Weird Universe


Follies of the Madmen #273

Happy Joe Lucky was no Roger Rabbit, but he does a credible job here with Gisele MacKenzie.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Feb 06, 2016 | Comments (4)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Television, Tobacco and Smoking, Cartoons, 1950's

The Continuing Adventures of Rayo

After being ignored by most people when he nailed his tongue to a wooden board, Rayo the Fakir sealed himself with a snake inside a glass "bottle," in which he toured Europe. By the time he emerged, a year later, the snake had died.

Life magazine reported that the year-long stunt almost didn't happen because city authorities in Linz filed a temporary injunction, citing the act as "counter to the dignity of man... liable to produce panic... and creating an unhealthy condition for the inhabitant of the bottle."

I'm guessing Rayo wasn't actually Indian. He just pretended to be an Indian fakir as part of his act. (Basically, he was the David Blaine of the early 1950s.) Also, I think his last name was spelled "Schmied," though a lot of papers reported it as "Schmidt."

Newsweek - Jan 12, 1953

Bottled Up: The Austrian Fakir, "Rayo," whose real name is Rudolf Schmied, plans to tour Europe for an entire year while sealed with his pet snake in this glass bottle. He'll practice yoga, massage himself with special oils, and subsist on vitamin tablets and glucose. He hopes to be in London for the Coronation. (Newsweek)

The Circleville Herald - Dec 26, 1953

Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Feb 02, 2016 | Comments (6)
Category: Human Marvels, 1950's

Bob Gaffner, Fishermen’s Helper

That Bob! "He's full of the old mick!" Huh? That expression summons up a mere two Google hits. I suspect it's a euphemism for "full of the old Nick," which in turn was a euphemism for "full of the Devil."
Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Feb 02, 2016 | Comments (2)
Category: Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, Work and Vocational Training, Children, 1950's

No one cared about Rayo

1952: Rayo the Fakir nailed his tongue to a wooden board, but no one cared about the feat.

Lethbridge Herald - Feb 29, 1952

Franklin News Herald - Mar 28, 1952

Fredericksburg Standard - Jun 18, 1952

Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon Feb 01, 2016 | Comments (12)
Category: Human Marvels, 1950's



Full story here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Jan 30, 2016 | Comments (6)
Category: Body, Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil, 1950's, Nineteenth Century

La Bruja

I regret that I cannot find a subtitled-in-English version of this Mexican film, where a mad scientist creates a formula that turns an extremely ugly woman into a beauty, as in the before-and-after pix below. But those of you who know Spanish--or who just want visuals--can enjoy the full movie.



May and Very Very Late December Marriage



Original article here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Jan 27, 2016 | Comments (11)
Category: Elderly and Seniors, Wives, 1950's

Cobra Skins for Sale


Original ad here.

How much are you willing to bet that these snake skins were a) not cobras and b) were not imported from "British India"...?

And by the way:

Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Jan 20, 2016 | Comments (8)
Category: Animals, Taxidermy, Scams, Cons, Rip-offs, and General Larceny, 1950's

What Was the Name of Ted Williams’s Car?


Original ad here.

So what was the winning name? It's a mystery for the ages. As this blogger says, "This car was widely shown and generated considerable publicity. Surprisingly, no one at S.C. Johnson & Son seems to remember the winning name to this day. 'I attempted to find out on numerous occasions during my career with Nash and American Motors -- writing the Johnson company and perusing newspapers and trade journals of the period,' says John A. Conde. 'Unfortunately, nothing turned up.'"

Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Jan 18, 2016 | Comments (10)
Category: Contests, Races and Other Competitions, Sports, 1950's, Cars

Follies of the Madmen #272



Please spend half a minute to contemplate the subtext of this imagery. A pagan housewife (prefiguring BEWITCHED?) performs black magic to seduce and beguile a priest, with hubby nowhere in sight. Happens in 1950s suburbia every Sunday.

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun Jan 17, 2016 | Comments (10)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Domestic, Food, Mass Transit, Religion, 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.