Category:
Decades

Happy Hula-hooping!

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Celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the invention of the Hula Hoop!

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jul 13, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Anniversary, Business, Products, Customs, Decades, 1950s, Fads, History, Inventions

Daring Polish Aviator—Times Two!

Synchronicity in the creative arts is pretty weird. The independent invention of very similar things. Charles Fort, one of the masters of all things weird, even had a term for it: "steam engine time." Fort's notion was that when an era was ripe, it called forth certain creations multiple times, without coordination among mere humans.

I was reminded of this recently in a small way while watching the 1942 film TO BE OR NOT TO BE. In this film, Robert Stack plays a dashing Polish aviator named Lieut. Stanislav Sobinski.

What other fictional dashing Polish aviator premiered right at this time? None other than Blackhawk, who debuted in August of 1941.

Could it be a simple case of the Blackhawk comic influencing the scripter of To Be or Not to Be? Unlikely, given the short span between the debut of Blackhawk and the release of the Robert Stack film, which had to be in production for some time prior.

It's more likely that the plight of Poland under Hitler's invasion called forth the notion of a national hero. But why aviator? Just the romance of aerial combat, I suppose.

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Here're pictures of Blackhawk and Stack in his role (leftmost figure, below) to compare. Stack is out of uniform in this shot, but when he's wearing his flying outfit, the resemblance to Blackhawk is uncanny.

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Posted By: Paul - Sun Jul 13, 2008 - Comments (11)
Category: Art, Comics, Celebrities, Decades, 1940s, Forteana, History, Historical Figure, Hollywood, Inventions, Movies, Synchronicity

eden ahbez and Nat King Cole and “Nature Boy”

I love the singing and musicianship and general personal integrity of Nat King Cole. Hearing him immediately brings me back to my childhood in the late 1950's, the height of Cole's popularity.

Of course, like many popstars of the 1950's, Cole's star was eclipsed with the rise of rock 'n' roll, and the hippies, in the 1960's.

But curiously enough, Cole played a tiny self-defeating part in that very movement, with his song "Nature Boy."

The tale behind that song involves one of the first proto-hippies--a beatnik, I suppose--named eden ahbez.
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Ahbez is one of the twentieth century's bonafide wonderful weirdos, but pretty much forgotten these days.

Why not listen to "Nature Boy" to commemorate ahbez and King?

You might even want to pick up one of ahbez's CD's!




Posted By: Paul - Sat Jul 12, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Art, Decades, 1950s, 1960s, Eccentrics, History, Historical Figure, Music, Weird Names

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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.

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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Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.

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