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35 Things Turning 35 in 2016

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If you were born in 1981, you're in good company. Here are 35 people, things, inventions, movies, and other great stuff turning 35 this year!

1. MTV (MUSIC TELEVISION)

On August 1, MTV premiered with the words: "Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll." Along with NASA stock footage, MTV proceeded to show "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles. Less-known are the next videos they played: "You Better Run" by Pat Benatar, "She Won't Dance With Me" by Rod Stewart, and "You Better You Bet" by The Who.

2. THE FIRST WOMAN ON THE SUPREME COURT

Until September 25, 1981, the Supreme Court of the United States had been occupied only by men. Fulfilling a campaign promisePresident Reagan appointed Sandra Day O'Connor and the Senate confirmed her appointment in a 99-0 vote, making her the first woman on the court.

3. THE IBM PC

On August 12, IBM released its first personal computer (the 5150 PC), featuring a 4.77 MHz Intel 8088 processor. It cost only $1565 for a basic configuration including "a system unit, a keyboard and a color/graphics capability." It was designed so you could use your TV as the display. If you wanted a monitor, a printer, a second floppy drive, or extra RAM, you had to pay extra.

4. MS-DOS/PC DOS

Along with the first IBM PC came a little operating system called PC DOS from Microsoft. It would go on to power PCs around the world, under the name MS-DOS. (When IBM's PC was cloned, MS-DOS took off.) The first version did not support hard drives and lacked support for subdirectories. These days, you can download early MS-DOS source code from the Computer History Museum.

5. THE SPACE SHUTTLE

On April 12, the Space Shuttle Columbia launched on the STS-1 mission, with just a two-person crew (commander John Young and pilot Bob Crippen) to test the system in orbit and its launching and landing procedures. It returned two days later, marking the first time a reusable crewed spacecraft returned from orbit.

6. "PAC-MAN FEVER"

The song "Pac-Man Fever" was released in December 1981, as U.S. gamers plunked endless quarters into Pac-Man cabinets (which had been released the year prior) and Buckner & Garcia documented the craze. In 1982, Ms. Pac-Man was released and the songwriting duo released a full-length album of songs devoted to games, including Frogger, Centipede, Donkey Kong, Asteroids, and Defender.

7. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK

On June 12, Raiders of the Lost Ark hit theaters, and Indiana Jones stunned us all with his quick wit, historical prowess, and handsome hat. In addition to being the top-grossing film of the year, Raiders won five Oscars and started a franchise that is still going today.

Some other notable movie releases from 1981:

Arthur
Clash of the Titans
Escape from New York
For Your Eyes Only
History of the World: Part I
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
My Dinner With Andre
Stripes
Superman II
Time Bandits

8. THE OAKLAND RAIDERS' WILDCARD SUPER BOWL WIN

Super Bowl XV was important not just for its cool Roman numeral; it was a storybook game in which the Oakland Raiders reached the game via a wild card and beat the Philadelphia Eagles, despite having lost to them earlier in the season. The Raiders became the first team to win the Super Bowl on a wild card. Adding to the media fervor, the game was played just five days after the Iran hostage crisis ended.

For more on the game, check out this NFL video.

9. SIMON & GARFUNKEL'S CONCERT IN CENTRAL PARK

On September 19, Simon & Garfunkel reunited for a landmark performance in Central Park.

The concert was free—the plan was to use TV and home video royalties from the performance to renovate Central Park itself, which was in bad shape at the time. New York mayor Ed Koch only came around to the idea of the concert after proposing that the park simply be closed. After playing "Homeward Bound," Simon ironically thanked Koch, garnering boos from the crowd and a smirk from Garfunkel. It became clear that Simon was joking when he proceeded to thank the guys selling "loose joints," suggesting that half of their proceeds would go to the park that night.

10. BEYONCÉ KNOWLES

On September 4, Beyoncé Knowles was born in Houston, Texas. She went on to become the lead singer in Destiny's Child. In 2003, when Destiny’s Child was on hiatus, she decided to release Dangerously in Love, which debuted at number one and established her as a successful solo artist.

Other members of Destiny's Child born that year: Kelly Rowland, on February 11; and LaTavia Roberson, on November 1.

11. ELI MANNING, ROGER FEDERER, AND SERENA WILLIAMS

On January 3, American football player Eli Manning entered the world. On August 8, Roger Federer, Swiss tennis star, joined him. On September 26, Serena Williams came along, and quickly set about winning tennis titles. (Her sister Venus was born on June 17, 1980.)

