Weird Universe


Exploding Chickens

Spontaneously exploding chickens startle German farmer.

Source: The Ogden Standard - Nov 17, 1950
Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Jul 01, 2015 | Comments (6)
Category: Animals, Farming, Explosives, 1950's

Sleep Learning

"Discover how you can apply sleep learning to gain health, relaxation, confidence, personal magnetism, self mastery, memory power, success in business and human relations... learn foreign languages and how to play the piano."

Learn to play the piano? In your sleep?

Source: The San Mateo Times - Aug 25, 1959
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Jun 28, 2015 | Comments (2)
Category: Education, Music, Sleep and Dreams, 1950's

1950s Magnifying TV

How the heck did that magnification stunt work with 1950s technology? A lens sliding across the cathode-ray tube?
Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Jun 26, 2015 | Comments (11)
Category: Technology, Television, 1950's

Games couples play

"Johnson's wife, Iris Ann, 36, told [police] her husband was shot while they played a game in which he ran around the yard while she shot at him with a .22 caliber rifle."

I guess Iris Ann won the game.

Source: The Hazleton Plain Speaker - Oct 10, 1958; Also here.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Jun 24, 2015 | Comments (9)
Category: Husbands, Wives, 1950's

The True History of Hot Pants

I rely on Wikipedia quite a bit, and get upset when I discover an error. I have done so in their entry on Hot Pants.

Wikipedia attributes the invention of Hot Pants--which they specifically equate with "short shorts"--to UK designer Mary Quant. What a slur on American ingenuity!

You can see below the use of the term and the style in a 1950 issue of Life magazine.



[Click second instance of caption to enlarge]

Original 1950 article here.

And again, in a 1956 issue.


Plainly, Wikipedia is in grave error on this important scholarly matter.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Jun 23, 2015 | Comments (3)
Category: Fashion, Public Indecency, 1950's, Butt

Before the TSA

German travelers in the 1950s complained that beautiful women were routinely being singled out for strip searches by guards at border crossings. The pretext for these searches was usually something trivial, such as a few Swiss francs undeclared. Sounds like the TSA learned some lessons from these guys.

Source: The Corpus Christi Caller-Times - Dec 6, 1951

Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon Jun 22, 2015 | Comments (2)
Category: Government, Officials, Travel, 1950's

Worst Freebie Ever


Original ad here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Jun 22, 2015 | Comments (5)
Category: Freebies, Come-ons and Loss Leaders, 1950's, Butt, Diseases

Dear 53310761

You might wonder what the hell this song is about, until you hear a certain name mentioned past the halfway mark. Even then, you have to know your pop music history to figure it out.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Jun 17, 2015 | Comments (5)
Category: Celebrities, Music, 1950's, Armed Forces

Bicycle Clown

Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Jun 15, 2015 | Comments (5)
Category: Daredevils, Stuntpeople and Thrillseekers, PSA's, Children, 1950's

Sparkling Nibbler

Mrs. Marie Marks Schor, wealthy Miamian, charged with shoplifting because she liked to eat stuff from the shelves as she did her grocery shopping. Sounds like she was having quite a meal: ham, candy, strawberries, bananas, and string beans.

Source: The Bristol Daily Courier - Dec 19, 1959
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Jun 14, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Crime, 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.