January 4 in Pop Culture History

January 4th History, Trivia, and Fun Facts

January 4th History Highlights

  • 1865 – The New York Stock Exchange opened its first permanent headquarters at 10-12 Broad near Wall Street in New York City.
  • 1903 – Thomas Edison’s team filmed the electrocution of a murdering elephant, Topsy, to show the dangers of Alternating Current electricity.
  • 1959 – The USSR’s Luna 1 became the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon.
  • If you were born on January 4th,
    You were likely conceived the week of… April 13th (prior year)

Topsy The Elephant

Topsy (circa 1875 – January 4, 1903) was a female Asian elephant who was electrocuted at Coney Island, New York, in January 1903. Born in Southeast Asia around 1875, Topsy was secretly brought into the United States soon thereafter and added to the herd of performing elephants at the Forepaugh Circus, who fraudulently advertised her as the first elephant born in America. During her 25 years at Forepaugh, Topsy gained a reputation as a “bad” elephant and, after killing a spectator in 1902, was sold to Coney Island’s Sea Lion Park.

In 1903, Topsy was brought to Coney Island’s Luna Park and placed in a specially built elephant pen. There she was electrocuted on January 04, 1903, after having been fed cyanide-laced carrots by her trainer. The execution was captured on film by Thomas Edison’s team, although he was probably not present.

Traditional Business Rules and Laws:

PETER PRINCIPLE: In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.
ROTHBARD’S LAW: everyone specializes in his own area of weakness
STURGEON’S REVELATION: 90 percent of everything is crud. (not crap as is often misquoted)

January 4th is…

National Spaghetti Day
National Trivia Day
Tom Thumb Day
World Braille Day
World Hypnotism Day

January 4th Birthday Quotes

So, when you divide the world into music lovers, music fans, and then those people who are just very casual about their music, it’s wallpaper to them, it’s elevator music, it’s just the thing that’s playing in the background that helps them through their day.
-Michael Stipe

I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
– Isaac Newton

Godliness consists in the knowledge love & worship of God, Humanity in love, righteousness & good offices towards man.
– Isaac Newton

I think my basic viewpoint is that everything the left and right say about each other is true. And the reason it’s true is because they have so much in common.
– Bob Black

January 4th Birthdays

1643 – Isaac Newton, English mathematician, and physicist (died in 1727)
1746 – Benjamin Rush, American doctor, and patriot (died in 1813)
1875 – Jacob Grimm, German writer, Grimm’s Fairy Tales (with brother Wilhelm) (died in 1863)
1809 – Louis Braille, French educator, invented Braille (died in 1852)
1838 – General Tom Thumb (Charles Stratton), American circus performer (died in 1883)
1878 – A.E. Coppard, English poet and short story writer (died in 1957)
1905 – Sterling Holloway, American actor (died in 1992)
1927 – Barbara Rush, American actress
1935 – Floyd Patterson, American boxer (died in 2006)
1946 – Arthur Conley, American singer-songwriter (died in 2003)
1951 – Bob Black, American anarchist
1957 – Patty Loveless, American singer-songwriter
1958 – Matt Frewer, American-Canadian actor
1960 – Michael Stipe, American singer-songwriter
1963 – Dave Foley, Canadian comedian, actor,
1965 – Julia Ormond, English actress, and producer
1966 – Deana Carter, American singer-songwriter

January 4th History

1790 – President Washington delivered the 1st State of the Union address

1896 – Utah became the 45th State

1902 – The Carnegie Institute of Washington was founded.

1936 – Billboard magazine published its 1st music hit parade

1940 – Edwin H. Armstrong demonstrated the first “network” relay of an FM radio broadcast through several stations from Yonkers, NY, to Alpine, NJ, to Meriden, CT, and Paxton, MA to Mount Washington.

January 4, 1946 Birthday (fictional) Magnum, P.I., Magnum P.I., TV

1958 – Sea Hunt premiered, in syndication

1958 – Russian Sputnik I, the first man-made object to orbit the earth, fell back into the atmosphere and disintegrated, after 92 days in space.

1960 – #1 Hit January 4, 1960 – January 17, 1960: Marty Robbins – El Paso

1964 – #1 Hit January 4, 1964 – January 31, 1964: Bobby Vinton – There! I’ve Said It Again

1965 – US President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaims his “Great Society” during his State of the Union address.

1971 – Congressional Black Caucus was founded

1975 – #1 Hit January 4, 1975 – January 17, 1975: Elton John – Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

1975 – Elizabeth Ann Seton became the first US-born saint.

1980 – The United States boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics

1986 – Phil Lynott, frontman for Brit rockers Thin Lizzy, died from heart failure from pneumonia complications.

1988 – Nick Jr. programming started on Nickelodeon

1995 – Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the US House of Representatives.

1999 – Former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura was sworn in as governor of Minnesota.

2007 – Nancy Pelosi was elected Speaker of the US House of Representatives.

Today’s Random Trivia and Shower Thoughts

When Disneyland opened in 1955, it included a lingerie store with an exhibit on the history of the bra. It was hosted by an animatronic figure called “The Wizard of Bras”

Sometimes I wonder if my life is in shambles because of all the chain letters that I never forwarded to ten of my closest friends.

In the year 774, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded a “red crucifix” in the sky. Tree rings dated from that year all over the world show a spike in Carbon-14 levels. It is believed that the event was caused by a very strong solar flare, perhaps the strongest ever known.

China owns every panda in the world.

“Could you describe the ruckus, sir?” – Brian Johnson in The Breakfast Club #moviequotes

“Oh yeah. Lots of girls. Mick Jagger and I had a running tally going. Last I checked I was way ahead.” – Stan Lee #moviequotes

The housefly hums in the middle octave key of F.

Fraudulently using the 4-H club logo or name is a federal crime punishable by up to 6 months in prison.

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues #1 – Temperance.
Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

“I repeat: this is not a drill. This is the Apocalypse. Please exit the hospital in an orderly fashion.” #moviequotes

Mickey Mouse has two nephews named Morty and Ferdie Fieldmouse.

A group of Keys is called a ring.

There are three ways to get something done: do it yourself, hire someone, or forbid your kids to do it.

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