Weird Universe



Once upon a time, sheer Jewishness was exotic enough to supply material for sitcoms and product spokesmanship.


Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Apr 05, 2013 | Comments (5)
Category: Ethnic Groupings, Family, Stereotypes and Cliches, Television, 1940's, 1950's

Birth of the Transistor Radio

Who could have predicted that the technology above would lead to the result below?

A useful reminder for Apple as they attempt to deliver a wristband computer--with what unpredictable results and uses, we shall ultimately find out!

Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Mar 09, 2013 | Comments (7)
Category: Music, Technology, Television, Bohemians, Beatniks, Hippies and Slackers, 1950's, 1960's

Follies of the Madmen #199

Special smokes for wimps!
Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Feb 14, 2013 | Comments (2)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Television, Tobacco and Smoking, Wimps, Milquetoasts and Cowards, 1960's

Borden Ice Cream Ads

I watch only one half-hour of TV per week--THE SIMPSONS--so I am not really qualified to assert this. Maybe a reader can clarify. Are there such things nowadays as TV ads for ice cream? I think not. In the 1950s, Americans had to be trained to consume luxuries like ice cream. Now we eat it automatically, three times a day! So why waste money on ads?

Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Feb 06, 2013 | Comments (6)
Category: Addictions, Eating, Business, Advertising, Television, Junk Food, 1950's

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids

How a sardonic adult western ever loaned its name to a sappy kids' cartoon will remain forever a mystery. Whose brainstorm was that? In any case, please revel in the ghastly animation.

And if this happens to be a potent nostalgic item for you, you can buy the recently released complete series at Warner Archives.

Wikipedia entry here.

Win an Elephant


Remember when Bart Simpson won a radio contest and had to choose between a live elephant and lots of cash--and he chose the elephant?

I wonder if that happened back in 1970, when this contest ran?

I wish I could find a better scan to read the fine print. But the first sentence seems to promise the winner a real beast if desired.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Jan 17, 2013 | Comments (15)
Category: Animals, Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Television, Cartoons, 1970's

Rocky & Bullwinkle:  “Sex on Planet X”


[Click to enlarge]

I've been reliving my youthful TV watching by streaming episodes of Rocky & Bullwinkle on Netflix. I certainly catch a lot more of the jokes than I did when I was in elementary school.

And in the screen shot above, you'll see a risque easter egg I encountered in Episode 5.

Anyone else have similar favorite moments from the media?
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun Nov 11, 2012 | Comments (9)
Category: Aliens, Sexuality, Television, Cartoons, 1950's, Parody, Pranks


Cartrivision was the first VCR marketed to the American public, back in the early 1970s. It predated VHS and Betamax. However, it soon failed, for a variety of reasons. First, it was sold as a TV/home entertainment center/movie camera combo, which made it very expensive. That is, you couldn't buy just the player alone and attach it to your existing set. You had to buy the whole bundle. Second, you could rent movies for it, but you couldn't rewind the movies, so you could only watch them once. This limitation was designed into it at the insistence of the movie industry. Finally, perhaps its slightly creepy ads played a role in its demise. Maybe it's just me, but I definitely sense a pervy vibe coming off of the dad in the scene below.

More info: retrothing, wikipedia, mrbetamax

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Nov 04, 2012 | Comments (11)
Category: Technology, Television, 1970's

Miss U.S. Television

The Miss America pageant has been conducted since 1921, but it's only been televised since 1954. Before then, it briefly had competition when the Miss U.S. Television contest, conducted by the DuMont Television Network, aired in 1950. Watch the full pageant at the internet archive, or a version edited for length below. It has a strange opening segment in which the contestants introduce themselves, framed by a fake TV set. Then they go on to their talent performances, some of which were truly awful. The winner was a young Edie Adams.

According to wikipedia, the Miss U.S. Television contest only took place once, but there must have been subsequent pageants that used the same title, since once can find women being crowned Miss U.S. Television in later years, such as Phyllis Maygers (below), who won the title in 1952.

Altergott Does SpongeBob

[Click to enlarge]

I am taking the liberty of "reprinting" a page from the latest SpongeBob comic because it features the newest work from our resident genius artist Rick Altergott. The whole issue is hilarious, and you should grab one for yourself or any young budding WU-vie.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Sep 15, 2012 | Comments (6)
Category: Television, Weird Universe, Comics, Cartoons
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, 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.