February 1 in Pop Culture History

February 1st History, Trivia, and Fun Facts

February 1st History Highlights

  • 1790 – The United States Supreme Court held its first session.
  • 1898 – Travelers Insurance issued the first automobile accident insurance.
  • 1960 – The Greensboro ‘Sit-In’ took place in North Carolina, protesting discrimination.
  • 1964 – Hasbro introduced the G.I. Joe action figure (retail price: $2.49)
  • 1982 – Late Night with David Letterman premiered on NBC.
  • If you were born on February 1st,
    You were likely conceived the week of… May 11th (prior year)

February 1st is…

Decorating With Candy Day
National Candy Making Day
Car Insurance Day
Change Your Password Day
Dark Chocolate Day
Freedom Day
National Get Up Day
Robinson Crusoe Day
Serpent Day

Change Your Password Day

In 2012, Matt Buchanan, who was writing for Gizmodo at the time, came up with the idea to make it easier for hackers to get into your accounts. He wrote that there had been a proliferation of password-protected accounts on the Internet, and he complained that he had seen his account hacked twice.

He thought it would be a good idea if everyone changed their passwords on the same day and “Change your Password Day” was born. He suggested adding symbols to the new passwords and using different root passwords for banking and e-mails than anything else. Online banking passwords, for example, are more sensitive than magazine subscription passwords.

The importance of protecting your personal data with strong passwords is well documented – documented in the Data Breach Investigation Report 2019, which shows that 80% of hacker attacks – which are associated with access data breaches – are associated with compromised or weak credentials

National Dark Chocolate Day

Dark chocolate, with its intense cocoa flavor and slightly bitter undertones, has carved a special place in the hearts of chocolate lovers around the world. February 1st is the designated day to honor this sophisticated treat, recognizing its unique qualities and the joy it brings to our taste buds.

One of the primary reasons dark chocolate has its dedicated day is its myriad of health benefits. Unlike its sweeter counterparts, dark chocolate is known for containing higher. cocoa content, which is rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants are crucial in promoting heart health and reducing the risk of certain diseases. Additionally, dark chocolate is believed to have mood-enhancing properties, thanks to the release of endorphins when consumed. So, indulging in a piece or two on National Dark Chocolate Day satisfies your sweet tooth and contributes to your overall health.

Beyond the health benefits, the versatility of dark chocolate makes it a star ingredient in various culinary creations. From decadent desserts to savory dishes, chefs and home cooks alike experiment with dark chocolate to elevate their recipes. On National Dark Chocolate Day, you might find special menus at restaurants featuring dark chocolate-infused dishes, providing patrons a unique and delightful dining experience.

For those who enjoy a DIY approach to celebrating, National Dark Chocolate Day offers the perfect excuse to get creative in the kitchen. The possibilities are endless, Whether crafting homemade truffles, baking a sumptuous chocolate cake, or simply melting dark chocolate for a fondue feast. This day encourages individuals to explore their culinary skills and share the joy of dark chocolate with friends and family.

Chocolate brands often seize the opportunity to launch limited-edition dark chocolate treats or promotions on National Dark Chocolate Day. This allows chocolate enthusiasts to discover new flavors and indulge in exclusive offerings, adding excitement to the celebration.

February 1st Birthday Quotes

“I’m just a lucky slob from Ohio who happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
– Clark Gable

“I’ll retire when the Good Lord calls me.”
– Ben Weider

“The Romans did not see (the tale of Romulus, Remus, and the she-wolf) as a charming story; they meant to show that they had imbibed wolfish appetites and ferocity with their mother’s milk.”
– Terry Jones

“Dissidents should be paid 13 months’ salary for a year, otherwise our mindless unanimity will bring us to an even more hopeless state of stagnation. It is especially important to encourage unorthodox thinking when the situation is critical: At such moments every new word and fresh thought is more precious than gold. Indeed, people must not be deprived of the right to think their own thoughts.”
Boris Yeltsin