12. THE SCANNING TUNNELING MICROSCOPE

In 1981, the Scanning Tunneling Microscope, an instrument capable of showing surfaces at the atomic level, was invented by Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer. The duo received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986 for their invention. (They shared that prize with Ernst Ruska, who invented the first electron microscope.)

13. ASPARTAME SWEETENER APPROVED BY FDA

Although aspartame was first synthesized in the mid-1960s, it wasn't approved by the FDA as an artificial sweetener until 1981. Sold under the brand name NutraSweet, aspartame quickly found its way into many products, most notably diet soft drinks. If you're curious about the history of the sweetener, Wikipedia has a suitably epic entry on it.

14. LADY DIANA AND PRINCE CHARLES'S WEDDING

On July 29, 750 million people around the world watched the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer. Billed as the "Wedding of the Century," it was enormous, so much so that there's an entire Wikipedia article on the guest list alone.

15. THE EVIL DEAD

On October 15, Sam Raimi's cult horror masterpiece The Evil Dead was released on an unsuspecting public. Shot on a shoestring budget in Tennessee, the film carried an X rating for its extreme violence. Author Stephen King loved it, and the film become a sleeper hit at the box office, earning millions and leading to the campy sequels Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness.

16. THE REAGAN PRESIDENCY

Starting January 20, 1981 and running through January 20, 1989, Ronald Reagan's presidency shaped the United States throughout the 1980s. As 40th president, Reagan was almost immediately subject to an assassination attempt: On March 30, 1981, Reagan and three others were shot and wounded. (The most severely wounded person was White House Press Secretary James Brady, who went on to champion gun control legislation.) Reagan recovered, and went on to spend the decade increasing defense spending and telling Mikhail Gorbachev to "Tear down this wall!" (The Berlin Wall fell in late 1989.)

17. CHARIOTS OF FIRE

On March 30, the film Chariots of Fire had its world premiere and would soon become a hit. Winning Oscars for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Music, and Best Costume Design, the film tells the story of two athletes in the 1924 Olympics. It's also extremely notable for its epic theme by Vangelis.

In Roger Ebert's four-star review of the film, he wrote:

“'Chariots of Fire' is one of the best films of recent years, a memory of a time when men still believed you could win a race if only you wanted to badly enough."

18. THE LONDON MARATHON

On March 29, the first London Marathon was run. Despite it being a rainy day, over 6000 people finished the run at Constitution Hill, after running along the River Thames. (Today more than 30,000 run each year.) In the 35 years since it started, countless world records have been set during the London Marathon, including fastest marathon by someone dressed as a superhero (2:30:12 for Spider-man) and fastest marathon while dribbling two basketballs (4:10:44). And a competitor this year is hoping to get the record for fastest marathon carrying a household appliance (a 50 pound tumble dryer, and he needs to get under five hours for the record).

19. FIRST OFFICIAL REPORT OF AIDS

Although it didn't have an official name yet, the first clinical observation of AIDS occurred in the United States in 1981. Doctors found a set of cases of gay men who developed a rare form of pneumonia, indicating that the patients had a compromised immune system. Shortly after, a similar cluster of the rare cancer Kaposi's Sarcoma appeared, confirming that something was very wrong. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control assembled a task force to monitor the outbreak, which developed the name "AIDS" in late 1982.

20. DAS BOOT

What's the best German-language submarine movie? Das Boot, of course. The story of a U-Boat crew during World War II, it's extremely long and at times painfully claustrophobic, as we spend time underwater, reading English subtitles, and hoping nothing bad will happen. (Everything bad happens.)

21. THE FIRST AMERICAN TEST TUBE BABY

Born December 28, Elizabeth Jordan Carr was like any other American baby—except she was America's first in-vitro fertilization ("test tube") baby. The birth in Norfolk, Virginia spawned tons of media coverage, and when Carr got married, part of the reason she changed her name to Comeau was to avoid the spotlight. She gave birth to her first child in 2010.

(Note: Comeau was the first American IVF baby. Louise Brown was the world's first, born in Britain in 1978.)

22. DONKEY KONG

On July 9, Nintendo released Donkey Kong, an early platformer in which Mario attempts to rescue Pauline, who has been kidnapped by the giant ape Donkey Kong. The game was a hit, in part because it featured different action on its four stages (then considered an innovation), along with occasional animated cutscenes. At a time when arcade games were dominated by mazes and shooting, Donkey Kong was a refreshing change. (Running, jumping, climbing, and smashing were the main things Mario could do.)

