Tough Trivia, 5/4/21

Today’s Tough Trivia question is: Boeing makes a huge number of the passenger airplanes upon which we fly. They’re iconic for their model numbers: the 707, 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, and 787. (Nobody remembers the 717.) In which decade did each of those model numbers enter commercial service? Bonus question: one 747 holds the record for carrying the most people on a single flight. How many people was it?


Yesterday’s question was: Two men named John Marshall Harlan served on the Supreme Court. How were they related, and who appointed them?

The answer is:

John Marshall Harlan

John Marshall Harlan was born June 1, 1833, in Frankfort, Kentucky. His father, James Harlan, represented Kentucky in the House of Representatives (1835–39), and then served as Kentucky’s Secretary of State (1840–44) and Kentucky’s Attorney General (1851–19). John was named for Chief Justice John Marshall, and attended law school at Transylvania University. He was admitted to the Kentucky Bar in 1853. He was appointed adjutant general of Kentucky (1851–59), and elected county judge for Franklin County in 1858. He worked against secession, and then served in the Kentucky militia as a colonel in the first years of the Civil War. He resigned his commission when his father died in 1863. Later that year, he was elected Attorney General of Kentucky, and served for four years. After losing his bid for re-election, he worked as a lawyer while remaining active in politics. When David Davis resigned from the Supreme Court to join the Senate, President Rutherford Hayes appointed Harlan, and he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on November 29, 1877. Harlan was the lone dissenting vote in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which established the doctrine of “separate but equal.” He served until his death on October 14, 1911.

John Marshall Harlan II

John Marshall Harlan’s youngest son (he had six children), John Maynard Harlan, was a lawyer and alderman in Chicago. John Maynard’s only son (of four children), John Marshall Harlan II, was born in Chicago on May 20, 1899. He graduated from Princeton University, and won a Rhodes Scholarship. Later, he attended New York Law School, and was admitted to the New York Bar in 1925. From 1925 to 1927, he served as Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and then moved into private practice. During World War II, he was a colonel in the US Army Air Force, serving as chief of the Operational Analysis Section of the Eighth Air Force in England. He was awarded the US Legion of Merit and the Croix de guerre from both France and Belgium. After the war, he returned to private practice. In 1951, he moved into the public sector, serving as Chief Counsel to the New York State Crime Commission. In January 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower appointed Harlan to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and in March 1955, Eisenhower appointed him to the Supreme Court (he was the first Rhodes Scholar to sit on the Supreme Court). Throughout his adulthood, John II carried his grandfather’s gold watch, and when he joined the Supreme Court, he used the same furniture which had previously been in his grandfather’s chambers. He retired from the Court on September 23, 1971, and died of spinal cancer three months later, on December 29.


Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog. Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. At some point, I’ll offer a prize for whoever has the most correct answers, and another for whoever participates most often (I’ll take into account people coming in after the start: regular participation starting later is just as good as regular participation starting earlier). There may also be a prize for the funniest or most amusing wrong answer. Simply comment on this post with your answer. I’ll approve the comments after the next question is posted. Sure, you can probably find the answers by searching the web, but what’s the fun in that?

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