“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
– Clark Gable

“I can’t hang out as loose as I used to, but I can still go down Jefferson Avenue and look in the faces of winos, pimps and junkies, all the things I’m made of.”
– Rick James

“Some people are passionate about aisles, others about window seats.”
– Terry Jones

February 1st Birthdays

1859 – Victor Herbert, Irish-American cellist, composer, and conductor (died in 1924)
1901 – Clark Gable, American actor (died in 1960)
1902 – Langston Hughes, American poet and playwright (died in 1967)
1908 – George Pal, Hungarian-American animator and producer (died in 1980)
1918 – Muriel Spark, American writer (died in 2006)
1923 – Ben Weider, Canadian businessman, co-founded the International Federation of BodyBuilding & Fitness (died in 2008)
1931 – Boris Yeltsin, Russian politician, 1st President of Russia (died in 2007)
1937 – Don Everly, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
1937 – Garrett Morris, American actor and comedian
1938 – Sherman Hemsley, American actor and singer (died in 2012)
1942 – Terry Jones, English actor, Monty Python (died in 2020)
1946 – Elisabeth Sladen, English actress (died in 2011)
1947 – Jessica Savitch, American journalist (died in 1983)
1948 – Rick James, American singer-songwriter and producer (died in 2004)
1965 – Brandon Lee, American actor and martial artist (died in 1993)
1965 – Sherilyn Fenn, American actress
1968 – Lisa Marie Presley, American singer-songwriter and actress
1968 – Pauly Shore, American comedian and actor
1971 – Michael C. Hall, American actor
1983 – Heather DeLoach, American actress, Bee Girl
1986 – Lauren Conrad, American Reality TV personality
1987 – Rhonda Rousey, American fighter athlete
1994 – Harry Styles, English singer-songwriter

February 1st History

1790 – The first meeting of the Court was scheduled to take place in New York City on Monday, February 1, 1790, but the lack of a quorum (only three of the six Justices were present) delayed the official opening until the following day, February 2, 1790 in New York City. The court was established by the Judiciary Act of 1789, which was signed into law by President George Washington on September 24, 1789. At the time, the court consisted of a Chief Justice, John Jay, and five Associate Justices. The Supreme Court originally had limited jurisdiction, and its primary role was to serve as an appellate court for cases appealed by lower federal and state courts. The court met in several locations before moving to its current home in the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C. in 1935.

1851 – Evaporated milk was invented by Gail Borden. The process of evaporated milk involved removing most of the water from fresh milk, preventing spoilage, and making it possible to store the milk without refrigeration. This was a major breakthrough at the time as it allowed milk to be transported long distances, making it accessible to people who lived far from dairy farms. Borden received a patent for his method of evaporating milk in 1856, and he opened the first factory to produce evaporated milk the same year. Borden’s Eagle Brand evaporated milk became one of the most popular and well-known brands in the United States, and it is still being produced today.

1884 – The first volume (A to Ant) of the Oxford English Dictionary is published. The OED is widely considered one of the most comprehensive and scholarly dictionaries of the English language. The first edition of the OED was a monumental work that took over 70 years to complete, from 1857 to 1928. It was edited by James Murray and a team of scholars and volunteers, who collected and analyzed examples of words and their usage from various sources, including literary texts, newspapers, and manuscripts. The first edition of the OED included over 414,000 words and definitions, and it was issued in 10 volumes. The OED has since been updated, with new words and meanings regularly added.

1887 – The area known as Hollywood was founded by Harvey Henderson Wilcox, a real estate developer from Kansas, and his wife, Daeida. The Wilcoxes purchased 120 acres of land west of Los Angeles and founded the Hollywood subdivision, which they envisioned as a religious community. The area was initially a small rural community, but it began to proliferate after the introduction of the movie industry in the 1910s. The first movie studio in Hollywood, Nestor Studios, was established in 1911, and many other studios soon followed. Hollywood became the center of the American movie industry, attracting thousands of actors, directors, and other industry professionals. Today, Hollywood is known worldwide as the symbol of the entertainment industry and home of the famous Hollywood sign.

