February is American Heart Month, so it’s fitting that Valentine’s Day falls in the same month. But Cupid can cool it because there is more to February than love cards and half-priced chocolates on the 15th of the month. To learn more about February, we’ve rounded up 10 facts about the second month of the year.
Let’s go to the opera.
On February 1, 1896, Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème premiered in Turin, Italy. Based on the novel Scènes de la vie de bohème, by Henri Murger, the opera in four acts is set in 1830’s Paris. The storyline follows the relationship between Mimì and Rodolfo, their friends, and their bohemian lifestyle. Never heard of La Bohème but are wondering why it sounds familiar? The 1996 rock musical RENT was loosely based on Puccini’s opera and features a song called “La Vie Bohème” (and yes, it is stuck in my head now). Which brings us to…
“No day but today.”
American composer, lyricist, and playwright, Jonathan Larson was born February 4, 1960, in White Plains, New York. Larson used his talents to write about what he knew and shine a spotlight on social issues of the day. While he is most renowned for his rock musical RENT, Larson never got to see the production on Broadway. He passed away from an aortic dissection the night before the show’s off-Broadway premiere in 1996. Many of the original cast members reprised their roles when RENT was adapted for the screen in 2005. Some even appeared in the 2021 film adaptation of Larson’s work tick, tick…BOOM! on Netflix.
The Renaissance man.
Robert L. “Bob” Douglas was the first African American to be enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the hall of fame February 5, 1972. Douglas owned and coached the New York Renaissance, an all-black professional basketball team (est. February 13, 1923), and was known as “The Father of Black Professional Basketball.” Though the team faced constant racial discrimination, they would play any team that would schedule them, black or white, often beating them. From 1922-1949, Douglas coached the Rens to a 2,588-539 record, with a hot streak of 88 straight wins between 1932 and 1933.
Go directly to jail.
On February 7, 1935, Charles Darrow sold his version of Monopoly for the first time. Once proving it was a success, Darrow sold his patent to Parker Brothers that December. However, it has been argued that Darrow was not the game’s true creator. In 1904, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Magie, patented her Landlord’s Game. Magie’s gameboard featured railroads for sale, luxury tax, and the ever-famous words “go to jail”. The game created by Magie featured anti-monopolist and monopolist rules to be used as a teaching mechanism to show what happens when monopolies are created. Darrow’s version has one singular approach to the rules, an early version of which can be seen at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, N.Y.
You’ve practiced buying homes while playing Monopoly for years, it’s time to buy one in the real world. Tell Rich Uncle Pennybags that he can keep his Community Chest and Chance cards. With PrimeLending®, you’re sure to find a mortgage option that fits your financial needs. Talk to a local PrimeLending loan officer to find the right fit for your finances. You’ll have the same feeling you get when you pass “go” and collect $200.
She gave herself a start.
After finding success selling “Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower” around the country, Madam C.J. Walker arrived in Indianapolis, Ind., February 10, 1910. It was here Walker established the official headquarters for Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company. The company produced Walker’s line of beauty products, which would be sold by her growing number of sales agents. By August of that same year, Walker had 950 sales agents and thousands of clients. She would go on to become the first female self-made millionaire. Four generations of Walker women led the company until it closed in 1981. Though the company closed, the original building is now home to the Madam Walker Legacy Center.
For 113 years the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has been advancing justice for African Americans. The civil rights organization was founded February 12, 1909, by a group which included W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and Mary Church Terrell. The NAACP exists to ensure the equality of all people, as well as to eliminate racial hatred and discrimination. The formation of the organization was driven by a deadly race riot in 1908. By 1919, there were more than 300 local branches of the NAACP around the country. Today, the Association helps people across the country through its 2,200 chapters.
Once a planet, always a planet.
From the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz., Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto on February 18, 1930. After taking several pictures of the same section of the night sky over a period of time and comparing the pictures, Tombaugh noticed something orbiting beyond Neptune. The name Pluto was suggested based in part that the Roman god of the same name could render himself invisible. How fitting now that Pluto has been demoted from its planetary status. But it will always be a planet in my heart. (optional gif)
MGM and Oz and Garland, oh my!
Even some of the most famous movies in history had to start somewhere. On February 24, 1938, Variety magazine published an article announcing that MGM had purchased the film rights to The Wizard of Oz. The same article announced that Judy Garland would play the title role or Dorothy. The rest is movie history. Though The Wizard of Oz is one of the most beloved movies in the world now, that wasn’t always the case. The movie failed to make a profit for MGM until its re-release a decade later.
One of a kind.
It’s not every day someone wins a Grammy for disco, and no one ever will again. Gloria Gaynor won the Grammy Award for Best Disco Recording on February 27, 1980, for her song “I Will Survive.” The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences had decided to add the category in 1979, just in time for the 22nd Grammy Awards. However, with the rise in disco backlash, the category was removed before nominations for the 23rd Grammys. Gaynor, and her producers, are the only people to ever receive the honor for Best Disco Recording.
A historic Leap Day.
Every four years, we get a little extra February with Leap Day. February 29, 1940 was a day for the record books. At the 12th Oscars, Hattie McDaniel won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Gone with the Wind. She was the first African American actor to be nominated for and win an Academy Award. McDaniel’s career spanned 18 years in film, radio, and music. She also has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; one for her work in radio, the other to recognize her contributions to motion pictures. To add some mystery, the whereabouts of McDaniel’s Oscar are currently unknown. It has been said that the last time anyone saw the award was in the early 1970’s at Howard University.
All these facts will come in handy when you host your first trivia night in your new home. Okay, so trivia night isn’t mandatory, but it’s always fun to imagine how you will spend time in your new home. If you find yourself frequently picturing life as a homeowner, it might be time to talk to a housing professional. PrimeLending loan officers can help you through the mortgage process and find financing options that fit your specific needs. Talk to your local PrimeLending expert today to get started.