Weird Universe Blog — March 22, 2018

Cho-Cho the Health Clown

Cho-Cho was a "health clown" who toured the USA during the 1920s, visiting classrooms, and trying to encourage kids to eat more vegetables, take baths, and brush their teeth. In a way, he was like the opposite of Ronald McDonald (Ronald being a clown who encourages children to eat junk food).

CHO stood for "Child Health Organization," which was the group that dreamed him up and sent him out. Some more info from the book Children’s Health Issues in Historical Perspective:

The clown Cho-Cho was trained to "teach health, sugar coated with all the nonsense and fun of the sawdust ring." The Health Fairy, a public health nurse, told "delightful stories," and a cartoonist drew "a white loaf of bread into a sour-faced boy,... a brown loaf into a round-faced smiling boy," and "vegetables weeping great tears because children do not eat them."

All three travelled to elementary and secondary schools, as well as exhibitions, fairs, and "any place where children were gathered together. A less traditional figure was CHO's pseudo-professor Happy (played by Clifford Goldsmith), who entertained child and adult audiences with snappy health maxims.

Happy, the Health Fairy, and the cartoonist worked well within the boundaries of CHO's program, but when the clown who played Cho-Cho began to regard himself "as a real authority on diet, hygiene, and even the morals of childhood," and deviated from his "carefully learned lines," the organization had to find a new Cho-Cho.

Popular Science Monthly - Feb 1920

Posted By: Alex - Thu Mar 22, 2018 - Comments (1)
Category: Clowns | Health | 1920s

Follies of the Madmen #356

The metaphor is so strained and odd, that the reader will surely just go, "Huh?"

Source of ad. (Scroll forward one page.)

Posted By: Paul - Thu Mar 22, 2018 - Comments (4)
Category: Business | Advertising | Products | Surrealism | 1940s

March 21, 2018

Unfair Falsies

From June 1970:
"Sprinter Valerie Peat is one athlete who agrees on the importance of that extra fraction of an inch. She said she would have been second instead of third in last year's European games 200-meter race in Athens if her bust had been bigger."

Baltimore Evening Sun - Jun 19, 1970

See Valerie Peat in competition:

Posted By: Alex - Wed Mar 21, 2018 - Comments (1)
Category: Sports | 1970s

Real Hoodoos vs. Faux Hoodoos

Posted By: Paul - Wed Mar 21, 2018 - Comments (1)
Category: Regionalism | Natural Wonders

March 20, 2018

Automatic Pancake Machine

Invented by J. Clarence Sebring of Dundee, New York, circa 1990. It could make one pancake every seven seconds.

Elmira Star-Gazette - Jun 5, 2006

Posted By: Alex - Tue Mar 20, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: Food | Inventions | 1990s

March 19, 2018

She devours the paper

The case of Blanche English, addicted to marginalia.

Wilmington News Journal - July 22, 1970

Update: I found a follow-up about Blanche English written in 2006 by Garth Wade, the Star-Gazette reporter who first discovered her unusual talent:

Blanche English became a nurse later in life but she was running a diner in Blossburg when I visited one morning to ask if she ate newspaper. My friend Dick Spencer told me she did, but I wanted proof. With some fear for my health, I blurted, "Pardon me, Mrs. English, but do you eat newspaper?"

Blanche laughed. I laughed. I had to because Blanche had one of those contagious laughs. Then we laughed some more.

This happy, marvelous lady admitted to eating newspaper. The craving started when she was pregnant with Douglas, the first of her five kids, she said. She would strip the edge of the newspaper where there was no ink, roll it up, chew a spell and swallow. The only newspaper she liked was the Star-Gazette.

So, I sat Blanche in one of her booths with a plate full of Star-Gazette and took her photo. The story generated Blanche's 15 minutes of fame. Talk shows called and newspapers sent copies imploring her to try their newsprint. Blanche remained faithful to the Star-Gazette. And her husband, Leonard, loved to tell about his wife's special talent.

Blanche became an LPN later and worked at the Broad Acres Nursing Home in Wellsboro. "She loved those folks and they loved her," said Linda English Cheyney, Blanche's daughter. Linda said her mother's habit continued well after Douglas' birth. "I remember her sitting at the breakfast table with a cup of coffee and the edges of the Star-Gazette were gone."

Blanche was 68 when she died 13 years ago. Leonard joined her last year.

Elmira Star-Gazette - Jun 5, 2006

Posted By: Alex - Mon Mar 19, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: Journalism | 1970s

Rita Pavone:  Datemi un Martello

Her Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Mar 19, 2018 - Comments (3)
Category: Music | Tools | 1960s | South America

March 18, 2018

Finger Food

From June 1979:
A Barrie family is suing a grocery store for selling them a package of ground veal containing part of a human finger...
"They were very upset," said the lawyer for the family, which includes two children. "For six months, they could not eat any ground meat. All they ate was steak."

How they must have suffered!

Springfield Leader and Press - June 29, 1979

Posted By: Alex - Sun Mar 18, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: Food | 1970s

The Blue Marble

Posted By: Paul - Sun Mar 18, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: Rube Goldberg Devices

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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2016 by the author of the post, which is usually either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.

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