99 Amazing Facts for People Who Like Amazing Facts

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1. 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.

2. Furbies were banned from the National Security Agency's Maryland headquarters in 1999. It was feared the toys might repeat national security secrets.

3. Mark Twain invented a board game called Mark Twain's Memory Builder: A Game for Acquiring and Retaining All Sorts of Facts and Dates.

4. In 1991, Wayne Allwine, the voice of Mickey Mouse, married Russi Taylor—the voice of Minnie.

5. Carly Simon's dad is the Simon of Simon and Schuster. He co-founded the company.

6. When the mummy of Ramses II was sent to France in the mid-1970s, it was issued a passport. Ramses' occupation? "King (deceased)."

7. On an April day in 1930, the BBC reported, "There is no news." Instead they played piano music.

8. Johnny Cash's "A Boy Named Sue" was penned by beloved children's author Shel Silverstein.

9. Ben & Jerry learned how to make ice cream by taking a $5 correspondence course offered by Penn State. (They decided to split one course.)

10. The word "PEZ" comes from the German word for peppermint—PfeffErminZ.

11. Failed PEZ flavors include coffee, eucalyptus, menthol, and flower.

12. In the 1970s, Mattel sold a doll called "Growing Up Skipper." Her breasts grew when her arm was turned.

13. Before Sally Ride became the first American woman in space, a reporter asked, "Do you weep when things go wrong on the job?"

14. In the 1980s, Pablo Escobar's Medellin Cartel was spending $2,500 a month on rubber bands just to hold all their cash.

15. The giant inflatable rat that shows up at union protests has a name—Scabby.

16. When the computer mouse was invented, it was called the "X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System."

17. The inventor of the AK-47 has said he wishes he'd invented something to help farmers instead — "for example a lawnmower."

18. The Vatican Bank is the world's only bank that allows ATM users to perform transactions in Latin.

19. The duffel bag gets its name from the town of Duffel, Belgium, where the cloth used in the bags was originally sold.

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. At Fatburger, you can order a "Hypocrite"—a veggie burger topped with crispy strips of bacon.

22. 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?"

23. The Q in Q-tips stands for quality.

24. Editor Bennett Cerf challenged Dr. Seuss to write a book using no more than 50 different words. The result? Green Eggs and Ham.

25. 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."

26. When asked why he chose the name Piggly Wiggly, founder Clarence Saunders said, "So people will ask that very question."

27. A sequel called Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian was written but never produced.

28. After an online vote in 2011, Toyota announced that the official plural of Prius was Prii.

29. In his book, Dick Cheney says his yellow lab Dave was banned from Camp David for attacking President Bush's dog Barney.

30. Lyme disease is named after the town of Lyme, Connecticut, where several cases were identified in 1975.

31. Reno is farther west than Los Angeles.

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. As part of David Hasselhoff's divorce settlement, he kept possession of the nickname "Hoff" and the catchphrase "Don't Hassle the Hoff."

36. "Jay" used to be slang for "foolish person." So when a pedestrian ignored street signs, he was referred to as a "jaywalker."

37. Duncan Hines was a real person. He was a popular restaurant critic who also wrote a book of hotel recommendations.

38. The only number whose letters are in alphabetical order is 40 (f-o-r-t-y).

39. Obsessive nose picking is called rhinotillexomania.

40. "Silver Bells" was called "Tinkle Bells" until co-composer Jay Livingston’s wife told him "tinkle" had another meaning.

41. Michael Jackson's 1988 autobiography Moonwalk was edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

42. How did Curious George get to America? He was captured in Africa by The Man With the Yellow Hat — with his yellow hat.

43. In the early stage version of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy’s faithful companion Toto was replaced by a cow named Imogene.

44. Tobias Fünke's "nevernude" condition on Arrested Development is real. It's called "gymnophobia" — the fear of nude bodies.

45. Hawaiian Punch was originally developed as a tropical flavored ice cream topping.

46. Andy's evil neighbor Sid from Toy Story returns briefly as the garbage man in Toy Story 3.

47. Jacuzzi is a brand name. You can also buy Jacuzzi toilets and mattresses.

48. During a 2004 episode of Sesame Street, Cookie Monster said that before he started eating cookies, his name was Sid.

49. 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.

50. Fredric Baur invented the Pringles can. When he passed away in 2008, his ashes were buried in one.

51. When he appeared on Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!, Bill Clinton correctly answered three questions about My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.

52. The archerfish knocks its insect prey out of over-hanging branches with a stream of spit.

53. There really was a Captain Morgan. He was a Welsh pirate who later became the lieutenant governor of Jamaica.

54. In 1961, Martha Stewart was selected as one of Glamour magazine;s "Ten Best-Dressed College Girls."

55. 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.)

