This Day in Pop Culture for October 31

Mount Rushmore

1941: Mount Rushmore Sculpture is Completed

Located in South Dakota, the mountain we now call Mount Rushmore was originally known to the Lakota Sioux as “The Six Grandfathers.” It has also gone by the names of Cougar Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, Slaughterhouse Mountain and Keystone Cliffs but was officially renamed in 1885 after New York lawyer, Charles E. Rushmore. The idea of carving into the mountain began as way to increase tourism but the project received Congressional approval with sculptor Gutzon Borglum beginning his artwork on October 4, 1927. Borglum was aided by 400 workers helping to construct the 60-foot high carvings of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln representing the first 130 years of American history. The work was completed on this day, 14 year later, in 1941. In 1996, Mount Rushmore was listed on the National Register of Historic Places but it wasn’t officially dedicated until 1991 by President George H. W. Bush. Inside a canyon behind the faces stands a vault holding sixteen porcelain enamel panels featuring the text of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. (Image: Wikimedia)

2005: Man Visits Haunted Mansion for 999th Time

Gary Estrada, who had a goal to visit the Haunted Mansion 999 times at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, finished his task on this day in 2005. Estrada began riding in January of that year and finished on Halloween in just ten months. Why 999 times? Because that is how many “happy haunts” are said to live there.

Haunted Mansion at DisneyWorld
Bethany Hamilton

2003: Bethany Hamilton is Attacked by a Shark

Very few people have ever heard of Bethany Hamilton before that fateful day on this day in 2003 when she was attacked by a shark while surfing in Hawaii. Hamilton was an aspiring surfer before her left arm was bitten off. Surprisingly, her determination allowed her to resume her surfing and become a voice of inspiration to many. Her 2004 autobiography, Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board was turned into a feature film in 2011.


  • 1912: Dale Evans (actress)
  • 1912: Ollie Johnston (animator)
  • 1931: Dan Rather (journalist)
  • 1936: Michael Landon (actor)
  • 1941: Sally Kirkland (actress)
  • 1942: David Ogden Stiers (actor)
  • 1947: Deidre Hall (actress)

  • 1950: Jane Pauley (journalist)
  • 1961: Peter Jackson (film director)
  • 1963: Rob Schneider (comedian)
  • 1967: Vanilla Ice (rapper)
  • 2000: Willow Smith (singer)

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