The front cover of the 1997 Thomas Guide road atlas for Los Angeles and Orange Counties boasted that the guide that year included "666 new streets."
This prompted concerned Christians to start calling the publisher of the guide, fearing that the use of the number 666 was some kind of satanic signal.
Eventually the publisher recalled the Guide and issued a new one, with a revised cover boasting only "665" new streets. A Thomas Guide spokesman said it wanted buyers to "feel confident with the use of our product."
I've found a few of the satanic Thomas Guides for sale on eBay. However, I've been unable to find any of the revised ones.
Update: I spoke too soon. Using some slightly different search terms, I was able to track down one of the revised (non-satanic) Thomas Guides for sale on eBay.
Of course, the revised cover was a bit of a hoax. There actually were 666 new streets, but they were telling people there were only 665. Unless they actually deleted one of the streets from the guide. An appropriate street to delete would have been Devilwood Circle, in Westminster, CA (Orange County).
Several sources claim that in 1999 one of the top-selling CDs in Europe was titled "Bats." It consisted entirely of the sound of bats flying around.
However, one of those sources is the Weekly World News (May 4, 1999). So not very reliable. And since I can't find any trace of this CDs existence elsewhere (I thought a copy would likely have surfaced on eBay -- but no; or on YouTube -- no again), I'm wondering if the CD was real, or one of WWN's jokes.
The other source that mentioned the CD was the Glasgow Sunday Mail, May 2, 1999. But maybe they got their info from the WWN?
Do any WUvians have the answer to this bat mystery? Was Bats really a European top-seller?
Flashbak.com has posted an interesting collection of photos (titled "Love Boat Rejects") taken by official photographers aboard American, Norwegian, and Italian cruiseships during the 1990s. Check out the full gallery here.
In the early 1990s, Diet Pepsi ran a series of successful ads that featured Ray Charles and the slogan, "You got the right one, baby, uh-huh."
But not everyone liked the ads. Arthur Takeall claimed that Pepsi stole the slogan from him, saying he had used it in his ventriloquism act for years. He would choose an attractive woman in the audience and say, "You've Got The Right One" and his puppet would then say "Uh-huh."
Takeall sued Pepsi for $130 million, but his case was dismissed by the judge. However, in 1997 the Patent and Trademark Office ruled in his favor, deciding that he was entitled to the rights to the slogan, "You got the right one, baby, uh-huh." But as far as I know, it was a bit of a hollow victory since Pepsi never paid him any money.
From the strange legal cases file: Back in 1997, Ross Lucock of Australia won a meat tray during a pub raffle. Informed that he needed to be wearing shoes while in the pub, he proceeded to strap the meat (pork chops) to his feet and parade around the pub, leading to the inevitable accident in which another pub patron slipped on the trail of pork slime and broke his arm. The guy with the broken arm then sued the pub, arguing that it had breached its duty of care by its "failure to remove [Mr. Lucock]... in the knowledge that he was inebriated and was clad with pork chops strapped to his feet." He was awarded $750,000 in damages.
Back in 1996, two East German entrepreneurs came up with the idea of converting old telephone booths into shower stalls. They plumbed up two booths and sold them for 4000 marks each. However, their idea ran aground when Deutsche Telekom refused to sell them any more old booths, fearing that, in the words of their spokesman, "It would be problematic if someone wanted to make an emergency call and ran into the booth that was actually a shower."
Books Selected and endorsed for Pure Weirdness by Your WU Team
Who We Are
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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