In this week’s facts edition: Roy Orbison’s Iconic Sunglasses, Huge Abandoned Busts of Presidents, The Greatest Temperature Change in the U.S., A Huge Fraud, and Why They’re Called Milk Duds.
Roy Orbison’s Iconic Sunglasses
American singer-songwriter Roy Orbison was known for his 1960s hits, “Only the Lonely”, “Crying”, and “Oh, Pretty Woman”, but what he might have been even better known for was the iconic sunglasses he wore all the time. He didn’t wear sunglasses because his eyes needed protection due to some particular problem, however. His iconic look all started because he left behind his regular glasses on accident.
Orbison had bad eyesight, but he didn’t wear his regular glasses when he was on tour. It wasn’t a look he was wanting to convey. He first wore his sunglasses when he was going to do a show with Patsy Cline and Bobby Vee. He accidentally left his regular glasses on the plane he had just left and only had his prescription Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses with him. Even though he was embarrassed, he still went on stage with them.
In 1963, Orbison was the opening act in England for the Beatles. He decided to go on stage with his sunglasses. After touring with the Beatles and all the pictures that came with it, his signature look was cemented into place. He continued to wear his trademark sunglasses for the rest of his career that lasted until his death in 1988 at the age of 52. Source, Source
Huge Abandoned Busts of Presidents
There is a rather odd place in a field in Croaker, Virginia, where there are 43 huge concrete busts of former presidents of the United States. The busts were once part of a 10-acre outdoor museum called Presidents Park in Williamsburg, Virginia.
The busts were the idea of David Adickes, a Houston artist, who became inspired to sculpt the heads after visiting Mount Rushmore. He found a place to house his idea when Everette Newman and a group of investors from Williamsburg agreed to fund the park. They spent $10 million to open the park and to have the sculptures built.
The park opened in 2004, but because of its rather isolated location, it was forced to close due to lack of attendance in 2010. The busts sat until 2012 when the owners contacted Howard Hankins, a local businessman. Hankins ran a concrete recycling business and was asked to recycle the sculptures. Instead of recycling them, however, Hankins asked if he could preserve them.
He was granted his request and began transporting the 43 busts that were between 15 to 20 feet tall and weighed between 15,000 and 20,000 pounds. The move cost him about $50,000, but he was able to get them all to his farm that was about 10 miles away. Hankins continues to hope that one day he might be able to find a permanent home for the presidential busts. Source, Source, Source
The Greatest Temperature Change in the U.S.
The greatest temperature drop in 24 hours in the United States took place in Browning, Montana, on January 23, 1916. The temperature started out at 44 °F (6.7 °C) and dropped to -56 °F (-48.9 °C), a drop of 100 degrees Fahrenheit within 24 hours because of an Arctic blast. This is still recognized as the greatest 24-hour drop in temperature ever recorded in the United States by the Guinness Book of World Records, but this extreme temperature drop was actually beaten in 1972, and it also occurred in Montana.
Between January 14th and 15th, 1972, a record change in temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit took place in Loma, Montana. The temperature went from -54°F (-47.8 °C) to 49°F (9.4 °C) within 24 hours. At the time it was not known that the record had been broken. It was brought to the attention of NOAA’s National Climate Extremes Committee in 2002.
One of the reasons for Montana’s extreme temperature swings is because of the Chinook winds. These warm winds can travel down the east side of the Rocky Mountains at speeds up to 100 mph. Source, Source, Source
A Huge Fraud
Between 1995 and 1998, Nigerian fraud artist Emmanuel Nwude defrauded a Brazilian man named Nelson Sakaguchi, who was the director of the Brazilian bank Banco Noroeste, of $242 million by convincing the man to invest in a non-existent airport in the country of Nigeria. Nwude’s fraud was the third-largest banking scam ever to be committed in the world.
Nwude was the former director of Union Bank of Nigeria which gave him access to specific banking documents and information. He began to impersonate the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Paul Ogwuma. He connected with Sakaguchi and told the man a fake plan about how Nigeria was planning to build an airport in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria. He also told Sakaguchi that he would get a $10 million commission after the deal went through. Sakaguchi made an illegal cash payment of $191 million with the rest remaining in the form of outstanding interest to Nwude and his accomplices.
The fraud was discovered during a 1997 board meeting when the Spanish banking group Banco Santander was looking to take over Banco Noroeste. An official from Banco Santander discovered that two-fifths of Banco Noroeste’s value and half of their capital was in the Cayman Islands.
Nwude and his accomplices were charged with 86 counts of fraud and 15 counts of bribery. Nwude eventually pled guilty and was sentenced to five concurrent sentences of five years and his assets were seized along with a $10 million fine. He was released in 2006 but was back in jail in 2016 after being arrested for 27 charges that included murder, attempted murder, and terrorist attacks. It was alleged that he was a ringleader of an attack in the town of Ukpo, Nigeria, over a land dispute. Source, Source, Source
Why They’re Called Milk Duds
Milk Duds, those chocolate covered caramels that always seem to get stuck in your teeth, were originally manufactured by F. Hoffman & Company in Chicago in 1926. The word “Milk” was used since the product had a large amount of milk, but they were called “Duds” because the manufacturing equipment was unable to make them round, which was the original idea. In 1928, candy maker Milton J. Holloway bought Hoffman and increased the popularity of Milk Duds. The Hershey Company makes Milk Duds today. Source
That’s it for another edition of the Random Facts of the Week. Check out more fun facts here.