products below has at least a 4.5-star rating and over 1200 user reviews, so you can stop dreaming about the perfect dinner and start eating it instead.

1. Ultrean Air Fryer; $76

Ultrean/Amazon

Around 84 percent of reviewers awarded the Ultrean Air Fryer five stars on Amazon, making it one of the most popular models on the site. This 4.2-quart oven doesn't just fry, either—it also grills, roasts, and bakes via its innovative rapid air technology heating system. It's available in four different colors (red, light blue, black, and white), making it the perfect accent piece for any kitchen.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Cosori Air Fryer; $120

Cosori/Amazon

This highly celebrated air fryer from Cosori will quickly become your favorite sous chef. With 11 one-touch presets for frying favorites, like bacon, veggies, and fries, you can take the guesswork out of cooking and let the Cosori do the work instead. One reviewer who “absolutely hates cooking” said, after using it, “I'm actually excited to cook for the first time ever.” You’ll feel the same way!

Buy it: Amazon

3. Innsky Air Fryer; $90

Innsky/Amazon

With its streamlined design and the ability to cook with little to no oil, the Innsky air fryer will make you feel like the picture of elegance as you chow down on a piece of fried shrimp. You can set a timer on the fryer so it starts cooking when you want it to, and it automatically shuts off when the cooking time is done (a great safety feature for chefs who get easily distracted).

Buy it: Amazon

4. Secura Air Fryer; $62

Secura/Amazon

This air fryer from Secura uses a combination of heating techniques—hot air and high-speed air circulation—for fast and easy food prep. And, as one reviewer remarked, with an extra-large 4.2-quart basket “[it’s] good for feeding a crowd, which makes it a great option for large families.” This fryer even comes with a toaster rack and skewers, making it a great addition to a neighborhood barbecue or family glamping trip.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Chefman Turbo Fry; $60

Chefman/Amazon

For those of you really looking to cut back, the Chefman Turbo Fry uses 98 percent less oil than traditional fryers, according to the manufacturer. And with its two-in-one tank basket that allows you to cook multiple items at the same time, you can finally stop using so many pots and pans when you’re making dinner.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Ninja Air Fryer; $100

Ninja/Amazon

The Ninja Air Fryer is a multipurpose gadget that allows you to do far more than crisp up your favorite foods. This air fryer’s one-touch control panel lets you air fry, roast, reheat, or even dehydrate meats, fruits, and veggies, whether your ingredients are fresh or frozen. And the simple interface means that you're only a couple buttons away from a homemade dinner.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Instant Pot Air Fryer + Electronic Pressure Cooker; $180

Instant Pot/Amazon

Enjoy all the perks of an Instant Pot—the ability to serve as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, and more—with a lid that turns the whole thing into an air fryer as well. The multi-level fryer basket has a broiling tray to ensure even crisping throughout, and it’s big enough to cook a meal for up to eight. If you’re more into a traditional air fryer, check out Instant Pot’s new Instant Vortex Pro ($140) air fryer, which gives you the ability to bake, proof, toast, and more.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Omorc Habor Air Fryer; $100

Omorc Habor/Amazon

With a 5.8-quart capacity, this air fryer from Omorc Habor is larger than most, giving you the flexibility of cooking dinner for two or a spread for a party. To give you a clearer picture of the size, its square fryer basket, built to maximize cooking capacity, can handle a five-pound chicken (or all the fries you could possibly eat). Plus, with a non-stick coating and dishwasher-safe basket and frying pot, this handy appliance practically cleans itself.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Dash Deluxe Air Fryer; $100

Dash/Amazon

Dash’s air fryer might look retro, but its high-tech cooking ability is anything but. Its generously sized frying basket can fry up to two pounds of French fries or two dozen wings, and its cool touch handle makes it easy (and safe) to use. And if you're still stumped on what to actually cook once you get your Dash fryer, you'll get a free recipe guide in the box filled with tips and tricks to get the most out of your meal.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Bella Air Fryer; $52

Bella/Amazon

This petite air fryer from Bella may be on the smaller side, but it still packs a powerful punch. Its 2.6-quart frying basket makes it an ideal choice for couples or smaller families—all you have to do is set the temperature and timer, and throw your food inside. Once the meal is ready, its indicator light will ding to let you know that it’s time to eat.

Buy it: Amazon

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10 Facts About Louis Armstrong

Getty Images
Getty Images

With his infectious smile and raspy voice, Louis Armstrong (who actually pronounced his own name "Lewis") won over fans worldwide. To untold millions, every note that he let loose made the world feel a bit more wonderful, and his music is still being discovered by new generations of fans. Here are 10 facts about the life of one of the 20th century's most important jazz musicians.

1. Louis Armstrong spent his adult life celebrating his birthday on the wrong date.

Armstrong used to say that he’d been born on July 4, 1900. Turns out, he was 13 months off. In 1988, music historian Thaddeus “Tad” Jones located a baptismal record at New Orleans’s Sacred Heart of Jesus Church. According to this document, the performer’s actual birth date was August 4, 1901.