23. THE ROLLING STONES' TATTOO YOU TOUR

On September 25 in Philadelphia, the Rolling Stones started a 50-date American tour supporting their album Tattoo You. That concert featured openers Journey (who had just released their album Escape featuring "Don't Stop Believin'") as well as George Thorogood and the Destroyers, and the tour went on to set records for ticket sales and audience sizes, despite some organizational problems with the tour itself. (When it began, the tour's dates weren't all figured out—but it hardly mattered.) In 1982, a series of live performances from that tour were released as the concert album Still Life.

24. METALLICA

On October 28, Metallica formed in Los Angeles. Drummer Lars Ulrich posted an ad looking for musicians, and guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield responded. They added Ron McGovney on bass and Dave Mustaine on lead guitar. By 1983, a revamped lineup featuring Cliff Burton on bass and Kirk Hammett on lead guitar released Kill 'Em All, and the rest is heavy metal history.

Other notable metal bands founded in 1981: Anthrax and Mötley Crüe.

25. PHIL COLLINS' SOLO CAREER

Until 1981, Phil Collins was mostly known as the drummer for Genesis. On February 13, he released the album Face Value featuring the single "In the Air Tonight," and immediately broke through as a solo act (though he would perform with Genesis in various forms through the mid-1990s and again for a tour in 2007).

26. BEASTIE BOYS

The first Beastie Boys concert happened in 1981, at MCA's 17th birthday party. Although ADROCK hadn't joined the band yet, the initial lineup of the band did include MCA and Mike D, plus the drummer and guitarist from Young Aborigines (one of whom would go on to join Luscious Jackson).

The band's first EP in 1982 included a song called "Beastie Boys." Mike D later said the "BEASTIE" was an acronym: "Boys Entering Anarchistic States Towards Internal Excellence." Sounds like a backronym to us. The band shifted from hardcore music to incorporate hip-hop after ADROCK joined the group in 1983, and the rest is music history.

27. "COMPUTER LOVE" BY KRAFTWERK

German electronic band Kraftwerk released "Computer Love" (in German, "Computerliebe") in July. Part of the album Computer World, "Computer Love" went on to top the UK Singles chart, and remains an extremely dated (albeit wonderful) reminder of what the band was up to in the early 1980s. (Note: Kraftwerk formed way back in 1970, and would go on to become famous not just for their music but for their intense seclusion.)

28. THE LONGEST PRO BASEBALL GAME IN HISTORY

On April 18, a Minor League Baseball game between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings began in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. It didn't end until June 23. The famous game ran until 4:09 a.m. on its first day, tied at 2-2 after 32 agonizing innings. On June 23, the 33rd inning started and the Pawtucket Red Sox took the game, winning 3-2. In all, the game ran for 8 hours and 25 minutes, making it the longest pro baseball game ever played.

Fun fact: Both Cal Ripken, Jr. and Wade Boggs played in the so-called "endless game."

29. PAINTBALL

Twelve people gathered to play the first game of Paintball in June. They sought to emulate the feeling of outdoor hunting and survival, but without the lethal consequences. Starting with paint pellet guns used to tag livestock, the group developed the game of paintball, then called the "National Survival Game." Manufacturers created more complex paint guns, and the first paintball tournament was held in 1983.

Who were the 12? According to The Official Survival Game Manual (1983), in addition to the main creators Bob Gurnsey, Hayes Noel, and Charles Gaines, the roster included:

"Bob Jones, a novelist, staff writer for Sports Illustrated and an experienced hunter; Ronnie Simpkins, a farmer from Alabama and a master turkey hunter; Jerome Gary, a New York film producer; Carl Sandquist, a New Hampshire contracting estimator; Ritchie White, the New Hampshire forester who had told Hayes he could cut his neck in the woods; Ken Barrett, a New York venture capitalist with lots of hunting experience; Joe Drinon, a stock-broker from New Hampshire and a former Golden Gloves boxer; Bob Carlson, a trauma surgeon from Alabama and a hunter; and myself [Lionel Atwill], a writer for Sports Afield, a hunter and a Vietnam vet, who had had the unpleasurable experience of leading reconnaissance missions in Vietnam in 1968, a decidedly poor year."