1893 – Thomas A. Edison finished the construction of the first motion picture studio, the Black Maria in West Orange, New Jersey. Thomas A. Edison played a key role in the early development of motion picture technology, and the Black Maria studio was one of the earliest motion picture studios in the world. The studio, also known as the “Edison Kinetoscope Company,” was completed in 1893 in West Orange, New Jersey. It produced short films known as “Edison kinetoscope films,” which were shown in kinetoscope parlors. The studio was called the “Black Maria” because it resembled a police patrol “black maria” wagon, it was a small wooden building with a peaked roof that could be rotated to follow the sun, it was the first motion-picture studio specifically designed for film production. The Edison Manufacturing Company operated the studio and produced around 200 films. The studio was used until 1901 and is considered a milestone in the history of motion pictures.

1896 – Puccini’s La bohème premiered at the Teatro Regio in Turin, Italy. La bohème is an opera in four acts composed by Giacomo Puccini and based on Henri Murger’s novel “Scenes de la vie de bohème.” The premiere was conducted by Arturo Toscanini and directed by Luigi Illica, Puccini’s librettist. The opera tells the story of a group of young bohemians living in Paris in the mid-19th century and is set in the Latin Quarter. The main characters are the poet Rodolfo and the seamstress Mimi, whose love story is at the center of the opera. La bohème was an immediate success, and it is still considered one of Puccini’s most popular and enduring works. It is regularly performed around the world and it has been adapted into various forms of media, including films, stage productions, and ballets.

1898 – Travelers Insurance Company began issuing car insurance. Travelers Insurance Company, now known as The Travelers Companies, Inc., was founded in 1864 and initially focused on providing insurance for maritime and transportation-related risks. At the time of its foundation, car insurance did not yet exist. As the automobile industry developed, the company began to offer car insurance policies and other types of insurance such as property, casualty and liability insurance. Travelers Insurance Company was one of the first companies to introduce the concept of personal auto insurance and quickly became a major auto insurance provider in the United States. 

1911 – Thomas Jennings was the first person in the United States to be convicted of a crime using fingerprint evidence. He was found guilty of burglary in a trial in Illinois in 1911. The case was noteworthy for fingerprint evidence, which had been used in criminal investigations in other countries but not yet in the United States. The fingerprint evidence was presented by an expert witness, Dr. Henry Faulds, and it helped to link Jennings to the crime scene. The court found the fingerprint evidence to be convincing, and Jennings was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison. This case marked the first time fingerprint evidence was used in a court of law in the United States and helped establish fingerprinting as a reliable identification method.

1942 – Voice of America (VOA) is a U.S. government-funded multimedia news organization that provides news, information, and programming to people worldwide. The organization was established on February 1, 1942, during World War II, to respond to the need for accurate and reliable news from the United States to be broadcast to people in countries controlled by the Axis powers. The VOA’s mission is to provide accurate, balanced, and comprehensive news and information to an international audience, supporting freedom and democracy. The VOA broadcasts news, features, and other programming in more than 45 languages via radio, television, and digital platforms. It is an independent federal agency, part of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, and its news and programming are editorially independent of the U.S. government.

1947 – You Are There was a radio drama series that premiered on CBS radio on February 1, 1947. The show was created by producer-director Irving Cummings and it was written by a team of writers led by Walter Newman. “You Are There” was a unique program that presented historical events as if they were unfolding in the present. Each episode was set in a different historical period, and the show covered events such as the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Boston Tea Party, and the trial of Socrates. Walter Cronkite hosted the show, featuring a talented cast of actors, who portrayed famous historical figures such as Julius Caesar, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln. The show was popular and critically acclaimed and it ran until 1957. It was also adapted into a television series that ran on CBS from 1953 to 1957, hosted by Cronkite as well.

