Every weekend Spectator Life brings you doses of topical trivia – facts, figures and anecdotes inspired by the current week’s dates in history …
In 1582, William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway obtained their marriage licence. Hathaway was pregnant when they married – their first child (Susanna) was born six months later.
Joel Coen (born 1954). The director (together with his brother Ethan) was responsible for The Big Lebowski, which contains one of the most bizarre ‘TV friendly’ re-dubs in cinema history – ‘this is what happens when you f*** a stranger in the ass’ was changed to ‘this is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps’.
Gary Lineker (born 1960). The footballer’s middle name is Winston – because he was born on Winston Churchill’s 86th birthday.
Pablo Escobar (born 1949). At the height of his success, the drug lord was making so much cash that he had to spend 2,500 dollars a month on elastic bands to go round the notes. By the mid 80s, he was making $420 million a week. By the end of the 80s he was supplying 80 per cent of the world’s cocaine.
In 1697, St Paul’s Cathedral was consecrated in London. Instead of a cross on top of the dome, Christopher Wren wanted a golden pineapple (a symbol of hospitality and welcome). But Charles II refused permission for this – so Wren snuck two pineapples through elsewhere in the design. They’re there to this day (atop the towers at the western end of the building, over the steps to the main entrance).
In 1992 the first ever text message was sent. It read ‘Merry Christmas’, and was sent by the engineer developing the technology, to a Vodafone executive who was at the company’s Christmas party. The phone on which the executive received the message weighed over 4 pounds, and did not allow him to respond. (It had been sent from the engineer’s computer.)
In 1954, the first Burger King opened. It was in Miami. In 1981, 4 year-old Sarah Michelle Gellar (who would grow up to play Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer) appeared in a TV ad for Burger King, saying she would only eat there, not at McDonald’s. As a result the rival restaurant chain banned her. ‘I wasn’t allowed to eat there,’ she says. ‘It was tough because, when you’re a little kid, McDonald’s is where all your friends have their birthday parties, so I missed out on a lot of apple pies.’