Weird Universe


The Wrist Twist Steering Wheel

March 1965: The Lincoln-Mercury division of Ford Motor Co. began testing the "wrist twist" steering wheel at dealerships around the country. With this "no-wheel steering wheel," the driver controlled the car by means of two rotating plastic rings, five-inches in diameter. The rings turned simultaneously and could be turned with one or both hands.

As the video below explains, the benefit of the "wrist twist" was that you could more easily rest your arms on armrests while driving.

I guess the drawback was that you got carpal tunnel syndrome in your wrists by constantly having to twist them around.

More info: Popular Science - Apr 1965

Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Oct 06, 2015 | Comments (8)
Category: Inventions, 1960's, Cars

Follies of the Madmen #261

Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Oct 06, 2015 | Comments (3)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Food, 1960's, Cars

Fine Art on Billboards

1963: In response to polls indicating that a majority of the public disliked billboards along highways and were in favor of banning them, the O'Mealia Outdoor Advertising Corp. began displaying fine art masterpieces on a handful of its billboards throughout New Jersey. The idea was to show that billboards could be educational and instructive, and that they should be thought of as "the public's art gallery." Among the masterpieces displayed were Da Vinci's Mona Lisa and Gainsborough's Blue Boy.

Cute idea, but it must have been difficult for motorists to fully appreciate a masterpiece as they sped by it at 60 mph. Perhaps those stuck in traffic jams could admire the art.

link: Popular Science - Oct 1965
Posted By: Alex | Date: Thu Sep 24, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Art, Museums, 1960's

Follies of the Madmen #260


Is the falling-down part of skiing really what the resort wants to highlight?

From the Daily Illini for December 19, 1967.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Sep 15, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Regionalism, Screwups, Sports, Advertising, 1960's

Rent Boys of Central Park

1963 was a more innocent time, when the idea of young boys renting themselves out to strangers in Central Park wasn't anything to be concerned about.

Newsweek - Sep 2, 1963

Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon Sep 14, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Children, 1960's

Bob Harrington, the Chaplain of Bourbon Street


The animated mouth of Jesus, who speaks with a robot voice, is tops!

As for Bob Harrington himself, am I cynical for imagining that hanging out with the hookers and party-animals of Bourbon Street was more fun than ministering to Jim and Jane Normal in the suburbs?

Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Sep 14, 2015 | Comments (2)
Category: Regionalism, Religion, 1960's

Flower People

Imagine the courage of that Rev, to actually speak with "members of the cult." He should have gone undercover, with a "hippy wig" makeover, as in the second video.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun Sep 13, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Bohemians, Beatniks, Hippies and Slackers, 1960's, Hair and Hairstyling

Climate Change Coke

As our poor abused planet whipsaws between extreme cold and extreme heat on a minute-to-minute schedule, only Coke can help soothe our pain. The "melting glacier" allegory at the end is effective, albeit unsubtle.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Sep 09, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Nature, Soda, Pop, Soft Drinks and other Non-Alcoholic Beverages, 1960's

The Continental-2 Stereo Round Jukebox


One sold for $2800.00 recently on eBay.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Sep 04, 2015 | Comments (1)
Category: Space-age Bachelor Pad & Exotic, 1960's, Yesterday's Tomorrows

Follies of the Madmen #258

Ideally, shouldn't those four women playing "1-2-3 Redlight!" be dressed as Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall?

And shouldn't a fabric named "Glo-Weave" have some shine-in-the-dark properties?
Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Aug 31, 2015 | Comments (5)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Fashion, 1960'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.