John’s Believe It Or Not… March 15th

John standing at the front of his classroom.

It’s Wondrous Wednesday & The Ides of March! Did You Know…

* 1962 – Donald Jackson first to land a triple lutz jump in ice skating competition. (Born April 2, 1940, is a retired Canadian figure skater. He captured four Canadian titles and a bronze medal at the 1960 Winter Olympics. At the 1962 World Figure Skating Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia, he landed the first triple lutz jump in international competition and won the competition. See Jackson & Kurt Browning perform on ice in Toronto in 2016!)

Picture of Jackson in 1962 performing the jump.
Donald Jackson then…
Jackson performing in 2017.
Donald Jackson now…






* 44 BC Julius Caesar is stabbed to death by Brutus, Cassius and several other Roman senators on the Ides of March in Rome. (The Ides of March is a day on the Roman calendar that corresponds to 15 March. It was marked by several religious observances and became notorious as the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC. The death of Caesar made the Ides of March a turning point in Roman history, as one of the events that marked the transition from the historical period known as the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire. Under the Republic, Rome was governed by the Senate. As it transitioned to Empire, Rome was governed by an emperor who exercised absolute power.)

a painting of The Death of Caesar (1798) by Vincenzo Camuccini
The Death of Caesar (1798) by Vincenzo Camuccini

* 1783 Washington puts an end to the Newburgh Conspiracy. (On the morning of March 15, 1783, General George Washington makes a surprise appearance at an assembly of army officers at Newburgh, New York, to calm the growing frustration and distrust they had been openly expressing towards Congress in the previous few weeks. Angry with Congress for failing to honour its promise to pay them and for its failure to settle accounts for repayment of food and clothing, officers began circulating an anonymous letter condemning Congress and calling for a revolt. Washington removed a letter from his breast pocket that he had received from a member of the Continental Congress. He hesitated for a moment as he looked down at the letter before fumbling to retrieve a pair of spectacles from his pocket. Before reading the letter, Washington, in an almost apologetic tone said, “Gentlemen, you must pardon me. I have grown old in the service of my country and now find that I am growing blind.” The eyes of most of his audience filled with tears. The content of the letter became irrelevant as the assembled officers realised that Washington had given as much or more in the service of the new nation as any of them. Within minutes, the officers voted unanimously to express confidence in Congress and their country.)

Painting of Washington on horseback at Newburgh.
The Ides of March: George Washington and the Newburgh Conspiracy

* 1972 Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather opens. (On this day in 1972, The Godfather–a three-hour epic chronicling the lives of the Corleones, an Italian-American crime family led by the powerful Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando)–is released in theatres. Perhaps most importantly, Coppola and Puzo fought to cast Marlon Brando in the coveted role of Vito Corleone. At the time, Brando’s career had been in decline for a decade, and he had become notorious for his moody on-set behaviour, most notably during the filming of 1962’s Mutiny on the Bounty. When Paramount insisted that Brando does a screen test, the legendary actor complied because he wanted the role so badly. Reading his lines from hidden cue cards, Brando turned in a phenomenal, intuitive performance as the Godfather, winning an Academy Award for Best Actor (which he declined to accept). Combined with Coppola’s meticulous direction and memorable performances by the rest of the film’s cast, including Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall and Diane Keaton, Brando’s star turn propelled the film to record-breaking box-office success, as well as three Academy Awards, for Best Actor, Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.)Movie ad picture showing Marlon Brando as the Godfather.

* 1959 Frankie Avalon’s “Venus” hits #1. (The business minds behind American Idol are not the first to try their hand at manufacturing pop stars. In fact, the process of corporate idol-making is nearly as old as rock and roll itself. The first man-made idols were launched in the late 1950s from Philadelphia, where a handful of enterprising businessmen applied a little creativity and a lot of cold, hard cash to the task of capitalising on the rock-and-roll phenomenon. The Philadelphia teen idol machine hit full stride on March 15, 1959, when local boy Frankie Avalon hit #1 on the pop charts with his hit song, “Venus.”)Head shot of Frankie Avalon

Look who was born on this date!

Painting of Saint Nicholas.* Saint Nicholas in 270. (Christian Saint and Greek Bishop of Myra: His reputation for secret gift-giving (such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him) made him the model for Santa Claus.)




Portrait of Andrew Jackson* Andrew Jackson in 1767. (Nicknamed ‘Old Hickory’ Jackson was the son of Irish immigrants and orphaned at the age of 14. Jackson began his career as a lawyer in Tennessee, becoming a land speculator and was one of the 3 founders of the city of Memphis in 1819. As General of the Tennessee Militia, he defeated the Red Sticks at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814 and the British in The Battle of New Orleans in 1815. First nominated for the US Presidency in 1822, Jackson was elected in 1828 and served two terms. His office was marked by his dismantling of the National Bank, the Nullification Crisis and the Indian Removal Act, which forcibly moved Native Indians to Indian territories.)

Upper body picture of Hopkins.* Lightnin Hopkins in 1912. (He was an American country blues singer, songwriter, guitarist, and occasional pianist, from Centerville, Texas. Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 71 on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.)



Author: John Fioravanti

I'm a retired History teacher (35 years), husband, father of three, grandfather of three. My wife, Anne, and I became business partners in December, 2013, and launched our own publishing company, Fiora Books (, to publish my books. We have been married since 1973 and hope our joint business venture will be as successful as our marriage.

12 thoughts on “John’s Believe It Or Not… March 15th”

      1. A thought that truly gives pause and contemplation, John. I’ve read a fair amount on America’s Revolutionary War and have visited multiple battlefields. God had the right man in the right position at the right time!

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