Category:
1980s

Takes $1.95 Dispute to Supreme Court

During the gasoline shortage of 1979, New York state ordered a $7 minimum purchase of gas at stations, to stop people topping up. Frank Makara's tank would only hold $5.05 woth of gas, but he had to pay the full $7 minimum anyway. Outraged, he sued the BP station that charged him the $7, and took his suit all the way to the supreme court... which refused to hear the case. He ended up spending over $100 to try to recover $1.95.

According to the online inflation calculator I ran the numbers through, $1.95 in 1979 has the same purchasing power as $7.18 in 2017. So, even in today's money, not worth going to court over. Unless you're a stubborn old goat for whom the principle is worth more than the money spent on court fees.



White Plains Journal News - Apr 21, 1981

Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 16, 2017 - Comments (7)
Category: Lawsuits, 1980s

The Atmos Clock

If only you had invested in an Atmos Clock in 1982, the date of the B&W ad, you could have saved a bundle!







Posted By: Paul - Wed Nov 08, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Excess, Overkill, Hyperbole and Too Much Is Not Enough, Nature, Technology, 1980s

Paperbacks from Hell



For Halloween or Xmas, what could be a better gift? A brilliant art and history book about the crazy-ass horror novel covers of yore?

Read a review here.



Posted By: Paul - Tue Oct 24, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Horror, Ineptness, Crudity, Talentlessness, Kitsch, and Bad Art, Books, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s

Michael Fish Moment

With Hurricane Ophelia headed in the direction of the U.K., it seems like an appropriate moment to remember the Great Storm of 1987. In particular, Oct 15, 1987, when TV weatherman Michael Fish opened his forecast with the remark, "Earlier on today, apparently, a woman rang the BBC and said she heard there was a hurricane on the way; well, if you're watching, don't worry, there isn't." A few hours later, the worst storm in 300 years hit Britain, killing 18 people. Though, in Fish's defense, it technically wasn't a hurricane.

In the UK, whenever anyone makes a really bad prediction, it's still known as a "Michael Fish moment."

More info: wikipedia

Posted By: Alex - Sun Oct 15, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Predictions, 1980s, Weather

Pass the Dutchie

From 1980s Childhood by Michael A. Johnson:

"There's a common misconception that Musical Youth's number one hit in 1982, Pass the Dutchie, is a song about cannabis, when in fact the song is about extreme poverty; the 'dutchie' in the lyrics refers to a type of pot used for cooking. It's an easy mistake to make though because the song Pass the Dutchie is actually a cover version of a song released just one year earlier called Pass the Koutchie by the Mighty Diamonds, which was indeed a song all about cannabis."

I didn't know that. I had always assumed it was a song about cannabis. Though it's a bit odd to imagine a group of people passing a cooking pot around.





A dutchie
Image source: Jamaican patwah

Posted By: Alex - Wed Oct 11, 2017 - Comments (8)
Category: Music, 1980s

Miss Garlic

"Miss Garlic will be chosen on the basis of personality, congeniality, talent, knowledge of garlic — and breath."

Greenville News - Feb 10, 1986



Southern Illinoisan - Feb 11, 1986

Posted By: Alex - Sun Aug 06, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, 1980s

The Maid of Cotton Pageant

Continuing our intermittent look at oddball beauty pageants.

The Maid of Cotton pageant began in 1939. The annual pageant was sponsored by the National Cotton Council (NCC), Memphis Cotton Carnival, and the Cotton Exchanges of Memphis, New York, and New Orleans. The pageant was held in Memphis, Tennessee, in conjunction with the Carnival until the 1980s.

In mid-December every year the NCC released a list of contestants. Contestants were required to have been born in one of the cotton-producing states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North and South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas or Virginia. They might have also been born in the cotton-producing counties of Alexander, Jefferson, Massac, Pulaski, Williamson or Madison, Illinois or in Clark or Nye counties of Nevada. There were usually twenty contestants each year.

Contestants were judged on personality, good manners, intelligence, and family background as well as beauty and an ability to model. A Top Ten were chosen and then a Top Five, and finally second and first runners up and a winner. Winners served as goodwill and fashion ambassadors of the cotton industry in a five-month, all-expense tour of American cities. In the mid-1950s the tour expanded globally. In the late 1950s a Little Miss Cotton pageant was begun but lasted only until 1963 before being discontinued. In the mid-1980s Dallas,Texas took over the pageant, in conjunction with the NCC and its overseas division, Cotton Council International. In 1986, to bolster interest and participation, the NCC eliminated the rule requiring contestants to be born in a cotton-producing state. The pageant was discontinued in 1993, one of the reasons being that Cotton Inc. stopped contributing scholarship money as well as waning public interest and changing marketing strategies.


More details here.

And also here.

The 1952 winner.

Source.



Posted By: Paul - Fri Jul 21, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Contests, Races and Other Competitions, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s

Vision-Dieter Glasses

The Vision-Dieter glasses were weight-loss eyeglasses, created by Arkansas entrepreneur John D. Miller who sold them for $19.95 each. They had a different lens for each eye: one brown and the other blue. Miller claimed that the different colors caused a low-level of confusion in a person's subconscious that led to a loss of appetite, and thus weight loss. In 1982 the U.S. attorney stopped the sale of the glasses because Miller hadn't registered them with the Food and Drug Administration. Also, there was no evidence they actually worked as a diet aid.



image source: Flickr



FDA employee Karen Kowlok models Vision-Dieter glasses
Newport News Daily Press - Mar 21, 1985



From the Wilmington News Journal - Aug 6, 1982:

[Miller] came upon the idea for the appetite-inhibiting lenses, he said, in one of his supermarkets. He noted that customers were attracted to shelves by certain colors. "If people could be controlled by one color," he thought, "they could be decontrolled by another."

Perhaps tinted eyeglasses could reverse the attraction to food by affecting the subconscious, Miller hypothesized. And he went to work.

The experiments began with employees of one of his enterprises, the Miller Vision Centers. Soon the research was extended to his patients.

At first, the results were mixed. He had chosen the wrong colors. Then he hit upon crimson brown and royal blue.

"It's crazy. I can't tell you exactly how, but it works," Miller said.

Soon testimonial letters were coming into Miller's office by the dozens. In virtually every case, people who wore the glasses said they weren't eating as much. He conducted control experiments with the help of a psychologist and claimed a 97 percent success rate.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jun 29, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Food, 1980s, Dieting and Weight Loss, Eyes and Vision

Brick:  “Summer Heat”



"That summer heat makes me want to get down! The moonlight's making it easier for me to see/That it's time for love--or Mother Nature's playing tricks on me!""

Wikipedia page here.

Posted By: Paul - Sun May 28, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Music, 1980s, Cacophony, Dissonance, White Noise and Other Sonic Assaults

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Alex Boese
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.

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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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