1953 – General Electric Theater was a television anthology series that premiered on CBS. General Electric sponsored the show, and it featured a mix of dramas, comedies, and musicals. The show was hosted by Ronald Reagan, who was also an actor and a spokesman for General Electric at the time. The series presented a wide range of stories, from adaptations of classic literature to original dramas, and it featured a talented cast of actors, such as James Stewart, Bette Davis, and Claudette Colbert. The show was popular and critically acclaimed and ran for 8 seasons until 1962. Reagan’s hosting role on the series helped establish him as a television personality and was a stepping stone to his later political career.

1964 – #1 Hit February 1, 1964 – March 20, 1964: The Beatles’ – I Want to Hold Your Hand

February 1, 19** – Willy Wonka took the Golden Ticket Winners on the famous tour of his factory. In Roald Dahl’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Willy Wonka, the eccentric and reclusive owner of the Wonka Chocolate Factory, holds a contest in which five Golden Tickets are hidden inside chocolate bars and distributed worldwide. Whoever finds these tickets will win a tour of the mysterious and magical factory. In the story, the contest’s five winners are Charlie Bucket, Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, and Mike Teavee, who their respective parents accompany. The factory tour is a wild and fantastical journey during which the children encounter strange and wonderful creations, such as the chocolate river, the Oompa-Loompas, and the Everlasting Gobstopper. The tour also serves as a test for the children, as Willy Wonka is looking for a worthy successor to take over his factory. The story has been adapted into various forms of media, including films, stage productions, and musicals.

1968 – The New York Central Railroad and the Pennsylvania Railroad are merged to form Penn Central Transportation. The merger was an effort to create a more efficient and financially stable rail system in the northeastern United States. The New York Central Railroad was primarily based in the Northeastern United States and operated in a region including New York, Ohio, and Michigan. The Pennsylvania Railroad was based in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States and operated in a region that included Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. The merger was one of the largest in American corporate history, creating a railroad system that operated in almost all of the Northeastern United States. It was the largest transportation company in the world. However, the merger was not successful and the company filed for bankruptcy in 1970. The government eventually took over it and became part of the Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) in 1976.

1969 – #1 Hit February 1, 1969 – February 14, 1969: Tommy James & the Shondells – Crimson and Clover

February 1, 1971 Birthday (fictional) Dexter Morgan, Dexter, TV. “Dexter” is a television series that premiered on Showtime in 2006. The show is based on the “Dexter” series of novels by Jeff Lindsay. The show follows the life of Dexter Morgan, the main character, who is a forensic blood spatter analyst for the Miami Metro Police Department by day, and a vigilante serial killer by night. Dexter’s vigilante killings are motivated by his desire to kill criminals who have escaped justice. The show explores Dexter’s internal struggle between his “Dark Passenger,” his inner voice that compels him to kill, and his desire to lead a normal life as a father, brother, and friend. The show was both critically acclaimed and popular, it ran for eight seasons from 2006 to 2013, the show was created by James Manos Jr. Michael C. Hall played Dexter Morgan in the series. The series was known for its dark and complex themes and its portrayal of a sympathetic serial killer protagonist.

1974Good Times premiered on CBS.

1975 – #1 Hit February 1, 1975 – February 7, 1975: Neil Sedaka – Laughter in the Rain

1978 – Director Roman Polanski fled the United States to France after pleading guilty to charges of having sex with a 13-year-old girl. Roman Polanski, a Polish-French film director, pleaded guilty in 1977 to one count of having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles, California. After he pleaded guilty, Polanski was sent to prison for 42 days for psychiatric evaluation. The evaluation was completed and the judge indicated that Polanski would be sentenced to additional time in prison, but Polanski fled the United States before the sentencing. Since then, he has been living in France and has not returned to the United States for fear of being arrested and extradited. The United States has an extradition treaty with France, but the French government has refused to extradite Polanski for the crime. Polanski continued his career as a European filmmaker and directed several notable films such as “Chinatown” and “The Pianist.”

