15 Things You Might Not Know About Wyoming

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iStock

1. In 1872, Yellowstone, the majority of which lies in Wyoming, was designated as the first National Park in the nation.

2. Another first for the state is Devil’s Tower, the monolithic rock protrusion in the Black Hills mountain chain, which was declared the first-ever United States National Monument on September 24, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt.

3. Wyoming was the first state to give women the right to vote. Suffrage was approved on September 30, 1889, and when Wyoming was officially admitted to the Union the following year, it became the first state where women could vote. The vastly male-dominated frontier state hoped to attract more women by extending them basic democratic equality.

4. Continuing the trend: Wyoming had the first female governor. After her husband died just a year into his governorship, Nellie Tayloe Ross ran in a special election and won his spot easily. She was sworn in as the first woman to serve as governor in January 1925. Although she was defeated in her campaign for reelection, Ross went on to be the first female director of the United States Mint.

5. Wyoming is the least populous state in the country; an estimated 582,658 people lived there in 2013.

6. Wyoming is home to the pronghorn, which is the second fastest land animal in the world (after cheetahs) and the fastest in the Western Hemisphere. They use their 60 mph speeds to migrate 150 miles each way between Wyoming’s Upper Green River Basin and Grand Teton National Park.

7. Wyoming, specifically Yellowstone Park, is also home to the nation’s largest hot spring, and the third largest in the world. Grand Prismatic Spring is 250 by 300 feet and derives its name from its rainbow of rich colors, which is created by bacteria.

8. In the 1800s, the Oregon Trail stretched across what is now Wyoming (and its neighboring states). At one particular point along the way, near modern day Guernsey, Wyoming, emigrants carved their names into the cliff so friends and family traveling behind them would know they had survived the perilous trail (at least until that point). The sandstone rock face became known as Register Cliff and is now recognized as a historic landmark.

9. Before it was sold to two Vietnamese businessmen in 2013, Buford, Wyoming, was the smallest town in American. Don Sammons had been its only resident—and owner of the town—since his son left in 2008, but in 2013 year he decided to move closer to his son and put the town up for auction.

10. Buford—now officially called “PhinDeli”—may be lacking in people, but it is home to one unique roadside attraction. First discovered in the 1860s by railroad workers who were laying track for the Union Pacific, the "tree in the rock" is, well, exactly that: a skinny pine tree that appears to grow directly out of a large rock.

11. In 1994, NASA learned that Jupiter was in some danger of being hit by errant pieces of a comet. The fine folks of Green River, Wyoming, were immediately concerned for the welfare of any Jupiterians who needed to escape. So the city officially renamed their small, 5,000-foot landing strip the "Greater Green River Intergalactic Spaceport” as a way of welcoming these extraterrestrial immigrants.

12. The jackalope has twice been nominated for recognition as the Official Mythical Creature of Wyoming. The story of the jackalope has been traced to a pair of hunters in Douglas, Wyoming, who used taxidermy to graft deer antlers onto a jackrabbit carcass.

13. The horse on the Wyoming license plate is a legendary rodeo bronco named Old Steamboat. The man riding him is thought to be Clayton Danks, who was actually a Nebraska native.

14. The Red Desert in south central Wyoming is home to two unique geological features: Killpecker Sand Dunes, the largest living dune system in the United States, and the Great Divide Basin, which is an endhoric basin, meaning water from precipitation collected there doesn’t drain into any ocean, directly or indirectly.

15. Wyoming is the leading producer of coal in the United States, accounting for 40 percent of the nation’s total coal production in 2010. The eight largest U.S. coal mines are all in Wyoming's Powder River Basin.

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

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17 Facts About Airplane! On Its 40th Anniversary

Julie Hagerty and Robert Hays (with Otto) in Airplane! (1980).
Julie Hagerty and Robert Hays (with Otto) in Airplane! (1980).
Paramount Home Entertainment

Shot on a budget of $3.5 million, David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker wrote and directed Airplane!, a movie intended to parody the onslaught of disaster movies that graced movie theater screens in the 1970s. The comedy classic, which arrived in theaters on July 2, 1980, ended up making more than $83.4 million in theaters in the United States alone, and resurrecting a few acting careers in the process. Here are some things you might not have known about the comedy classic on its 40th anniversary.

1. Airplane! was almost a direct parody of the 1957 movie Zero Hour!

Shorewood, Wisconsin childhood friends Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker grew up and moved to Los Angeles, where they were responsible for the sketch comedy troupe Kentucky Fried Theater. The trio made a habit of recording late-night television, looking for commercials to make fun of for their video and film parodies, which is how they discovered Zero Hour!, which also featured a protagonist named Ted Stryker (in Airplane! it's Ted Striker). In order to make sure the camera angles and lighting on Airplane! were matching those of Zero Hour!, the trio always had the movie queued up on set. Yes, the three filmmakers did buy the rights to their semi source material.