By October, the sport had been written up in Sports Illustrated, and by May of the following year, it was featured in TIME magazine.

30. RIC FLAIR'S FIRST WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIP

On September 17, "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair defeated Dusty Rhodes in Kansas City, taking his first world title. Their feud continued throughout the decade.

31. MUHAMMAD ALI'S LAST FIGHT

On December 11, Muhammad Ali lost to Trevor Berbick in the Drama in Bahama fight. This was Ali's last fight, marking the end of a 21-year career.

32. OZZY OSBOURNE'S DOVE-BITING INCIDENT

Ozzy Osbourne went off the rails just a bit in 1981. At a meeting with Columbia Records executives, Osbourne's future wife Sharon had three doves handy, hoping to release them as a stunt. Instead, Ozzy picked one up and bit its head off. Then he did it again with a second, letting blood drip from his mouth. A year later, Osbourne bit the head off a bat, though it was dead at the time, and he claimed he thought it was a rubber toy. He did go for rabies shots afterward.

33. BRITNEY SPEARS, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, PITBULL, MORE MUSICIANS

1981 was a surprisingly big year for musicians. Here are some notable additions (see also: the entry above on Beyoncé Knowles and her Destiny's Child bandmates):

January 5: Deadmau5 (Joel Zimmerman)
January 15: Pitbull
January 25: Alicia Keys
January 31: Justin Timberlake
February 27: Josh Groban
June 21: Brandon Flowers (lead singer for The Killers)
September 12: Jennifer Hudson
December 2: Britney Spears

34. ELIJAH WOOD, JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT, CHRIS EVANS, AMY SCHUMER ...

Actors galore born in 1981:

January 28: Elijah Wood
February 17: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
March 2: Bryce Dallas Howard
March 28: Julia Stiles
April 10: Michael Pitt
April 28: Jessica Alba
June 1: Amy Schumer
June 9: Natalie Portman
June 13: Chris Evans
September 8: Jonathan Taylor Thomas
October 1: Rupert Friend
December 27: Emilie de Ravin

35. THE DELOREAN DMC-12

Although John DeLorean had been making prototypes of his signature stainless steel gull-wing car for years, the first factory-assembled DeLorean DMC-12 was produced on January 21 in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland. Despite its model number, it was the first and only model produced by the company, and only about 9000 cars were made before production stopped in 1982. In 1985, Back to the Future made the DMC-12 a legend.

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15 Heartwarming Facts About Mister Rogers
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Though Mister Rogers' Neighborhood premiered 50 years ago, Fred Rogers remains an icon of kindness for the ages. An innovator of children’s television, his salt-of-the-earth demeanor and genuinely gentle nature taught a generation of kids the value of kindness. In celebration of the groundbreaking children's series' 50th anniversary, here are 15 things you might not have known about everyone’s favorite “neighbor.”

1. HE WAS BULLIED AS A CHILD.

According to Benjamin Wagner, who directed the 2010 documentary Mister Rogers & Me—and was, in fact, Rogers’s neighbor on Nantucket—Rogers was overweight and shy as a child, and often taunted by his classmates when he walked home from school. “I used to cry to myself when I was alone,” Rogers said. “And I would cry through my fingers and make up songs on the piano.” It was this experience that led Rogers to want to look below the surface of everyone he met to what he called the “essential invisible” within them.

2. HE WAS AN ORDAINED MINISTER.

Rogers was an ordained minister and, as such, a man of tremendous faith who preached tolerance wherever he went. When Amy Melder, a six-year-old Christian viewer, sent Rogers a drawing she made for him with a letter that promised “he was going to heaven,” Rogers wrote back to his young fan:

“You told me that you have accepted Jesus as your Savior. It means a lot to me to know that. And, I appreciated the scripture verse that you sent. I am an ordained Presbyterian minister, and I want you to know that Jesus is important to me, too. I hope that God’s love and peace come through my work on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

3. HE RESPONDED TO ALL HIS FAN MAIL.

Responding to fan mail was part of Rogers’s very regimented daily routine, which began at 5 a.m. with a prayer and included time for studying, writing, making phone calls, swimming, weighing himself, and responding to every fan who had taken the time to reach out to him.

“He respected the kids who wrote [those letters],” Heather Arnet, an assistant on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2005. “He never thought about throwing out a drawing or letter. They were sacred."