2003 – Space Shuttle Columbia on mission STS-107 exploded after liftoff, killing all seven crew members. The disaster occurred as the spacecraft returned from a successful 16-day mission to conduct scientific research in space. The accident was caused by a hole in the left wing’s leading edge, which had been damaged during launch by a piece of foam insulation that broke off from the external fuel tank. The hole allowed hot gases to penetrate the wing during re-entry, causing the wing’s structural failure and the spacecraft’s subsequent disintegration. The crew consisted of Rick D. Husband, William C. McCool, Michael P. Anderson, David M. Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Blair Salton Clark, and Ilan Ramon. The Columbia accident was a tragic loss for NASA, the crew members’ families, and the entire space community. The accident prompted NASA to make significant changes to its safety procedures and to the design of the space shuttle, and it led to a two-and-a-half-year break in shuttle flights.

1996 – The Communications Decency Act (CDA) was a law passed by the United States Congress as Title V of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The CDA was intended to protect children from harmful material on the Internet by criminalizing the transmission of “indecent” or “patently offensive” messages to anyone under 18 years of age. The law also made it a crime to use an interactive computer service to display any material that, in context, depicts or describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way. The law faced strong opposition from civil liberties groups, Internet service providers, and technology companies, who argued that it violated the First Amendment rights of free speech. In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the CDA, finding that the law was overbroad and vague. The court ruled that the act’s provisions against “indecent” and “patently offensive” speech were unconstitutional and that the government could not make laws that effectively ban free speech online.

2003 – #1 Hit February 1, 2003 – February 7, 2003: B2K featuring P. Diddy – Bump, Bump, Bump

2004 – The Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show, which took place on February 1, 2004, was a controversial event that involved the performers Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. During the performance, Timberlake was supposed to reveal part of Jackson’s costume, revealing a “costume reveal” in which her right breast was briefly exposed. The incident, referred to as a “wardrobe malfunction,” generated widespread media coverage and public outrage. The exposure was broadcast live on television, and an estimated 143.6 million viewers saw it. The incident prompted the Federal Communications Commission to impose a $550,000 fine on CBS, the network that aired the halftime show, for violating indecency laws. The incident led to a crackdown on indecency in broadcasting and stricter regulation of live television events. The incident also increased public awareness of the potential dangers of live television, and it significantly impacted how networks and performers approached live events.

2013 – The Shard, also known as the Shard of Glass, is a skyscraper located in London, England. It was officially opened to the public on February 1, 2013. The Shard is the tallest building in the European Union, with a height of 310 meters (1,016 feet) and 72 floors. The Italian architect Renzo Piano designed the building, and the Sellar Property Group developed it. The Shard is a mixed-use building with offices, residential apartments, a hotel, restaurants, and an observation deck known as The View from The Shard. The building is considered a significant architectural and engineering achievement and it is a major landmark in the London skyline. It’s also an important tourist attraction, as visitors can go to the observation deck on the 72nd floor for a panoramic view of the city.

Today’s Random Trivia and Shower Thoughts

In a few billion years Narwhals could evolve into Unicorns.

“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.” – Steve Martin

Ettorre’s Observation: The other line moves faster.

A really well-known trivia fact is not very good trivia.

Charles Gemora was a makeup artist and costume designer who played a gorilla in 40 films in the 1930s and 40s, including 1932, Island of Lost Souls.

“Anyone Can Cook.” – Ratatouille #moviequotes

Eric Clapton – Real Name: Eric Clapp

We should all strive to be the type of person you would want to serve at a restaurant.

Not Googling to check your facts before you post on the Internet is the online version of not thinking before you speak. #factcheck

Being famous on Twitter is like being rich in Monopoly.

In the movie Armageddon, it probably would have been easier to train astronauts to be drillers, rather than drillers to be astronauts.

“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!” – President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers) in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, 1964

Biggest film of 1995: Toy Story (Action/Adventure) earned ~ $192,000,000

Say the secret word and win $100. #TVCatchphrase

If there were people who could read minds, they would hear an awful lot of songs, sung with incorrect words, and likely very out of tune or rhythm.

More Pop Culture History Resources