🚨 Warning: This article contains mentions of murder, rape, and other sensitive topics. 🚨
1.Wine is sometimes measured in “butts," with a buttload of wine being equivalent to 126 gallons. The term dates back to a time when measurements weren't quite as standardized as they are today. Wine was stored in large wooden casks, which became known as butts, stemming from the French word "bouteille," for bottle.
2.While Dorothy’s outfit in The Wizard of Oz has gone down in movie history as being one of film’s most recognizable costumes, in reality, it actually looked quite different than how it appears on screen! In order to make the best use out of technicolor technology, Dorothy’s dress is actually light pink and blue. The bright lights on the set washed the pink shade out to look white, creating the recognizable blue and white gingham.
And as for her ruby slippers? In the books, the slippers are technically silver, but the filmmakers decided that they would change them to red in order to make them truly pop using technicolor. The shoes were anonymously donated to the Smithsonian Museum of American History in 1979. They are one of the most visited exhibits in the entire museum, and they have supposedly had to replace the carpet in front of the case several times from so much foot traffic.
3.In 2006, William Shatner sold a kidney stone at auction for $25,000, then donated the proceeds to Habitat For Humanity. He sold the stone through GoldenPalace.com, an online casino known for auctioning off oddities.
4.It has been estimated that there were between 700 and 1,000 third-class passengers aboard the Titanic. While their accommodations were actually a bit nicer than third-class on many other ships, there were only two bathtubs for all of the passengers to share.
5.Looks like Mickey and Minnie got a fairy-tale ending worthy of a Disney princess! In 1991, Wayne Allwine, who was the voice of Mickey Mouse, married Russi Taylor, who voiced Minnie Mouse. The pair kept their marriage quiet while voicing the characters because they didn't want people to focus too heavily on their animated counterparts. “It wasn’t Mickey and Minnie; it was Wayne and Russi," Wayne said. "We wanted to keep it about us and not about the characters.”
6.Robin Williams, a huge comic book reader who loved Batman in particular, was overjoyed when he was offered the role of the Joker in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman. Williams was incredibly excited, until he learned that he had only been offered the role in order to bait Jack Nicholson, their first choice, into changing his mind and taking the part.
Williams was incredibly upset, and vowed to never work with Warner Brothers again unless they apologized. To make amends, they supposedly offered Williams the part of the Riddler in the next film. There are differing reports about what happened next: some think that Williams declined because he was still offended, while others believe that Jim Carrey, who ended up with the role, was director Joel Schumacher's top choice all along.
7.I always knew that blue whales were massive, but I don’t think I realized quite how huge they are! Blue whales can weigh up to 200 tons, or about as much as 33 elephants. Their hearts are the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.
8.Andrew Jackson took the presidential tradition of holding an open house a little too far. Thomas Jefferson held the first open house at the White House after his inauguration, and he used it as an opportunity to meet other politicians and greet celebrities and citizens. When Jackson's inauguration rolled around, the typically dignified open house turned into a wild party, with over 20,000 people rolling up to the White House.
The guests began rummaging through the White House, getting food all over the carpets, and standing on the furniture. In order to get the trespassers out, White House servants were ordered to mix up massive tubs of whiskey and juice to lure the partiers out on the lawn. The open house tradition continued until Grover Cleveland's inauguration in 1885, although it never got quite as rowdy ever again. Cleveland opted for a parade, which has since become a staple of presidential inaugurations.
9.When the video game based on The Lion King was being created, developers said Disney told them to make the game as difficult as possible, despite the fact that it was marketed to children. In fact, they were instructed to make the game so challenging that it couldn't be beaten during a single Blockbuster rental period. Disney wanted players to be so invested that they would go purchase the game to finish it, instead of waiting for their turn to re-rent the game. A few developers later apologized for making the game so hard.
10.In Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face," she sneakily replaces a few of the “P-p-p-poker face” lines with “F-f-fuck her face.” Gaga said that KISS FM was the only radio station to pick up on the lyric change and censor it appropriately. While the change is not in the official lyrics, it can be heard during every other time she's supposedly singing "P-p-p-poker face" in the chorus.
11.Ever wondered why the massive tanks on a spaceship are orange? They actually were originally painted white, but NASA decided to stop painting them because the paint added 600 pounds of weight to their rockets. The orange shade comes from the insulation used to cover the liquid hydrogen and oxygen tanks.
12.If you're familiar with the Foo Fighters, then you probably know that Dave Grohl, Nirvana's drummer, is the band's front man. But did you know that for the entirety of the band's first album, he was actually the band's only man? While on tour with Nirvana, Grohl spent his downtime writing songs, but was supposedly too nervous to share them with Kurt Cobain. After Nirvana disbanded after Cobain's 1994 death, he decided that he was going to finally record his songs instead of becoming a drummer for another band. In just five days, he recorded 15 songs, singlehandedly performing all of the vocals and playing every instrument.