According to Arnet, the fan mail he received wasn’t just a bunch of young kids gushing to their idol. Kids would tell Rogers about a pet or family member who died, or other issues with which they were grappling. “No child ever received a form letter from Mister Rogers," Arnet said, noting that he received between 50 and 100 letters per day.

4. ANIMALS LOVED HIM AS MUCH AS PEOPLE DID.

It wasn’t just kids and their parents who loved Mister Rogers. Koko, the Stanford-educated gorilla who understands 2000 English words and can also converse in American Sign Language, was an avid Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood watcher, too. When Rogers visited her, she immediately gave him a hug—and took his shoes off.

5. HE WAS AN ACCOMPLISHED MUSICIAN.

Though Rogers began his education in the Ivy League, at Dartmouth, he transferred to Rollins College following his freshman year in order to pursue a degree in music (he graduated Magna cum laude). In addition to being a talented piano player, he was also a wonderful songwriter and wrote all the songs for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood—plus hundreds more.

6. HIS INTEREST IN TELEVISION WAS BORN OUT OF A DISDAIN FOR THE MEDIUM.

Rogers’s decision to enter into the television world wasn’t out of a passion for the medium—far from it. "When I first saw children's television, I thought it was perfectly horrible," Rogers told Pittsburgh Magazine. "And I thought there was some way of using this fabulous medium to be of nurture to those who would watch and listen."

7. KIDS WHO WATCHED MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD RETAINED MORE THAN THOSE WHO WATCHED SESAME STREET.

A Yale study pitted fans of Sesame Street against Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood watchers and found that kids who watched Mister Rogers tended to remember more of the story lines, and had a much higher “tolerance of delay,” meaning they were more patient.

8. ROGERS’S MOM KNIT ALL OF HIS SWEATERS.

If watching an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood gives you sweater envy, we’ve got bad news: You’d never be able to find his sweaters in a store. All of those comfy-looking cardigans were knitted by Fred’s mom, Nancy. In an interview with the Archive of American Television, Rogers explained how his mother would knit sweaters for all of her loved ones every year as Christmas gifts. “And so until she died, those zippered sweaters I wear on the Neighborhood were all made by my mother,” he explained.

9. HE WAS COLORBLIND.

Those brightly colored sweaters were a trademark of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, but the colorblind host might not have always noticed. In a 2003 article, just a few days after his passing, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote that:

Among the forgotten details about Fred Rogers is that he was so colorblind he could not distinguish between tomato soup and pea soup.

He liked both, but at lunch one day 50 years ago, he asked his television partner Josie Carey to taste it for him and tell him which it was.

Why did he need her to do this, Carey asked him. Rogers liked both, so why not just dip in?

"If it's tomato soup, I'll put sugar in it," he told her.

10. HE WORE SNEAKERS AS A PRODUCTION CONSIDERATION.

According to Wagner, Rogers’s decision to change into sneakers for each episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was about production, not comfort. “His trademark sneakers were born when he found them to be quieter than his dress shoes as he moved about the set,” wrote Wagner.

11. MICHAEL KEATON GOT HIS START ON THE SHOW.

Oscar-nominated actor Michael Keaton's first job was as a stagehand on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, manning Picture, Picture, and appearing as Purple Panda.

12. ROGERS GAVE GEORGE ROMERO HIS FIRST PAYING GIG, TOO.

It's hard to imagine a gentle, soft-spoken, children's education advocate like Rogers sitting down to enjoy a gory, violent zombie movie like Dawn of the Dead, but it actually aligns perfectly with Rogers's brand of thoughtfulness. He checked out the horror flick to show his support for then-up-and-coming filmmaker George Romero, whose first paying job was with everyone's favorite neighbor.

“Fred was the first guy who trusted me enough to hire me to actually shoot film,” Romero said. As a young man just out of college, Romero honed his filmmaking skills making a series of short segments for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, creating a dozen or so titles such as “How Lightbulbs Are Made” and “Mr. Rogers Gets a Tonsillectomy.” The zombie king, who passed away in 2017, considered the latter his first big production, shot in a working hospital: “I still joke that 'Mr. Rogers Gets a Tonsillectomy' is the scariest film I’ve ever made. What I really mean is that I was scared sh*tless while I was trying to pull it off.”

13. ROGERS HELPED SAVE PUBLIC TELEVISION.

In 1969, Rogers—who was relatively unknown at the time—went before the Senate to plead for a $20 million grant for public broadcasting, which had been proposed by President Johnson but was in danger of being sliced in half by Richard Nixon. His passionate plea about how television had the potential to turn kids into productive citizens worked; instead of cutting the budget, funding for public TV increased from $9 million to $22 million.