56. At the 1905 wedding of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, President Teddy Roosevelt gave away the bride.

57. Sorry, parents. According to NASA's FAQ page, "There are no plans at this time to send children into space."

58. The German word kummerspeck means excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon.

59. The sum of all the numbers on a roulette wheel is 666.

60. 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.

61. Brenda Lee was only 13 when she recorded "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."

62. Asperger syndrome is named for Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger, who described it in 1944. He called his patients "Little Professors."

63. The term "lawn mullet" refers to a neatly manicured front yard with an unmowed mess in the back.

64. After OutKast sang "Shake it like a Polaroid picture," Polaroid released this statement: "Shaking or waving can actually damage the image."

65. In Peanuts in 1968, Snoopy trained to become a champion arm-wrestler. In the end, he was disqualified for not having thumbs.

66. In France, the Ashton Kutcher/Natalie Portman movie No Strings Attached was called Sex Friends.

67. The famous "Heisman pose" is based on Ed Smith, a former NYU running back who modeled for the trophy’s sculptor in 1934.

68. 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.

69. Before going with Blue Devils, Duke considered the nicknames Blue Eagles, Royal Blazes, Blue Warriors and Polar Bears.

70. At an NOAA conference in 1972, Roxcy Bolton proposed naming hurricanes after Senators instead of women. She also preferred "him-i-canes."

71. For one day in 1998, Topeka, Kansas, renamed itself "ToPikachu" to mark Pokemon's U.S. debut.

72. Before settling on the Seven Dwarfs we know today, Disney also considered Chesty, Tubby, Burpy, Deafy, Hickey, Wheezy, and Awful.

73. The Dictionary of American Slang defines "happy cabbage" as money to be spent "on entertainment or other self-satisfying things."

74. Herbert Hoover was Stanford's football team manager. At the first Stanford-Cal game in 1892, he forgot to bring the ball.

75. The unkempt Shaggy of Scooby-Doo fame has a rather proper real name—Norville Rogers.

76. If you open your eyes in a pitch-black room, the color you'll see is called 'eigengrau.'

77. In 1965, a Senate subcommittee predicted that by 2000, Americans would only be working 20 hours a week with seven weeks vacation.

78. There are roughly 70 ingredients in the McRib.

79. A baby can cost new parents 750 hours of sleep in the first year.

80. Winston Churchill's mother was born in Brooklyn.

81. Brazil couldn't afford to send its athletes to the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. So they loaded their ship with coffee and sold it along the way.

82. Before Stephen Hillenburg created SpongeBob SquarePants, he taught marine biology.

83. New Mexico State's first graduating class in 1893 had only one student—and he was shot and killed before graduation.

84. George Washington insisted his continental army be permitted a quart of beer as part of their daily rations.

85. When Canada's Northwest Territories considered renaming itself in the 1990s, one name that gained support was "Bob."

86. President Nixon was speaking at Disney World when he famously declared, "I am not a crook."

87. In a study by the Smell & Taste Research Foundation, the scent women found most arousing was Good & Plenty candy mixed with cucumber.

88. In 1958, Larry King smashed into John F. Kennedy's car. JFK said he’d forget the whole thing if King promised to vote for him when he ran for president.

89. Before she wrote The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins was a writer for Clarissa Explains it All.

90. The male giraffe determines a female's fertility by tasting her urine. If it passes the test, the courtship continues.

91. Hell-o? Hell no! In 1997, Kleberg County in Texas designated "Heaven-o" as its official new phone greeting.

92. Jim Cummings is the voice of Winnie the Pooh. He calls sick kids in hospitals and chats with them in character.

93. The first webcam watched a coffee pot. It allowed researchers at Cambridge to monitor the coffee situation without leaving their desks.

94. In 1979, Japan offered new British PM Margaret Thatcher 20 "karate ladies" for protection at an economic summit. She declined.

95. The Pittsburgh Penguins made Mister Rogers an honorary captain in 1991.

96. In a 1917 letter to Winston Churchill, Admiral John Fisher used the phrase "O.M.G."

97. Truman Show Delusion is a mental condition marked by a patient's belief that he or she is the star of an imaginary reality show.

98. During the first Super Bowl in 1967, NBC was still in commercial when the second half kicked off. Officials asked the Packers to kick off again.

99. Sea otters hold hands when they sleep so they don't drift apart.

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30 Cold, Hard Facts About Die Hard

Alan Rickman and Bruce Willis in Die Hard (1988).
Alan Rickman and Bruce Willis in Die Hard (1988).
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

What do you get when you mix one part action movie with one part holiday flick and add in a dash of sweaty tank top? Die Hard, John McTiernan’s genre-bending (Christmas?) action masterpiece for the ages, which sees a badass NYPD cop take on a skyscraper full of bad guys in the midst of an office holiday party. Here are 30 things you might not know about the movie, which was released on July 15, 1988.