No one’s quite sure why Armstrong lied about his age, but the most popular theories maintain he wanted to join a military band or that he figured he'd have a better shot at landing gigs if he was over 18 years old.

2. As an adult, Louis Armstrong wore a Star of David pendant to honor the Jewish family who had employed him.

While growing up, Armstrong did assorted jobs for the Karnofskys, a family of Lithuanian-Jewish immigrants. “They were always kind to me,” Armstrong once reflected, “[I] was just a little kid who could use a little word of kindness.” Apart from monetary compensation, Armstrong was given a hot meal every evening and regular invitations to Karnofsky Shabbat dinners. One day, they even advanced him the $5 he used to buy his very first horn.

3. Louis Armstrong would sometimes use a food-based sign-off.

Pops” had a special place in his heart for both Chinese and Italian food. But, as a Bayou State native, Armstrong’s favorite dish was always rice and beans. In fact, before marrying his fourth wife, he made sure that she could cook a satisfactory plateful. To grasp how much the man adored this entrée, consider that he often signed his personal letters with “Red Beans and Ricely Yours.”

4. During a famous recording, Louis Armstrong allegedly dropped his sheet music and improvised.

At one point in “Heebie Jeebies”—a 1926 song released by Armstrong and his "Hot Five” band—the singer vocalizes a series of nonsensical, horn-like sounds. Music historians recognize this as the first popular, mass-market scat ever recorded. Ironically, Armstrong later wrote the whole thing off as a big blunder on his part. In a 1951 interview with Esquire, Armstrong claimed to have come prepared with printed lyrics that day. Midway through the recording session, he accidentally dropped them and scatted to fill the ensuing silence. “Sure enough,” he explained, “they … [published] ‘Heebie Jeebies’ the same way it was mistakenly recorded.” However, most biographers believe that Armstrong made up this anecdote and had planned on scatting all along. It's also worth noting that even though he brought it into popularity, Armstrong in no way invented the technique, which dates back to at least 1906.

5. Louis Armstrong used to give away laxatives as gifts.

Between 1952 and 1955, Armstrong shed 100 pounds. Losing weight proved difficult at first, but his luck changed once he learned of an herbal laxative called “Swiss Kriss.” The artist promptly went out, bought a box, and became a lifelong spokesman. After trying it, he said that defecation sounded like “Applause.” Enamored, the musician began handing out packets to admirers, loved ones, and band members. Though he was the product's biggest cheerleader, Armstrong neither requested nor received any payment from its manufacturers.

6. Segregation laws drove Louis Armstrong to boycott his own state.

The year 1956 saw Louisiana prohibit integrated bands. Outraged, Armstrong refused to stage another concert within the state's borders. “They treat me better all over the world than they do in my hometown,” he said. “Ain’t that stupid? Jazz was born there and I remember when it was no crime for cats of any color to get together and blow.” Nine years later, after this ban had finally lifted, he again took the stage in New Orleans on October 31, 1965.

7. While playing before the royal family, Louis Armstrong gave King George V a new nickname.

At His Majesty’s command, several of the biggest names in jazz took their talents to Buckingham Palace, and in 1932, Armstrong was requested for a royal performance. Evidently, the show went well. According to Armstrong, that night’s “biggest laugh” came right before his group started playing “You Rascal, You.” Without warning, he looked straight up at the monarch and hollered, “This one’s for you, Rex!”

8. Louis Armstrong went on several goodwill tours during the Cold War.

Fresh off the wild success of his “Hello, Dolly!” cover, Armstrong made a trip to communist East Berlin in 1965, where he gave a two-hour concert that earned a standing ovation. While not officially government-sponsored, there are some who believe the concert was arranged by the CIA, which would make this just one of the many taxpayer-funded appearances he’d make abroad during the Cold War in an effort to strengthen diplomatic relations overseas. Previously, Armstrong had performed throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa—though he famously canceled a planned 1957 Soviet Union tour, citing the recent Little Rock crisis. “The way they are treating my people in the South,” declared Armstrong, “the government can go to hell.”

9. “What a Wonderful World" was originally pitched to Tony Bennett.

The song for which Pops is most widely remembered, “What a Wonderful World,” was almost never his song at all. After completing the optimistic anthem, songwriters Bob Thiele and George David Weiss thought that Tony Bennett would eat it right up. He subsequently passed, so the duo contacted Armstrong in August 1967.

10. "What a Wonderful World" didn't make a splash in the U.S. until well after Louis Armstrong's death.

The first recording of “What a Wonderful World” was produced by ABC Records, which made no attempt to advertise it domestically. Although the ballad topped the 1968 charts in Great Britain, American sales were abysmal. When Pops (who adored Thiele and Weiss’ masterwork) passed away on July 6, 1971, “What a Wonderful World” seemed destined for stateside obscurity.

Then along came a bare-knuckled comedy called Good Morning, Vietnam (1987). The joyous tune perfectly and ironically clashed with the wartime horrors depicted in one montage, so director Barry Levinson added it to his film’s soundtrack. “What a Wonderful World” struck a chord with moviegoers and was re-released that year, becoming an oft-requested radio hit.