125 years ago today, the first Olympic Games of the modern era opened in Athens–1,500 years after the original games were banned by the Roman emperor.
Because Ancient Greece was the birthplace of the Olympic Games, Athens was chosen as the perfect place to stage the first modern Games. Despite obstacles, the Games of the I Olympiad were regarded as a great success, attracting the largest international participation of any sporting event to that date. The Panathinaiko Olympic Stadium overflowed with the largest crowd ever to watch a sporting event.
The highlight for the Greeks was a victory medal in the marathon for their own Spyridon Louis, a former soldier who was encouraged to try out for the Olympics by his former commanding officer. Following his victory, he was celebrated as a national hero—and later became a police officer and a farmer. (1896)
MORE Good News on this Date:
- Peter the Great repealed his tax levied on men who wore beards, which was meant to encourage the beardless fashions of France, but infuriated Russians, who had always cherished long beards as sacred and preserved them with much care (1722)
- The United States Congress convened in New York to begin its first regular session (1789)
- The Jews of Prussia were granted equality (1848)
- Matthew Henson, an African-American and Robert Peary, another American, along with four Eskimo guides, reached the North Pole (1909)
- The first Tony Awards ceremony celebrated outstanding achievement in the theatrical arts—awarding trophies to actors José Ferrer, Ingrid Bergman, and Patricia Neal, and plays such as Brigadoon and Finian’s Rainbow (1947)
- Simon and Garfunkel, a folk-rock duo, went to No.1 on the US album chart with the soundtrack to The Graduate, and the hit ‘Mrs. Robinson’ (1968)
And, 56 years ago today, the first commercial communications satellite, Intelsat I, was placed in geosynchronous orbit.
The tiny 2-ft device (nicknamed Early Bird for the proverb “The early bird catches the worm”) was the first to provide direct and nearly instantaneous contact between Europe and North America, handling television, telephone, and fax transmissions. (1965)
And, 41 years ago today, Post-It Notes were introduced across the United States after an accidental concoction in a 3M laboratory led one inventor to try using the weak adhesive as a bookmark. In 1968, Dr. Spencer Silver, a scientist at 3M in Kentucky, was attempting to develop a super-strong glue. Instead, he accidentally created a “low-tack”, reusable, pressure-sensitive adhesive.
Six years later, a colleague who had attended one of his seminars, Art Fry (above), came up with the idea of using the adhesive to anchor his bookmark in his church hymnal. Fry used the original yellow color chosen because it was the only scrap paper nearby. The product became Post-Its in 1979, and known as ‘sticky notes’ because the re-adherable strip on its back made it great for temporarily attaching notes to documents and other surfaces because it was so easy to remove without leaving residue. By 2019, 3M was manufacturing 26 different colors. (1980)
Happy Birthday to Paul Rudd who turns 52 today. The actor-comedian-writer co-starred in the films Clueless; The 40-Year-Old Virgin; I Love You, Man; Ant-Man; and Anchorman. While attending acting school in Kansas, where he spent part of his youth, Rudd worked as a Bar Mitzvah disc jockey, and glazing meat at a ham company. His career really took off in 2004 when he became a go-to favorite of director/producer Judd Apatow.
Rudd is a co-founder of The Big Slick, a charity weekend in Kansas City every June that gathers tons of celebrities to play sports and games with kids to support Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Hospital. And, since 2014, Rudd and fellow actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan have been co-owners of Samuel’s Sweet Shop, a Rhinebeck, NY candy store they saved from closure after the previous owner, a friend of theirs, died suddenly. WATCH a video about his awesome charity… (1969)
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