Category:
1960s

Let’s try to stop smoking!!!!!!

Capitol Records released this album in 1964, on the heels of the Surgeon General's report detailing the harmful effects of smoking. Apparently that report inspired a fad for anti-smoking records. (See our earlier post about the 1964 album Music To Help You Stop Smoking).

The Capitol Records release claimed to help listeners kick the smoking habit by hypnotizing them. The hypnotist was said to be a doctor, but for reasons of professional ethics he didn't reveal his identity, instead using the pseudonym Scott Gordon.

Discogs.com notes, "The title has one exclamation point on the back of the jacket and spine, no exclamation point on the label, and 6 on the front of the jacket."



Although I couldn't find any audio clips from the record online, I did come across this video posted by a British dance company in which they perform to a brief excerpt of Scott Gordon hypnotizing listeners.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Mar 31, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Smoking and Tobacco, 1960s

Can fear cure cancer?

In 1962, East German researchers conducted a bizarre medical experiment in an attempt to find out if fear could cure cancer. They inoculated some "mice, rabbits, rats, and cocks" with cancer cells. Then they put these animals into a cage which they lowered "into a zoo-like enclosure where 30 ravenous African polecats paced for food. The polecats would leap upon the little cage, shrieking and clawing at their hoped-for prey." This terror experience was repeated every two hours for several days.

The result: the cancer cells grew more slowly in the terrorized animals.

Of course, this begs the question, what it is about fear that would fight cancer? Was it the elevated adrenalin levels? Or was there some other biochemical change that caused the effect?

Unfortunately, I can’t find any other details about this unusual experiment except for the brief news report below. I'm assuming there was never a human version of the experiment. Though one never knows, given some of the other stuff that researchers got up to behind the Iron Curtain.

The Paterson News - Nov 7, 1962

Posted By: Alex - Fri Mar 27, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Medicine, Science, Experiments, 1960s

The Wonder Glove

It was a mitten lined with “uranium ore,” sold in the early twentieth century as a cure for arthritis. It was part of the fad for radioactive cure-alls.

Source: Your Money and Your Life: An FDA Catalog of Fakes and Swindles in the Health Field — an FDA pamphlet published in 1963 that includes a variety of other quack medical devices.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Mar 20, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Health, 1960s

Mary Had a Little Man



The first song's unexceptional, but second one scores high on the Weird Meter.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Mar 20, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Music, Myths and Fairytales, 1960s, Men, Women

Money Tree

At the 1964 New York World’s Fair, American Express displayed a “money tree.” Its foliage consisted of a million dollars in currency and travelers' cheques from countries around the world.



source of images: worldsfaircommunity.org



You can buy a money tree bag on eBay for $95:

Posted By: Alex - Thu Mar 19, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Money, 1960s

Music to help you stop smoking

An album released in 1964. The Phoenix New Times offers some info about it:

Hot on the heels of surgeon general Luther Terry's 1964 finding on the dangers of smoking came this, the most absurd of the Living Strings' "music to do something by" series. Of course, what instrumental songs like "Clair de lune" and "Yellow Bird" have to do with staving off lung cancer is inconsequential -- it's the liner notes that make the persuasive pitch: "Only will power will make you stop smoking. But this music may help your will power." The fact that this music is supposed to "relax you, make you feel good and keep your hand from groping a pack of cigarettes" may lead some more mischievous or bored listeners to grope for something else. Oops! Sorry. Wrong surgeon general.



Wikipedia has some info about The Living Strings:

The Living Strings were a studio orchestra founded in 1959 by RCA Victor for a series of easy listening recordings issued on the RCA Camden budget label... RCA Victor record producer Ethel Gabriel created the "Living Strings" series of albums, which were easy-listening instrumental string versions of popular tunes, the type of music that came to be known pejoratively as elevator music.
There was no actual orchestra known as the Living Strings. The orchestra for most of the recordings was made up of musicians from various British orchestras assembled for the purpose of making the records.

I couldn't find any tracks from "Music to help you stop smoking" on YouTube, but apparently you can listen to the entire album on Spotify, if you have access to that (which I don't).

Posted By: Alex - Tue Mar 17, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Music, Smoking and Tobacco, 1960s

Follies of the Madmen #469

Why the dog?



Source.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Mar 12, 2020 - Comments (6)
Category: Business, Advertising, Fashion, Dogs, 1960s

Bollywood Beatles

Posted By: Paul - Tue Mar 10, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Music, Homages, Pastiches, Tributes and Borrowings, 1960s

Radioactive Vending Machine Tokens

Sometimes vendors would like to sell relatively high-value items in vending machines. That is, merchandise worth more than a candy bar. Nowadays that's not a problem because there's technology that can scan paper currency or read credit cards, making larger transactions possible.

But back in the 1960s, vending machines relied on coins for payment, so selling high-value merchandise wasn't practical. Especially since the machines could only measure weight, shape, and size to determine if the coins were real — and these characteristics are easy to fake with low-value blanks.

The British printing company Thomas de la Rue devised a solution: radioactive vending machine tokens.

Its researchers realized it would be possible to create tokens made out of layers of radioactive materials such as uranium and carbon14. These tokens would emit unique radioactive signatures that could be measured by Geiger counters inside a vending machine. Such tokens wouldn't be easy to forge. The company patented this idea in 1967.

I'm not aware that any vending machines accepting radioactive tokens were ever put into to use.

I imagine they would have suffered from the same problem that plagued other efforts to put radiation to practical, everyday use — such as the radioactive golf balls we posted about a few months ago (the radiation made it possible to find the balls if lost). The radiation from one token (or golf ball) wasn't a health hazard, but if a bunch of them were stored together, then the radiation did become a problem.



Nashua Telegraph - Jan 11, 1967

Posted By: Alex - Sun Mar 08, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Inventions, Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters, 1960s

Dracula Cha-Cha-Cha

Posted By: Paul - Sat Mar 07, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Humor, Music, 1960s, Fictional Monsters

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Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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