1. Die Hard has a literary background.

Think some action-loving Hollywood scribe came up with the concept for Die Hard? Think again. The movie is based on Roderick Thorp’s 1979 crime novel Nothing Lasts Forever, which is a sequel to his 1966 novel, The Detective. In 2013, Thorp’s long out-of-print book was resurrected to coincide with the film’s 25th anniversary.

2. Die Hard was inspired by The Towering Inferno.

The idea for Nothing Lasts Forever was inspired John Guillermin’s 1974 disaster flick The Towering Inferno. After seeing the film, Thorp had a dream about a man being chased through a skyscraper by a group of men with guns. He eventually turned that snippet of an idea into a sequel to The Detective.

3. Frank Sinatra got first dibs on playing the role of John McClane in Die Hard.

Getty Images

Because he had starred in the big-screen adaptation of The Detective, Frank Sinatra had to be offered the role in its sequel. At the age of 73, he smartly turned it down.

4. Bruce Willis's big-screen debut was with Frank Sinatra.

In 1980, Willis made his film debut (albeit uncredited) in the crime thriller The First Deadly Sin. He has no name and if you blink you’ll miss him, but the role simply required that Willis entered a diner as Sinatra’s character left it. Maybe it was kismet?

5. Clint Eastwood planned to take a stab at playing John McClane.

Originally, it was Clint Eastwood who owned the movie rights to Nothing Lasts Forever, which he had planned to star in in the early 1980s. That obviously never happened.

6. Die Hard was never supposed to be a sequel to Commando.

This is one of the most popular internet stories about Die Hard. But according to Stephen de Souza, the screenwriter of both Die Hard and Commando, while there was a sequel to Commando planned, the only similarity with Die Hard is that they both took place in buildings. According to de Souza, Escape Plan is the closest to his original Commando 2 idea and Die Hard was never supposed to be anything but Die Hard.

7. Bruce Willis was hardly the studio's first choice for the lead in Die Hard. He wasn't even their third choice.

If Die Hard was to be a success, the studio knew they needed a bona fide action star in the part, so they set about offering it to a seemingly never-ending list of A-listers of the time. Rumor has it that Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, Robert De Niro, Charles Bronson, Nick Nolte, Mel Gibson, Richard Gere, Don Johnson, Burt Reynolds, and Richard Dean Anderson (yes, MacGyver!) were all considered for the role of John McClane. And all declined it.

8. Bruce Willis was considered a comedic actor when Die Hard came around.

Die Hard’s producers had nothing against Bruce Willis, of course. He just wasn’t an immediate choice for the role because, up until that point, he was known solely as a comedic actor, not an action star. Following the success of the film, the action genre really became Willis’s bread and butter, and although he has two Emmys for his comedy work, it has remained as such to this day.

9. Bruce Willis was barely even seen on the posters for Die Hard.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Because the studio’s marketing gurus were unconvinced that audiences would pay to see an action movie starring the funny guy from Moonlighting, the original batch of posters for the film centered on Nakatomi Plaza instead of Willis’s mug. As the film gained steam, the marketing materials were altered, and Willis was more prominent in the promos.

10. Bruce Willis was paid $5 million for Die Hard, which was considered a pretty major payday at the time.

Even with all the uncertainly surrounding whether he could pull the film off, Willis was paid $5 million to make Die Hard, which was considered a rather hefty sum at the time—a figure reserved for only the top tier of Hollywood talents.

11. Bruce Willis suggested Bonnie Bedelia for the part of his wife in Die Hard.

Though we suspect that she wasn’t paid $5 million for the gig.

12. Bruce Willis was able to accept the role in Die Hard thanks to a well-timed pregnancy.

The first few times Bruce Willis was asked to star in the movie, he had to say no because of his commitments to Moonlighting. Then costar Cybill Shepard announced that she was pregnant. Because her pregnancy wouldn’t work within the show, producer Glenn Caron gave everyone 11 weeks off, allowing Willis to say yes.

13. Sam Neill was originally approached to play the role of Hans Gruber in Die Hard.

But Neill ended up turning the film down. Then, in the spring of 1987, the casting director saw Alan Rickman playing the dastardly Valmont in a stage production of Dangerous Liaisons and knew they had found their Hans.

14. Die Hard was Alan Rickman's feature film debut.

Though Rickman may have played the part of Hans as cool as the other side of the pillow, it was actually his first role in a feature film.

15. John McTiernan originally passed on directing Die Hard—more than once, too.

And not just once, but on a few different occasions. His reason was that the material just seemed too dark and cynical for him. “The original screenplay was a grim terrorist movie,” McTiernan told Empire magazine in 2014. “On my second week working on it, I said, 'Guys, there's no part of terrorism that's fun. Robbers are fun bad guys. Let's make this a date movie.’ And they had the courage to do it.”

