Did You Know? The cartoonist best know for creating Popeye is from IllinoisElzie Crisler Segar, known as E.C. Segar, was a cartoonist best known for creating Popeye. He was born Dec. 8, 1894, in Chester. Segar began working with his father painting houses and hanging paper before taking his musical talents to the local theater. This opened up a path for him to the Chester Opera House, where he worked as a film projectionist and did live performances.
After taking a class in cartooning, Segar dedicated his time to becoming a cartoonist and eventually moved to Chicago, where he published his first comic in the Chicago Herald in March 1916. His career in Chicago was short-lived as he moved to New York in 1919 to work for the New York Journal. He first featured Popeye in a 1929 Thimble Theatre comic strip, and the character immediately caught on with readers.

Segar passed away in 1938, but the fame of his comics lived on as Popeye comics were routinely reprinted, and in 1971 the National Cartoonists Society created the Elzie Segar award in his honor. In 1977, Chester named a park in Segar’s honor and erected a bronze statue of Popeye in the park, which is now the meeting place for the annual Popeye Picnic. A Popeye movie was created in 1980, and in 2006 all of Segar’s Thimble Theatre comics that featured Popeye were published in a six-volume book by a comic book publishing company.

Learn more
Popeye Website
Popeye Picnic Website
E.C. Segar Bio

Did you know? Jazz musician Lonnie Plaxico is from IllinoisPlaxico was born in Chicago and knew he loved music. He decided to teach himself to play the electric bass. By the time Plaxico was 14, he was a professional electric and acoustic bass player and had performed next to other prominent jazz figures.

He has produced Grammy-winning collaborations with Art Blakey and Cassandra Wilson and has recorded five albums.

Learn more:
Read Lonnie Plaxico's biography.
View a list of albums.

Did you know? The first LED was invented in IllinoisThe high-tech light-emitting diodes (LED) used in TVs, computer screens and billboards were invented in Illinois by Nick Holonyak, Jr.

Born in Zeigler in 1928, Holonyak received his undergraduate degree, masters degree, and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. He was the first Ph.D. student of John Bardeen, the only person to have won the Nobel Prize in Physics twice. With the guidance of his mentor and consistent hard work, Holonyak created many useful inventions during his career.

Holonyak was noted for his work on light-emitting diodes and has been referred as "the father of the LED." He invented the first visible-spectrum LED in 1962 while working as a consulting scientist at General Electric. LEDs have many advantages over incandescent light sources, including lower energy consumption, longer lifetimes and smaller size.

Light-emitting diodes are now used in applications as diverse as aviation lighting, car headlights, advertising, general lighting, traffic signals and camera flashes. The inventor of LEDs made our world brighter and more colorful.

Learn more:
Want to know how light-emitting diodes work?  Read this article from HowStuffWorks.com.
Here is an interesting article about LED’s inventor, Nick Holonyak.

JoanHigginbothamDYK2And not only is she a native of Chicago, but she is also a graduate of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, class of 1987. Shortly after graduating with her Bachelor of Science degree that year, she began an extraordinary 10-year career with NASA.

Ms. Higgingbotham retired from NASA in 1996 after she took part in STS-116 on the Space Shuttle Discovery, during which time she spent 12 days, 20 hours and 45 minutes in space.

Learn more:
Want to learn more about Joan Higginbotham?
Watch and listen to Joan talk about her NASA career in her own words.

Did You Know? Cracker Jack was invented in IllinoisYou’ve heard the song. “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack…” is one of the most memorable line’s of baseball’s unofficial anthem.

You’ve probably tried the salty, sweet snack. But did you know it was invented in Illinois?

Cracker Jack, invented by Lewis and F.W. Rueckheim, is another of the many famous products that debuted at Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair.

The legend goes the product – made of peanuts, molasses and popcorn – got its name when a salesman tried it and shouted, “That’s cracker jack!”

By 1907, sports enthusiasts at Major League ballparks throughout the nation were munching on the popular snack. In 1908, it featured prominently in “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

Learn more:
The official Cracker Jack page on Frito-Lay’s website
The history of Cracker Jack
Listen to the tune and read the lyrics of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”