Weird Universe Archive

September 2020

September 20, 2020

Subjective Color

July 25, 1967: During its broadcast of the TV series Combat!, ABC aired a commercial for a soft-drink called Squirt. The commercial appeared in color. What made this unusual is that it appeared in color even on black-and-white TV sets.



The commercial used a technology developed by the Color-Tel Corp., and patented by James Butterfield, that used pulses of light to trick the brain into thinking that it was seeing color. Butterfield described this as "subjective color".

The company had informed the media before the broadcast, but most people didn't know it was going to happen, and so they thought they were going nuts when they suddenly saw flashes of color on their black-and-white sets.

Detroit Free Press - Sep 14, 1967



The technology had some limitations. It could only be used for still images. Also, the colors were muted and flickered a lot. But the really big problem was that the technology emerged just as color TVs were becoming popular. So it was a clever gimmick that no longer had much practical purpose.

More info: Chronicles from the Analog Age Blog

Also worth noting: the idea of being able to see color images on a black-and-white set was the premise of a famous April Fool's Day hoax that occurred in 1962 in Sweden.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 20, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Inventions, Television, 1960s

Follies of the Madmen #488

Induces gagging sensations of sipping tobacco-flavored drink.



Source.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Sep 20, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Business, Advertising, Tobacco and Smoking, 1960s, Nausea, Revulsion and Disgust

September 19, 2020

Diaper-Rash Doll



Jackson Sun - Oct 11, 1978

Posted By: Alex - Sat Sep 19, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Toys, 1970s

Birth of the Pearl

Posted By: Paul - Sat Sep 19, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Movies, Sexuality, Myths and Fairytales, 1900s, Women

September 18, 2020

For Farrah Fanatics

Offered for sale at the height of the Farrah Fawcett mania in the late 1970s — an "authentic deed to a small piece of land that was Farrah Fawcett's early childhood home in Corpus Christi." Only $4.95 each!

The ad doesn't say, but the amount of land a purchaser received a deed to was exactly one square centimeter.

Texas Monthly - Jan 1978



The entrepreneur behind the scheme was Corpus Christi realtor Sam Allen who dreamed up the idea when he learned that a house Farrah had lived in as a child was up for sale.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram - Mar 5, 1978



So what was the address of the house? I'm not sure, because Farrah lived in four different houses in Corpus Christi, and Allen didn't reveal which house it was, saying that he didn't want treasure hunters damaging it. Two of those houses have sold in the past ten years.

I don't know enough about real estate law to know how, or if, his sale of all these micro-deeds would have affected if the house could ever be sold again. Could the house be sitting empty to this day because random people still own various square-centimeter pieces of it? I'm guessing not. Any claim to ownership must have lapsed if they didn't pay property taxes.

Farrah Fawcett in 8th grade



Other examples of Farrah-Mania we've posted about: Ferrous Faucets and Farrah Fawcett Lookalike Contest Winners.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Sep 18, 2020 - Comments (5)
Category: Celebrities, Real Estate, 1970s

Playing the Serpent

One of our weirder musical instruments.

A site devoted to the serpent.





Posted By: Paul - Fri Sep 18, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Music

September 17, 2020

Killed by oranges

Weird way to die — Ingrid Kerztin was walking by the side of the road, minding her own business, when suddenly 16 tons of oranges landed on top of her, crushing her to death.

New York Daily News - July 5, 1984

Posted By: Alex - Thu Sep 17, 2020 - Comments (4)
Category: Death, 1980s

Forkola Jell

"Old Doc Forkola" is a most unfortunate moniker. But was there anything that Forkola Jell couldn't do? Or should we ask, Was there anything that Forkola Jell could do?!?











Source of text.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Sep 17, 2020 - Comments (4)
Category: Frauds, Cons and Scams, Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil, Twentieth Century

September 16, 2020

The Great Beauty Contest of Life

"Whatever you do—wherever you go—you are in a Beauty Contest."

Kansas City Times - Mar 12, 1932



Posted By: Alex - Wed Sep 16, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Advertising, 1930s

Music Beamed to Astronauts

This NPR feature describes how Mission Control had a tradition of waking up orbiting astronauts with music. But as you can see in the second piece, the playlist was even more extensive at one time.









Source of text.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Sep 16, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Music, Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy, 1960s

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

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Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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