7 Trivia Facts to Lighten Your Thanksgiving Dinner

Between meal planning and awkward conversations, the annual feast can be stressful. Let Snopes add some levity with this random assortment of facts.

 (Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Image Via Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Thanksgiving holiday is here. And with it, for many people, comes an annual sit-down around turkey, mashed potatoes, and the fixings — sometimes, alongside company with which conversations are tense or unnatural.

According to a November 2023 poll by Quinnipiac University Poll, almost two-thirds of respondents said they hoped to avoid discussing politics while visiting family or friends for the upcoming holiday. With a U.S. presidential election less than a year away, consider that wish a tough one.

Nevertheless, below is a collection of non-political, non-newsy trivia items for you to sprinkle into conversations. Perhaps, during breaks from talking about the Israel-Hamas war or America's culture wars over race, guns, etc., the frivolous talking points may come in handy.

Whichever direction the Thanksgiving banter goes, we have you covered.

— This report includes contributions from Snopes staff.

That time 152 black cats auditioned for a role in a 1960s horror movie.

How about some harmless, cat-related trivia to share? Take these photographs showing a lineup of black cats waiting to try out for a role in a 1960s horror movie.

More than 150 felines – and their owners – were said to have been vying for the chance at stardom: a role in Edgar Allen Poe’s 1843 short story, “The Black Cat,” which was included in the 1962 film, “Tales of Terror.”

Grab your tinfoil hat — Did Stanley Kubrick direct the 1969 moon landing?

Even when we know they're too outlandish to be true, moon-landing conspiracy theories can be fun to entertain. Take this example: a claim that archived footage from director Stanley Kubrick showed him shooting scenes for the Apollo 11 mission, proving the entire endeavor to be fake. 

Was it true? Of course not. A portion of the in-question footage turned out to be behind-the-scenes footage from the set of the 2018 movie "First Man," starring Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong.

The Denver International Airport once had a talking gargoyle.

What's more? The robot said to flight passengers, "Welcome to the Illuminati Headquarters ... I mean, Denver International Airport."

According to the DIA and the Denver Public Library, the international airport has been central to numerous conspiracy theories since its opening in 1995 – and the animatronic gargoyle was a play on those far-out ideas. An airport spokesperson told Snopes it was installed as a surprise to celebrate the airport's 24th birthday and operated by a comedian via a hidden camera.

Abraham Lincoln established the Secret Service on the same day he was assassinated.

Historical trivia, anyone? It has been claimed that former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln established the Secret Service — whose job it is to protect the president — on the same day he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. Though that assertion may sound too coincidental to be true, it is, in fact, true. We guess coincidences do happen.

"Rectal dilators" (cough, cough — "butt plugs") were once sold as headache cures.

Varying in diameter from ½ inch to 1 inch and up to 4 inches long, plastic devices known as “rectal dilators” — also known as butt plugs — were devices said to have been sold in the 19th century and marketed as a cure for ailments like chronic constipation, "torpid liver" and, most surprisingly, headaches.

Dolphins have "bromances."

To score a lady, male dolphins are said to form alliances – or “bromances” – to help one another ensure their reproductive success. They do so by playing "wingman" to their fellow pod-mates, sequestering fertile females in a cetaceous courtship of sorts. 

Coretta Scott King babysat actor John Lithgow when he was a child.

Over years, in various settings, the Emmy Award-winning actor has publicly discussed being babysat by the civil rights activist. We reached out to one of King’s children, Bernice King, who said the claim appeared to be true.

Izz Scott LaMagdeleine is a fact-checker for Snopes.

David Emery is a West Coast-based writer and editor with 25 years of experience fact-checking rumors, hoaxes, and contemporary legends.

Jessica Lee is Snopes' Senior Assignments Editor with expertise in investigative storytelling, media literacy advocacy and digital audience engagement.