STRANGE BUT TRUE


First Posted: 4/1/2012

By Samantha Weaver

• It was American humorist Evan Esar who defined a zoo as “an excellent place to study the habits of human beings.”

• The New York Times Best Seller list was first published on April 9, 1942. Since that time, only eight authors have managed to have books place No. 1 on both the fiction and nonfiction lists. Those who have accomplished that feat include Ernest Hemingway, Jimmy Buffett, William Styron, Dr. Seuss and John Steinbeck.

• If you’re planning a trip to New Orleans, you might want to keep in mind the following law: It’s illegal in that city to curse a firefighter while he or she is engaged in official duties.

• America’s first vending machines were found in New York City train stations; they dispensed gum.

• The European sturgeon (also known as the beluga sturgeon) is the source of the highly coveted beluga caviar, which is the world’s most expensive, bringing up to $5,000 per pound. This sturgeon can live more than 100 years and is the largest freshwater fish in the world; the record holder, caught in 1827, was 24 feet long and weighed 3,460 pounds.

• In a 1982 issue of the magazine American Film, a writer named Chuck Ross claimed that he retyped the screenplay to the 1942 film “Casablanca,” changing only the title and one of the character’s names, and submitted it to 217 agencies. Of the 85 who responded, only eight recognized it as “Casablanca,” though it seemed familiar to another 25. Three of the agencies thought it might be commercially viable, while one thought it should be turned into a novel. The Oscar-wining screenplay was rejected outright by 38 of the agencies.

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