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‘America: Facts vs. Fiction’ Offers a Fun Way to Learn History

America: Facts vs. Fiction, which debuted in July of 2013, debunks the myths and half-truths of history by digging deep into historical details. Comedian and former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Jamie Kaler hosts the series. “I’m a huge history buff,” Kaler told me in a recent interview. “When I was first approached to host the show, the producers said it’s the show where you think you know the history, but you don’t. And then when I started to do the show, I realized that I really didn’t know everything.” As the host, Kaler adds a comedic approach to the retelling of history. Viewers are taken on a journey of learning and uncover what is fact and what is fiction. “The show has a wonderful tone where you are learning, but you didn’t realize that you were learning,” says Kaler. At the core, the show is truly fun for the whole family. “Watching the show come into fruition is my favorite part of being the host. Watching other people watch the show makes me happy,” Kaler says.

Intrigued? Our friends at America: Facts vs. Fiction would like you to put your history knowledge to the test. Gather the family together and make it a game night. Check out these ten historical statements and see if you can distinguish whether or not they’re fact or fiction. Just click on Answer to read the facts.

(1) Genealogists have determined that FDR is related to ten other presidents: George Washington, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, James Madison, Martin Van Buren, William Harrison, Benjamin Harrison, Taylor Grant, and William Howard Taft.



(2) The moon landing footage is so murky because of the quality of 1969 cameras.

FICTION. Broadcasting stations couldn’t support the clean footage from NASA so they literally pointed the cameras at the video screen NASA had to film a video of a video. The clean film will probably never be found because engineers recycled it to make room for other moon landings.


(3) Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb. 

FICTION. There had been 40 years of inventors before him who worked on light bulbs, but the filament in these lightbulbs only glowed for about a few seconds before going out. In 1878, Sir Joseph Swan invented the light bulb.


(4) Route 66 is 2,404 miles in length.

FICTION. Its actual length is always changing because road commissioners are constantly shifting the Route 66 path to help with traffic congestion.


(5) 1848–1858 miners extracted 24.3 million ounces of gold, by today’s prices that’s more than $31 billion dollars. 



(6) Houdini was double jointed and could dislocate both his shoulders to escape from straitjackets, handcuffs, and tight spaces. 

FICTION. The truth is he was just good at what he did. He didn’t have any physical anomalies. He could even train himself to hold his breath for four minutes.


(7) In 1870, William Canby, Betsy Ross’ grandson wrote a letter that we now use as proof that Betsy Ross created the American flag.

FACT. This letter is the only proof we have that supports the nationally believed claim that Betsy Ross is the American flag seamstress.


(8) It was legal to drink booze in the Prohibition Era. 

FACT. It was illegal to manufacture and sell alcohol but if you had liquor you could drink it.


(9) It takes 570 gallons of white paint to paint the White House white.



(10) Pocahontas was the name of the princess most closely related to the John Smith exploration. 

FICTION: Her real name was actually Matoaka. The Native Americans didn’t want the explorers to know her true name for fear they would place a magical spell over her. Pocahontas is a nickname that means “playful one.”


For more great historical discoveries check out America: Facts vs. Fiction airing on the American Heroes Channel (AHC). Check your local listings with your cable provider for airing details.

*America: Fact vs. Fiction granted Learning Liftoff permission to reprint these trivia questions

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Angela Guzman

Angela Guzman is a contributing writer for Learning Liftoff. She has interviewed notable celebs such as Reese Witherspoon, Dwyane Wade, and Hugh Jackman. With a degree in journalism from Old Dominion University, she strives to inspire others through her writing. She enjoys long walks at Target with a Starbucks drink in hand. When she’s not busy writing, she loves spending time with her husband and their two daughters.

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