Elva Ruby Miller (October 5, 1907 – July 5, 1997), who recorded under the name "Mrs. Miller", was an American singer who gained some fame in the 1960s for her series of shrill and off-key renditions of popular songs such as "Moon River", "Monday, Monday", "A Lover's Concerto", and "Downtown". Singing in an untrained, Mermanesque, vibrato-laden style... Miller's voice was compared to the sound of "roaches scurrying across a trash can lid."
But she laughed all the way to the bank. Her rendition of "Downtown" sold 250,000 copies in three weeks, and reached No. 82 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in April 1966.
By the 1960s, this attitude had become entrenched in police administration and law enforcement literature. Police Juvenile Enforcement declared that while a policewoman could be an asset, "a female officer is not a necessity."
Some even went so far as to suggest that male officers could simply dress as women for undercover work. In 1962, eight male officers did just that in order to trap muggers and rapists in New York City. "We want our men to look like housewives, not like Hollywood stars," explained Inspector Michael Codd, head of the tctical force. Twenty-seven-year-old patrolman Victor Ortiz wore white sandals, orange tapered pants, and a beige padded sweater on top of a bright print blouse. On hand to help the officers get ready were two policewomen, Caryl Collins and Dolores Munroe. The women stood by in their official uniforms as the men posed for the TV and newspaper cameras. Why teaching men to wear heels and put on lipstick was deemed more useful than simply deploying policewomen seems a question the reporters never asked. It's true that decoys did get attacked as part of these operations (that was the point), but all officers worked in teams with detectives standing by to apprehend suspects. In this instance, two of the disguised policemen had their purses snatched in Central Park and seven people were arrested in the overnight anti-mugging operation.
In November 1965, Walter Cunningham was arrested on suspicion of being involved in a jewel robbery. The police picked him up two days after the robbery, loitering outside a pawn shop. He didn't have the jewels on him, but when he later complained of a stomach ache, the police realized he had swallowed all the evidence: about 91 diamonds, a 20-karat ruby, and an emerald chip.
Police Lt. Carl Schumacher told reporters, "We figure he must have swallowed the gems while he was being booked. He was probably standing there chomping away while our backs were turned."
Doctors subsequently recovered the jewels. Cunningham pleaded guilty to a federal charge of interstate transportation of stolen property.
In February 1961, Harold Roth, director of the East Orange Library in New Jersey, made news by having arrest warrants made out for 14 people with overdue books. The degree of overdueness ranged from four months to one year. But what really attracted attention was the manner of the arrests. The police showed up at many of the houses around midnight to rouse the scofflaws out of bed and drag them down to jail.
I think this 1961 case remains the largest mass round-up of people with overdue library books, but people still occasionally get arrested for not returning their library books in a timely fashion. The site publiclibraries.com has an article about "Jail time for overdue library books" that lists some more recent cases.
Introduced in 1965 by the Treo Company, and promptly withdrawn from the market on account of complaints by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
In a letter to the Treo Company, Inc., a ranking DAR official called the girdle... a "shocking caricature" of the American flag.
"Patriotism should be encouraged by proper respect to the Stars and Stripes, the symbol of this great country and the many opportunities enjoyed here," Mrs. W. Carl Crittenden, national chairman of the DAR's Flag of the United States of America Committee, wrote.
"I believe that all patriotic citizens will agree with me that it is deplorable to downgrade our flag in this fashion."
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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 books such as Elephants on Acid.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
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