16. John McTiernan sees Die Hard as a Shakespearean tale.

In the original script, the action in Die Hard takes place over a three-day span, but McTiernan—inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream—insisted that it be condensed into a single evening.

17. Die Hard's Nakatomi Plaza is actually Fox Plaza.

Fox Plaza played the part of Nakatomi Plaza.Tristan Reville, Flickr

Yes, the corporate headquarters of 20th Century Fox—the very studio making the movie—proved to be the perfect location for the movie’s much-needed Nakatomi Plaza. And as it was still under construction, there wasn’t a whole lot they needed to do to the space to make it movie-ready. The studio charged itself rent to use its own space.

18. The room where the hostages are held in Die Hard is supposed to be Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater.

"In this period, Japanese corporations were buying America," production designer Jackson De Govia said in the Die Hard DVD audio commentary. "We posited that ... Nakatami Corporation bought Fallingwater, disassembled it, and reassembled it in the atrium, like a trophy."

19. The panoramic view of the city below in Die Hard? It's not real.

A 380-foot-long background painting provided the illusion of a breathtaking city view in the movie. And it was a state-of-the-art one, too, with animated lights, moving traffic, and the ability to change from night to day. The painting is still the property of the studio and has been used in other productions since.

20. Die Hard's success spawned a bona fide franchise.

In addition to its four sequels, Die Hard has spawned video games and comic books, too.

21. John McClane's tumble down a ventilation shaft in Die Hard was an accident.

Or maybe “error” would be a better word. But in the scene in which McClane jumps into an elevator shaft, his stunt man was supposed to grab onto the first vent. But he missed. By a lot. Which made the footage even more exciting to watch, so editor Frank J. Urioste kept it in the final cut.

22. Alan Rickman's death scene in Die Hard was also pretty scary.

At least it was for Rickman. In order to make it look as if he was falling off a building, Rickman was supposed to drop 20 feet onto an air bag while holding onto a stunt man. But in order to get a genuinely terrified reaction out of him, they dropped him on the count of two—not three, as was planned.

23. Bruce Willis suffered permanent hearing loss from shooting Die Hard.

Twentieth Century Fox

In order to get the hyper-realism that director John McTiernan was looking for, the blanks used in the guns in the movie were modified to be extra loud. In one scene, Willis shoots a terrorist through a table, which put the action star in extremely close proximity to the gun—and caused permanent hearing loss. He referenced the injury in a 2007 interview with The Guardian. When they asked Willis his most unappealing habit, he replied that, “Due to an accident on the first Die Hard, I suffer two-thirds partial hearing loss in my left ear and have a tendency to say, ‘Whaaa?’”

24. Alan Rickman wasn't thrilled with how noisy Die Hard was either.

Whenever he had to shoot a gun in the film, Rickman couldn’t help but flinch. Which forced McTiernan to have to cut away from him so that his reactions were not caught on film.

25. Hans Gruber's American accent in Die Hard caused a lot of problems.

The scene in which Rickman, as Gruber, slips into an American accent and pretends to be yet another hostage who got away was insisted on by screenwriter Steven de Souza, who wanted them in a room together to duke it out. But McTiernan was never happy with Rickman’s American accent, saying, “I still hear Alan Rickman’s English accent. I was never quite happy with the way he opened his mouth [in that scene] ... I shot it three times trying to get him to sound more stridently American ... it’s odd for someone who has such enormous verbal skills; he just had terrible trouble getting an American accent.”

26. The German Hans Gruber speaks in Die Hard is mostly gibberish.

And the bulk of his German cohorts were not German either. Bruce Willis, on the other hand, was actually born in West Germany to an American father and a German mother.

27. Bruce Willis has four feet in Die Hard.

As Willis spends much of the movie in his bare feet running through broken glass, he was given a pair of rubber feet to wear as a safety precaution. Which is great and all, but if you look closely in certain scenes, you can actually see the fake appendages.

28. You can see (but can't touch) John McClane's sweaty tank top.

Getty Images

In 2007, Willis donated the blood-soaked tank top he wore in Die Hard to the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian.

29. Die Hard's famous “Yippee-ki-yay" line stole the movie.

It was a simple line: “Yippee-ki-yay, motherf*cker!” But it became the film’s defining moment, and the unofficial catchphrase that has been used in all four Die Hard sequels as well.

30. The credit for Die Hard's famous “Yippee-ki-yay" line belongs to Bruce Willis.

In a 2013 interview with Ryan Seacrest, Bruce Willis admitted that “Yippee-ki-yay, motherf*cker!” was really just a joke. “It was a throwaway,” said Willis. “I was just trying to crack up the crew and I never thought it was going to be allowed to stay in the film."