May 21 in Pop Culture History

May 21 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

May 21 History Highlights

  • 1881 – The American Red Cross was established by Clara Barton in Washington, DC.
  • 1972Michelangelo’s Pietà in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome was damaged by a mentally disturbed Hungarian, Laszlo Toth.
  • 2001 – French Taubira law officially recognized the Atlantic slave trade and slavery as crimes against humanity.
  • 2017 – Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performed their final show at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
  • If you were born on May 21st,
    You were likely conceived the week of… August 28th (prior year)

May 21 is…

Strawberries & Cream Day
Talk Like Yoda Day
International Tea Day

May 21 Birthday Quotes

“People are not like a business. You can’t buy and sell them like so much property. You can’t lock them up in a vault and expect them to appreciate it.”
– Harold Robbins

“If you don’t know what it is, don’t mess with it.”
Fats Waller

“Music makes me want to dance but I’m not sure that’s something anybody wants to observe.”
– Gotye

“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”
– Al Franken

“Jazz isn’t what you do; it’s how you do it.”
– Fats Waller

“Hemmingway was a jerk.”
– Harold Robbins

May 21 Birthdays

1904 – Fats Waller, American singer-songwriter and pianist (died in 1943)
1916 – Harold Robbins, American author and screenwriter (died in 1997)
1917 – Raymond Burr, Canadian-American actor (died in 1993)
1940 – Tony Sheridan, English singer-songwriter and guitarist (died in 2013)
1945 – Richard Hatch, American actor (died in 2017)
1951 – Al Franken, American comedic actor, screenwriter, and politician
1960 – Jeffrey Dahmer, American serial killer (died in 1994)
1980 – Gotye, Belgian-Australian singer-songwriter
1985 – Alison Carroll, English gymnast, model, and actress
1992 – Olivia Olson, American singer and actress

May 21 History

1863 – Organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Battle Creek, Michigan.

1917 – The Great Atlanta fire of 1917 caused $5.5 million in damages, destroying some 300, displacing about 10,000 people but leading to only one fatality (a heart attack).

1924 – University of Chicago students Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, Jr. murdered 14-year-old Bobby Franks in a “thrill killing”.

1955 – George B. Hansburg of Walker Valley, N.Y. was issued a patent (#2,793,036) for his invention of an improved pogo stick.

1975 – Carol Burnett was added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1977 – Broadway Show – Gemini (Play) May 21, 1977

1977 #1 Hit May 21, 1977 – June 10, 1977: Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke

1980 – Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back was released in theaters. At the time, we just called it The Empire Strikes Back.

1980 – The Coyote finally caught the Road Runner.

1980 – President Jimmy Carter declared a state of emergency at Love Canal in Niagara Falls, New York – a toxic dumping site for Hooker Chemicals and Plastics.

1983 #1 Hit May 21, 1983 – May 27, 1983: David Bowie – Let’s Dance

1992- The first episode of The Real World aired on MTV

1992- The final episode of MacGyver aired on ABC

1994 #1 Hit May 21, 1994 – August 5, 1994: All-4-One – I Swear

1999- All My Children actress Susan Lucci finally received an Emmy award for her role as Erica Kane. She had been previously nominated for a record 18 times with no win.

2005 – The tallest roller coaster in the world, Kingda Ka opened at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey.

2008 – David Cook won American Idol season seven.

2001 – Radio broadcaster/preacher Harold Camping predicted that the world would end today. It didn’t.

2011 #1 Hit May 21, 2011 – July 8, 2011: Adele – Rolling in the Deep

#1 Hit – May 21, 2016 – May 27, 2016: Drake featuring Wizkid and Kyla One Dance

#1 Hit May 21, 2022 – June 3, 2022: First ClassJack Harlow

Today’s Random Trivia and Shower Thoughts

I’d find less money on the ground if I was more confident.

Stacy is probably hotter than her mom by now.

Chaka Khan – Real Name: Yvette Marie Stevens

“Go ahead, make my day.” – Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) #moviequotes

I find myself irrationally excited when someone ask me a question and the answer is 42.

The vuvuzela (stadium horn), producing 120dB, can cause permanent hearing loss at a distance of 1 meter.

A group of Porpoises is called a Herd or Pod or School or Crowd or Shoal.

Tom Thumb – Real Name: Charles Stratton

“Mother of mercy, is this the end of Rico?” – Cesare Enrico “Rico” Bandello (Edward G. Robinson) #moviequotes

Useless Pronunciation: X as in Xerxes

“Sock it to me” (Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In)

“Only one is a wanderer; two together are always going somewhere.” – Madeleine in Vertigo #moviequotes

More Pop Culture History Resources