2. Universal thought Airplane! was too similar to their Airport franchise.

Universal released four plane disaster movies in the seventies: Airport in 1970; Airport 1975 (confusingly in 1974); Airport ‘77; and The Concorde ... Airport ‘79. Helen Reddy portrayed Sister Ruth in Airport 1975 and was game to play Sister Angelina in Airplane! before Universal stepped in and threatened to sue. Instead, the role went to Maureen McGovern, who sang the Oscar-winning theme songs to The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno—two movies that were also “disaster” movies, albeit ones not involving a plane.

3. David Letterman, Sigourney Weaver, and other future stars auditioned for Airplane!

In early conversations regarding Airplane!, Paramount Studios suggested Dom DeLuise for what would eventually become Leslie Nielsen’s role, and Barry Manilow for the role of Ted Striker, but they were never asked to audition.

4. Chevy Chase was mistakenly announced as the star of Airplane!.

Chevy Chase was erroneously announced as the star of Airplane! in a 1979 news item in The Hollywood Reporter.

5. The role of Roger Murdock was written with Pete Rose in mind.

Pete Rose was busy playing baseball when Airplane! was shot in August, so they cast Kareem Abdul-Jabbar instead.

6. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar got a pretty swanky carpet out of his Airplane! gig.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Peter Graves, and Rossie Harris in Airplane! (1980)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Rossie Harris, and Peter Graves in Airplane! (1980).
Paramount Home Entertainment

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s agent insisted on an extra $5000 to the original offer of a $30,000 salary so that the basketball legend could purchase an oriental rug he'd had his eye on.

7. Peter Graves thought the Airplane! script was "tasteless trash."

Peter Graves eventually found the humor in the film, including the pedophilia jokes, and agreed to play Captain Oveur. Graves's wife was glad he took the role; she laughed throughout the premiere screening.

8. No, the child actor playing young Joey didn't know what Peter Graves was actually saying.

Rossie Harris was only 9 years old when he played the role of Joey, so did not understand the humor in Turkish prisons, gladiator movies, or any of Oveur’s other comments. But by the time he turned 10 and saw the movie, Harris had apparently figured it out.

9. Airplane! marked Ethel Merman's final film appearance.

"The undisputed First Lady of the musical comedy stage” played a disturbed soldier who believed he was Ethel Merman. Merman passed away in 1984.

10. Michael Ehrmantraut from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul was in Airplane!.

Jonathan Banks plays air traffic controller Gunderson.

11. Airplane!'s three-director setup caused legal problems.

The Directors Guild of America ruled that Abrahams and the two Zuckers couldn’t all be credited for directing a movie, nor be credited under the single “fictitious name of Abrahams N. Zuckers.” A DGA rep was on set to make sure that only Jerry Zucker spoke to the actors. What he saw was Jerry Zucker next to the camera, who would then go to a nearby trailer where the other two were watching the takes on a video feed, and come back to give notes to the actors after conferring with his partners. A DGA executive board eventually gave the three one-time rights to all share the credit.

12. A BIT ABOUT BLIND POLISH AIRLINE PILOTS WAS WRITTEN AND FILMED.

Blind singer José Feliciano, and lookalikes of blind singers Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, played Polish airline co-pilots. The Polish-American League protested, and it was determined by the writer-directors that the idea wasn’t funny enough to stay in the movie.

13. Robert Hays was starring in a TV show at the same time he was filming Airplane!

Robert Hays, the actor who played Ted Striker, had to race back and forth between the sets of Angie and Airplane! for two very busy weeks. The theme song to Angie was performed by the one and only Maureen McGovern.

14. Robert Hays was—and is—a licensed pilot.

He can even fly the ones with four engines.

15. Leslie Nielsen had a lot of fun with his fart machine.

Leslie Nielsen sold portable fart machines for $7 apiece on set, causing a brief epidemic of fart noises emanating from most of the cast and crew and delaying production. When they were shooting Hays’s close-up, Nielsen used the machine after every other word of his line, “Mr. Striker, can you land this plane?”

16. Stephen Stucker came up with all of Johnny's lines.

Lloyd Bridges and Stephen Stucker in Airplane! (1980)
Stephen Stucker and Lloyd Bridges in Airplane! (1980).
Paramount Home Entertainment

Stephen Stucker was a member of the Kentucky Fried Theater. His line “Me John, Big Tree” was part of an old riff he used to do, which continued with him going down on his knees and putting an ear to the ground to hear when a wagon train was arriving.

17. The original rough cut of Airplane! was 115 minutes long.

After screenings at three college campuses and two theaters, the film was cut down to 88 minutes.