The Sunday Mail
Gather around the grill and toast Dad for Father’s Day — the national holiday so awesome that we have celebrated it for more than a century. Here are 15 Dad facts you can wow him with today.
- Halsey Taylor invented the drinking fountain in 1912 as a tribute to his father, who succumbed to typhoid fever after drinking from a contaminated public water supply in 1896.
- George Washington, the celebrated father of our country, had no children of his own. A 2004 study suggested that a type of tuberculosis that Washington contracted in childhood may have rendered him sterile. He did adopt the two children from Martha Custis’s first marriage.
- In Thailand, the king’s birthday also serves as National Father’s Day. The celebration includes fireworks, speeches, and acts of charity and honour — the most distinct being the donation of blood and the liberation of captive animals.
- In 1950, after a Washington Post music critic gave Harry Truman’s daughter Margaret’s concert a negative review, the president came out swinging: “Some day I hope to meet you,” he wrote. “When that happens you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!”
- A.A. Milne created Winnie the Pooh for his son, Christopher Robin. Pooh was based on Robin’s teddy bear, Edward, a gift Christopher had received for his first birthday, and on their father/son visits to the London Zoo, where the bear named Winnie was Christopher’s favourite. Pooh comes from the name of Christopher’s pet swan.
- Kurt Vonnegut was (for a short time) Geraldo Rivera’s father-in-law. Rivera’s marriage to Edith Vonnegut ended in 1974 because of his womanising. Her ever-protective father was quoted as saying, “If I see Gerry again, I’ll spit in his face.”
He also included an unflattering character named Jerry Rivers (a chauffeur) in a few of his books.
- Andre Agassi’s father represented Iran in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics as a boxer.
- Charlemagne, the 8th-century king of the Franks, united much of Western Europe through military campaigns and has been called the “king and father of Europe”. Charlemagne was also a devoted dad to about 18 children, and today, most Europeans may be able to claim Charlemagne as their ancestor.
- The voice of Papa Smurf, Don Messick, also provided the voice of Scooby-Doo, Ranger Smith on Yogi Bear, and Astro and RUDI on The Jetsons.
- In 2001, Yuri Usachev, cosmonaut and commander of the International Space Station, received a talking picture frame from his 12-year-old daughter while in orbit. The gift was made possible by RadioShack, which filmed the presentation of the gift for a TV commercial.
- The only father-daughter collaboration to hit the top spot on the Billboard pop music chart was the 1967 hit single “Something Stupid” by Frank and Nancy Sinatra.
- In the underwater world of the seahorse, it’s the male that gets to carry the eggs and birth the babies.
- If show creator/producer Sherwood Schwartz had gotten his way, Gene Hackman would have portrayed the role of father Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch.
- The Stevie Wonder song “Isn’t She Lovely” is about his newborn daughter, Aisha.
If you listen closely, you can hear Aisha crying during the song.
- Dick Hoyt has pushed and pulled his son Rick, who has cerebral palsy, through hundreds of marathons and triathlons. Rick cannot speak, but using a custom-designed computer he has been able to communicate.
They ran their first race together when Rick was in high school. When they were done, Rick sent his father this message: “Dad, when we were running, it felt like I wasn’t disabled anymore!” — www.mentalfloss.com