Weird Universe


Fumble Parties

Back in the early 1950s, fumble parties became all the rage, according to Life magazine (July 14, 1952), which offered this description of them:

A person is chosen 'it' by drawing the high card from a deck. 'It' goes to another room while the other players add and subtract clothes, put on masks or disguise themselves in other ways.
When everyone is disguised, they all fling themselves down into a huddle on the floor, making a confused tangle of bodies, arms, and legs. Then the lights are turned off. 'It' reenters the room and, by fumbling among the tangled bodies, tries to identify a person. If someone is identified, then he or she becomes 'it'. But if the fumbler makes an error he must pay a penalty decided upon by the group.

So it was a bunch of adults feeling each other up in the dark. Sounds like a swinging good time!
Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Apr 22, 2014 | Comments (7)
Category: 1950's

Bug Invasion

In July 1957, Hastings Minnesota was invaded by fish flies. Millions of them. So many that they piled up on roads in enormous drifts and prevented cars from getting through.

From the History of Hastings blog:
The cops were called. The Fire Department was called. State highway sanders were useless against the combined efforts of the millions of fish flies who piled up their little bodies against all human efforts. Meanwhile the deck of the bridge became as slippery and slimy as grease, stalling cars that had to be moved to release the motorists stalled and steaming in cars with all windows closed against the bugs.
For over an hour a group of strong-backed youths, who volunteered their help, pushed and tugged cars through the 2 1/2 ft. bug-drift in the center of the bridge. Some were members of the very commendable teenager Cavalier Auto Club, supported by the Greater Hastings Association. The young men did a terrific job, some wearing bathing trunks, as they waded through the piles of bugs to help motorists. They pushed, advised, sweated with flies in ears, mouths, eyes. Look at those spots in front of the camera lens. They’re bugs…. stacked up on the car hood, piled up in drifts. How prolific-the hatch was terrific.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Apr 06, 2014 | Comments (2)
Category: Insects, 1950's

Mr. Anthony’s Love Clinic

[Click to enlarge]

Read the whole issue here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Apr 03, 2014 | Comments (6)
Category: Experts and Authority Figures, Sexuality, Sleaze and Sleazeballs, Comics, 1950's

Eat More Sugar

An advertisement run in 1959 by "Sugar Information Inc.", which was an organization created by sugar producers in order to convince Americans to eat more of their product. All indications are that they succeeded. [via Backstory Radio]

Posted By: Alex | Date: Thu Mar 20, 2014 | Comments (11)
Category: Advertising, 1950's

Three Decades of Slimming

Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Mar 14, 2014 | Comments (5)
Category: Exercise and Fitness, Food, Self-help Schemes, 1930's, 1940's, 1950's

Slideshow, 1957-style

The camera: $26.75 in 1957 = $222.68 in 2014

The projector: $64.50 in 1957 = $536.92 in 2014

Total costs to take pictures and display them for others to admire: $759.60

16GB iPhone, no contract: $649.00
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun Mar 09, 2014 | Comments (17)
Category: Photography and Photographers, Technology, 1950's


Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun Mar 02, 2014 | Comments (6)
Category: Domestic, Humor, War, Stop-motion Animation, 1950's

The Bald-Headed Men of America

Apparently there have been several instances of the formation of clubs to serve as fraternal organizations for bald men.

The New York Times has this 1896 report.


Then comes this account in 1920, also from The New York Times.


Then comes this report from 1954.


But sometime after that, the original group must have gone under, because in 1972, John T. Capps, III founded the Bald Headed Men of America. They were profiled in a PBS documentary from 1989, as partially shown below.

Apparently, they are still going strong.

Atomic Rabbit


Radiation makes everything better.

From this encyclopedia entry:

Atomic Rabbit was a lot like Atomic Mouse, but with a species change and a couple less supporting characters. He protected Rabbitville, rather than Mouseville, from the depredations of Sly Fox, rather than Count Gatto. Instead of an inept assistant, Sly had two kids.

He, too, got his super powers from doubly-forbidden fruit by today's standards — drugs and radiation. But while both their power-enhancers were as radioactive as can be, Mouse's was more blatantly a drug. He got his super powers from U-235 pills, whereas Rabbit's U-235 carrots could be passed off as good nutrition, like Atomictot's vitamins and Popeye's spinach. But while Popeye of the E.C. Segar comics ate lots of spinach for strength through nutrition, the animated Popeye treated it like a drug, getting a huge rush from it and sometimes, just for emphasis, sucking it in through his pipe. Good nutrition or not, Atomic Rabbit definitely fell into the category of drug-based superheroes.

Ten full issues here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Feb 22, 2014 | Comments (2)
Category: Anthropomorphism, Drugs, Comics, 1950's
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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.