Weird Universe


The Great Unus

The Great Unus (aka Franz Furtner) had a successful career in the circus, from the 1930s to the 1960s. He was billed as "the man who stands on his forefinger" because his act centered around him doing a series of one-finger handstands.

There was a lot of speculation about how he was able to balance himself on one finger. The main theory was that he must have had some kind of rigid, support device in the glove that he always wore during his act, as you can see in the video below. But in the photo, below left, (from the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung - Mar 27, 1941), he's doing the trick without a glove. So who knows. Although, of course, the photo could have been staged. As far as I know, he never revealed exactly what his trick was.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Sep 17, 2013 | Comments (4)
Category: ShowBiz

Stanley Steemer variations

You may have heard the Stanley Steemer commercials. But what started out as a voice-over demo evolved into variations on a theme -- the Stanley Steemer song. Mia Gentile worked with a friend, Roger Klug, on the piece.

There is a great summary of characters, styles and a high-energy conclusion at about 2:30.

Here's the link to the story:

It certainly shows a wide vocal range and a great imagination!!
Posted By: gdanea | Date: Sun Dec 16, 2012 | Comments (2)
Category: ShowBiz

Lords of Lightning

Four million volts harnessed for our entertainment.

All the fun from Ulster. Who thought Northern Ireland could be so cool!!

Electrifying. (Sorry.)
Posted By: gdanea | Date: Sun Nov 11, 2012 | Comments (5)
Category: ShowBiz

Quick Change artist Owen McGiveney Jr

Featured on the 1950s panel game show I've Got A Secret. Notice the subtle promotion of the corporate sponsor. More info about McGiveney here.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Jul 22, 2012 | Comments (2)
Category: Entertainment, ShowBiz

The Great Gravityo

The Great Gravityo was the stage name of Albert Franklin Davidson (1880-1949), a multi-talented performer whose career spanned the first half of the 20th Century. He's one of many once-popular performers who are now all but forgotten. His specialty was pulling cars and lifting heavy weights with his hair, but he was also a sharpshooter, juggler, magician, and trapeze artist.

He performed right up to the end of his life, dying of a heart attack shortly after a performance at the age of 69. It's amazing he still had his hair at 69, given his occupation.

There was hardly any info online about him. But here's a brief description of his act I found in the Paris Texas News (Sep 4, 1941):

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun May 06, 2012 | Comments (8)
Category: Human Marvels, ShowBiz

Happy Harry

I recently found out about an animator named Harry Partridge who does bizarre shorts that are perfect Weird Universe material. These two are my favorites, but be sure to go to the Happy Harry Toons YouTube page for more absurdity.

Posted By: Salamander Sam | Date: Fri Nov 05, 2010 | Comments (1)
Category: Celebrities, Dreams and Nightmares, Humor, Pop Culture, ShowBiz, Surrealism, Cartoons

Dusty’s Trail

Generally regarded as a contender for Worst TV Show Ever, this short-lived series exactly mapped Gilligan's Island onto the Wild West.

Watch as much of this episode as you can.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Oct 07, 2010 | Comments (11)
Category: Ineptness, Crudity, Talentlessness, Kitsch, and Bad Art, Regionalism, ShowBiz, Television, 1970's

Follies of the Mad Men #117

Can you imagine Angelina Jolie touting a Kia? No? That's because there is no more glamour in Hollywood or Detroit.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Aug 07, 2010 | Comments (3)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, ShowBiz, 1950's, Cars

Thank You James Earl Jones

Here's two reasons to be grateful for James Earl Jones. First, the original voice of David Prowse as Darth Vader, which, thankfully was replaced by Jones.

Darth's Original Voice

Next, a slightly different take on Darth Vader with other dialogue from various James Earl Jones movies. My favorite is Darth Vader's advice about women at about 4 minutes, or where Darth adjusts the radio around 7:30 or later.

Darth Earl Jones or James Earl Vader?
Some language -- NSFW?

There is also a shorter version available which is also good.

Posted By: gdanea | Date: Tue Jan 05, 2010 | Comments (7)
Category: ShowBiz

One-Man Bands

Having recently watched Mary Poppins, I wondered if anyone actually performed as a one-man band these days.

Maybe only in cartoons?

But no. Unfortunately for us, the one-man band tradition continues to flourish.

See several others after the jump.

More >>
Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Mar 20, 2009 | Comments (5)
Category: Human Marvels, Music, ShowBiz, Stupidity
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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.