14. HE ALSO SAVED THE VCR.

Years later, Rogers also managed to convince the Supreme Court that using VCRs to record TV shows at home shouldn’t be considered a form of copyright infringement (which was the argument of some in this contentious debate). Rogers argued that recording a program like his allowed working parents to sit down with their children and watch shows as a family. Again, he was convincing.

15. ONE OF HIS SWEATERS WAS DONATED TO THE SMITHSONIAN.

In 1984, Rogers donated one of his iconic sweaters to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

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5 Things You Might Not Know About Ansel Adams

You probably know Ansel Adams—who was born on February 20, 1902—as the man who helped promote the National Park Service through his magnificent photographs. But there was a lot more to the shutterbug than his iconic, black-and-white vistas. Here are five lesser-known facts about the celebrated photographer.

1. AN EARTHQUAKE LED TO HIS DISTINCTIVE NOSE.

Adams was a four-year-old tot when the 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck his hometown. Although the boy managed to escape injury during the quake itself, an aftershock threw him face-first into a garden wall, breaking his nose. According to a 1979 interview with TIME, Adams said that doctors told his parents that it would be best to fix the nose when the boy matured. He joked, "But of course I never did mature, so I still have the nose." The nose became Adams' most striking physical feature. His buddy Cedric Wright liked to refer to Adams' honker as his "earthquake nose.

2. HE ALMOST BECAME A PIANIST.

Adams was an energetic, inattentive student, and that trait coupled with a possible case of dyslexia earned him the heave-ho from private schools. It was clear, however, that he was a sharp boy—when motivated.

When Adams was just 12 years old, he taught himself to play the piano and read music, and he quickly showed a great aptitude for it. For nearly a dozen years, Adams focused intensely on his piano training. He was still playful—he would end performances by jumping up and sitting on his piano—but he took his musical education seriously. Adams ultimately devoted over a decade to his study, but he eventually came to the realization that his hands simply weren't big enough for him to become a professional concert pianist. He decided to leave the keys for the camera after meeting photographer Paul Strand, much to his family's dismay.

3. HE HELPED CREATE A NATIONAL PARK.

If you've ever enjoyed Kings Canyon National Park in California, tip your cap to Adams. In the 1930s Adams took a series of photographs that eventually became the book Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail. When Adams sent a copy to Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, the cabinet member showed it to Franklin Roosevelt. The photographs so delighted FDR that he wouldn't give the book back to Ickes. Adams sent Ickes a replacement copy, and FDR kept his with him in the White House.

After a few years, Ickes, Adams, and the Sierra Club successfully convinced Roosevelt to make Kings Canyon a national park in 1940. Roosevelt's designation specifically provided that the park be left totally undeveloped and roadless, so the only way FDR himself would ever experience it was through Adams' lenses.

4. HE WELCOMED COMMERCIAL ASSIGNMENTS.

While many of his contemporary fine art photographers shunned commercial assignments as crass or materialistic, Adams went out of his way to find paying gigs. If a company needed a camera for hire, Adams would generally show up, and as a result, he had some unlikely clients. According to The Ansel Adams Gallery, he snapped shots for everyone from IBM to AT&T to women's colleges to a dried fruit company. All of this commercial print work dismayed Adams's mentor Alfred Stieglitz and even worried Adams when he couldn't find time to work on his own projects. It did, however, keep the lights on.

5. HE AND GEORGIA O'KEEFFE WERE FRIENDS.

Adams and legendary painter O'Keeffe were pals and occasional traveling buddies who found common ground despite their very different artistic approaches. They met through their mutual friend/mentor Stieglitz—who eventually became O'Keeffe's husband—and became friends who traveled throughout the Southwest together during the 1930s. O'Keeffe would paint while Adams took photographs.

These journeys together led to some of the artists' best-known work, like Adams' portrait of O'Keeffe and a wrangler named Orville Cox, and while both artists revered nature and the American Southwest, Adams considered O'Keeffe the master when it came to capturing the area. 

“The Southwest is O’Keeffe’s land,” he wrote. “No one else has extracted from it such a style and color, or has revealed the essential forms so beautifully as she has in her paintings.”

The two remained close throughout their lives. Adams would visit O'Keeffe's ranch, and the two wrote to each other until Adams' death in 1984.

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