With the album, Grohl had hoped to stay anonymous, and decided to name the band Foo Fighters after the term for unidentified foreign objects. He thought that the plural name would make others assume that the band had multiple members. After the album became a success, Grohl was pressured to tour and had to find a band to back him up. From that point on, the band's subsequent albums became a joint effort instead of Grohl doing all the work.
13.While now extinct, colossus penguins were nearly seven feet tall and could hold their breath for over 40 minutes, making them incredibly efficient hunters. The next largest penguin species is the emperor penguin, which is only half the size of its colossal predecessor.
14.Ever wondered where Machine Gun Kelly got his name? The original Machine Gun Kelly was George Kelly Barnes, a bootlegger and gangster who was sentenced to life in prison after kidnapping Charles F. Urschel, a wealthy oil magnate. Barnes got his criminal start by selling alcohol during Prohibition. His wife divorced him because he was hanging around with the wrong crowd. He spent several stints in jail for selling illegal alcohol and befriended several bank robbers while imprisoned. It's believed that he helped these bank robbers escape from prison.
After being released, Barnes and his girlfriend, Kathryn, met up with his bank robber pals and participated in robberies across several states. Kathryn gifted Barnes a machine gun and dubbed him Machine Gun Kelly. The couple devised a plot to kidnap Urschel and hold him for ransom. However, their plan went awry: While the couple got their ransom money, the authorities knew the ransom numbers on the cash and were able to arrest the couple by tracing where they spent the funds.
So, why did the musician Machine Gun Kelly decide to name himself after the gangster? He said he chose the name "because of my rapid-fire delivery when I was 15," referring to the gun Barnes was frequently spotted with.
15.ZZ Top might be best known for two of the trio's members having incredibly long beards. Rather ironically, the only bandmate who doesn't have a beard is named Frank Beard.
16.Just before he hit it big, William Shakespeare disappeared from the public record for about seven years, from 1585 to 1592. Some think that he was a teacher during that time, while others think he was an actor in a traveling troupe. There’s even a theory that he had to flee his hometown and live under the radar after being caught poaching deer from a local politician’s estate.
17.Eagle-eyed Stranger Things fans might have noticed Will Byers holding a poster about Alan Turing for his school project. Spotting this poster on the show sent me on a major Google spree, and it turns out Alan Turing is pretty dang amazing! Turing was a mathematician whose team figured out the Nazi's Enigma code during World War II. They developed the Bombe, a machine that helped decode messages and radio communications to give the Allies an edge over the Nazis.
In addition to his groundbreaking war efforts in developing the cipher macine, Turing created the ACE, the first electric computer. His colleagues thought it was too difficult to build, so they ended up constructing a much smaller and less powerful version. Turing is also considered a founding father of artificial intelligence. He also loved flowers so much that his love of daisies spawned the creation of morphogenesis, a new field of mathematical biology.
Beyond his scientific contributions, Turing was an avid runner, with times nearing those of Olympic-caliber athletes. Turing died by suicide in 1954 after being outed as gay, which was illegal in Great Britain at the time of his death. The public had no idea of Turing's tremendous impact on WWII. Sixty years after his death, he was pardoned by Queen Elizabeth II. Benedict Cumberbatch portrayed Turing in The Imitation Game in 2014.
18.Before he was famous, Danny DeVito was a hairdresser working at a New Jersey salon. DeVito's older sister, Angela, owned a salon, so he decided to work for her. In fact, working at the salon later pushed him into acting. When Angela decided she wanted to sell cosmetics at the salon, she told DeVito that he needed to take makeup classes. After enrolling at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan, he loved being around the actors backstage and decided to pursue acting.
19.And finally, Barbara Jordan, a leading figure in politics, was one of the first Black women and the first LGBTQ+ woman in Congress. Jordan became close with president Lyndon B. Johnson, who appointed her to key positions in Congress and placed her on the House Judiciary Committee. During president Nixon's impeachment trial, Jordan memorably delivered the opening statement, during which she emphasized the way Black Americans were not initially included in the "We the people" statement and were still fighting for equality. This passionate speech led her to become the first Black woman to deliver the keynote address at a Democratic National Convention.
While in Congress, Jordan fought tirelessly for women's rights. She sponsored a bill that would have granted stay-at-home moms Social Security benefits due to their work at home. Jordan was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1973, but continued to teach at the University of Texas, and she earned 25 honorary doctorate degrees. Jordan did not publicly disclose her sexuality while in office, but her longtime partner, Nancy Earl, helped Jordan write her speeches and served as her aide after she was diagnosed with MS. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and became the first Black person to be buried with the politicians in the Texas State Cemetery. Her relationship with Earl was revealed in her obituary.