Random trivia from perusing

Published 1:38 am Saturday, November 24, 2012

As I mentioned in last week’s column, during a visit with my son, I spent several hours perusing bookshelves scattered throughout his house. I couldn’t resist pulling out certain books for a quick looks or to put aside for later. Despite spending a good deal of time misdirected by a GPS heading for shopping excursions at a near-by city with a friend, I finally found time to pick up a few of those books I had pushed back.

I noted a lot of facts about various subjects that I thought readers might enjoy. I was intrigued by the information I ran across about the Monument of Chief Crazy Horse way out on Thunderhead Mountain in South Dakota. It was listed as number one in the 10 tallest monuments in the world. Requested of sculptor Korzak Ziolkowski by Lakota Indian Chiefs, he started work on it in 1947 and as I understand it is still a work in progress. Ziolkowski died in 1982 and the work is continuing through his widow and some of his children. The dimensions are 364 ft. high and 641 ft. long. I viewed a fascinating video on my iPad of the sculptor describing some of his early preparation work for this awesome monument.

My attention turned to the entertainment world where I found that a favorite all-time child actress, Shirley Temple, won an Oscar special award in 1934 when she was 6 years old. And the next year an Oscar special award went to another wonderful child actress, 8-year-old Margaret O’Brien. There were two stars who walked away with Oscars at age 80—Jessica Tandy for “Driving Miss Daisy” in 1989 and George Burns for the best supporting actor in “The Sunshine Boys” in 1975.

Did you know that over half a million copies of the sound track album of “The Sound of Music,” the Academy Award winner for the best picture of 1965, were sold in two weeks?

Did you know “E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial,” was among the top 10 movies of all time in the United Kingdom, grossing millions in British pounds?

Did you know that Alabama-born actress Tallulah Bankhead was one of the first guests on the Johnny Carson television show? And that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to appear on television when he opened the World’s Fair in April 1939?

Ever wonder how long television commercials have been around? Here’s the answer. On July 1, 1941, the first one made an appearance advertising a Bulova clock.

About books: would you believe that out of the 10 top best non-fiction book sales reported in 1997, Dr. Benjamin Spock’s “The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care” held seventh place? It probably isn’t a surprise that “The Holy Bible” is the best selling book of all time.

Alabama’s own Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mocking Bird” ranks among the world’s best-selling fiction, along with Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind” and Richard Bach’s “Jonathan Livingston Seagull.”